[Contains sex-bags-of-shame and SPOILERS!!!]
I’ve now finished watching the fifth/final “season” of Misfits (2013), and my feelings about the previous batch apply equally here… i.e., it was nowhere near as funny/smart/etcetera as the first season, but even the worst episodes had enough chuckle-worthy gags and crazy ideas to keep me hungry for the next instalment. Still, there were several egregious inconsistencies and plot-holes*, and it all fizzled out in the finale, as the series stumbled across the finish line, a fading shadow of its former glory… sigh…
Of course, my main motivation for pushing on through these Lauren-Socha-less lows was the promise of a five-episode appearance by uber-adorable Ellie Kendrick… whose character, ‘Helen’, got a pretty awesome introduction in ep #5.4, rushing to save Rudy #2’s life with her electrical powers, after a baddie stole his youth, leaving him suffering from severe dementia and a dicky-ticker! The very next week (ep #5.5), she returned to rescue the gang, after they were nailed to the floor of a store-room by a brain-jacked ‘Alex’ (Matt Stokoe)… so you can’t say she didn’t earn her place on the show! Rudy #2 quickly set about romancing the wary lone-wolf, and eventually convinced her to join his nascent superhero squad… though sadly this storyline, and Helen’s overall arc, got a little short-changed in the finale, which simply skipped ahead a year to show that the “heroes” had devolved into a bunch of petty psychopaths, for no apparent reason.
They ended up full-on fighting the main characters, with Helen personally killing Rudy #1/2, before the show pulled another one of its bullshit time-travel-resets, and the whole “You betrayed and murdered me!” incident was swiftly forgiven and forgotten! Of course, by this point in the series, killing off characters large and small had become a casual joke, so seeing Helen and her chums turn arbitrarily evil had very little impact. I can’t help wishing they’d been given a full season of their own, so that we could get to know them better, and develop more of an attachment, to make their heel-turn a little more gut-wrenching. That said, I can see why Kendrick was still so jazzed about her work on this show when I chatted with her at BF&CC, because she did look properly badass in her natty blue jump-suit, shooting lightning-bolts out of her hands!
I was going to say that Joseph Gilgun was a “lucky man” for getting to snog both Kendrick (as Rudy #2) and Karla Crome (as Rudy #1) on-screen… but luck really has nothing to do with it. He’s a fantastically talented and charismatic fella, and it’s great to see him and his equally adept love interests acting their hearts out here… though I’d rather blank-out Jess’s murderous baby-fever in the finale, because… well, I don’t have the exact figures to hand, but I’m pretty sure it set the cause of feminism back about twenty-three years!
Meanwhile, I really started warming to ‘Abbey’ (Natasha O’Keeffe) when her secret origin was finally revealed: In ep #5.2 she became obsessed with a lovely-smelling scarf that she discovered in the bar’s bathroom… which eventually led her to its equally fragrant owner, ‘Laura’, played by Lydia Wilson. After a little olfactory flirtation, the two of them became more intimate, sharing a soul-deep connection that neither could explain… until they realised that Abbey was in fact Laura’s childhood imaginary friend, brought to age-appropriate life by the storm! The two of them made a very cute couple, and seeing Abbey protecting her unwitting creator was incredibly endearing, so I was very disappointed when they decided to split-up at the end of only their second episode together (#5.3). Really, their story could have filled out a pretty awesome feature film, all by itself. Note: Although it’s never directly addressed, I think Abbey might have had an enhanced self-healing ability… or at least, a tolerance/nonchalance to physical damage, as evidenced by her casual (and apparently harmless) drinking binge back in S4. In my hypothetical movie-version, I’d make her more of a Buffy-esque monster-hunter, with super-strength and stamina, to help her fight all the “Scaries”…
As for the supporting cast: Ruby Wild appeared in ep #5.1 as ‘Emma’, a storm-afflicted jinx who informed Alex that his recent lung-transplant had imbued him with the ability to remove malignant powers from other people via sexual intercourse! This led to some pretty epic visual-gags throughout the season, and also inspired Ruby #1 to christen him “The Raper”… which has got to be the least reassuring superhero name of all time! Meanwhile, Rosie Day appeared as ‘Lucy’, a seductive girl-scout enslaved to Satan! Eep! The same episode also saw the debut of Ruth Sheen as ‘Maggie’, the aged source of prophetic knitwear that inspired Rudy #2 to form his “Jumper League of Justice”! I thought this running gag was a stroke of lo-fi genius, since the knitted patterns gave you a vague idea of what the future might hold, but without enough detail to spoil everything too much! Maggie returned for a further four eps (#5.2/4/6-7), filled with foreshadowing and useful-but-belated-drug-side-effect-warnings… bless ‘er. Liz May Brice appeared in ep #5.2 as ‘Tina’, the abused mistress of Rudy’s dad (or his evil duplicate, anyway)… while Julia Ford played our hero’s sweetly oblivious mum, ‘Pat’.
Scarlett Brookes appeared in ep #5.5 as ‘Leah’, an agoraphobic girl with the power to hack into other people’s minds via their mobile-phones… while Chloe Pirrie played ‘Debbie’, the concerned friend whose brain/life got hijacked first! Meanwhile, Klariza Clayton played ‘Chloe’, a random storm-victim who could turn things inside out (including her pet cat, unfortunately), and wanted Alex to sex her power away. Kate Bracken made her debut in ep #5.6 as ‘Karen’, a softly-spoken shy-girl with the power to turn invisible, who became part of the Jumper League, and returned for a further two episodes (#5.7-8). Meanwhile, Claire Rafferty appeared as ‘Hayley’, a lesbian gypsy (!?), who cursed Alex to throw-up filthy lake-water every time he refused to help someone in need! Harsh. Finally, Erin Richards appeared in ep #5.7 as ‘Sarah’ an unfortunate young woman with (literally) “hypnotic tits”, who used Alex to remove her curse, then made the fatal error of having sex with him after he’d taken an ecstasy tablet, which reversed his power, meaning she contracted all of the unwanted abilities he’d collected in the previous episodes, like some sort of supernatural STD! Considering how deadly the combination seemed, I assumed she was going to be the “big bad” they’d have to defeat at the end of the series… possibly even the first super-villain that the Jumper League tackled together, as a team-bonding exercise… but she was actually dispatched with disappointing ease by Alex alone, using nothing more than a banana peel! Meh.
* Such as in ep #5.5, when Jess kept looking through a door’s peephole to see if the coast was clear outside, and almost got stabbed in her eye while doing it, despite the fact she was supposed to have x-ray vision, and could just as easily have seen through the door/wall from a safe distance! Or the fact that the main characters all conveniently finished their community service on exactly the same day, despite starting at different times (and in different seasons, even!). Tch.