20 February 2015

TV: Death in Paradise IV.7

With a guest cast including Matthew Lewis and Michelle Collins, and being the penultimate episode of the series this ought to be a big, barnstorming affair. However, it left me somewhat cold. 

This has been quite a variable season of Death in Paradise, probably the most so yet. Another of the series' weaker episodes opens on quite an impressive premise. Within the first fifteen minutes, the murderer has confessed and is behind bars, but Humphrey's convinced that something doesn't fit. He concludes that the man in fact didn't kill the CEO of a luxury travel company as he thought he had.

This turns out to be a double bluff: he did actually kill her, but made it look like he hadn't, but thought he had. There's a lot of twists in this episode (revelation: he's her son!; revelation: he's not her son!) and it's pleasing to see writers still trying to innovate with the relatively limited format of the series. However, in all the plotting madness I think some of the character of the show may have been lost. 

There's still plenty to occupy the viewer, don't get me wrong, this is an enjoyable hour of drama. It just seems to miss the series' vibe slightly, and that made it quite inconsequential to this viewer. Indeed, I was more captivated by the culmination of a major EastEnders storyline that night, and I haven't seen that in years. For a series that started so strong, this is quite a comedown. Perhaps a stronger editorial influence was needed to get this to its best final form, but for some reason I just felt quite ambivalent towards this episode. 

The regular cast were all as fantastic as ever, and Florence is really coming into her own now, but even they couldn't lift this much. And antics with a plant are hardly a match for the Series 3 team. This series' new additions are all welcome and amiable enough, but I think I preferred things how they were. Florence as a replacement for Fidel may've been a more interesting route to take, but I guess it can't be avoided if Sara Martins had decided to leave. It's just a shame that the same demographics have taken on the same roles. But that's no fault of the actors, who are reliably strong. I look forward to Marshall acting off James Fox as his father next week.

Overall, I found this a pretty forgettable episode. It was more enjoyable at time of consumption than the previous one, but only just. I hope things can pick up for the series finale (which certainly sounds interesting from the press release) else I fear we may not get a fifth run of Death in Paradise. I believe this series still has legs, but this year's episodes haven't always supported that. And with Rob Thorogood not writing Episode 8, I'm not filled with too much confidence. Oh well, it does have Shaun Dingwall, who's amazing.

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