Sunday, December 11, 2016

Foyle's War 4.2 - Bad Blood

Plot: We open on some fenced off military compound, where a man named Simon sits, blinded. He urges Mark to keep a close eye on things, because Captain Halliday is a fool. What they're doing is setting off a bomb, that releases a cloud, and the cloud kills sheep. One of the dead sheep falls out of the truck transporting it.

Back in Hastings, Sergeant Brooke is on the prod to take every unnecessary light bulb in the station, for the war effort. We're saved from following that by the arrival of an Edie Ashford, you knew Paul Milner in school and has come to him because her brother Martin is under arrest for murder. What's more, the man he murdered is Tom Jenkins, a local war hero for shooting the lock off the door of a sinking ship, enabling 12 more men to escape. Martin won't admit he did it, but won't deny it, either. Problem being, the murder was in Hythe, under the jurisdiction of a D.C.S. Fielding, who is extremely hostile to Foyle's arrival, but allows him to nose around.

What Foyle finds is that no one is particularly outraged by the death of Jenkins. Instead they all insist Martin is innocent. Len Cartwright, who served on the Navarino with Jenkins, and claims to owe his life to the man, went to Fielding directly to protest Martin's innocence, though he couldn't shine any light on who is guilty. Even includes Elsie Jenkins, the wife of the deceased, is certain that Martin, a Quaker, couldn't have done it. Her father is more concerned with how first his six cows came down sick, then they were stolen while he was in town. Foyle notices someone sitting in a car watching the farm, but it'll be some time before he catches up with that person. And during this stint on the farm, Sam cuts her wrist on some barbed wire and falls deathly ill. As if she didn't have enough to worry about, deciding whether to accept Joe Farnelli's engagement proposal. Considering Sam seems to have contracted the same thing as Elsie Jenkins, and Elsie didn't last long, Foyle's going to have to hop to it. But with mysterious notes being left for him, Martin proving reticent to talk, and the man in the car difficult to capture, that won't be easy.

Quote of the Episode: Halliday - 'And although I grant you we may have made a mistake, it looks as though we got away with it.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam can't do: Avoid contracting anthrax. Successfully shoo chickens off a car roof. Successfully decline a proposal. Rough week for Sam.

Other: I was going to say Farnelli's moving fast, but we're up to August 1942, so it's been five months since the last episode. Maybe that's why my first inclination when he proposed to Sam was that it was a load of hooey, but he seems to genuinely like Sam. Although I notice the idea of staying in her home country doesn't seem to be entering his mind. I'm not sure how Sam would do in California, probably need a lot of sunscreen.

I forgot to mention last week that Sergeant Brooke has taken over for Sergeant Rose behind the desk. No idea what happened to Rose, but Brooke was transferred from London, and finds Hastings a bit too quiet. Which, of course, makes it funny when he utterly fails to stop the fellow in the car from escaping on foot when they come to his door. He also takes over driving Foyle around while Sam is sick. No word on how his driving compares.

That Simon fellow is blinded because he tested an organophosphate gas on himself, and stayed in the room with it a bit too long. Which is, not very smart, to say the least, but I admire that he used himself as the guinea pig rather than experimenting on someone else or some other animals.

There are three Quakers in this episode. Or maybe four, I'm not clear on whether Edie is a Quaker like her brother or not. Martin Ashford, who is a conscientious objector who works at the farm/military base. Len Cartwright, who renounced his faith to serve. Which I don't entirely follow, because he was on a merchant vessel in the convoy, because Foyle makes a point of saying merchant vessels only carry one firearm, and it's locked in a case on the bridge. So I'm not clear on what Len's role or rank was. And then Henry Styles, the man in the car. Who does not seem to be serving at all. He knows some things about pathogens, but it's terrified him. He doesn't want to be involved in what's being done, but feels like he has to keep an eye on the work. I'm not sure if his response is strictly a function of his religious beliefs, or if he'd have been open to serving in some other capacity if he had the requisite experience.

It's interesting to watch how Foyle operates. In the first interrogation of Martin Ashford, Milner tries the direct approach, asking Martin about whether he killed Tom, trying to play off their shared childhood past (which Martin claims not to remember). This fails utterly, other than Martin stating he did not kill Tom. Foyle comes at it from the side, asking about the argument in the pub that started it, about where Martin works. This isn't hugely successful either, but Martin does seem a little more responsive, maybe because he feels on safer ground with those topics, not as likely to give anything away.

And Foyle approaches Fielding the same way. They're old friends, though you wouldn't know it from how aggressive Fielding is at first. But every time Fielding tries to start a fight, or drive a wedge, Foyle gives way. He refuses to criticize how Fielding is handling the case, refuses to say he's there to take over, or that he thinks Fielding is wrong. Fielding wants something to push back against, but it's like punching a curtain. He lets Fielding air the aggression out harmlessly, then maybe they can talk like reasonable people. Fieldling is burned out, fed up, and I very nearly picked his assessment of the world for quote of the episode ("Humanity stinks.")

In lighter developments, Edie and Milner appear to be starting up a romance. A little surprising given halfway through the episode Paul was grilling her about why she lied to him. But such triflings are no match for love!

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