Sunday, February 19, 2017

Foyle's War 7.2 - The Cage

Plot: A woman, who we'll learn is Evelyn Greene, receives a call at home and vanishes out the door within minutes, no word of explanation or good-bye to her soon-to-be-bewildered husband. Elsewhere, a man we'll learn is known as Palenko reaches a hospital, bleeding from severe wounds. He dies before Dr. Ross can help him, uttering only the phrase "ten-eye". Ross, however, suspects he saw someone lurking outside.

Back at MI5, the new boss is settling in. Not Miss Pierce, but Sir Alec, and he's most concerned with the three Russian defectors who have been garroted in British safe houses recently. Foyle was busy interviewing possible recruits, and had found a promising candidate in Daniel Willis, formerly of Special Operations Executive, but Valentine nixes him. Foyle works his way around to the hospital to speak with Dr. Ross, and they discover the remains of a tattoo on Palenko, the NKVD insignia. Sir Alec leaps to the conclusion he was the mystery garroter, Foyle is not so sure. He speaks to Evelyn's husband, who mentions he tried calling her sister (their parents are dead), to no avail, and that Evelyn was a Communist sympathizer in college. Then Dr. Ross calls, asking Foyle to visit his home tomorrow morning. When Foyle arrives, he finds the doctor shot in his study, to the surprise and sorrow of the doctor's wife.

Intertwined with all this is that Sam has begun working at MI5, and is trying to find her footing. She quickly gets in deep by nosing in a file she's delivering to Valentine on Evelyn Green, who Valentine has heard turned up in East Berlin. She also overhears Valentine telling Charlotte, head of the research section, to keep him informed on what Foyle is up to. All of this is very interesting to Sam because, while Adam was going door-to-door, canvasing support for his election bid, he met an elderly woman living in the bombed-out remains of her home. And this poor woman's daughter had gone missing three days hence. The girl's name is Evelyn Greene. And then Sam tells Adam what she learned, which was not very wise. But then they both tell Foyle, which was a bit smarter.

Foyle has meanwhile learned that Dr. Ross was called out to the scene of an auto accident the day before his murder, at an Army installation called Barton Hall. Foyle is initially rebuffed in his efforts to get in, but manages it eventually. Lt. Col. Galt and Major McDonald lead him around, showing him how they're installation is just to listen to and transcribe Soviet radio traffic, then send it on to code-breakers. And that's all. Which doesn't explain the bars on the inside of the basement windows, or how the listening room which is supposedly always staffed, was empty five minutes after Foyle got walked through. Or why Sam found the bow from a woman's shoe in a place noticeably lacking in women.

And that's why Foyle contacts Daniel Willis, and asks him to break into Barton Hall, and rescue Evelyn Greene. The one whose mother is still alive, as opposed to the actual Russian spy, who was magically alerted the authorities were on to her, and was then somehow able to make it to East Berlin. Which still leaves the "who", and the "why" of that, plus the reason for the murder of Dr. Ross.

Quote of the Episode: Sir Alec - 'Unusual background for intelligence - police.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No. I fear he won't be granted much time for it either, with all this espionage.

Things Sam can do: Snoop in files. Tell her husband top secret information. Those are really more things she shouldn't do, though. She can type 20 words per minute. Cripes that's bad. I know she's using a typewriter, but that can't slow things down that much can it?

Other:  Spoilers of some sorts.

Michael Kitchen looks even mour dour in the new opening than he did in the old one.

I suppose I should feel bad for Miss Pierce. I imagine she expected she would succeed Chambers after his ousting, only to be left playing second banana to another puffed-up white man. On the other hand, she's been involved in so much devious, morally questionable shit that keeps harming innocent people, I kind of think she deserves it.

Of course, it could be she doesn't want the big chair. It lets her move about in the shadows, and puts somebody else's neck on the chopping block. If she can manipulate them as she likes, great. If they get in her way, she can deal with them like she did Chambers, and take her chances with the next guy.

We're two episode into this season, and I've yet to see anything out of Valentine that suggests he's of any use whatsoever. The man is a putz, and what's worse, he's a putz who thinks he's hot stuff, the worst kind of putz to have to work with (great to work against, though). Also, whenever I look at Tim McMullan (who's playing Valentine), I think that if he'd been an actor in the '30s or '40s, they'd have pegged him to play Charlie Chan. You know how they would give some white guy that role, Werner Orland or whoever, and add tape at the edge of his eyes to stretch the skin because they thought that made him look Chinese or some shit. McMullan seems to have that naturally, just very squinty, narrow eyes. Although he was in The Fifth Element!

I think the implication is Galt took the pistol and shot McDonald, although I'd have much preferred McDonald's final act to be to at least kill one person worth killing. I doubt Foyle would have walked away if he expected McDonald to kill Galt, and McDonald was boned anyway.

I chuckled at Foyle briefly chiding Sam for sharing top secret information she wasn't supposed to be looking at, anyway, then asking her what else she learned. He doesn't really care. As he observed in last week's episode, MI5 doesn't seem to have any regard for the law. Why should he worry about their rules? Just remind Sam there's a risk, and go from there.

Dr. Ross dies fairly early in the episode, but there's a subplot running forward from that about Katrin, his wife. Or once wife, now fiance. It's pretty depressing. They met and were married in Germany, then forced to divorce, and she lost her license to practice medicine. Because she was Jewish. Ross wrote some pieces against the Nazis that got him booted. She was stuck in Germany, and survived the concentration camps. Now she makes it to England, they're going to be remarried, and he gets murdered. She's going to get kicked out of England, but her family in Germany are all dead, and there are other people living in her home. It looks as though Foyle can pull some strings to help her remain in England, but that's going to be of limited comfort.

There's a lot of people not being able to go back to where they were before the war in this episode. Katrin, Palenko, who most likely just doesn't want to go back to the Soviet Union. Evelyn's mother, living in the remains of her home, waiting for her turn to get a new one, at which she'll probably never be back to this one. Maybe even McDonald, who seems to want to recapture something from earlier days. Adam and his campaign manager, Glenvil, have a disagreement about how to engage voters. Glenvil thinks they should try to invoke wartime spirit, Adam and Sam disagree, arguing they need to be looking toward the future. That they can't go back to how it was before the war, and that people don't want to. Some might quibble with the second part, but the first is correct. Things are different, and going back isn't an option.

The shift towards more espionage has brought an uptick in the action component. Willis' infiltration of Barton Hall was pretty cool. Since Sir Alec suggested to Foyle they should get Willis to apply, perhaps we'll see him next season.

Adam Wainwright may never have been able to win a Cy Young Award, but at least he's won a seat in Parliament. That's something, I guess.

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