Tuesday, July 5, 2016

No Cliffhanger

The final episode of Houdini & Doyle stayed in Canada for a mystery about an entire town of people suddenly dying at the same time. It also featured a local Indian tribe who were betrayed by a prospector named La Pier; years ago he opened a copper mine on their land and forced the Natives out. The local police are prejudiced against them as well, though Stratton, Doyle, and Houdini are more polite and respectful. Walt did believe that "Mother Earth" killed the people, but he wasn't portrayed as primitive and ignorant. He recognized Houdini, apparently had read the Sherlock Holmes stories, and knew of President McKinley's visit to Buffalo. I'm glad that the mystery was solved quickly enough to spend the rest of the episode resolving some major plots. (Doyle even had a vision of Sherlock Holmes speaking to him while he lay wounded.)

Houdini was still seeing a ghostly woman follow him around, and he read Freud's book of interpreting dreams to reassure himself that he's not going crazy. Houdini wrote an "if you can read this, you're not dreaming" message to help him test his visions, and that featured a few times in the episode. Meanwhile, Adelaide was still hung up on investigating her husband Benjamin. I'm glad she didn't keep the secret for long, and confessed to the others that she found out Benjamin was alive. Houdini insisted that faking his death was surely an untrustworthy move, though Stratton still hoped for the best, imagining a happy reunion with her husband. They started cracking cipher codes from Benjamin's Tom Sawyer book and discovered an anarchist plot to assassinate President McKinley. In a way, I'm kind of glad to know that Benjamin was the bad guy, rather than the victim of a vast sinister conspiracy. I would have been afraid of it ballooning into some incoherent garbage like Castle's mystery about the murder of Beckett's mom, but Stratton saved us the trouble by shooting her husband to save both Doyle and McKinley. I was even more glad that the show didn't try to rekindle the Houdini/Stratton romance in the last few moments. Instead she threw away Benjamin's book and decided to continue being a Scotland Yard constable, while Houdini instead saw his dead mother's ghost again. So I guess that's unresolved, if there's ever a season 2, but I still don't understand why the ghost appeared as a younger woman the first few times Houdini saw her. It's weird.

Meanwhile, after his near death experience, Doyle began writing Hound of the Baskervilles, and it was shown as some huge breakthrough for him. But Holmes is not actually resurrected in that story; it's set in the past in the 1880s, before Reichenbach Falls. Doyle didn't truly resurrect Holmes until 1903 with the "Empty House" adventure. I don't know what point David Shore was trying to make about Doyle's relationship with his creation, but it's already discredited by claiming that Doyle had writer's block and never had success with any other fictional characters or books. I liked this show so much at the start, but find myself frustrated with the fanficcy rewrites about Doyle's and Houdini's private lives, that I'm not sure I want a season 2, especially if Touie's gonna stay in a coma and Jean Leckie's not going to exist. At least Houdini & Doyle featured minority characters a lot and showcased the hypocrisies of the Victorian age. It was about as good as The Pinkertons TV show in some ways, though the namedropping of famous people could have been less frequent.

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