The Devil Inside Murdoch’s Garden Party.

I have a confession: In spite of my age, I’m a huge fan of the late singer Ricky Nelson. His song, Garden Party, has always been a source of great inspiration and after watching The Devil Inside, this week’s episode of Murdoch Mysteries, I can’t help but recall two poignant lines:

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

Murdoch scribe, Paul Aitken appears to have no doubt pleased himself with this ep while attempting to do the impossible and please those fans who longed for villain James Gillies’ return while simultaneously satisfying those who longed for his irrefutable demise. Personally, I’ve never been bold enough to even attempt to please two parties at once… wait, I’m getting off-topic again, aren’t I?

Let’s get back to business shall we? My formula is well-known to all of you by now so let’s proceed.

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ONE)  Murder most foul – seriously!  Opening with a tense, chilling slaughter of two hapless victims by an apparent madman was smart, clever and effective. So far, definitely so good.

 

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TWO)  “He wants to speak with you.”  And with that, the true game – and the meat of this ep – begins. One epic name drop later, fan favorite baddie James Gillies returns? Or does he? We’re really not sure right off the bat if murderer/victim Mr. Foley is playing William and Julia – but we don’t care!

The possession storyline was masterfully conveyed by both the actor and the MM production team. Lowering the lighting when “Gillies” took over Foley’s body was a low-budget technique that worked brilliantly. Another victory for Canadian ingenuity.

 

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THREE)  Flashbacks are great – when utilized correctly.  Additional story and directing credits at the ep’s opening credits were a tip-off flashbacks were going to be employed but again, who cares? They helped fill in the infamous history between the Murdochs and their arch-nemesis – but they went on too long and were employed too often.

And since I’m complaining (not really) anyway…

 

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FOUR)  Where the bloody hell is Brackenreid?  The Christmas special brought the good Inspector back into our lives – and out of continuity – only to make him disappear again on his quest for glory and eternal youth with James Pendrick.

I don’t know about you, but between the lack of Crabtree, far too little Miss James and no Inspector, The Devil Inside felt a little bare.

Luckily…

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FIVE)  The return of Gillies was, in a word… AWESOME!  I know that word has no place in a period piece, but honestly, this was one of the best episodes of Murdoch Mysteries I’ve ever seen. Sure, it had its bumps, but overall it was an intriguing mystery loaded with show history (including a nod to Thomas Edison) tension, visits from old friends (hey, Roland!) and the usual brilliant MM formula dialed up a notch. Or ten.

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SIX)  Where does get those wonderful toys?  Why from the Monkey of course! Prop Monkey and his team of “evil” geniuses outdid themselves on The Devil Inside. Period. Digestible radios (icky good fun). Concealed guns (withe rubber bullets) and the usual MM tech made this ep even better than I could’ve ever expected.

c1xjcibveaaev1cIf this isn’t available for sale in the CBC store soon… I’m going to freak!

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SEVEN)  Gorey fun done right!  Make-up maven Debi Drennan and her crew shone bright last night – but their work speaks for itself, don’t you think?

c1xkylkxuaelws_Brains. Just like Grandma used to make.

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EIGHT) A quick – but satisfying – wrap-up.  Cutting to commercial just as William blasts Gillies (with a rubber bullet no less!) was smart, but returning with a flashback and then a super fast hanging felt a little rushed, truth be told. Still, hanging the horny little devil (William’s lucky Gillies didn’t find him when he was bound by Eva Pearce, right?) gave fans a definitive conclusion to his storyline.

Unless of course he has a few schemes set to unfold whether he’s breathing or not…

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NINE)  Hélène Joy is a delight to watch onscreen!  I’m sure she’s lovely off-screen too, but her performance in The Devil Inside was Oscar-worthy. She went from broken to triumphant in less than an hour. Honestly, the look of contentment on her face when she finally extracted Gillies’ brain was ingenious. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear Julia was the villain! On a side note, I loved seeing Ms. Joy’s accent slip out throughout the episode.

c1xrxdfxaaapkzbNEVER tick Hélène Joy off kids!  Ever…

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TEN)  Yannick Bisson’s typical-but-not-so-typical performance.  No review of an MM ep is complete without mentioning the Artful Detective himself. When William was faced with the possibility his arch enemy may have actually returned to “haunt” him we got to see just why Murdoch Mysteries has lasted for ten seasons. Yannick Bisson was born to play Det. Murdoch. Period. End of story review.

622efee57976c693997dce0c5505ef1aHmm… when will I be returning to The Hook’s blog, I wonder?

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And with that, kids, I return you to your usual lives. Until next week that is.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, friends….

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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14 Responses to The Devil Inside Murdoch’s Garden Party.

  1. Is this like Sherlock Holmes?

  2. Marion Hardy says:

    Spot on as usual, Hook.

  3. Pamela says:

    Love this article

  4. That skull work was amazing. In fact, this whole synopsis was amazing as well. Well done, Hook

  5. I love the Murdoch Mysteries – well done and very clever. Anyone who enjoys a well-produced story and Sherlock, McGyver, and/or history (law enforcement, medical or technology esp.), will be hooked practically immediately.

    I haven’t owned a TV in decades, so I have to wait for seasons on Hulu etc. – but being able to start from the very beginning is a binge watcher’s dream (or nightmare, depending on what they’re not getting done while they click to see “just one more episode.”)

    Haven’t seen this one, Hook, but I’m sure your wonderful review will only add to the fun when I do.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  6. Love Murdoch. But I fear I disagree with your assessment of the episode as being a “best ever”.

    We thought it was a terribly written, horribly executed mess. Too heavy on the flashbacks, as you noted, and then a hurried up conclusion at the end? Murdoch and Ogden just hang him, without trial or judge? Poof, just like that?! Then the very swift cut to the morgue for the brain removal. Yeah, we get it, she wanted to send his brain away for research, and this is likely to tell us Gillies is finally dead. But somehow I suspect we’re still supposed to anticipate a return of Gillies in the future…

    I fear the show is in a downward spiral. Several episodes without Brackenreid. Several without the supporting cast. Writing that’s up and down and all over the place. Is this the end? Or is the writing just going to pot?

    • The Hook says:

      I think every show has a few hiccups – especially in season ten.
      I agree with parts of your assessment; what the heck is up with the absence of most of the supporting cast: Is Thomas Craig sick? Bored? Busy?
      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in.

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