If you missed it (something I suggest you don’t admit to) this week’s Murdoch Mysteries‘ episode was entitled, Excitable Chap. Here’s the synopsis:
Murdoch strives to apprehend a lecherous costumed criminal known as The Lurker, whose amorous encounters have escalated to murder.
So MM scribe Simon McNabb does a 5×5 interview and then writes a script based on my life? Seriously, substitute “criminal” and “The Lurker” for “The Hook”, and take away “murder” and what do you have?
Coincidence? I think not.
But enough of my moment of glory/immortality, let’s get down to turn-of-the-century brass tack, shall we?
ONE) Slugger is back at the plate! I cannot express my sheer giddiness at seeing Kristian Bruun on Murdoch again. MMX has seen two major players (Slugger’s a contender in my opinion and I know I’m not alone) relegated to the background. Thomas Craig and The Bruun have been conspicuous by their absence.
I get Slugger’s lack of screen time; Orphan Black is a monster of a show and The Bruun is a big supporter of indie films so he’s a crazy busy guy… but come on!
At least we’ll get more Jackson next week on the Christmas special. You have to be happy with the small victories, right?
TWO) A Murdoch/Gotham mash-up? This ep gave us an actual super villain (sort of ) in The Lurker, a turn-of-the-century costumed criminal that allowed the MM team a chance to explore Victorian sexual themes once more.
And when The Lurker’s true identity was revealed…
THREE) We got the prescription to our MM fever: More cowbell! Okay, so in this case, it was actually more James Pendrick, but that still rocks.
Let me explain. If it wasn’t for bad luck Pendrick wouldn’t have any at all. Like his enemy/ally Detective Murdoch, James Pendrick is a brilliant inventor. But unlike William Murdoch, Pendrick is vain and obsessed with winning the world’s approval.
Sadly, James Pendrick loses his patents, his inventions/formulas themselves and has a knack for being betrayed by those closest to him – especially his lovers.
Oh, and he spends as much time at Station No. 4 as a constable. Unfortunately it’s because he’s always being charged with a crime. Lucky for all of us, Peter Stebbings is one of Canada’s most underrated actors and so he knocks it out of the park every time.
As for Pendrick’s latest venture…
FOUR) The Fountain of Youth? And this led to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline that made me nervous as I watched it unfold. “Can they pull this off without jumping the shark all over the CBC?” raced through my mind.
You’d think I’d know better than to doubt Peter Mitchell and the best damn team on television by now, wouldn’t you?
This ep evolved from the hunt for The Lurker to the discovery of the Fountain of Youth – which was then stolen by (wait for it!) a trusted member of Pendrick’s inner circle.
Poor James needs to form a support group with Constable George Crabtree. Speaking of poor, poor George…
FIVE) Yet another messy break-up for Crabtree? Nina Bloom has shaken George’s world to its core and he’s grown to love it. But then along came Louise Cherry who has shown George another glimpse of what society expects a man to want for his future. And so he’s been torn.
And then Nina spots Crabtree with our intrepid lady reporter and preemptively sends him a “Dear George” letter. Anyone who says they weren’t screaming at their TV has a heart of stone. (Yes, it gets loud at our house when MM is on.) To her credit, Erin Agostino even broke my heart, that’s how masterful an actor she is.
SIX) Brackenreid’s back! But for how long? I can‘t say for certain, but the journalist in me (that degree really paid off didn’t it?) can’t help but suspect something is going on with Thomas Craig behind the scenes. As I’ve already said, he’s been conspicuous by his absence this season. I don’t know if he wants more time with his family or if he has other projects on the go, maybe he’s fatigued or if he simply wants some time off… but something’s up.
At any rate, the Inspector returned from the Olympics with a medal and it’s gone straight to his head. He wants more from life than catching crooks and shagging wife Margaret (though how anyone could get tired of Arwen Humphreys is beyond me) and by the episode’s end he’s presented with an offer he can’t bring himself to refuse. And so he plants a big one on Mrs. B, hops in a carriage with his new partner Pendrick, shouts an “inspirational” message to Murdoch:
“You only live once… why not make it forever?”
and heads out in search of the dastardly female who stole the formula for immortality.
Cue the credits.
However, I have one last point to make…
SEVEN) William’s new role in MM and patterns. If you look closely at MMX, you’ll see that the Artful Detective has been on the sidelines in a way. This season has shone the spotlight on Julia’s PTSD, Rebecca’s James’ life outside the morgue, HIggins’ evolution, a plethora of new characters, etc.
And that’s fine; it’s all paid off wonderfully. MM is better than ever. Now let’s talk about some patterns that have emerged. Namely, Crabtree’s seemingly-endless cycle of broken relationships and James Pendrick’s pathetic track record as an inventor and human being.
When I first started this review I was irritated by these patterns but then it dawned on me: these characters mean something to me and that’s why I get angry when it looks like they’re suffering. To me and of other viewers the fictional characters are a part of our lives. Murdoch Mysteries isn’t just a show, it speaks to us on an emotional level and that’s the highest compliment I can pay Peter Mitchell and his team.
And that’s all I have to say for this week. See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…