Assuming it was ever truly possible, it’s gotten past the point where I can be objective about Due South. I doubt, however, that I could have come up with a more favourable response to this episode even if I hadn’t lost all faith in the series, and I’d probably be even harsher upon it if this final season had been brilliant from the outset.
As a story, the episode never really defined itself. Fraser, Ray, Inspector Thatcher and Constable Turnbull have all been to the movies together. They see a loving young couple – he black and street-wise, she blonde and innocent – being followed by a suspicious man then attacked in the street, she dragged into a car, he roughed up. The car is traced to an evangelical Church, where she is revealed to be a miracle-worker, causing the lame to rise from their wheelchairs and walk again.
To save time, the Church is the fake you immediately assume it’s going to be, the Reverend and his wife raking it in from all directions.But the girl, Eloise, their 17 year old daughter (Elizabeth Rosen) is genuine. If there’s a scam going on, and the show never comes down to say that there is, she’s not part of it. But she’s been brought up as a miracle-worker, since she was five, completely under her parents’ control, not allowed anything remotely resembling a life of her own, and believing in herself. Now she’s met Davie (Richard Chevolleau) and the two have fallen deeply in love but her parents want him kept well away from her. Especially after he supposedly kills their senior security guard.
The fact that you don’t see this tells you he did no such thing, plus the way the episode telegraphs that Eloise is going to turn out as not the Barrow’s daughter after all, leads to the big set-up conclusion, which falls rather flat, in which it’s exposed that the Reverend Barrow and his wife kidnapped the genuinely gifted Eloise when she was five, and murdered her parents. It’s all too preictable for further comment, save that right to the end the episode hedges its bets over whether or not Eloise has a genuine talent, in a cake-and-eat-it manner that is so irritating.
That’s the story but there is another matter that I need to bring up. I know I go on about Camilla Scott, and I admit that I find the lady very attractive and would genuinely enjoy her getting more screen-time in order that I may look at her for longer. But it’s not necessarily as shallow as that. Not only is the actress a member of the cast, and appearing fourth in the credits each week, but her past appearances have demonstrated thaat the charaacter she plays is a strong, intelligent, more than capable person. It took a long time to establish Lt Welsh as a strong supporting cast member and Thatcher is his opposite number. Yet week-in,week-out throughout this season, the Inspector has either been excluded competely or been limited to a cameo role, usually a flimsy one or a demeaning one, when it’s not necessary.
It’s the same thing today. Thatcher is there at the start, part of a group wih Bennie, Ray and Turnbull (who is a joke character), and even though she’s an administrative officer, she goes along on the chase. But the moment they enter the Evangelical Church, and nowithstanding her not-that-much-previously expressed disdain for such things, she is swept up by the rapture, starts singing along and joins the Church and its choir for the rest of the episode. It’s turning her into a joke, representing her as weak-willed and silly This is not Thatcher. This is mysogynistic. Why does the show do this?
Ok, yes, it’s turned Detective Huey into a joke character too (Dewey never was anything else), and it treats Francesca Vecchio as a sex-mad simp when there’s far more to her than that. As for the Ray character, he’s all but vanished into the wallpaper by now, nothing but a minimal foil to Fraser. The sseries has all but gone.
There are three episodes left, including a two-part finale. Having enjoyed so much watching the show for so long, I can’t wait to get these over and done with.