Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Thirty-five - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Episode 3, "Blackmail, Miscegenation, Sodomy... and, of course, Murder."

You know, I think I'm sensing a pattern concerning Miss Fisher's investigations... they all seem to revolve around several societal ills or injustices of her era.

The pilot dealt with drugs, communism, and upstairs/downstairs philandering. Episode two (which I didn't blog about) was a case of more philandering, child abuse, and classism. This particular episode worries about interracial marriage, homosexuality, and the divide between Protestants and Catholics. Not that it isn't all interesting, it just seems a bit too hammy to have all these different themes crammed in together in such a short time span.

Not that I should be complaining, as Phryne's misadventures in Melbourne's seedy underbelly are fun, if not exactly straining when it comes to the mysteries, themselves. It's just that I've grown so used to tackling pretty much one social issue at a time in the likes of PBS/BBC/ITV coproductions like MYSTERY (which include Cadfael, Poirot, Sherlock, etc.).

Anyways, this particular episode revolves around the death of a dastardly blackmailer and the young gentleman who becomes the prime suspect thanks to the fact that he was seen arguing with the victim just prior, fled the scene just after, and is (unfortunately, for the time) a homosexual. This fact comes out only after his lover is caught red-handed trying to retrieve the photos of the two that the victim was holding over their heads, but it's still an awful reminder of just how far we've come and how much further we still have to go.

The suspects are many and colorful, but the ultimate reveal comes straight out of a dime novel, I'm sad to say. Kudos for imagination, but a bit of a stretch to believablity and a bit slow in coming. I did like the jailhouse serenade at the end, leaving things on a much more romantic note than the inevitable conclusion (murderers swing in 20's era Australia), but the overall payoff was just 'eh.'

Still, there are plenty of things to like... particularly when it comes to Dot and Hugh's fumbling courtship, even if I find their nerves over differing religions to be stuff and nonsense, but there are plenty of people still today who take such matters with the utmost seriousness, so... who am I to begrudge playing it up for laughs in a mystery series? I like how Phryne and the Detective Inspector's friendship has developed over the past couple of episodes, going from chill professionalism to warm trust, but I was a little disappointed that the orphan that Phryne saddled herself with in the unblogged second episode has apparently disappeared for episode three.

The period goodness continues as most everything looks and feels right, save for the laughable dancing during the nightclub bits, but that's just personal opinion. Much props for actually working in a few biplane flights over the countryside.

While there are definite signs of overindulgence when it comes to themes and things are becoming a little stale as time wears on for the series, I'm still very much enjoying myself with it. Hats off to Phryne and her crew of misfits solving crime one murder at a time!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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