DATELINE: Night at the Opera
Shaun Evans, not Groucho.
To kick off the seventh season of egghead murder mystery, Endeavour once again turns to star hotshot, Shaun Evans, to direct the first episode of Endeavour.
He is even better the second time around: with aplomb when it comes to set-ups, color, and the new modern police office settings. He seems to have wasted time filming in Venice for a few scenes that could have been faked without much notice in a studio. Producers even created an opera for the clueless.
The series has grown darker, starting with Endeavour’s heavy narrative opening about the comedy and tragedy he is about to face. Even his boss, Thursday, is now fed up with grisly killings and his humor is turning sour while Morse goes on vacation to Venice.
The episode is over-wroughtly titled “Oracle” when “Psychic” would have done well.
It’s 1970 now, and a waitress at the New Year’s bash is killed walking home from work. It is the heavy-handed start of women’s equal rights—and it is played historically nasty. Most men of the era saw it as a fad and did not take it seriously. If you use this show as history, you see something far more sinister.
Crime goes on, even at Oxford’s new fangled psychic research center where remote viewing experiments are in their infancy.
The red herrings, as usual, pile up in this show, which now have caught Roger Allam’s Thursday short-tempered.
Endeavour (Evans) remains the kiss of death, or so we suspect, as he succumbs to an operatic affair in Venice that is over before vacation ends.
There are a few intrigues that may trip you up: an old former classmate, a millionaire bon vivant seems gay and has an interest in Endeavour, and who could blame him? However, it is the petty jealousy of fellow detective Jim Strange (Sean Rigby) that is most amusing.
Psychic research is given a once-over effectively here and respectfully. If you don’t have it, you can’t fake it—and the ending is going to be a surprise for most.
The series is now in serial form, not self-contained mystery. The three-parts will meld into one.