Death in Paradise, Series 3, Episode 2 (BBC, 2014)

Death in Paradise 3So I was entirely right in my predictions. Which isn’t necessarily a problem. As I said in my longer review of episode 1, a mystery being obvious isn’t necessarily a failing. Plenty of puzzles are designed to be solved. What’s more of a problem is the generally shoddy nature of the script in this second episode: a lot of clichés and half-hearted jokes, combined with a lot of scenes that just petered out into shrugs and knowing glances at Goodman’s clumsiness. I appreciate that Death in Paradise is a gentle, unchallenging show, but that’s no excuse for such insipid writing. Hopefully it’s just a blip. It’s a shame that such a weak episode came so early in Kris Marshall’s run. We’re still learning about his character, and early interactions make a much stronger impression on an audience than later ones. If this had been episode 7 or 8 in the series it would have felt less detrimental. As it was, it was the first time watching Death in Paradise that I considered skipping to the end.

While I’m moaning, I do hope that Humphrey’s gimmick isn’t going to be coming up with contrived games and puzzles as metaphors for the murder every week. There was the fox/goose/beans thing in episode 1 and the hook-a-duck this week. I think it’s a bad idea. They’re not very good clues, take a long time to explain and then re-reference, and I doubt if anyone who didn’t get the reference at once would be any clearer after he’d explained it, so the explanations aren’t any use to anyone. (Especially the fox/goose/beans puzzle, which is far too complicated to expect someone to understand on first try without seeing it written down or being told to pay particular attention.) The fact that Humphrey’s schtick seems to be that he’s not much good at explaining things makes it even more unwise.

I was also a bit disappointed that he had his “a-ha!” moment about Lexi not being the intended victim and then proceeded to have a lot of other basically unrelated thoughts. Detective shows often do this, because they’re more interested in recapping the clues than demonstrating a plausible chain of thought for the detective. But it’s such a simple concept that if you’ve solved it, you’ve solved it. So the rest of the scene didn’t ring true at all.

5 thoughts on “Death in Paradise, Series 3, Episode 2 (BBC, 2014)

    • You seem to be more of a fan of Death in Paradise than me; do you know anything about the circumstances of Ben Miller leaving? It seems odd to me that they didn’t just take the opportunity to have DI Poole stay in England when he went back temporarily at the end of Series 2. I think that would have been a bittersweet and emotionally satisfying ending, and if there was any chance of Ben not returning (or the show not being renewed), then it would have been a simple enough matter to film BOTH possibilities. But maybe that wasn’t an option…?

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