Sunday, November 27, 2016

Foyle's War 3.4 - War of Nerves

Plot: Jack and Derek are in the pub getting drunk, Jack especially. Jack's in bomb disposal and it's taking its toll, to the point he pulls a gun on Derek, only to have Sam talk him into giving her the gun, which she promptly accidentally shoots a light with. The next morning, Foyle receives an unwelcome visit from Assistant Commissioner Rose. Foyle is busy investigating the disappearance of materials from nearby shipyards, material vital to keeping the shipping going. The police have set up a small construction business as a lure from the thief, who might see them as someone interested in some illicit building materials. But Rose is more concerned with a 5th columnist named Raymond Carter who is coming to the area, and wants Foyle to arrest the man on any charge he can find or concoct. Foyle reluctantly leaves Milner in charge of the sting, and goes to meet Carter and his fiance, noted watercolorist Lucinda Sheridan, as they arrive at their hotel. They're both pleasant enough, and offer to have lunch with Foyle the next day.

In other threads, Milner is approached by an Ian Kimble with an offer of lumber. Milner goes to the agreed location, but when he tries to make the arrest, get shot in the arm. And the rest of the flatfoots are slow enough that Kimble, no track star, gets away. He was tailed earlier to the Talbot brothers' shipyard, but there's no sign of him among their 400 employees at the shipyard. Meanwhile, the testimony of Sam and Jack's commander, Captain Hammond, have managed to get him off with a warning. Good thing, too, since Jack is supposed to be marrying Gwen, the daughter of the desk sergeant at Foyle's precinct. Gwen even asks Sam to be maid of honor. And speaking of fortuitous happenstance, a bomb lands in an unused building in the Talbot's shipyard, and when Jack's unit arrives, they find a mysterious box. The bomb is safely dealt with and removed, but the Talbots are rather more concerned with house the thousands of pounds that were inside the box are now missing.

The search for Kimble continues, to both the Talbots' and Rose's consternation. Especially because Foyle doesn't seem inclined to lean on Carter, and Derek is pushing for more of the 200 employees at the shipyard to organize. Kimble is hiding at home, and his wife, who works as a welder at the shipyard, gets the bright idea to try and question Gwen about Kimble shooting a cop (since he has no idea if Milner's alive or not). This only succeeds in making Gwen suspicious enough to talk to Sam, who brings her to Foyle, and Kimble (Bill Mason, actually) is soon in custody.

In the midst of all this, one of Jack's bomb disposal group is abducted outside the pub one night. There was a witness, so the police know it happened, but Hammond is oddly sanguine about it. Jack, not so much, as he's decided taking the money was a mistake, and wants to postpone his wedding. Gwen tells Sam, but tries to swear her to secrecy. Not that Foyle needs any help knowing to question Jack, though he might need Gwen's help getting him to talk. And that's if he can finally get Rose off his back long enough to deal with the problem.

Quote of the Episode: Rose - 'They're talking about people's government, people's peace, dangerous fifth column nonsense.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam can do: Calmly talk down an inebriate with a gun. Give decent enough testimony to help exonerate said inebriate from consequences of his stupidity.

Other: The fact I say 400 employees in one sentence, and 200 in another, is not a typo.

Raymond Carter is played by Peter Capaldi, the current Doctor. I was sure I knew Peter Hugo-Daly, who plays Kimble, from somewhere, but there's nothing in his IMDb resume that rings any bells. No, I haven't seen Gangs of New York. Don't you start on me about that, I catch enough shit from seemingly everyone I know about that.

The end result of Gwen having to convince Jack to talk is, not only is Sam stripped of being maid of honor, she isn't even invited to the wedding. That's gratitude for ya. Well, Sam didn't want to go to your stupid wedding anyway. Your cake wasn't even going to have icing on it, and she was going to have a hell of a time finding a dress.

Hammond explains at one point that he's in bomb disposal because he's a pacifist, but still wanted to do his duty, and this was the option he felt fit best. Which is a contrast to Jack, who thought he'd be safe building bridges and the like, and winds up defusing explosives.

Rose is a dolt, someone who clearly failed upwards, so I enjoy him as someone for Foyle to punch up against. He has enough authority and protection he can be credible threat (or at least nuisance) to where it doesn't feel like Foyle's picking on some brain-damaged idiot manchild. SPOILERS from here on to the bottom, in this situation, Rose is actually trying to lean on Carter because Lucinda is his daughter, who has renounced his name in response to how he reacts to her fiance. As Foyle notes, if Carter is in jail, he can't marry Lucinda. Which is petty and dumb, but that's Rose. He probably could have done this anywhere, called in favors to any district Carter visited, but he chose Hastings, and Foyle. Even though he has to know Foyle will resent it, will question it, will buck Rose's orders at every opportunity. Because Foyle has done it in the past, and I think that's why Rose does it, because he wants to crack the whip on Foyle,and make him waste his time on what is ultimately a personal issue.

I could be giving Rose too much credit, now that I think of it. When Rose mentions they could charge Carter on sedition, Foyle points out it wasn't too long ago Rose was getting ready to charge Foyle with sedition. Rose acts as though he can't believe Foyle still remembers that, after all it happened a good 9 months ago! So maybe he's just so stupid he didn't think Foyle might not regard it as a priority, and might snoop around and figure out why he's really been assigned this.

Still, I enjoyed the reveal, because it plays with expectations. The whole time prior to that, it seems like the same old story: Government working hand-in-hand with big Bizness to keep the workers down. Strikes were apparently outlawed sometime earlier (we're up to June '41) by this point, which rather conveniently removes a lever labor has if management starts gouging them on wages, along with being able to charge people who try to organize with sedition. Foyle is busy trying to figure out who is stealing building supplies that are needed to keep ships bringing in vital supplies, and here's Rose, ordering him to harass some guy pushing for such radical ideas as self-determination for the colonies. Gasp! Oh no! When Foyle continues his own work, the Talbots complain to Rose that Foyle's not keeping his eye on the real problem, rise that old specter of Socialism. And then it turns out to all be a smokescreen. Whatever Rose's feelings on the subject, and it's clear he's pretty far right on the political spectrum, this is really just him not liking the guy his daughter is dating. Because he's a smelly hippie, basically.

As it turns out, the Talbots, who are receiving funding from the Admiralty and the Ministry of Shipping, are adding the names of dead kids to their employee rolls to get more money, which they were then embezzling into their secret slush fund. Had Hammond not taken them down with him (and I love that he made sure the specific goon who killed Ernie was also present), I have no doubt they'd have skated with a slap on the wrist. Let's hear it for revenge! Like alcohol, it is the solution to, and cause of, all our problems.

There's this one shot, when Foyle first meets Carter and Lucinda at the hotel, where Carter says something, and the camera does this extreme close-up on Foyle's face for a second or two. Way closer than normal when they want to show his reactions. It was kind of distracting. I don't know if they really wanted to emphasize Foyle feeling uncomfortable with this task, and Carter's comments exacerbating that or what.

The episode ends with the news that Germany has committed the massive blunder of invading the Soviet Union. Carter is ecstatic, claiming they're all in it together now, and Stalin has 7 million men. Yes, and he's going to get every single one of them killed, though that's no change from his everyday routine. How many would he have had available if not for all the purges, denouncing, and sending people to gulags?

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