Hello my fellow Endeavourists and welcome to my new post on the Endeavour episode, ‘Fugue’.
This post will contain SPOILERS. I hope you enjoy this post.
a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts.
a loss of awareness of one’s identity, often coupled with flight from one’s usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy.
Endeavour Series One, Episode Two; ‘Fugue’.
Chronologically this is episode 3.
First broadcast 21 April 2013.
Colin can be seen behind the left shoulder of Phillip Madison at one hour, nineteen minutes.
Directed by Tom Vaughan.
Written by Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also directed;
Lewis (TV Series) (screenplay – 4 episodes, 2010 – 2012) (story – 1 episode, 2006)
– Fearful Symmetry (2012) … (screenplay)
– Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things (2011) … (screenplay)
– Falling Darkness (2010) … (screenplay)
– The Dead of Winter (2010) … (screenplay)
– Reputation (2006) … (story)
He also wrote the Morse episode, ‘The Way Through the Woods’.
Evelyn Balfour is found murdered inside a disused railway wagon with the words ‘Un bacio ancora’ (one kiss more) written on the back of the door. Endeavour thinks there is a connection to the Verdi opera ‘Otello’. A second murder, Grace Madison, again appears to relate to an opera, ‘Lakme’ by Delibes, in the way in which she was killed.
Soon Endeavour finds that he himself appears to be a target of the murderer and will find himself forced to re-enact the final scene from Giacomo Puccini’s opera ‘Tosca’, by being thrown off a roof.
Thursday and Endeavour are up against a murderer who is as clever as Morse but far more ruthless. The murderer also kidnaps a young girl and Endeavour and Thursday only have a few hours to find her.
Fred Thursday asks Chief Superintendent Bright to allow Endeavour to help with the case and take him off general duties. Will Endeavour regret leaving his comfortable desk job when confronted with the horrors conceived by the murderer?
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)
The big question on Morse fans lips before this episode aired was probably, ‘can the third episode be as good as the first two episodes?’ The answer was a resounding yes and this episode is probably the best of the first three Endeavour episodes.
It is interesting that the writer Russell Lewis has titled this episode Fugue as that term denotes Endeavour’s ‘voice’ (i.e. his ideas and conclusions) in not only this episode but in many others. Let me explain. In a musical Fugue you have what is called a ‘counterpoint’. A counterpoint is where multiple melodic lines can be followed independently but together form harmony. A fugue has a main melody that is usually played over and over again that is then followed by other instruments or voices but usually in a different key. Endeavour is the the main melody. He starts with a theory or idea that is not supported by anyone else, especially Jakes and Bright. Then as the story unfolds the others, usually Thursday first, begin to harmonize with Endeavour’s theories and ideas until they may all be ‘singing’ a different note but they are all making a beautiful sound that helps solve the case.
This lone voice with no harmonies will be a part of Endeavour’s life in the police force for many years. Even the older Morse of the original series could not find harmony with either Lewis or Strange on all his cases.
The episode moves along at a cracking pace but never feels rushed or akin to many of the crime shows that feel the need for multiple quick edits to maintain the viewers interest. Many modern crime shows try to treat us like a cat watching a beam of light by moving it around quickly hoping we won’t realise it’s only a simple everyday cheap torch creating the light show.
This episode crammed in three murders, the introduction of three new characters in the shape of Thursday’s family and a kidnap but still allowed us time to inhale the atmosphere of the sixties and the interesting characterisation and story that unfolded in one hour and forty minutes.
Fred Thursday has ‘adopted’ Endeavour probably due to the fact that Fred knows his son will soon be off to join the army and he needs another male figure to bond with. It was interesting that when Endeavour falls asleep on Fred Thursday’s settee he places his own coat over Morse and not Endeavour’s own overcoat. Psychologically this could be seen as Fred needing to wrap Endeavour up in his own fatherly love. Fred is attempting to protect Morse. To be a good dad, it is critical for a father to guide his son into right actions and help him live a life centered on serving others. Morse never got this from his own father and though Fred is unaware of Morse’s family background he may instinctively feel that Morse’s childhood was not a happy one.
A performance that has I believe been under-rated by many Endeavour fans is that of DS Peter Jakes played sublimely by Jack Laskey. I do wish this character had been retained in the later series as I think he is a good opponent and counter weight to Endeavour’s character. While Morse is cerebral, Jakes is instinctive. Where Morse is a good detective Jakes is a good policeman. Jakes and Endeavour’s relationship caused conflict within the Oxford police station and that I believe is what is sadly lacking in the more recent episodes. Even Bright in the more recent episodes has become a less astringent character.
If there was a fault with the episode it was the lack of purpose and motive for the killings. I understand that most serial killers kill for the sake of killing and many of their victims are chosen at random but the reasons for killing Grace Madison and Evelyn Balfour seemed trite and unconvincing.
I am also trying to understand why the doctor rented a room to only blast out classical music but never actually live there. Yes, Cronyn was trying to create the illusion of a Mr Nimmo but it seemed unnecessary. Endeavour never returned to that room to investigate further.
The kidnapping of the child was also a little too melodramatic but thankfully it was played out well and didn’t grate too much.
My last gripe and it is a small one is the rather obvious anagram of Keith Miller being ‘I’m the killer’. Maybe only obvious to boring crossword fans like myself and also with writing this blog I am always on the lookout for such tricks.
Thankfully all the above gripes did not detract from what is a superb episode and as always kudos to all those involved.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
There is a lot of classical music in this episode, which always pleases me, so let’s get started.
As in the previous episode this episode opens with Great Mass No. 18 in C Minor K427 Kyrie by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791).
At two minutes and fifteen seconds we find the character Phillip Madison at the piano playing Ludwig van Beethoven‘s (1770 – 1827) Piano Sonata No. 14 C-minor op. 27 No. 2 Moonlight Sonata.
We hear the Beethoven piece again at 19 minutes and 48 seconds again being played by the character Phillip Madison in his home. The piece is heard again though very slightly at around the 31 minute mark. The piece is also heard again when Madison plays at his recital at the one hour and 18 minute mark.
At around the four minute mark Endeavour is in his flat listening to a section of Giuseppe Verdi’s (1813 – 1901) opera Otello, Act IV: Mia madre aveva una povera ancella…Piangea cantado…Ave Maria.
At 23 minutes and 30 seconds we hear the beautiful and haunting Lakme: Sous le dôme épais, (The Flower Duet) by the French composer Léo Delibes (1836 – 1891).
At just before 29 minutes we find Endeavour sitting on the floor in his flat listening to Verdi’s Otello again. It is still act four but this time the section is Ave Maria, piena di grazia.
At around the 33 and a half minute mark we get a short burst of Vissi d’arte, vissi d’armore (I lived for my art, I lived for love) from Tosca by the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924).
At around thirty eight minutes in the scene when Endeavour and Thursday enter Nimmo’s house. When Thursday turns on the electricity we hear the death scene from Verdi’s Aida playing somewhere inside the house.
As Endeavour drives around Oxford looking for the kidnapped girl we hear a section of act 3 from Tosca. In the video below the music used in this scene starts at around five minutes and 15 seconds.
At one hour and 13 minutes Endeavour answers the phone to hear another piece of music from Puccini’s Tosca, The Firing Squad scene from the end of act three.
In Dr. Cronin’s office on the wall behind him is what looks like an Edo period (1615- 1858) Chinese print based on Japanese paintings.
Also in Dr. Cronin’s office is this painting.
The painting is a very poor reproduction of a Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal was his actual name, 1697 – 1768) painting, ‘Grand Canal Looking North from near the Rialto Bridge’.
At about one hour and eight minutes during the autopsy of Dr. Cronyn, DeBryn says “Physician heal thyself“.
The phrase comes from the Bible, Luke 4:23 (King James Version):
“And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”
This is the only literary phrase I noticed.
First location is that of Dr. Cronin’s office shown at two minutes and 39 seconds.
The above looks to be crescent road of Parktown. They have obviously taken out the parking lines etc in post production.
Next up we have the railway yard where Evelyn Balfour‘s body is found.
I can’t be sure where this is. I think it may be Horsted Keynes Railway Station. Horsted Keynes railway station is a preserved railway station on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex and has been used in many TV and film productions.
On looking at an aerial view of the area there does look to be some old rolling stock.
However, it could be Didcot Railway Centre a location used in the Morse episode ‘The Wolvercote Tongue’. One has to assume this location also has some old rolling stock.
Up next we have the pub where Strange and Morse meet up at 26 and a half minutes.
For the life of me I cannot identify this pub. I don’t think I have ever visited it and it is very distinctive. Anyone know?
The next location is that of Fred Thursday’s house.
This house is in Courthouse Road in Finchley, London.
At just over 54 minutes Endeavour makes his way to investigate who has requested the score for the Snow Maiden by Rimsky-Korsakov. He visits the Bodleian Library.
At 54 minutes Endeavour chases after the suspect through the Bodleian Library and then out to the side of the building.
The above is to the side of the Sheldonian Theatre.
At one hour and one minute Morse realises where the kidnapped girl is being held, St Michael at the North Gate a church in Cornmarket Street.
But the location used is not St Michael at the North Gate Church in Cornmarket Street. The location is in Queen’s Lane.
The church is actually St Peter-in-the-East.
After the drama of rescuing the kidnapped girl the police and Endeavour are mulling over what happened the previous night.
The above is Queen’s Lane near to where St Peters to the East Church stands. Queen’s Lane has been used many times in Endeavour, Lewis and Inspector Morse.
The final scenes, Phillip Madison’s recital and Thursday and Morse on the college roof was filmed at Trinity College.
Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series 1, Episode 2 ‘Fugue’ and/or Morse or Lewis.
Apart from Roger Allam there was only one actor who appeared in this episode and an episode of Morse and that is Robin Soans. Robin played Ivan Straker who was the librarian in the Endeavour episode. In the original Morse series he played Alisdair McBryde in the episode The Way Through the Woods, (One off special episode and chronologically the 29th episode. Aired on the 29 November 1995)
Robin Soans as Ivan Straker in ‘Fugue’.
Robin Soans as Alisdair McBryde in ‘The Way Through the Woods’.
An actor who connects to other Endeavour episodes is Hugh O’Brien. He appears in four episodes of Endeavour as a guest at a recital, Home, Rocket, Fugue and Girl.
Of course as mentioned in my previous post Greg Bennett who plays a Police Constable in this and other Endeavour episodes also appeared in three other Lewis episodes. I think this is him on the left below in the ‘Fugue’ episode.
In this episode we now for the first time get to meet Fred Thursday’s wife, Win. Win Thursday is played by Caroline O’Neill who appeared in the Lewis episode, ‘And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea’.
Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday.
Caroline O’Neill as Susan Chapman sitting between the dishy Hathaway and the incomparable Lewis.
Laura Rees who played Faye Madison in the Endeavour episode also turned up in a Lewis episode, ‘The Great and the Good’.
Laura Rees as Faye Madison in the Endeavour episode, ‘Fugue’.
Laura Rees as Beatrice Donnelly in the Lewis episode, ‘The Great and the Good’.
In the ‘Fugue’ episode Endeavour says’ “There is a wickedness in this”. I think this was also said in a Morse episode either ‘Day of the Devil’ (Series 7, Episode 2) or maybe ‘Fat Chance’, (Series 5, Episode 2). I could be wrong but the phrase rang a small bell with me. If anybody can help let me know.
At four minutes Roy Adamson, the builder, pulls out a bottle of after shave from his drawer. The after shave is called Amore Propre which means ‘a sense of one’s own worth; self-respect’.
At 16 minutes and 45 seconds Endeavour looks into the teapot at the home of Grace Madison believing that she was poisoned. He says to Dr DeBryn, “If that’s the tea the chimps drink then i’m a Chinaman“. The reference to chimps and tea will be understood by British people of a certain age. Morse is referring to adverts from the 1970s. Here is one of them.
At about 17 minutes Morse and Thursday are at the police station and a funny conversation takes place;
Thursday – “One of these days i’ll send you out for a routine inquiry and it’ll turn out to be just that. But I won’t hold my breath. You would find something suspicious in a saints sock drawer”.
Endeavour – “I didn’t know you spoke Italian”.
Thursday – “More under my hat than nits”.
At around the 32 minute mark Bright brings in the psychiatrist Dr Cronyn as an expert to help the police. While discussing his thoughts he talks about other serial killers and cases: Starkweather, bodies in the swamp at Fairvale and De Salvo in Boston USA.
Charles Raymond “Charlie” Starkweather was an American teenage spree killer who murdered eleven people in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming in a two-month murder spree between December 1957 and January 1958.
The ‘bodies in the swamp at Fairvale‘ might be a reference to Alfred Hitchcock’s great movie Psycho and Norman Bates. The film was based on a novel by Robert Bloch. The novel was loosely based on the real life serial killer Ed Gein. Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. He also killed two women.
De Salvo refers to Albert DeSalvo the Boston Strangler.
An interesting piece of information has come to me via the comments section. John told me that “what made (the episode) all the more an entertaining jaunt was making out the oblique nod to Stephen Knight’s conspiracy theory about Jack the Ripper, the first modern serial killer, with the revelation of the true identity of the killer as Mason Gull (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_the_Ripper:_The_Final_Solution)
Thank you John.
Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse
Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil
Lavinia Bertram as Grace Madison
Laura Rees as Faye Madison
Will Featherstone as Phillip Madison
Geoffrey Streatfeild as Dr. Daniel Cronyn
Lex Shrapnel as Roy Adamson
Kelly Price as Evelyn Balfour
Iain McKee as Lionel Balfour
Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday
Jack Laskey as DS Peter Jakes
James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Bright
Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday
Jack Bannon as Sam Thursday
Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday
Robert Blythe as Farmer Oakshott
Sean Rigby as PC Jim Strange
Joanna Horton as Linda Snow
Robin Soans as Ivan Straker
Sarah Crowden as Miss Thornhill (Left) & Claire Vousden as Miss Crane (Right)