In keeping with the theme of introducing obscure – but real – historical persons as characters in the weekly murders, A Case of the Yips involves a wealthy man killed at an exclusive golf club. One of the suspects is George Lyon, an avid golfer who has one many championships. He later would go on to represent Canada at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, as he alludes to doing in the near future in this episode. Like Captain Bernier in last week’s episode, George Lyon fits well into the story and it is really only his throwaway line about the Olympics that clues in the viewers that he may actually be real.
The one problem that I had with this episode was that there seemed to be much more emphasis on golf than homicide investigation. While I admit that I am not a fan of golf (perhaps because I haven’t fallen under its curse, as Brackenreid insists happens to anyone who tries it out), the episode felt too lighthearted for the subject matter at hand. Murdoch becomes temporarily obsessed with the game – mostly viewing it as a scientific problem as well as a chance to spend away from his newfound paternal responsibilities while ostensibly still investigating the case – and it appears that this might cause a rift between him and Dr. Ogden. Of course, by the end of the episode, Murdoch is back to his old self. Really, his enthusiasm for golf was nothing more than the enthusiasm for something new and interesting. The rest of the episode consisted of way too many golf-related jokes and puns for my taste. Furthermore, Constable Crabtree had to put aside his rivalry with an arrogant toff (and prime suspect) and while this plot was also funny, it detracted from the main storyline even further. Nonetheless, the episode was amusing in farcical way. It made for some great comedy!
In contrast to the past two weeks of having real characters sneak into the episodes and interact with the main characters, in Unlucky in Love, Lucy Maud Montgomery made a much-advertised appearance. She is much more famous now than she was in 1903, when she was just brainstorming her Anne of Green Gables stories.
Rather, in this episode, she is just a B-plot character who takes a writing class offered by Constable Crabtree. Being both writers, Crabtree and Montgomery hit it off as friends, critics, and potential love interests. Of course, complete with disclaimer that Crabtree is entirely fictional, the romance did not last. However, it was a nice flight of fancy for an episode! They also raised the issue of gender in storytelling that unfortunately has not been yet remedied, although it has been greatly improved over the past century: that male heroes are considered more interesting than females, and that men have “real” adventures. Even in 2016, women are still often seen as accessories in men’s stories. (What has changed is that the reverse is now also true.) Crabtree is convinced that the character of Anne should be a boy instead. Thankfully, he was indeed a fictional character and thus Montgomery never followed his advice! Anne as a boy would have been entirely boring and forgettable. It was her femininity that made her an immortal character.
Once again, the murder of the week had a dark comedic ring to it as the victim turned out to be the latest in a long line of husbands who had died in suspicious circumstances. Either the bride was a serial killer out for money or the one of the most unlucky women in Toronto. It was refreshing that it turned out that the murderer was not a smug gold-digger bride who had five brilliantly-executed murders under her belt, but something much more sinister and tragic. Overall, tragedy was the theme of this episode. It was funny, but much of the story left the audience slightly ill-at-ease. At the end of it, the victim was still dead, his widow still a widow for the fifth time (beyond childbearing years now and likely steadily seen as poison), and Constable Crabtree was left heartbroken.
Thank goodness for little Roland! He remains adorable and a source of joy for Murdoch and Ogden. Even as they are starting to realise that they have no clue about raising him, they are still blissfully happy with him. Murdoch is starting to wonder if Roland should be walking and then wonders if perhaps his son will not be intelligent or inquisitive like he is. It is a legitimate concern, particularly in an era where eugenics was common belief. Even biological children do not necessarily match the intelligence of their parents! Little Roland will indeed have to contend with his adoptive father’s stellar reputation as he grows up.
Hopefully he keeps his cuteness!