Channel 4‘s Misfits 5.3 TV Show Review. Misfits: Season 5, Episode 3 proved to be a better balance, between interpersonal relations and paranormal hi-jinx, than the first two installments. As Probation Officer Greg (Shaun Dooley) continued his wide spiral into the awkwardly obsessive, the issue of a missing Abbey (Natasha O’Keeffe) was presented to the group. Alex (Matt Stokoe) had noted her meeting with Laura (Lydia Wilson), which gave them an idea of where to look. When high pitched screams were heard, coming from inside Laura’s apartment, Alex kicked his way in. If there was ever a question of how much naughty fun, between two people, is enough to not notice the front door being kicked in, the gang got an eyeful for an answer. Abbey nonchalantly introduced Laura to the group.
Abbey was thrilled that her feelings for Laura gave her a better idea of who she was. While not entirely a Gay Pride moment, Abbey’s pride in having a clearer sense of self (that just happened to come from her love of Laura) could certainly be considered allegorical to that end. There was something of a wrinkle to this new turn: Laura had been so surprised by her own attraction to Abbey, that she forgot to mention it to her boyfriend, Rob (Royce Pierreson). If his reaction, upon their first confrontation, was off the handle, then Abbey’s was of vengeance unleashed. This was violence beyond the crazily possessive girlfriend (and gave me a better appreciation for Abbey’s ring collection), and Laura’s acceptance of it (she did pull Abbey off of him though) spoke of some long established relationship between them. By the time Laura’s childhood mementos started giving Abbey flashbacks, of two girls contending with a bogeyman under the bed, I feared the worst.
Finn (Nathan McMullen), meanwhile, had to contend with the now open advances of Greg. Apparently, Greg had been in denial about his own sexuality and was “inspired” by what he witnessed between Finn and Alex. There was nothing sweet about this turn, however, as a creepily awkward take on a Kit-Kat break made clear.
On what was the less creepy side of 5.3’s sexual awakening theme, Abbey’s flashbacks forced the revelation of her true identity. It turned out that Laura was given the ability to manifest her most fully developed imaginary characters. The reason Abbey had no memory prior to the storm was because she was created, a full grown version of Laura’s childhood imaginary friend, during the storm.
Frankly, this came as a relief to me; I was worried about incest. One can’t be too absurdist with this show – and it’s not like I was all that far off, if you think about it. Whatever the case, the revelation put the skids to any further romantic dealings. While Abbey took some consolation in knowing who she really was (and having actual memories, again), Laura had a more adverse reaction. When Abbey returned to Laura’s, with a gift of Swing Ball (little Laura loved Swing Ball), she found the ex at the door, and Laura unwilling to see her. When she managed to get around Rob, and attempted to talk Laura down about their situation, things got worse. Laura was hurt and definitively declared Abbey “persona non grata.”
On a side note: Abbey and Laura may have matching scars. How morbidly interesting a bit of trivia that could be. Just me, then? I’m fine with that.
Abby was understandably devastated and Rudy ‘Too” Wade (Joseph Gilgun) took the opportunity to mention his support group to her. In the face of his own rejection issues with Rudy Actual, Rudy Too seemed to be actively pursuing the creation of a proper superhero team. Sam (Michael Winder), the flyer introduced to the group in 5.2, may be his first choice – if only because flight was the power most clearly depicted on Rudy Too’s “Sweater of Precognisance.” Sam saw his ability as a means of conflict avoidance. He feared that Rudy Too’s vision of embracing their abilities, for the greater good, would just get him hurt or killed. When Rudy Too later found himself at the mercy of a would be mugger, it was Sam to his rescue. An impressive feat of skill and speed but it demonstrated that Sam knew how to be a hero and avoid conflict all at once. A very impressive quality for an empowered youth.
Securing Abbey’s plot line as the less creepy of the two, Finn’s situation went from bad to worse when Greg decided to get physical. Worse, still, when a panic induced TK burst sent Greg flying to his death. When Finn, Alex and Rudy came together, to dispose of the body, it was like the good old times (Yes, I am a little ashamed about “Chronic P.O. Death Syndrome” being a highlight of generation 1 but I own it). Abbey, dejected over Laura, resorted to a pill overdose. Jess (Karla Crome) came across the scene and figured it was the “situation” Finn had messaged her about. She tended to Abbey while the boys dealt with a not quite dead Greg, as it turned out. Both efforts converged over a staged car crash – Greg’s into Jess’ (and no, Jess had no input on that plan).
Frankly, I don’t know what was funnier: the panic over Greg’s Lazarus moment or the thought of the whole thing being a prank on fans like myself (i.e., those of us wanting a return of “Chronic P.O. Death Syndrome”).
Things took a serious turn, however, courtesy of a grave oversight by both Abbey and Laura. If imaginary Abbey’s primary purpose was to protect young Laura from an all too real seeming night terror, called Scary, then why would Laura unconsciously manifest Abbey and not Scary as well? Well Scary (Mark Phoenix) did manifest. He may have been lurking around Laura this whole time, since the storm, but apparently marked the end of the customary horror warm up by dragging Rob into the shadows. When Scary’s manifestation became clear to Laura, she reached out to Abbey.
Abbey compared Laura’s rejection to being scorned by God, face to face. How does one amend for something like that? Well, “sorry” seemed to work just fine for Laura (damned cuteness factor; pretty people get away with everything). Scary broke up the fence mending by targeting Abbey first but managed to carry off Laura. With the Swing Ball set, however, Abbey fulfilled her role as Laura’s once and future protector.
Scary was the best kind of bogeyman. The kind that can be omnipresent and intangible, even as it reaches out and touches you at will. Scary didn’t just stick to the shadows, he brought the shadows. So maybe Abbey took him down too easily, maybe? I say no. Whether or not imaginary Abbey was created specifically to ward off imaginary Scary, she clearly had power over him. It stands to reason that manifest Abbey would be uniquely qualified to kill manifest Scary as a matter of principle; so it wouldn’t matter how she did it. Of course, using a childhood joy of Laura’s might have added some hit points.
Bonus points for anyone who noticed Scary had been in the opening sequence, this whole time.
Abbey and Laura were back together, albeit platonically, and Greg seemed to reset back to his prickly, stand-offish self, around Finn (with no memory of Finn’s powers, and I suppose he bought into the DUI scenario the gang staged). Something of a neat wrap up, but it didn’t detract from the episode.
There has been an undercurrent of homo-eroticism to Rudy throughout series five so far (references to his boy scout years, in the first two episodes, and his take on Finn’s Kit-Kat break, this time around); but I only mention this because 5.3’s themes seemed as good a reason to point that out as any.
More noticeable has been the complete sidelining of Jess and Alex’s past romance. Even if she and Rudy were not to get any closer (at which point Alex should have something to say about it), I would have expected Alex’s entry into her circle (both delinquent and super powered) so soon after their split to generate some kind of tension.
Speaking of complete sidelining, I was left wondering if anyone else in the episode noticed Laura’s ex gone missing. He didn’t seem that bad. Or bland…maybe. I guess I don’t care after all.
A mix of catharsis and unconventional abilities, all delivered in an effort worthy of the original run. While 5.3 did pull a bait-and-switch with the original run’s dead P.O. running gag, it did provide quite a few cringe worthy moments – heartfelt tone deafness taking top honors, in that regard. Now if the series can just deliver on that Tortoise….