Review – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Episode 12
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – ABC1 – 8:30pm Friday – AUS
Episode 12: Murder In The Dark
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has had a string of dud episodes recently and while this episode broke that trend it did so mostly thanks to engaging in the same sort of shenanigans that the penultimate episode of any mystery series would. While a lack of serialization is par for the course when it comes to most mystery shows it has left Miss Fisher’s floundering simply because its standalone storylines haven’t been terribly strong. This episode changed that up but lest we think this is some philosophy change from the house of Fisher we should remember that all case-of-the-week shows try to up the stakes for the finale by finally developing a memory and recalling events of past episodes.
Things didn’t really kick into gear until the end of the episode as everything until that point was business as usual. A dead body turns up in Aunt Prudence’s pool right before her son is due to have his engagement party. Yes, that’s right, apparently Aunt Prudence has not just one son, but two; the suave, ladies man Guy and the mentally disabled Arthur. Phryne interviews the usual suspects about the murder and we’re subjected to the usual faux-wittiness that populates most Miss Fisher conversations – this week a scantily clad woman dropped herself on the lounge in front of Jack and Hugh and said “now which one of you wants to inspect me?” Oh me oh my, this show is almost TOO funny.
The investigation, which in all honesty was completely meaningless and had absolutely no bearing on anything, eventually led to a fancy dress ball where events with actual consequences took place. While it’s unlikely anybody ever really thought that Jane was in danger at least the show tied most of its recurring characters together in an effort to advance the plot. Foyle isn’t dead after all (what an absolute shock this revelation that we predicted last week is!) and he’s after Phryne’s ward Jane. The final race against time wasn’t exactly great television but it showed that Miss Fisher’s actually has a pulse when it tries hard enough.
Even though the back half of the episode was as fun as this show can be it didn’t have much emotional weight thanks to this show’s lack of interest in trivial things like character development. While this episode may add weight to the finale it didn’t build on top of anything substantial. These characters are all so one-dimensional that despite the fact we’ve spent any number of episodes with Jack, Hugh, Dot, Aunt Prudence, Jane, the taxi drivers whose names I can’t be bothered remembering and Mr. Butler I couldn’t tell you anything personal about any of them. Other than that Mr. Butler acts wacky when he eats fudge laced with hashish because isn’t it hilarious when a previously buttoned down character takes drugs and acts wacky?
Each week Miss Fisher’s has fifty-five minutes in which to get to know these characters better whilst they solve dumb crimes. This season, rather than delve into their lives or get to know them a little better, the show has kept them at arm’s length. They are cardboard cut-outs who walk around in pretty outfits. The creators of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries would have been better off investing in a coffee table book featuring the cast in various extravagant costumes because that seems to be what they care about the most and that seems to be what the audience enjoys the most. Why bother creating a television series when you seem uninterested in things like story or character development? The tiny hint of serialization on display in this episode was passed on to this show from every case-of-the-week mystery series to have gone before it. This episode was an example of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries at its best and I hope that sounds as damning as I mean it to.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
This review is part of Change The Channel’s episode by episode coverage of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The full list of episode reviews can be found under Series.