Hello fellow Endeavourists and Morsonians.
Here we are at the penultimate review for the fifth series of Endeavour. Will my review be a favourable one? I have been hearing on the old grapevine that in some quarters of social media I am persona non grata due to my having the temerity to criticize some people’s beloved TV show. There are times when one has to open their eyes and see that one’s favourite show is not perfect.
Many of my favourite shows over the years have had clunkers amongst their oeuvre. Many of my favourite film directors have made bad movies. (Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot to name one), The same goes for my favourite actors. (Meryl Streep in The Homesman to name but one). My favourite singer for 50 years, David Bowie made a few bad albums (Tin Machine anyone). A few of my favourite writers have written what I believe are either bad or mediocre novels.
No one likes having their favourite TV show, film, actor, singer being criticized but their are times when one has to grow a thicker skin and realise their favourites are not infallible.
Anyhoo, let me get started on my new post. I have included a video as a starting point for my review please watch that first.
Endeavour Series five, Episode five; ‘Quartet’.
Chronologically this is episode 22.
First broadcast 4th March 2018.
Difficult one this week. I could be wrong in this but the chap who was sitting at the back of the pub in the final scene did have a look of Colin Dexter.
Also, Endeavour looks at him as the scene fades to black.
Directed by Geoffrey Sax . Geoffrey also directed the Endeavour episode, Neverland (Series 2, Episode 4)
Written by Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also wrote;
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’.
A participant in a TV game show is shot and killed. A stray bullet hits a little boy and puts him in hospital. The killing of the German participant leads Endeavour into the deep and dangerous world of spies and espionage.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)
My daughter and I
Fred Thursday says to Morse, “All this with the cloak-and-dagger mob? It’s not my idea of coppering.” And it’s not my idea of Morse. Russell Lewis the episode writer seems to be fumbling about in the dark trying to think of how many references, tropes, genres and allusions he can fit into one episode. Was this Foyles War or a Harry Palmer film, or a John Le Carre Film, or a James Bond movie. It tries to be them all and all it did was make the whole thing a mess.
It wasn’t the worst episode of the series but that particular bar wasn’t set that high anyway. I had an epiphany regarding one reason why I am so disappointed in this series; because I know that Russell Lewis is a better writer that this. For God’s sake he wrote one of the best Morse episodes, ‘The Way Through the Woods‘. He wrote some of the best Lewis episodes. The first three series of Endeavour were great. The fourth series was patchy but the fifth is a huge disappointment.
I write here not to bury Russell Lewis and the Endeavour show but live in hope to praise it once again in the future. I do hope that it gets a new series if for no other reason than to allow Russell to give us better episodes. I want Endeavour to go out on a high. But for the moment the fifth series is obvious, messy and devoid of any sense of the Endeavour Morse character.
The show has become one of the cookie cutter dramas that litter the TV channels. The original Morse series was ground breaking but this fifth series has turned Endeavour into a series that is groundless: empty and unreliable.
The cast, production team and Matthew Slater the composer are propping up a building that may soon be condemned. The cast and the rest deserve better.
Some of my problems with this episode are as follows:
- Why were almost the whole CID team (including DeBryn) at the game show. Morse attending a television show? Morse never owned a TV. TV was an anathema to Morse.
- Why did Fancy’s limp disappear by the time his next scene was shown?
- Yet another Mills and Boon scene of will they or won’t they with Endeavour and Joan.
- Morse manages to get into a building, Fenix, which you would imagine was heavily guarded and very secure.
- The villian, Fenix, puts the Woodstock Inn key into the fish tank chest but leaves it showing.
- Eddie Nero in one scene is about to take on Fancy and Strange but when the man who is trying to take over his ‘patch’ enters his pub he does nothing. If that had been the Krays Cromwell would have sleeping with the fishes before they had finished drinking their tea.
- As for Cromwell Ames. Did he pop into Nero’s place on his way home from school? And that phoney accent!!!!!
- Surely everyone knew that it was Joe Dozier that was dead and not his wife. This ploy of setting up a storyline to make it look like one character is going to die but ends up being their partner/wife/husband etc has been used many, many, many times. Boring and obvious.
- Once again Russell mentions Europe, Brexit, Boris (Johnson) etc. He must crowbar in those modern day references.
- What was it about the smell of perfume on Joan made him suddenly rush off to Fenix laboratory?
- James Bond has had less attempts made on his life.
- What was the point of the boy being shot other than giving Endeavour the chance to show how much he cares. It was a blatant attempt to pull on the heartstrings and i’m sure it worked on some people. The subplot (if it can even be called that) was pointless. Take that subplot from the episode and it doesn’t hinder the episode’s progression.
- Another high body count. Five.
Predictions for the last episode:
- Thursday does not retire due to his brother not repaying the loan. Thursday can no longer retire.
- Bright either retires or becomes head of the new police force.
- Strange is moved to another police station.
- Joan finds a man and Morse is once again brokenhearted.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
Here also is a little video I made. A homage to this episodes take on the classic 1960s spy film starring Michael Caine, The Ipcress File.
At last some classical music. At the very beginning we have Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 1 (Zadok the Priest) for chorus & orchestra. HWV 258.
Stirring stuff. The piece is played again about five minutes into the episode when we see Prof Alexander Richmond conducting to the music.
When the Jeux Sans Frontiers show is being announced we can hear the theme that was used for the British show It’s a Knockout,
During the episode the tune of London Bridge is falling down could be heard coming from the radio in the shed.
The episode starts with someone quoting from Shakespeare’s Henry V.
Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other’s watch:
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other’s umber’d face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs.
Morse finds a book of William Wordsworth poetry. The book is marked by a photograph and one of the poems seen is Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802.
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
We also glimpse another poem above the poem mentioned above. This is titled “BROOK! WHOSE SOCIETY THE POET SEEKS”
BROOK! whose society the Poet seeks,
Intent his wasted spirits to renew;
And whom the curious Painter doth pursue
Through rocky passes, among flowery creeks,
And tracks thee dancing down thy water-breaks;
If wish were mine some type of thee to view,
Thee, and not thee thyself, I would not do
Like Grecian Artists, give thee human cheeks,
Channels for tears; no Naiad should’st thou be,–
Have neither limbs, feet, feathers, joints nor hairs: 10
It seems the Eternal Soul is clothed in thee
With purer robes than those of flesh and blood,
And hath bestowed on thee a safer good;
Unwearied joy, and life without its cares.
No art to speak and what was shown I couldn’t identify..
Thanks to Jean for pointing me toward the location of the shops above. The location is on the corner of Malvern Road and Priory Road, Hampton.
Here are some pictures from the Richmond and Twickenham Times newspaper during filming.
This is Brasenose College shown near the beginning of the episode when Albert Mullion is walking through the quad.
The scene where Morse interviews Dr. Gerhardt Schneider is also Brasenose College. Radcliffe Camera can be seen in the background.
This was Amber Lodge in the episode. Thanks to Jean for giving me this location. It is Penn House
Penn Street, Amersham, HP7 0PS. Apparently it is often used as a film and TV location.
Morse is back on Ship Street, Claudine’s abode.
Endeavour goes to meet the porter.
This is Brasenose College Front Quad.
Endeavour meets Dr. Gerhardt Schneider again.
This is Brasenose College.
Morse follows Singleton.
The building in the background is the Royal Albert Hall.
I think the stairs that Endeavour climbs while following Singleton are the same stairs that Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) fights the henchman in the excellent film, The Ipcress File.
Eddie Nero’s place The Hope and Anchor which was ‘done over’.
The building is on the corner of Macbeth Street and Riverside Gardens, London.
Outside Joan’s flat, Museum Road, Oxford.
The Fenix buildings look like CGI.
Next is the location of where the opening ‘games’ were being held.
This looks like it was filmed at Christ Church Meadow. I believe that to the left in the background is Christ Church and to the right in the background is Merton College.
Woodstock Inn. Again I couldn’t identify this location. Update: Thank you to Coco who directed me toward the location of the above. It is St Katherine’s Parmoor, Frieth, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6NN. Apparently it has also been used as a location for Midsomer Murders.
Jim Strange’s flat which he shares with Morse. Sorry, couldn’t figure out this location.
The bridge on which Fancy and Trewlove are kissing is the High Bridge over River Cherwell, Oxford.
Thanks to David Howkins for letting me that the scenes in the underground station were shot in the disused Aldwych station in London.
Thank you to Peter Hardy, or more accurately his wife, who spotted the following locations. Peter’s wife once worked at the following location.
First up is the office of the Bond like baddie, Sebastian Fenix.
This is the Mayor’s Parlour at the Hammersmith Town Hall. The hallway where Morse and Fenix exit is also the Town Hall.
The above is affectionately known as the marble hall.
The two pub scenes are shot in The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XS.
Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series 5, Episode 5 ‘Quartet’ and/or Morse or Lewis.
Richard Durden as Prof Alexander Richmond. See below for further details.
Andrew Paul as Joe Dozier. See below for further details.
CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS AND ORIGINAL MORSE SERIES
Morse finds this newspaper cutting in the files Frazil sent him.
This is a reference to the Morse episode, Death is Now my Neighbour. Investigating the murder of Rachael James Morse picks up a card in her home.
Of course this episode starred Roger Allam as Denis Cornford.
I believe that this episode gave us our first two actors who have appeared in all three series; Morse, Lewis and Endeavour.
Richard Durden appeared in the first episode of the original Morse series, Dead of Jericho.
Richard Durden as Alan Richards.
Richard appeared in the Lewis episode, The Soul of Genius as John Gracey.
Next up is the second actor to have appeared in all three Morse series, Andrew Paul.
Andrew Paul as Joe Dozier
Andrew appeared in the Morse episode, Deceived by Flight as a suspect in an arson attack.
Andrew appeared in the Lewis episode, Intelligent Design as Ron Tibett.
I have recieved a comment from a native speaker of German, Sabine. Sabine noted, ”
As a native speaker of German I would like to throw this observation into the hat:
The picture of Danulka is signed on the back with “Liebe immer” which is just a literal translation of the English “love forever”. No German speaker would have signed it with this Liebe immer, as it is poppycock. We’d say “Für immer Dein” (forever yours) or “In ewiger Liebe” (literally “in forever love”) but never ever like the phrase used.
That said, might I say, how brilliant Roger Allam’s pronounciation of German is. It’s always a joy to hear him use his skills on Endeavour.”
Thank you Sabine.
The TV show in the episode is called Jeux Sans Frontières which can mean ‘Games Without Borders’. It is based on an execrable British show called It’s A Knockout. It’s a Knockout! is a British comedy game show first broadcast in 1966. It was adapted from the French show Intervilles, and was part of the international Jeux Sans Frontières franchise.
The Oxford Mail reporting the first manned Apollo space mission. Apollo 7 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla., with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard, beginning an 11-day mission in Earth orbit. It was the first successful manned mission of the Apollo program.
The character of Julian Calendar
also appeared in the Endeavour episode, Canticle.
Pfuscher the East German killed near the beginning of the episode was said to be from Werfen, Bavaria. This was the name of the location castle Schloss Adler in war movie Where Eagles Dare starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. In that film it had the immortal line uttered by Burton, “Broadsword calling Danny Boy“.
Morse almost gets himself killed when following a clue in Sebastopol Terrace. This name was the street featured in the excellent and classic British sitcom Sykes, starring Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques.
The Scottish actor Ellie Haddington who played Miss Bagshot also appeared in Foyle’s War as Hilda Pierce. The series starred Michael Kitchen. (Michael of course appeared in the Morse episode The Death of the Self).
Bright says to Thursday, “This is a family game show in Oxford not the Mexico Olympics.” I can only assume he is referring to the medal award ceremony for the men’s 200 meter race, when black American athletes Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) took a stand for civil rights by raising their black-gloved fists and wearing black socks in lieu of shoes.
We find out that Dorothea Frazil wrote a book called My Time in Korea. (Korean War, 1950, began when North Korea, supported by the Soviet Union and China, invaded South Korea, which was supported by the United States. War ended in 1953). The Korean War was the backdrop to the film and wonderful series M.A.S.H.
When Morse first meets Singleton in the tube there is an advertising poster on the wall.
I’m assuming the perfume ‘Verpertine’ is a reference to the James Bond character in Vesper Lynd in the film and novel Casino Royale.
During the same scene mentioned above we see a headline next to the newspaper vendor.
This is alluding to the events in 1968 on 13 October the Imperial War Museum was attacked by an arsonist, Timothy John Daly, who claimed he was acting in protest against the exhibition of militarism to children.
Singleton and Louis reminded of two characters in the film The Lady Vanishes. (The original).
Naunton Wayne (on the right) as Caldicott and Basil Radford as Charters
The characters of Charters and Caldicott appeared in numerous films.
When Louis and Singleton are talking with Morse, Louis asks “Do you still love your country?” Morse fires back with, “Do you still beat your wife?” Morse’s question is what as known as a loaded question or complex question fallacy. It’s a question that contains a controversial or unjustified assumption. The traditional example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.
When Thursday is in the Hope and Anchor pub he replies to Strange, “Forget it Sergeant it’s Summertown.” This must be a reference to the excellent Jack Nicholson film Chinatown.
On first meeting Sebastian Fenix he asks Morse if he would like a drink. He tells him that his secretary makes a martini to die for. A reference of course to James Bond’s favourite tipple.
When Joan is walking with Morse she asks how things are living with Jim (Strange). Morse replies, “It’s hardly the yellow house. This is in reference to a house shared by Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin in Arles, France.
Endeavour is probably alluding to the mundane life he and Jim are living in their house compared to the erratic, turbulent life Gauguin and Van Gogh had led while they shared a house. Their is an excellent book titled The Yellow House by Martin Gayford. Well worth reading.
During the same conversation above Endeavour tells Joan he should have enough money saved by the following year to buy a house. Joan replies by saying that didn’t Jane Austen have something to say about a single man in possession of a good fortune. Joan is paraphrasing one of the greatest opening lines of a novel, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. From one of the greatest novels ever written, Pride and Prejudice. Endeavour then says “I doubt it will be Netherfield Park.” Netherfield Park is the large mansion leased to Mr. Bingley and his sisters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bingley is a friend of Mr. Darcy.
Singleton and Louis pick up Endeavour after he has broken in the Fenix building. Louis says, “The factory also did work for the chemical warfare boys at Porton Down.” Porton Down is home to two UK Government facilities: a site of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – known for over 100 years as one of the UK’s most secretive and controversial military research facilities.
Millie Bagshot tells Morse that Danulka died two months ago when the Red tanks rolled into Prague. This is reference to the Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troopsinvasion of Czechoslovakia to crack down on reformist trends in Prague.
Thursday says Do svidanya, tovarishch to Albert Mullion when he puts him in the police car. That Russian phrase just means goodbye and tovarishch means friend or comrade.
Thanks to Maria and Jackie for pointing out Fred Thursday’s reference to the 1960s show Dangerman. The series featured Patrick McGoohan as secret agent John Drake. The reference is made when Morse is bringing Thursday up to date about his meeting with Singleton and Louis and the attempt on his life.
Thanks to Lee Sylvester for pointing out that Mullion the porter is probably a reference to Skullion from Tom Sharpe’s wonderful novel Porterhouse Blue?
Thanks to Paul Higham who commented that Dr. Schneider may be a reference to “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” as Schneider means Tailor in German. Paul also pointed out these possible references;
“I think the characters of Singleton and Louis are an “homage” to Pendleton and Harcourt from “Edge of Darkness”. Zooming around London in eccentric choices of car and urging Morse/Craven to break into Fenix’s factory/Northmoor.”
“The Dozier’s shop front features a fairly prominent advert for Grimsby Pilchards, which were also in the Diana Day
advertising hoarding which was progressively defaced in each episode of Series 2.”
“Morse and Claudine’s punting excursion maybe a nod to James Bond and Sylvia Trench’s similar outing at the beginning of “From Russia With Love”. Miss Bagshot packs a Walther PPK which was also the pistol Bond was forced to adopt by M in “Dr. No” instead of his preferred but underpowered Beretta.”
Thanks Paul. Great observations.
Kirsten Baron noticed a few interesting things. She wrote “…the dead man’s name was Pfuscher – the German verb pfuschen usually means to bodge, bungle, carry out badly, but also to cheat or steal.
The perfume company was called Fenix, which I read as Phoenix but it was pronounced like Fenwicks, the department store.”
Photos from the wonderful Blog http://www.simplyoxford.com
All rights are of course the photographers.
Thank you to John and Cheryl for the following observation:
- At 14 minutes when Endeavour is on the telephone we hear in the background commentary of David Hemery winning the 400 metres hurdles in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Earlier the date of recording the episode of Jeux Sans Frontieres is shown to be 12/10/1968. This is early autumn yet when Endeavour is punting Claudine on the River Cherwell we cannot see any leaves on trees with autumn colours and tints on them. It looks like this scene was shot a season early in the height of summer.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
KGB agent shot by Miss Bagshot.
Prof Alexander Richmond shot by Albert Mullion
Joe Dozier died of a broken neck. Killed by Elsie Dozier????
Karl Pfuscher shot by the who the hell knows. Well actually it was the Russian who tried to kill Morse.
Werfeli garroted by the Russian
David Reed as Julian Calendar
Ian Bartholomew as Albert Mullion
Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse
James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn
Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange
Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright
Jennifer Tollady as Zoe McLean and Hector Bateman-Harden as Steven McLean
Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday
Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil
Claire Ganaye as Claudine
Mary Roscoe as Elsie Dozier
Nico Rogner as Dr. Gerhardt Schneider
Richard Durden as Prof Alexander Richmond
Andrew Paul as Joe Dozier
Brendan Patricks as Singleton
Leander Deeny as Louis
Ellie Haddington as Millie Bagshot
Paul Ready as Sebastian Fenix
Mark Arden as Eddie Nero
Dakota Blue Richards as WPC Shirley Trewlove
David Jonsson Fray as Cromwell Ames