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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Misfits: "Episode Six"

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As if trying to confirm my thesis from last week, Misfits cleverly zigged where I expected a zag. Simon accidentally killing Sallie seemed like it was leading to a cliffhanger, and what I caught of the “On the next Misfits…” looked like the kids were being chased down by the law, with their sins finally catching up to them.

Instead…something totally different happened. Sallie's death turned into a weird, creepy, adorable thing for Simon, who hung out with her corpse, occasionally caressing it. The police showed up briefly, but with Sallie gone, they didn't or couldn't do much. As far as it being the main plot of the series, well, so much for that – it was a loose end, left stranded, at least for now.

Instead, as a finale, we got a character episode, one focused on Nathan and Kelly and their budding relationship, and finally, finally, Nathan's power. Wikipedia had spoiled me on the latter, but the former is a joy to behold. Lauren Socha as Kelly has been a little bit underused, other than the silly bald side-plot from a few episodes ago, but this episode brings her strengths to the fore – instead of simply being aggressive, she's also tender, helpful, and creepily nice.

The latter forms the main plot of the episode, with a young Christian woman with the power of super-suggestion. She uses this power to create a cult around her, taking the Misfits one by one: first Alisha, then Curtis, then Kelly. Simon bails as he and Nathan are cornered, and then a masked man appears to save Nathan.

It culminates in a scene with Nathan taking the mastermind hostage on top of the community center, and making an impassioned speech about the needs of youth to be crazy and not dress in cardigans. Sure, it's dangerous, but “in the words of Charles Darwin, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs!” While it makes the theme of the show explicit and is a little too obvious in that sense, it's also thoroughly excellent thanks primarily to Robert Sheehan's charisma. It's one of three superb scenes in the episode, and all three are different.

Nathan's speech is brilliant thematically, but the character work done throughout the season pays off in a final montage of Simon's videos, set to Iron & Wine's version of “Such Great Heights”. Yes, he is a dick, but damn if he wasn't charming despite it all. Had I not been spoiled, I'm sure the emotional impact would have been even greater, but it was still beautifully constructed formally, bringing Simon's video proclivities and Nathan's amusing dickishness around full circle.


Yet even with those things, perhaps the most memorable aspect of the episode was almost entirely technical. As Simon, Nathan, and Kelly gear up to stop the cult leader, they put on headphones and each select their music. The episode's sound mix keeps up with their choices, raising and lowering the volume as they choose their songs and separate from one another. It's a bit showy, but it's much more entertaining than pretentious (which, come to think of it, applies equally to the show itself).

Last week, one of you suggested that I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the much shorter British 6-episode season (or “series”). For me and the way I watch TV – targeted, critically – the shorter season is amazing. No filler, relatively easy to write about, and serialization without bloat. But on the other hand, much of the joy of Misfits comes from hanging out with the characters, specifically Nathan and Kelly. It might not have been more consistent and would open itself to canon issues, but I do enjoy spending time with these crazy kids.


Stray Observations:

  • “No one's even getting pregnant anymore.”
  • “Wash your hands before you touch me.”
  • “I've always had a set of balls. You've just never seen them.” “That's just about the gayest thing I've ever heard.”
  • Lady Gaga? That'll drive up the DVD licensing fees.
  • “thes items” - oops, Simon may be using an outdated version of Windows.
  • “Maybe that's your power!”
  • “No, no, there's too many of them! And I'm not very good at fighting.”
  • “The way you scraped your hair back and looked a little oriental. It worked for me.”
  • And Nathan's power really, really, really sucks for him in this particular reveal. He probably doesn't have The Bride's powers, either.
  • Where was Cat Stark during his funeral, anyway?