This week Misfits took a decidedly darker tone, focusing on nerdy, reclusive Simon. I seem to be saying “best episode yet” every time, but this really was fantastic and showcased everything that’s great about this series, with some very funny one-liners, a few sexy bits, some very moving scenes and a moment of real terror. The characters are feeling really well-rounded now, despite their various flaws it’s a pleasure to spend an hour in their company (something that can’t usually be said for some young offenders) and I hope there’ll be many more hours to come. If you haven’t seen it yet (and you really should) then spoliers follow..
Last week Sally found Tony’s credit card in Simon’s locker. This week she tried to tell the police officer investigating his disappearance about it, but was told that it’s not enough evidence, so she decided to continue to take things into her own hands. She hones in on Simon, using his vulnerability and loneliness to get closer to him in her attempt to find the truth, promising work experience with video editors and telling him he’s not like the others. Using her online pseudonym Shygirl18, she gives him the courage to ask her out and they go to a bar where they start to get closer.
Also at the bar is the nasty “friend” of Simon’s we saw in last week’s episode in the club, when Curtis was visiting the past. Simon tells the story of how that night, on his way home from the club, after making sure there was nobody inside, he put some lighter fluid-soaked tissue through the letterbox of the bully’s home. Realising there was an innocent cat inside, he did the only thing he could to put out the fire – urinate through the letterbox. Unfortunately he was caught by the bully’s mother, as he said “once you’ve started it’s hard to stop”, and that’s how he ended up on community service.
Simon was the focus of this episode, and getting to know him much better really changed the view of him from the creepy loner, to the downtrodden put-upon outsider who feels distant to the world but just wants someone to love, a hero for shy geeks everywhere. Yes, last week we saw that he can also be a bit pervy, but it was impossible not to feel for him as he fell for Sally and thought he had finally found someone, while we all knew she had an ulterior motive. In a quite beautiful sequence, we see that Simon has made it into Sally’s flat, gazing at her with his wide-eyed wonder and a rare smile while sitting at a table as she brings over a glass of wine, and slowly come to realise that she doesn’t know he’s there, he’s invisible. As she sleeps he videos her on the cameraphone he always carries with him (you can see more of his videos here), something which would ordinarily seem very creepy but in this case was very tender.
Curtis had love troubles of his own, as he tries to break up with Sam, his former ex-girlfriend (in a parallel timeline) who is now his girlfriend again. In another great example of how he can’t control his power, whenever he sees how badly she takes the news he regrets it and turns back time and has to do it all over again. No matter how many different ways he tries to let her down gently, she gets upset and time rewinds. “I always wanted to be a cheat, I’m just too disorganised.” says Nathan, who offers Curtis what seems to be uncharacteristically profound advice. “These powers man,” he says, “no matter what you do, the people you love will be the ones who pay”. Curtis tries this very line on Sam, and angered at being dumped with a line from Spiderman, she stomps off without causing Curtis to feel guilty. He tells Alisha, explaining his adventures through time, and refreshingly she understands. To their surprise, it seems their relationship is getting serious.
Nathan meanwhile hears crying, and is drawn to a baby he picks up and runs away with. At first it seems that we’re finally getting to see what power Nathan has been given, but it was actually the baby. His mother is a single parent and ever since the storm he’s had the power to make men want to be his father. While Nathan continues to get some of the funniest lines, Kelly is emerging as the real star of the series. Lauren Socha puts in a fantastic comic performance, not relenting on Kelly’s aggressive exterior but also showing that she has plenty of heart, as seen her when she hears the thoughts of the baby (a really quite creepy “be my daddy, be my daddy”) and then assuring the mum that the next time she meets the real father, he won’t want to stay away any more. Best of all, when she sees Nathan trying to get food from the vending machine, she invites him over for dinner, making him some chicken nuggets. Nathan’s appreciation of this is one of his few genuinely warm moments, as he compliments her cooking and her good work at “being all superhero”.
That meal got Nathan out of the community centre for the evening, leaving Sally and Simon to share a couple of drinks, and a kiss. All part of the plan for Sally, who took his phone while he was out of the room and found a video he’d recorded of Nathan talking about Tony’s killing. Simon walked in on her and his heart broke before our eyes as he realised that he had been played all along and that the secret was out. Understandably, he got angry. And invisible, which led to a brilliantly chilling closing scene as Sally found herself alone in the dark. As they fought over the phone, he slammed her against the door, killing her. It’s quite an achievement for the show to have a group of young offenders on one side and a good woman trying to seek the truth about the whereabouts of her fiancé on the other, and we stay on the side of the kids in the orange jumpsuits even when it’s a fight to the death.
I really didn’t know how last week’s very enjoyable episode could be bettered, but this was absolutely outstanding. An amazing performance from Iwan Rheon and once again great writing and direction. It was also great to see seeds planted in previous episodes such as Simon’s constant use of his camera and the incident at the club, all coming together. The series is going from strength to strength, it’s such a shame for it to be already ending next week, I really hope it’s given a much deserved second series.