Misfits: Series 4, Episode 7

“You’ve got to stop him. He’s crazy, he’ll do anything to get his cock back. He’s got a gun.”

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Owing to internet outage then illness, this week’s Misfits review is rather later than usual; which has given me the unusual perspective of having had almost a week to think about it before penning my thoughts.

But it hasn’t really changed my opinion that this was rather a scattershot episode after last week’s tightly focused and fun party games. With the late addition of the amusingly prurient but rather inconsequential plotline of Alex’s missing cock, you’d have expected the focus this week to be on that. In the event, though, it took rather a back seat to various other intertwining plots, all of which it had to be said were more interesting – Rudy’s continuing (and actually romantic) obsession with Nadine, the girl he’d met at the party, and some more background on new girl Abbey, becoming a proper part of the gang this week.

That was welcome, as Abbey had already revealed herself to be a fun character last week. In order to give her a proper introduction though, she had to go through the rite of passage that is the Standard Misfits Plot ™. So she duly met an individual who was misusing their power, suffered the consequences, and banded up with the rest of the gang to sort it out.

As was customary in the very early episodes of the show, this plotline gave plenty of opportunities to cast light on her background. Having (in a bizarrely amusing scene) blagged her way into doing community service with the others, she met a reluctant mother in the community centre toilets after an antenatal class. Before you could say “up the duff”, she found the unwelcome uterine incumbent transferred to her, and then faced the decision of whether to go through with the unexpected and very near-term pregnancy.

Along the way, she bonded with the rest of the gang, then found her decision changed just as they found the recalcitrant former owner of the foetus. This was the point where she revealed what the storm had done to her – she has total amnesia and can’t even remember who she is. The baby, at least, would be someone who would care for her in a world where she has no social ties that she can remember; so she decided to keep it after all.

Amnesia isn’t exactly what I’d call a superpower, so I have to wonder whether that’s all the storm did to her. Newly grafted into the opening credits, she’s seen to be downing a can of lager; so maybe my guess last week that she has the power to consume monumental quantities of alcohol wasn’t far off the mark. If that’s the case, this is certainly the kind of show where that power might come in handy.

Not so much if she’s pregnant though, as even Rudy was forced to agree at the bar. So lucky for Abbey that the baby’s original mother ,stricken with a fit of conscience, eventually asked for it back. Along the way, Abbey had learned something about herself while the gang got to know her, and the baby’s mother had atoned for the misuse of her power. A fairly trivial example of the Standard Misfits Plot ™, but the point was really to properly introduce Abbey, and that it did well.

Rudy, meanwhile, was truly smitten with the mysterious Nadine, to the annoyance of his friends who were sick of hearing about it. Since that plot had continued from last week, it seemed inevitable that Nadine would put in an appearance, which she duly did. Rudy, forced to ‘fess up that he wasn’t the caretaker of the community centre, but actually on community service, found himself baffled when she did another vanishing act, and this time the gang followed her to find out her secret. Which, as it turned out, was that she’s a nun. Curiouser and curiouser; I guess this one will be followed up next week…

But what of Alec’s quest to retrieve his missing cock? (Misfits may be the only show where you can find yourself typing that sentence). Well, a greedy informant turned up at his flat with the info on where to find the penis-napper – down the local karaoke bar. Said informant then had second thoughts when Alex produced a gun and clobbered him with it.

Fortunately, a repentant Jess had come round to apologise for ‘accidentally’ revealing his secret to Rudy (cue much sniggering as Joe Gilgun visibly tried to contain his glee at the knowledge). Hearing that Alex was off in search of his genitals with a gun, she rallied the gang round to help find him before he did something stupid.

That led to yet more angst from the lovelorn Finn, who initially hung up the phone on her request then was amusingly horrified at his own impoliteness. That’s an amusing trait; but I have to say, none of the writers yet seem to have a consistent handle on Finn’s character. When introduced, he had a sly but inappropriate sense of humour, prone to confabulating tasteless gags about having been, for example, sexually abused by his uncle. That aspect seems to have been dropped in favour of the rather more naïve old-fashioned romantic he’s been in later episodes. His attempts to learn the ways of the opposite sex from the less than ideal tutelage of Rudy echo a similar plot in previous years when the inexperienced Simon turned to the less than ideal advice of Nathan – is it really worth doing that plot again?

Still, if Finn’s character is inconsistent and unoriginal (albeit charmingly played by Nathan McMullen), enigmatic new probation worker Greg continues to fascinate. Played by Shaun Dooley as a barely contained pressure cooker of rage and fury, this week he displayed an unexpected softer side when the gang encountered him at the karaoke bar performing (it has to be said) a stunning rendition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’. Caught off-guard by their appreciation, he seemed to be half-heartedly trying to step back into his usual sibilant, rage-filled persona, but not quite able to. Is there a deeper mystery about him, or is his character just colourful background? Whichever it is, he’s been one of the highlights of this very uneven series.

And yes, Alex did get his cock back – without causing unnecessary death. Having tracked down its current possessor, he forced it into view; the camera giving us plenty of looks at a very convincing prosthetic rubber penis. Interesting that we can see a fake one, but real ones are still rather taboo…

After, basically, holding the cock hostage with a broken bottle (I’m sure plenty of men in the audience winced at that one), the penis-napper relented and returned the organ when Alex decided to hold himself hostage, saying life wasn’t worth living without his schlong.

The script could have made more of this implicit idea that, despite organs like the brain or heart, this is the one that men value the most; in the past, it’s certainly passed slyly ironic comments of that nature on human sexuality. That opportunity wasn’t taken up, but we did learn (as Alex finally got his end away with Jess, only for her to realise he spent the whole event staring at himself in the mirror) that, with his cock returned, Alex is a shallow, narcissistic git. It was at least a telling point that Jess found him far more sympathetic without a penis than with one.

As you can tell from the above, this week packed in an awful lot; perhaps too much, with no real depth given to any of the multifarious plotlines. It was fun, sure, but less enthralling than last week. At least we have a new addition to the increasingly small gang with the welcome introduction of Abbey as a regular; but it’s been a very uneven series overall, with a less than surefooted approach to reinventing itself after losing most of its original characters. Next week, it’s the season finale, and apocalyptic events may ensue. Let’s hope it pulls out the stops to redeem a show I find I’m loving far less this year.