Channel 4‘s Misfits 5.8 TV Show Review. Misfits: Season 5, Episode 8 marked the end of what had been an impishly inventive and creatively crass series. Well, to put it more accurately, the series just happened to end with this episode. Just as well; it would have been an awful finale.
When Greg (Shaun Dooley) declares time served, for the gang, it was received with some surprise and relative indifference (particularly in light of Greg’s take on the occasion). A celebratory drink brought some talk about future prospects, but the break-up of Jess (Karla Crome) and Rudy (Joseph Gilgun) took center stage. Jess’ efforts to distance herself from Rudy led her into the arms of Luke (Daniel Boyd), who was very eager to please. Too eager, in fact. In what was apparently patterned behavior, Luke was intent on compelling Jess into loving him, and had the power to leverage this. He projected her to a future where they had not only been living together, but had a child.
I will take this moment to note that the Chris Claremont method, of using time travel to both further/ rework plot lines, amounted to a mixed blessing for X-Men, and the downfall of Heroes.
With no memory of the year she lost, Jess rejected the child. Luke left them to bond, however, certain that she would become hopelessly attached to her son. Jess took the opportunity to reconnect with the gang. She found very little had changed, but the sorry state her presumed death left Rudy in shed new light on his feelings for her.
By this time, doppelgänger Rudy Too’s own gang had been dispensing justice in their community service guise; but well outside his parameters for super heroics. For some reason, Rudy Too took a full year to piece together their activities, by which time they had become bonafide serial killers. Their cover did, however, catch the attention of the Community Center’s probationary Probation Officer, Finn (Nathan McMullen). With guidance from Greg (by way of Sam Kinison), Finn confronted Helen (Ellie Kendrick) regarding there being no records to justify her group’s presence. Only an intervention by Rudy Too kept Finn from being added to a mass grave.
This was to set up a direct confrontation, between the “Gang” and the “Dopple Gang,” with Sam (Michael Winder), Alex (Matt Stokoe), Karen (Kate Bracken), and Finn all bringing their A-game to the match. If Jess’ absence revived her relationship with Rudy, then the breaking of ties between Rudy Too and Helen led to a reconciliation for the Rudys. They combined, once more, for a final confrontation with Helen that was typically comic and tragic.
Given the outcome of that confrontation, and the fact that shared parental bonding served to bring her and Rudy back together, Jess resolved to create a more ideal future. That future would combine the best of both timelines, but would come at Luke’s expense.
If the measure Jess took to escape her future was a touch hackneyed, her means of preventing it was just plain ridiculous. Telecommunication doesn’t work that way. While the Claremont treatment provided a (very) convenient plot device for quickly resolving both recent and long standing issues (like Jess’ split from Rudy and the rift between the Rudys), it did force a prioritization of series 5 developments. 5.8 chose to focus on the core cast. Unfortunately this left too many loose ends – even within the Gang, itself.
No insights on the nature/ cause of The Storm. It may have been a simple excuse to get all sorts of whacky powers on screen, all along, but this season’s powers support group did sort of make it an issue. Turns out, that was an excuse to create a talent pool for Rudy Too’s Dopple Gang, Alex’s clientele, and a cast of villains, love interests, and supporting characters from somewhere other than the Community Center.
An abrupt and shocking end to a long running sub-plot – regarding Abbey (Natasha O’Keeffe) and Mark – had already been done just one episode prior. The abandonment of a steadily and well built narrative loses shock value when repeated.
A team of proper superheroes. Rudy Too’s “Jumper Posse” was realized, but neither as intended nor expected. While the team, as unintended, made for a thrilling climax to the season (if not the series), the team, as unexpected, merely co-opted Rudy Too’s efforts. Unfortunately, the latter development invalidated the former, and to no further end. As for all those jumper predictions… well, time travel can un-make all things possible.
Life after the Community Center. With the episode beginning and ending on the subject of the Gang’s prospects, all that really came of it (beyond “a proper team of superheroes”) was embraced parenthood for Rudy and Jess. For the rest, it meant avoiding a future of little consequence, with no alternatives offered. Greg declared their time in community service as both a failure, and the highlight of their lives. If the closing image was any indication, the Gang’s future will remain tied to the Community Center.
Greg lives. Short of a subtle nod (by way of phony probation workers attempting to take out would-be P.O. Finn, ironically enough), probably nothing represents 5.8’s disregard for some Misfits tradition more than a Probation Officer lasting two whole seasons – much less, outlasting the Gang. Greg may not have amounted to a threat, as his predecessors did, but losing P.O.s used to be a sort of a running gag. Frankly, Greg’s creepiness made for a set up to a punch-line that never came. On top of that, his future – out of the closet and happy with Luke (Oliver Lansley) – was likely guaranteed by either outcome. My fault for wishing him ill, then, since the show was clearly intended to end on a less cynical note.
Come to think of it, maybe “a more optimistic note” would be the better description. 5.8’s resolution did trade maximum carnage for minimum collateral damage (by Misfits standards, in any case), and affected a clean sweep of the slate, regarding all but one of the episode’s outcomes
Not that I entirely begrudge a neatly happy ending, to a series with truly memorable dark moments, but that ending did come at the expense of the season’s entire story arc. A lot went into the building of the Dopple Gang; and while it did come to a dark and violent end, it was still an end. The resolution not only left that ending undone, but left no ending for the Dopple Gang at all. I suppose I could call it an open ending, with room left for any kind of follow up project; but that would require more optimistic expectation. As there may have been too much of that already, I’ll hang on to the fond memory of the ending that never was.
So long Misfits – it was fun. Silly, twisted, and perverse, yet uninhibited, imaginative, and unassuming fun.