The idea of the Christmas special baffles me. I understand that it's normal with British shows to have very special episodes around Christmastime, and they also generally sweep up and resolve major issues, sometimes turning depressing endings into happy ones, all wrapped up in a neat little Christmas bow.
I'm just personally not a fan of doing so much, so quickly. Misfits actually aired its special around the same time as it did the rest of series two, and it shows. The episode has the same aesthetic and energy of the series, which keeps it moving at a nice pace. That's good, because dramatically and structurally, it's kind of a giant mess.
Avoiding spoilers on the subject last week in comments was pretty well impossible, as several of you noted the same things: Apparently, Simon and Alisha are behaving like the events of the last episode did actually happen, Nathan's immediate and total infatuation with the new character Marnie comes out of nowhere, Nikki's death seems to be entirely contrived, and perhaps most frustratingly of all, the entire episode looks to be built just so that the show could go through a robust reboot when it comes back, thanks to an ending that sees every character going through major changes, both in their life and in their powers.
I can even see how this works in theory. In terms of the overall structure, yeah, there were some problems with the initial powers. Curtis' was too potentially powerful and amounted to the occasional Get Out Of Jail Kind Of Free card. Alisha's is too useless. Did she use it at all in the second season?
Alisha also hit upon the character-based reasons for why the change works in theory. As I described several episodes back, each character's power represents something about them that they need to change. She's specifically talking about Simon and his shyness, and Simon has gotten over that. Curtis is happier and largely free of regrets. Alisha isn't so sex-driven (except that she is, but let's play along here). Nathan's self-destructive behavior… well, Nathan is still Nathan. And Kelly is no longer worried about what other people think about her. The lessons have largely been learned. Our misfits are growing up. So giving them new powers to give them more stories to share or character growth and learning really fits in quite nicely.
It just all moves too fast. Maybe there's no way around that, and it was always going to be an awkward transitional episode. But regardless, that still means it's awkward. It's not bad, though. Marnie's appearance as Nathan's true love is too fast, but she's a lot of fun in her first scene with Nathan. The weekly villain, a preacher who decides that playing Jesus is the best way to get money and pussy, works fairly well, although the show doesn't really explore the intersection of religion and superpowers as well as it could (on that note, I think it's interesting that both season finales involve the misfits taking on bizarre cults). It's just perhaps a notch or three below the average for this season.
I'm looking forward to Misfits when it comes back, though. I have no idea how The A.V. Club will cover it, but it'll almost certainly depend on when it airs in the U.S., not the British airings. Hopefully the success of Doctor Who at increased ratings when people don't have to wait so long will encourage a quick jaunt across the Atlantic for the new episodes, not just for my job covering such things, but also because I've discovered that I really, really like this damn show.
- “Want a look?” “I wouldn't mind. After all, it is nearly Christmas.”
- “I guess we should skip all that and get down to the shagging.”
- “Hiya! You must be Barry!”
- “That's cause most people are two-faced dickheads.”
- “You said robbing people was wrong?” “Now you're doing it for God. It's okay.”
- “I didn't think it through, so legally, it's still mine!”
- “It's the afterbirth, you dickhead!”