Sunday, September 11, 2016

Foyle's War 1.1 - The German Woman

Plot: A middle-aged couple are enjoying a picnic on the coast. The husband, Thomas Kramer, takes a picture of his wife, Elsie, with a camera. Innocuous enough, but not to the British authorities, because Thomas is German, living in England in May of 1940, and there was a ship in the background of his photo, and he wasn't supposed to have a camera anyway. So Thomas and Elsie are locked up with a bunch of other "enemy aliens", and Elsie dies of a heart attack from the stress. Their nephew Mark, a British soldier (and the actual owner of the camera), tries speaking to his former employer, a retired magistrate, but the man says he can do nothing, even though he clearly did something, because his current wife, Greta, is not being locked up in an interment facility. She was supposedly deemed to sick to be moved, but she's well enough to ride horses every day. He can't do anything about the fact Greta and his daughter from his first marriage, don't like each other, because Greta opposes Susan marrying a former lawyer named Michael, though Greta won't explain why.

Into this goes Detective Foyle, stuck with the police force in Hastings, and trying desperately to get transferred to somewhere he feels he could be useful. He can't get transferred, so he's stuck investigating someone who is arranging for the papers calling people up to service to be "mislaid". Which leads him to the ex-magistrate's community and a particular pub, right when a single German plane flies over and drops a bomb on it. Which increases ill will in the community towards Greta, and she soon winds up dead. Wire strung between two trees.

So now Foyle perhaps has a crime he feels more worthwhile to investigate, with the assistance of his new driver, Samantha Stewart (on loan from Motorized Transport Corps), and he's sounding out a Paul Milner as his possible sergeant. Milner lost part of a leg in the failed invasion of Norway, but his mind is still sound.

Quote of the Episode: Foyle (to Sam) - 'You don't ask me what I'm doing. You don't ask me what I'm investigating. You just take me where I need to go. Is that understood?'

Things Sam struggles with: One thing that will become clear is that Sam has plenty of enthusiasm, but doesn't excel at much. Following orders, first aid, remembering to give people things.

Other: A British detective series set in World War 2. About the only way this could be more up my dad's wheelhouse was if Churchill were involved in some manner that involved farming and having lots of dogs. But I enjoyed it when he loaned it to me 4 years ago, so it seemed a decent option to fill the next 8 months or so.

This one is going to be a process. It's a detective series, so I don't want to spoil who done it, or how and why. So figuring out how much to include, and how to do it is going to be tricky. The plot summaries won't be nearly as detailed as the last couple of series. Besides, these episodes are 90+ minutes.

James McAvoy, who sometimes plays Charles Xavier these days, is in this episode as a young man preparing to enlist, who is also hoping to marry Tracey, a young girl working at that pub that got the bomb dropped on it. Yes, Tracey died in the bombing. Rosamund Pike, who I feel I should know from something other than Doom, but whose IMDb page isn't ringing many bells, plays Sarah.

When Foyle was tracking down the first link in the chain of the scheme to help people avoid being called up, it was Sam who caught the guy when he ran, with the aid of a rubbish bin lid. That was after Foyle's speech to her about what her job was. He's going to loosen his restrictions on that considerably, almost immediately.

One other thing, because it'll come up periodically in the series: Foyle has a son named Andrew, who is called up to join the RAF in this episode. Figured that was worth mentioning, so it doesn't come as a big surprise later. Also, he's not very bright, as he says in this episode the war will be over by Christmas, though I guess he doesn't specify what year.

Something I noticed this viewing. When Andrew alludes to the general area he'll be stationed, he calls it "Russia", and his father immediately knows that means Scotland. Is that a common thing in the UK, to refer to Scotland that way, or was it common back then? Maybe it's just a south England thing, since Hastings is on the southern coast, though I had kind of figured it was some sort of derogatory comparing the Scots to the Russians/Soviets.

Something this show allows frequently is for Michael Kitchen (who's playing Foyle), to say a lot with expressions, or how he says something. There's one scene I always enjoy a few seasons away, but there are quite a few good ones in this episode. At one point, he remarks on how another character knew the kind of man the person he's talking to is, and he pauses mid-sentence. And when he does, his eyes flick over the person from top to bottom, real quick, and he makes this face, like he just tasted something real bad. Where you stick your tongue out a little, like you're trying to scrape the taste off? Then resumes the sentence. Takes a second, maybe two, but it says a lot. It's one of the little traits Foyle has. Like wearing the same clothes whether on the job or fly-fishing. He ditches the long coat for fishing, adds some waders, but otherwise keeps the same look.

Also in this episode, Foyle risks pissing off some people with influence by pressing ahead with the case. Actually, it had opened the possibility of him getting that transfer, but he was dedicated to finding the murderer, even if prosecuting isn't going to help anyone. Which is a quirk of Foyle's I enjoy. He believes in justice, but recognizes that sometimes it doesn't really help anyone, even as he still carries it out.


Kelvin Green said...

I have never heard the Russia/Scotland thing, so I don't know what that's about.

CalvinPitt said...

I kind of suspected it wasn't any sort of common phrase, so maybe it's just meant to be a private joke between the characters.