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Endeavour, Season 1, Episode 3: “Rocket”
Written by Russell Lewis
Directed by Craig Viveiros
Endeavour, Season 1, Episode 4: “Home”
Written by Russell Lewis
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on PBS
“Rocket” the third episode of the masterful PBS mystery Endeavour starts off slow and builds around its many characters. Of course, that’s one of the many things that make Endeavour shine, it takes the time to build each character, even ones that will only be on one episode and treats each story with care and ease.
The episode finds Morse (Shaun Evans) investigating the murder of a somewhat unlikeable factory worker who is killed on the day of a royal visit. The police unit has been given the task to provide extra security for the event.
With “Rocket” we begin to catch glimpses into Endeavour’s past. Readers of the books or people who have watched the Inspector Morse series know that his history is littered with sadness. This usually makes for a character that is sometimes cut off in the most maddening way. It’s in these moments that Evan’s really shines as the character. With Morse being so frequently reminded of his past, like the arrival of a childhood friend, we begin to see flashes of the man he’ll turn into.
“Rocket” seems more centered and more plot driven then other episodes but it does leave something to be desired. It isn’t as challenging or exciting as the other episodes. The story is intriguing and like all the other’s wonderfully well written (“Rocket” has some of the best dialogue of the season) but there’s something missing.
For all of its shortcomings though “Rocket” stands out because of the introduction into Morse’s past. Something we see more of in the fourth and final episode “Home”.
“Every story has a beginning, every story has it’s hero on a journey from innocence to experience”, one character warns at the beginning of the season finale. If “Rocket” set Endeavour on a collision course with his past, “Home” shows the audience the actual crash.
Put up for his Sergeant’s exam Endeavour begins an investigation into the hit and run death of a local professor. This leads to an uncomfortable reunion between Thursday (Roger Allam) and a criminal from his past. As with the first three episodes “Home” is a deftly constructed, exceptionally well written episode with some of the season’s finest acting.
Evan’s is the real show stopper here. Endeavour is a frustrating man who’s often difficult for the viewer to get a grasp on but Evan’s plays him with restrained relish. As a viewer you know that there is something powerfully complex about him, Evan’s finds all of those intricacies and plays them exceptionally well. There’s a scene in “Home” when Endeavour is told about his ailing father and you can see that perfectly constructed façade just crumble, it’s a powerful moment.
His return home is cold and painful and explains so much about Endeavour. With just a few words and scenes, Endeavour does what so few shows can do. We see a whole world of pain explained. The moment when he discovers his father is dead is one of the most wrenching, and perfectly constructed scenes on television this year. In that instant Endeavour isn’t the wry, sometimes angry detective; he’s reduced to a confused and angry kid, it’s a beautiful scene.
Endeavour’s first season has been perfectly produced from beginning to end, shedding light on a complex and legendary literary character.