|Index||3 reviews in total|
The Ghost in The Machine is a beautifully constructed episode, and is up there with Morse's best. It is hugely advantaged by stunning scenery, that house especially was a revelation. There is also a lovely soundtrack, Puccini's Tosca in one scene was very powerful and later proves significant. The plot consists of an aristocrat going missing, as does his paintings. He is later found dead, but the question is did he commit suicide or was he murdered? The episodes also uncovers vulgar art, another murder, and pornography. Thaw and Whately are excellent, and Patricia Hodge was excellent as the wonderfully sophisticated and composed Lady Hanbury. Michael Thomas is very handsome as McKendrick, and I liked the lady who played the french maid Michelle. If I have one minor criticism, it would be I do kind of miss Peter Woodthorpe as Max, though Amanda Hillwood was lovely as Dr Russell. All in all, excellent. 10/10 Bethany Cox.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A well-executed episode in which Morse and Lewis are caught up in a
couple of murders at one of England's stately homes, and stately
gardens and mausoleums too.
This one has more humorous touches than most but it's the sort of humor that requires your vigilance. Morse makes some grumbling remark about the tabloid media and adds -- "All these Australians." Most of the smiles though depend on Morse's snottiness towards the affable Lewis and his lack of sophistication.
Example: the aristocratic head of the manor had a good chance of a promotion at a fictional college at Oxford University. His wife intended to leave him because "I simply couldn't follow him and become mistress." Says a startled Lewis: "WHA'?" Morse wrinkles his nose, turns disdainfully to Lewis and explains that the head of the college would be a "Master" and therefor his wife would be a "mistress." Morse teaches Lewis how to spell "desperate" and gives its Latin derivation. He also taught ME how to spell "desperate" because I kept getting the spelling mixed up, just as Lewis did. I've had the same trouble with "devastate" but I now can spell THAT word correctly as well, because I've learned that that canard of a second vowel is different from the one in "desperate." Okay, let's see. I think that takes care of my orthographic weaknesses.
The lady of the house is Patricia Hodge and she's marvelous as the icy and unflappable leptosome that the maid addresses as "M'lady." Whew. Nothing rattles her. Nothing challenges her innate sense of superiority to everyone and everything. I was trying to imagine what it would be like to make love to her and I think I came to understand why her bedroom and her husband's were fifty feet apart. Morse explains it as a convention of the nobility but I think we can all put ourselves in hubby's place. Hodge has a face full of elongated features that fit the role precisely. She was also a convincing and distant aristo in Sherlock Holmes' "The Adventure of the Second Stain." Max, the pathologist, is missing from this episode. He had a stroke. Don't worry; it was minor and he'll soon be back at work. Morse tritely expresses some sympathy but isn't exactly broken up over the matter, especially when his temporary replacement turns out to be a rather attractive young woman.
What a nice country house -- and huge too. I couldn't afford to buy the doormat.
The mystery itself is unmemorable, but that's okay. Instead, we get
more of a focus on the characters. This episode pares it down to the
basics - lots of Morse and Lewis banter, a reasonably-paced
investigation, not too many suspects, a crazy-complex solution (but,
for once, fairly comprehensible.) Max has made his exit, and Morse's
first multiple-episode love interest has appeared in the person of Dr.
Russell. She is a sort of Laura Hobson prototype, but doesn't get too
much time here, since this is really a buddy- cop episode.
Lewis, usually Morse's long-suffering dogsbody, manages to not only get in quite a few zingers at his grumpy boss, but essentially solve the case. He refuses to let favoritism (towards, say, beautiful rich women) cloud his vision. Thaw and Whately are at their best here, having by now established a solid rapport. Also very good is the chilly lady of the manor.
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