Professor Alistair Coke Norris’s death in a hit and run accident seems open and shut—but this is Morse. After some poking around, and informing the mild-mannered wife (Poppy Miller), it’s revealed that he to vote on a sale of college land that, predictably, involves some shady dealings. Also predictably, C.S. Bright is not happy about this turn of events. While at first amusingly Wodehousian, Bright is becoming more and more irritating and obstructive to Morse and Thursday. (By the way, this is getting a little wearing. Isn’t there anything else he does?)
But Bright’s political sycophancy becomes a real danger when one of Thursday’s old adversaries, Vic Kasper, turns up. From the moment the two set eyes on each other, it’s obvious they have A History. Following that revelation, this episode is more about Thursday than Morse (though perhaps it always has been.) Morse learns even more of his mentor’s old secrets. Somehow, though, these tidbits seem less interesting than the knowledge of Italian, war-time reminiscing, and dinner-table banter in earlier episodes.
To examine the entire season, this is definitely good TV. I'd put it at my favorite series this year (so far.) Each episode has a distinctly different feel, influenced, I'd imagine by the change in director. Girl felt like the Morse tribute episode, giving us a firm footing in the world and tons of lovely connections to the original show. Fugue was a thriller, more than a whodunit, with a tense race-against-time feel. Rocket was a more routine episode, with a Morsian romance thrown in. Home seems like an attempt at a Western show-down in Oxford, which falls short of the mark but has its high points.
Looking at the show as a whole, Girl feels the most at-ease with itself, despite the ridiculous solution. The moment where Thursday savors the surprise of a cheese-and-pickle sandwich is an example of how it refuses to take itself or its characters tremendously seriously, and is open to a little light-heartedness. On the other hand, Fugue and Home spin over into drama, in the style of Inspector George Gently or Sherlock. I'm hoping that that small scene in Girl is more indicative of future episodes.
A second season has been confirmed, which is great news. In the meantime, more Foyle's War coming in September...