Following on from last week’s episode, this conclusion to the ongoing mystery provides not just a satisfying end to the central story but also has us say goodbye to one of our regular cast.
“It was an apparently impossible murder.”
The central mystery has a real freshness to it and helps the episode immensely. Much like last week, we are led to believe it is one main suspect and then our expectations are completely (and expertly) subverted in a heartbreaking third act twist. Some of the stuff you will see coming, but this episode definitely has a few great surprises.
The usual twists apply including a case of hidden paternity, a smuggling operation and a tragic back story relating to one of the suspects childhood traumas and their link to the original murder. This is a particularly sad aspect to the story and one that does make you feel some sympathy for the murderer.
Cast-wise we get to see more of the lovely Amy Beth Hayes (Mr Selfridge) and Luke Newberry (In the Flesh) as well as a strong, almost sinister performance from Henry Pettigrew as Dominic. With the guest cast so strong, they could easily have held the episode together. However, while this is a well balanced and well cast affair, with some lovely performances, the episode really belongs to Humphrey (Kris Marshall).
“I very much hoped you’d have chosen me.”
In his final episode, Kris Marshall puts in a lovely, nuanced performance, which is both steely and heartfelt in equal measure. This is backed up by the sweet chemistry he has with Sally Bretton’s Martha as he struggles to tell her how he feels and ultimately chooses to stay with her in London.
It’s a great swan song for the character of Humphrey (who always seems to have been ruled by his heart), but also shows what a great job Marshall has done in his four years in the show. Taking over and seeing out the established original team of Ben Miller (and indeed Sara Martins) we forget how much he has added to the show. He will be missed.
“Which of the wolves will win? The one you feed.”
This leads us nicely onto his replacement, Jack Mooney, played artfully by Father Ted actor Ardal O’Hanlon. His background in British comedy is certified so he lights up the screen with his comic material, but is actually just as affecting in the episode’s more poignant, dramatic moments.
It certainly feels like we know him already with him recalling how he lost his wife and raised his daughter (who is joining him in Saint Marie). In a particularly sweet scene between him and Marshall, O’Hanlon’s performance becomes the hook that keeps us watching and actively encourages Humphrey to go after Martha.
And so, with a quick jaunt to London, the tone of the show changes yet again.
O’Hanlon looks set to bring a different dynamic as the show’s third bumbling Brit detective and luckily we have a couple of episodes yet to bed him in before this season comes to an end.
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 9 February 2017 on BBC One.
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