Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Endeavour Season 2 - Trove - Episode Review

My review of last season's finale: Home

Endeavour Morse has always been the Doctor Who of detectives—a dynamic main character who draws us through plots of varying degrees of ridiculousness. If you can’t laugh at the inherent absurdity, it simply will not work. This episode is particularly tangled, with three wildly different threads turning out to be connected. I think.

Shaun Evans and Roger Allam return for a second series of this popular (and excellent) prequel to Inspector Morse, starring respectively as D.C. Endeavour Morse and his mentor-cum-sidekick, the lovingly decent Inspector Thursday. Overall, the episode is a welcome return to the homicidal society of Oxford (I immediately smiled to hear the closing theme song), though, as I said, weak in plotting.

The ritual montage of suspects and clues punctuate the opening credits, intercut with scenes of Morse taking a medical exam. He’s back on the job after a four-month hiatus due to the injury he sustained during last year’s season finale (which, incidentally, explains John Thaw’s slight limp.) The transition is somewhat rocky, as Thursday and Morse find it difficult to slip back into the easy banter of earlier days (though they still have the same incipient chemistry). Thursday is worried by Morse’s increased reliance on drink and is trying his best to curb the young man’s habit.

Needless to say, Morse’s first day is full of excitement, with a missing persons report, an assault at a beauty pageant parade, and an ostensible suicide. Morse, being Morse, digs further into the suicide’s background, finds he is a private detective, and ends up mugged by some of the dead man’s enemies. This gives Thursday even more to worry about, though he recruits Morse’s attractive new neighbor to help out (we can predict where this is going.) Endeavour is more solemn in this episode, though surprisingly humble at times.

Besides an overly obvious feminism thread, most of the thematic development takes place in this shift to a darker tone, and an ending threatening more danger to come (I feel a Masonic Mysteries background story around the bend). The final unveiling itself is completely ridiculous, coming straight out of left-field with a number of unnecessary, randomly weird twists. The complexity and sheer improbability of it all would have made Agatha Christie blush.

Still, the atmospheric setting and operatic soundtrack are gorgeous, and the dialogue spins along with its characteristic bite. Shaun Evans’ Endeavour Morse is great, and Roger Allam as Thursday is as magnificent as ever. For once, the nasty-office-guy Jakes shows a little humanity, and C.S. Bright is amusingly oblivious to…practically everything. I appreciated a little tip of the hat to Morse’s tendency to gallop off in the wrong direction; I’ve been worried at times that Evans’s character will be more progressive and polished than Thaw’s, but this doesn’t seem to be the case, though they still haven’t taken on Morse’s amusing anti-feminism.

But hey, there's still time.

My review of next week's episode: Nocturne

3.5/5 stars

Hannah Long


  1. Hmm. I wonder what made him change, to being anti-feminism? I'm in the middle, on that topic--I would tick people off on both sides. (And in some instances, I'd find that agreeable). ;D

    1. Thaw's Morse could certainly be misogynistic, but he usually ended up clashing with feminists because of his old-fashioned, somewhat idealized view of women. He wasn't anti-feminism, so much, but he tended to aggravate people because of who he was. This is one of my favorite moments in the series, as he engages with a young constable:


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