Misfits 3.04 ReviewA tv review article by: Kelvin Green, Paul Brian McCoy
An old Jewish man plans to use some of Curtis's super-power to go back in time and kill Hitler. But his plan goes horribly wrong and the gang find themselves in an alternate world where the Nazis conquered Britain.
With the Nazis growing stronger as they force Seth to 'deal' them super-powers, it's up to Kelly and the resistance to fight back. As the Nazis close in, Kelly and Seth find themselves drawn to each other.
Misfits airs Sundays at 10:00 on E4.
Kelvin: I think I am this close to giving up on Misfits altogether.
Paul: I know what you mean. The whole Nazi thing really wasn't all it was cracked up to be, was it?
Kelvin: Nope, it was so cheap. The Nazis seemed to be used just to bring in an organised opposing force for the gang. It was so bland and generic and vague and weak and rubbish.
Such a wasted opportunity.
Paul: There were a couple of one-liners from Kelly, but outside of that... I had some hope with the whole "Fucking Nazis" opening, but yeah, just generic and weak. It wasn't a bad core idea, though. It just wasn't executed very well.
Kelvin: Indeed. It's an idea that's been done before so many times that they had to do something special with it here. They didn't.
Paul: I was really hoping Friedrich (Fred Pearson) would have succeeded at killing Hitler and that caused them to win the war or something. Anything but "Oops. I dropped my cell phone." Just as a slight twist on the set-up anyway. Maybe have Seth (Matthew McNulty) swap the time travel power to each of them to take a shot at saving Hitler or something.
Kelvin: Yeah, it seemed like an element they'd picked up from somewhere else but didn't think through. If the Nazis had mobile phones in 1940-whatever, surely the modern world would be a bit different. But no, it was like normal, only with flags.
Paul: Yeah, the cell phone tech didn't seem to be anything but a generic plot device to get us some modern day Nazis.
Kelvin: Yep, and Nazi Britain seemed to be a plot device to get us nothing at all.
Paul: Kelly (Lauren Socha) and Seth got to kiss. I guess there's that.
Kelvin: That was weird too. We had all these little bits of character and subplot development, but none of them mean anything because they were all wiped out by Kelly.
Oh look, Simon (Iwan Rheon) and Alisha (Antonia Thomas) get together in this world too! Why do I care?
Paul: Their love is meant to be!
Kelvin: It was so bloody inept.
Paul: I wouldn't say inept. I'd say boring and predictable.
Wait. Define inept.
Kelvin: Well, they had a chance to tell a meaningful story here, and they fluffed it entirely.
Paul: Yeah. It was kind of nice to see a few familiar faces show back up.
Kelvin: About the only thing I liked was seeing some of the old characters turn up.
Poor Gary (Josef Altin)!
Paul: He has no luck at all.
Kelvin: He dies in every reality!
Paul: At least he lasted longer this time.
Paul: I was also disappointed that our heroes didn't have any powers in this reality. That seems to be a missed opportunity there. And how great would it have been to pay Sheehan whatever he wanted to come back for an episode and do a cameo?
A day's shooting at most.
Kelvin: Yes, you mentioned predictability earlier, and having the gang use their powers to fight the Nazis would have been predictable, but it would have also allowed the team to be heroes without undermining the cynicism of the main series.
Paul: They would probably even have different powers given their different lives. But probably not, given the lack of imagination this season.
Kelvin: Yes indeed. And the whole thing was so slow. It spent so much time on nothing at all, before rushing through everything at the end.
It reminded me of those awful 90's Marvel What If? comics that were just one alternate reality after another where familiar characters get killed off for shock value and Wolverine kills everyone.
Paul: Exactly. At best, some interesting character work and a neat little stand-alone story. At worst, an unnecessary waste of time.
Kelvin: Yep. I lean heavily towards the latter.
Paul: But ultimately always a stand-alone story with no repercussions.
Unless you're a 50s Avengers fan, that is.
No Gorilla Man cameo this episode.
Paul: Sadly no.
Kelvin: Was there anything you liked about the episode?
Paul: Well, the cameos, as we've mentioned. And a couple of one-liners from Kelly (Particularly the closing bit, "I've just been fighting fucking Nazis and kicking the shit out of Hitler.")...
Let me think.
It's sad. I just watched this last night and it barely made an impression.
Kelvin: Yeah, I have to admit I forgot we were going to review it. Or, I secretly hoped we wouldn't have to review it.
Paul: I've been rewatching this past season of Doctor Who for a review of that DVD set, and it was interesting to watch this after watching "Let's Kill Hitler" again.
Kelvin: Yes, going in I wondered if it was a swipe at the Who episode. After, I had a similar feeling that the Nazi element had been wasted and misused.
Paul: I liked the contrast between Kelly's and Rory's interactions with Hitler.
Kelvin: Yes, it was interesting to compare.
Paul: It was amusing, but again, didn't really stretch or try to do anything outside of the expected. But I always enjoy seeing a good head-butt.
Kelvin: True, and everyone likes to see Hitler get a good kicking. It's sad it was only the last three minutes.
Kelvin: Not that I'm suggesting that it should have been forty-five minutes of people kicking Hitler.
Paul: Hell, use that surprising tech development that won them the war to keep Hitler alive - in a robot body or something - so they could get a couple more kickings in.
Kelvin: Ha! Even better!
See, Misfits writers? It's not difficult.
Paul: Make Simon a documentarian who creates a subversive Holo-Hitler that gets broadcast being buggered. Something!
Kelvin: I thought we might get something interesting with Simon working for the Nazis, but then they sweep that under the carpet. Argh.
Paul: I know! Play into his power fantasies at least for a bit. Let him change sides for real.
Kelvin: Exactly! Why use the Nazis if you're just going to portray them as generic uniformed thugs?
Paul: Holo-Hitler, Simon the filmmaker, Kelly and Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) leading a super-powered Underground, make Alisha a seductress - maybe Hitler's secret lover, and then bring back Sheehan for a cameo as an SS officer tracking them down.
There. just over a minute and we've got an idea to run with.
Kelvin: Yep. And instead what we got was generic, limp, rubbish.
Paul: I'm also getting a little tired of the way they're using Shaun (Craig Parkinson). Yeah he's a dick, but they're going a little overboard this series.
Kelvin: Yeah. The irony is that he came off better as a Nazi than he did normally!
Paul: But only just.
Kelvin: Yes, it's relative.
Paul: Oh! I was just looking over the cast list and realized that Lily, the freezing girl, also played Jenny, Madame Vastra's "assistant" in Doctor Who's "A Good Man Goes to War" episode.
Kelvin: Vastra and Jenny were great.
Paul: When do we get that series, BBC? Huh?
Kelvin: Yes indeed BBC! More Vastra and Jenny! And E4, sort out Misfits before we give up on it!
Paul: The next two weeks don't look promising.
Paul: Hospital body-swap and super STD. Hmmm.
Kelvin: "Something weird is happening with Curtis's gender-swap power" seems intriguing. Although it's not the main thrust of the episode.
Paul: Here's a possibly controversial question: Do you think that Lauren Socha's BAFTA win has made Overman decide to shift Kelly more to the forefront now that Sheehan's gone? And has that affected the storytelling by focusing on the weird love story rather than something more active like SuperHoodie?
Kelvin: It could be. Kelly has moved to the front of the show in many ways.
The more I think of it, the more you may have a point.
Paul: She's really the only one who got a power that was worth anything and she's come to the rescue a few times already. None of which is bad at all. But making her love story the season-long subplot may have been a mistake.
Kelvin: Yes, the subplot isn't compelling in the slightest. Which is a shame.
Paul: Something I've also just realized. None of their powers have really been used to any effect except to set up story after story where their powers don't play a part in the climax.
Why do they even have powers?
Kelvin: Oh that's a good point. It's so unfocussed.
Paul: At this stage I wouldn't be surprised if the season ended with another storm taking everyone's powers away and then it relaunches as a straight Youth Comedy/Drama.
Kelvin: I don't know if I'll make it that far.
Paul: Yeah, it's losing me too.
But I should make it clear that it's not losing me because Sheehan is gone or Gilgun stepped in or Socha is pretty much the lead now. It's losing me because of a lack of imaginative vision and sloppy storytelling.
Overman is losing me, not the cast.
Kelvin: Yes, I quite agree. I have no complaints about the cast, and Sheehan was never my favourite, but something's changed behind the camera. For the worst, alas.
Paul: You're right about it being unfocused. That seems to be the biggest problem. Overman just doesn't seem to have a story to tell this series.
Kelvin: No, it feels as if they're making a third series because the previous series were popular, not because they had any ideas.
Paul: Spot on.
So, ratings, then?
Kelvin: A total stinker, in my book. I want to give it the benefit of the doubt, based on the previous series, but I can't go higher than .
I'd say , since Hitler got a good kicking. We should support that sort of thing.
Kelvin: True. 1 star for Hitler getting kicked in the kidneys. .5 for the cameos.
Paul: Ouch again.
Oh, one last question. There seems to be some Internet drama about how the Time Travel power works. One camp says that Curtis could only go back to points in his life so going to kill Hitler wouldn't have worked the way it did (shifting to Germany and all – Kelly going back). The other essentially says shut up, it's a cool power and it works however Overman wants it to work.
Where do you fall in this argument?
Kelvin: To be honest, as I watched it I was in the former camp, but by the end I couldn't be bothered to care, so I switched allegiance.
We never saw Curtis truly explore his power, so we don't know the limits.
Paul: I was a little bothered at first, too, but figured it could be argued that the personality of the user set the limits. And since Curtis was all about himself (as we saw with his "Very Special Episode" this series) he was probably more limited than someone else might be.
Kelvin: That's a good point.
Paul: NO PRIZES ALL AROUND!
Kelvin: Huzzah! At least there was some reward for watching.
Kelvin Green erupted fully formed from the grey shapeless mass of Ubbo Sathla in the dark days before humans walked the earth. He grew up on Judge Dredd, Transformers, Indiana Jones #12, the Avengers and Spider-Man, and thinks comics don't get much better than FLCL, Nextwave and Rocket Raccoon. Kelvin lives among garbage and seagulls and doesn't hate Marvel nearly as much as you all think he does.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot, Streaming Pile O' Wha?, and Classic Film/New Blu, all here at Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.