It’s another season of Murdoch for us to rewatch and rate. This one flies high at the beginning, then crashes and burns at the end. Here’s our take:
- “Murdoch Air” – 10
- “Winston’s Lost Night” – 6.5
- “Murdoch on the Corner” – 8
- “A Study in Sherlock” – 7
- “Murdoch au Naturel” – 7.5
- “Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom” – 6.5
- “The Ghost of Queen’s Park” – 6
- “Murdoch in Ladies’ Wear” – 2.5
- “Victoria Cross” – 5.5
- “Twisted Sisters” – 3.5
- “Lovers in a Murderous Time” – 3
- “Crime and Punishment” – 0
- “The Murdoch Trap” – 0
This is a remarkable season of Murdoch Mysteries, ranging from the very best the show has to offer to the very worst. The average for this season is only 5.1, which is the lowest yet for a season of Murdoch, but the average is deceptive since this season is half good-to-brilliant and half disappointing-at-best with not a lot falling in the middle range. It’s an odd roller coaster of a season, and, like all roller coasters, it eventually ends at the bottom.
That bottom is pretty darned low. “Crime and Punishment” and “The Murdoch Trap,” both rating a solid 0, make up a two-parter in which two of our least favorite things get combined: overly clever serial killers who get away with everything and artificial barriers thrown up by writers to squeeze more drama out of romantic angst. Darcy Garland, the multi-season speed bump to the blossoming relationship between Detective Murdoch and Doctor Ogden, suffers a character assassination this season as he goes from being reasonable and charming to being obstreperous and capricious, all for the writers’ increasingly desperate ploys to keep Murdoch and Ogden apart as long as possible. Rather than offer us something truly new and original on tv—reasonable adults dealing with complicated emotions with compassion, self-awareness, and generosity—the writers fall back on one of the most worn-out tropes of mystery fiction: have the offending interloper murdered by a genius serial killer who frames the detective. These are two episodes we will never be watching again.
But what a joy of an episode we get to start the season off with! “Murdoch Air” earns its full 10 rating with a thrilling opening, some great character moments, the return of the beloved James Pendrick, a dash of international intrigue courtesy of Myers and Clegg, and an exhilarating ending that has Murdoch soaring over Niagara Falls years before the Wright brothers got airborne. “Murdoch Air” has a little bit of everything that makes Murdoch so delightful.
There are a lot of other good episodes in the first half of the season, too, bringing us young Winston Churchill boozing around Toronto, a Sherlock Holmes impersonator with a mystery of his own to solve, an introduction to the turn-of-the-century nudist movement, and a poison-gas terrorist. On the other hand, you can skip the second half of the season and not miss much.
How did you like this season of Murdoch? Was the final two-parter right up your alley? Not thrilled by the airborne first episode? Let us know!
Image: Constable Crabtree trying pizza, from Murdoch Mysteries via IMDb.
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