Misfits 2.01 & 2.02 Review

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Nick Hanover , Paul Brian McCoy
2.01 Kelly, Alisha, Curtis and Simon still grieve over Nathan when the mysterious masked man reappears helps them discover that Nathan is still alive. Back at the community centre, the gang awaits a new probation worker and a shape shifter who causes some troubles for the gang.

2.02 Nathan learns that he has a brother named Jamie when he shows up at the community centre. With Jamie, Nathan and the gang go to a club where they take some pills that have some interesting effects on them.

Tune in to Season Two of Misfits every Monday on HULU! And check out the Misfits website for other treats.

Nick Hanover: So, throughout the first season, we discussed Misfits’ style of doing one-and-done tales but as is already clear with these first two episodes of Season Two, this time around it’s all about the overarching story.

Paul Brian McCoy: Yeah, what began as a strange out-of-the-blue cameo in the Season One finale has turned into the Spine of the Show for this season.

But now he's got better gear.

And a secret lair.

Super Hoodie is the shit.

Nick: Super Hoodie is probably the coolest bicycle-based superhero of all-time.

Paul: Parkour now.

After that cliffhanger ending with Nathan waking up in his coffin, buried alive, I was glad to see that they resolved his situation and got the gang back together without too much fuss.

Nick: Misfits is exceedingly excellent at just getting on with it already. The pacing of this show is one of its strong suits and that goes beyond editing. It simply doesn't bother with the typical fake-out story pacing of most television of this nature and it's all the better for it.

Paul: A lot of this first episode seemed to be devoted to the act of re-aligning the show for the second season. It was like Overman realized that if they were going to make the second season something different there had to be a repositioning of the characters and their relationships.

And this first episode was all about resetting that.

Nick: That's a good point and I think the best evidence of that is Nathan and Kelly's relationship which, contrary to viewer expectations, ends as quickly as it begins.

Paul: Yes! Also, Simon's "I just want to be your friends!" outburst and the smiling okays Curtis and Nathan give him.
Not to mention the new probation officer, Shaun (Craig Parkinson).

They tease with his possible murder, but then roll it back and give us an authority figure who just doesn't give a shit. That allows us to move on to tell new stories. Burying the past, or dumping it in the Thames, if you will.

Nick: I'll admit that at first I was really hoping they'd really kill Shaun because it would have been hilarious if every single one of their probation officers died. It'd be like Spinal Tap and drummers.

But ultimately it's probably for the best that that didn't happen. And yes, I am an asshole.

Paul: I love the fact that their probation officer was probably an ASBO kid himself.

Nick: They do wisely avoid the temptation to make him their "friend," though. When you get down to it, so much of what makes Misfits great is how subversive it is. Every trope you expect them to follow is flipped.

Paul: Well, that was never going to happen. He thinks they're wankers just like they think he's a wanker.

Nick: Right, but after giving them two "enemies," it would have been very easy for the writers to give them a confidant, a Professor X, if you will.

Paul: True. I can't remember. Is this the last we see of the police investigation, too?

There's nothing in Episode Two.

Nick: I think it is, weirdly enough.

Paul: And it's the first of the "Girls Dig Simon" episodes.

Nick: Simon starts to get his groove on this season.

Paul: Almost against his will.

Nick: I think that's because he finally starts to become more comfortable in his skin and as "leader" of the group. For reasons that we will soon see. Next episode, in fact.

Paul: Oh I agree. But at the start here, it doesn't seem quite so organic as it seems editorial mandate. After two episodes I already miss Weird Kid.

Nick: I wonder if that's because with the first season they weren't sure if the show would be a hit?

Paul: I'm sure they didn't expect a second season. Not starting out anyway.

Nick: There was a definite sense in the first season that they were totally prepared to have it end in one. With this season, it's like it's dawned on them that the show is destined for bigger things so their characters and plots need to adapt.

Paul: I mean, I'm sure Overman hoped for a second season, but there was no way to tell that the audience would be hungering for something like this.

Nick: Yeah, definitely, but there's a difference between hoping for that but expecting the worst and knowing that you've got a hit on your hands.

Paul: That's where the danger lies. Now they know people love Simon, so they start moving Simon more into the mainstream.

Nick: That is what doomed Heroes.

Even so, it's not like they make Simon cuddly or more obviously heroic or anything. After all, this first episode is about how his being kind of awkward and a dick leads to massive consequences.

Paul: Except Heroes played it safe and reworked the same basic ideas over again and drove the fans away. That impulse translates here into Simon not murdering anyone this season.

And then they give him a chance to talk his feelings out with "himself" at the end. He's happy and accepted, now.

Which was a nice piece of symbolism, I might add.

Nick: Wow, you're right, Simon is murder free this season. I had to look to make sure you were right about that.

You know, it's kind of interesting that so many of the "villains" in Misfits don't have definitive fates and get left as loose ends. I wonder if that will come into play during season3

Paul: Hard to tell. I have no idea what to expect from Season Three.

But more on that in coming weeks.

So this first episode effectively closes out the loose ends of Season One and repositions our heroes as a tightly knit (well, moreso than last season) group of almost-friends.

Curtis and Alisha are happy. Nathan and Kelly are curious. Simon is murder-free and has friends.

Nick: And gives them a bit of a more terrifying threat than most of the "villains" from Season One with Lucy (Evelyn Hoskins), the literally crazy shapeshifter.

Paul: The threats do seem to step up the danger level this time around, don't they?

Nick: Oh yeah, especially later on down the line when we get a milquetoast fellow who turns out to be absolutely horrifying in a totally unexpected way. Unless you read The Sword. Hint hint.

Paul: Careful with the Spoilers, there!

Nick: I think that was a pretty vague spoiler hint. If someone figures it out, I will send them a prize, courtesy of CB. No cheating!

Paul: But yeah, last season the only "real" threat was being mind-controlled into being a good kid. And getting caught by the police and charged with murder, of course.

Nick: Right. But this season brings real stakes and real casualties, as Episode Two immediately proves.

Paul: This is the second time I've watched these episodes, having not watched them since they originally aired on E4 (or shortly thereafter, as the case may be), and I'm finding myself a little put off by the main plots. I'm more interested in the Super Hoodie bits.

They're definitely the stronger parts of each episode, if only for their mystery. I mean, the emotional stuff with Nathan and his father in Episode Two is good stuff, but the resolution comes about after an out-of-the-blue power revelation.

Nick: I think that's Overman’s intention, though. The real story of the season is Super Hoodie and what his deal is. The main plots are just meaty distractions.

Episode Two, for instance, fills in some more details about Nathan and connects to some things that happen much later in the season with those pills and where they come from.

Paul: Wait-what? We find out where those pills came from? I don't remember that.

Nick: The [REDACTED] in the Christmas Special

Paul: Really? That seems to be more of a case of retconning than actual planning.

Nick: Yeah, I don't think they made it a huge deal but it's implied that [REDACTED] as well.

Paul: If I remember correctly, the Christmas Special wasn't even in the works at this point.

Nick: Unless I'm reading too much into things, which is entirely possible.

Paul: When this episode aired, those were just strange pills from out of nowhere that had an unexplained effect on our Misfits to move the plot forward.

Actually, I thought they were just X.

Nick: I'm not sure if it was, but I think I remember reading that [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] stuff will be important to Season Three.

Paul: Well, we know the [REDACTED] will be important.

But as it stands here, in Episode Two, we just get a plot point that occurs because apparently X doesn't mix well with powers.

It's a shortcut.

Although it does give us a funny shoutout to Spaced, whether intentional or not, as Simon leads the dance in a way similar to Mike in "Epiphanies".

Nick: Nice catch on that, I didn't even think of that.

But anyway, while I agree that the Super Hoodie plot is the best part of the show at this point, I do think the main plot is more than just filler. After all, we get a hint that Super Hoodie knows things about our heroes' weaknesses, as his saving Nathan from the explosion that kills his brother appears to indicate that Nathan can be killed by something like an explosion.

Paul: He could be killed because the X reversed his power.

Nick: Oh, right, or that, haha!

Paul: Yeah, I just didn't like the X bit. Or Nathan's sudden ability to see dead people.

Nick: The seeing dead people angle was my least favorite part.

Paul: Again, it seemed like a shortcut to character development. It was a strong episode up until the rave.

Nick: It didn't make much sense from the logic of the universe in this series, either.

Paul: It doesn't bode well for a healthy chunk of the season, if you ask me.

Nick: So yes, they could have done the episode a little better, but we did get some excellent movement on the Super Hoodie plot.

This season does lean a little heavier on "gimmicks" than the first season.

Paul: Which is strange, given that they've got a very strong overarching story going on. It's almost as though Overman didn't trust that the fans would take it seriously and tries to take the piss out of it before we can.

Nick: Personally, I see it more as the distraction angle. It forces you to think about what kind of show Misfits is. It doesn't always work, but at least it's different.

Paul: I think that's giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Nick: Given how terrible most superhero shows are, I don't mind giving Misfits the benefit of the doubt. Particularly since I think if it becomes an inspiration on future shows, that innovation aspect can get tweaked into something even better.

Paul: Almost none of the Front Plots this season are as strong as last season. The real strength lies in the Super Hoodie plot, and once that is resolved, there are new issues that arise.

But more on that in weeks to come.

Nick: I will say that Misfits’ true biggest mistake during this season is resolving Super Hoodie too quickly. But I will keep silent on that for now.

Paul: I don't think it's by chance that one of the things Overman emphasized when Season 3 was announced was that he was opening it up to new writers to expand the universe.

Ah, the strengths and weaknesses of having one hand on the tiller.

Nick: Should we rate these two?

Paul: Sure thing.

Nick: I'd give the first one and the second one .

Paul: You beat me to it.

Those are my ratings as well. 2.01 gets , and 2.02 gets .

Nick: I can’t wait until [REDACTED], that’s one of my favorites!

Paul: I can’t wait for Kelly to get a new [REDACTED]. That was entertaining, in a disturbed kind of way.

Nick: Haha! I forgot about that one! A [REDACTED] no less!

Paul: Spoilers!

For more Misfits action, check out our previous reviews:
Episodes 1.01 & 1.02
Episode 1.03
Episode 1.04
Episode 1.05
Episode 1.06

When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic for Spectrum Culture and a staff writer for No Tofu Magazine. He also translates for "Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon.

Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to What Looks Good and Shot for Shot. He currently has little spare time, but in what there is he continues to work on his first novel, tentatively titled Damaged Incorporated. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, sci-fi television, the original Deathlok, Nick Fury, and John Constantine. He can be summed up in three words: Postmodern Anarchist Misanthropy. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.

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