Misfits Series Five Episode Eight(opens in new tab)
Writer: Howard Overman
Director: Wayne Yip
THE ONE WHERE Jess is thrown forward in time by the evil Luke, and finds that she has a baby. Also in the future the "Jumper Posse" has gone bad and most of the other Misfits haven't done much of anything after the end of their community service.
VERDICT Well, that was how it ended. With a beginning, pretty much. But more of that in a minute. Before that conclusion we get quite a surprising episode, one with a lot of stuff to chew on and a big old reset button hit at the end (which brought Doctor Who story "Last Of The Time Lords" to mind). It's likely that not everyone will be in love with the way it was wrapped up.
Last episodes are rarely easy to write. You can either go self reverential and potentially messy and throw in all sorts of hark-backs and bring back past characters, or you can keep it fairly straightforward: just another ep but maybe one which ends with a bang. Misfits 5.08 is somewhere in the middle, in that it is a bit messy but past characters aren't brought back, and it doesn't quite end with a bang - although it's not a whimper either. It's not the best episode of series five but it's not the worst.
Kudos to Howard Overman for quickly ensuring this episode wasn't going to follow a predictable path. We're barely out of the blocks when Jess hooks up with the creepy Luke who then hurls her forward in time; she heads to the probation centre where Finn is now a trainee probation worker and then to the bar where Alex is still working, Abby has been advertising a golf sale for two weeks which didn't exist and Rudy has let his personal hygiene go for a wander. This set-up is an effective storytelling jolt but it presents the first of a few problems, mainly pesky time travel problems. How exactly does Luke's power work? What happens to him and others around him for the many months that he can make pass in an instant? Can he control the amount of time he can make pass? This time around (it's hinted he's done this before) it's a long enough duration to ensure Jess "has" the baby - but how does he know for sure that Jess has just been made pregnant? And it's perhaps a little surprising that Jess had unprotected sex with him in the first place, even though she was feeling sore at Rudy.
The main talking point may well be the reset switch at the end. The viewer may be entitled to feel a bit silly that his or her tears for Rudy's demise now counts for nothing, for example. But my main beef is the following: Jess, just before she kills herself, sends a video message back to herself to warn her about Luke (not quite sure how that works, but never mind). She tells herself to have sex with Luke and then kill him. Hang on! Wouldn't better advice have been to just tell herself to tell him to eff off when he asks to buy her a drink? Rather than going through horrible sex, becoming a murderer, and then carrying around the baby of someone she loathes as opposed to Rudy's baby, a man she now realises she loves. Okay, I know her thinking is meant to be: I want that baby, the baby I love. But Jess, the chances of the same sperm fertilising the same ovary are... slim.
Perhaps these niggles are detracting from the good things in the finale. The "Jumper Posse" gone bad is an interesting story within a story (although their eventual super-nastiness is a little hard to swallow), and their battle to the death with our Misfits is quite exciting. But the key scene is outrageously ridiculous: when it's suggested to Alex that he grab Sam the flying man in mid-flight, rip his boiler suit off and shag his power out of him we giggle because it's so absurd. Just a joke, surely? Then that's exactly what happens! Mmm. Maybe this is a wonderfully audacious, non-more- Misfits scene that will be long and fondly remembered. Or maybe "jumping the shark" has become "shagging the flying man"... The special effects in this scene aren't great either, but the line "he hasn't thought this through" is pretty funny. (Note that we, like the show, haven't explicitly raised the delicate subject of quite how Alex achieves tumescence...)(opens in new tab)
Back to that ending, the five Misfits standing on the roof declaring that they will now become superheroes. How, exactly? Doing what, in most cases? Abby doesn't really have one apart from the fact that she was born of a wish in the storm. With the exception of Finn, who can now move bigger things with his mind (although is that just in that now redundant version of the future?), and possibly Jess, who has X-ray vision (which she used once this series), the others would be advised to not cease pursuing normal careers. Rudy 2 has buggered off with has-it-in-her-to-be-a-psycho Helen anyway. Jess is with child. But maybe Alex could get a job in an Amsterdam sex club and become a star turn. This ending just feels a little like the first one they thought of, a little too obvious.
Does this devalue the finale, devalue the series? Oh, not really. We've had our fun. Misfits series five was one of the best series they did, and Misfits overall has by and large been a breath of fresh air. It's just a pity that the very last episode set itself up for the complainers (like me).
NEW MAXIMS Power corrupts, and superpowers corrupt absolutely. Btw, should Rudy 2 not feel some sort of guilt at getting the posse together? Is he not partly to blame for the carnage? And he's also been party to a fair bit of murder in his time too.
GETTING OVER IT Abby seems to be absolutely fine after the death of her beloved tortoise Mark. Strange - considering how much she came to adore him over the series.
RUDY'S TV CHOICE He was nineteen-and-a-half hours into a Murder, She Wrote marathon. We wouldn't have expected anything less.
OUT AND PROUD They had to do it, didn't they? And it's funny of course. Greg the probation worker: "You won't have realised this about me but I am gay. I'm a beautiful gay probation worker."(opens in new tab)
TOP TUNE Thrilling peel of the White Stripes' "Blue Orchid" when the Misfits' battle is about to begin.
Rudy 's final words before he dies: "I think I'm gonna be alright."
or possibly Jess 's relating to him later what happened to him in the future: "You win a quid, piss yourself, then get electrocuted."
Misfits transmitted on E4 and all episodes are on 4oD for a limited time.(opens in new tab)