Channel 4‘s Misfits 5.6 TV Show Review. Misfits: Season 5, Episode 6 reminded me, from the get go, why I’m so fond of some the show’s characters. These are not nice people. Sometimes Misfits‘ fun comes from the sheer spectacle of watching them say and do horrible things; sometimes it comes from seeing them pay for it. Episode 5.6 gave us both.
Karen (Kate Bracken) had been trying to focus the gang’s attention on helping terminally ill youths, currently using the center, and failing. Karen then fails to steer the conversation away from nit-picking over what terminal means, and the best last meals. Karen was ignored like a hallway back wall; so she blended right into one.
The gang took to its new responsibility with typical callousness, but where Alex (Matt Stokoe) was concerned, there was a wider world of good deeds that he wanted nothing to do with. Citing his spiffy new jeans, he flat out refused to help a young woman – with a phobia about water – retrieve her keys from the lake. After falling in and nearly drowning, Hayley (Claire Rafferty) “cursed” Alex to experience drowning every time he refused to help someone.
While Finn (Nathan McMullen) was failing to capitalize on a faked illness sympathy sex racket, perpetrated by one of his charges, another, genuinely terminal, youngster had his own unique way of benefiting from sympathy. Lucas (Ade Oyefeso) had the ability to send his cancer into remission, but by siphoning the will to live from others (and only in a long embrace).
When one of Lucas’ victims, faker Ben (Lewis Reeves), committed suicide right in front of Alex, his inability to help put a new spin on his predicament. After incurring Greg’s (Shaun Dooley) creepy brand of wrath, over his innocently mean comments to Ben, Finn was somewhat wary of Lucas’ attention, but needed an ego boost. Thanks to his “condition,” Alex faced the real prospect of granting Abbey (Natasha O’Keeffe) her lovelorn wish of restoring Mark (the man trapped in a Tortoise body, mind you). Bestiality was avoided, however, when Alex (Mark in hand) came across Finn, strung up in a suicide attempt.
Rudy (Joseph Gilgun) and Jess (Karla Crome) had their own problem, namely Rudy’s impotence due to his high esteem for Jess; but that was easily resolved by Jess sharing her less attractive qualities with him. Rudy’s momentary concern, that Finn’s suicide attempt came from learning about their relationship, kept Rudy and Jess relevant to the episode. More important was Jess’ proposal that one of the terminals was involved, and Rudy’s weaponizing of Alex.
At the very least, I appreciated Rudy acknowledging Alex’s role as the group’s designated rapist.
Of course, they target the wrong terminal case, even as Lucas approached Abbey. Karen (remember her?), having been quite observant in her anonymity, pointed the gang in the right direction. Abbey’s particular brand of callousness delayed Lucas. Handily. After such a happy ending, Abbey thought little of a hug, but the gang stopped them in time.
Lucas made the case that self preservation is not the same as selfishness. It was not made clear whether he was moved to self-sacrifice because it was morally right, or because Alex would have been forced to use his power for the same reason. Lucas, nonetheless, restored Finn at his own expense. When Alex finally got an opportunity to plead reform to Hayley, it turned out that her sympathetic nature had let him off the hook at word of Ben’s suicide. She still didn’t want to socialize with him, though.
5.6 explored the demarcation between selflessness and self-interest, and I suppose some lessons were learned, in a very perverse Christmas episode sort of way. Finn’s bout of suicidal depression could have left him with a better appreciation of life and friendship (but I have my doubts). When Rudy and Jess’ new sex life suffered, deeper feeling and personal issues were shared; but this might have only occurred as a means to that one end. Abbey seized an opportunity to rescue her love (?), Mark, from his Tortoise form, but that involved taking advantage of Alex’s handicap.
While the full “Uncle Ben” treatment was reserved for Alex (a double dose, if you think about it), there may have been some caveats to his take away on “great responsibility.” Beyond his genuine remorse over Ben, which extended to Hayley, Alex really had no choice. Hayley was a self-professed lesbian, meaning he couldn’t seduce his way out of her clutches, and rape would have been both irredeemable and ill-advised against hex powers (particularly when there was no guarantee of effects reversing once she was de-powered). I would like to think that he, and the others, came away from 5.6 as more caring, responsible people. It likely doesn’t matter, however. It’s just as fun watching them get their comeuppance as it is watching them take down worse offenders than themselves.
Speaking of heroics: Rudy Too was still putting together the “Jumper League.” He took a serious dose of electricity, from a startled Helen (Ellie Kendrick), and it might have been his natural earnestness, or just (electro) shock talking, but his professing of affection won her over. Maggie (Ruth Sheen) would later bring him a sweater that depicted his new relationship with Helen; only she had begun it before Rudy and Helen got together. This confirmed to Rudy Too the inevitability of his last sweater’s prediction of a proper super hero team. While Helen was still skeptical about coming on board, Karen made her presence known.
– And then there were four.
Misfits series 5 really does not seem all that preoccupied with being the final season. The running subplot has had no more gravity to it than the show’s previous cast changes, and the one detail of serious foreshadowing has yet to be revisited. This makes me wonder whether I’ve been taking the show too seriously. Misfits has been unfairly compared to Heroes from day one. Unfairly, not just because of its smaller scale and adult content, but because it has been just plain fun. Unlike Heroes, which collapsed under the weight of its attempt to capture the epic grandeur of the genre, Misfits just focused on wild (absurdist, at times) creativity in both the powers it came up with, and how they were applied. It has never weighed itself down with ambition, and it would be unfair for me to expect it to, now, merely to provide a typically grand finale.