Sunday, November 20, 2016

Foyle's War 3.3 - They Fought In The Fields

Plot: A German bomber is shot down over England. Typically crewed with three, this one had a crew of four. One who died in the plane, and one who died because the cord on his parachute was cut. Nearby, there's trouble on the farm. Old Hugh Jackson just got his new tractor, so things should be good, but they aren't. His neighbor, Curling, feels Jackson used his position on the agricultural board to cut in line for that tractor. One of the two ladies from the women's labor group helping on the farm, Joan, is sweet on Hugh's son Tom, and Hugh doesn't approve. And something is going on with Hugh and Rose, the other young woman.

That night, while Curling hunts rabbits, and the girls get an early start on the day, Hugh Jackson sits in an unplanted meadow and drinks. Possibly he thinks of his wife, who ran off with one of his laborers a decade ago. Or perhaps not. Either way, he's dead the next morning, seemingly having chosen to shoot himself in the chest with a shotgun. Seemingly, because Foyle and Milner immediately find evidence someone shot him in the chest with a pistol first, then tried using the shotgun to cover it up. But once again, suspects abound. And there's another German pilot to deal with, found dangling, stunned, from a tree by his parachute. And his pistol is missing. Foyle would love to question him, but Major Cornwall, the commander of the nearby of the prison camp, is remarkably obstructionist, in addition to not being very bright. Cornwall might want to reconsider, considering the first two Germans, Schimmel and Sarbatovski, are both very apprehensive about the arrival of Lt. Weiser at the camp.

In other plot developments, Foyle tries to untangle the hostility of a woman named Barbara towards him and all men. And Sam gets goaded into helping Joan and Rose plant potatoes after they suggest she's found herself a cushy position for the duration of the war. Lt. Weiser, when Foyle can finally interview him, implicates Barbara in the loss of his gun, and Sarbatovski and Schimmel try unsuccessfully to escape. There's also a mysterious drifter who appears in the woods near the farm shortly after Jackson's death.

Quote of the Episode: Milner - 'Spring, and the smell of cordite in the air.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam Can Do: Fix a tractor, plant potatoes, resist the urge to slug a mouthy girl.

Other: I do wish Sam had slugged Joan, though. Joan was so irritating. Just insolent and mouthy, and she pretty much dared Sam to take a swing at her. Sam should have done it, just floored her.

That said, Joan is clearly the brains between her and Tom. Which isn't saying a whole lot. Some of those potatoes they planted are smarter than Tom. Milner picked Tom's story about when he arrived at his father's farm the morning of the murder apart in about three seconds. The best Tom could do was stammer and offer weak explanations. Joan's not a clever liar, but she's bold enough to tell them with a straight face while looking someone square in the eye. Very much the sort who bluffs harder when her hand is weaker.

But this farm was about the most unfriendly place Foyle and Co. have gone yet. Hugh Jackson was rude, Joan was rude, Barbara was hostile, Curling wasn't friendly. Just a surly bunch of farmers. Not to mention Major Cornwall, who is extremely genial towards the Germans, and rude and dismissive to everyone else. He mistakes Foyle for a farmer initially, and brushes him off with some comment about not engaing in amateur sleuthing (to Foyle and Milner's repeated amusement). Then, when Foyle comes to visit and explains who he is, Cornwall claims Foyle said he was a farmer, which is an outright lie. What a dope.

I had forgotten parachutes were made of silk, so the phrase 'hit the silk" makes a lot more sense now.

I think Foyle's German is better than he let on in "Fifty Ships". He definitely understood Schimmel and Sabartovski's back and forth when they were first captured, and I'm pretty sure he didn't need Cornwall to translate Weiser's answers, either. He certainly recognized Weiser understood one of his questions without it being translated, despite allegedly knowing no English.

There's a bit at the end, where Foyle and Cornwall discuss their opposing views on the Germans. Cornwall explains how he lived there for awhile between wars, and found the Germans gracious and civilized. Foyle counters with a story about being part of a police soccer team, who played some Germans, who got the Brits royally hammered the night before, and it turned out the guys they drank with weren't actually the German team. The point being, don't underestimate the Germans, they aren't playing by the same rules as the British. Although that sounds like the sort of scam any number of folks might try. Really, anyone who wants to win too much. Probably half the college football coaches in America who try that if they could. And yes, college football coaches are mostly assholes who care too much about winning, and Foyle's pointing out the Germans are in it to win it, but I'm not sure the story is valid as some greater insight into the German psyche. But it fits with Weiser's explanation for why he did what he did, I suppose.

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