TV Review: Lewis – Series 9 Episode 3: ‘Magnum Opus’ Part One

Some predictable moments and plot points that seem very similar make this episode of Lewis feel somewhat disappointing, says


Image: ITV

Image: ITV

Life seemed to be getting to Hathaway this week as a series of unusual killings began to spring up over Oxford. Yes, the younger half of ITV’s favourite detective duo let the stresses and strains of family life pile on top of his already heavy conscience at the start of the second two–parter of the series. Mood swings, as fans of the show will know, are not unusual for dear James, but this time things had gone further, as even Lewis struggled to account for his companion’s behaviour. The entrance of Hathaway’s family into the show’s dialogue seems to have cause the new D.I. nothing but pain. Here’s hoping that we finally get to the heart of Hathaway’s mysterious past before the series ends.

Lewis on the other hand was in better spirits as he and Laura Hobson prepare to jet off for 6 months to New Zealand; perhaps already providing the “get out clause” for Kevin Whatley’s character to leave the series as it comes to a close.

Last week’s high academia and taxidermy was replaced with even more high academia and alchemy; let it never be said that Lewis doesn’t test the limits and improve the knowledge of its viewers. Fortunately the usual Lewis staples of lust, lies and deceit don’t seem to be too far removed from the story; providing a satisfying balance for viewers.

A dead college dean with an interest in theologian and playwright Charles Williams provided the starter for Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox and an unusual note at the scene left even “the boy wonder” confused as to what was going on. As the web of relationships began to unravel and an unusual tattoo begins to appear amongst the suspects, it appeared that Maddox and the boys may have found themselves in the middle of a religious sect or cult.

Religion has always played a crucial part in Lewis and Morse stories. Indeed, it would be foolish not to include them when you think of the setting of Oxford: one of the spiritual capitals of England. Therefore, the idea of a secret society devoted to an all but forgotten principle fitted nicely into the realm of Lewis. Perhaps too nicely? Delving through past Lewis synopses one could be forgiven for thinking we’ve seen it all before. We haven’t. At least, not in Lewis anyway. Something about it felt “samey” – if you’ll excuse the terrible English – it might have been Lewis’ quip about religion being former Priest–in–training Hathaway’s “department” or the fact that religion has previously featured so prominently that made the episode feel ordinary.

Whatever the case the rest of the episode seemed to slip together neatly with the cliff hanger proving to be grisly rather than shocking. Disappointingly, it was almost predictable that the character in question would be the next one to fall victim to the alchemical murderer as they became part of the religious organisation in question. Nevertheless, the set up for the second part of the episode seems to be solid, though sadly not as gripping as the previous episodes’ had been. Here’s hoping James will find some inner peace at long last.

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