Hercule Poirot accompanies his friend Captain Hastings on a weekend shooting party at the home of Harrington Pace, but he isn't having a very good time. He comes down with the flu and takes to his bed but when Pace is shot dead in his study, he rises to the occasion to assist Inspector Japp in solving the case. Pace was not very likable and treated those around him badly. He refused to acknowledge his illegitimate half brother, who worked on the family estate as the gamekeeper, refusing him even a small loan that would allow him to marry. His two nephews did not benefit from the family wealth having been told they may inherit something on this death. The solution to the case lies in correctly identifying the mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Middleton, whom Pace had hired for a month and determining her exact role in this mysterious affair. Written by
London-bound trains are running to "King's Cross", yet they are marked LMS (London, Midland & Scottish Railway) and are decked in the LMS crimson lake corporate livery. Kings Cross was the London terminal for the London & North Eastern Railway, not LMS. Instead, London-bound LMS trains ran to St Pancras, their own terminus, ironically on the other side of the street from King's Cross. See more »
S3: A bit less fun than before but still satisfyingly entertaining
The prequel special that preceded this third season was an indication that the series of Poirot was reaching a point of being something considered special by ITV something more than just a series. Indeed we know in future years the "seasons" became more standalone films delivered as events throughout the year, but the third season still retains the 10-episode structure but just feels a little different. The difference comes in the manner of delivery which is still comic but is a little bit more serious as a whole, with increased dramatics almost like the writers feel the pressure of the success and decided that a bit more gravitas was needed.
Of course this is a very sweeping statement to make because it isn't like the whole show suddenly became some dark, pompous affair with all the weight of expectations on its shoulders, but rather than I noticed that the frequent light comedic touch of previous outings in the first two seasons. Here we have a slightly more sturdy air not serious and certainly not stuffy, but it does feel more like a show with a bit of clout behind it. While I missed the lighter touches, this season mostly still provides what I was looking for. The mysteries are mostly good and accessible which is a mix important to me, I really do not enjoy being deliberately bamboozled for the sake of it just to have the rabbit pulled from the hat with no reasoning. I didn't really care much for Wasp's Nest, while the Hunter's Lodge episode had too obvious a device (although maybe it was obvious because I watch too much TV?). The majority were engaging although the one that really sticks in my mind is Double Clue, mainly because it featured another example of Poirot giving a free pass to someone something which had previously happened in the first season. The Christmas special was fun, even if the mystery itself hinged on a big dollop of convenience.
In terms of the delivery, Suchet remains really good with nicely observed mannerisms and impeccable timing whether it is a nice touch of comedy or revealing the workings in his mind he is really excellent yet again here. He continues to be well supported by both Fraser and Jackson, who are good in their roles, particularly the former. The supporting roles in this season didn't particularly grab me despite a couple which stood out for the wrong reasons, but generally everyone is solid and nobody forgets that they are just the support and not who we are there to see.
Season 3 does seem to have cut back a bit on the comedy (for sure there is not "parrot for Mr Poirot" moment in this season) but it is still very entertaining and engaging. A few weaker episodes in this run, but not by much and it remains accessible and entertaining.
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