Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Sean Rigby, Anton Lesser, Dakota Blue Richards, James Bradshaw, Lewis Peek, Abigail Thaw, Charlotte Hope, Tom Durant Pritchard, Tom Wisdom, Nathalie Buscombe, Mark Arden, Robin McCallum, Victor Gardener, Roger Barclay, Rhys Isaac-Jones, Antonia Clarke, Tanya Fear, Sara Vickers, Caroline O’Neill, Emily Barber, David Newman, Samuel Crane, Cassie Clare, Geoffrey McGivern, Hazel Ellerby, Harry Gostelow.
What is life without the call of the anarchistic siren, without the fear of the Muse who will outgrow you, the thinker who ponders away the hours fully clothed but reveals their naked thoughts to another. A muse can be powerful, hold the artist to ransom, can maim with a look, can kill without a second thought and then hold it up as a moment of artistic endeavour, the artist losing their heads figuratively in the same way that John the Baptist had his presented; on a silver platter and for the world to see.
The young Morse returns in a new series and it is one that would have had the older statesman of Thames Valley Police drooling in his own erudite way. The seemingly random, gruesome deaths, a valuable Faberge Egg which had been bequeathed to one of the colleges stolen, a tale of murder, revenge and the strong women that Morse always seemed to find discomfortingly alluring. The muse comes not in a single progression in this particular story but in waves and arguably for the first time we see the more tenacious, more deep in thought than ever Morse that viewers will associate with the late, great John Thaw.
The historical background to the episode is one of Weibermacht, the allusion to the slaying of important men in Renaissance art at the hands of women. It is an allegory for the times as social media groups, pressure collectives and high profile press releases have seen the rise of women fighting back at the past misogyny, crimes and sometimes misdemeanours of men, powerful men brought down by women and in many ways this 21st Century attitude is to be congratulated and admired; there are those though whose words of encouragement of seeing all men put to death is a worrying and bitter trend and one that follows in Muse.
Oxford has always caught the imagination, especially with Endeavour Morse on the trail of a murderer and with Charlotte Hope capturing the intensity of her character Eve Thorne and the dynamic of Shaun Evans and Roger Allam as the young Morse and his superior DCI Fred Thursday restored to the cold winter nights, the tragedy of a certain men’s action around women is explored with great deliberation and the bitterness of consequence.
We all wish to see the Muse reveal themselves to us, sometimes though it is more than the eyes can ever handle.
Ian D. Hall