Sunday, November 06, 2016

Foyle's War 3.1 - The French Drop

Plot: Welcome to 1941! It's not a great year for one poor soul, who parachutes into France at night, only to promptly walk right into a minefield. Back in England, Foyle is in London to meet with a brother-in-law, Commander Howard, who might just have a line on a job for Foyle helping the Navy protect their shipping. Foyle is dissatisfied with his work arresting me like Mr. Fenner for selling batteries above cost, or something like that. He soon won't have to worry about Mr. Fenner, because that night the shopkeeper observes a few men hauling a sack into the shuttered book depository across the street. he is promptly whacked on the noggin, and before too long, the depository blows up. The next morning, the police find the scattered pieces of what was probably a person, plus a pocket watch, given to a W.R.M.

The investigation points to a William Messinger, whose father is Sir Giles, a bigwig in British Intelligence. He's also a cranky, spiteful old man trying to get the rival Special Operations Executive shut down because it took funding from his group. It appears William was keeping a room in Hastings and a girlfriend secret from his parents, according to his landlady and the suicide note, but Foyle and Milner agree it's too convenient. And William's mother mentions a visit William made with a friend name Jan Komorowski not long ago.

All roads ultimately lead to a place called Hill House, run by a Colonel Wintringham and his second-in-command, Ms. Pierce. Pierce continually advises Wintringham to do everything possible to keep Foyle at arm's length, and the colonel continually ignores her, figuring he can take time out of his search for the mole within his ranks to bamboozle Foyle. Hill House also sits near the town where Sam's uncle is the vicar, and she decides to help him by investigating the smashing of a vase of flowers at the grave of a recently-deceased young carpenter in town, as well as a mysterious bald man seen lurking around the church sometimes. Which also involves an out-of-order telephone box.

Quote of the Episode: Foyle - 'You can start by apologizing for wasting my time and perhaps can explain how you manage to achieve the levels of incompetence you regularly do.'

Does Foyle go fishing? Fishing for a new job, maybe, but otherwise, no.

Things Sam can do: Keep secrets for other people. Snoop without being observed, sometimes. Doesn't speak too highly of British operatives that they didn't notice this young woman in a military uniform following them on a bicycle.

Other: Poor Sam, not only does Foyle make her keep mum about his plans to escape Hastings, she also learns Jane Milner's moved back to her sister's, and Milner is thinking of leaving Hastings for a fresh start himself. Which he also asks her to keep a secret. Maybe it's enough she's there as a sounding board for these people (though Foyle surely regards it as an intrusion), but I get the feeling she wants to help and has no idea how. And can't discuss the matter with anyone for assistance.

Spoilers for various reveals follow.

One of Wintringham's agents plays William's supposed landlady, though Milner and Foyle see through her story immediately. Her accent and mannerisms seemed exaggerated even to me. I wonder if that's how Americans trying to be British appear to the British themselves. Then again, even Sir Giles' mole, who is playing a Frenchman seems to be overplaying it. Wintrigham recruited the likes of former policemen, former crime novelists, former brothel owners (that Foyle jailed). Perhaps he ought to invest in some actors.

Though it'll likely be Ms. Pierce's job soon, as she mentions to Foyle near the end. Wintrigham does seem entirely unsuited for the position. I'm sure he had the salesmanship to get the project funded, but he doesn't seem to have any of the qualities the head of such a place needs. He's impatient, needlessly combative and unprofessional, and doesn't listen to others because he's so sure of how clever he is. Pierce. repeatedly tells him to keep Foyle away from Hill House, because she's had dealings with him, and recognizes his insight and intelligence. Does Wintringham listen to her, or even to Macoby (the brothel owner)? No, because he's positive he can lead this dumb flatfoot around by the nose.

The "French drop" refers to both the stunning failure to parachute that guy into France, and some bait-and-switch sleight of hand the crime writer shows Foyle to try and demonstrate the purpose of their work.

Sam's uncle makes his own wine, which is apparently not very good. Sam could only describe it as, 'very. . . green.' Foyle took one sip, then placed the glass as far away from him as he could.

There's a bit where the Hill House bunch are training Komorowski to resist torture by jamming his head in a tub of water. Watching it, I noticed some bubbles and could only wonder if they'd put soap in the water as some extra torture. Since people are always shown as having their eyes open when their heads get jammed underwater, go for a little extra sting, to disorient and irritate the subject.

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