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Reviews & Ratings for
"Inspector Morse" Masonic Mysteries (1990)

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31 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

My all time favourite episode! Just a classic!

10/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
4 July 2009

This episode is just brilliant, well constructed, complex and resolutely creepy. Here Morse is framed for murder, and has to find who is trying to get at him so badly. John Thaw once again is phenomenal as Morse, and Kevin Whately matches him perfectly. The main reason why this episode is so special to me, is because of the music featured, excerpts from Mozart's Magic Flute, an opera I took part in recently. The music was perfect, as Mozart himself was considered a mason, and it actually gave some weight to some tense scenes, like the fire in Morse's house with the Water and Fire duet (you also find out that Morse hates the Toscanini recording of the Magic Flute, causing him to say "I wouldn't allow it in the house"). The supporting actors were also fine, especially Diane Fletcher as Marian Brooke. My favourite though has to be Iain McDairmund as DeVries, a cool and calculating villain who does give you goosebumps. The scene when Beryl gets stabbed while on the telephone is quite terrifying, mainly because of the scream, it's enough to make your blood run cold. Anyway, DeVries is one of my favourite Morse villains, not quite as good as Keith Allen's John Peter Barrie, but convincing enough to remember him. The dialogue and the camera-work is as expected nothing short of excellent. All in all, wonderful! 10/10 Bethany Cox.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Morse is framed.

8/10
Author: bethwilliam from Port Stephens, Australia
14 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While at choir practice for The Magic Flute Beryl Newsome is called away to the phone and murdered. Morse is first on the scene and unwittingly picks up a knife which later incriminates him.

Chief Inspector Bottomley is given the case and further evidence is discovered which suggests Morse murdered Beryl Newsome in a fit of jealous rage. Also Desmond McNutt's body is found in Morse's house. McNutt is a retired police detective who turned to the priesthood.

The investigation suggests Morse is being targeted by Hugo De Vries, a convicted con man who was sent to jail in Sweden. However, the computer records show he died in prison. So who is trying to destroy Morse?

This episode is simply brilliant.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Possibly the best episode in the show's history.

10/10
Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
2 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Morse attends a rehearsal of the Magic Flute, there he discovers the body of Beryl Newsome, a lady he had become friendly with. He foolishly touches the murder weapon and becomes the number one suspect for the crime. Chief Inspector Bottomley is placed in charge of the crime, Morse has to battle against him, and pit his wits against Psycopath Hugo de Vries. Fortunately Morse has help from the faithful Lewis and old friend and colleague Desmond McNutt.

Masonic Mysteries stands out for me as possibly the best episodes of Morse, there are so many rich layers to it, finally Morse gets his arch nemesis, Holmes had Moriarty, Father Brown had Flambeau etc, every great detective needs a rival.

The regulars of course are on exceptional form, Thaw puts in a wonderfully strong showing, but as for guests, I thought Iain Cuthbertson was awesome in his admittedly small role, but Ian McDiarmid puts in one of the most memorable performances I can think of, he is utterly brilliant as de Vries, the closing scene between the two is an unbelievable moment.

Please introduce Hugo de Vries into an episode of Endeavour, how good would that be.

Look out for Mark Strong's small role as PC Mike Butterworth.

TV Gold 10/10 fabulously acted, awesome script, an episode that gets your heart rate going.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Just too daft!

5/10
Author: Rod Pickles from United Kingdom
31 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is far and away the daftest episode in the aeries. Morse accused of murder? Found with a knife in his hand? As if! The acting is over the top with certain actors. Fortunately Morse and Lewis manage to keep a straight face and bravely ensure that the show goes on! Still enjoyable tosh but the worst episode in the series.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Bad Morse

1/10
Author: Mark Burden (marqymarqy@btinternet.com) from United Kingdom
30 June 2017

Easily the second worst of Morse - coming in at a slow 32nd place to the horrendous 1993 episode Twilight Of The Gods. Why oh why why would anyone place an an iconic actor like Ian McDiarmid who can never be disassociated with Dennis Potter planted down in this episode when it's nothing like a Dennis Potter story? This whole episode is a disgusting travesty. As usual Morse is infested with the lust bug - this time for disdainful and disinterested Madeleine Newton of Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Grange Hill total lack of fame. Happily she is murdered a few minutes in - this is the only moment of pleasure in this Morse debacle. Totally wasted (in both senses) is Iain Cuthbertson. Diane Fletcher sums this whole episode by wiping a theoretical piece of dog faeces off her shoe as she exits a conversation with Morse. The producers of this episode should hang their heads in shame 1/10 Mark James Burden

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the best and worse episodes

7/10
Author: Scdower from Ireland
30 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Masonic Mysteries is considered one of the best episodes of Inspector Morse. It is also one of my favorite - and least favorite - episodes. I liked it because overall the plot is quite clever and a nice change from the usual scenario. In this episode Morse is framed for murder by (an almost cartoon like) arch-enemy he put away many years ago, with his former boss McNutt (now a vicar).

I also quite hated this episode because of the really bad acting (perhaps deliberate overacting) from Inspector Bottomly (again, almost comical) and for the inconsistent plot holes, particularly 1) why on earth would Morse - a seasoned detective - pick up the suspected murder weapon (even if he subsequently claimed that he instinctively knew it wasn't) and pick up and hug the body of the murder victim (even if he knew her and was fond of her) and 2) It appears patently obvious that Morse is being framed yet his boss CS Strange (his friend who has known him for years) and Inspector Bottomly immediately suspect Morse even as the "evidence" becomes more far fetched (e.g. Morse's stuff being all over the victims flat - why would such a brilliant detective as Morse leave such evidence and yet deny ever being there? And did they even look for his prints?). And what possible motive could he have for killing his former boss and mentor (whom it is know he greatly admired) and then leave the body in the house with music blaring on a loop? An one stage they even consider briefly that Lewis is his accomplice in double murder. Unbelievable!

Were it not for these ridiculous plot holes this could have been genuinely a fantastic episode.

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5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Morse "in a pickle."

7/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
18 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The usual format, at least so far in this series, has Morse, followed by Lewis, slouching leisurely around, scowling at the floor, mumbling to himself. The crime takes place within a limited social network, often a family. There are many scenes in which the inspector sits in someone's living room and has an elliptical conversation with another, who may have been involved. The reveal comes at the very end, usually casually, in the form of an offhand remark, and the villain is shown to be someone who has been marginal throughout the story.

The writers must have decided to try something new in this episode because the pace is far more lively than it has been previously. "Vivace" instead of "allegro", as Morse might put it.

It looks a lot more like a traditional detective mystery. Someone is out to make Morse suffer -- and he's a genius at it. Morse has his car keyed, spends time in jail, and has his house set afire. The problem is that hardly anyone is smart enough to outwit Morse, to anticipate his actions, and a computer check shows that that the one man who MIGHT be that smart died in prison in Sweden. Everywhere Morse and his colleagues turn, there is more evidence that Morse was involved in the initial murder and perhaps in the ones that followed. And why not? At the opening, Morse is about to perform in the chorus of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" when a scream is heard. Morse rushes into the adjacent room first. There is the body of a woman stabbed to death. A kitchen knife lies on the floor next to her. And what does Morse do? He lifts the dead body in one arm and picks up the knife with his other hand. When the others stumble into the room, there is the inspector leaning over a dead body with the murder weapon in his hand. If that's the best Morse can do, it doesn't take a genius to outwit him.

There are more conventional suspense-enhancing tricks in the direction and editing too. I won't bother to describe them but you'll notice them. Best acting award to Richard Kane as Morse's temporary replacement. He overacts outrageously and resembles a sort of comic version of Vladimir Putin.

The title of the story is "The Masonic Mysteries" but it has little to do with Masonry. There are references throughout to the Masons and to Mozart, who was supposed to be a Mason himself, but the heavy is a Zoroastrian. That has practically nothing to do with the plot either.

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2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Morse Meets his Moriarty

5/10
Author: Coastal cruiser (boogielight@hotmail.com) from United States
29 November 2015

It's pointless to write a review for the Inspector Morse series. Any review that, for example, chastises the Masonic Mysteries episode is heavily voted down. Apparently most folks who visit the reviews have already drunk the IM koolaid and don't take kindly to people pointing out the flaws in the episode (for me it was at the end when Lewis hears a gunshot but simply continues knocking on the front door to gain entrance. That's what I call real backup). I have not partaken of the IM Koolaid but I'm running through -and mostly enjoying- the entire series, after first discovering Inspector Lewis last year. Boy oh boy, Lewis sure put the razor in his voice after getting elected Inspector. By the way, parenthetically, is there going to be an Inspector *Hathaway* series? Sure hope so! That character cracks me up.

Anyway, regarding this episode, MM, I loved that they placed great bad guy Ian McDiarmid in the role of the antagonist. When this episode was shot Ian had turned in his two performances in the second and third Star Wars films (chronologically). He of course was buried under so much makeup in the mid-trilogy as to be unrecognizable. But I wonder if he was cast here based upon his SW performance. I'll bet a lot of folks didn't know he was in the first SW installment because even the voice under the made up face was different than here. However, Ian uses the exact same evil voice from MM later on in the third trilogy.

The other thing that struck me was that this episode was it was an analog for Sherlock Holmes' Professor Moriarty. The brilliant detectives each get out-clevered by one who is more brilliant (which always raises the question of whether evil is more powerful than good). So for me MM was quite the MMM as well.

By the way, speaking of evil, and speaking of Star Wars, what does George Lucas have to say about whether evil is more powerful than good?? Hard to say because George's commentary track, laid down for all six films, records him first noting that the dark side is NOT more powerful, but later a subsequent film has him stating it is. Alas, we are left to draw our own conclusions about the power of evil.

Although Morse actually does give us a clue... in this episode he suggests that evil may not even exist, but that evil acts do occur... Somewhat comforting, eh? Cheers

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17 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

MM stands for Masonic Mysteries -- and Morse Museum!

Author: El Cine from Southeastern Massachusetts
17 January 2010

"Don't get carried away."

This episode's writer, Julian Mitchell, wrote the screenplay for one of the best Inspector Morse (IM) films I've seen so far, Ghost in the Machine. Though played serious, that episode is something of a comic masterpiece because of its main guest character, an aristocrat who's sophisticated, composed, yet oblivious at the same time.

One wonders if Mitchell was going for comedy with Masonic Mysteries (MM), too, albeit camp comedy. That might halfway explain such a ridiculous episode. IM is no stranger to melodrama, but MM goes further than any opera ever did. When an established, relatively straight series suddenly does an episode in which its detective hero is charged with murder, well, this is the kind of thing I'd expect from a series' last season, when the filmmakers have all run out of ideas. Bizarre to see this in Season 4 of IM, preceding more than fifteen episodes, at least some of which are excellent.

Clichés are at every turn. The story is one of those melodramas in which a diabolical, omnipotent villain orchestrates just about every nightmare scenario possible to drive the hero crazy. And wouldn't ya know, no one will believe Hero's claims of innocence! Thus do Bottomley -- twittiest detective ever and way dumber than Lestrade and Japp -- and Morse's own boss of many years turn against him. Mayhem ensues, dear friends die, and no corner of Morse's home and private life are safe from invasion by the ever-lurking mastermind. The film even flirts with dragging Lewis into the same web of suspicion and suffering as Morse, but noticeably it drops this quite suddenly, as if finally sensing how silly things are.

We even get the old "If I'm not back in five minutes..." line. However, the self-dramatization may be worst when Morse actually does an interior monologue voice-over, an amazing first for IM!

Morse looks stupid overall. MM always makes a fool out of him, and in fact doesn't let him participate in events to take control and redeem himself.

This features some of the worst, most affected guest acting ever. There are many culprits, led by Bottomley; he really belongs in something like Fawlty Towers rather than IM.

The actors probably got no help from director Danny Boyle, who keeps doing his own bad work. He ruins plot twists by telegraphing them to death. He frequently chooses inexplicable camera distance. He likes shooting disjointed conversation scenes, with the characters sometimes never sharing a camera shot, or not appearing at all, as if they're not even on the same set. (Maybe editor Bob Dearberg just bore a grudge.) My favorite bit of bad staging is the part where someone uses a gun to order a sitting person around, but is clearly pointing the pistol well over the person's head.

The villain keeps a room decked out in photos of Morse, many of them blown-up and artistically cut -- the villain's own Morse Museum, perhaps the wackiest set the IM crew ever made, complete with wackiest prop, the Morse-mobile dangling from the ceiling.

Unintentional giggles come from the plot's dated use of early 90s computers. Uncomfortable to think that so many officers could've been so wide-eyed and ignorant about technology, apparently unable to comprehend the department's own computer system and what "hackers" are.

More ill-advised comedy comes when a man faints to the floor upon learning he's been robbed of thousands, a shot done for laughs. (What, no spit-take?) Morse simply watches this with Lewis, straight-faced, then makes a banal comment. The filmmakers couldn't possibly be serious.

Morse speaks for MM when he says, "I've lost my sense of reality."

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2 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Morose typically aggravated; episode has holes

6/10
Author: BILLYBOY-10 from SAN FRANCISCO, CA
18 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode drags on as usual, Morse framed by someone actually smarter and more clever than him, but the most incredible or lack of credibility occurs in the end when Morse is in a house alone with the bad guy who has a gun at him and Lewis, per instructions, approaches the house and rings the bell and then begins banging on the door and yelling and banging and yelling and ringing and banging and yelling and ringing over enough time for Morse to have been killed and buried. Then when it seems the protagonist has killed himself, Morse bends down and leaves the gun for all of 5 seconds to answer the door and enough time for the bad guy to jump up, run to Lewis' car and speed away. Lewis left the keys in the car. What an idiot. Whole things is full of holes and unbelievable. Who writes this?

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