Last season, “Miss Fisher’s” went out of its way not to have detective Essie Davis happen into mysteries solely because she’s a rich White lady in the 1920s. Though… I mean, it sort of did. But this episode makes no attempt to contrive a reason to get Davis involved in the Julia Blake’s mystery. Davis and her household—aunt Miriam Margolyes, companion Ashleigh Cummings, ward Ruby Rees—are going to the beach on holiday. When they get there, Blake’s household—where they’re staying—is in abject disarray. The servants have disappeared, leaving kitchen boy or whatever Reef Ireland to manage the whole house.
So, of course Davis brings in Richard Bligh to whip things up into shape because Stately Fisher Manor isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. But even though the mystery conclusion—involving stolen coins—and its villain aren’t the best, it’s a great episode. It’s a bunch of fun watching Davis butt heads with yokel copper Tony Rickards—great moment after Davis brings in Nathan Page (and Hugo Johnstone-Burt, which makes for a cute scene or two for he and Cummings) and Blake asks Davis to bring her handsome friend around (meaning Page) and Davis is momentarily confused. It’s extremely charming.
The whole episode, as it concerns Page and Davis, is extremely charming. They investigate the case together, sneaking around, never particularly concerned because they’re old hats at the mystery thing by now and just enjoying themselves. It’s like a working holiday. Very cute.
Davis gets a good showdown with the villain too, though there are a confusing amount of suspects.
Excellent, unexpected arc for Margolyes, which figures in to some of the mystery resolve, and Rees is adorable making eyes at Ireland. Also adorable is when Cummings has to tell Davis to chaperone her. Dan Wyllie plays Blake’s son, who’s a potential Phryne Fellow for a while… even though he’s still Perry Heslop.
Oh, and Travis McMahon gets a fantastic bit as a drunk. Bootlegging figures into it all too. And temperance movements. It’s a whole bunch of plot, but Ken Cameron’s direction moves through it rather well.
Delightful episode… maybe, given the resolution and the stakes, the most delightful “Miss Fisher’s” to date.
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