Weeks V & VI & VII & VIII…& IX – November in a Nutshell

Part 3:

2013-4 Murdoch Mysteries Season7 castMURDOCH MYSTERIES

Season 8, Episodes 4 (Holy Matrimony, Murdoch) & 5 (Murdoch Takes Manhattan)

tumblr_static_tumblr_static__1280Another wedding! And, like in Castle, it was a long-awaited nuptials: in this case, the groom was Detective Murdoch and the bride was Dr. Ogden.

For the one-hundredth episode of the show, aptly-named Holy Matrimony, Murdoch, the long-awaited wedding takes place, proving that a) Victorian/Edwardian relationships were just as complicated as modern ones; and b) the show can continue in the same fashion that it always has with the sexual tension for the central character resolved.  Despite Mrs. Brackenreid’s attempts, the wedding did not derail the murder investigation of the week and both Murdoch and Ogden were more focused on solving the crime than whether or not their wedding went as planned.  On the plus side, Inspector Brackenreid realised how much of a jerk he had been to his wife at their own wedding and how much having a nice wedding meant to her, making for a sweet and tender moment toward the end as he invited her to dance (the bride and groom having been delayed to apprehend the murderer).

This wedding episode beautifully summarizes the relationship between Murdoch and Ogden.  It is at its heart a working relationship – their romance and friendship grew out of their mutual professional respect for each other.  While Ogden is no longer working in the coroner’s office, her work in the nascent field of psychology allows her to provide a more intellectual foil to Murdoch’s investigation.  The coroner (now Dr. Grace) provides hard evidence.  As a consultant, Ogden can provide the nuanced, controversial evidence that only guides Murdoch in the right direction.  They work together to solve cases, but generally more at an arm’s length so that they can enjoy their personal time together as well.  Their marriage should last in that they will always have something to talk about together.

Next question – will the writers miraculously undo Ogden’s infertility? Should they? I will reserve my judgement and see what happens.

MakingMurdoch804HolyMatrimonyMurdochMainIf anyone was concerned that Murdoch and Ogden’s relationship would get boring once they were married, their honeymoon in Murdoch Takes Manhattan proves that they find murders to investigate no matter where they go. Even in New York City, they manage to get involved in a conspiracy involving no less than President Teddy Roosevelt himself and end up spending more time in the bedroom tinkering with makeshift investigative equipment than doing what one would expect of honeymooning newlyweds. It stretches the imagination, but is keeping in line with their relationship. They notice things being a bit off and instead of ignoring them, they dig deeper.  The thrill of the chase proves more erotic to them than champagne.

Murdoch_Mysteries_S08E05_Take_Manhattan-2014-11-10Meanwhile, back in Toronto, Brackenreid, Higgins, and Crabtree manage to hold their own in the case of the week.  The constables pool their money together to buy an automobile on the cheap, only to discover that it may be involved in this week’s murder.  Nonetheless, the automobile provides entertainment and the excuse to see the constables relaxing and enjoying themselves.  Crabtree even uses it to get a date – much to Dr. Grace’s chagrin.  Personally, his new love interest seems much more suited to him.  While the writers will likely keep trying to reunite Crabtree and Grace (especially now that Murdoch and Ogden are married), I would rather see both of them happily paired with others.  Then again, perhaps the writers will surprise me.  They know their characters the best, of course.

This episode also allows us more character development for Higgins and Jackson.  I would love to see them around more often.  Do they have families and backstories? Can we have “Constables Day Out” more than once every 101 episodes?

Season 8, Episode 6 (The Murdoch Appreciation Society)

Murdoch_Mysteries_S08E06_2014-11-17

Now that Murdoch is back from his honeymoon, The Murdoch Appreciation Society is a more typical episode of the series…or so it seems. Halfway through the investigation, Murdoch realises that everyone he encounters not only knows of him and his exploits, but each potential witness are enamoured with him and his ability to solve cases. He realises that they have all come together to concoct a plot, complete with a fake murder, in order for him to solve it. Rather than be flattered that they have formed the titular appreciation society, Murdoch is angry at them for wasting police time and resources. All might have been over but for the fact that Dr. Grace discovers evidence that the corpse used in the plot had actually been murdered. Now, with little help from the well-meaning members of the Murdoch Appreciation Society, Murdoch has to solve the actual case at hand, which involves a cutting-edge neuroscientist and the possibility that the unfortunate victim was helped off the mortal coil for the purpose of research.

Meanwhile, newlywed Dr. Ogden (who is apparently keeping her maiden name) has discovered that the suffragette movement is losing momentum and suggests doing something drastic to drum up interest and courage on the part of Canadian women. She suggests that a woman run in the upcoming provincial election, as despite the fact that women cannot vote, no law actually prohibits them from running. Her friends suggest that she run herself.

Together, Murdoch and Ogden discuss the idea of her running for office. Unsurprisingly, Murdoch is supportive – and his wife reminds him that he will have to vote for her! Both of them are incredibly supportive of each other: Ogden is proud of Murdoch’s investigative accomplishments and encourages him to be flattered that people enjoy his cases so much that they meet once a week to discuss them; Murdoch is accepting of the fact that his wife wants more equal rights under the law. They both seem to know when to bow out of the spotlight for each other, which is incredibly important in a marriage. Whether or not that will change with Ogden running for office remains to be seen.

Season 8, Episode 7 (What Lies Beneath)

807 - What Lies Buried

Going a step further than a mere cold case, What Lies Beneath dredges up not just an old skeleton, but the skeleton of a police officer from underneath the floor of Brackenreid and Murdoch’s own stationhouse. It raises questions of police accountability, possible corruption, evidence tampering, and the idea that one of their fellow officers of the law may be a murderer. Suddenly, Murdoch is faced with the possibility that his own superiors cannot be trusted, leading to rely heavily on Crabtree and Higgins to piece together the evidence found with the victim. A twenty-year-old case of blackmail soon appears.

Ultimately, the murderer is someone quiet and unassuming who a) only committed manslaughter and b) was trying to help out a friend. The friend in question turns out to be the current Chief Constable, who resigns upon confessing that he was an accessory to murder and a homosexual. As it is 1902, the latter confession is seen as rather more shocking than the first. No matter how good of a police officer that the Chief Constable was, his career was ruined by admitting to being homosexual, so confessing to helping cover up a murder was just icing on the cake. One cannot help but feel that he did the right thing by helping his friend and keeping his own secret, if only because he was a good cop and otherwise loyal to following the law. He had a good career that toppled spectacularly, but he did a lot of good in the meantime.

The Chief Constable also forces Murdoch to confess his own sins against the law, namely his freeing of a confessed murderer (who had inadvertently framed Murdoch for her crime) and letting her run away unpunished. Murdoch reasons that he did what was right, not what was legal, because the woman had killed the man responsible for her rape and mutilation, as well as the rape and mutilation of many other women. She had taken the law into her own hands and so did he. Both Murdoch and the Chief Constable are ardent believers in the rule of law, but both also stand by their confessions. At the episode’s end, Murdoch’s confession has been cathartic for him, but he has not faced the dire consequences that the (now former) Chief Constable has. After all, Murdoch is a married man attracted to women…

Raising one last question – who will be appointed the new Chief Constable?

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