After last night’s episode, I think it’s time to say it. Misfits is growing from an entertaining and well-made programme on a digital channel into becoming a genuinely great piece of television which I think will be fondly remembered for many years to come.
The freak-of-the-week provided an amusing diversion, with Nathan and Simon joining Kelly as she gets her tattoo touched up. Tattoo artist Vince (played by Footballers Wives’ Nathan Constance), didn’t take kindly to Nathan’s usual tomfoolery and used his powers to give him a tattoo which made him fall in love with Simon. Much fun was to be had with his heartfelt feelings (and lust!) toward poor Simon, who was ever so confused when Nathan started to get close to him and put on a little George Michael to help with the mood. However, when Kelly turned up the next day with a similar tat which made her fall for Vince, Simon knew something was up. A fairly spectacular showdown followed, with Vince creating tattoos such as a knife which was stabbing Curtis’ torso (once again, fantastic effects), while he threatened the infatuated Kelly with his tattoo gun. Superhoodie ensured that they brought peanuts to a needle fight, and when Simon noticed that Vince has a nut allergy he made one of the more unusual threats heard on television: “Remove the tattoos or I open the nuts!”. Eventually Simon managed to flick one into Vince’s mouth, giving him an life-saving injection once the tattoos had gone.
Curtis had a side plot of his own, going back to see Nikki (Ruth Negga, soon to appear alongside Peter Capaldi in the BBC’s Nativity), the girl whose flat Superhoodie led them to and, more importantly, the girl he saw in his vision of the future. After being intrigued by her combative, feisty nature he returned to her flat with a new pair of pyjamas (let’s not think about what Nathan did to the original pair) and discovered that she is seriously ill and apparently in need of a heart transplant. Hmm… remember that mysterious scar on her chest we saw in his flashforward? It all seems to be coming together.
Also, after weeks of tension between Kelly and Nathan, he finally had his chance. But just as he got going, she realised it just didn’t feel right, and that they should just be good friends. Despite the slightly mucky things they got up to, it was a really sweet scene. The unlikely chemistry between the characters feels genuine and highlights one of the things I think I said during the first series – even without the superpowers, this would still be a very good programme.
But the really interesting part came with Alisha. Finding herself being mugged, she was rescued just in time by Superhoodie who, incredibly, could touch her skin without feeling the effects of her powers. Needing to know more, she tried to put herself in a dangerous situation so she could meet him again, eventually tumbling down some stairs and being taken back to his lair, where she awoke to discover that Superhoodie was… Simon from the future. All right, hands up who was expecting that? He has changed from the Simon we know into a confident, strong, heroic figure and tells her that in the future they will fall in love and he has gone back to make sure that certain events happen in the right way. She asks the question we’re all thinking – “Does that mean I die?” and he doesn’t give a straight answer, telling her to be patient and that he cannot tell her the future. But, of course he has already told her that they will get back together, which only has the effect of manipulating their relationship and making her instantly be much kinder to our present-day shy Simon and puts a huge amount of strain on her relationship with Curtis, perfectly timed for his attraction to Nikki, of course. It poses a question about whether she would have fallen in love with him without Future Simon’s intervention. She gets a future insight into their destiny when she glimpses a recording of a future news broadcast about the “Asbo Five” as it seems they will become known once their powers become known to the rest of the world. Eventually, they have sex, after which she again says what we’re thinking – “But you’re Simon!”. It was ever so odd to see the “creepy kid” we know and love as this apparent stud, but one thing is for sure – watching the journey Simon takes to become his future self is going to be fascinating.
Time travel, as Heroes has shown, can be an incredibly difficult thing to get right. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between Future Simon and Future Hiro, but what we have seen so far makes me confident that writer Howard Overman knows what he’s doing and won’t fall into the same traps. Between Simon intervening in events and Curtis and now Alisha having an insight into what is to come, there is a tangled web of cause and effect to unweave. Lost managed to get things right by sticking rigidly to it’s rule of “whatever happened, happened”, Heroes started well but eventually made a mess with it’s muliple timelines and Doctor Who uses the escape clause of fixed points in time and “wibbley wobbly, timey wimey”. It’ll be interesting to see how Misfits deals with this most complicated of science fiction concepts.
One thing that Misfits is doing very well already is having an online presence which works perfectly with the show without compromising it for people who only watch the series. A few lines here and there add to the idea that this is a real-time, 24-7 world, such as Nathan saying that he hasn’t died “this week” and even one mention that it was a Thursday. After the episode aired, Future Simon took over Simon’s Facebook profile, something present-day Simon soon tweeted about it:
This episode was the best we’ve seen so far from an already excellent show. Iwan Rheon excelled as essentially two characters, the awkward geeky boy and the heroic man he will become, but the entire cast was fantastic in this episode, with Lauren Socha and Robert Sheehan at once showing excellent comic timing and incredible warmth (Kelly suddenly making having a Chav for a best friend seem the best idea ever) and Antonia Thomas and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett showing new sides to their characters. At the half way point (not including the bonus Christmas Special), the second series of Misfits is already better than the BAFTA-winning first. If there’s any justice, Howard Overman should be clearing some more room on his mantlepiece.
Avaliable now: Misfits – Series 1 – Complete [DVD]