If I had to choose an overarching theme for this episode it would the different kinds of power people can have over each other. There’s the power of sexuality, the power of knowing someone’s deepest, darkest secret, the power of a secret identity, and also the power of friendship that comes from the unlikeliest of places.
Misfits is one of the deepest shallow shows I know. By that I mean that it clearly tries to grab attention by going for superficial shock value – tonnes of gritty sex, no-holds-barred swearing (including c**t, the only swear word I think still has real power for me) and deeply politically incorrect (though highly witty) dialogue. Yet, this show is ripe for meta and character analysis that is on a level approaching that of Buffy and Veronica Mars (although, of course, the mythologies and world building for these shows extend over 20plus-episode seasons, whereas each Misfits season only has six episodes, so the pace on this show is as breakneck as The Vampire Diaries).
We start the episode with a montage of Alisha having fun with her superpower, namely the ability to reduce people into quivering, lustful messes for her with a single touch.
It’s basically a Spidey wet dream, with hot shirtless guys all over the place like something out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. These men may as well be mannequins, because they are basically sex objects for Alisha, who is saucily striding through a club, mischievously touching bare arms and watching the Lust Jolt make their bodies twitch and their minds snap to attention in a sexual frenzy. This is intercut with scenes of Alisha getting her grrrl on and in the throes of spectacular casual sex with a few of these anonymous men.
Alisha’s girliness and beauty is emphasised, from her kickass shocking pink nail polish to her oversized heart earrings. Yet this scene is not nearly as Girl Power as the lighting, music and imagery suggests, and Alisha soon discovers that her power is more a curse than a blessing.
The thing is, Alisha is hot enough that she hardly needs a superpower to induce lust in men. The difference with her superpower is that the element of natural attraction is removed. It’s an interesting conundrum at the root of the power of the pretty girl. When you are insanely hot, how do you know if people like you the person, or just the pretty packaging? Beauty and sexuality are among the most powerful tools people use to get ahead in sex-drenched Western culture, but it is a very tenuous power. For one thing, there is a shelf life on this power – as we age, our outward beauty generally diminishes by conventional standards. For another, this power is entirely reliant on the extent of your attractiveness, and how individuals appraise you based on your looks. Beauty if in the eye of the beholder, and I would wager that there are few, if any, people who hold universal appeal, so beauty can hold power over one person but not necessarily over another.
With her superpower, the question becomes, do people who touch Alicia actually feel attracted to her to begin with, or is it entirely artificial? Or does the fact that because this power renders a person’s desire to sleep with her as a conscious choice moot, it effectively cancels out true feelings people like Curtis have for her?
Don’t you think that the courtship stages of relationships are half of the fun? Loaded glances, statements laden with subtext, where you’re on the tipping point of being something more, yet you hold back because you’re not one hundred per cent sure if the other person feels the same way or if the relationship is worth pursuing… or because you simply love the thrill of the chase. I do! It’s why “will they/won’t they”, friendship or pining stages of TV relationships tend to be my favourite, and why I generally ship slow burn couples over those established early in shows.
Imagine a power that stripped you of this fun.
After Alicia’s hot mess of opening sequence, we cut to an ordinary day at the community centre. Well, ordinary except for the fact that the gang are trying to work out who has been sending them freaky “I know what you did” messages, and basically being an epic fail for all cheesy horror movie fans out there. Apparently being a stalker in this series entails hating Jennifer Love Hewitt and handing out entirely lame flyers.
Kinda ironic that our JLH-hating stalker kinda looks like JLH, no?
Simon suggests that it could be Sally (their probation officer). As we discovered at the end of the last episode… dun dun dun, it actually is her! Sally is basically screwing with their minds because her newly minted fiancee (the other probation officer who became zombified and tried to axe murder the group through his own rage superpower after the storm) is missing, and she realised they are behind it (though obviously not understanding they were partly innocent).
The group doesn’t know this though, and Curtis and Nathan hilariously don’t even know who Sally is.
Simon says (hehe, yes I’m five), “If I turn invisible I can see if anyone puts anything else in our lockers.”
Curtis tells him to “go on, then”, while scoping out Alisha, who has been applying make-up with finesse throughout the entire conversation.
I mean, here they are, discussing the possibility of getting caught in a serious crime – even though it was in self-defense, it is unlikely anyone would believe a group of kids with ASBOs that they had to murder someone who experienced pure rage as a electric storm-inducing superpower. Yet Alisha’s priority is to make sure her outer beauty remains intact.
I’m not mentioning this to diss Alisha’s character. Killing probation workers practically becomes a show meme over time and it is always treated with dark humour. I guess it just interests me that a girl is so fixated on the role looks play in her life that she is barely maintaining interest in this fairly crucial conversation. She cares less about jail than her social life being on the critical list (kinda like another superhero ;)) and returning Curtis’ flirtations.
I mentioned in an earlier recap that the superpowers are an extension of each characters’ emotions at the time of the electrical storm, usually their greatest fears and regrets. Alicia’s power basically reduces to an object of lust for other people. I know many members fo fandom feel like it is all about her feeling irresistible to other people; I actually think it is more a result of her fear that she has no value beyond her looks.
In any case, Simon gets invisibility performance anxiety and can’t turn invisible when they’re watching.
Nathan: “So, I guess it’s like pissing at a urinal if you’ve got a tiny cock.”
Ouch! Well, Simon, bb, it’s not size but what you can do with it that counts.
One day Nathan, all of your mean statements about Simon’s sexual prowess, or lack thereof as you see it, are gonna bite you in the ass, my hoodie-less friend. People who’ve seen both seasons know exactly what I mean, and it’s easy to watch a scene like this in retrospect and laugh like crazy.
If Overman and I ever meet in person, we would have WORDS about this scene, you guys.
Let’s just say that the case of the bad sex with Nathan is forthcoming. It definitely ain’t pretty. Although, the “come face” from the last episode was a hint of the kind of sexual beast Nathan really is.
They all walk off, with only Kelly shooting Simon a sympathetic look before turning away.
Simon is rendered invisible as soon as the group ignores him. When he finally does get some modicum of control over his power, it really does mark a major step in his character growth.
After staring balefully after the group he sits down on a toilet stall and waits for the Jennifer Love Hewitt-hating stalker to show themselves.
The others stroll into the main community centre room and discover that the job for the day is sorting clothes donated by the public for shipping to Africa.
Alisha snots that the people who are receiving the clothes should be really grateful since they’re getting anew wardrobe.
Curtis: “That is so wrong.” This is kind of Curtis’s catch phrase, like Nelson the Bully’s “Ha Ha!”, but I can hardly blame him since he’s the only misfit with a real moral compass. The others have something that teeters towards being a conscience, but slips away at the penultimate moment. Seriously though, a drinking game could be built around the number of times he uses some variation on this phrase.
The best part of the Alisha/Curtis ship IMO is that Curtis is willing to call Alisha on her BS – last episode’s “light homophobia” and this latest little bit of insensitivity – and he doesn’t like her any less.
A sweet, cute, random volunteer guy who is looking after our motley band of misfits while they sort out the clothes asks if they have any questions.
Obviously, he never did journalism 101 like me where you shouldn’t ask questions that can be easily misinterpreted when in the same room as a lovable shithead, but shithead nonetheless, like Nathan.
Nathan: “If a bear and a shark had a fight, which one would win?”
Volunteer Guy is unflappable and simply grins and parries back: “If you’ve got any RELEVANT questions, just ask. [stops for a beat] If it’s on dry land, I’d bet on the bear.”
When you think about it, how likely is it that a bear and a shark would EVER end up in a fight? Plus, if it was in the water, MY money would be on the shark. Yes, I’m biased because Nathan makes the word “shark” sound hot.
The group starts pillaging through the clothes and trying them on. Kelly looks seksi seksi in granny underwear.
Nathan jumps onto a pile of clothes like he is Scrooge McDuck diving into a pile of dollar bills, then pops on a ski mask and says, “Hey hey guess who I am.”
Amy, I bet you would have gotten this straight away!
OK, eyewear with crazy coloured lens. Need another clue? Nathan starts singing like I guess a banshee would sound but with the hope of sounding like he deserves to be in a rock stadium.
Despondent when everyone remains entirely mystified, Nathan says, “Alright, alright, I’ll give you a clue. I’m an annoying c**t”
Alisha: “Yeah, we know that!”
Spidey: “Well, Nathan, you just walked right into that one, didn’t you?”
Nathan [exasperated]: “I’m Bono!”
A chav who clearly has loads of pent-up rage directed at our Kelly comes stalking into the room with Sally the probation officer.
When Kelly is called into the office, the others ask who this chick is.
Kelly: “The girl I fought with [to end up with community service]. I’ve gotta do some restorative justice bollocks with her.”
We learn that Kelly got into a fight with the girl because she called her a “slag”. Being hyperaware of people’s perceptions of her and the general reputation of chav girls as sluts, I’m not surprised that having another chav brand her as one made her lose her temper.
Nathan randomly rollerblades past the office window while the girls are trading vicious dialogue, Pavarotti-ing or sounding like a fat lady singing.
Which is fitting really, because it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and before long this restorative justice thing is OVAH.
Things come to a boiling point and suddenly we discover the other girl has a superpower – making people she is frustrated and angry with bald. Alopecia Girl has the dubious honour of having one of the most useless powers to ever be dreamed up. Other powers that appear similarly rubbish throughout the series sometimes have an incredibly dark edge though. Oh look! I used the word “rubbish” in that context without even thinking of it! I call that immersing myself in the British world of this series.
Alopecia Girl slaps Kelly, Kelly rewards her with a head butt and then throws a chair after AP as she is dragged out of the office by Sally.
Kelly screams after them: “I was trying to be nice!” LOL!
The others stand and watch, Curtis amused and Nathan of course faintly turned on by this display of violence, while Kelly storms off.
Curtis deadpans: “I think that went pretty well!”
Seriously, the actor playing Curtis doesn’t get enough credit for the subtle humour he brings to the show. He has great comic timing! Plus, in case I don’t say this enough, I love British accents SFM: “prit-ee wall!”
We cut to Curtis and Alisha outside talking about how he got busted with drugs on him. Once they establish that he is single, having broken up with the girl he was seeing before the drug bust, Alicia gives him kitten eyes.
Alisha: “I could have you anytime I want.” She says this while trailing her hands in the air just above Curtis’ bare skin, despite Curtis telling her to stop doing that and being visibly uncomfortable. His natural attraction to her has been well established, but having been under Alicia’s “thrall” in the pilot episode, he clearly doesn’t want to lose all sense of control over his own body.
I’ve read in fandom that some people though it would be interesting if Simon had Alisha’s power – the invisible boy suddenly receiving all kinds of attention through sheer touch. But seriously, I don’t think they would get away with a scene like this, which is tantamount to rape, if genders were reversed. Just one of the weird hypocrises of television.
Yes, Curtis wants Alisha, but not under those circumstances, and she removes his choice the second she touches his arm. Curtis even refers to it as rape in a later episode, because this show has nothing if not the balls to call it like it is.
The situation is made messier by the fact that Alisha THINKS she has Curtis’ consent because he is obviously into her, though the fact remains that she took his will away when he was clearly asking her not to do it.
After the sex and her body is no longer is contact with his, he freaks out: “That was so wrong!”
Alisha: Don’t freak out.
Curtis: You can’t be doing that to people.
Alisha: Trust me you enjoyed it.
Curtis: That wasn’t me.
Alisha: (upset) But you were so up for it, you kept telling me how much you want to be with me.
Curtis: When I want to tell you something, I’ll tell you myself. You don’t know what I’m feeling.
Alisha: Yeah, I’ve seen the way you look at me.
Curtis: Yeah, well I won’t be looking at you anymore.
Alisha: Yes, you will.
Curtis: You think cause you’re beautiful you can treat anyone the way you want?
Alisha: (crying) Yeah, that’s pretty much how it works, haven’t you figured that out yet?
Curtis: You’re so messed up and you don’t even know it.
I don’t think Alisha realises until later that her power is basically means any sexual encounter amounts to rape. She clearly is confused and distraught by Curtis’ attitude here, and ends up sleeping with the sweet volunteer guy to spite him. Volunteer guy says he has no recollection of having sex and stammers about not normally doing “stuff like this” while it dawns on Alisha just exactly what having her powers mean.
So, the next time she has a conversation with Curtis and volunteer guy and they go into a frenzy, it is the complete reverse of the opening sequence. Alisha comes close to being raped and fights the guys off, distraught when she realises that unless she loses her powers somehow, sex will never be meaningful.
Curtis realises that the trauma of this power works both ways and in the aftermath sweetly tells her, “you don’t have to use your power on me, I’m already there.” What she did to him isn’t brushed aside in later episodes (it was rape and the series calls it as such), but it’s a fairly murky situation to navigate and Curtis knows this.
The treatment of Alisha’s power on the show is a bit of a thorny issue. Does it feed into rape culture where pretty girls who capitalise on their sexuality are seen as “asking for it” and should be “punished” for their sexuality? Her power negatively impacts her in a personal, emotional way more so than any other power on the show, as though highly sexual women need to be taught a lesson that how they are acting is wrong.
On the other hand, it is an interesting way to put under the microscope the issue of pretty girls who maintain a façade of heightened sexuality because they are living according to society’s expectation of them as an object of lust, where sexuality is more about pleasing others than taking simple pleasure in an intimate physical (and sometimes emotional) connection with another human being. I like to think writer Howard Overman was writing more of a commentary on a sex-driven society by showing that if taken to an extreme, obsession with physical attractiveness alone in other people can be incredibly detrimental.
I think that Alisha probably used sex as a tool because, let’s face it, hardly anyone is above taking advantage of natural privileges like looks, but also as a kind of defence in a culture where she is objectified – it’s like by initiating a highly sexual approach to her life, SHE was the one controlling the perception of herself rather than having it forced upon her.
In a later episode, when someone calls her “beautiful” in a matter of fact way, just a statement of fact, rather than because they had the ulterior motive of trying to sleep with her, her reaction shows that, yeah, she wants to be cherished for more than just her looks and isn’t wholly shallow as we are led to believe to begin with.
Now that she can’t be touched, in a twisted way her power reminds her that she has value beyond being an object, and doesn’t need to play into people’s labels and social expectations. Her flirtations are reduced to her wit and heart and looks, but what are looks if you can’t touch, really? Her ultimate solution with Curtis about how to have sex (wanking off while staring deeply into each other’s eyes) is probably the most emotionally-connected “sex” she’s had in a long time.
You can also understand why Alisha and Simon could end up together, despite seeming so different on the surface. Both tried to find some benefit in the disempowering way others perceived them. Alicia used the perception that she is a pretty object to get what she wants, Simon was ignored but turned this around by becoming a highly observant voyeur who made videos that captured secretive moments in a way he probably couldn’t have if he made more of an impression on people. Their powers brought out the darker aspects of being this way – Alicia forcing others to be lustful for her, Simon spied on people while invisible in even more private moments but felt more disconnected than ever. They both had an inability to get emotionally close to people, even if physically close.
I really love that they come together as two people who are used to being seen only as others wanted them to be seen, and growing beyond this together. But, that is a story for another recap. Even though I have just yada yada yada-ed on like crazy in this recap about it 😉
Intercutting the Alicia A Plot, we have the group teaming up when their hiding spot for the bodies of the first probation worker and Random Sixth Dude who was killed during his murderous rage is in danger of being uncovered.
Since Misfits can never be too serious for too long, we have this little gem of a scene…
That’s basically my expression whenever Matt/Caroline kiss when she could be snogging a certain werewolf.
Simon trots outside: “What’s he doing?”
Curtis: “He’s trying to smash the bottle with his mind.”
Perfect delivery from the guy who plays Curtis – just world weary, no Nathan weary tone, and completed unmoved by what is really a fantastical situation – that someone could very logically be trying to work out what their superpower is. Love how he is stretched out with an arm casually dangled over his body blocking out the sun, like this is just a normal, everyday conversation.
Simon’s like, “We’ve got a problem.” But all Nathan cares about is finding out what his power is, “I’ve got one, I can feel it is my balls. It’s like a soft vibrating.”
He asks Curtis if he can feel it too, and Curtis’s disgusted, “NO!” was classic.
Simon tells them that an environemental monitoring station is being set up and that earth is being dug up in preparation of building foundations.
The gang trail back inside to continue clothes sorting, and while they’re doing so try to work out how to remove the bodies without arousing any suspicions.
All that you really need to know is that Nathan is wearing a black bra over his orange jumpsuit in this entire scene.
Simon says they need a car and when he admits he doesn’t have one Nathan cracks, “Well, we’ll just call a cab. Better make it a seven-seater”.
Kelly re-appears after her storm out earlier wearing a cute pink cap and with an “I had to go to the doctors” excuse slip.
Nathan: “Yeah, while you were getting your smear test, big shock, we found out the bodies are about to be dug up.”
It’s dirty and uncouth, but I choose to think of it as a clever way to show that, as always, Kelly’s vajayjay is at the forefront of Nathan’s mind.
Although, it does raise the question of how sexually experienced he thinks she is at this point, if he automatically jumps to a smear test as her reason for being at the doctors. We find out later that she’s “only slept with four guys”, with Nathan surprise and deeming her “pratically a virgin. I can respect that!” Even though he clearly is warming to Kelly, it seems like he buys into the same cliches about chav reputations like everyone else. If Kelly has to put up with judgment all the time, it’s no wonder that her defining trait is concern for others’ perception of her.
Kelly is obviously in a foul mood and takes out her anger on a stack of clothes, kind of like how Tyler Lockwood took out his anger on a poor, defenseless garbage bin after being beaten up by Vampire Barbie.
The others raise their eyebrows briefly before resuming their conversation.
Nathan: “We’re a bunch of young offenders and not one of us knows how to steal a car? That’s pathetic.”
Aww, his accent did that little deepening thing it does when he says “car!”
Incidentally, if you like British accents and are in mourning like me that Robert Sheehan AKA Nathan has left the series at the end of season two, check out YouTuber Alex Day/nerimon, who is like a slightly sweeter Nathan. Anyone who’s read these recaps and knows the enjoyment I get from the character of Nathan will know that is a HUGE Spidey compliment.
If you just want a straight up cutie pie British guy minus the expletives (though, if you’re reading my blog I doubt this matters by this point), check out charlieissocoollike’s YouTube vids. (yes, I hunted for videos to sate my suddenly insatiable appetite for British accents after watching Misfits, why do you ask?) To quote Ms Katerina Petrova, “His eyes are so blue!”
(in case you’re wondering, yes, both guys are Legal to Lust Over (TM Amy), so have at it you dirty young/old ladies!)
Anyway, I digress, so back to the recap!
Eventually, the misfits come up with the genius (NOT!) plan of using Sally the probation worker’s car.
Luckily, they’re not total idiots – Simon has the smart idea of burying the bodies underneath the area where the new environmental station will be built. Then again, Damon had the idea of “hiding in plain sight” when it came to the moonstone and a soap dish, so in the back of the mind I thought, “well, if they get caught, maybe Simon will get angry while shirtless”.
They’re busy digging away like the merry gang of accidental murderers that they are when Nathan notices that Kelly hasn’t been herself since coming back to the community centre.
Nathan: “Are you all right?”
Kelly: “Whaaao?” [haha, all in the delivery. ALL in the delivery]
Nathan: You’re usually a whole lot gobbier than this.
Kelly: No, I’m not.
Nathan: Come on, you haven’t punched for at least a couple of hours, I’m worried about you!
Kelly: I’m fine!
This was the moment the pair went from crackship to OTP for me. I’m such a romantic, what can I say 😉
Once they’re back at the community centre they start shifting the bodies into the temporary storage space.
Nathan, naturally, watches while everyone else has their hands full and tries to be all flirty with Kelly, grabbing her cap and telling her he likes it.
She screams, “No!”, we get a flash of her with a bald head before she runs off, and Nathan is completely and totally shocked.
Simon asks if Nathan knew she was bald and Nathan slams him down with a “Course not! Twat!”
The thing is, Nathan has pretty much no respect for personal boundaries, emotional and physical, but there are some lines he won’t cross, especially since he actually likes and respects Kelly.
He goes off to hunt for Kelly and they share another scene that made my shipper heart squee.
Kelly is down a set of steps when he finds her and she quickly scurries out of sight.
Nathan: “Are you alright?”
Kelly: “No, of course, not, I’m bald you prick!”
She forces him to close his eyes while he throws down her wig and cap, and he squinces them shut tight.
When she climbs the stairs towards him, she’s like, “If you laugh at me, I will kick the shit out of you!”
Nathan: “I won’t laugh. Who’s laughing?”
For once in his life he’s completely sincere. And it is awesomesauce, amazeballs, and every other word that implies amazingness and vague hunger.
Nathan: “So, this baldness, are we talking upstairs and down?”
Nathan: “Do you have a bald fanny?”
Kelly: “For fuck’s sake!” [punches him repeatedly]
Nathan: “Sorry, I was being serious. Sorry!”
When she kicks and hits him in response to his question, you know that Kelly’s Got Her Groove Back.
It made me feel all sentimental and warmed the cockles of my heart, I swear. I’m beginning to think this is the first ever relationship where every romantic milestone can be measured in body blows.
Nathan: “Do you want me to walk you home?” [sweet puppy dog eyes]
From Nathan’s expression on his face you can tell he can hardly believe his luck.
Next morning, the gang shift the bodies into Sally’s car… only to have Sally approach and drive away oblivious to the fact that her dead fiancee is the trunk, while the group watches on from the hiding spot they quickly hurried to!
Really, they didn’t think that one through well, did they?
Luckily, I have my only little blue beast of a car, so should I need to transport rotting dead bodies to cover up my own crimes, I would be more than capable of doing so./ sociopath.
The morning after, the misfits come in and wait for the Dead Rotting Bodies Express to come in at 8am, assuming Sally hadn’t opened the trunk yet.
She drives in seemingly still oblivious, and the group watch in joy behind some oil drums or something.
Nathan expresses his joy by hugging Kelly and implanting his face into her boobs. Funny how things like that can distract me away from the fact that the two could easily go to prison if things don’t go as planned, isn’t it?
This comes to you courtesy from Monkey Slut caps, officially the most awesomely named Misfits Tumblr ever. Monkey Slut you ask? Oh, don’t worry, we’ll get there!
Kelly’s hair also falls into his face and he brushes it away. Squee!
Sally discovers the bodies and gasps in horror, triggering Curtis rewind-time power and goldfish eyes.
We get the boob moment again, because Howard Overman is just pandering to me at this point. Curtis interrupts them, and Nathan and Kelly, still hugging (before jumping apart when they realise what they’re doing and break apart sheepishly – double squee!), and the others get the lowdown from C on what is going to happen.
Nathan thinks quickly on his feet and distracts Sally the only way he knows how – by being a prick!
He chucks a brick into the front window of her car.
Sally: “What the hell are you doing?!”
Nathan: “It’s just pure, mindless vandalism!”
Sally: “What is the matter with you? Are you mentally deficient?”
Nathan: “If I was mentally deficient, I would have missed. Check that out. Bullseye.”
Sally: “My office. Now. NOW!”
That whole exchange was just absolute gold, particularly the way that Nathan says “Bullseye”.
He is just a cocky little bugger (who had a point, actually, about the mentally deficient part ;)) no matter what the situation is.
This recap is now obscenely long, so I’m just going to skim over the remainder of the episode because I’m lazy and it’s 11pm and I need my beauty sleep/coma soon.
Kelly tracks down Alopecia Girl after realising she is behind her baldness, they bond after slapping each other around a tiny bit, and AG promises that the baldness is only temporary, so Kelly’s glorious chav mane will be back in action soon.
Simon invites the group to go out for drinks with him, but they all makes excuses not to, and my heart breaks for him while he collapses to the ground in an invisibility fit.
Or this guy…
But still, a Sex God nonetheless.