Another new episode of Misfits tonight, here’s a quick look back on how Curtis got in touch with his feminine side. As usual, spoilers follow if you’ve not watched yet.
It looks like we might be going back to having a focus on one of the characters each week for at least five of this series’ eight episodes, and tonight was the turn of Curtis. As we discovered last time, his new power is the ability to turn female, and he used it to his advantage when he discovers a women’s athletics club based in, of course, the community centre. He meets a fellow runner called Emma (Hannah Britland), and when she later sees him in his usual form, she’s starstruck and ends up sleeping with him. All very nice for Curtis – until she confides to his female form that the sex was terrible.
Curtis is obviously a little perturbed by this news, and turning to Alisha to see if he gets any better reviews (remembering that he couldn’t touch her when they were together) makes things even worse. So, he does what any man would eventually end up doing given the gender-swapping power he has and, erm, gets to know his female self a little better.
Meanwhile, Kelly the rocket scientist helps Seth out with a car breakdown, with more than a little chemistry in the air. She and Alisha follow him to a cemetery, presumably another hint in the series-long arc, with the power he was searching for last week probably having something to do with the girl buried at the grave he visited.
Curtis, as his alter-ego “Mel” (Kehinde Fadipe), is getting ready to go to a party when Simon sees him. Curtis has to own up to his true identity and the ever-helpful Simon gives him a hand with the tricky zip on the back of his dress, while Kelly looks on, getting entirely the wrong end of the stick. Mel goes to see Emma and ends up sleeping with her again – he’s a man in a woman’s body and so.. well.. as Simon later suggested, that probably makes Curtis a lesbian. Or something.
Things take a turn for the worse when the athletics coach Mark (Jay Taylor) touches Mel inappropriately. Later, at a party, he slips some rohypnol in her drink, rendering her barely conscious. Rudy is the first to take advantage of her state, though, doing something he’d later regret. But Mark takes things a step further when he attempts to rape Mel in the back of his car. Mel becomes Curtis and Mark gets a “Crying Game”-style surprise and a punch in the face.
Things then get a little complicated. Kelly thinks Mel has been flirting with Simon and Emma thinks she’s been sleeping with Curtis – in other words, having an affair with himself. Only when probation officer Shaun is out of the room can Simon tell everyone that Mel is Curtis, much to Rudy’s disgust. Curtis goes to explain himself to Emma, only to discover that she’s gone out for a drink with Mark. Knowing what he has planned, Curtis runs to her rescue, getting there just in time. The next day, he shows her his power, and what he’s done with the battered Mark, chained to some railings. Quite a fortunate escape for this particularly nasty character, considering the fates of some of the other people our gang have encountered.
Curtis always felt like the least developed character in the series, so it was really good to examine the shamed Olympic hopeful properly for the first time since series one. It was interesting to note that he ended the episode with a smile on his face, perhaps a sign that the moody character, who was so full of regret when we originally met him that he had the power to turn back time, is now moving on with his life.
The episode used the superpowers to explore such issues as sexuality, the objectification of women and date rape in a way that no straightforward drama would be able to, with an emphasis on a man seeing the world through a woman’s eyes. Heavy stuff indeed, and it was interesting to note that for once the bad guy didn’t have any powers of his own. The balance between these sensitive topics and the usual Misfits humour (Curtis’ difficulties with female bodily functions, Rudy’s crude asides) was a tricky one and wasn’t entirely successful. But if the comedy didn’t quite sit as right as it usually does, the dramatic core of the episode was very good. I’m not sure there’s been many TV love triangles where the man and one of the women is the same person.
Next week it looks like we’re in for a good one if, like me, you enjoy getting your teeth into the show’s central mythology. It’s a Simon – and therefore Superhoodie – episode.