Movies / Movie Reviews

Misfits Season 4, Episode 4 Review

By Zak Edwards
November 27, 2012 - 18:26

And with that final shot, we have the whole idea of American sentimentality that I was talking about in my first review tackled in a brilliant way.  For those of you who haven’t seen this week’s episode of Misfits (and apologies for skipping Episode 3 and the delay of this one, grad school can be a little demanding), please avert your eyes, SPOILERS AHEAD!


Misfits final attachment to its humble beginnings has now been killed, bringing the grand total of original characters still alive to a hilarious 2, somewhat ironically the two who left the show a little more publicly (Robert Sheehan simply leaving to pursue other projects and Lauren Socha through beating up a cab driver).  Those who died first/ left after are never heard from or discussed afterwards; but Kelly and Nathan, they get mentioned.  But how Misfits works with their characters, haphazardly at best, is probably one of the most important parts of the show.  Take, for example, the rotating roster of probation workers (and of course Lola’s death is foreshadowed by her first mistake: identifying herself with probation workers).  Their eventual death is part of the reason to engage with them.  The point of getting to know them is to participate in their death.  This may sound voyeuristic (because it is) and ethically terrible (which it is and isn’t), but the probation workers speak to this show’s ability to make you care in order to not care and to play on you sentimentality, but in a way that doesn’t ask you to pretend they are actually your friends (because they aren’t).

So when Curtis shoots himself in the head, the ethos of Misfits culminates in a single moment.  This isn’t happening in the season finale, which completely surprised me, it’s happening at the halfway point, with time to move on.  Hell, the “Next Time on Misfits” doesn’t even hint at people grieving Curtis, the show moves on.  The entire second half of the show, after we found out Curtis has been zombified, I was desperately searching for that moment when we discover the loophole, when the drama gets sentimental, takes the audience’s feelings into account, and gives us a way out.  But Misfits doesn’t and, really, expecting anything less than Curtis’ death is actually quite silly of the audience.  And the show is making fun of us critics too, with our clever thoughts of not suspending disbelief has created a new form of disbelief based on our imagining of the television as a genre as well.  Like I said, these types of deaths happen in season finales, so my expectation for them to figure out an escape route is played on.  In the end, Curtis’ death is completely shocking.


On the subject of genre: The show’s more formal aspects here works as well.  Misfits has always played around with genre, ditching the superhero early on, coming back to it through Superhoodie, and then giving up entirely last season for more fun.  Last season, the genres included alternate history, zombies, and dabbled in others.  Here, the film noir plays out all the way to the tragic end.  The opening sequence is brilliant, moving from black-and-white to colour as seamlessly as Lola has invaded the Misfits world having been the femme fatale all along.  And just when the total sexism of film noir starts to really rear its head, we get a bit of an explanation.  Of course it’s the storm (it’s always the storm, another in-show trope that plays out wonderfully), so Lola turns out to be an actress pretending to be Lola.  Here things fall apart ever so slightly simply because the base material of the Lola character is so entirely terrible, the play and thus the character feel too much to be real.  Of course, it isn’t (at least I hope that play doesn’t exist, that monologue is terrible), but the attempt to circumvent the problems of their own set-up doesn’t entirely work.  The situation, however, does let Curtis, the straight man of the season increasingly pushed to the background, think he can save the day.  After all is settled between the succubus femme fatale and him, the show, now perilously close the time limit, ingeniously puts Rudy in the place of the audience.  “Can’t we manufacture a happy ending?” he asks, “You know I love me a happy ending.”  Curtis gets to explain himself along generic terms, “There are no happy endings, this is zombie-noir, innit?”  And after a feeble plea for “the good old days” by Rudy, a song starts to play: “We already know how this will end.”


Time to move on.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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