Sunday, 9 December 2012

Misfits Series 4 Episode 7 REVIEW

This week it's 'Raiders of the Lost Phallus' as Misfits delves into Cronenberg-esque body horror.

WARNING: Superpowered SPOILERS ahead! 

At first I thought that Alex was pretty lucky that characters such as Nathan and Kelly are no longer in Misfits. I can only imagine the kinds of running gags that would have ensued. I have a dim memory from series 1 of Nathan running along a row of bowling alleys, shrieking about a chick with a dick.

So yes, Alex is rather lucky. After all, what's the worst that anyone will say to him about his particular testosterone-starved dilemma? That is until Rudy comes along, and Joe Gilgun manages to deliver a rather brilliant comedic scene in the community centre toilet that manages to top all of his already stellar work this season. I salute Gilgun for the bravery involved in exposing his nether regions on national TV in such a scene. Let's face it, many men (not me, of course) have tucked their manhood between their legs in such a manner, but they don't tell anyone about it (or at least I wouldn't, if I had done it, which I haven't). 

Following his revelation from last week that he has misplaced his appendage, Alex spends the episode searching over sea and under stone for his Gift from God. Jess is also keen to get his manhood back, although I realised that, like The Ark of the Covenant or the Crown Jewels, it's surely a sign of its value that it was worth stealing in the first place. So technically he should be flattered, when you think about it.

 One reason why Misfits has such an active, dedicated, passionate fan-base is because it's a show that doesn't take itself too seriously. The shows creators and actors know that life is rarely pure comedy or tragedy, but rather a love-hate, Punch 'n Judy relationship between the two. That doesn't mean that it's desirable or healthy or ideal, but it is true that tragedy is often interwoven with our greatest successes. 

It's for this reason that Alex's pursuit for his lost cock manages to be hugely entertaining, totally insane and yet an extremely accurate depiction of the irrationality of masculine crises in general. Film and television critics have written for years about how many popular genres (action films being a prime example) often play out crises of masculinity. Essentially, many film and TV shows are actually about men getting their cocks back or playing a two-hour measurement game with others to prove their dominance. This week's Misfits cuts away the pretension, calls a spade a spade and makes literal what many TV shows depict subliminally. 

That Alex gets his manhood back only to find the connection with Jess is not as strong as it could be reveals part of the problem. He's spent the past few episodes obsessed with getting his penis back but Jess is not fully satisfied with his performance (there's a degree of narcissism in Alex's approach to sex, as he consistently watches himself in the mirror throughout, a detail that is not missed by Jess). So the ultimate message of the episode is that it isn't the penis that makes the man. As such, I'm firmly back on Team Finn (not that I ever really left, not really).

Abbey learns that the route to self-discovery begins with scraping up poop in Misfits
The other major plot of the week follows Abbey as she becomes integrated into community service. She begins the episode merely pretending to be on community service, an instance of fiction becoming fact (although I won't reveal too many details of the scene that leads to this development).

This is also one of the first Misfits episodes where the same power has essentially been replicated in two separate strands, and I must say that it works rather well. Abbey gets involved in a body-swap storyline of her own, as a reluctant pregnant woman transfers her baby to Abbey when she has doubts about her upcoming motherhood. Abbey spends most of the episode with the Little Darling-to-Be as a mere hindrance to her personal life (she's mortified to discover that she can't have a G&T while she's carrying her immaculate conception). But by the end of the episode it turns into a painful examination of surrogacy, as the mother returns to claim her child. It's an interesting concept, the idea of a surrogate mother being used while a woman makes up her mind whether she wants to keep her baby, and it certainly helped me to quickly connect with Abbey on an emotional level.

There are, once again, a few other WTF moments that work brilliantly: the probation worker provides the overlay track to the final dramatic showdown, and I must say - once he stopped spitting expletives and performed The Power of Love I (like Rudy) found myself surprisingly moved. For some reason it reminded me of Buffy's 'Restless', although the probation worker is as much of an Anti-Giles as it's possible to be. Abbey gets one of the best throwaway lines that you might have missed - 'Don't swear in front of the bump'. For the record, I expect The Bump will be highest new entry on the list of 'Top 50 Boys' Names 2013'. Remember folks, Snakeskin predicted it first. 

We learn that Rudy is a bit of a metrosexual down below (although I'm puzzled as to how moisturising his southern region will help to remove testicular wrinkles, but that's a conversation for which I'm not nearly inebriated enough to discuss in-depth).

This week's episode marked a turning point for me: with Abbey's arrival it feels like the Misfits dynamic is back firmly on solid ground. A daring, hilarious, emotionally engaging episode that sets the show up for a finale that looks mouth-wateringly good.

What did you think of this week's 'Misfits'? Are you happy that Alex got his most prized possession back? Are you excited to FINALLY meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse next week?

Leave your thoughts below!

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