Hello everyone and welcome to a new post. Sorry that there has not been a post recently but I’m working hard on my book about the Endeavour series which I am hoping to have finished within the next two weeks.
I hope this post finds you all well, mentally as well as physically.
Before the post begins please take time to read the following.
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Early June 1967. The missing persons case of Danish au pair Ingrid Hjort proves far from routine, pulling Endeavour into the duelling worlds of Oxford scientific academia, the city’s vast parks, as well as an urban legend said to haunt the untamed wilderness of the Oxfordshire countryside. Fred thinks there may be a connection to another girl in 1963, Sandra Jordan. Sandra was found badly injured and is in a coma. Sandra also attended the college that the missing girl was last seen. Strange has been promoted to Sergeant so is technically Endeavour’s superior. Meanwhile the Mortmaigne family are looking to turn the grounds of Crevecour Hall into a safari park. However…
Directed by Lawrence Gough – No other connection to the Morse Universe.
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’.
The premise of a tiger on the prowl in the Oxford countryside is ridiculous. It’s about as ridiculous as a fire at a Sea Parks. It’s a plot device that would never have been entertained in either the Morse or the Lewis series.
It is also ridiculous that no one saw or heard the tiger in all its time in captivity or when it escapes. Wytham Woods is a popular destination for ramblers, birdwatchers, lovers etc. But we are to believe no one happened across the tiger where it was caged. Which by the way could never contain an animal as big as a tiger. The ‘caged’ area was a ramshackle mix of bits of wood and chicken wire.
A tiger’s roar can be heard over a mile away. That’s about 2km. So, nobody over the years heard its roar while walking in the woodland?
One could argue that big cats have been seen in the British countryside but there has been no convincing evidence this is true. But even if there was evidence for such a thing to make it a plot device in a crime drama is asking the audience to suspend their disbelief to almost broken point.
However, if one ignores the ridiculous tiger plot there is a good episode lurking among the undergrowth. There is an enjoyable amount of tension in the episode, and I don’t mean in regard to the tiger. One area of tension is the investigation into the missing people and the subsequent interactions with possible suspects. The tension between Thursday and Hodges is fascinating and we see it boil over with Thursday assaulting his suspect. The writing and the acting of the aforementioned suspects was very good and kept this reviewer wondering who was involved in the young au pair’s disappearance.
The more interesting slice of tension was between Strange and Endeavour and at times between Endeavour and Thursday. With Strange getting promotion to sergeant and thus making him Endeavour’s superior makes Endeavour’s annoyance palpable. This is greatly illustrated in the scene in the police station when Strange indicates to Endeavour to answer the phone that is ringing in another room.
Endeavour’s frustration continues when Thursday tells him to investigate the disappearance of a bird watcher in Wytham Woods. Morse would rather continue the investigation into the missing au pair. However, we know that this seemingly trivial matter of a missing bird watcher will put Endeavour in the thick of a major investigation. The tension between Thursday and Endeavour continues when Endeavour must pull Thursday off the suspect, Hodges.
There are many good scenes in the episode. Two that stand out for me are the scene with San and Fred and the scene where Bright tells his story of the man-eating tiger when he was stationed in India. Both are well acted, and both create an emotional response that is honest. Sam and Fred have a son and father heart to heart while Bright’s story, related wonderfully by Anton Lesser, is a masterclass in storytelling, tension and acting. Bright’s story is reminiscent of the story told by Quint (Robert Shaw) in the film Jaws about the events of the Indianapolis ship. (Of course, there are many connections to that Steven Spielberg film throughout the episode).
Fred Thursday trying to tell his son Sam, that he loves him is sublime. We watch Fred stutter and stammer while he tries to find the words to tell Sam that he loves him. Those words never make their way out of Fred’s mouth but he does get close by saying, “I’m proud of you, you know that.”
As many of my subscribers will know I have always said that prey is the worst episode in the Endeavour series. I was blinded by the ridiculous tiger plotline and found it hard to get beyond that. Before watching the episode for review purposes, I had only viewed it three times. But as my review above shows I was wrong in believing it to be the worst episode.
However, I wish the tiger plotline had been replaced with something like a serial killer, or a sadistic cult. I understand Russell saying in an interview that his idea came from knowing rich people in the UK kept wild animals, in particular big cats. But, in a serious crime drama like Endeavour it doesn’t work.
The end scene in the maze perversely is missing tension. We know that Endeavour cannot be killed or mauled or seriously injured. It was beyond stupefying for Endeavour to enter the maze without a weapon. But on ignoring the tiger storyline and other misdemeanours my score is…
Episode Jag rating – out of ten.
I couldn’t find Colin anywhere else in this episode. This is the best guess I can make but this is as clear a picture we can get in this scene.
(All ‘modern’ music is what was used in the original UK broadcast. For legal and copyright reasons the music may be different in broadcasts in other countries and on DVD.)
At the beginning of the episode we have a montage and playing over it is BACH’s Mass in B Minor BWV 232.
At 13m a group of young people are sitting around a fire. One of the girls is singing Scarborough Fair the Simon and Garfunkel song.
Endeavour is at home listening to music. He is listening to “Slavonic Dances” Dance No. 10 by Dvorak.
At 29m Endeavour is searching for the missing bird watcher and hears music. Overture of Don Giovanni by Mozart.
Strange at 34m brings Endeavour a present. It’s an album by James Last. They listen to a track, Going Home by James Last.
As an aside the shot of the album cover is edited out of the British DVD version.
Up next is one of my favourite composers, Eric Satie. In this episode we hear at 58m42s Satie’s Gnossienne No. 2 (Lent).
At the end Thursday says about Win being gone for six days, “Longest six days of my life.” Endeavour replies, “And on the seventh, he rested.” In Genesis 2:2-3 New King James Version “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day”
At 2m20s we see the Raimer College.
This is the mansion house at Carmel College, within the grounds of Mongewell Park near Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
At 3m we see the exterior of Endeavour’s flat.
I created a video of my search for this location. Watch my video by clicking HERE. The address of Endeavour’s new flat is 14 Wellington Square for those who don’t wish to watch the video.
At 5m we see the exterior of the police station. The Oxford Police Station.
This is actually Southgate Town Hall, 6 Palmerston Cres, Palmers Green, London N13 4UA.
At 9m Endeavour arrives at Crevecoeur Hall.
Crevecoeur Hall is actually Rousham House and Gardens, Rousham, Bicester.
At 20m Endeavour is investigating a possible drowning. But it turns out a boy the girl was with has disappeared.
The bridge the High Bridge over River Cherwell, Oxford.
At 25m Endeavour and Thursday are seen walking through the corridor that connects Radcliffe Square with the Bodleian Quad.
Endeavour meets Max coming off a bus.
This is looking from Catte Street onto Radcliffe Square.
Endeavour and Craven are talking at about 55m.
This is St James the Less Church, Dorney Parish Church, Court Ln, Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP.
Endeavour talks to Georgina at around 56 minutes.
This is St James the Less Church, Dorney Parish Church, Court Ln, Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP.
Two unidentified locations.
At around the one minute mark we are in the kitchen of the doctor and we hear a radio announcer, “Egyptian airfields came under heavy bombardment from Israeli war planes. There are further reports of fighting between Israeli and Egyptian troops. This is in reference to what was called the six-day war.
At around 11m Bright and Thursday are talking about the missing au pair. Fred mentions a connection to a case back in 1963. The girl was badly beaten and is now in a coma. Bright says, “Awful thing, to lose a daughter. Or as good as. Any child.” This is alluding to Bright’s daughter Dulcie who died in India.
The young people sitting around a fire and then a girl gets up followed by a young man. The young man chases her playfully through the woodland. They begin to undress to go swimming. Of course, this is reminiscent of the Steven Spielberg film, Jaws.
The taxidermy in the office of the caretaker Turnbull is reminiscent of the stuffed animals in the office of Norman Bates in the film Psycho.
There are many references to the film jaws that this episode could be seen as an homage to the film. The ripped tent of Dr the birdwatcher Dr Moxem resembles the ripped and torn inflatable in Jaws that the young boy was lying on before the shark takes him.
At one hour and 7m, Turnbull while being interviewed by Endeavour and Thursday says, “Old Tom was chiming ten by the time I got back into town”. ‘Old Tom’ refers to Tom Tower that is a bell tower in Oxford, named for its bell, Great Tom. It is over Tom Gate, on St Aldates, the main entrance of Christ Church, Oxford, which leads into Tom Quad.
Endeavour comes across a book in Dr. Hector Lorenz’s house titled, The Leopard Men of West Africa.
The book appears to be a mock up specifically for the show. The only book I could find of a similar nature was, Man-Leopard Murders: History and Society in Colonial Nigeria by one David Pratten. The book’s blurb states that, “This book is an account of murder and politics in Africa, and an historical ethnography of southern Annang communities during the colonial period. Its narrative leads to events between 1945 and 1948 when the imperial gaze of police, press and politicians was focused on a series of mysterious deaths in south-eastern Nigeria attributed to the ‘man-leopard society’.”
Ingrid Hjort, is the Danish au pair. Hjort means deer. Get it!
Craven, the gamekeeper of sorts, is out surreptitiously looking for the escaped tiger. This is why we see him at various times and why he is following police movements.
Two people say, “It’s in the trees….” “It’s coming.” This is a reference to the Kate Bush song, The Hounds of Love and the film Night of the Demon a 1957 British horror film starring dana Andrews.
While in the maze looking for the tiger Craven realises the tiger is behind him. he says, “clever girl.” This is reference to the scene in Jurassic park when a raptor gets behind the hunter played by Bob Peck.
Max says on examining the remains of the boy: “This was no punting accident! It wasn’t a boat-propeller.” This is referencing the film Jaws.
Ricky Martin, the young man who appeared at first to have drowned is named after the tiger in the novel, Life of Pi.
The maze is a photoshop.
The tiger was photoshopped into many of the the scenes at the end in the maze. In an interview with D.M. Barcroft, Russell Lewis said.
DAMIAN: It’s obviously credit to the special effects team that I’m even asking this question but what exactly was shot with a real tiger and what was CGI?
RUSS: It was all real tiger, clever editing, and ‘comping’. We did a two-day shoot with the real Shere Khan, at a sanctuary rather than transporting it to set. Its well-being was paramount, and we didn’t want filming to disturb its regular life and habits any more that the absolute minimum. Aside from setting a couple of maze hedge walls into its enclosure, and encouraging it to take an interest in the pram – which was achieved on the rangers’ advice by loading the vehicle with its lunch – what you see onscreen is pure legerdemain.
Thanks to Paul in the comments section who mentioned the similarities to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. It had crossed my mind, but I couldn’t remember enough about the story to think of any connections. Paul wrote “Craven as Stapleton and the Mortmaignes as the Baskervilles. Obviously, the storyline isn’t exactly a match but it’s hard to avoid the comparison.”
Actors who appeared in the PREY Episode and/or Morse or Lewis or other Endeavour Episodes.
No actors in this episode have appeared in either Morse or Lewis.
Connections, other than actors, to the original Morse and Lewis series and other Endeavour episodes.
We meet Phillip Hathaway.
Phillip Hathaway is father to James Hathaway (played by Laurence Fox in the Lewis series)
We get to meet the older Phillip Hathaway in series nine of the Lewis series.
Nicholas Jones as the older Philip Hathaway in the Lewis episode One for Sorrow (Series 9, Episode 1).
In the scene in the pub at 35m with Strange and Endeavour we have two connections to the original Morse series. Strange says, “There you go. Radford’s.
That was right, wasn’t it?” Radfords brewery is the main focus of the Morse episode, Sins of the Fathers. The second connection is when Endeavour says, “Thanks. Bit cloudy.” This reminiscent of the older Morse saying a similar thing to Lewis in the episode, A Way Through the Woods.
The bridge where we see the young student and Endeavour.
This is the same bridge we see George Fancy and Trewlove kissing in the Endeavour episode, Quartet.
The Mortmaigne family also turned up in the Lewis episode, The Dead of Winter, (Series 4, Episode 1). I have been trying to piece together the family tree to this family and the following is the best I could do. The Earl of Mortmaigne Hall had four children;
Guy Mortmaigne played Ben Lambert.
Georgina Mortmaigne played by Stefanie Martini.
Julia Mortmaigne played by Amy McCallum.
and finally Augustus Mortmaigne who we don’t see in the Prey episode played by Richard Johnson in the Lewis episode.
Guy Mortmaigne states in the Endeavour episode that he is a ‘spare’ which will be a reference to the phrase, ‘heir and a spare’. This ‘spare’ is the second son who is Guy. In the Endeavour episode, Ride, Kay Belborough mentions that they are off to Kenya and staying in a house owned by Guy Mortmaigne. Is it possible that this is where Augustus Mortmaigne was during the time of the Endeavour episode?
Augustus had two children, Scarlett with his now dead wife, Jocinta and Titus with his current wife, Selena.
Scarlett played by Camilla Arfwedson
Titus played by Jonathan Bailey
In Dead of Winter Selena is Augustus’s current wife.
Then there is Philip Coleman the nephew of Augustus.
Philip Coleman played by Nathaniel Parker
Russell Lewis did write the Lewis episode some six years before the Endeavour episode. Julia Mortmaigne has a baby in the Prey episode called Milo. Is Philip, Milo’s half brother, Julia possibly remarrying sometime later? What happened to baby Milo?
Endeavour finds Thursday sitting at the bedside of Sandra Jordan.
This is reminiscent of the older Morse sitting at the bedside of Michael Steppings daughter in the Morse episode, Deadly Slumber.
At 3m30s the students learning Spanish visit a pub. I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s the The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XT.
Endeavour and Strange go out for a drink at 35m.
This is The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XT.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERERS AND THEIR WEAPON OF CHOICE.
Ingrid Hjort, Danish au pair.
Killed by a tiger. However, Georgina Mortmaigne is partly to blame. She doused Dr Lorenz’s handkerchief with female tiger musk in the hope that the tiger would kill him but unfortunately Ingrid borrowed the hankie.
The birdwatcher Dr Moxem.
Killed by a tiger.
The young boy at first deemed to have drowned, Ricky Parker.
Killed by a tiger.
Dr Hector Lorenz.
Killed by a tiger.
Another victim of the tiger.
Another victim of the tiger.
Hodges attacked Sandra in 1963 who is now in a coma.
COLLEGES USED AS LOCATIONS.
At around 2m30s the janitor tells Ingrid Hjort that the telephone is “school business, not private calls.” This reminded me of the Morse episode Masonic Mysteries. In that episode the janitor says to Beryl Newsome when she apparently receives a call during a rehearsal, “We’re not supposed to take private calls. Not really.”
Sandra Jordan was found badly beaten in 1963 and is now in a coma. In the Morse episode Deadly Slumber, Steppings’ (Brian Cox) daughter is in a coma after a botched surgery procedure.
At 15m30s Endeavour visits Turnbull’s office. There he finds shrunken heads.
This is reminiscent of the a scene in the Lewis episode, Expiation. In that episode the shrunken heads are in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
In the same scene as above we see stuffed animals, examples of taxidermy. Taxidermy plays a part in the Lewis episode One For Sorrow..
At 19m Phillip is talking to Craven. Craven says, “You know bloody well who.” Hathaway corrects him, “Whom”. This is the kind of thing James Hathaway, and the older Morse would have done.
At 22m we meet Professor Kemp.
There was a Doctor Theodore Kemp in the Morse episode, The Wolvercote Tongue.
Both characters were obnoxious and rude.
At 25m Thursday tells Endeavour a bird watcher has gone missing in Wytham Woods. Wytham Woods is most famous in the Morse Universe in its connection to the Morse episode, A Walk Through the Woods. Russell Lewis wrote the screenplay for that episode.
Professor Kemp tells Endeavour et all that Dr DeBryn has, “Fly fishing on the Tay”. (The Tay is the River Tay in Scotland). This connects, tenuously, to the Morse episode Dead on Time. In that episode a doctor who had been treating the murder/suicide victim was missing from the inquiry due to him fly fishing in Scotland.
At around one hour and six minutes Starnge comes into Fred’s office and says; “Just got off the blower with the Taffs.” This is a slang term for people from Wales.
Darrell D’Silva as Geoff Craven
Ben Lambert as Guy Mortmaigne
Peter Forbes as Hodges
Eleanor Williams as Ingrid Hjort
Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange
Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse
Milo Twomey as Dr. Hector Lorenz
John Draycott as Turnbull
Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday
Sam Coulson as Mark Bryden
Georgina Mortmaigne played by Stefanie Martini
Rob Callender as Philip Hathaway
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright
Hugh Simon as Professor Kemp
Amy McCallum as Julia Mortmaigne