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I wanted to write a review on the 'Allegory Of Love' after seeing it
for a second time last night and believing that it might be my
favourite Morse/Lewis show ever (big call, I know). When I stumbled
upon the reviews on here I was shocked. Fans do not like this episode!
What the? Perhaps this is a sign that I still haven't grown up! I loved
the fantasy aspects of this storyline, and as these great murder
mysteries often do, the wonderful use of metaphor. For me, the love of
Morse/Lewis is not based around correctly guessing the guilty party (or
sometimes parties), but of simply taking in the interesting characters
on the movies, and the wonderful (and often harsh) truths that are
spoken about human behaviour and personality.
Though I must admit that I rarely correctly select the murderer anyway!
Morse was always driven by great characters and wonderful writing. Endeavour and Robbie were a marvellous combination - as much as anything else because they were so different. Even if the case itself wasn't too fascinating, the byplay between the two leads was always entertaining in itself, and of course the actors did a terrific job in their roles.
I am very impressed with what has been made of the Lewis series. I mean, how do you replace an iconic character such as Morse? You can't really, but the new lead of Hathaway is a very good try (not to replace Morse directly, but to keep up the high standards of the Morse shows). Again, it is the differences in character between he and Lewis which give the shows much of its appeal.
Lewis can be viewed as being a bit prettier I suppose than the Morse classics, but that doesn't always mean that it is less gritty. I wonder if the show will last the 33 episodes that Morse did? I hope that it does, though only if the high standards can be retained - which I believe was certainly achieved in 'Allegory Of Love.' The murder suspects were pretty much all wildly engaging characters (but I don't mean lovable) and the whole story within a story was to me, wonderful. I believe that the pieces of this story all came together perfectly in the end, and I would encourage any murder mystery fan to see this, even if they haven't seen another Lewis episode before.
Maybe I'm biased. I do love the Chronicles of Narnia.
But if I did have my own special box of treasures then I'd try to spare some room to store this DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A beautiful, ethereal Czech woman Marina is bizarrely murdered with a
Gothic mirror. Lewis and Hathaway have a host of suspects, including
the famous and talented writer, Dorian Crane, his obnoxious lecturer
Professor Norman Deering, his colleague Professor Hamid Jassim, and a
young fan of Gothic games Hayden Wishart.
One of my favourite of the Lewis episodes, from the very beginning, the beautiful, artistic opening, featuring Marina and the horse, it helped set her up as the perfect, soft, fantasy victim. The story is wonderfully clever, very different, it definitely feels like part of the Morse umbrella. It is beautifully acted, James Fox, Art Malik and Anastasia Hille are great value, all create excellent characters. The show stealer is Selina Cadell who is magnificent in the role of the drunken Professor Rutherford.
Even Jean Innocent is seen out of the Office, shock horror.
A wonderfully clever, character driven story.
Hearing about 'Lewis' for the first time when it first started, there
was a big touch of excitement seeing as 'Inspector Morse' was and still
is one of my favourites but also a little intrepidation, wondering
whether the series would be as good. The good news is, like the prequel
series 'Endeavour', 'Lewis' is every bit as good as 'Inspector Morse'
and stands very well on its own two feet as a detective mystery and
show in general.
'Lewis' was a show that started promisingly with the pilot and Season 1. Season 2 was even better, and saw the show properly hitting its stride with things feeling much more settled in character development, consistency of writing and Innocent didn't annoy me anywhere near as much. "Allegory of Love", the premiere to Season 3, is not as bad as the negative reviewers say, though the criticisms are largely agreed with and the disappointment is understandable. There are several great merits, at the same time it could have been much better.
It is agreed that "Allegory of Love" drags with a few particularly tedious moments, and there are strands that don't really add up, in need of more explanation because parts didn't feel as clear as they could have been.
Am of the opinion that the denouement falls flat, 'Lewis' is no stranger to lacking endings before or since, but the ending in "Allegory of Love" felt obvious too early, was a little far-fetched and even more convoluted than the ending of "The Great and the Good". Usually the chemistry between Kevin Whately's Lewis and Laurence Fox's Hathaway is a huge part of the show's appeal but "Allegory of Love" agreed felt disappointing in this regard, there wasn't enough of it and it felt blandly written.
On the other hand, the acting is fine, anchored by Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox. Whately is again very good and carries the episode with aplomb, advantaged by that Lewis is much more developed and as said he has more development. Clare Holman adds a lot. Fox is a breath of fresh air in a great contrasting role that reminds one of a more intelligent Lewis in his younger days. Innocent has more to do and is more commanding, her character not as problematic as in the pilot and Season 1. James Fox, Anastasia Hille, Art Malik and particularly Selina Caddell shine in the supporting roles with intriguing characters.
Production values are of very high quality. It's beautifully shot (some of the best of the show at this point), and Oxford not only looks exquisite but is like a supporting character in itself. Barrington Pheloung returns as composer, and does a first-rate job. The theme tune, while not as iconic or quite as clever as Morse's, is very pleasant to listen to, the episode is charmingly and hauntingly scored and the use of pre-existing music is very well-incorporated.
Loved the literary references to Tolkien, Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis (all personal favourite authors of mine). The story is problematic, being muddled and with pacing issues, here but has moments where it's gripping and deliciously dark, with some of the most deliciously bizarre murders in the history of the show. A few of the twists and turns are well done.
In conclusion, could have been much better but not that bad. 6/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Allegory of Love" is written by Stephen Churchett. Need one say more?
Stephen Churchett is the writer mainly responsible for completely
annihilating Agatha Christie's novels for the dreadful series "Marple"
(not to be confused with the excellent earlier series "Miss Marple"
which thankfully Churchett had nothing to do with).
This episode of "Lewis" fares no better at the hands of Churchett. It is a case of mistaken identity involving the murder of a Czech Muslim and also that of a C.S. Lewis-admiring fantasy author. It's up to you to sort out the confusion. Not the plot (the culprit is fairly obvious at an early stage for any self-respecting whodunit buff to figure out), but the awful dialogue and the direction.
The screenplay is slow, tedious, and utterly implausible. The rapport between Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox (and the characters they play) which was evident in the Dexter/Plater episodes is completely lost here.
All the actors involved seem to sleep-walk through the drabness of the entire piece. I'm not surprised. They must have been as bored as I was. Hopefully this will be the last episode in which Stephen Churchett is involved. I wouldn't say he's a hack, but every example of his work that I've seen has been a hatchet job.
If you want to stay awake, don't watch "Allegory of Love", do something else instead. I've given it 3 stars in sympathy for the actors who had to endure the pain.
Fans of this series may wish to tune in if only to watch Laurence Fox's
interrogating his real-life father, James Fox, as one of several
suspects whom the team investigates once bodies begin to pop up in the
aftermath of a book launching ceremony just off campus at Oxford
As a point of reference, "The Inklings" indicates an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, during the 1930's and 40's, praising the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraging the writing of Fantasy elements. This historic set includes J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield and Nevill Coghill, among others, meeting at The Eagle and Child Pub.
And now, young author Dorian Crane (Tom Mison) plans to kick off his trendy "New Inklings" with a fantasy novel book launch in the lobby of the Randolph Hotel with many adoring fans and the ones who admire them in attendance.
Alice Wishart (Cara Horgan) naturally attends this event, as the fiancée of Dorian, who strings along several others on the side. In addition to the brunette Alice, there's the blonde Australian student, Melanie Harding (Louise Dylan), and the auburn haired Kelly Belford (Claire Brown), whom Dorian's foster mother, Ginny Harris (Anastasia Hille), sends away after discovering in Dorian's apartment.
Alice's relatives also attend the book launch: Doctor Jem Wishart (Adrian Lukis), her father; Hayden Wishart (Olly Alexander), her brother; Professor Norman Deering (James Fox), her uncle, and his associate Professor Hamid Jassim (Art Malik) an instructor of Comparitive Religion courses.
Marina Hartner (Katia Winter), a Bosnian call girl working at the Grapevine Bar, and residing at the Randolph, also finds herself mixed into the equation amid several other characters, including her friend Leyla Adan (Farzana Dua Elahe), who serves as a hotel chambermaid, and Oxford Professor Bernice Rutherford (Selina Cadell), who stirs a scene on a return to The Eagle and Child Pub.
And also attending the reading on the evening of the book launch, Detective Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately) and his partner, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), launch an investigation of their own, along with their team of Chief Superintendent Innocent (Rebecca Front) and Doctor Laura Hobson (Clare Holman) once the first body is discovered along the riverfront, the victim of a slashing with a symbolic broken mirror.
But it's not entirely all done with mirrors, as a second body is discovered bludgeoned with a literary trophy, and a third stabbed by C.S. Lewis' "Sword of Truth" from his "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," having been on display at the Randolph. One victim may survive to return onto the list of suspects for the other two murders, however.
So, as Detective Inspector Robert Lewis and Detective Sergeant James Hathaway hit the trail to link the secret mirror with the fantasy box to the quotation of "I ask to be no other man than I am," amid a string of suspects, hidden scandals begin to emerge, often interrupted by an irritating new plot device of the intrusive cell phone (minus points for that), Lewis and Hathaway aim for a showdown to nab the perpetrator to prevent another murder.
The cast is rounded out by Mike Burnside as Pub Landlord, Simon Kerr as Canadian Tourist, and Colin Dexter as Man leaving The Randolph.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That's Lawrence Fox's father James as Deering, by the way, and it's always a pleasure to see James ("Performance") Fox on screen, even in a role that is poorly written. But I agree with the previous poster that the Whately/Fox coupling failed to catch fire this time around. Could it be that (given some hints in the last series) the producers got cold feet about making Fox's character gay, leaving the actors and writers with no "chemistry" to play off of? That said, I loved the location shots and the music. It's also good seeing Art ("Jewel in the Crown") Malik again. But a lot of the story just didn't add up. What was the murderer trying to say with the mirror and the cane--er--I mean, sword? What was Hayden's problem? Was Deering bisexual? Like father, like son?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For a show supposedly written for an intelligent and alert audience,
the plot of this installment of "Lewis" is a big disappointment. If
Lewis and his sidekick could be bothered to do the basic footwork of
crime detection (like checking up on the alibis presented to them),
they'd have the guilty party in their sights about 35 minutes into the
show. Instead, they go off chasing all sorts of red herrings for
another three quarters of an hour before finally getting around to
asking the question they should have asked all along, which duly leads
them onto the right track in time for an arrest in minute 90. Mission
accomplished, one and a half hours of viewers' time wasted.
If you watch "Lewis" simply for its beautiful Oxford setting, you may enjoy this episode. Otherwise, I'd recommend you stay well clear of this one.
Seven out of ten simply because a muddled 'Masterpiece Mystery' still
has redeeming features: a great ensemble cast, nice sets, and
interesting camera angles. However, as our IMDb colleagues have noted,
the story drags and the chemistry isn't there between Laurence Fox and
Kevin Whately (as our inveterate DI Lewis). What makes these Brit
mysteries work is the complexity of the lead character - not a plethora
of sub-characters and possible suspects. In fact, that's what makes
only two Hollywood TV 'Mysteries' somewhat compelling: 'House', and
'Lie to Me', both played by non-USA leads.
So, for this story, we need another element to make it a compelling character study: i.e. someone accuses Lewis of improprieties; an interesting romance develops and flops, because Lewis fails to pull the trigger (Inspector Frost made a franchise out of that one!); or an old nemesis shows up to make his life miserable. None of these are terribly original, but they add depth to the tale whilst we sort through the suspects.
One of our reviewers fingers Churchett (screenplay) as the culprit. I concur that this script is sub-par, and that his 'Marple' episodes left us wondering what the heck we were watching. So, BBC - get the message?
What happened to you, "Colin Dexter"?
You used to write "Inspector Morse", which made Art of a TV series. It's impossible to summarize its merits in a couple sentences, and yet it'd be necessary to understand why Lewis is so disappointing.
Suffice to say all manipulative popular culture like TV series has its way of making us "quickly empathize with the characters, then go through some sort of prefabricated 'catharsis' through chases, dramatized situations, personal (love) interests, etc". Whereas in Morse all the "underpinnigs" of it remain secret most of the time, Lewis is all about artifice. It's like this often misquoted Hegel dictum that "history repeats itself, only in the form of farce" that I can understand Lewis. Morse is a philosophical inquiry taking place at a nostalgic Oxford. Lewis is... a bad police show.
Every 5' a new suspect pops up, all your certainties vanish, you're supposed to feel an "aha!" moment, but wait, the plot has to plod through another 90' until the most shameful psychoanalytical ripoff comes out.
Morale? Avoid like the plague. Good for laughs. Well, not even that!
PS: The Eastern Europe prostitute "Marina" dresses and walks too well to work waiting tables at a local pub. It just adds another tinge of oddity to the story.
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