Hello fellow Endeavourists and welcome to my first review of the new series. There is a lot to get through so let’s get cracking.
Endeavour Series five, Episode One; ‘Muse’.
Chronologically this is episode 18.
First broadcast 4th February 2018.
The newspaper is being read by George Fancy in Lewis Peek’s first scene in the police station.
Directed by Brady Hood: No connection to any other Endeavour, Lewis or Morse episodes.
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’.
As excitement gathers around the forthcoming auction of a long lost but now discovered Faberge egg the local police have to deal with a murder and a possible attempt to steal afore-mentioned Faberge egg.
The murder of a former boxer seems tied to the underworld until the death of a Lonsdale Don possibly throws cold water on that theory.
With a new police officer joining the ranks at Cowley, George Fancy, the merging of the Oxford police force into Thames Valley Constabulary, the return of Joan Thursday and so much more, the city of Oxford has become a little more complicated for Endeavour.
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)
A review is one person’s opinion. A review should always be honest. A review should never be swayed by your liking for the character, the actors or one’s history with the Morse universe. A review should never be a piece of sycophancy based on one’s belief that the main actor is dishy or that it may be seen as heresy to negatively criticize a beloved programme. I think you can see where this is going.
The episode was obvious, unoriginal and almost became that most hated of things; dull. The only reason it managed to stay out of the dull camp was due to the acting, music, locations and cinematography.
I believe that Russell Lewis is so busy dreaming up where to insert his film, literary and Lewis and Morse references that he forgets to pay attention to the rest of the script. Really Russell? Another women scorned story. Another scene where Endeavour and Thursday almost come to the same conclusion at the same time.
There were hints and undertones that Ruth Astor and Eve Thorne were lesbians. If this was what Russell had in mind then shame on him. Too often lesbians are seen in films and TV shows as man hating murderers.
With the superfluous addition of George Fancy the episode was too ‘busy’ for lack of a better term. There are too many cooks (read police officers) and they are spoiling the Cowley broth. The character of George Fancy did not add anything to the milieu of the Endeavour world.
He appeared to be a cipher for all that Endeavour hates about men and his own deeply repressed feelings about women. It is possible he was written into the series to allow Endeavour to be seen becoming what John Thaw’s Morse becomes; irascible, short tempered, intolerant and a misanthropist. However if my theory is correct it could have been achieved without the addition of a new character.
With so many characters it only achieves the dilution of screen time for Fred and Endeavour. We viewed the original Morse to watch the characters of Morse and Lewis. We viewed Lewis to watch the characters of Lewis and Hathaway. Did we enjoy the occasional inclusion of other characters, yes we did. But FIVE main characters, six if you count Trewlove. Sorry Russell but it feels like another distraction from what the show is about, Endeavour Morse.
The show is thankfully still watchable and this is due in no small part to Shaun Evans and Roger Allam. They are of course masterfully helped by the beauty of Oxford, the sublime editing and the inclusion of some great music. The direction was workmanlike but I assume the director is limited in what he can do within the budget and time constraints but it wouldn’t hurt to employ something a bit more imaginative when directing scenes.
There is still a nice dollop of humour to be heard but some of the dialogue wouldn’t have been out of place in The Sweeney, John Thaw’s 1970s cop show. For instance, when Morse and Thursday are talking to Eddie Nero the owner of the gym, Fred says;
“You’re a third division shakedown artist and fourth rate ponce. Always were, always will be. If there is any comeback over Joey I’ll have your cobblers for a key fob”.
I also predict we will not see much of Joan Thursday judging by the scene she and Morse had together. They circumvent any talk of the events from the last episode of the last series. Her pregnancy is only mentioned via a euphemism of her having had a ‘fall’ and that’s why she was in hospital. This conversation is I believe a way of clearing out any romantic possibilities between Joan and Morse and allow him to move on to other affairs of the heart during the up and coming episodes. Russell Lewis, the writer, has a way of clearing away characters without any real closure to those people. Look at Morse’s poor old ex girlfriend Monica Hicks. The end of that romance and character was never fully dealt with and all we got was her reappearing oh so briefly in the Lazaretto episode to tell Morse to treat future girlfriends better.
Here’s hoping the next episode is better but with so many characters now within the show it means less time for Endeavour and Fred.
However, as a postscript, I wonder if maybe Russell is working toward ending the fifth series with Fred retiring and Strange moving on to another police force. This would make sense in bringing in George Fancy as a sidekick to give us the viewer six episodes to get to know Fancy and future episodes in the sixth and seventh series being based around Endeavour and Fancy with a new DCI in the shape of a character called McNutt.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
The first piece of music is at the very beginning of the episode. It is by the German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847). The piece is called Elijah, OP.70 No.1 – Help Lord wilt though destroy us.
Up next a bit of Shirley Bassey with the song Big Spender. This is played during the routine by ‘Delilah’ otherwise known as Paula Ellis.
George Fancy is listening to music in the car while he is supposed to keeping a low profile while watching a suspect. The song is Let’s spend the night together by The Rolling Stones.
While Endeavour is sifting through Joey Sykes belongings at the police station he is listening to Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi. In particualr he is listening to act one: Follie! Delirio vano é questo from La Traviata.
Near the beginning of the episode after we see Endeavour attending the purse snatching there is a party going on elsewhere with the music of The Zombies being played. The song is Time of the Season.
While Adrian Croxley is getting ready for his ‘date’ he turns on the radio. The music that plays is Gnossienne No. 2 ( Avec étonnement ) by Erik Satie.
The Endeavour series has used Satie’s work frequently. Most notably at the beginning of the episode, ‘Game’. During that scene he is thinking of Joan while attending a recital of Satie’s piece Gnossiene.
Bright and Thursday are talking of the new merger and Thursday wonders what will happen to those at the Oxford station. Bright answer, ” Ours is not to reason why”.
Bright is paraphrasing a line from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
When removing the worker’s tool from Sikes’s ear, Max says, “What a good boy am I“. This is a reference to the the nursery rhyme, Little Jack Horner.
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating his Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
During Endeavour’s first conversation with the artist Pickman, he is telling Morse that he is designing covers for a book at the moment (more of that later in the miscellaneous section). He says’ Thus doth the rent man make cowards of us all”‘ He is paraphrasing Shakespeare. The line “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all“. is from Hamlet.
Endeavour and Morse are interviewing Dr. Adrian Croxley in his greenhouse he relies to Fred’s question about Dr. Grey stag do, “What passing bells.”
What passing bells is a line from the poem Anthem For Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
In Pickford’s studio Endeavour points out Pickford’s attempt at recreating Édouard Manet’s painting Olympia with Eve Thorne as Olympia.
Below is the original.
In Eve Thorne’s book The Golden Age of Classic Christian Art, Endeavour flicks through the pages. He comes across this painting.
The painting above is The Blinding of Samson, 1636 by Rembrandt.
He next looks at a page with this painting.
This painting is called ‘Jael and Sisera’, by Artemisia Gentileschi.
Jael or Yael is a woman mentioned in the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible, as the heroine who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of King Jabin.
He then flips to this painting.
This is a painting by Caravaggio titled Judith Beheading Holofernes.
Judith Beheading Holofernes tells the Biblical story of Judith, who saved her people by seducing and beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith was an example of man’s misfortunes at the hands of scheming woman.
Our first location is the place that the Faberge Egg is being exhibited and then auctioned.
The location is Exeter College. The exterior shots are also Exeter College.
Next location is the exterior of the Chemist/Optician where Endeavour meets Joan.
Unfortunately I cannot identify this location. If anyone knows please let me know either via comments or use the ‘contact me’ option at the top of the page. An update. Thank you toPauline and a few others for pointing me in the direction of this location. It is H H Dickman (yes they used the real name of the place, which is unusual) a chemist in Berkhamsted.
The actual full address is 224 High St, Berkhamsted HP4 1BB.
Mike Carter a blog reader emailed me with some lovely memories of H.H. Dickman; ” I had the pleasure of knowing Alan, who was born in 1915, through a business relationship for a couple of years when I worked in Berkhamsted from 2000 to 2002, and he was still dispensing into his eighties. While I have not been into the shop since that time, Alan prided himself on the original equipment and displays still in the premises. This included an enema ‘machine’ which obviously hadn’t been used for many years.” Thank you Mike.
We have our only pub scene in this episode.
This pub is The Royal Standard, 78 London Rd, Oxford OX3 9AJ. Thanks to Françoise Beghin for this identification.
Next up we have the location of the Alhambra Guest House where Sikes lived.
The location of the scene where Joan and Endeavour walk together is Grove Walk which can be found off Merton Street.
© Copyright Steve Daniels
The location of the first dead body, Joey Sikes is Old Church Lane in Berkhamsted.
Thank you Jennifer Tufnell for the above location info.
Eddie Nero’s Boxing Club is actually Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, London.
Up next we have the Windmill location where Pickford and his wife lived.
The location is Great Haseley Windmill in Oxfordhshire, Postcode: OX44 7LX.
Thank you to Françoise Beghin for identifying the above two locations.
The next location is where Morse and Thursday walk out of what is supposed to be the telephone exchange.
This location has been used many times in Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. It is Brasenose Lane, Oxford.
Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series 5, Episode 1 ‘Muse’ and/or Morse or Lewis.
Robin McCallum who played the Master in the episode,
appeared in the Lewis episode One For Sorrow (Season 9 | Episode 2) as a doctor.
CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS AND ORIGINAL MORSE SERIES
Thank you to another of my wonderful blog readers, Bebe Larson who spotted this connection. The Lewis connection is when Cassie Pickman tells her son, Alec, not to eat the grass? In ‘Falling Darkness’ (Season 4 | Episode 4) Alec Pickman, played by Rupert Graves, was one of Laura Hobson’s housemates at uni. Well spotted Bebe.
Alec Pickman, played by Rupert Graves
As an update my good friend Mark Bargrove pointed a connection of the above painting to the episode of the original Morse series, Who Killed Harry Field?. In that episode, as in this one, Harry portrays his muse/model as Olympia. See below. Well spotted Mark and shame on me for not thinking about it. Getting old people, getting old. 🙂
Who would have thought Jim Strange could play the trombone.
Strange plays The Last Post on the trombone.
After Jim Strange’s playing of the trombone, Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright tells his attending force that the motto of the Thames Valley Constabulary is Sit pax in valle tamesis. He says that Morse will translate but he is busy elsewhere. So in the absence of Morse ( 😉 ) I will translate the Latin phrase; ‘Let there be Peace in the Thames Valley’.
In 1968 Thames Valley Police was formed by the amalgamation of Berkshire Constabulary, Buckinghamshire Constabulary, Oxford City Police, Oxfordshire Constabulary and Reading Borough Police.
Is Joey Sikes a nod to the famous Dickensian character Bill Sikes from the novel Oliver Twist? Bill wasn’t a boxer but certainly a criminal.
Standing over the dead body of Joey Sikes, Fred mentions having seen Sikes box. He states that he was on the same card as the main event of Bruce Woodcock and Freddie Mills. This was an actual boxing match of 1949. Here is a picture of a ticket for that event.
While discussing the attempted theft of the Faberge Egg with Dr. Grey Endeavour thinks the whole thing is rather ‘Simon Templar‘. This is a reference to Roger Moore’s character The Saint from a 1960s TV show.
Roger Moore as Simon Templar aka The Saint.
Jim Strange and Endeavour are sharing a flat in the hope that both can save to each buy their own flat.
Win Thursday has herself a new hair-do.
During a discussion with Dr. Adrian Croxley about Dr Grey’s wife, Croxley says to Endeavour, “She would have to be a very Messalina to keep Robin down on the farm“. This is a reference to Valeria Messalina, the third wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius. A powerful and influential woman with a reputation for promiscuity, she allegedly conspired against her husband and was executed on the discovery of the plot. Her notorious reputation arguably results from political bias, but works of art and literature have perpetuated it into modern times.
The artist’s model, Eve Thorne, in the episode is referred to as Pickman’s model. ‘Pickman’s Model‘ is a short story by the writer H.P. Lovecraft. You can read it by clicking here.
On first meeting Gerard Pickman the artist he apologises to Endeavour for being late by saying “A bigger slash“. Slash is a British colloquialism for going for a pee. The bigger reference is to a painting by the British artist David Hockney titled A Bigger Splash.
The painting was completed in 1967.
During the same conversation Pickman mentions that he is designing the cover for the Kent Finn book, ‘Just for Jolly’.
We met Kent Finn in the Endeavour episode ‘Game’.
I personally believe that the character of Kent Finn is the future Hugo DeVries, Morse’s nemesis in the episode, ‘Masonic Mysteries.
While in the flat they share Strange tells Morse that he will get the cribbage board out once Hughie Green is done. Hughie Green was a famous TV personality on British television in the 1960s and 1970s.
His most famous programme was a talent show called Opportunity Knocks.
As my friend David Bishop pointed to me on his Twitter account there is the touch of the film Bladerunner about the scene in the stripper’s dressing room.
The scene in the excellent Bladerunner film starred Joanna Cassidy as Zhora the ‘exotic’ dancer and Harrison Ford.
Lefty Townsend tells Endeavour and Fred that he hopes to get Paula (aka Delilah) a summer season with Englebert. I assume this is a reference to 1960s crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.
After the discovery of Simon Lake’s decapitated body, Endeavour searches his wardrobe and discovers an invitation.
In the middle of the invitation it reads, “On the occasion of the passing of the Mock Turtle”. The Mock Turtle is a character in Lewis Carroll’s superb book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Mock Turtle is an assemblage of creatures, therefore not a real turtle as his name rightly suggests.
Other characters from Carroll’s book are mentioned on the invitation; Mad Hatter (though he is never referred to as ‘Mad’ in the book only as ‘The Hatter’.) and the Gryphon.
When Endeavour has finished interviewing Eve Thorne at the police station she tells him starts to ask Morse what kind of girl he likes. She figures he is a watcher, “A spy in the house of love” as she puts it.
This is a reference to Anaïs Nin’s underrated novel A Spy in the House of Love published in 1954.
While talking to Endeavour in her flat, Eve Thorne mentions that the model for the Monet painting was not a ‘tart’ but an artist in her own right, Victorine Meurent. Endeavour replies “Did Pickman tell you that?” She replies, “I read it, in a book.” I wonder if this a reference to the Morse episode Happy Families. When the reporter in that episode asks Morse how he came to solve the murders he replies, “I read it in a book.”
It is mentioned that the art thief The Shadow has previously stolen the Lugash diamond. This diamond is a reference to the Pink Panther films. One of my blog readers Paul Higham spotted that The Shadow’s other theft, the dagger of Sultan Mahmud, is from the film “Topkapi”. Not a great film but it does star the wonderful Peter Ustinov.
Eve Thorne ha received an Easter egg bought from Richardson’s supermarket. This supermarket was featured in the Endeavour episode, “Arcadia”.
Paul Higham also noticed these interesting items;
Thursday mentions that Lefty Townsend once worked for Lew and Leslie, meaning Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd. aka the Grade Organisation aka the future Lord Lew Grade and his brother Leslie, the father of the future chairman of both the BBC and ITV Michael Grade.
I wondered if Simon Lake’s love of gliding might be an oblique nod to the original “The Thomas Crown Affair“. ( I think Paul is right about this as the Steve McQueen film was released in 1968). The film has the wonderful song The Windmills of Your Mind which plays during the glider scene.
Equally the relationship between Eve and Ruth is very similar to that between Cathy and Simone in “Mona Lisa”.
Thanks Paul and well spotted.
Thank you to a blog reader, Virginia Betts who noticed the following. When the artist, Pickman, and Endeavour meet for the first time Pickman says, “It’s for the cover of a Kent Finn paperback — Just For Jolly.” The phrase ‘just for jolly’ was used by Jack the Ripper in a letter to the police. He promised to ‘cut the lady’s ears off just for jolly’ if he had more time and indeed did cut Stride’s ear, suggesting the letter was genuine.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
Dr. Robin Grey. Murdered by Ruth Astor. Stabbed in both eyes with a steak knife.
Simon Lake was killed by Ruth Astor. He had his throat cut.
Joey Sikes is murdered by Ruth Astor. She shoots him three times.
Adrian Croxley is stabbed to death by Ruth Astor.
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright.
Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday
Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange
Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse
James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn
Roger Barclay as Dr. Robin Grey
Dakota Blue Richards as WPC Shirley Trewlove
Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil
Robin McCallum as Master
Lewis Peek as DC George Fancy
Mark Arden as Eddie Nero
Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday
Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday
Rhys Isaac-Jones as Spencer Bell
Samuel Crane as Dr. Tancred Howlett
David Newman as Dr. Adrian Croxley
Tom Durant Pritchard as Simon Lake
Nathalie Buscombe as Cassie Pickman
Tom Wisdom as Gerard Pickman
Emily Barber as Lucy Grey
Cassie Clare as Paula Ellis
Geoffrey McGivern as Lefty Townsend
Charlotte Hope as Eve Thorne
Antonia Clarke as Ruth Astor
Victor Gardener as Joey Sikes