Sunday, March 05, 2017

Foyle's War 8.1 - High Castle

Plot: In 1942, two lads, Johnny and Albert, try stealing some High Castle whiskey from a merchant ship. But Johnny sucks some of it down and has a violent reaction, and the two make a staggering escape. Four years later, a man is found dead in a forest. He's William Knowles, a professor, but recently had been working as a translator at Nuremberg. In his pocket is the address of the home of one Clayton Del Mar, head of a major oil company, and of considerable importance to the British government, as he serves as an "in" with the shah of Iran (and his oil). Foyle is instructed to tread lightly, so he can't press Clayton when he says he knows nothing about Knowles. But Del Mar did have his goon Grant take a photograph from Knowles' pocket.

Del Mar does have an elderly, dying father, in need of a companion, and that provides a way in for Sam. Foyle's opposed, but is won over by Valentine's assurances he'll keep an eye out. As for Sam, it provides a nice escape from home, where Adam is pressuring her to stop working because of the impending baby, and then she comes home to find him in an embrace with a constituent, Vera Stephens, who has lost her job to a returning veteran. Adam is struggling to figure out how to help her, while reconciling his actions there with how he's acting towards Sam. Anyway, Sam gets the job, but finds the elder Del Mar to be somewhat more perceptive than his arrogant son. On top of that, there's a Soviet agent roaming the streets of London who also has an interest in Del Mar.

Foyle is pursuing other paths, which leads to the university, where he figures out Knowles took a photo from the archive of leading businessmen hanging out with Nazis. The path leads to Nuremberg, where he encounters Mr. Deakin, the lawyer from episode 6.3, who arranges for him to speak with a Herr Linz, that Knowles was working with. But someone has killed Linz with a scalpel to the throat. Fortunately, Deakin recalls that Linz had an attack of some sort recently, and mentioned there was something important hidden in his office. At the fuel producing factory he operated. That used concentration camp labor. Which is why he was on trial.

Quote of the Episode: Glenvil - 'You either believe in something or you don't.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam can't do: Hoodwink a dying old man, sneak around unnoticed within.

Other: Spoilers below.

The older Del Mar is played by John Mahoney, who readers of this blog will recall was Management on Burn Notice, the first of several shadowy evil bureaucrats. Here, he's a cranky old man who liked Hitler, and constantly belittles his son, to the point his son takes risks he wouldn't otherwise and dismisses his father's advice, because he's sick of hearing it all the time. On the plus side, he gets to watch from his bedroom window while that Soviet knifes his son and drives away clean. Ha, ha, tough shit, old man.

Deakin tells Foyle at one point that he doesn't have an opinion on the trials, that 'studied neutrality' is his watchword. Neutrality seems abandoned once they begin discussing Linz' actions, which is fine with me. I just liked the phrase 'studied neutrality'.

Adam struck out with Sam in record time this week. Strike one was insisting she would have to stop working to care for the child, but not him. Because his work is "different". Strike two came when Sam was preparing to go undercover, as he told her she had to grow up and stop trying to play secret agent. Strike three was her coming home and finding him comforting Vera Stephens. The two of them do reconcile, though Sam still hasn't told Foyle she's pregnant. But it's unclear if one or both of them will stop working or take turns, or what.

And Adam doesn't seem to have any answer for Vera. There's little doubt there was no cause for her job to be taken away, but you aren't going to get far telling badly wounded WWII veterans to piss up a rope. That women were mostly not allowed to join unions was sad, but unsurprising.

I do think, if you're going to ask Sam to go undercover, give her some damn training. She can be a good liar, at times, but she's not very good at being sneaky. If it hadn't been for Mrs. Del Mar lending a hand, she'd never have made it out of the house. And if it hadn't been for Grant being enough of a sadist to want to drag out capturing Sam (or else being too fat to move quickly), she still wouldn't have gotten away. Credit to Valentine for stepping in with the last-minute save, though. He's really starting to go up in my estimation, even being helpful to Foyle willingly.

Foyle was able to find out about the photograph with the aid of a Dr. Elizabeth Addis, a colleague of Knowles at the university. I'm pretty sure she's a recurring character for the remainder of the season.

I feel like Miss Pierce is getting ready to put the noose around Sir Alec's neck. He was having dinners with Clayton Del Mar, he wants men like Linz out there producing (and making bucks) rather than standing trial, and he's trying to push Pierce to bring Foyle to heel. But as he's making all these pronouncements to Pierce, I can't shake the notion she's leading him out on a ledge, getting him to commit to some course of action that can be used to wreck him. I'm not positive, but it would jive with her style.

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