Field Notes: The Troubled Man

We watched the final episode of the BBC’s Wallander entitled “The Troubled Man” based on the book of the same name by Swedish author Henning Mankell this past Sunday (10/16/16) evening, and it was a calm and thoughtful end to a great series.

(Spoilers follow)

This final fourth series ended with Kurt Wallander more at peace then we’ve seen him up to this point. Instead of drinking himself to self-destruction, the detective is exercising and spending more time with his daughter and granddaughter.

While I usually like a show to keep going if the quality is there, Wallander reminded me that keeping things at a certain clip (four series is this case) means that the main characters are made to grow – you don’t have years and years for them to stay the same and only make a change at the very end.

kenneth_branagh_bids_farewell_to_wallander_in_a_moving_final_episode

a cold cup of Sweden

(Sidenote – I believe roughly half of the script was Kenneth Branagh frantically looking about and saying, “Hakan?”)

I also appreciated that Kurt survived to make that growth, to see his memory slipping and accept what’s happening instead of going down in a tragic/heroic gunshot. The rifle he slung across his back gave me pause on that, but all turned out well-ish.

His father showing up at the end was a nice touch as well.

On a show that paired a bleak landscape with even bleaker human nature, to have Wallander find a measured peace was fresher than the wind blowing off the nearest fjord.

 

Jack Taylor banner

Pushing Buttons: Jack Taylor, Series 1

How come, no matter how long since you’ve seen the family, nor how much distance you’ve put between you, they can always push your buttons? Answer: because they installed them

I enjoy Jack Taylor (Series 1) for lines like the one above – introspective PI’s go a long way with me.

The series started off with a literal Continue reading →

Pay no attention to what’s behind the Curtain

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case closes out the twenty-four year (1989-2013) history of the television drama Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and I felt that things weren’t quite right.

Poirot Curtain

“Dear Ms. Christi, I feel my final treatment has been rather severe…”

Without going into the plot I will say that I’ve heard Ms. Christie grew tired of the Belgian detective as time went on, and if so than this last case shows it.

I don’t feel the character was done justice, but perhaps I just don’t know him well enough.

Whatever my feelings on the last chapter in the famous sleuth’s career, it’s been nothing less than an incredibly impressive run for the show and I will miss looking forward to new cases.

Adieu mon ami.

Shipment of Awesome

No purpose for this post other than to sing the praises of Castle, now in its seventh season.

Castle show

I grew up watching a lot of different detective shows, but I remember my impressionable brain being particularly taken with the idea of the “couple detectives” – stopping the bad guys while working with/finding the love of your life. What could be better?

Shows like Hart to Hart and Moonlighting paved the way for me to enjoy Castle, and enjoy it I do.

Great writing and cast, and to prove that I point to the show’s lead’s relationship – we knew they would end up together, yet it was still fun to watch and continues to be so.

It’s not easy to make that happen, so I’m obliged to point it out. Castle’s characters continue to be strong even seven years in and it’s something to feel good about.

If you haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend it!

24: Family Matters

We semi-recently finished the latest offering of 24, subtitled “Live Another Day” and Bauer and crew were up to their old tricks.

Jack is back ... again

Jack is back … again

“Old tricks” in this case meaning stopping an evil plot, usually within another more evil plot, while waiting for half the team to betray the other half.

It’s a recipe for drama and I’ve enjoyed the series over the years – not only for the action, but for the question the show constantly throws in your face: “what would you do in this impossible circumstance?”

“Live Another Day” had a strong emphasis on family, no matter which plot thread we were following. Both President Heller and Margot Al-Harazi relied on their families and while each had a different dynamic (to say the least), it was clear family was a huge part of why they did what they did.

This theme was also present for Mr. Bauer as his attachment to Chloe O’Brian – while technically friendship – is as close as family, and their relationship (and the importance of it) came through.

It seems like this may have been the last season for the show, but we’ve heard that before.

24: Live an Additional Day? I could see it happening.

Darth Maul Returns

Clone Wars (S4) logo

This (season 4) was the weakest of The Clone Wars so far, so it was disappointing that way.

The heavy emphasis on the creepy occultist Night Sisters, the bouncing around of Asajj Ventress (how many times can she find her new purpose for life?), the muddled return of Maul (so … what happened again?) and the just plain dumb Father/Sister/Brother side quest added up to – well, not much.

I’ve heard season 5 is better, so that will be a welcome change.

Wallander, series 3

Wallander

We finished series 3 of Wallander earlier this year, and it has me questioning the main character.

How he pushes people away, and the result of that – the self-inflicted state he’s in – it leaves me thinking: how do I view this character? Is he someone to be admired because of what he does? Is that what makes him good at his job? Is it worth it?

Good stuff to chew on, and I just want our boy to be happy 🙂