Do you love Jane Austen and Halloween? Do you feel like this?
Well then, we have a post for you!
So after DCI Barnaby (John Nettles) left I really stopped watching the new Midsomer Murders, and instead just rewatched the old ones. Every time I watched I got to where they made the switch, I would get a little farther, but then stop as it just wasn’t the same.
I hate when the person you love leaves.
However, my interest was sparked when my mother, who continued watching, told me about this episode and someone who follows me on instragam mentioned it too. I tried to find the comment, but no luck-I knew I needed to review it for Horrorfest.
You know me:
So here we are:
So to begin with, such a beautiful house. So lovely. Every one is in Austen Regency wear. It is like Austenland. I wish I could go.
Gorgeous…but wait a second. A young girl receives a note and goes running off. That’s not unusual, but a drone overhead is watching her. Creepy.
A person in blue coat and black gloves grabs her and carries her off, the drone missing everything but the dead body.
John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) is at home when he gets called in by Detective Sergeant Jamie Winter, who I don’t care for. None of the DS were as good as Ben, he was he best!
Anywho, Jamie talks to Mrs. Barnaby who’s woking on a Georgian historical novel. Wow what a coincidence!
So moving along we are in the village Doctor’s office where a lady, Mary Osgood, is upset that her boss and secretary have “taken time off”-just so you know, yes, they are in Austenland.
Ronin Chow has the Mary load the drone as they are testing healthcare by air. It goes by where the police are investigating. So the victim is female and was found stabbed in the countryside. Bonnet askew. It appears the girl was stabbed in the neck with a feather? Interesting.
They have found no ID, wallet, etc. Makes sense as she is in full Austen gear. They do find a remnant of a note on her hand. It looks as if someone tried to rip it out.
They discover a syringe and Winter makes a dumb joke. I just don’t like him!
Meanwhile, there are a group of ladies and gents enjoying Jane Austen. Katherine (Claire Skinner) and James Osgood (Samuel West) are the owners who recreate Austen, their teenage daughter Polly isn’t into it and upset about being in that “world”.
The murdered woman turns out to be Samantha Berry from London. She was a single journalist, out on vacarion to “Austenland”.
They question the owners, but they aren’t very helpful. They describe their vacation as “gorgeous Georgians” in an attempt to make money to continue to care for their home.
Polly, however, has information as she shares that Samantha was super nosy-asking a lot of questions-even sneaking out.
It turns out the “missing” receptionist Jane Everard and Dr. Solomon Franks are at the event. The doctor being the one people are after as he’s the “resident Mr. Darcy.” Although we never spend anytime with him or really see him again in this episode. WOW, you think that an episode that is supposed to be Jane Austen themed, spends hardly any time on Mr. Darcy.
So John (I can’t call him Barnaby) and Winters find out that the head of the Jane Austen Friendship Circle is not a fan of the “Gorgeous Georgians” and decide to question her.
They go through Samantha’s things and find a lot of news articles about the drone delivery! Ah, so the Dr. and his secretary just happen to be at this event and Samantha is investigating them. Interesting, obviously the doctor and receptionists will play big parts in this as Austen will be a major theme, right?
Yes, they are supposed to be Darcy and Elizabeth, but we NEVER see them!
Katherine’s sister comes and to be honest I can see why Polly is not into it. They treat her like crap making her do everything. They should have hired at least one footman.
James looks at Katherine’s sister in a strange way and could they be involved? I wouldn’t put it past this show. Remember how the uncle in Candlestick says that everyone is also messing around with each other on Midsomer Murders.
James receives a suspicious phone call. Hmm…
They go to speak to Ronin and Doug Vaughan, the Drone people about the drones to see if they have anything. They don’t recognize her picture and Winter asks about cameras, but they say they don’t have any on the droids.
Gemma, leader of the Jane Austen Friendship Circle, hates the Gorgeous Georgians. She owns the tearoom where Jane Austen “visited” and talks about how she knows the history-although it sounds like she may be making up her intellectual background.
He asks what Jane would have written with and she says a goose feather quill pen. She goes to show him but it is missing, and it turns out to be the one used to murder Samantha.
They go to the pub and question Katherine’s sister, Nell. Nell’s husband Ray is an ex-cop who owns the only other key to the case that held the the quill pen.
Well we know its not him, too obvious and unfortunately we have a lot more to this episode to go.
That night someone breaks into the lab and they destroy Ronin’s laptop.
John’s wife is headed to the Grange, Gorgeous Georgians, to the dance being held there and is excited about her husband coming. He is less enthused.
It turns out that she was poisoned by the pen and asphyxiated. Someone did a poison pen-obviously supposed to be a metaphor.
They head over to the lab and find it odd that nothing was taken just the laptop being destroyed. There is nothing to be had on it…or is there?
The pharmacist is pleased that someone broke in and she is planning something with Gemma the teashop owner.
They question the pharmacist and it turns out that Samantha was investigating James and Katherine. She wasn’t any help as they got together in London, but they never seemed to match up to her. She mentions about his “private life is his private life.” Sounds like he is probably into guys. That’s the way they tend to lead with these shows when they say “private life.”
He questions about the drug SUX, what was used to kill Samantha and she or the Dr. could have done it.
Back with the Austenites. They are writing, while the Doctor. puts the moves on his secretary. We see an Austen scene in an Austen-themed episode for like 5 MINS!!! 5 MINS!!!!!!!!!
Why would you only have a smidge of Austen and be going into drones and such???!!!
So they look at where the drone delivered, but none went near where she was killed. But they aren’t the only one with drones. Hint hint…
They go to speak to Walter Osgood the last person Berry spoke to and former headmaster at the school who lost his job for capital punishment. He was caught on camera by a drone filmed by Doug Vaughn. Hmm, I thought Doug said that his drones had no cameras on it.
Walter shares that Doug hated James as they’ve been fighting a loooong time. They ask about Samantha, but Walter never met her. She called about when James and Katherine met.
At the time of the murder he said he was fishing and saw the Dr. over by the river. Ah…interesting! Polly said that he was seen sweaty and late to the picnic.
They question the Doctor and he says they must be mistaken. They question about him getting medicine and he reveals that he takes the medicine. He was in a car accident and basically is like House but nicer.
He said he didn’t hear anyone, bur he did hear a drone.
James meets with his brother-in-law. A drone watches them, filming. But before we cann see them doing anything, there is a commercial break of course.
We then see the beautiful house and James at the computer being emailed a threatening note “I SAW YOU” “DON”T IGNORE ME” and a picture of Samantha dead. A drone then flies up to the house carrying something. Weeeeell…I think it is obvious who is blackmailing James. Who else has drones and hates him.
And more importantly where is the Jane Austen!! Why are so focused on drones?
James goes to Doug thinking that he sent the emails. He wants James to invest in his drone company. Doug says he doesn’t know who sent the emails, but tries to blackmail him. Doug says that he will tell Kitty all about it.
Yep, he is cheating on his wife, most likely with a guy. I can already tell. There is no other it than a secret child. Maybe Samantha is his secret child-Nah it is an affair.
So while this is an okay mystery, I wish there was MORE Jane Austen in a Jane Austen themed episode. This mystery has nothing to do with it. When the older episodes did a theme, they really went all out. Like the magician episode, the movie one, etc. This kind of feels like they are just pandering to people to get them to watch it, but it has nothing to do with Jane Austen herself or the books. All we’ve had so far is one cameo by the guy who played Mr. Elliot in Persuasion (1995) and one Mr. Darcy reference. Like this episode could be switched out with anything else and would be exactly he same. I am not happy.
So back to this James is angry and shouts at Doug, Doug tells him you can’t bully me anymore. And I’m pretty bored.
James storms out and Doug is mad his plan didn’t work. He threatens him not to ignore him. Walter heads out to the ball. James is preoccupied with what’s going on and wonders if they should have returned to the Grange. Kitty is in her own make believe world all is okay when it isn’t. Kitty is upset and talks to her sister who isn’t thinking her marriage is going all that well, either.
John and Winters dress up and they look sharp. John’s wife and the fill0in ME Petra arrive. Polly is serving all, the only one, and very unhappy-storms off. Nell tries to talk to James but he’s not having it and he storms off (must be where she learned it from).
Polly speaks on the phone to someone about having enough to get to Ibiza and mentions it takes two to get corsets off so she is romantically involved with someone.
So I’m watching this, and I realize that so far there has only been one death. That’s really odd. There is typically at least three.
They travel to where Polly was calling as they spotted her from the window and discover Samantha’s phone and a change of clothing.
The Doctor is trying to romance his secretary but she is unsure if he means it or play acting. Wow it is like that awesome movie, except a suckier version.
And just because we all need a little Austenland in our lives:
Barnaby’s wife talks about how Petra pointed out that there was a fire in the house, as the sides buckle from where there was intense heat. Gee amazing how that just happened to be this fill-in ME’s hobby. Now why this is relevant I don’t know but I do know it sure will be important later.
So who will die next Polly or James. I’m thinking Polly since she’s involved in some double dealing money scheme. At the party Ronin comes and kisses Polly, meanwhile a person in black and gloves steals a shotgun and shells.
John hears them and sees them through the mirror. Winters runs but doesn’t catch them, he gets hit by a car instead.
The car stops and when they open it they find Gemma. Interesting…
They question Gemma who says she wanted to see the dresses and dancing, heard the shot and tried to takeoff before anyone spotted her. They take her down to be processed.
Polly checks on her dad who is drinking and down in the dumps. He apologizes for coming back and hugs her. HMMMM?
Barnaby decides that the shot was a warning and the fire is a new lead he needs to look into. Why? Why would he care about a fire? What does this have anything to do with Samantha Berry? Why would any cop decide to do this?? THIS EPISODE MAKES ZERO SENSE!!!!!!!!!! ZERO!!!!!!! ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AND WHY IS THERE HARDLY ANY JANE AUSTEN!!! He hasn’t even read the books or watched the movies!!! Barnaby, the real one would have! Or he would have had Joyce do it and then summarize it for him!!!!
A drone flies overhead and the pharmacist sends something off with Gemma. What are these ladies up to? Do I really care?
They got into Samantha’s phone which has an old picture 28 years ago of James, Kitty, and a guy named Fullerton who went to jail for arson 12 years ago and manslaughter as he killed a maid on accident. They can’t question him as he died a few months ago. Big shocker there, NOT!
John thinks the her in the note’s “Meet me I’ll tell you all about…her” might be something like brother? Maybe father?
John and Winter go to question Kitty about the fire and Jamie Fullerton. Kitty doesn’t give that much info-a stone. A drone flies overhead and the coppers are off. Polly got a package. James goes to see Doug with a duffel bag-payoff. Doug needles him, and James storms off.
The cops head over to the lab just as James is leaving. They come to speak to Ronin about his “unofficial” business-using the drone for other deliveries
They question about Ronin lending Ray the drone, Ray who was the arresting officer, which is weird as why would they be friends. Ronin insists they were as Ray saved him from doing hard time.
To be honest I REALLY don’t care This episode is boring.
Ronin shares that he was flying the drone as he was filming for James, you know Austen footage to put on the website. He shares how he followed her and lost her in the woods, but found her dead. So why didn’t he share it with the officers?
The evidence was stolen in the lab break in, but he does remember seeing that the guy wore a blue jacket with a unicorn on it. But a ton of people have them as they gave them away for a walk for charity.
He asks Ray and Kitty’s sis about Johnny Fullerton. but no info.
Doug is angry that Ronin would betray him, and Ronin says he’s not long for here. He’ll be taking off with Polly. As soon as Doug is gone, Ronin goes upstairs and on his laptop. He looks into James’ file and sees that Doug has been spying on him and has a lot of pics. Then he sees something very important and dials someone. He sees who was wearing the coat!
Winters and John go to talk to Gemma. She lied about going to Oxford University, called it.
Ronin tells Polly he missed something and as he walks out he is followed by a drone. Ronin’s going to die. Ronin is telling someone he knows who killed Samantha when the drone drops a knife on him and he dies.
John comes to check out Ray’s drone, but it is gone and Ray is “out”.
Winters goes to talk to the pharmacist and finds Gemma and the pharmacist. It turns out that they have been undermining the drone trial as Gemma and the pharmacist had their own side business of delivering.
So John questions Polly. Kitty interrupts saying she wants to help as she knows how complicated first love can be. I bet she was involved with James Fullerton.
They question Walter and James about Doug. The two don’t like him so why would James invest.
So after that we get hit with three important clues-1) Doug’s fingerprint was found on the shotgun, 2) the photo albums belonged to Kitty (where Samantha git the pics), and 3) James Fullerton Grange firebug was Samantha’s father. I think we can all see what the conclusion is, but let’s continue.
Samantha only met her father once-what did he say that brought her to the village.
Meanwhile, Doug has been following James-pretty obsessed with him.
Ry goes to see him and shows his video-them making out is my guess. Ray and Doug fight while the video plays, Doug manages to send it to Ray’s wife Nell and yep-the guys were making out.
I hope they lock Doug up-he’s a total creep. Stalking, harassment, blackmail,etc He tries to play it off that James deserved it but I don’t like him.
I don’t care for anyone on this episode.
Poor Nell. Why get married if you were into guys? Really? Seriously, why mess up her life and make her think something was wrong with her.
Back at the Grange nothing is quite right. The Dr. and Jane are trying to get together, he proposing to her. I DON’T CARE! Neither one acted like an “Austen” character and we spend zero time with them. Who cares?
James tells Kitty they HAVE TO TALK. Meanwhile they question Ray, but he lied about his whereabouts earlier. Both times of the deaths he went to see James
After the fire Ray and James were together, but when Kitty became pregnant from James he and Kitty went to London and Ray married Nell . Everything was fine until they came back, was it really though? I mean both men were living a lie and married a girls and ruined their lives.
Nell goes off to be with her sister who just found out the truth about her husband.
They question Ray about Johnny Fullerton and he tells them that Johnny loved Kitty, they were together until the fire. Johnny came to see Kitty after he was out of jail but she had left by then.
Meanwhile, Winters is going through the computer and finds a pic of the killer. We don’t get to see it though. All converge to the Grange so we can have a reveal.
Kitty is heartbroken that he never loved her, that he married her even though he cared naught for her. Poor Kitty.
She grabs a torch and lights it going toward James. Is she going to set him on fire?
She puts the fire in his face to try and get the truth out of him .
Johnny Fullerton was Kitty’s first love.
Knew it. Johnny went to prison because Kitty started the fire. Knew that to, sooo obvious. Kitty got drunk, was crying, and knocked over an electric heater. It caught the curtains and the maid died. Why didn’t she say it was an accident? She would have easily gotten off. Dumb!
Johnny told Samantha about the fire and she started investigating. Nell killed Samantha, she used to be a nurse and wore her husband’s jacket.
Kitty finds out that Johnny came back to see her but Nell didn’t tell her to protect her. Kitty says why not and Nell said it was because she was married. Kitty says again why not as “I wasn’t happy” and it pans to James who his all offended. Really James, really?
You lied to her as you never loved her, was cheating on her, and is offended that she was unhappy in your marriage?
Both sisters go off to prison. Ugh.
Winter said he never read any Jane Austen and I think the writers of this episode didn’t either.
It end with the Dr and Jane together-who cares we know zilch about them.
I didn’t like it.
I mean in the other Barnaby episodes you have ones that focused on archaeologist, writers, musicians, and they really concentrated on the theme this did not.
We knew hardly anything about these characters so I didn’t care who lived or died, the older episodes did far better. And there were only two deaths, usually there are three.
To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)
For more on Midsomer Murders, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)
For more Jane Austen, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan