Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Misfits: “Series Three, Episode Four”

Illustration for article titled Misfits: “Series Three, Episode Four”

In one sense, this episode of Misfits is batshit insane. In another, it follows its own inexorable logic. Two things made it almost inevitable: first, that time travel clearly exists within the Misfits universe, and any discussion of time travel must lead to the question of killing Hitler.

Second, alternate reality dystopias are practically required within this genre. The X-Men, of course, are the reigning champions, thanks to Days Of Future Past or Age Of Apocalypse, but there’s also Star Trek’s classic “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or Buffy’s great “The Wish”. It’s hard not see Misfits operating within that same tradition, for a variety of reasons. Of course, it’s also fun to do. Characters’ relationships are scrambled – the probation worker is now a Nazi supervisor. The dead can be resurrected, like “the pretty one” with the ice power from the episode with Nathan’s brother having a cameo.

So while this episode does make a certain kind of sense, that doesn’t mean it’s not also crazy, in a way that I think goes above and beyond the other examples I gave. Part of that is that Misfits is structured in a totally different way. Its six or seven episodes in a season means that each episode has much more impact and needs to fit in with the others in a more intentional fashion. The appeal of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is partially that it came out of nowhere – one week Picard is vacationing with pretty girls, the next the Enterprise is in the darkest timeline, and after that there’s a diplomatic missions with a twist. The standalone nature of a show makes it more badass when it goes off the rails.

Misfits, on the other hand, makes it feel like it’s a diversion. It is occasionally badass, yes, especially for Kelly. But with only a handful of episodes per season, it seems more like a diversion than something that the show definitely should have done. Diversions, of course, can be fine – one of the things that impresses me most about Misfits is when it zigs instead of zags, as it were, such as the first-season finale that barely dealt with the second probation worker’s death.

But this episode really wasn’t all that surprising, and that’s largely because it’s been done before. Twice, actually, thanks to Curtis’s power. Someone uses a time-traveling power to do something they think is good and necessary, but they unexpectedly make things worse. And while those have been great episodes, especially the one where the misfits all go clubbing, we’ve seen this ending before: the time travel power inevitably gets used to set things straight again.

I wasn’t entirely disappointed with this episode. There were definitely some great aspects to it. It wasn’t quite Misfits at its hilarious best (certainly, Nathan was big loss here), but there were some damn funny moments. And I did like Simon especially – seeing his character having developed along entirely different lines but still maintaining a core decency was probably the best aspect of the hour. It even kind of succeeded as an Inglorious Basterds homage.


Perhaps a part of that is that Misfits doesn’t need to go crazy. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “The Wish” both took place in the middle of their respective shows third seasons just like this one, but they stood out as being dramatic diversions from the norm. Those shows needed a dose of badass craziness, and they they both became better for it. Misfits had no such issues. So yeah, it’s fun to see Kelly kick Hitler around, but not much more than that.

Stray observations:

  • “Killing someone, to me, that’s personal.”
  • “We’re all doing what we need to do to survive.” I'm a sucker for resistance storylines. I can't deny it.
  • “Stop stealing the alcohol.” “I thought you said ‘help yourself’.” “I said ‘stay the fuck away from the bar.’” “Yeah.”
  • “Just been fighting fookin’ Nazis. AND kickin’ the shit out of Hitler.”
  • STRAIGHT GUYS TALKIN' ABOUT HAIR: The ice-powered woman didn't have her dramatic bangs that she did in season 2, and she looked totally different. I…I normally hate bangs, but I'm not actually certain it was better. This is distressing.