I started watching the show Misfits after my friend Matt urged me for months on end to watch it and then he promptly stopped after I did. Misfits is a British television show in the vein of Heroes except with a smaller cast and more freedom to do what they want outside of America’s FCC guidelines. In honor of the fourth season premiering a few weeks ago, I wanted to share an article I originally posted on my blog last December. All the seasons are available on Hulu, including the new season’s episodes every Monday. The rest of this article…promises to get very confusing, very quickly.
Being the nerd fresh originator that I am and to prove that this is my actual blog, I want to talk about something serious today. Mainly, the timelines of Misfits.
The reason I think I’m even writing this is because I watched a Community episode OnDemand called “Remedial Chaos Theory”. In it, Abed tells Jeff that by rolling a die, new timelines are formed. Also, being the Back To The Future buff that I am, I couldn’t resist wondering how time travel played out on this new UK show that I can’t stop watching.
So in Series One, Curtis has the power to go back in time. The way I see it, every time Curtis goes back in time and changes something that already happened. He’s creating a new timeline. Try to follow along.
In Series 1, Episode 1 (S1E1): Curtis uses his power for the first time after the probation worker kills Kelly. He only goes back in time a few minutes but stops Kelly from opening the door, preventing her murder. This begins Timeline 2.
Timeline 2 continues until S1E3 when Sally discovers Tony and Gary’s bodies in the boot (trunk) of her car. Curtis rewinds time and warns the others, resulting in Nathan smashing a brick into Sally’s windshield, preventing her discovery. Timeline 3 begins.
Timeline 3 lasts until S1E4 when Curtis goes back in time in the middle of the night. This is the first time any lengthy period of time passes while Curtis is in the past. I assume that since it is night, the other characters are in a stasis of sorts until Curtis returns to their present. Curtis goes back to the night he got busted with his then-girlfriend Sam to put things right so that she doesn’t go to prison. In his first attempt, she is stabbed and he flashes back again which creates Timeline 4. In this timeline, he avoids bad consequences befalling anyone and when he returns to the present, he is an Olympic hopeful again. Turns out that because of this, the other Misfits were killed by Tony minus Nathan due to his immortality. I like to also refer to this as Timeline 1A since it was the most likely result of Timeline 1 before Curtis’ interference. Curtis goes back again and makes sure he takes a fall but Sam doesn’t and creates Timeline 5. The only difference when he returns is that Sam is still his girlfriend.
Timeline 5 has several mini Timelines branched from it, mostly due to Curtis’ inability to break up with Sam. Every time he tries he feels guilty and flashes back to before he broke up with her. As no major changes took place other than their relationship not ending, I don’t deem it necessary to call any of these an official Timeline. When Curtis does finally end it with Sam, it is still Timeline 5.
Timeline 6 begins in S2E6 when Curtis goes back in time after Brian has killed all of the Misfits and several other storm-powered people. Brian was the first person to come out publicly with his powers and as the news snowballed, so did Brian’s limelight. Jealous, he uses his dairy manipulation powers (scarier than I expected) to kill anyone who gets in his way. Curtis is lactose intolerant and resists Brian’s powers. After Simon is killed saving him, he tells Curtis to go back and make things right. This is the first and only time we see Curtis use his power at will. Timeline 6 is created when Curtis tells the group about Brian and they arrive at his door with Curtis’ fist ending any future threat he had.
Now this is when my “other characters are in stasis” theory gets challenged. In this episode, Alisha tells Simon that Superhoodie was a future version of himself. The stasis theory would go with the idea that no one else except Curtis remembers the previous Timeline’s events unless told. Yet in the “Christmas Special”, Simon is well aware of his future self. One could assume Alisha told him again in the new Timeline since it’s never explicitly explained.
In the “Christmas Special”, Curtis sells away his time manipulation power and it is sold to an old man who plans to kill Hitler. Well…
In S3E4, the old man goes back in time to kill Hitler…with a knife. His attempt is stopped by Adolf and before the old man flashes forward to the present, he drops his cell phone. The old man returns to a Nazi-ruled Britain thanks to the technology he left in the past and makes Timeline 7. The power dealer, Seth, is captured by the Nazis and the old man gives the time manipulation power to him before he dies from his injuries. Seth is forced to give the power to Curtis, who then gets killed by the Nazis. The remaining Misfits turn on the Nazis to save Seth and when he’s dying from a gunshot, Seth tells Kelly he didn’t give the power to Curtis. He passes it to her thru a kiss and Kelly goes back to the day the old man dropped his phone. She headbutts Hitler and he drops it. Kelly retrieves it and flashes back to the present day where she sees the old man walking away, alive and happy. Welcome to Timeline 8.
Couple things though. Kelly walks into Hitler’s office right after the old man flashes out. He had to in order for Kelly to be there in the first place. BUT when he goes back to Timeline 7, he dies. Yet when Kelly creates Timeline 8, he’s alive. With this being the first time multiple characters have went back into time, it creates a paradox. The old man should not have lived. By living, it’s implying that he never received the power in the first place. But he did in Timeline 6. Unless Kelly goes back to a variation of Timeline 5 (or 5A). Then the old man doesn’t have the power but it would mean the Misfits would all have their original powers again (they don’t). I guess it was to give the old man a happy ending. Maybe I just didn’t care enough about him to see him alive again.
The other thing that bugs me is the passage of time. This episode takes place over the course of at least 3 days and according to my stasis theory, none of the other Misfits will know time passes unless told. But Alisha walks out of the locker room at episode’s end and asks her where she’s been which clearly acknowledges that time passed while the old man and Kelly were gone. Kelly is the only one who remembers Timeline 7 or Alisha would’ve mentioned something about living in a Nazi controlled setting. Maybe the writers just lost their heads since it was the final lines of the show.
And back to the old man not dying. If he remembers Timeline 7 along with Kelly, maybe, just maybe he lives. But then again, Kelly didn’t stop him from being attacked by Hitler, she just took the phone from him. The attack still happened, therefore the old man must die!
So there is the long and short of the Timelines of Misfits. I don’t plan on updating this unless the time travel thing becomes a regularly featured power again but you never know.