Mild zombification, a guest appearance from the excellent Andrew Gower (Being Human), and a death in the main cast… Episode 4 of Misfits‘ fourth series should have had it all but, rather like one character, it just feels dead on the inside.
It starts with such promise too. The Noir opener, with femme fatale Lola and the smoky misery of a Lane Del Rey song languidly wafting through the background, is an atmospheric and attention-grabbing start, even if it does somewhat remind you of a low-budget perfume advert. It’s reflective of life through Lola’s eyes: a world of black and white, good guys and bad guys, where blood is just another shade of grey like everything else.
For ‘Lola’ isn’t really Lola, but a gritty character grafted onto an actress by The Storm. Lola is literally living the part, constantly pulling new characters into her drama before having them kill one another in an unending cycle that perpetuates her damaged view of the world. Unfortunately for Curtis, he’s about to get his curtain call.
Soon though the episode feels as though it’s plodding through its own plot, ambling from scene to scene like a window-shopping zombie. Curtis accidentally kills Lola’s ex, Jake (an underused Andrew Gower), then uses his resurrection power to bring him back to find out more about Lola, gets bitten, turns into a zombie, and ends up having to shoot himself after killing Lola. On paper it sounds like an engaging story but there’s no tension or drama to it. It feels like we’re being shown a set of mechanical movements that lead us to Curtis’s death, rather than a fluid crescendo of personal drama leading to an emotional wallop.
That there’s a lack of emotional depth isn’t surprising. Curtis has always been the hardest character to connect with as the least well-written, so it makes sense that an episode about Curtis would be as dull and hollow as his character. He’s the unlikely last survivor of the original group, and hasn’t had anything interesting to do since he got rid of his transgender power midway through the last series.
His suicide, while one of the more noble sacrifices in a show where death is generally meaningless and unceremonious, carries very little weight. Curtis himself seems too detached in the face of what he has to do. Contrast that to Simon’s sacrifice last year and Curtis’s end comes, to grave rob TS Eliot, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper.’ Indeed, the closest we come to a bang is the sound of the gun going off.
With the last original Misfit dead we’re left with a substantially smaller cast than we’re used to, which hopefully means we can really focus on the interaction between the three until we get some new blood. The humorous back and forth that was always present with the original gang has been missing in this series and it’s felt more like separate people colliding with one another’s lives than the twisted camaraderie of old. And you can only rely on Rudy talking about his bum for so long before it becomes a pain in the arse for the audience to watch.
Aired at 10pm on Sunday 18 November 2012 on E4.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know below…