All the previous episodes ranged between great to brilliant. Like "They Fought in the Fields", "A War of Nerves" is very good and at its best marvellous but also slight notch down, being a very good high in quality episode but, slightly disappointingly, not quite up to the consistent greatness shown previously. As clichéd as this sounds, even when 'Foyle's War' was not at its best it was much better than a lot of shows at their weakest with none of the episodes being what one would deem "bad". Like with many 'Foyle's War' episodes, on re-watch there was much more appreciation had for how well established the character development, tone and themes are and things that didn't quite connect entirely at first made more sense on re-watches.
Even for a deliberately paced series, there are occasions where the pace is a little too drawn out particularly in scenes consisting of the shipyard mystery. Peter Capaldi's un-40s look takes one out of the otherwise evocatively rendered period somewhat too.
With that being said, "A War of Nerves" is an excellently executed episode otherwise. Have always admired the visual detail that went into 'Foyle's War' and how high quality the production values are, with beautiful costumes, the evocative way the characters are made up, the look of the houses and cars, pretty locations and authentic-looking scenery. The music is in keeping with the mood and doesn't overpower the drama while still making an impact.
Writing is intelligent, sophisticated and thought-provoking, establishing Foyle's personality with so much depth already and providing some tense and heart-tugging moments. The story has its issues, but is still compelling and never dull. It does require full attention as ever, and is mostly very clever and intriguing, pacing itself deliberately but as ever with a lot happening things don't feel dull. Some nice twists and turns and the ending is unexpected. All the conflicts, social/ethical themes and how the period is portrayed are handled beautifully and tastefully and there is a real sense that war itself is a central character and its dark nature is explored very well here.
One thing that wasn't picked up by me but now is and admired hugely is the tackling of what was seen as truths but some really misconceptions and seeing British during the war in a new light. This was a bold move and dealt with a lot of honesty and tact. The background information is so well researched and is every bit as interesting as the mystery itself. The character tensions were also handled very well and added a lot of intrigue, such as Foyle's one with his boss.
Michael Kitchen is truly superb as Foyle, subtle, intensely determined, commanding and above all human. One of the most interesting television detectives there's ever been and Kitchen has rarely been better. Honeysuckle Weeks is charming and loyal, with some nice touches of subtle humour as ever, and Anthony Howell is wonderful, the character has always been developed very well and Howell continues to come into his own with each episode.
The supporting acting is all very solid, with the most colourful being Peter Capaldi, though no real "among the best supporting performances of the series" standouts.
All in all, very good but there are other episodes that are a better representation of how wonderful the series is. 8/10 Bethany Cox
This is okay if not essential viewing for Capaldiwatchers. He plays a Communist journalist who's staying at a ritzy local hotel with his Frida Kahlo lookalike girlfriend. He's nice and the only hint you have that he's a Communist is he goes around without a tie and his shirt collar unbuttoned, even in the hotel restaurant. He's got his hair in the Malcolm Tucker Tintin he was wearing around that time. Nothing particularly forties looking about him.