Sunday, October 23, 2016

Foyle's War 2.3 - War Games

Plot: Sir Reginald runs Empire & European Foods, and is ecstatic at the news his son Simon brings from Switzerland, that the company will have all sorts of contracts to supply various fats on the continent, no matter who wins the war. Not everyone is so happy, including Sir Reginald's secretary Agnes, but she can barely make a mysterious phone call before she goes plummeting out the window. Before long, a barrister named Beck visits the cottage of a pair of siblings, Lucy and Harry. They're hard up for money, and Beck leverages that to get Harry to break into Sir Reginald's house. Harry makes it into the safe, but can only make off with a shiny silver box before he has to run, with a load of buckshot in his shoulder as a parting gift from Simon.

So now Harry's got all sorts of problems. Sir Reginald and Simon are looking for the thief. Foyle and Milner are looking for the thief, and Harry's the only ace safecracker in the area. He's hidden the box somewhere, which has got Beck trying to threaten him. And by pulling that job, Harry broke his word to a couple of old partners, Mike and Albert, and they want their cut (for something they had nothing to do with). So it's not terribly surprising when Harry, while taking part in a war game exercise as part of the local Home Guard, winds up dead, shot in the head at point blank range, but only on the third shot.

Foyle's got other problems. Not playing referee for the war game; that was easy. But the British Army unit playing the invaders is lead by a Captain Devlin, who was Foyle's sergeant before Milner. Devlin has some history with Harry Markham as well, and wasn't too happy to see him out of prison. And a squad of tow-headed troublemakers are stealing anything that isn't nailed down for salvage, leading Foyle to put them under Sam's command just to get them off his back.

Foyle is able to learn from Lucy that Mr. Beck came to visit Harry. Beck eventually spills the beans on what he's after, and it involves the forced rapid departure from Germany by Beck and his wife, who has since died. Sir Reginald's family was involved, and Beck wanted to bring them down before the mysterious Ms. Pierce insists he embark on a mission. Maybe some chocolate-crazy kids can lend a hand.

Quote of the Episode: Foyle - 'This is the second salvage collection I've missed. They've got me down as a fifth columnist.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No, his greatest recreation was watching the Home Guard get thoroughly humiliated.

What Sam can do: Justify her and the kids helping themselves to the snacks for the war games. Though, given how quickly the Home Guard got rolled, I'm not certain what they learned, keeping up the strength of salvage-seekers may be more vital.

Other: There's a whole subplot about Sir Reginald's unhappy marriage to his second wife. She's not privy to all this mess going on with her husband and his son, and when she tries to ask, he keeps telling her it doesn't concern her. She ultimately leaves, at least in part because there's no room for her in this house. Good timing, as it turns out.

So Foyle is pretty standoffish towards Devlin, and not in his typical way, where he isn't someone who easily gets jovial with people. It ultimately turns out that Harry was out of prison because Devlin tried planting evidence, and it was painfully obvious, so Foyle was forced to drop the burglary charge, and Harry was only guilty of breaking and entering or something like that. All this comes out with Foyle finally holding forth after Devlin continues to not admit what he did. Foyle has this great, "Really?!" expression at times like this, where he's weary and incredulous all at once. Just can't believe this guy who worked with him for however long is going to try and play dumb with him.

Gotta love Mike and Albert, expecting a cut of a heist they weren't involved in, claiming 'all for one' when they hung Harry out to dry on that last job that landed him in prison. Couple of real winners there.

Emily Blunt, who starred in that movie Sicario I think, plays Lucy Markham. Not a huge role, but as the one person Harry would sort of confide in, Lucy does prove key. And she gets to fend off Simon's creepy, piss-poor attempts to first bribe, then charm, finally intimidate her into helping him find what he wants.

This is the first appearance of Ellie Haddington as Ms. Pierce, but it won't be the last. She's involved in intelligence and espionage, and as a result of the dirty dealings frequently resorted to, she and Foyle will cross paths again. I like Pierce. For one thing, when she walks outdoors, she has this deliberate thing she does with an umbrella she uses like a cane. It's an affectation, but a stylish one, which counts for something. Beyond that, Pierce is kind of like Amanda Waller. She can play dirty, but she has some principles. They sometimes match Foyle's, and sometimes they don't. So they can be allies, or antagonists. Pierce will use Foyle for her purposes, and sometimes he can get her to help.

Recurring theme of people trying to hide their pasts. Devlin and Sir Reginald most prominently. Neither one exactly thinks they did anything wrong, but neither wants the hassle of explaining it to others. Harry isn't trying to hide it so much as half-heartedly run from it. Simon is going along with his father, but just barely, because he's a true believer, rather than an opportunist. Beck doesn't ignore his past, and doesn't want Sir Reginald to be able to either, but he tries hard to conceal it from everyone else.

Reginald has this quote where he tells Foyle about how business is bigger than war, and will go on after it. Foyle's response is an excellently delivered, 'Well, thank you for that fascinating insight.' Which is more polite than "fuck you," but translates to roughly the same thing.

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