Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We have a two-track investigation here, as Sergeant Troy, now promoted
to Inspector Troy, is given the throw-away case of an old hermit being
harassed by local hooligans (called "yobs") while DCI Barnaby goes off
to the scene of a cave-in at a local canal work, where his wife Joyce
is volunteering and his daughter Cully is doing PR work. The excellent
Cherie Lunghi had little to do as the mother of one of the yobs, and
the interesting part of the episode for me was the focus on the hermit
and his interaction with the local wildlife.
Tom Barnaby's research into the history of the canal and his leap from blacksmiths to the more recent victim found at the site of a mid-19th Century cave-in seemed like a leap too far. I agree with another reviewer that it seemed inconsistent for Barnaby to take the local lord and the former constable to task over their actions surrounding the earlier slaying when he then essentially does the same thing. However, the ending "felt" right, just as the midstream confession by one of the characters "felt" wrong to Troy.
The ending, with the hermit once again in the woods and surrounded by the animals who felt at ease with him, was worth the price of admission.
It actually took me several days to watch this episode -- not because it was good, but because (knowing the ending from other reviews) I kept putting off watching the last bit of the show. Willy and Rollin Hand are nowhere to be seen (given Rollin's customary by-play with Cinnamon, he would have gotten in the way of the plot), and there is very little for Barney or Dan Briggs to do. It's really Cinnamon's show and she goes to town with it. Eric Braeden (or Hans Gudegast as he was here) was very effective as the spy (and so gorgeous to watch even if he is a bit young for his fearsome reputation as a manipulative killer). The byplay between Braeden and Cinnamon would have made a good foundation for a chick flick of the time; knowing that they were fencing from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain added a treacherous undercurrent to their interactions. The surrounding plot line, though, was thinner than thin.
This had some of the worst writing I have ever seen in the Midsomer
"Be there or be in deep doo-doo!" And this is what passes for threats amongst co-conspirators? Really. And the offhand comments from the other co-conspirator -- stiffen the Prussian Guard? steady the Buffs?
They did manage some clever diversions, with the trustee leading an assault against the awards ceremony and the subplot of some money skimming, and the separate attempt to interest Barnaby in leaving the copper's life and taking up crime fiction. Those would be worth one star. Watching Scott seethe at the sight of Cully being chummy with the local bad boy turned writer was also entertaining -- I was always pleased to watch the seasons with Scott as DS to Tom Barnaby.
However, the other stars are given for the one saving grace in the episode, the elegant work by the actress playing Camilla Crofton, Susan Engel, who made her role of the sidelined writer of historical fiction quite believable. The actress playing the young author, on the other hand, looked like a survivor of recent and poorly-done facial plumping.
It's a rare Midsomer where you find yourself routing for the killer at the end, but on this one I was definitely on the side of the killer.
I had high hopes for this series -- that, unlike the original, it would
concentrate on crime without descending to wallow in the
stomach-churning gore of the stalker and sexual predator. I stopped
watching the original at basically the same point where Mandy Patinkin
gave up. While the first few shows of this series showed interesting
but deadly killers (the nurse, the abandoned son, the sniper son,
etc.), with this episode the show pivots to the cold, disfiguring
I give the show three stars for the strength of the cast, both the regulars and the guest stars; the adult children of one of the missing women are particularly affecting in their concern and guilt.
However, this is the point where I, like Mandy Patinkin, say -- too much gore, too much sadism. Enough.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Red herrings galore in this episode, and we are left with little
satisfactory explanation for the rampant killings. A bit of blackmail
seems to set the killer off, but there's no real satisfactory reason as
to why the villain keeps on killing (and skulking about looking for
more people to kill). As another reviewer noted, the obvious suspect
has to be ruled out by any regular watcher of the show, on the grounds
that he's so obvious, he can't be guilty.
The show marks the debut of Detective Sergeant Scott. Count me as one glad to see the last of Sergeant Troy, with the running gag of his cloth-headedness and poor driving skills. The new Sergeant, even with the undercurrent of resentment at being banished to the hinterlands from London, takes hold immediately. He's a lot easier to watch as well. Time will tell if he grows into a good working relationship with DCI Barnaby, although with the magic of IMDb to tell us that he lasted for only a few episodes, the answer is probably - no.