Showing posts tagged with “Inspector Morse”
Yeah, so guess which dimwit decided to watch The Remorseful Day and then follow it up by watching Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case?
I think my tear ducts are actually broken now.
Some Peter Jakes-related rambling (with some added theories about Strange.)
Because it’s rare indeed that a piece of television can move me deeply enough that I’m upset to think about it days later.
So after thinking about it, another part of the reason I’m so sad about Jakes (apart from, y’know, everything) is that he doesn’t get the closure he deserves, not yet. He doesn’t get to see Deare go down. He does love Thursday, in his own weird filial way (the body language in the Trove pub scene just *screams* something, “the old man" reference), but nightmares beyond his control ensure that he can’t enter Blenheim Vale.
As far as Thursday’s considered, he gets shot and may die still thinking that Jakes is one of the traitors, that his weirdness around the evidence is a sign of dodginess, not because he was a victim.
But consider - way back after Home, the season finale for the first series of Endeavour, Russell Lewis received many well-deserved plaudits, but one of the ones that stuck out and was mentioned again and again in interviews was Lewis’ ability to hold back, to refrain from doing what another writer, the audience, or even the traditional narrative, might expect him to do. In that case, it was refraining from the traditional emotional speech between dying father and son, and just leaving the crucial moment with a shot of Shaun Evans fussing with his hands, confused and silent. It wasn’t as dramatic as you might expect, but it was all the more moving because of it.
And after some reflection and a lot of wailing, I think that’s what’s happened here. What the audience and Narrativa expects is that Jakes will have his moment of closure. If you look at the twitter timeline for Jakes during the finale, it was full of “go on, Little Pete!” “come on, Jakes, do it for Pete” and “A41” and so on. In my house, even up till the point that Angela appeared, people were convinced Jakes was the shooter. By all rights, Jakes should have seen the monster from his nightmares go down forever.
We, as an audience, expect that the one who has been wronged should have that moment of closure. What we’re used to from traditional drama practically demands it – character undergoes deep and terrible trauma, character comes back and faces the evil along with the Big Damn Hero, character has his moment and is Suddenly Magically Free to Move On, After a Few Thoughtful One-Liners, Cue Theme Music.
Russell Lewis avoided that. All we’re left with is a single, understated shot of a drunk Jakes in absolute torment (seriously, though, someone give Jack Laskey a BAFTA), smoking his characteristic cigarettes (but with a longer pull on the firey/ashy bit - I’m not a smoker so forgive the very technical terminology - does anyone know if that’s somehow symbolic? Maybe it shows that he’s almost as burned out as that cig?).
And that, again, is more realistic, more moving, and more hard-hitting a choice. Because in real life, nothing is quite that ordered or glib. People do not magically get closure by joining in a Good Guys Face the Oddly Talkative Villain moment. Often, victims of trauma will find it hard to even accept what happened - as millefleur12 pointed out in this amazing on-point meta here, this is literally the first time Jakes has even spoken out loud about his abuse. Or admitted it to himself. He’s been in a sort of denial. In many ways, his coping mechanism was similar to Angela’s, just to a lesser extent. Angela’s brain blocked out the fact that it ever happened, while Jakes’ decided to never ever dwell on it. When this support system fell away, the sudden overwhelming emotion was enough to drive her to suicide. From that viewpoint, as heartbreaking as it is to see him collapse so completely, it’s more believable that he needs time to even be able to get up from that table. This moment is overwhelming for him.
While we, as an audience, would have felt “~better~” (for lack of a more appropriate word) if he had joined Morse in facing down Deare, Russ Lewis has refrained from that trope, and it’s more thought-provoking drama as a result.
- Also. Plot wise. There has to be a reason for all the characters being where they are at that point in time.
- Deare is now dead.
- That means Morse’s main nemesis is going to be Chard and his merry band of shadowy Masons/I don’t even know what they are, powerful middle-aged men in suits.
- Chard does not know Jakes’ secret, and I doubt that Deare told him. There’s no-one left to ID Jakes as a Blenheim boy - faces change over time, and as was mentioned quite a lot, he was one of the youngest children there - as far as Chard is concerned, Jakes is “on his side.”
- Jakes, on the other hand, is very likely to know that Chard and Deare are/were working together, or to find this out at some point, whether from Chard himself, or from someone else. Perhaps he already was aware of Chard being “Deare’s man”, and still kept up the pally demeanour -either out of self-preservation or common sense. I think Lewis has set up the stage so that Jakes can now upset the apple-cart full of bad apples - while disguising himself as one.
Finally - a thought about Strange. I’m beginning to think that he’s already made his choice. He knew full well how Tommy Cork got into Blenheim Vale, he saw it. And yet, when talking to Bright, he deliberately frames it so that it looks like Tommy Cork could have just wandered there, that “he has no recollection of how he got there”. This allows them to get the child out of the Deare collective’s clutches, and back to his mother, where he’d be (relatively) safe(r). Maybe he spoke to Tommy in a hidden scene, before bringing him out to Bright, and told him to keep his powder dry? Or maybe did go to see Bright with the paper, and he’s in on it. It might be that Morse has a collective of people placed to help him, but each not knowing what the other is up to.
I think it was thepudupudu who first pointed this trope out, though I’m going to have to hunt back through the tags to find their post, but one day I would love to see a fanfic where Jakes really is The Only Sane Man. Where maybe, just once, the case runs round something complex and mysterious and intricate, but the real breakthrough comes with Jakes doing something completely and utterly banal. :D
Following on from that last reblog: Why Endeavour makes The Remorseful Day so much more painful. Or, a ponderous and pointless ramble about why I find Inspector Morse ultimately sadder than other detective series, or something.
This thingy has been milling about in my head ever since Endeavour came out, but the last chapter of chloesengel's amazing, amazing fic has finally prompted me to write it out. I apologise for how rambly it got. I’m probably due a reread of the books, because I have a feeling I might or might not interpreting Morse’s character as slightly more dissatisfied with his lot than he is.
So basically The Remorseful Day on its own nearly killed me. However: ever since Endeavour has begun airing, it somehow makes the “tragedy of Morse” seem even more heartbreaking.
His death in TRD is already one of those rare fictional ones that genuinely hurt. I can take most character deaths by rationalising ‘it’s just a character’ but The Remorseful Day will always have me in tears. From the moment that Faure’s requiem begins on that college lawn (and ouch, that location) to the last shot of the city skyline, it’s a punch to the heart. To compare it to two other famous detective deaths - when Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett went off the Reichenbach Falls, it hurt, but the viewer knows that ACD’s universe is just fantastic enough that this isn’t really it. Or for a more comparable death - when David Suchet’s Poirot died at the end of 25 year run in Curtain, it was heartbreaking, but it’s still an episode you can come back to and not feel raw - Poirot has come to the end of a long and happy life, with all the friends he wanted and done all that he set out to do. In contrast, when you add Endeavour to Inspector Morse, you get 42 episodes that create a sort of tragic character arc.
By “tragedy of Morse” I don’t necessarily mean that Morse is a constantly angsty universe, or that he’s the fictional detective with the worst luck, or that anything nonsensically awful happens to him on a daily basis. I think part of the genius of Morse is that Dexter has written a character whose tragedy is something all too common, almost banal, but all the more heartbreaking for it - Morse is ultimately doomed to die unfulfilled. It’s something everyone can identify with. We all have dreams, and thwarted dreams, we all have regrets and fears that our lives will not work out exactly how we’d like it, we all have little foibles and not-so-little character flaws that affect our lives and how they pan out. What hits me with Morse is that things did not work out for him - in more than one area of his life.
- At the end of the Endeavour pilot, we see that he briefly considers going back to get his degree, but in the end is persuaded against it. Probably the right decision, but it does affect him slightly, the dreams of the potential for another life, the curiosity from those who would have been his peers.
- His absolute incorruptibility and inability to be anything other than straightforward/get along with the higher-ups means that he doesn’t get the position that he should get - his intelligence means that he should really have gotten further than he did. But he’s prickly, irascible, and until Lewis comes along it looks like he’s worked alone for years. Now, obviously, he enjoys his job as a Chief Inspector, and possibly a desk life wouldn’t have suited him.
- —- Contrast this to Strange – he may not have the intelligence that Morse has, but he knows who to make connections with, he’s affable, and even though he starts off at a slightly “lower rank” (not sure how to put it: DC vs PC) than Morse, at some point in the next 40 years. The same goes for Jakes, barring anything happening to him in the next two episodes. Now, obviously, he enjoys his job as a Chief Inspector, and possibly a desk life wouldn’t have suited him. But it does mean that Thursday’s hopes for Morse at the end of the pilot are doomed from the off.
- Romantically, too, he’s unfulfilled, and this is the one that really makes TRD and the whole thing with Adele Cecil painful. From the first time we see him, to the first time we hear his backstory, to the last, all Morse wanted was love. (And sex, in some of the earlier books but I am ignoring that for now because I’m due a reread.) He never gets it. Every single one of his relationships fizzles out, is broken off, or just does not work out. (I’m writing this pre-Sway so I’ve no idea what happens with Monica Hicks.)
- —- This is contrasted with the happy family life that Thursday has, that Strange is aiming at, and later, Lewis has, it stings. Because love, a human relationship, is something that Morse keeps aiming for, and every time he’s beaten, he tries again. Even if he doesn’t realise he’s doing it. Unluckily for him: Morse’s Law.
- And also the whole health and diabetes and not-alcoholism thing which I’m also not going to touch, because I’m not sure I know enough about it or if the real ale/drink in a mug thing counts as a fatal flaw or a character foible or even if some people would consider that dangerous or just a product of his time. Basically – 59 is a bit young, and I suspect it’s a mixture of avoidable and unavoidable.
- —- I’ve no idea where Jakes’s character arc will lead, but there’s an interesting parallel to be made between the two rivals and their smoking/drinking. Both are very much products of their era. (And chloesengel fic makes a brilliant point of it. You should all read it, even if you aren’t Jarsers. Just saying.)
Basically, though, Endeavour takes all of this, and somehow makes the feelings worse. We as an audience end up watching Endeavour grow – but unlike other characters, we know what the end result is going to be. It’s fixed. We can’t hope or wonder about Thursday’s “who knows?” at the end of FBTW, because we as an audience already know. And I think it feels almost intrusive of us? When there are small moments of dramatic irony in the script or when Morse references something like the Radcliffe or looks at that red jag or takes his first pint – it feels wrong of us as an audience to know how this young man’s life is going to pan out, when he does not. Like the old saying about if ‘knowing the date and time of your death’…
And he is a young man. Despite the hammering that young Endeavour has taken from life – with Susan, in Home, etc, he’s still a young man, and still full of hope and vigour, and while he’s already middle-aged and set in his ways when we meet him in Jericho, seeing him like this is incredibly bittersweet. I think when they announced the Endeavour series, some people said that the character shouldn’t be reopened, that this series would demystify him and ruin him. I disagree – I think it’s added to our knowledge of the character. But also made it a whole lot more heartbreaking when the end does come.
Tl:dr - 1) It’s not fair. 2) Life isn’t fair. 3) [Please, please let me get what I want plays softly in the background.]
So I was about to make a joke about the potentials for an Endeavour/Secret Sharer crossover, one where Jakes finally snaps with the general weirdness that follows his junior colleague round on even the most banal of cases, and runs off to sea, or something…
But then it dawned on me that this version of TSS (out in June 2014) seems to be set in the modern day so that’s not going to work. So I’m leaving you all with a random photo of Jack Laskey looking cool in naval gear.
Okay, this recurring theme with the creepy gloves fondling masonic evidence in Endeavour was a nice-shout out to Inspector Morse at first, but now is worrying me. Is this going to be a Chekov’s gun type thing? Is the implication that it’s Strange randomly picking up rings and notebooks? Or, since in the second incidence he’s at the pub, could it be Bright? I can’t think of anyone else who wears gloves…
Seriously, though, Morse getting annoyed at the pompous academic and intervening on Strange and Jakes’s behalf by smacking him down with his knowledge was wonderful.
Partly because yeah, righteous irony, and partly because while his academic intellect separated Morse from his comrades in arms before, he uses it to side with them here and it was just so charming :D
(Also, Jakes’s gleeful parting shot at Thursday ‘It’s just like old times!’. Almost like camaraderie.)
Twenty years apart.
The casting for the young versions is spectacular - they have everything correct, right down to the hand-mannerisms. (Also, now that we know just how long Strange and Morse have known each other, it makes The Remorseful Day very, very poignant.)
The appropriate response when a beautiful young lady asks you to go to bed with her, definitely, Baby Morse.
Dear Ladies and Gents of Tumblr,
I give you this man! Shaun Evans!
Shocked Baby Morse is shocked, I tell you.
Sobbing because I’ve been overcome with Morse feels of a sudden.
Oh no, Baby Morse, don’t you know the first rule of the Morse fandom? If DC/I Morse so much as smiles at a lady of the female persuasion, she’s toast. She’ll either end up dead, a killer, aiding the killer, knowing the killed, killing the killer, or killing the dead* before the hour is out. It’s inevitable.**
*I’m sure this particular odd variant happened at least once.
**Excluding Adele Cecil, I suppose, but since we know how that ended, she doesn’t count.