TV review: Endeavour series 2, episode 4 - A gripping, sordid, startling and magnificent end to the series
A sordid tale of police corruption and child abuse brought series 2 to a startlingly end
By Neela Debnath - Independent
In the most gripping instalment of Endeavour yet, viewers were left on the edges of their seats as the second series of the detective drama drew to a close.
Morse was in prison, framed for a crime he didn't commit, while DI Thursday may or may not be dead after getting shot by the same officer responsible for Morse's incarceration. Poor old Monica was left alone at home - can their relationship survive this massive blow? Probably not.
Meanwhile, police corruption and paedophilia went unpunished - it was a cliffhanger that will undoubtedly bring viewers back next year.
Writer Russell Lewis has devised a powerful thriller with the grandeur of The Shadow Line and State of Play, and just like both of these dramas, the shocking levels of corruption in 'Neverland' bled into other strands of life.
Endeavour always feels contemporary despite the lack of smartphones and computers, and this episode was no different.
Lewis' story focused on police corruption and a paedophilia scandal at a children's care home - two topics that have been in the news recently.
Nevertheless, the series has managed to remain a Sixties outfit without ever coming across as anachronistic.
'Neverland' wasn't completely successful as a conspiracy theory thriller though. The pacing felt wrong, there was not enough of a build-up to the events in the last few moments of the episode.
While things heated up in the last 15 minutes, there was not nearly enough action in the build-up to the end, leaving viewers clock-watching until the final segment.
Yes, Morse had to sift through the corruption and the child abuse to find the links but it took too long to get to the meat of the story.
This episode could easily have worked as a mini-series of its own. Unfortunately, Lewis had to fit as much as possible into 90 minutes and make 'Neverland' work as a series finale, which played havoc with the pace.
Series two of Endeavour has offered viewers a series of compelling stories shot in an incredibly cinematic style that elevates it from run-of-the-mill police procedurals.
At times the elaborate stories have need some explanation and Morse drifts into murder mystery cliché but on the whole Lewis has given viewers more great adventures in this prequel series to Inspector Morse.
More of the same next year, please.
A strangler on the loose, lost love from the past and a decidedly Hitchcock homage, it was a different kind of episode - in a good way
By Neela Debnath - The Independent
Endeavour took a detour this week. There were of course the murders - and we’ll get to that - but the focus turned to DI Thursday and his lost love from the War.
It was a tragic story that showed a different side to the usually straitlaced detective, adding a new dimension to his character, and away from all the crime-solving.
Roger Allam and Cecile Paoli played the fated lovers beautifully, capturing the complexity of their affair.
Although how Thursday hadn't bumped into Luisa Armstrong before is a mystery in itself. Oxford must be bigger than we thought.
Despite the bouffant hairdos and thick black-rimmed glasses, Endeavour has always felt strangely contemporary. So this week’s references to the War helped to throw the episode back into the past again.
Speaking of love, Morse and Monica's blossoming romance finally flowered. The pair kissed and ended up sleeping together soon after their first date - it is the sexual revolution of the swinging Sixties, after all.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is that Monica's race does not really play a part in the story - it's incidental.
According to the show's producer, Russell Lewis, who also penned this episode, Monica is a second generation immigrant and is supposed to reflect the changing times of the era.
For a television series set in the Sixties to include a character of a different race as the central love interest and leave aside the race politics is a very forward-thinking and a positive move.
Endeavour should be lauded for its decision to cast Shvorne Marks and make the conscious choice for Monica's story to be about love between a man and a woman first and foremost.
Actors from ethnic minorities, like Lenny Henry, have been campaigning for more incidental roles for those of different races for a while, so could this be the start of more of the same on British TV?
As to the murder itself, it appears that Lewis has written a love letter to Alfred Hitchcock via "Sway"'. There was a character called Norman, shots of a stuffed crow, along with the icy Hitchcock blonde and several red herrings.
There were also a number of nods to Frenzy, which is considered to be Hitchcock's last great film, in particular the strangling of female victims and the framing of an innocent man.
While the murder mystery itself wasn’t all that memorable, it served as a nice homage to the British director.
As a whole "Sway" was a welcome deviation from the bodies and offered some excellent character development that builds on the world of Inspector Morse.
Walton boy returns as Oxford's 'damaged' young policeman
BY JADE WRIGHT - Liverpool Echo
Inspector Morse’s shoes were always going to be big ones to fill.
Any actor taking on the part of the famous Oxford detective was always going to have a tough task on his hands after John Thaw’s lauded performance, but Walton actor Shaun Evans never shirks a challenge.
The second series of Endeavour, the prequel to Inspector Morse, began last Sunday.
Shaun, 34, explained: “At the end of the last series his father died and he was shot. The events have rocked him, and his absence means relationships with his colleagues in the police force have changed.
“He comes back a far more damaged person. He’s a bit lost in his grief. He’s also still questioning himself, thinking am I any good? Was the last solved crime a fluke?
“A lot of what we want to do with this series is to try and tease out the qualities that make him unique. It’s a continually shaping process.”
As the series unfolds it becomes clear there are tensions at the station, which also cause Morse to question his future.
“The force itself is changing,” said Shaun, who went to St Edward’s College. “The whole thing rests on uneven ground and Endeavour feels like it is shifting constantly. He begins to question, is this the right place for me?”
One reason to stay on the force is Morse’s Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, played by Roger Allam.
“A lot of this series is about relationships,” he said. “One of the most important to Endeavour is with Thursday.
“Thursday sees the brilliance in him. Whilst it can be counter-productive in some spheres of his life, with a bit of help his brilliance could make him a great detective and a great man as well.
“Endeavour brings a different thought process into detective work. Thursday is nurturing that side of him and helping him become a more rounded person.
“I think if you can solve four unusual crimes in a year like he does it certainly deserves some credit! If he didn’t work in that way then they probably would never have been solved.
“Thursday can see there is a place for him on the force and has his back covered. This series becomes more about the upper echelons of the hierarchy of the police force recognising and learning that there is a place for him too.”
DI Fred Thursday has established himself as a mentor and firm father figure for Morse. It’s a relationship that extends beyond the boundaries of the police station.
Shaun continued: “The relationship between Endeavour and Fred Thursday is more two- sided this time.
“Fred and the whole Thursday family feel Endeavour is someone they should take under their wing. But Endeavour is someone they need in their life too.”
Another important relationship begins when Morse moves into a new flat in Oxford. Living next door is Monica, a nurse who soon becomes the object of his affections.
“Monica comes into Endeavour’s life when he’s on his knees,” Shaun said. “It’s very telling that the relationship comes along at this time.
“It’s ironic she’s a nurse; she automatically has that caring, nurturing nature he needs. He’s a broken man and she contributes to his mending.
“I think it’s a very good thing. Apparently it was very common in those days for policemen to be with nurses.”
“We don’t know how their relationship is going to develop or end up. It’s very much up for grabs.”
Shaun reveals he was very happy with the audience’s response to the pilot and first series of Endeavour. “I’m delighted it got such a great audience, particularly as so much work goes into it. In this job you want to get a good story, tell it well, and hope the audience enjoys it. We seem to have ticked those boxes. “I think it’s great to have the opportunity to build and improve on a character so I was glad to get back and have another crack.”
The Jaguar driven by Endeavour Morse has become an icon of the series and of that period in time. What’s it like?
“Fantastic. It smells of old leather. It’s a beautiful car, such a classic. If I had the opportunity I would take it home. It would probably break down, but it’s a beautiful motor and nice to drive.”
Endeavour continues tonight at 8pm on ITV1.
Bone-chilling and intriguing: this was another gripping, white-knuckle instalment
By Neela Debnath - The Independent
Endeavour took a pseudo-supernatural turn this week, focusing on a museum murder mystery linked to a brutal series of killings dating back a century.
‘Nocturne’ combined horror and crime thriller to create a great whodunit. There were creepy little girls in Victorian garb flitting around stately homes at the dead of night and murderers pacing about the same corridors with razors in hand.
The ‘ghost story’ concerning the 100-year-old murders created a sense of unease that kept the audience on edge. There were plenty of terrifying instances throughout that left the heart racing; it was all done brilliantly and added to the suspense.
The scene where Morse looks into a mirror only to see a girl dressed in white gown holding a bloodied croquet mallet was one of the most frightening moments of the whole episode.
Interestingly, the World Cup served as wall paper to the story and had no real part to play in the case. It was purely context to the episode and reminded viewers that this is supposed to be a prequel to Inspector Morse set in the Sixties - even if it feels very contemporary.
While Shaun Evans and Roger Allam are brilliant as Morse and DI Thursday, it is the young cast who really shine as the suspect schoolgirls.
They show just how poisonous and nasty teenage girls can be to one another through their sniping and bullying. But when it comes down to it, and the bodies start to appear, they revert back to the scared little children they really are.
'Nocturne' was a gripping watch and it was only the last segment that let the episode down. It all got a bit silly and convoluted towards the end, with a complex web of colonialism, inheritance and lies that would have left many with glazed eyes.
It was so complicated that it was left up to Morse to explain the whole thing in a drawn out piece of exposition that came straight out of the textbook on how to write television police procedurals.
Added to this was the clichéd moment the killer dragged a girl up a set of stairs at knife-point, in a last ditch attempt to escape, with the police in pursuit. It was never going to end well - it rarely does.
Despite this slight flaw, ‘Nocturne’ was very enjoyable and fit the two-hour running time without dragging its feet.