Breaking Strain

Episode One Hundred Fifty Seven: Breaking Strain.
In which we lack truss.

1 comment:

  1. I’m a sucker for a good British detective serial. Picked up series 5 Endeavor (2013) recently and am reminded of what a gorgeous production it is, so engaging with seriously sharp-witted dialogue (in keeping with its namesake). Roger Allam (from John Finnemore’s radio serial Cabin Pressure (2008)) does a wonderful turn as D.I. Fred Thursday, the tired ‘meat and two veg’ copper (Thursday’s description) increasingly disillusioned with the callousness of the modern world in the late 1960s. Anton Lesser always hits the right note as C.S. Reginald Bright, consistently expressing shock at the depths of behavior to which the criminal element will sink. De Bryn, Frazil, Trewlove, Strange, Fancy...all around, a solid casting whose collective character-embodiment supersedes their cutesy names, not to mention the occasional awkwardly-sensational story line into which Russell Lewis chooses to plonk our beloved Morse.

    And, of course, Shawn Evans as Endeavor Morse: always somewhat disappointed when we as humans fall short, and strictly angry at anyone who exploits their advantage over those less fortunate. Evans has big shoes to fill, but I think he draws a convincingly irritated John Thaw. At the outset, we learn that he is a keen observer, noting that he knows the day of the week by whichever sandwich Win Thursday has sent her husband to work with. (Or was that vice-versa?) But he’s not only a keen observer, Morse is an outsider: while others enjoy the comfort of their domestic routine, Morse is consigned to plot it absently – ‘domestic’ routine, to him, will be something forever elusive. And so, as he sits in a lunchtime pub and takes in Thursday’s apparent capitulation to the inevitability of retirement (it’s what his wife wants/he’s out of miles/etc., but to Morse, Thursday’s just giving up a sacred duty) he throws back Thursday’s marveling of what some other married folk have gotten up to by commenting that Thursday’s marriage is easily quantified: Luncheon meat.

    Like the “Flat Feet” comment in Endeavor S4E3 “Lazoretto” (Latent Oat #68, “Secret Sadnesses”), “Luncheon meat” is mercurial – at once funny, but then we have a sense of complexity. Is he fondly admiring Thursday for having what everyone wants: a normal life with the chance to do good? Or is he ridiculing him for settling for average? More so: settling down into average, and letting the average strip him of who he should become? Luncheon meat, after all, is not an attractively named metaphor, no matter how you slice it.

    It is a good show.

    Oh. Also, I was diagnosed with a hernia this week, so that’s what’s going on in those other frames.



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