Monday, 31 May 2010

Lewis - Falling Darkness: review

The latest series of Lewis came to an end with Falling Darkness, an episode written by a highly experienced screen writer, Russell Lewis. It was set at Hallowe’en, and focused on Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), the attractive pathologist whose slowly developing relationship with Lewis (Kevin Whately) has been one of the recurrent themes of the series.

The concept of encountering friends, and ghosts, from the past, is at the heart of the story. Laura is about to meet up with two friends and one-time housemates from student days when she is called to a crime scene. When she arrives, she finds that the victim is one of those friends, whose name is Ligeia. Soon another murder occurs – and the scene this time is the same student house where Laura and her friends lived twenty years ago. The second victim is a girl called Rowena.

Now, if you know your Edgar Allan Poe, you will be ahead of me here. Ligeia and Rowena are characters in one of Poe’s doom-laden stories. Reasoning this couldn’t be a coincidence, I decided there must be a Poe theme to the plot, and this neatly led me down entirely the wrong track in my attempts to figure out what on earth was going on. The red herrings that piled up included the warnings of a mysterious spiritualist, which turned out to have nothing to do with the explanation for the crimes, as far as I could tell. Shamefully, for a crime writer, I finished the episode still unclear about the motive for poor Rowena’s murder.

Throw in a mysterious disease which this time was relevant to the story (I’d never heard of it before, but according to a quick internet search, actually it affects only a small number of families worldwide) and you might think I found this was an unsatisfactory episode. It wouldn’t have worked as a novel, yet somehow – thanks mainly to a string of terrific performances by a high calibre cast – it made good Sunday evening TV viewing. I’ve enjoyed this series, and I’ll miss it. But I’m sure Lewis will be back, and I hope Laura will be, too.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks, as always, for this review. It's interesting, isn't it, how often a plot works quite well for a television show or film, but wouldn't work as a novel. Of course, it goes the other way, too...

BooksPlease said...

I enjoyed this too, but did get lost in all the meanderings, especially with the medium. It's been a good series and with lovely views of Oxford.

Martin Edwards said...

Good point, Margot. I wonder if there might even be an increasing divergence between the two.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Books Please. I'm glad it wasn't just me!

Hannah Stoneham said...

I saw one of the Lewis programmes when I was on a brief visit back to the Ol' Country - I thought that it was good although not up to the old Morse standard. I think that it is interesting how Lewis has been developed.

Thanks indeed for sharing


Anonymous said...

I’m just getting caught up with all things “Morse” as I only started watching “Endeavour.”

It takes a LONG time for British TV to make it 12 time zones away here in Hawai’i. (JUST kidding.) We may be the most isolated archipelago on Earth, but we have cable TV.

Regarding the medium (spiritualist, whatever) I felt that she had an important part in that the 4th roommate, Rowen’s love, was off shagging (Is that the correct slang term?) the medium instead of going to the Hallowe’en party with Rowena and the goth twins. Instead he went to see the medium’s show, then had some drinks with her, bedded her which resulted in not getting home until after 0200. This is where the young “mother” across the street is looking out of the window during the 0200 feeding. The next night instead of being with Rowena (and protecting her I guess...because we women MUST have a male protecting us at all times) he is bedding the medium again. Since the young “father” is watching all of this he knows that Rowena will be by herself in the sitting room.

Then he breaks down after being identified in the lineup by the “young” mother.

SPOILER ALERT! Maybe because I am an emergency room doctor here in Honolulu but did ANYONE think that they really had a real baby? I was listening to the crying and it seemed “canned” and not realistic. Just one constant unwavering shrill cry. Or perhaps I’ve seen that trope too often?

pearlsofwisdom said...

I watched Falling Darkness for the second time..we get reruns all the time here in Canada. This time I watched carefully. Couldn't understand why Rowena was killed and yes that baby crying was authentic only for a short time....would make me wonder too.

Martin Edwards said...

Nice to hear from you, Pearls!