Y’all may remember from last year that I’m a little bit nuts about this TV show, so I’m pleased to see it back, but I also had some trepidation. You see, I was a big, big fan of Nathan, and (spoiler for the pre-series mini-episode) he’s gone! I guess Robert Sheehan, the actor who played him, has gone on to bigger things; I know he’s been doing some films, including the moderately well-known Killing Bono. Not that I didn’t like the other characters, but it was clear that whatever happened this series, it wasn’t going to be the same. It could flower beyond its original set-up; it could lose cohesion and peter out into obscurity; or it could try to placate its audience with a Nathan substitute, which would necessarily appear pale and dissatisfying. I’m not sure, yet, that it will fall into none of these categories, but it’s made a promising start into something that is not so easily typed.
This (right) is Nathan’s replacement – the new guy… or guys. (Rudy Wade, played by Jospeh Gilgun.) I don’t think this is a spoiler, as it’s made obvious to us very early on. I have to admit, this is the sort of character that is tailor-made to win me over. He may not be as attractive or charismatic as Nathan – in fact, he’s largely a dick – but his ‘power’ just hits my sweet-spot. What we have here, my friends, is a split-personality combined with multiple copies of the same person – be still my beating heart! Imagine if Jekyll and Hyde could have existed at the same time and conversed. It’s like that episode of Buffy where Xander gets split into his confident and underconfident sides. Awesome.
As for the big reveal on the new powers… jury’s out. At the end of the last series the gang were off to the power-trader (a guy whose power is to take powers from and give powers to others), so, what did they get?
Simon apparently has the power to foresee the consequences of his actions, which explains how he could become both hip with the parkour and how he could suddenly become a smooth operator with Alisha – of course he always says and does the right thing. Still no explanation of how he gets to travel in time, nor how he becomes immune to Alisha’s previous power, but all in good time.
Kelly becomes a rocket scientist, which I sort of love. From the stereotypically feminine telepathy that was becoming a dead-end plot device, to the stereotypically masculine aspiration of rocket scientist. It’s awesome, and she clearly thinks it’s awesome, but it also allows for brilliant and cutting comedy as no one takes her seriously, even though she is able to present revolutionary technologies. My prediction? Kelly designs the time machine that is ultimately able to send Simon back. Maybe she designs a ship that can actually go faster than light, making him both a spaceman and a time-traveler, as well as a superhero. I hope I’m right, because that would be awesome.
Alisha can now see through other people’s eyes, which is both useful and rather dull; don’t really have much to say about that.
Curtis’s power, however… Gah, there are two sides to this. The first is that it’s obviously interesting in introducing transgender topics. He can become a woman. Curtis says he takes the power because it was the only one left, but I wonder. They spent a lot of money getting their new powers, why wouldn’t he just keep the cash if he didn’t like the power? Plus, the times when we see him use his power he does sort of seem to like it. There’s also a question about whether this could maybe allow him to get back into sport. If he’s another person he wouldn’t have a drugs record anymore, although presumably he would need fake identity papers, and that might not fly.
So, that’s the up-side. What I don’t like about this is that it seems a completely out of character choice. Not that he would take a power that involved becoming a woman, you understand – I don’t think we saw anything previously to contradict that – I’m talking about the fact that he specifically went to the power trader to get a power that he could use to somehow save his girlfriend. Not only does he seem to have given up on this very quickly, he doesn’t even seem cut-up about her death in any way, shape, or form. Doesn’t sit right.
Same goes for Nathan’s new power. I know he’s not in the series anymore, but why not discuss it? Don’t get me wrong, the whole ‘be a magician and try to pull one over the guys in Vegas’ thing is very believable – very Nathan. However, Nathan’s motivation for getting his power (or someone else’s power) back was that he realised he couldn’t take care of his new girlfriend’s baby if he could be easily killed. I get that choosing a power that could earn him some money also makes sense in the context of taking care of a family, but then… why not keep the money?
Of course, I grant that what Curtis says suggests that the power trader guy had run out of, or at least low on, powers, but I’m not sure I believe him. Power trader guy seemed to have loads of powers at the end of the last series, and he still seems to be running a business on this basis. Plus, as I mentioned above, I think there’s an indication that Curtis would have chosen his new power regardless of whether there was a shortage of choice, and he may just be saying this because he thinks his friends will mock him for chosing to become a woman. But we shall have to wait and see on that one, too.
Speaking of power trader guy, I kind of like that Kelly seems to have a crush on him. I suspected this when she tried turning to him for help despite the fact that there was no indication whatsoever in the previous series that he was in the least bit likeable. Why do I like it, then? Well, it’s a part of rounding out his character, which it looks like we’re going to be seeing more of, and we’ve seen hints, too, that he might have a softer side, which is interesting. Plus, if you were reading my Misfits reviews last year you’ll know I ship Kelly/Nathan, and I’d like for Kelly to be able to move on and find someone else if Nathan’s out of the picture.
So, some pluses and minuses on the powers, and some interesting new plotlines hinted at. I’m not sure yet that the New Guy is sufficiently distinct from Nathan. He has the same tendency to speak his mind in an excessively crude fashion (at least half the time), the same boundless confidence (even if this is fueled by the fact that he’s able to physically expel the part of him that is ashamed). His power is interesting and new, however, and there’s no question that the show is still entertaining. I am a little disappointed that the old Misfits had to wind up back on Community Service detail again in order for the programme makers to feel their show still worked, though. I mean, I know it’s amusing to have them all in bright orange jumpsuits that look a little like superhero costumes, but they can’t be on Community Service forever, and I had sort of hoped that they were moving past that at the end of the last series.
Overall, I’m feeling positive and excited about the new series, but it remains to be seen how the questions I do have will be answered.