Thursday, 20 December 2012

Misfits Series 4 Episode 8 REVIEW

The Four Horsemen cause all kinds of havoc as Misfits Year 4 draws to a close... 

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! 

I know what you're thinking. You were expecting this review to be up on Sunday night, mere moments after the end of the Misfits finale. This has been my usual practice, but I had to break tradition with the conclusion to this fourth season of irreverent superheroes, but with good reason... 

You see, with the awareness that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were coming (as they well and truly did in this week's episode), I was forced to go into hiding. But safe in the assumption that the world didn't end (yet), I emerged from the impenetrable bunker I had built after first watching Deep Impact (I was a very forward-thinking ten-year-old) so that I may swap stories with you about my favourite band of ASBO teens.

And it was certainly the most different of season finales as Misfits somehow managed to throw together a number of different styles and issues for our central characters. Casual teen sex and chastising Horsemen rub shoulders with forbidden love and... more sex. 

Finn and Abbey are spooked, but Jess's thighs will save the day...
The central story followed the often crude but somewhat loveable Rudy, and the blossoming love story that he's been involved in with a mysterious but beautiful young woman named Nadine over the past few episodes. It's a welcome delight to see Joe Gilgun playing Rudy as a foul-mouthed Romeo, and comes as a welcome reminder that his dominant personality has far more in common with his softer counterpart than he realises. Where this season has really succeeded is in depicting the various facets of Rudy's personality (although Nadine perhaps wouldn't have taken to his somewhat more homicidal counterpart who was fortuitously dispatched earlier this season, not that that does her much good in the end, as I'll soon discuss). 

From his inappropriate sex jokes, crapping in his own bed and then offering to swap mattresses with Finn because "that's what friends do"  to headbutting a nun (to be fair, she had it coming) he's far and away the most outrageous character on the show since Nathan bowed out - so to see a change in him ends up being surprisingly moving. While Rudy seems to have fallen in love rather quickly, Gilgun plays it in such a way that it feels convincing to the character - he's as surprised and overwhelmed by it as we are, and in that sense it's a pretty accurate depiction of first love. 

For much of the episode it seems that the antagonists are the nuns from the convent, who do everything in their power to stop Nadine sharing groin time with Rudy - besides forcing her into a medieval chastity belt (which come to think of it would have been a good idea). It seems that the nuns are determined to keep her under lock and key like some Saintly Rapunzel, but in the final act we learn that the threat comes not from the nuns but from Nadine's own power. 

The introduction of the Four Horsemen (or Cyclists - after all, times have changed) is the adrenalin injection we've been waiting for, arriving under a darkening sky as our misfits look on in horror and wonder. What follows is a homage to the series' insanely brilliant opening episode, as they flee to the community centre, the site of a frenetic and suitably heart-rending final act. 

My heart did well and truly rend with Nadine's brave and unexpected sacrifice. It emerges that the Four Horsemen were summoned by her, and after Alex is wounded it occurs to the misfits that killing her might be the only way to destroy them.  To see Rudy reach such euphoric heights only to have it destroyed was truly moving. 

Rudy isn't the only one whose love life suffers this week - following Alex's self-absorption last week, he sinks even lower when Jess catches him with another woman in his flat. He's officially the worst boyfriend in Misfits history, but his injury (and the subsequent revelation that he will very likely have an awesome power in Year 5) sets him up for a metamorphosis that is bound to rival Rudy's in terms of character development.

It's also worth noting that the second half of the episode once again strikes the right balance between powers, as the misfits finally get to use their abilities to drive the plot forward. With series five now confirmed, I can only pray that our eyeballs are absolutely saturated with superpowered mayhem when the show returns next year.

On a visual level, this episode could be my favourite of the season. It's beautifully and intriguingly shot, from the gorgeous opening image inside the church to Finn's (almost) direct-to-camera macho-lite confrontation with Alex outside the community centre (had Finn been looking seven degrees to the right, it would have been Peep Show). Another brilliant exercise in how to achieve superb results without the necessity of a massive budget. 

While this wasn't my favourite of the Misfits season finales, I can't deny that all the components for brilliance were present in one form or another.

I'd sell my soul to the dark forces if it meant I could ensure that Misfits' fifth year comes together like some televisual Frankenstein's monster - a breathtaking fusion of gore, romance, chaos and Cornettos.

Did you hear that, Horsemen?

What did you think of this week's 'Misfits'? Are you looking forward to seeing the ASBO 5 return in 2013? 

Leave your thoughts below!

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