On his doctor's orders Poirot has gone to stay in the seaside resort of Brighton, where he is frequently mistaken for Lucky Len, who gives out money on behalf of a newspaper to people who recognize him. Poirot is staying at the Metropolitan hotel, as are Mr. Opalsen, a theatrical producer, and his wife who is an actress starring in a play at a local theatre. A set of valuable pearls which Mrs. Opalsen wears in the play is stolen from her room, and suspicion falls on her maid Celestine, who was in the room next door. Celestine loves Andrew, the impoverished young author of Mrs. Opalsen's play but they cannot afford to get married and she is accused of taking the jewels to finance their marriage. Poirot solves the case and unmasks the real culprit, being rewarded by Opalsen and getting a bonus when he identifies the real Lucky Len. Written by
don @ minifie-1
Ladies and gentlemen. When the Russian actress and dancer Natalya Dolzhenko made Salomé in 1908, she wore a necklace made of magnificent pearls given to her by the czar. Last week, at an auction in Paris, I paid three hundred thousand francs for that same pearl necklace. My wife is going to show it to you now.
[Margaret Opalsen steps up onto the stage and removes her stole, revealing the necklace]
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, our new play premières here, at your beautiful ...
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S5: A little weaker than normal in plotting and some aspects of delivery, but still Poirot and enjoyable as such overall
As far as I can see, this fifth season of Poirot is the last one that has a "normal" season structure of episodes screened weekly over a few months; after this it appears that each season is made up of several one-off feature length episodes which were screened often many months apart. I'm not sure what the reason for the change but the fifth season is a little bit off although I'm not entirely sure why, and must note that I did still enjoy it as a whole. Generally the season has everything that I have enjoyed thus far about the series; good humor, good performances, locations and sets well done and generally a professional air to the whole thing. Okay I find each passing season tends to downplay the more obvious comedy and laughs that the earlier seasons had, but it is more a matter of balance than anything else.
The problem I had with this season was that the cases tended to be the more flamboyant rather than accessible. They still mostly work but I was surprised by how many times in the season we had supernatural elements, whether they be curses, hypnosis, spiritualists and the like. It isn't that these things are the foundation for those narratives, but they felt out of place in a show I have enjoyed for following the logic and observations of Poirot rather than jumps. Likewise some of the plots didn't really develop in a way that it was necessarily easy to go along with I do like the drawing room reveal aspect, but I like to be close behind rather than as surprised as the people in the room. Generally everything still works but there are one or two slightly weaker episodes in here.
The production standards remain very high though and of course the performances are strong from the main cast. Suchet is a bit tighter than in previous seasons but still can deliver the slightly pompous comedy when he gets the chance, I continue to love him in this role. He is well supported by Fraser, who is always fun, and Jackson, who doesn't quite have the material of Fraser but still. Moran I can take or leave but she does have some nice moments in this season. The supporting cast each week produces some familiar faces but doesn't ever feel like deliberate cameos which distract or detract.
Season 5 isn't as strong as previous seasons but it still delivers enough of the usual good fare to do more than work for fans. It will be interesting to see how (if at all) the change to more of a feature-film approach to the show affects it in terms of content and approach, and I look forward to watching through those.
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