|Gene breaks into the Blue Peter Garden.|
Halfway through the final series, and I'm finding it ever more disconnected than before. There's some concentrated effort to focus on the characters, but that doesn't correlate with the overall tone; it's almost as if a character gains traits in one episode and then defaults to character stereotype in the next. That's the big problem with any mix of crime drama with another genre, in that the case-a-week format doesn't allow much character development. This week's episode certainly wasn't at all bad, but it was treading on themes and cliches that the series has driven into the ground, and its plot twists are signposted from a mile away.
Following a drugs tipoff, the gang accidentally step on the territory of a neighbouring division. Their officer, DI Louise Gardiner, is undercover in the rising criminal organisation of disgraced criminal Terry Stafford and his son Daniel, with whom Gene has a vengeance. When Gardiner appears to have been attacked, they investigate in full force, but soon discover that the head of Gardiner's department has been bribed by the Staffords for years, and that Gardiner faked Daniel's attacks in order to keep the Police away from Terry's criminal activities. Gardiner is caught in stray gunfire and a creepy Keats ushers her into sleep.
Gardiner was an interesting character for the most part, introducing a female presence into CID that due to the main cast's platonic relationships hasn't ever really shown up. For a while it seemed as if Gardiner would be joining the main crew; well, for a few seconds, anyway - that is, before the realisation that they're not going to introduce a new cast member only four episodes away from the finale and that the character was being obviously sneaky. It's an unfortunate sign that after the incredible creativity of the second series, the Bonanza is losing steam and writer efforts to present us with an epic finale are overshadowing the other episodes of the series.
|Keats ushers Gardiner into death.|
Like most of the episodes in this series so far, there have been a few good elements to what are fundamentally flawed stories. 3.4 didn't fail to captivate; it just didn't do anything particularly interesting until the final few minutes, and that's a worrying trend in a series that beforehand has shown such creativity and skill. Onward towards the finale, I say, and try to ignore the next few weeks of dullness.