‘Endeavour’ episode 3: ‘Rocket’ Review

Endeavour faced with a royally explosive case

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There are few things which keep us up late on a Sunday night, since most of us are caught between the excitement of the weekend and the dreaded Monday morning. And there are few things which leave me almost speechless but Endeavour aka Baby Morse did it again. From the opening note of Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, I was held captive. Jenny Seagrove and Martin Jarvis head up the Brooms family who run a missile factory. When a worker is murdered on the premises during a royal visit, Chief Superintendent Bright wants the case resolved quickly and without involving the Palace. Of course with Endeavour on the team, still on general duties mind but never far from the middle of trouble, the evidence leads him to believe it is far from an open and shut case.

Endeavour remains an outsider with Bright and Seargent Jakes ever shooing him out of the way, outside or back to work. He finds solace in the company of the Brooms’ secretary, Alice Vexin, played by Maimie McCoy. Vexin remembers an awful lot about Baby Morse from his days at Oxford. Alas, as for the Morse of old, so it is for Baby Morse when it comes to the beautiful ladies with the disarming smile. His blushes always seem to end in tears. Just as well he’s a thick-skinned, tenacious, irrepressible sort.

This episode delivers so many of the things we want more of: great cast and acting (such as Maimie McCoy channelling her inner Nanette Newman, the gem that is Anton Lesser and Thursday speaking German); authentic script (“the whole to do’s a complete bloody mess”, storms Bright on discovering the body and fears his career is threatened); fabulous costumes (Chanel inspired suits in duck egg blue, simple pea coats with big buttons, neckerchiefs and the odd pillbox hat); beautiful sets with panel walls inspired by Mad Men; clever camera work (mostly shot indoors and at street level so too few shots of the dreaming spires); ethereal music (Purcell’s haunting When I’m Laid in Earth following an unearthing); peaceful demonstrations (Endeavour walks up to them in his suit and tie and calmly tells them they may get their placard message across better if they can spell correctly); and what appears to be a Colin Dexter cameo sitting on a bench. It reminds us too of things we want less of: smoking indoors, sexual discrimination in the work place and one too many Viking Cruise ad breaks. It even gave us a bit of product placement (“The new Bellini. Nought to sixty in under seven seconds”). Demand surely just went up.

I couldn’t ask for more. And yet when Bright tells Endeavour to “carry on” just before fade out, I realise that I do I do want more.