Wow, we’re nearly halfway through the 2018 season of Death in Paradise. And let me tell you, it has been popping off. There’s been floods, university applications, bananas in exhaust pipes, a racist lizard, an Irish fetish, and Florence sprained her leg by jumping in the sea (I still don’t get how that…you know what, never mind). It seems loads has happened by virtue of absolutely nothing happening. It says a lot that I write 1500 words on these fucking things every week (I may be the world’s biggest connoisseur of DiP) but even I had to look back to see what the fuck episode 1 and 2 was actually about.
I think we’ve only had one ‘good’ episode so far, being last weeks. The humour worked, the mystery was actually kinda interesting, and the characters were top noootch. Basically, it was Death in Paradise with someone actually in the driver’s seat. Too often, it feels like there’s no one there, and the good coach DiP is coasting, just counting on it’s inherent charm and its established formula.
The biggest mis-step so far this series, which I think is actually a cardinal sin, is completely throwing out the USPs (Unique Selling Points) of DI Jack Mooney. Going into this series, he had a daughter, he had some unresolved grief with a dead wife, and he had some actually viable detective skills. And now Siobhan’s gone, the wife is only inferred (if you really wanna look into it) and the detective skills have amounted to using fruits to stop criminals (we’ve had a banana and a watermelon so far)
The fact Siobhan left is probably the worst. A new dynamic thrown out. If you look at the last episode of last series (where Mooney was tentative in asking Siobhan if she wanted to stay on the island) to the first of this (where Siobhan is tentative in asking Mooney to leave the island) it really fucking stinks. The wider story is fucked, and it just feels like a patchwork quilt, where nothing is carried over and everything is different. So we’ve thrown out the Mooney/Siobhan dynamic for…what?…some goofy Odd Couple sub-plot with Mooney and Dwayne? Really? Really? Really? REALLY?
It’s not like I’ve hated this series so far, but I just want some cohesion, and I ultimately think Death in Paradise can be better than this. Anyways, let’s sew another patch on the quilt with today’s offering. (Once again, I make my own titles because these things don’t have one) It’s time to start Putting the D in the P!!!
Series 7 Episode 4 – Hallelujah Hallelujah
We start on a beach (because always) and a healing pastor is getting ready for his congregation. Coming to the show (?) is Fabienne Jordan, a woman whose sight is failing her because of a brain tumour, who is travelling with her nephew, Dashel. The show is going great, Pastor Steadman King is healing people out the wazoo, by having them drink water from a cup and blessing them on their foreheads. Time comes, and it’s Fabienne’s time in the spotlight. She gets up, goes to drink from the cup and collapse s. DEAD. SMASH CUT TO TITLES!
At the station, the Commish is enhancing the Saint Marie police force with a dog to sniff shit out. The Commish wants to try a dog out and if he gets used, they’ll get their own. So yeah obviously the dog is going to get used. (When I said I wanted some change in Death in Paradise, I didn’t mean just shove a dog in there) Anyhoo, the team get called to the scene of the murder, and instantly Mooney notices Fabienne’s burnt lips. It seems almost certain that she was poisoned! And the poison must have been in the water and when the cup is tested, it’s found to have nicotine poison all up in its bidness!
While JP and Dwayne (and the fucking dog) search the entire congregation for any traces of some kind of poison receptacle, Mooney and Florence interview Paster King. Turns out, his return to Saint-Marie was fairly recent. He was a big-shot Pastor in America but felt that a homecoming was in order. What’s more, the Pastor already knew Fabienne, in fact they grew up together.
Dwayne is already blowing off his new lady (and not in a good way) It’s not good to blow stuff off, especially a court ordered job. I don’t blow off my court ordered job. Just take the ceramics down at my local charity shop. I got so good at selling the ceramics, I got promoted again. Now I’m working in the children’s toys section and I gotta shift some mother-flipping merch. You want a Tickle-Me-Elmo that’s left arm is damaged so now when you turn it on and the arm vibrates it looks like he’s masturbating? I’ll give you a good deal on it. You want a DI Jack Mooney cuddly toy? I made it myself at Build-A-Bear. You want a Sylvanian Families Set where all the the bears are beheaded. You want any of these great deals, you just email me at JPCanHooperMeAnyDay@aol.net. Electronic-Mail me quick cos these are gonna go fast fast fast.
Mooney does a bit of snooping in Fabienne’s bag and finds her shack keys. He goes to her shack, finds some sweets in unique wrapping (in a manner that will almost definitely come up again), and a diary with a pic of her, Steadman and some guy called Wallace, but they’re all growed up in the pic, which means the man of God is also a man of pies. Porkie Pies! Steadman and Fabienne were engaged to be married, but when Steadman moved to America, with Wallace no less, he blew off the engagement, and Fabienne never got over it. What’s more, it looks like the Pastor’s return to Saint Marie doesn’t seem quite as heaven sent, rather he was fleeing America after some kind of scandal.
Well, let’s not put all our eggs in Steadman’s basket, and let’s get derailed by some red herrings. I like herrings, especially red ones. The food colouring really adds some more flavour to the already sumptuous flavour of the herrings. Anyway, Fabienne changed her will so everything’s going to her nephew, Dashel. And turns out Dashel was haemorrhaging money like I’m haemorrhaging haemorrhoids. But Dashel denies killing his aunt
because he didn’t
Hey, this episode’s pretty one sided, because we’re back to the pastor. Mooney finds that he and Fabienne grew up in a little village on the other side of the island, but when they hop skip over there, they find the village in a state of disrepair. It’s about to get redeveloped, and the security guard is lonely. The only visitors being Mooney, Florence…oh and Steadman the day before. Wait wha? Steadmanwent back to his old place, maybe to pick something up? Mooney applies for a warrant to search Steadman’s residence, and after some C plot shenanigans that aren’t really worth getting into (although I would like to point out that I wrote in my notes ‘Mooney’s meatballs, handled by Florence’) he gets it. So Mooney in primo ALPHA male mode rides up to Steadman’s place and turns it upside down.
There, he talks to Steadman’s wife, Amelia, who actually doesn’t turn out to be his wife at all. They wear wedding rings but they have separate bedrooms, because Steadman has other leanings. To put it bluntly, Steadman is as gay as a Saturday matinee of Mamma Mia! And he left the States because someone from his congregation saw the man of God with a man of man. I’m talking dicks! The search on Steadman’s abode WRAPS up
(I’ve been counting my breaths since I was four, and begging each one to be my last) with Florence finding a sweet WRAPPER. One of the same sweet wrappers that Mooney saw at Fabienne’s house. So Fabienne was at Steadman’s place before the show on the beach? Mighty suspicious. And what’s more, JP finds a plastic bottle of nicotine poison in Steadman’s bin! THE BARBARIAN!!! (That was plastic, it should have gone in the recycling). Mooney arrests the good Pastor.
Back at the station, Dwayne finds that a Wallace Miller (cos that’s Wallace’s surname apparently) never actually went to the States with Steadman, even though Steadman told Fabienne he did? What’s more, Wallace seemed to vanish completely, even from Saint Marie records. Maybe he was killed!! Mooney orders a search of Steadman’s old place on the other side of the island, thinking that Steadman killed Wallace (maybe cos he found out he was gay) and buried him somewhere near his old place. Finding out the place was getting ripped up and built on, and the body would be discovered Steadman came back to Saint Marie, where Fabienne confronted him, and he had to kill her too? Maybes? The dog (Huh? Huh? The dog, right?) finds a body, but the results from the lab say it’s not Wallace. Mooney is at a loss. The one thing he can’t understand is why Fabienne would willing go to Pastor Steadman knowing he was a killer?? And then EPIPHANY!
Let’s get everyone together for the final blowout, and it’s obviously all to do with the Pastor so the other two suspects might as well not be there. But HOLY CHEESY CHESS PIECES!! Fabienne killed herself. She was carrying a capsule of poison in her bag, and had it in her mouth before she took a sip from the cup. Obviously the poison left it’s mark on the cup making it look like it was the cup that was the murder weapon.
But why? Ready for another mindfuck? Because Steadman King is actually Wallace Miller. All those moons ago, Wallace killed Steadman in a lust-filled rage and assumed his identity. Wallace buried Steadman by the old place, and had to come back to move the body. But Fabienne got wind of the fake Steadman. Her eyesight was failing, but she could still tell ‘Steadman’ was Wallace Miller. She confronted him and he told her no one would believe he wasn’t really Steadman. So she planted a bottle of nicotine poison in his bin and decided to frame him for her murder instead.
Dude, that just wrinkled my brain. So Wallace Miller killed Steadman King and then Fabienne died because of that. I think that all adds up to a healthy dose of TAKE HIM AWAY!!!
Well, alls well that ends well…apart from the stuff that obviously doesn’t ends well. Turns out the dog was only contracted for one episode so he’s fucking off now. Dwayne is making amends with his missus because he was ignoring her all episode, and Mooney has a record player now, cos that’s important I guess.
While this definitely wasn’t the most offensive episode ever, it also wasn’t particularly memorable. The sub-plots were incredibly superfluous, and the mystery was very weighted on one side. Two of the three suspects were not explored really at all. While a more focused investigation was kinda interesting, because Steadman/Wallace’s motivations were more fleshed out, it was still just par for the course. Oh well, there’s always next week I guess.
Up next: A person who is living becomes a person who is dead.