Review of Misfits – Series 3, Episode 4
Who would have thought Seth’s throwaway comment about an old Jewish man travelling back in time to kill Hitler would become an episode?
Earlier this year ‘Doctor Who’ had an episode featuring the Nazis, where Rory, Amy and the Doctor went back to Berlin, but the adventure did not focus on experimenting with the timeline and changing history. In comparison, ‘Misfits’ explored an alternate universe where the Nazis won the war because an elderly man named Friedrich (Fred Pearson) failed to kill Hitler and accidentally left his mobile phone in the past, giving Germany mobile technology far ahead of its time.
There were touches of ‘Fatherland’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’ thrown into the mix along with the usual ‘Misfits’ humour. Yet there was also a poignancy to the episode, particularly in the opener where Friedrich wrote a letter explaining why he went back, which was reminiscent of the poem ‘First they came…’ by German pastor Martin Niemöller.
The episode was challenging because it threw the viewer off balance by changing the rules and creating a sense of uncertainty as to how things worked in that world. In the alternate future it appeared that none of the group had powers apart from Rudy. To add to the confusion, there were some familiar faces who had been killed off in previous episodes but were alive in Nazi-controlled Britain. These characters included Gary (Josef Atlin) who was murdered by Tony (Danny Sapani) the probation worker in the first episode and Lily (Catrin Stewart) who perished in a freak accident when her power of cryokinesis was reversed. The audience also got to watch the comic book-obsessed Peter die again, this time he was gunned down in a hail of bullets.
The way in which all of the characters fitted into this other reality worked in a plausible way. Despite the strict Nazi control and its influence on society, they were still essentially the same. Alisha remained a sexual object and had to use her womanly wiles to survive. While Simon was conflicted, on the one hand he had to follow orders but on the other hand he found it difficult because he knew that what he was doing was wrong. They were all victims of the circumstances. The episode showed Nazi brutality and it was spot-on in the way in which Seth was exploited in order to get powers from other people. It was believable that the Nazis would try to steal and use superpowers to their own advantage if they could. Science fiction allows diversity in a way that no other genre does and it has enabled ‘Misfits’ to transform into something else. It was action-packed and every character seemed to be holding a gun which brought a new sense of danger to the show and heightened the adrenaline rush.
Nathan Stewart-Jarett and Lauren Socha were given weightier roles this week and they more than fulfilled them. Socha is on fine form, she has been since the start of the programme, however this series will be hers in which to shine; after all, it is Kelly who saved the day and stopped Hitler. Moreover, in the same way that Simon and Alisha’s relationship was an integral part of series 2, it appears that the focus has moved to Seth and Kelly’s burgeoning romance – could this be an important element of series 3?
This week highlighted how the series has evolved and grown, the writing is stronger and the characters are even more engaging. If you didn’t love ‘Misfits’ before, you will after watching the show this week. This episode will remind critics why ‘Misfits’ is worthy of its Bafta award and why it deserves another one.
From the trailer for next week’s episode, Kelly ends up in hospital and suddenly loses interest in Seth. Could this be down to someone new coming onto the scene and stealing Kelly’s affections away using a new power? Could she be pregnant or possibly injured? And is Simon going to have an encounter with Seth’s pet lizard at some point in the future?
‘Misfits’ is on E4, for more information about the series visit: www.e4.com/misfits
Image credit: Channel 4Tagged in: Misfits, science fiction
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