About that dream sequence kiss: thank you. Pure indulgence, and much appreciated. If this were 1987, the year Inspector Morse began, that moment on the VHS tape would be worn juddery through rewind and replay in video players countrywide.
We’re not to worry about Joan, said the finale. She made her choice and it was by no means the short straw. Jim Strange’s every appearance in the episode showcased his adoration and kindness. He even offered Joan a way out, and when she refused it, she may as well have turned to camera to deliver her line about never being surer of anything than marrying him. We know that Jim Strange will put Joan before the job, something Endeavour could never manage.
Still, the ache. ‘The Wonder of You’ turning to ‘Rocket Man’. Morse standing alone, odd man out, watching her leave. Oh, it’s lonely out in space alright.
And none of it would have meant a thing if not for Shaun Evans’ performance. He’s been remarkable in this role for so long that it goes without saying, but if now’s not the time to say it, then when? Evans’ talent is in the detail, in the slightly withdrawn posture – head bowed, hands clasped behind back. It’s in the face – the smile that doesn’t reach the eyes, the coltish temper and barely coated vulnerability. It’s in the voice – a rush of words when he’s sure he’s right, a hesitating, swallowed delivery of anything that really matters, and a retreat behind quotation for anything that really, really matters. Combined with Russell Lewis’ words and Matthew Slater’s score? It adds up to something supreme.
Speaking of supremacy, ladies and gentlemen: Roger Allam. Take your pick of moments to send to the Bafta committee – cursing the threat to what he loves, cruelly hitting out at Morse after returning home from that biker bar, his choked gratitude when presented with the return of his life savings… Allam’s up there with the best of them. The loss of DCI Thursday on Sunday nights will be felt.
Properly, this was Fred’s finale. He was DI Lott’s target, and had been ever since Fred ran Lott out of Oxford for corruption in Endeavour’s 2012 pilot. Charlie Thursday didn’t lose his brother’s life savings in a bad investment in Series 5, he’d been forced to weasel the money away so Lott and his corrupt cronies in Vice and the Drugs Squad would have leverage over Fred when required. Lott, like ACC Deare, was part of Blenheim Vale, exploiting its children to powerful men while using the derelict site as his personal graveyard. Well, thanks to the biker gang, there’s now one more corpse on its grounds, and good riddance.