Death in Paradise is a television show that doesn’t know what ‘dark’ is. Everything is fun, everything is light and everything is, very literally, bright as f**k. The real world is a lot darker than it was this time last year – terrorism is rife, lines are being drawn around people, a Youtube guy literally showed a hanging dead body on camera for his pre-teen audience and he thought it was fine, and for some reason Dale Winton in a blonde wig is President of the United States. Maybe just what we need is some Death in Paradise right now
Last season on Death in Paradise, something actually happened. That’s a bit dismissive (of course things always happen, but equilibrium is often restored every episode) but this was something actually actually happening. We swapped bumbling British detective Kris Marshall for slightly differently bumbling British man Ardol O’Hanlon. He’s super different. He has different hair. He has a different face. He has a different accent. Need I say more? This change is actually enough to make Death in Paradise feel fresh again.
Ardol O’Hanlon is now the fish-out-of-water detective running the office in fictional Carribean island Saint-Marie. He is joined by fellow officers (and locals) Florence, Dwayne and JP. Together, they face a weekly murder investigation with an odd murder, usually about four suspects, an odd clue, and a startling epiphany. They don’t mess with the formula much. And that’s what makes it endearing. It’s like a family pot pie made by your grandmother. She always follows the same recipe, and it always comes out exactly the same. But if you think that pot pie is f**king delicious, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you’d get mad if she did change the recipe.
So we start Series 7. O’Hanlon’s Jack Mooney has settled into his job at Saint-Marie (having two episodes last series to relax into it) and his quirks have been established. Compared to Kris Marshall’s clumsy klutz, Humphrey Goodman, Mooney actually has more refined detecting skills. He’s careful with his words, he knows the way to manipulate a witness, and he’s overall more confident. He’s still a clumsy klutz, but there you go.
So, without further ado, let’s start this crazy ride a-new with episode one! (These things don’t have names, so I make my own up.) Let’s start Putting the 2018 D in the P!
Series 7 Episode 1 – Over the Edge
We start back on Saint-Marie (and ain’t it good to be back??). At the Marston Hotel, it looks like a wedding is getting organised. The Marston family (yeah, they own the hotel) are all preparing for the wedding rehearsal. Daddy Philip Marston (played by Denis Lawson, who apparently hasn’t been in one of these f**king things yet) is getting married to Diane Smith, which means the three Marston kids (Stephen, Karen and Pearl) are getting a new mummy. They seem fine with it though.
Stephen, Pearl and Diane are up in their rooms getting ready for the rehearsal, while Karen is down on the lawn instructing all the guests on what’s going to happen in the rehearsal. Everything seems cool. Nice and cool. In Diane’s room, Diane has started painting her nails…when she sees a disturbing newspaper article with a picture of her on her laptop. Next thing you know, Philip gets a disturbing text from Diane that seems like a suicide note. Philip rushes upstairs to find Diane’s room locked. Diane shouts something and then there is a kerfuffle and a scream. Philip breaks down the door and runs to the balcony. Pearl and Stephen, startled by the scream, are not far behind. Over the balcony is a sorry sight. Diane is lying on the ground. Looks like she jumped.
I bet she didn’t jump, you guys. Because we’re about to slam-cut into titles! YEAH!
Now we’ve got the murder in the bag, let’s catch up with our favourite murder investigation team! Dwayne, JP and Florence seem to be on some kind of undercover sting in the marketplace, while Jack is talking with Katherine about the perfect recipe for melon curry. He so kooky. Well, Dwayne or JP or Florence f**k up because the criminal starts running off. And he runs right past Jack, who throws a melon at him and then handcuffs him. He wasn’t being kooky at all! He was working and…no wait, he was still being kooky. Anyways, it’s a job well done! And Jack makes sure he gets the melon back to make that sweet sweet melon curry. Yum-sers!
The Commissioner calls the team to the Marston hotel to mop up the spillage. Obviously, the consensus is Diane jumped. There is nothing to suggest otherwise and the Commish (seeing that Philip Marston is a very wealthy person on the island, and is also Denis Lawson) wants the case wrapped up quickly. Unfortunately Jack’s Spider Sense starts tingling, and he thinks that maybe this case is more than meets the eye. He goes to inspect Diane’s body, and sees that she has only painted one nail. An odd thing (you know, that ODD CLUE I was talking about? Yep, we’re pretty much ticking all the boxes with this one.)
And here’s a beat I forgot to mention! That’s right my peeps, it’s time for a DWAYNE AND JP WACKY SUB-PLOT TM! Dwayne is acting skittish at the hotel as he and JP go talk to the guests. He keeps looking around and hiding. That’s because Dwayne had a bad relationship with one of the maids at the hotel. He hides in a bush. It transpires Dwayne was dating a whole family of females at once and they found out. It’s a whole thing. It’s not really important.
At the initial interview of the suspects, Jack and Florence learn of the suicide text that Diane sent to Philip as well as the article Diane saw just before her death. Apparently Diane abandoned a child when she was young and the UK press have got wind of it. Up in Diane’s room, Jack sees that her door was indeed chained shut (a chained room mystery, if you will) and Diane left the lid off her nail varnish bottle. According to Florence, this is a big no-no. The nail varnish gets gloopy when the top is off. The rest of the room is immaculately clean, which makes Jack think that Diane would have remembered to screw the lid shut. So it was murder, I guess…just because of that. Jack talks to the Commish and tells him that he thinks it’s murder. The Commish thinks he’s whack and really doesn’t want a fuss. Needless, Jack carries on.
Back at Jack’s shack, Jack learns about the B plot. His daughter, Siobhan, is going off to university back in Britain…the day after tomorrow. (This had to have been a bummer for Grace Stone (who plays Siobhan). She seemed genuinely excited to be a part of DiP and now she’s out. Maybe it was her decision. I don’t know.) Anyways, looks like Jack’s gonna be lonely in the shack with only Harry the lizard for company! (And seriously, was Harry the lizard CGI in this episode? Has the real Harry the lizard actually perished? How long do lizards live? How much do you think it would cost to CGI a lizard? I’m rambling.)
Back to the case, and we’re just going to rattle off some truth nuggets. Stephen Marston (the son) withdrew a large amount of money from the family account recently and delivered it a random house in the hills. After some snooping by JP, it seems the house belongs to Julie Francois, a maid at the Marston hotel. Stephen kinda harassed her Spacey-style and he bribed her silence. But Diane found out about it!
Open and shut? Of course not. Because Pearl (the daughter) was heard having a screaming fight with Diane, when Diane told her she’d have to buck up and get a job. So there’s two motives. Let’s make it a hat trick! Karen (the daughter comma other) drew up a pre-nup before Philip and Diane’s wedding, but Diane refused to sign it. Yessh, it’s like a motive menagerie. But there’s still no evidence that Diane didn’t just kill herself. Philip Marston visits the station and implores Jack to close the case. The family need to mourn the suicide.
Anyway, f**k all that noise, because it’s Siobhan’s last night on the island. And it’s time for a good ol’ Caribbean beach party, full of booze, sand and limbo. Florence starts to grow concerned that Jack’s going to be super alone (especially when his only company is a CGI lizard) but Jack shakes it off. Jack does the limbo and cracks his back. It’s not really relevant…like at all.
Jack carries on the murder case, like the rugged alpha male he is, even after the Commish tells him to close the case. But as trails run cold, and even the team seem unconvinced, Jack has to come to terms with the fact that maybe he’s wrong. And with him saying goodbye to Siobhan earlier, he decides that maybe it was suicide. He packs up and falls asleep on his shack floor.
When he wakes up, the shack is a mess. He starts tidying up, and reflects that it’s almost like Siobhan was never there in the first place. And then…EPIPHANY! EPIPHANY! EPIPHANY! Jack starts going cray-cray! He knows who murdered…uh…Diane. Yeah!
Jack and Florence gather all the suspects together – Philip, Stephen, Pearl and… Wait, Karen makes a run for it. And Florence chases after her. And catches her…but not before they fall in the sea and Florence gets injured. It’s kinda pointless…except for the fact that Florence gets injured, meaning she’ll be out of action for episode 2, meaning Dwayne is going to be the second detective…which could be fun I guess.
Anyways, all the suspects are present, and Jack reveals who really killed Diane Smith! You guess it? The who’s not very interesting, but the how’s actually pretty cool. Anyway HOLY F**KBALLS, it was the three kids conspiring together!!!! See, they all wanted Diane gone, and they definitely didn’t want her to be their new mummy. So they killed her! Back to the scene and Diane is in her room, looking at the laptop and painting one nail. There’s a knock on the door. It’s Pearl. She tells Diane to go to Stephen’s room. Stephen, in charge of the hotel rooms, picked a room right above Diane’s. So Diane is now in Stephen’s room, and Pearl is in Diane’s. Pearl latches the door, uses Diane phone to send the suicide text to Philip, and acts as Diane when Philip comes up to the door. Meanwhile, Karen is distracting all the guests with her boring-ass speech, leaving Stephen to throw Diane off his balcony with no one watching. Pearl hides in Diane’s bathroom, when Philip busts in and joins him on the balcony.
It’s actually not a bad plan, but what these meddling kids didn’t figure into the plan was the awesome mind of DI Jack Mooney! All the kids are arrested, and Denis Lawson is left with three incarcerated kids, one dead fiancee (and let’s be honest, probably a fired agent) but who gives a f**k about him. It’s time for some sweet sweet melon curry at Jack’s shack. The whole team go round to keep Jack company, and Jack realises that he may have a new family now.
Happy Ever After…you know apart from Denis Lawson.
Overall, I found this one to be rather bland. For an opener, it wasn’t very…opening. I guess the Siobhan Uni plot might carry on (and hopefully we’ll see Siobhan come back at some point) but mostly it was just business as usual. The whole murder mystery was fine, and I found the reveal to be actually rather clever. But it was all just…fine. Hopefully, Series 7 has more exciting episodes on the horizon. Needless, it’s good to have Death in Paradise back! And I’m gonna be here for every last one.
Next week: In a startling turn of events, someone is murdered.