Never mind big spiders or erectile dysfunction, as a 47-year-old male my biggest fear is facing life’s greatest question: “When do I feel like I’m too damn old to contribute anything more to society?”
You can exercise, eat right and take fistfuls of vitamins, but in the end, your mortality will always be waiting in the back of your mind to confront you like a school bully or in some cases, the grim specter of death.
Upbeat review so far, isn’t it?
Please forgive me, friends, but mortality was front and center in writer Dan Trotta’s mind when crafting this week’s Murdoch Mysteries episode, Dr. Osler Regrets. Indeed, the ep covered a lot of ground; the turn-of-the-century version of internet shaming, professional ethics in the press, and even the stress of infertility joined mortality as the big questions MM tackled this week. So let’s get to it, shall we?
ONE) Fact and fiction merged, courtesy of Dr. Osler. As the ep opened we met historical figure, Dr. William Osler, who joined the Murdochs to reminisce with his old student Julia. Linking Dr. Ogden to Dr. Osler was a brilliant move, one which allowed Peter Mitchel and his team to explore another big issue later on. Osler provided sage advice to both Julia and the Inspector, helping both of them to navigate important character arcs in a single adventure. There was real-life controversy and even rumors of actual suicides surrounding Osler and the MM team ran with this, to great effect.
And speaking of the Inspector…
TWO) “Not everything is a mystery, Murdoch, some men are just crackers!” Thomas Brackenreid may be blunt, gruff and the most unlikely detective of all, but he followed this line up with an exploration of his own mortality and even an eleventh hour revelation that helped blow the case of a sequential killer stalking older men wide open. Once again, I cannot properly express my joy at seeing Thomas Craig return to a more active role on Murdoch Mysteries.
THREE) Fake news, courtesy of Bea Santos’ Louise Cherry. I know I’m in the minority when I say this, but I’ve always liked Miss Cherry. Yes, it turns out she has virtually no moral or professional compass, but the woman has spunk and while Lou Grant hates spunk, it has an important role to play on a show like MM that showcases strong female characters on a regular basis. Sure, she may have come pretty close to derailing William’s entire case, and she vexed Crabtree immeasurably, but as usual she landed on her feet and dragged Toronto’s entire journalism community down into the mire with her. Wait a minute, I was supposed to be defending her, wasn’t I?
Oh well, speaking of strong female characters…
“I don’t suppose there’s much point in asking for a conjugal visit from Constable Crabtree, is there, detective?”
FOUR) Violet Hart is full of turn-of-the-century sass! You just know someone tweeted, “Oh no, she didn’t!” when Dr. Ogden’s newest assistant started riffing zingers in the morgue. Her cutting humor (get it?) will help separate Miss Hart from her departed predecessor, Miss James. I know this particular casting change has many fans scratching their heads, but I think we can expect great things from Violet Hart.
FIVE) Everyone had a role to play this week. Higgins. The younger Brackenreid. The aforementioned Miss Hart. MM’s supporting players were all given a chance to contribute this week, which is always nice, not to mention very Canadian.
SIX) Julia wants to give William more than just bedroom games involving blindfolds… Yes, it has been established that Dr. Ogden’s infertility is the result of a botched abortion, but this week we saw a glimmer of hope in the form of an actual historical medical breakthrough. Here’s hoping Julia heeds her former mentor’s advice and proceeds cautiously. I’d hate to lose Hélène Joy’s Julia Murdoch to a another risky medical procedure, though that would make for intriguing – and heartbreaking – television.
On the other hand, just think of the cool baby equipment William could invent if the Murdochs had their own bundle of joy.
SEVEN) Where the bloody hell was Watts? Catching a sequential killer would’ve been right up his alley, but hopefully we’ll see Daniel Maslany back soon.
EIGHT) Did you catch the Frankie Drake Mysteries promo at the bottom of your screen? Yes, Monday, November 6 brings us the premier of Frankie Drake Mysteries, but the series actually begins with a web series featuring older versions of Brackenreid and Watts which you can watch now. The timing couldn’t be better considering the Inspector declared he had plenty of fight left in him in this episode. (Frankie Drake takes place decades after MM, in case you weren’t aware.)
Personally, I can’t wait to see what MM alum Michelle Ricci and Carol Hay have cooked up for us.
And on that note, I bid you farewell until we meet again in two weeks for the next exciting episode of Murdoch Mysteries.
See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids…