Sunday, March 19, 2017

Foyle's War 8.3 - Elise

Plot: It's the final episode, and we start with Miss Pierce being shot by a young man who declares it to be 'for Elise'. Pierce survives, but is certain this has something to do with a mysterious "Plato". Sir Alec had already assigned Foyle and Valentine to investigate black marketeering kingpin Damien White, who is consorting with Soviet spy Arkady Kuznetsov, and now they have this to deal with. As well as the Director of Operations for MI6, Ian Woodhead, who worked with Pierce in the SOE during the war. Foyle's initial investigations show Miss Pierce occasionally visited the Special Branch Club, where a Mr. Stafford proves willing to help. Foyle also finds photos pointing to a working relationship between Pierce and Elizabeth Addis during the war, a working relationship Foyle knows continues to the present.

Stafford learns that Elise was the codename of one Sophie Corrigan, who died on her first mission into France, in three days. Sophie's mother reveals her son Miles hasn't been seen since he delivered a radio for her birthday two days ago (the day of the shooting) and was agitated about something. Also that is was Pierce who recruited Sophie personally, and who even came to pick her up when she joined. Elizabeth reveals that Sophie was the 9th of Pierce and Woodhead's agents to be quickly sussed out and killed by the Gestapo in a matter of months, and that she was brought in to search the SOE for a mole, which Woodhead named Plato. Addis narrowed the suspects to three people, five if you count Woodhead and Pierce, but couldn't reveal the traitor. Curiously Miles, who was in the RAF not Intelligence, knows about Plato, and is going after all the suspects. The guards Valentine placed around Mr. Caplin ultimately kill Miles. And Caplin is innocent of that crime, though he has certain connections to Damien White. .

Of course, that still leaves the question of who was the mole, and how Miles learned about all of it. Foyle's going to suss those out, but Pierce will be the one who finishes things.

In other threads, Adam, at Glenvil's urging, tries to get the police to crack down on black market goods, and ends up framed for possessing several cartons of stolen cigarettes. But Chief Superintendent Usborne has made the critical mistake of making an enemy of Sam. It's one last high adventure for Sam before embarking on the biggest adventure, throwing up in every bar in New Orleans in one night. I mean, being a parent. That doesn't sound like much of an adventure.

Quote of the Episode: Pierce - 'For head of communications, he was an extremely uncommunicative man.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No. And now I'll never learn to fly fish.

Things Sam can do: Imperil herself and others trying to bust a crooked cop. Have enough sense to call a professional badass ahead of time as backup. Recognize when she needs to get out.

Other: Watching Adam in this episode, I was reminded of Charles Roper from 7.3, "Sunflower". he said at one point that he never thought government, at least if you wanted to accomplish anything, would be so complicated. And, of course, Roper ultimately resorted to illegal tactics to keep George Gibson from getting his land back. For noble reasons - to keep the land in food production - but all the same, doing things by the book wasn't cutting it, so he tried something crooked. In this episode, Adam is initially unconcerned with black market selling of goods. He sees it as a way for people to get things they're looking for that the government and its policies seem unable to provide. What's the harm in a guy selling socks from a suitcase on the street, if people can't get socks in the shops for a reasonable price?

Damien White makes a similar argument to justify his actions in selling such goods. The people are tired of hardship and rationing, the war is supposed to be over. They want to be able to enjoy themselves, feel good, and he provides that. He provides it by a combination of bribery, murder, extortion and ultimately treason, but the customer don't need to know that, does he? It does feel like a cop out, because it doesn't really address what the average person is supposed to do if the government is failing to look after its citizens. The answer appears to be, "Suck it up and hope your government gets its shit together before you starve or freeze or catch pneumonia because you're walking to work in worn out shoes and socks because you can't afford anything better." Which is not a great message, frankly.

Didn't really mean to start with a discussion of Adam's thread, but it had been in mind, so it gets the coveted lead off spot. I would have liked to see more of Sam and Glenvil interacting based on this. Glenvil has continually surprised me with his generally high character. Probably because I keep thinking of him as a campaign manager, which he isn't, and my impression of them is they're willing to do anything to get their person elected. He and Sam share that desire to help people, but Sam is more hands on, do it yourself. Micro level, rather than macro. Also much more of a risk-taker. But it was fun to see Sam get to be the voice of experience in this scenario, and not have someone trying to hold her back who has any level of authority over her.

Also, Sam being completely unimpressed at being threatened by some mobster and his goons was fantastic. I hadn't considered she would contact the person she did for back-up, mostly because I didn't believe she'd interacted enough with him for it to work. I was tickled by that whole scene.

I was sure I'd watched this before, but apparently not because I didn't remember any of the end. Not how Pierce settles things, not how Miles learned about Plato, or any of the stuff about Caplin, Tellier, and Hawtrey (the three suspected traitors), and not how things end between Foyle and Addis. Damien White keeps making references to an Archie and the Blue Lantern. That, combined with every single person Foyle asked stating they had no diea where Hawtrey was, made me believe Hawtrey was some silent partner of White's coming in from his hidey hole to handle some business. That was not the case.

I also had thought Foyle and Elizabeth Addis were going to build to some sort of relationship. She was an intelligent older woman, and they seemed to have some natural chemistry when she helped him investigate David Woolf's murder. The lack of trust turns out to be a stumbling block, assuming a relationship was ever on the table at all.

That's it for Foyle's War. The last two seasons seem like they should feel strange, putting Foyle in a job he doesn't seem to want to be in, and which everyone keeps insisting he's ill-suited for. In practice, Foyle is still dealing with people who committed, at best, morally questionable acts, but feel the war or their position excuses them. That he's now more within the government apparatus hasn't reduced the stumbling blocks to seeing justice done. But he's been able to see a sufficient amount of justice done to avoid leaving in disgust, as he did with the police after season 4. Does he really not have anything else worth doing that he wouldn't enjoy more? I'm not sure if he's planning to stick with it or not. Sam finally tells him she's pregnant, and leaving, they say so long for now, Foyle sees Elizabeth in the distance, and gives her that sideways look and sardonic grin he favors. The one he usually gets when someone says something so stupid or bullshit he's torn between being disgusted and laughing at them. I don't know what that means.

Next week, a new show. I've narrowed it to two possibilities. Either one will be very different from this.

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