What If…Alisha was Superhoodie?
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL AIRED EPISODES OF MISFITS
Imagine it. Simon pulling open that latticed lift door, disco-floor lights flickering on above his head. The wall clocks. The photographs. The shower running, and Alisha’s face as we suddenly realise – oh my god, she’s Superhoodie! Cut to the ad-break and breathe.
It’s not what happens, of course. It’s Simon who is revealed to be Superhoodie, a time traveller from the future returning to fix the present and save Alisha’s life. “Am I going to die?” she asks him, and a series and a half later she does. Alisha is a good example of a character who never really goes anywhere, at least not under her own steam. By the third series even her superpower seems incidental, used barely twice in eight episodes, and more and more she’s a foil for Simon’s development as a vigilante superhero. Alisha is fading away long before she dies.
What starts out as even footing between the five ensemble characters degenerates over three series into a focus on setting up the mythology of Misfits. This isn’t a bad thing – the mythology is original and fantastic – but this evolution means that the balance becomes uneven. Even with Nathan’s immortality and popularity, it’s Simon who really starts to represent a main character as time goes on – regardless of screen time, his transformation from awkward geek to awkward hero is the epic backbone of the second and third series, and the personal journeys of the other characters can get lost in the hype. In a way Alisha is the most lost – and most enigmatic – character of all. We never really find out much about her beyond a few hints here and there, throwaway comments to build a life on. That sounds like the beginning of a pretty cool superhero, doesn’t it?
It’s the way Misfits 3.03 plays with imagery that really plants the idea of Alisha as Superhoodie. At the episode’s end, when Simon walks into the flat, the shower is running, and every second echoes the cinematography of 2.03 and Alisha’s discovery that Simon is the guy in the mask. Even if the moment isn’t the same, it’s Alisha getting out of the shower, at home in this vast, strange space, and Simon awkward in the middle of it. It’s the briefest spark of an idea – wouldn’t it be awesome if.
Simon and Alisha’s relationship is perhaps the most “traditional” superhero element of the entire Superhoodie plot, with the hero’s partner as their support, the love that keeps them going – and the eventual fatality that pushes them towards their destiny. It’s the age-old trope of fridging, killing off a character solely in order to further the development of another. It’s a sad, sad ending to Alisha’s story, and all the more reason to imagine what could have been. It could have been great to flip that trope on its head, to make Alisha the one dropping in on Simon unexpectedly to leave cryptic clues about his future. Or maybe she would have just told the truth and left it up to Simon to decide.
In a world where the live-action Wonder Woman reboot is languishing in development and The Black Widow is the only Avenger without her own film (or the concrete promise of one), starting the trend on the small screen might have been a vital step to take. Simon is the only Misfits character who has taken the plunge from kid-with-a-superpower to bonafide-masked-vigilante, and while Kelly is a delight in her own right, it could have been a revelation to see Alisha putting on the mask. As it is, she gradually faded from main player to support, and we’re left with the might-have-beens.