TV Review: Endeavour – Series 3 Episode 1: ‘Ride’

“Endeavour returned on Sunday night and things weren’t quite what we were expecting”, says

Image: ITV

Image: ITV

★★★★☆

We left Endeavour Morse in prison; falsely accused of murder. We left DI Thursday fighting for his life after being shot. We left the entirety of the Oxford City police force under suspicion. We left the show, nearly two years ago, at this brilliantly constructed cliff hanger. Now we return and it’s like nothing has changed at all. I was a little underwhelmed to say the least.

The stage was set so brilliantly for perhaps a big reveal, somebody being outed or at least a day in court for Morse. It was sadly not to be and this reviewer for one felt greatly displeased at the start of the episode. The last series had been so dramatic it seemed almost unreal, now everything had been swept under the carpet and the whole of “Neverland” was resolved in a few lines of dialogue.

I was happy to see, however, that DI Thursday has survived; Roger Allam does such a fantastic job in the role of Morse’s mentor and boss. He plays the nurturing, at a distance, father and it suits the character perfectly. It’s almost like he plays back the relationship evident between Lewis and Hathaway in Lewis and Lewis and Morse in Inspector Morse to see where it could have come from.

This week’s story was centred on the highest of high culture evident in the Sixties and a travelling fair, there was murder afoot and Morse found himself thrown back into the world of policing. The politics of the upper classes is not an unfamiliar setting for our Oxford detectives but to see Morse in the throngs of them was. Whilst we might recall it of his rather sullen but outspoken successor James Hathaway, one can often easily forget that Morse was Oxford educated, even if it was only for a short time and that he does have friends in high places. Nevertheless, the glamourous world presented in this week’s episode was visually impressive, exuding the best that the 1960s had to offer.

The plot was intriguing, if a little exhausting in places; just exactly who had died and under what circumstances is usually taken as given in such dramas but this time even that was under suspicion. The use of twins was as one Twitter user pointed out in brilliant contrast to Sherlock’s earlier statement this week “It’s almost never twins”. It came completely out of nowhere but seemed to fit the secretive world that was growing as the episode went on. The confusion between the twins that caused the separation of Charlie and Cathy did seem a little odd, as was the sudden inclusion of Cathy in the circus act.  Nonetheless the circus elements seemed to fit well generally; with the drug dealing plot serving as a fine red herring to both the audience and characters.

The return of Endeavour to the police force seemed to come naturally rather than being forced. It was obvious that he would return to the service but interesting to see if it was done in overly superficial manner or not. Suffice to say it seemed to be sympathetic enough to the situation Morse had been placed in without scrubbing away all the demons of the past. In this reviewers opinion his time in jail may cause Morse to be the more sombre man seen in Inspector Morse. Perhaps there is more to come, however, in the next few weeks.

For now Endeavour’s return was triumphant but without the explosive start it perhaps warranted.  

16 comments

  1. Wasn’t most of the Story,except the Twins Dénouement,lifted wholesale from the Great Gatsby?

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  2. Yep completely agree. Even his name Bixby and signing off old man instead of old sport. Girl across the lake. Mysterious man of money throwing lavish parties. Broken-hearted with morse the neighbor filling the role of the books narrator – daisys cousin. Still, loved every minute.

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  3. Exactly! Even the friend of Cathy was a famous sports celebrity like Jordan baker, friend of daisy, in the great gatsby

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  4. “This reviewer”? Pompous much? Any idea when “this reviewer” plans to get over herself?

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  5. Was distracted so missed some of the ending. Who was in the boot of the car that Sgt strange was looking at. Was it bixby?

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    • It was Roddy Farthingale the bloke who owed a lot of money to Joss (i.e. Charlie). Conrad having killed Charlie intended to fish him out of the lake and put Roddy’s body in there – a post mortem would have eventually identified Joss’s body as Charlie and Conrad could then not have taken his place, as planned – but Endeavour got there before Conrad could fish out Joss’s body.

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  6. So many Gatsby references it was almost plagiarism.

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  7. What gives!! Love endeavour couldn’t wait for new series but was sorely disappointed at the storyline. No explanation of end of last series and story lifted straight from Gatsby!! Lot of thought went into that – NOT . Give it another episode to see if it can recover its original and Intriguing storylines. 🙁

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  8. 6 Jan ’16 at 9:54 pm

    Carolyn Triance

    I too like Endeavour a lot….usually! At first the Gatsby plot references were amusing, but I felt that they got too tediously prolific , without any of the depth, subtlety and brilliance of the original. At tmes I was surprised that the actors could say the lines without wincing apologetically. The scriptwriter may have felt that he or she was being smart in a clever-dick sort of way, but in fact the real poetry of The Great Gatsby was here reduced to an embarrassingly flat plot that was well below the standard of the average Endeavour. It was the literary equibalent of Karaoke

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  9. Ride seemed to play blatant homage to The Great Gatsby with the denouement from The Prestige tacked onto the end of it (rather clumsily I thought). Endeavour is one of very few TV shows that I actually make the effort to watch these days, so I hope the remaining 3 instalments are going to be better than this?

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  10. 12 Jan ’16 at 12:02 am

    Carlotta Helmet

    Did anyone else notice the similarity between the student who died from an overdose and Henry Willis’s ‘The Death of Chatterton’?

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  11. 16 Jan ’16 at 7:26 pm

    Olivia Langton

    I’m surprised that no one is suing the writers for plagiarising The Great Gatsby – ridiculous, annoying and unnecessary.

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  12. 18 Jan ’16 at 9:45 pm

    Amanda Dunkley

    Just watched the one from last night…lifted straight from Jaws! What’s going on?

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