Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Misfits Season 4, Episode 2

 I’ve seen some shows with weird openings before, but this episode begins with Finn (I’m mentally tagging him as the Misfit you most want to slap, but then there’s Rudy, but I figure slapping Rudy is just lazy when there’s all the blunt instruments in the world you could easily find if you bothered to look), talking to his tied up and gagged girlfriend, Sadie, about why he doesn’t want to keep her tied up and how he loves her. He goes on about her being like an “addict” who needs a cure. Needless to say, I am sceptical.

Sadie responds by using a speaking toy to ask him to make love to her. After reluctance lasting seconds they start their fumbling way – until she tries to crush his head between her legs. He struggles and reaches for a cup above her, which is pulled by his power of telekinesis and lands on her head. She let him go and he tells her how angry he is with her and how he’s trying to make the “relationship” work. And then offers her a bucket if she needs to use the toilet…

Ok, Finn can join Rudy in the being bludgeoned by heavy objects category.

At the community centre Rudy is talking. No good comes from listening anything Rudy says so just insert the voice of Charlie Brown’s Teacher’s voice. His conversation includes rape and sex but he does manage to make it through the whole babble without on reference to his penis, this may be a record. He’s also been evicted from his flat. On the plus side Jess brings some wonderful sarcasm to the proceedings. Finn arrives late – with noticeable scratches on his neck

And today they are models in a clay sculpting class for the blind. Oh. Oh this is not going to be good. The Soon-to-be-dead probation officer threatens Rudy with rather a lot of menace (jolly good). And Curtis and Rudy fight over who gets to model for the attractive, blonde blind girl. Curtis wins.

At the pub later Rudy objects to this and is talking, again. He never really stops. Jess notices the barman, Alex so I assume he’s relevant and Curtis tells Finn about Seth, about his ability to deal in powers.  He quickly makes and excuse and runs home to tell Sadie that he’s found a cure and they’re going to be ok. This is when there’s a knock at the door and – Rudy has arrived. He forces his way in “inviting” himself to stay at Finn’s.

Of course, while there he notices the door that is covered in bolts and padlocks – and during the night hears Finn having a conversation with Sadie’s mechanical voice and sees him emptying the bucket.

Back to the community centre where Rudy tells Jess and Curtis and Ali, the blonde girl in the sculpting class, wants to swap models. When Curtis asks her why she says she wants to stick to “her own kind.” She’s a racist. Curtis calls that racism exactly what it is and tells Rudy who… is Rudy. He says things. He really should stop doing that, it’s a bad habit.

Seth arrives to collect Kelly’s things and Finn asks him about taking someone’s power, overheard by the rest of the gang. Rudy says things and Finn tells his story thinking Rudy has figured it out. He’s keeping Sadie prisoner because she has the power to mould Finn into the perfect boyfriend – by making him do whatever she wants. When she went on holiday he snapped out of it and when she came back he tied her up. Jess points out he could have just left her. He turns back and curses them out for judging him and that he won’t give up on Sadie because he loves her. Uh-huh, so says every obsessive stalker.

Rudy’s magic twin, however, has been sent to the flat to let her go (Rudy thinks she’s a talking dog. It makes sense with Rudy logic) who lets her go and helps her get into a taxi (her legs aren’t working well she’s been tied up so long) and away. When real Rudy and Finn shows up he calls Finn sick but Rudy, unsurprisingly, sympathises with Finn.

At the bar Jess tries to hit on Alex the barman who turns her down (Curtis consoles her that he turns down all the girls and tells her he thinks Alex is gay. Much as I hate erased shows, the amount of homophobia this show can pack in without a gay character is enough to make me worry if he is) and Rudy has a date with Ali. Which turns into going back to her flat to have sex with her (all the time quoting black musicians to… I have no idea). As they strip she asks him if he has a condom – he doesn’t but takes advantage of her blindness to apply some cling-film and elastic bands… No. Really.

They start to have sex, but Rudy can’t go through with it, it feels wrong because she’s a racist. She refuses to change her stance so he leaves – but not before we learn Ali was in the storm and can communicate telepathically with her dog who tells her about the cling film.

Finn talks to Jess in the pub about how Sadie was the only girl he’s ever been with and how long they’ve been together. She’s not very sympathetic about the whole typing up and holding her prisoner – but when Finn says he can’t go home to the empty flat, Jess invites him to hers to stay the night (whyyyyyy?) And Sadie returns to her and Finn’s flat – to kick Rudy out.

Finn returns home to Sadie and she kicks him out. He protests she used her power on him, she claims she used it only to make him a decent person to do things he should have done anyway (that doesn’t make it excusable). He continually begs her to let him stay, promising to change. They kiss and have sex – and afterwards he gets up and wipes his penis on her top (now THAT justifies using her powers. Let it rip, Sadie).

The next day in the community centre they’re admiring the sculptures and Rudy suggests some of the blind are faking for the parking. Of course he does. Jess and Curtis treat him with the contempt he deserves (but, alas, don’t beat him with heavy objects. See, this is why I miss Nathan, his immortality meant you could see him get brutally murdered over and over). And Jess finds out Sadie and Finn are back together and realises Sadie is using her power on Finn and he’s letting her as the price he has to pay to stay with her.

In the pub the next day, Jess, Rudy, Curtis and Seth are drinking – Finn isn’t allowed out. They talk to Seth about what’s happening with Finn but he says he’s retired. Jess and Seth go to Finn and Sadie’s flat and while they both protest, Seth takes her power. Jess thanks him and Seth is off to Uganda to join Kelly. Jess tells Finn they need to stop lying to themselves.

Rudy and Finn are following in Nathan’s footsteps and moving into the community centre. They have a new probationary social worker who seems to have her eyes on Curtis and Jess calls out Rudy on how he sees all women as a “hole to put his penis in”

I’m not sure how Misfts is working with the cast change. I didn’t object to the loss of Nathan, but Alisha, Simon and even Kelley were interesting characters. Curtis was always the least interesting because all of his plot tended to evolve around his angst. Now he’s the only one of the original cast (the one without a very compelling character).

The whole control of Finn and kidnap of Sadie is one grand hot mess. At least jess was there to say he could have just LEFT! But then he acts like he’s being unfairly judged - so the challenge is completely countered. Ugh. Even Sadie using her power to force Finn to give her oral sex is presented as a joke.

And if someone agrees to have sex with you if you wear a condom then that is what their consent is based on. Remove the condom, you remove the consent – which is rape. And, in this case, abelism as well since it relied on her blindness to pull off.

It is a surprise - and a good one – to have racism so openly challenged on this show full of hot mess. I do give it points but at the same time they took the most blatant, overt bigotry they could possibly use to challenge; while at the same time perpetuating constant less blatant bigotries all the time. It’s like the person who says they love POC/GBLT/Women while at the same time constantly telling prejudiced jokes.

I have some slight, SLIGHT hope that Jess may be one to challenge a lot of the hot mess since he’s developing the habit.

Misfits used to be one of those programmes that made me cringe but I liked it anyway. It was a hot mess but it was fun. Awful, problematic, deeply offensive and vaguely “I’m embarrassed for liking this” fun, but it was fun. It was dark and gritty and silly and nasty with very strong, very real characters and a whacky story and a whole lot of hot mess.

Now the characters are largely fun, the story is silly and nasty but not so much dark and less gritty as gory. The hot mess is there still but where’s the rest?