Endeavour, Season 2, Episode 4, “Neverland”
Written by Russell Lewis
Directed by Geoffrey Sax
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on PBS
“Bad apples, Morse. Every barrel’s got them”
Endeavour has had a near perfect second season run. Yes, the season hasn’t packed the same emotional punch that the first did, but the mysteries have been intriguing and the most important aspect of Endeavour, its characters, have continued to develop and fascinate. The show has also managed to break away once and for all from the shadow of Inspector Morse. Smart storylines and powerful performances, particularly by Shaun Evans as Endeavour and Roger Allam as Thursday, have made the show one of the best character studies on TV.
Like all Endeavour episodes, the finale features three seemingly unconnected cases that eventually come together. There is a missing boy with a brutally abusive father, a murdered journalist, and a convict who breaks out of prison with just a few months left on his sentence. What’s always so surprising about Endeavour is its ability to weave these mysteries together; there is such a level of sophistication and intellect to each of these episodes that it’s simply dazzling. On a lesser show these intricacies would be lost, characters would be confused, and more central plotlines would be set aside. But not Endeavour. Missing evidence, police corruption, and a department merger, all important aspects of this season, are given proper attention in “Neverland”. Those three storylines lead to a nerve-wracking final act that sees Endeavour almost lose his life.
The show’s second season has played with the idea of history and the future. How does our past change us and what shapes our future? Thursday was confronted with his past during the war in “Sway” and Endeavour embarked on a relationship with Monica (Shvorne Marks). More interestingly, he began drinking heavily and more frequently after being shot and facing his difficult relationship with his father in “Home”. Fans of the character know that the older Morse was a heavy beer drinker and that time leaves him a much different man than the one we see on Endeavour. Watching him develop into this man is one of the greatest aspects of the show and Shaun Evans continues to give the powerful performance that shapes the series.
“Home”, the first season finale, was one of television’s most emotional and involving episodes in 2013. “Neverland” is powerful, smart, and compelling. It also has moments of raw emotion, like Thursday’s fears of the future and Endeavour’s pain at witnessing Thursday’s shooting. What’s really extraordinary about the episode is where it leaves Endeavour—he’s obsessive and willing to chase a lead even when it takes him down a self-destructive path. The fact that the episode takes away the closest thing Endeavour has ever had to a father and leaves him sitting in prison is incredibly disturbing. That final scene, which finds Thursday’s family waiting by a silent phone and Endeavour sitting in prison, is one of the most powerful of the entire series. “Neverland” is an effective and interesting episode that will take the next season in an exciting new direction.