It seems like it’s been forever since the last season of Misfits, though it’s been the same year as every show goes through. Yet so much has changed when we pick up season three— the group is no longer doing community service, Nathan (Robert Sheehan) has left the show to be replaced by a guy named Rudy played by Joseph Gilgun and thanks to some mysterious man in a back alley office, everyone has new powers. So with all these things, is this new season still as good? Oh yes it is.
First off, if you’re wondering where Robert Sheehan went… he wanted to do bigger and better things, and the character of Nathan was taken off the show with a mini episode called “Vegas, Baby” a couple months ago (watch it here). On Misfits, there is no one central character, but there’s no doubt that Sheehan’s manic energy and perfect comic delivery made Nathan the centerpiece. So with a new character stepping into his place, it’s natural to assume that it just might not be as good, but Rudy is a great character. I still like Nathan better, but the writers did a great job of creating someone to fill some awfully big shoes, to take up a similar dynamic in the ensemble without being a copycat, and actor Joseph Gilgun is a welcome addition.
We learn early on in the episode that Rudy’s superpower is that he periodically makes a duplicate of himself, but it’s not entirely a conscious decision. And it’s made clear that this isn’t a 100% perfect replica, but a different part of his personality. Normal Rudy is crude, loud, brash and obnoxious, while Rudy B is thoughtful, considerate and kind. And when both versions are running about, it’s like having your closest friend hanging around, telling all your deepest secrets and calling you out for being a liar.
Rudy is in community service when the show starts, and he’s in community service with two very attractive young ladies, whose names I didn’t catch, but one’s a brown skinned brunette who apparently loves to take it up the arse and the other’s a blonde a bad attitude. While regular Rudy is trying to get into the pants of the brunette, sensitive Rudy B is trying to get the blonde, but unbeknownst to him, the blonde becomes very, very dangerous when she’s angry— she has the ability to stop time in her immediate vicinity. And when she discovers Rudy playing tonsil hockey with the brunette, after she herself had just been flirting with the second Rudy, the episode’s protagonist is born. She stops time, smashes a liquor bottle over Rudy’s head, causing him to bleed profusely and then puts the bottle in the hand of Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). It’s in his bar… I forgot to mention that. They’re all hanging out in the bar he owns from near the end of last season.
In the episode, as this blonde girl gets deeper and deeper into trouble, using her time-stopping powers to get herself out of all sorts of situations, we get a chance to see how the original crew’s powers have changed since they made a visit to the enigmatic superpower vendor, whose larger purpose was sort of hinted at in this episode, but still is unknown.
Simon (Iwan Rheon) used to turn invisible whenever he was feeling left out and was later able to control this ability, giving himself the ability to be a real-life superhero once Simon from the future was able to drill some confidence in him. This season he has the ability of personal precognition, giving him the ability to see the outcomes of his own future actions. It’s kind of like Curtis’ old time travel power from last season, only a little more limited.
Kelly (Lauren Socha) used to be able to hear people’s thoughts, which was pretty hilarious at times, and this season she’s now a super genius rocket scientist. The downside is that her genius is only limited to rockets and propulsion systems, and in this episode she tries to use that to land a job at the Ministry of Defense, only to get turned down because they don’t believe she’s got the brains of a brick.
Curtis used to be able to rewind and fast forward time, but he switched that out for the ability to change his gender at will and shape shift into a female version of himself, an ability that comes in handy when he’s being chased by the police, and an ability that’s sure to create some really awkward hookups down the line.
Alisha used to have the unhelpful power of making anyone she touched helplessly sexually attracted to her. She was more than happy to get rid of this, since it resulted in nothing but near rape every time she even brushed someone’s arm. This season, she has the ability to see through someone else’s eyes.
I’ve read a couple reviews of this first episode of the new season and people seem to be really harsh on the character of Rudy, but I’d like to ensure you that there’s nothing to worry about. Like I said before, he fills the same dynamic within the group— he’s the loud, outgoing, obnoxious one, and his character has a number of similarities to Nathan without all the gut-busting hilarity, but he’s still a great character and I was totally convinced of his place in the show in the first scene. He’s similar enough to work but different enough to work.
And the writing in this episode was every bit as good as it ever was.
In the last several years, starting with the first X-Men movies, Misfits is one of an emerging X-Men like mutant superhero group genre, but it never feels that it’s ever trying to be the X-Men, unlike say… Heroes. Also unlike Heroes, the writers for Misfits aren’t afraid to take chances and they know what they have and they know how to work with it. With Heroes, there was one great season, one pretty good season and then a quick dive off a cliff, because the writers were just rehashing X-Men characters and story lines and for some reason kept narrowing the focus of the show to the most uninteresting characters. Misfits on the other hand, feels like it could have existed independently if X-Men has never existed at all. Hell, I love that the superpowers on the show are often limited or detrimental or sometimes seem to not make any fucking sense at all at first. It’s better than having “that character that’s like Wolverine” or “that character that’s pretty much Rogue”.
Overall, the episode was damn good, though there were a couple parts where things felt a little rushed and cheap right at the end, and it was sad to see the two cute girls go, but this episode proves that the reason Misfits is such a great show is not just because of a single actor, but because of all the characters and because it’s able to use the gimmicks of science fiction not just for flash, but to create real and meaningful stories in extraordinary circumstances. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and many more.