Curtis learns to stop living in the past – Misfits Recap – Season One Episode Four


Heh. I know this picture has nothing to do with this recap, but I had to include it in this recap when I found it. Gen will understand why 😉

So, in my last Misfits recap I ranted about the possible, rage-inducing message that Alisha’s power might be viewed as a punishment for her embracement of sexuality, a way to “teach her a lesson” and promote character growth in a way that didn’t really appear to be happening with the other misfits.

Most of the misfits were allowed to just “be”. I think Howard Overman was making more of a statement about how Alisha partially bought into but was also entrapped by social expectations about how a pretty girl should act, rather than playing into rape culture where a girl is “asking for it” if she is overtly sexy. It’s still a fine line, balancing act, you know?

This latest episode, which is Curtis centric, has made me think that Howard is actually using their powers as a weird form of catharsis, a way to break them out of the toxic ruts they’re in.

I’ve tried and failed numerous times to recap this episode as I normally would, but the non-linear time travel hijinks gave me a headache, so I’ve just gonna give an overview of my thoughts on the episode.

Curtis was primed to be a star Olympic athlete before being arrested for drug possession and banned from the Games for at least a couple of years, and his reputation forever tarnished.

The main emphasis of his power is his deep regret and the desire to turn back time, hence his power from the electrical storm being that he can literally turn back time – with the caveat that this power works only when he is experience a real time moment of regret. So, it’s not like he has a time travel remote control that he can use at will, something Nathan constantly needles him about.

Where have I seen that goggle eyed stare Curtis always makes when he goes back in time before? Hmm, I know where! 😉


I think the more important insight his power gives us into his headset is that Curtis has this sense of entitlement of the life he SHOULD have had, the people he SHOULD have been hanging around rather than our misfits crew, that he has been unable to let go of.

In the very first episode, we have him saying “I shouldn’t be here” and believing that he should be moved to another community service group because it isn’t going to “work” for him.

His whole situation may be unfair – he is ultimately a fairly decent guy who was caught with drugs the first time AFAICT he had them in his possession. The fact is, he needs to move on with his life, rather than living in the past and reliving what has happened over and over in his mind.

In episode four, Curtis catches up with his girlfriend Sam, who also went to jail as a result of the drug bust and whose life has been screwed over as a result. His regret at her pain allows him to revisit the night of the drug bust, and he keeps tweaking the timeline of the night until he is able to escape without an arrest. The only thing is, the others misfits are dead (aside from Nathan – for those who haven’t watched to the end of season one you’ll soon find out why), because by editing the future, Curtis doesn’t play the role he did in protecting them from being killed by the crazed probation officer in the pilot.

So, Curtis’ power shows him that even if you have the chance to go back and change the past, it doesn’t mean that the future is going to work out as perfectly as you want it to. Sometimes you just have to look forward and make the best of what you’ve got. The catharsis of his power is that his CHOICE, his control over his fate, is returned to him.


He actively chooses to go back in time one last time and facilitate his own arrest (while taking steps to avoid Sam’s arrest) in the drug bust, because he cares about the other misfits enough at this point that he would sacrifice his own Olympic dreams for them to stay alive. This is a truly heroic decision, and shows how much he has grown from the guy who didn’t even want to stay with the group of misfits initially.

Other points

I loved past!Kelly vomiting on Curtis. Nice!

Misfits is one of the best shows when it comes to capturing the energy of a night club. The drug bust scenes in the night club were just electric, though damn if I can’t get that Rolex Sweep song out of my head.

LOL at Nathan’s little giggle in the opening prelude where he catches Nathan and Alisha wanking off in front of each other.

Haunted!Nathan in the timeline where the Misfits die is a Nathan we only see again in 2×06, but I won’t ruin what happens for those who are watching while I recap.

About Cherie

My name is Cherie, and I’m an Australian Occupational Therapy Student who hopes to help people with any condition that inhibits their ability to participate in valued occupations, tasks, activities, as I believe they’re an essential part of identity, happiness and health. My favourite occupation is hiking, which enables me to move past through the forest literally and metaphorically! View all posts by Cherie

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