The initial five minutes of the first episode of the ninth and final season of
are a prodigy of synthesis, rhythm and precision, but also an excellent summary of some of the characteristics that have accompanied the lucky viewers for more than 30 episodes: music, crime, secrets and death, Oxford as the setting and the gaze of a Shaun Evans always immense and contained in his role as detective Morse.
As a gift, the intermittent presence of forensic pathologist Max Debryn (James Bradshaw), one of those unforgettable secondaries, and the sober Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the father figure without whom our hero would not have made it this far.
For those who haven't seen anything from the 33 previous chapters, a few little clues.
The series is based on the books by Colin Baxter (Siruela has recently published
Last Bus to Woodstock
, in case you want to enjoy a good crime novel).
It's a prequel to
(1987-2000) in which we see the protagonist from his beginnings in the police.
The first chapter, broadcast in 2012, is set in 1965 and the last ones, which arrived at Filmin this Tuesday, in 1972. Shaun Evans is the absolute protagonist, but he is in very good company, especially with his boss Thursday as a counterpoint .
Each chapter has self-contained plots (delicious classic mysteries) with a package full of elegance and good taste (much helped by the music of Barrington Pheloung and Matthew Slater and by the oxonian landscape), although throughout all these years each character has evolved in its own way and there are other criminal subplots that have crossed seasons to complete a set that makes this series the best classic police story ever.
The tricky thing about products so extended in time and focused on a character is that the character has to follow the hero's journey within each chapter, each season and throughout the series.
That can exhaust the viewer, get stuck in the minds of the writers (remember some seasons of the otherwise excellent
, for example) but no one hesitates in
, everything flows.
Morse and the journalist Dorothea Frazil.
In this last season we find Morse back after a long and indefinite absence after the disastrous outcome of the eighth season, which would already have been an excellent ending to the series.
Those who ask him (Thursday, the journalist Dorothea Frazil) get laconic answers at best.
It's Morse, what do they want, it's always been that way, but he's added a considerable burden of suffering, loss and death over eight seasons.
For him and for the tired faces of his companions, faithful servants of the cause.
Now Morse does not drink and that can be a problem or a social nuisance for a man in such a masculine context and in England at the time.
But he knows, and the fans know, that the alternative is worse and that a drink or a pint will lead the way to darkness.
And yet, the temptation does not go away.
He has lost some of his rebellion, or at least it seems so at first, there is more respect for hierarchies and the established ––in the end, we all get older–– but he maintains the same sagacity, the same love for police work, the same longing for truth rather than justice.
Also some of his intellectual pedantry, his social closure, his conceit and other flaws that make him a complex and lovable character.
James Bradshaw as the forensic pathologist Max Debryn in the first season of the series, in 2012. In these 11 years, the characters have changed significantly.
It is a series in which little is said but much is said.
There are gestures, slight inclinations of the head, three script lines that, as in the best stories, give what others cannot get with a
In this epilogue all the plots reach their maximum expression.
Joan Thursday (a wonderful Sarah Vickers), daughter of her boss, is the great love story of a man who wasn't made for that anyway.
The first episode of this final installment appears well late in the day and we immediately know that neither of them has chosen well, we can perceive how they regret what they have not done, but that's life, and that's the good thing about
The presence of Thursday's son, back from his deployment with the British troops in Northern Ireland and with clear post-traumatic stress, maintains in this final installment a traditional element of the series: concern for the context, for the social upheavals of the time, always discreetly integrated into the criminal plot.
The newcomer may be surprised by so much violence in such an idyllic place.
“This is Oxford, not New York,” bellows to a brutal death Superintendent Bright, time slipping away, a man from another era living in a world he no longer understands.
And it is true that people do not stop dying in a relatively small place, but what does it matter.
Shaun Evans (right) as Inspector Morse and Roger Allam as Fred Thursday in season 8 of 'Endeavour.'
After a first chapter of staging with a wonderful mystery in a classical music orchestra, the second mixes the investigations of Morse and Thursday with crime novels and the incipient television series, in a delicious homage to the genre.
The creator, Russell Lewis, and his writers take us at the same time to an old case that almost cost them both their lives and look at institutional corruption, the gangrene of any police force.
“Do you want to walk that road again?
Let it go,” Thursday snaps at Morse.
Morse's answer, at any price, is obvious: "I can't."
In the third, the tragedy grows and the viewer knows that it will not end well.
“We'll find him, I give you my word,” Morse tells a former colleague as if he doesn't know all that that entails.
As if he didn't know that the noir genre is full of men with an uncertain destiny, marked by similar promises, always or almost always unfulfilled.
Morse grows in the face of adversity, loneliness, endings.
His gestures in the last bars confirm that we are dealing with a character who will go down in the annals.
Such heartfelt farewells have never been so brief.
The protagonists look at each other, shake hands, say two or three words to each other and that is enough to know that they love each other and, above all, that they respect each other.
“It's all happened so fast,” Mrs. Thursday tells her husband in a house full of moving boxes.
We already believe it.
We have the consolation of seeing it again from the beginning.
It's what the classics have.
See you soon, Endeavor Morse.
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