[Contains crazy killer cats and SPOILERS!!!]
When the third series of Misfits aired back in 2011, I ended up bailing after the first episode… besides the constantly-changing powers and increasing sense of claustrophobia*, I also think the show’s appeal suffered a serious blow when Robert Sheehan left. ‘Nathan’ was the most voluble member of the gang, and the source of many of the most quotable jokes… but he was also one of the more interesting and unique characters: an angel-faced gobshite with no foot-in-mouth filter or concept of decorum, who was slowly learning to show a little more compassion for the people around him. He was an irritating idiot at times, but he really did get under your skin, and the series simply wasn’t as entertaining without him. That said, over the intervening years I’ve come to appreciate what an awesome actor his replacement Joseph Gilgun is… and while his character (‘Rudy’) acted too much like a cheap Nathan knock-off at times, it was fun to see him bickering (and occasionally wrestling) with his own disapproving conscience-clone… and he always gave the funniest reaction shots, even if he was just reacting to himself! Overall, I’d say that the third series is vastly inferior to the first… but taken on its own merits, it’s still pretty funny and occasionally thrilling…
On the plus side, ‘Kelly’ was finally given a worthy love interest, in the form of hunky “power dealer” ‘Seth’ (Matthew McNulty), so I enjoyed seeing the two of them growing closer over the course of the series, as their budding relationship was tested by various unexpected threats, such as body-jacking coma patients and zombie ex-girlfriends! For all my kvetching about the premise-altering power-shuffling that Seth was responsible for, I did like the way Kelly’s new-found technical genius was depicted on-screen, and utilised within the stories… even if the accompanying catchphrase (“I’m a f*ckin’ rocket scientist!”) started to grate after a while. Too often it seemed like the writers had forgotten how to write proper dialogue/jokes for her character, and simply defaulted to having her say “f*ckin’ this” or “f*ckin’ that”, in place of an actual punchline. Ah well… at least Lauren Socha got some solid emotional scenes to play through her romantic arc, and the body-swap episode (#3.5) gave her the opportunity to prove that she could tone down her accent and play a non-“chav” when required to do so. She also got to head-butt Adolf Hitler in the time-travel episode (#3.4), which is something I’m sure every young actress would be happy to have on their show-reel!
Now… on with the laundry list! Nathalie Emmanuel appeared in ep #3.1 as ‘Charlie’, a super-cute juvie who got seduced by Rudy… then stabbed-up by ‘Tanya’ (Katie Moore), an aggrieved team-mate with an asymmetrical fringe and the power to stop time. Harsh. This episode also saw the debut of Kehinde Fadipe as “Melissa”, the female incarnation of ‘Curtis’ (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), who recurred in several episodes, and scored significant screen-time in ep #3.2. I thought Fadipe did a great job of mimicking Stewart-Jarrett’s performance, and I salute her for being such a good sport about all the storeroom masturbation scenes she had to film… but, story-wise, it’s a little suspect that Curtis’s distinctive shoulder tattoo disappeared whenever he turned into Melissa, to allow for all the wacky “mistaken identity” hi-jinks… and the whole thing about Curtis impregnating Melissa with a soiled wank-hanky was kinda dumb (though apparently it is technically possible). Meanwhile, Hannah Britland appeared in ep #3.2 as ‘Emma’, a visiting runner who copped-off with Curtis and Melissa, and didn’t seem especially shocked when they turned out to be the same person (though Curtis had just saved her from being drug-raped by an evil trainer, so I imagine she was feeling fairly grateful).
Catrin Stewart returned in ep #3.4 as ‘Lily’, the “frigid” barmaid who could freeze stuff with her hands… until she got captured by Nazis and power-jacked by Seth in an alternate timeline. Nicola Harrison appeared in ep #3.5 as ‘Clare’, a vulnerable “anger management” therapist that NiceRudy copped off with, before RudeRudy dumped her for being too old and crying too much. Boo! Amy Manson appeared in ep #3.6 as ‘Leah’, a disgruntled one-night-stand who cursed Rudy’s penis with a super-STD after he callously “dumped” her as soon as he’d pulled his trousers back on. Unfortunately, after he’d sobered up the next morning, Rudy couldn’t remember who’d actually done the damage, so he was forced to chase-up various potential partners, in an attempt to make amends: Joanna Christie played ‘Jo’, a medical student who lived in the party-house, and most certainly didn’t have sex with him… while Ellie Jacob played ‘Amy Goodwin’, an unfortunate lesbian who’d drunkenly kissed him at the party, and thus became the prime suspect… much to the disgust of her girlfriend, ‘Jenna’ (Anna Nightingale). Oh, and Hannah John-Kamen had a cameo as ‘Carly’, an inexplicably attractive ice-cream vendor, who took a shine to Curtis.
Charlene McKenna appeared in ep #3.7 as ‘Shannon Speers’, Seth’s (very) ex-girlfriend, who was resurrected from the dead by Curtis (after another power-swap), only for her to turn into a flesh-hungry zombie! Meanwhile, Sandra Maitland played ‘Maggie’, an old lady whose pet cat was also revived (and zombified) by Curtis… Jayne Wisener played ‘Stacie’, an unfortunate cheerleader who got attacked by the man-eating moggy… and Velile Tshabalala had a very brief scene as ‘Laura’, the gang’s new probation-worker, who was bitten as soon as she set foot inside the community centre! Finally, ep #3.8 saw the return of several deceased characters as revenants, looking to tie up their earthly business before moving on… chief among them was ‘Sally’ (Alex Reid), who attempted to exact her sneaky revenge on ‘Simon’ (Iwan Rheon), and once again make me wonder if she ever had any genuine feelings for him or if the whole thing was an act from the very start. Gah! Thankfully Danny Sapani also returned as her murdered fiancé ‘Tony’, to explain the extenuating circumstances surrounding his untimely demise, and escort her into the afterlife. I thought this was a very nice way to end the series… so it’s a shame that wasn’t actually where the series ended… or even where the episode ended!
Personally, I didn’t buy the “shock” twist of having the revived “Virtue virgin” (Jessica Brown Findlay) randomly slit ‘Alisha’s (Antonia Thomas) throat and leave her to bleed out in Simon’s arms. Aside from the question of how much damage a quick slash with a craft knife could actually do, it just seemed like such a hasty way to take Alisha out of the equation, so that Simon was free to travel back in time to become the “SuperHoodie”, and close the loop. It’s ridiculous that he’d go to so much trouble to save her life that one time in the warehouse, knowing full well that he was simply delaying her death by a couple months, and not bothering to warn her how she’d snuff it in the altered timeline! And why would such a conscientious and genre-aware “hero” let himself die while possessing the most useful power yet (i.e., an immunity from everyone else’s powers)??? It just didn’t make any sense on any level… and the way the gang buried Alisha’s body in an unmarked grave just raised further questions about how exactly they’d been concealing the disappearances of all the people they’d killed, and disposing of all the bodies that had been piling up around them. In the first series, the death of a single probation worker and the disposal of his corpse was a major source of suspense and concern… but here it’s all just shrugged off with a wink and a smirk… which really cheapened the show, imho. Fun fact: The first two series were rated “18” on DVD, while the third series is only a “15”, and I think that has a lot to do with the slackening tension, and “lighter” tone of these episodes. Either way, they weren’t making ‘em like they used to! Sigh…
The third disc in the case contained a bunch of behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as two lengthy “webisodes”: The first, “Vegas, Baby!”, was released a month before Series 3 started, to explain Nathan’s absence… showing how he relocated to Las Vegas, where he was hoping to cheat some serious dosh out of the casinos using his shiny new conjuring power, to help provide for ‘Marnie’ (Gwyneth Keyworth) and her son, ‘Nathan Jr’. It’s a great little short, but just made me miss him all the more, dammit! The second webisode, “Erazer”, saw Rudy chasing a super-powered graffiti-artist into a world of his own painting, where our “hero” found a trapped young woman named ‘Suzy’, played by Esther Smith (looking very different to the “future Lib-Dem leader” she played in Ballot Monkeys)! The “surprise” ending was super-predictable, but at least this story gave Kelly one last chance to drop some science before retiring…
* In a behind-the-scenes featurette on the Series 2 DVDs, there was a lot of speculation about what might happen to the characters after they’d finished their community service. It was suggested by several interviewees that “anything could happen”… but, realistically, that wasn’t true because this was an ongoing TV series with a limited budget. So, either the gang would relocate to some other enclosed location and have adventures there, or they’d get sentenced to more community service and return to the established set… which is exactly what did happen, in fact. Meh.