Misfits and the mechanics of time travel

23:11, Mar 27 2012

It's been a bumpy third season for the gang on Misfits, with a few stories that didn't quite work despite an increased focus on the fantasy element of the show, and a new character who was mostly a success. Yet my favourite scene from last night's finale (9.30pm, Four) took place right at the end of the episode - and gave me a headache.

(Spoilers from the entire third season of Misfits follow.)

Shortly after Simon reveals himself as Super-Hoodie, acquires the power of time travel and heads back to the start of the sixth ever episode of the show, Rudy (that new character who was mostly a success, played by Joseph Gilgun) points out the down side of the noble mission Simon is undertaking.

"Right, so hang on. So he's gonna go back in time, he's gonna fall in love with Alisha, and then she dies," he exclaims, "and they're gonna be stuck doing it over and over and over again for all eternity?" Kelly replies that she thinks it's romantic. "Is it, though?" says Rudy. "I mean, what, are we meant to feel happy or sad?"

Rudy makes a pretty good point about the nature of time travel mechanics. As it stands on the show, according to the theory that Rudy has put forward, here is what will now happen for Simon and Alisha:




Can that really be it for poor Simon? Stuck in an infinite time loop protecting the girl he loves? And does this mean that, while we're watching the latest antics of Kelly, Curtis and Rudy in Season 4, that Simon and Alisha will still be stuck in this loop? When I'm 80 years old, rocking back and forth on a porch somewhere, am I going to be thinking about how Simon and Alisha are still living out the same few months of their lives, doomed to die again, and again, and again? Is that really the nature of the time-space continuum? Are we all just living out the same few years of our lives, for all eternity?!

No wonder my head started aching as I was thinking about it.

Overall, the third season was good, though not as good as seasons past. The writers would never admit it, but I think they badly missed having a comedic talent like Robert Sheehan to use - Rudy is a decent replacement but he doesn't have the same broad appeal that made Nathan a welcome addition to each episode, whether he was the focus or not.

The problem of replacement characters is only going to get worse, too: actors Antonia Thomas and Iwan Rheon (Alisha and Simon, respectively) have both confirmed they will not be returning for a fourth season. Exactly who their replacements will be hasn't been announced.

Regardless, I'm not sure I want to watch a show where Kelly and Curtis are the only remaining original characters.

As I say, I thought the third season was good - just nowhere near as good as seasons past. There were a few major missteps (an increased focus on the fantasy side of the show, which detracted from the character side, being the biggest) and it featured the worst episode of the show to date (Episode 4, in which history is re-written and the Nazis rule England).

It wasn't bad enough to turn me off completely - I'll definitely tune in for a fourth season, even if it's The Curtis & Kelly Show. But another season like this and I might be out for good.

What did you think of the third season of Misfits? Did you find Rudy's explanation of time travel mechanics completely baffling? Will you be tuning in again next season, even if Curtis and Kelly are the only remaining original characters?

(*) Shades of the fourth season opener of Breaking Bad there. Really, anything that reminds me of Gus Fring is a winner.

Make sure you like On the Box on Facebook and add Chris on Twitter.
Or, feel free to email Chris at 
This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.