Saturday, April 19, 2014

Endeavour Season 2 - Sway - Episode Review




My review of last week's episode: Nocturne

Endeavour is certainly hitting all the common detective series Trope episodes early on. Usually, it takes a few seasons before we have the Serial-Killer-With-A-Vendetta-For-Our-Hero episode, or the Meet-The-Family episode, or the Old Flame episode. Endeavour used all three in the first season. I initially thought this week's installment was a repeat of Fugue - a Serial Killer thriller, but it turns out the mystery itself is secondary to the emotional drama of an Old Flame.

Here's the thing though: for once, it's not Morse's old flame, it's Thursday's. This gives quite an unusual texture to the story, and once again focuses more on Morse's boss than the protagonist himself (I'm not complaining). Like Home, another Thursday-central episode, a pivotal theme is family. Sway focuses on marriage, love, and fidelity. (Spoilers ahead.)

The story itself comes second to the character drama. A serial killer is on the loose in Oxford (once again), strangling married women with a pair of fancy silk stockings. Morse tracks the stockings to a department store called Burridge’s, where a number of highly suspicious men stalk the stocking aisles. In the course of these investigations Morse meets an Italian woman named Luisa, who, the instant Thursday enters the room, collapses in a dead faint. This scene was probably a lot funnier than it should have been.

The mystery hums along at a solid pace, but it’s definitely in the background. Morse himself gets another subplot as his romance with Monica takes another step. I really like Monica—she has a down-to-earth charm that’s missing from many of Morse’s romantic interests. I rather wish I didn’t know what must inevitably happen.

Personally, I didn’t find the Thursday romance very interesting. Or perhaps, I didn’t find it satisfying. It’s always fun to discover more of the endearing inspector’s back story, but I wish it didn’t have to be quite so formulaic a story. It felt like a Morsian tragic romance, and that doesn’t suit Thursday’s character.


I appreciated the quiet tones of passion and regret, but I recognized that there was a moral choice hovering around in all the ambiguity, and Fred was never forced to make it. He could see the contrasting sides—Luisa’s nostalgic connection to the past, and Win’s steadfast service and humility—but his confusion never comes to a climax. In the end, Luisa herself makes the decision, which robs Thursday, in my opinion, of a chance to be decisive and make a hard choice. One thing about Morse: he was never indecisive. Whenever he was making a bad romantic choice (which was often), he stuck to it with a tenacious will towards self-destruction. Roger Allam does a great job as a conflicted Thursday, but I feel the story could have been stronger were he given more to do than just be wishy-washy.

And anyway, Win is totally awesome. I was kind of mad for her. THIS:

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Source: http://allamchick.tumblr.com
Still, decent episode with good performances from all, if the mystery itself was rather weak. There were several poignant monologues from different characters about their wartime experiences that I thought were tastefully done.

My review of next week's episode: Neverland

4/5 stars.

Hannah Long

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