"The Storm", less frequently referred to as The Event, was the name given to a powerful, bizarre and mysterious meteorological / weather phenomenon that occurred over Wertham in the first ever episode of Misfits.
The Storm gave hundreds of humans (and a few non-human animals) in the Wertham community superpowers, and therefore is the basis for the show's entire plot. The origin and cause of the storm itself however remained a mystery and is not known to have occurred anywhere else except in Wertham.
In the final ever episode, a second Storm is seen brewing over Wertham once again.
Nature and origin
Although The Storm is frequently suggested to be supernatural or divine in nature, its origins are left entirely unexplained in the show, although some characters have discussed their own theories occasionally. in the The Misfits Book it is supposed jokingly that "the government" and the "Y2K bug" is what caused the storm.
In a 2010 interview with website Digital Spy, it was suggested by Misfits creator Howard Overman that aliens were to blame, and that the aliens would be seen in Series 4, albeit in jest, for "when we run out of ideas". Overman stated that The Storm would remain unexplained, and that Misfits would stay focused on the superpowers, the emotions which created the powers, and the after-effects of The Storm for the people involved and not The Storm itself ([Interview]), and so The Storm may be seen as a plot device.
The Storm occurred on a relatively ordinary day and without warning, lasting only a few minutes and disappearing as fast as it appeared. Unusually, the Storm did not create rain, but instead produced giant hailstones that caused heavy damage throughout Wertham. The hailstones were the first aspect of The Storm experienced by those in the streets, large and hard enough to create massive splashes in the lake, overturn big metal wheelie bins, break phone boxes, smash cars, and crack paving stones. Despite the damage caused by them however, nobody was apparently hurt by the hailstones, although they did cover the estate in debris and ice.
The Storm was announced by some brief, muffled thunder emanating from a single, dense black cloud which quickly moved over Wertham and then dissipated. The cloud had an unnatural appearance, with apparently some form of gas, vapor or ectoplasm creating trailers underneath it. Nathan mused about what the cloud have been, whilst Simon filmed it, and before the panic set in, Nathan was amused at the fact that hail had demolished probation worker Tony's car. After the hailstones, hundreds of lightning strikes were also emitted from the Storm, roughly at the same time, quickly raining down on any people and animals outside. The lightning strikes were apparently directed towards living things, and were responsible for giving the people of Wertham superpowers.
At the time of the Storm, Nathan, Simon, Kelly, Alisha and Curtis were starting their community service, painting public benches by the lakeside overseen by probation worker Tony (another juvenile, Gary, was indoors but heard the commotion and saw dust falling from the roof from the impacts). The Misfits Gang were in a lot of danger from the the falling hailstones and ran back to the Community Centre with Tony, where they were struck by lightning. The lightning appeared to cause discomfort, pain, shock and confusion to those hit by it (and throwing them into the air), but only momentarily. Apart from the powers bestowed to people, the lightning itself apparently did no lasting physical harm, despite electricity crackling in their eyes during the event. The lightning strikes also apparently slowed time for a few seconds to an almost grinding halt. In the instant the lightning abated, time returned to normal, and the cloud and hail disappeared momentarily.
Since the Storm mostly affected people outside (although there were some instances of people indoors being affected by it, such as Jen at Wertham Hospital or Debby at her acting class), the event was almost entirely overlooked by the authorities and the general population of Wertham not affected by powers, except for the damage caused by the hailstones.
It is not explicitly stated when the show was meant to set, or on what date The Storm occurred.
Not counting alternate timelines (such as timelines created by Curtis' Time Reversal, or Brian's World, Friedrich's World or Luke's World), the events of the subsequent five series of the show take place during the course of one year from after The Storm (so that the original Misfits Gang would have had around six months on community service, and the second incarnation of the Misfits Gang taking place in the second half of that year or towards the end of it).
Many people caught in the storm were imbued with superpowers. It is important to note that not everyone in the presence of the storm were given superpowers, it seems most likely that only those struck by lightning or very close to a lightning strike were given powers.
The powers were diverse and often not your conventional superpowers. The manifested powers often reflected the person's own insecurities and self awareness; a shy social outcast who everyone ignores is given the power of invisibility, or a person who appears selfish, manipulative, and unsustainable on the surface can now duplicate into a second person who is their true polarized personality. In this way, the powers could grant people's deepest desires, (i.e. to become a rocket scientist) or surround them with their deepest fears (i.e. to cause accidents upon themselves wherever they go, or to become a sex symbol who can't be touched without sending someone into a sexual frenzy). The Storm also affected non-human animals, two of whom, are Bruno and Barney. The Storm also turned some humans into other animals, such as Mark. The Storm was responsible for the creation of some people, such as Suzy, Rudy Two and Abbey.
In the closing moments of Misfits (Series 5 Episode 8), a second storm is seen brewing over Wertham once again.
- During the filming of The Storm, miniature explosives were put in the phone box, the wheelie bin and under paving slabs to simulate the giant hailstone impacts. Real giant balls of ice were launched into the lake to create massive splashes for effect whilst smaller snowballs were thrown at the cast (Series 1 DVD special features).
- It is unknown how the Second Storm would have affected others, as upon hitting someone, or something, it could possibly grant them new abilities, swap them for others, or remove them, based on how much they have changed: Someone who gained a power because of their shyness may lose, swap, or gain a new power based on their new confidence.