Cyclist Greg Eddon is murdered after winning the local leg of a national race, beating team mate Mitch McCordell at the last minute.Cyclist Greg Eddon is murdered after winning the local leg of a national race, beating team mate Mitch McCordell at the last minute.Cyclist Greg Eddon is murdered after winning the local leg of a national race, beating team mate Mitch McCordell at the last minute.
After John Nettles retired and Neil Dudgeon and the new character of John Barnaby took over, 'Midsomer Murders' just hasn't been the same on the most part. Season 14 was a disappointment outside of "The Oblong Murders" and "A Sacred Trust", with "Echoes of the Dead" and "The Night of the Stag" being show low-points. Season 15 was inconsistent, being a case of starting promisingly and then took a three-episodes-in-a-row strange turn with "Written in the Stars" before finishing on a good note. Season 16 was mostly good, especially "Wild Harvest", with the only disappointment being "Let Us Prey". Season 17 was a mixed, with the first two episodes being watchable but uneven and the other two, particularly "A Vintage Murder", faring better.
Whereas "Habeas Corpus" and "The Incident at Cooper Hill" were very problematic average episodes, "Breaking the Chain" completely lacked lustre and fell flat. One of the weaker episodes of the eighteenth season, which mostly was unimpressive.
There are good things certainly. Even low point episodes like "Blood on the Saddle", "Night of the Stag", "Echoes of the Dead" and "Second Sight" were not without redeeming qualities, despite their numerous faults being much more glaring.
Production values cannot be faulted as usual. It's beautifully and atmospherically shot with suitably picturesque scenery. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the haunting theme tune is one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.
Gwilym Lee has a likable charisma, while Betty is adorable.
However, Neil Dudgeon comes over as wooden and uninvolved and displays very little chemistry with Lee, Barnaby and Nelson never seeming a cohesive double act and there is nothing playful or interesting with how they are written individually and together. Just when Barnaby and Sarah were starting to show more chemistry and a much more appealing one, that was non-existent as well. My indifference towards Kam turned to hate with "Breaking the Chain", not only is she cold and with little personality but she is also condescending (more so than her previous two) episodes and full of herself.
"Breaking the Chain's" story is weak, likewise with the far too serious and heavy script that lacks balance. There is too much padding, with most subplots either being unresolved or completely inconsequential, which added to the tedium of the pacing. It also does little with the cycling theme, taking the fun and danger out of it. The murders are not really imaginative, pretty ordinary in fact, as well as silly, even more problematic is the rushed and random ending, with motives that are ridiculous and don't make sense and one of the most underdeveloped and unlikely murderers in a long time, which screamed of it being treated like an afterthought behind the scenes. Very little is interesting about the characters and the actors struggle to do much with lacking material.
In conclusion, a pretty flat episode and a lesser one from the John Barnaby-era. 4/10 Bethany Cox
- Apr 25, 2017