Lucy Lawless gets an arc to herself with brother Martin Henderson this episode, and it's almost enough to make up for a lackluster murder. It seems like it'll be enough, but the epilogue is a weird whiff and reminds of the show's inability to land certain things, like jokes at Lawless's expense from Ebony Vagulans. They fall flat, Lawless looks at Vagulans to acknowledge they fall flat, then the show just pretends they work. It's a very weird fail, and one "Murder" can't stop making.
The mystery this episode is a suspicious death at a resort hotel. Bruce Hopkins was locked in the freezer overnight, and copper Rawiri Jobe suspects foul play but can't prove it. So he sends Lawless and Vagulans on holiday to figure it out. Except Henderson's up for parole, so Lawless has to bounce between home and work all episode, allowing for her to look at computer intel because Vagulans apparently doesn't bring a laptop with her to the resort.
There are a handful of suspects. Son-in-law Ryan O'Kane, presumably daughter-in-law (presumably suspect not presumably daughter-in-law) Grace Palmer, and American real estate mogul William Shatner. The widow, Carmel McGlone, was out of the country at the time, which is good because she's super suspicious all the time. Shatner's only it to give Lawless a banter partner she doesn't immediately shut down before she and McGlone can bond over being widows.
It just takes a while because everyone at the hotel assumes Lawless and Vagulans are "dark tourists"—vacationers who go to murder scenes and snoop around—and not there in any official or even consulting capacity. Eventually, McGlone gets better material (while getting more suspicious), and she and Lawless can chill out and pass Bechdel, even with dead husbands to talk about.
McGlone and Palmer give good supporting performances, and then Lawless might give her best performance of the season—it's a muted personal—but it's too bad Vagulans isn't better. Some of it's obviously the material.
Also, O'Kane is a little bit too thin. You keep assuming he will have substance because they treat him like an actual suspect, but he never delivers any. Kate McDermott's script has herky-jerky pacing to it, without ever following through on event consequences, just hopping to Lawless's next interaction with the guest stars.
Despite the insubstantial mystery plot, there's still room for Lawless to deliver on the character front. But it's the flimsiest episode in a while.