This week's Endeavour finds Morse confronted with a possible serial murderer and Bright with the future of the police force.
Thursday: It won't do, Morse. It won't bloody do.
Like last week, there are two unconnected stories to begin. this episode. There's a long train sequence, a girl who lost her shoes, and a lorry hijacking. While DS Strange rounds up Thursday to check out the lorry, Morse finds himself watching over DC Fancy's shoulder as he takes a Missing Person report about a Mrs. Frances Porter. Her husband Noel and her sister Jilly are concerned she never came home. Morse lets Fancy handle it himself with WPC Trewlove's help. (I hope you 'ship them because they are so happening.) He heads out with Thursday to deal with the hijacked lorry, the alcohol and tobacco it carried, as well as the dead driver. Unfortunately, Thursday and company are not running this investigation. DI Ronnie Box (Simon Harrison) and DS Patrick Dawson (Thomas Coombes) are assigned from on high to deal with it. Unlike our beloved Oxford City Police, they are a right couple of slags. Bright may say he understands those who get results are the ones who will survive the great merger of Thames Valley, but there's a difference between knowing and doing, and these are men who plan to do what it takes. They're convinced it's part of the Eddie Nero thuggery, even as Thursday and Strange become more convinced it's actually those who might be trying to take Nero down. Poor Fancy gets thrown to their case while Morse takes over looking into Mrs. Porter.
The swinging sixties come roaring in as Morse checks out Frances' workplace, Alice's Marmalade Cat. However, the owner, Marty Bedlow, swears he hasn't seen her since her last shift on Saturday. But her coworker, Anoushka, says she borrowed a hat and shoes from the shop before heading out to meet her lover, "Don." That tip leads to a hotel room, a car registration, and a man named Don Mercer, who believed he was sleeping with Frances' sister Jilly. Tracking down Frances' train ride home puts Morse in contact with the station master, Cal, who claims he went home early to check in on his very pregnant wife, who is due any day now. It also brings in "railway enthusiast" Cedric Norton, who's been creepily floating around in the background. He leads Morse to the ghost train Frances had been sneaking home on, and (finally) her strangled body.
Dorothea Frazil stops by to ask if this is related to an unsolved case from four years back, when Linda Grisham was found strangled in an equally deserted old train station. The murderer took the girl's shoes as a souvenir. Thursday isn't buying the idea. He'd rather finger Mercer for it, since she was 8 weeks pregnant with his kid. But Morse says he'll take whatever details there are of the other case.
Meanwhile, in Morse's personal life, he turns up at Joan's flat-warming party only to find she's trying to set him up with one of her girlfriends, a French girl named Claudine, much to his heartbreak. He'd rather admire the view of Oxford with Joan in it. But he's not against getting laid when he meets another French girl of his own accord after leaving the party either. Oh, Morse.
Thursday's still pretty broken up over Joan's standoffishness too. He's also got Charlie still breathing down his neck for money, which is some ugliness that needs to disappear sooner rather than later.
Don: Jesus Christ.
Thursday: He's nothing to do with it.
Then Anoushka turns up dead, after seeing someone she recognized while riding the bus on the way home. (There are some shots of both Cedric and Cal around the station looking shifty, and Cal had blood on his sleeve when he came home the night before.) She too was strangled, near where Grisham was found. But DeBryn knows details about that murder Frazil didn't, namely that Grisham was strangled with her own bra. Plus Grisham's shoes were stolen, but Frances' shoes were lost, and Anoushka still has hers on. Are these murders being made to look like Grisham's?
While Box and Dawson are uselessly sitting around trying to catch Nero, Trewlove finds a lead on the whiskey and the West Indian man who probably fenced it. She alerts Fancy to it, and he doesn't miss the trick, setting the man up for a sting of his own accord. Box and Dawson racistly assume West Indians can't fence, and when they find out about Fancy's lead, they threaten Trewlove in the middle of the station for "messing with their investigation." When Bright throws them off the case, they threaten him with the new world of police that leaves him behind, but everyone is basically just relieved to see the back of them.
Fancy's sting doesn't go as planned. When they get there, the West Indian contact has been murdered with voodoo symbols left by his side, only able to say "Cromwell Aims" before dying. But an inspection of all the stuff he has to fence turns up, of all things, Frances' red shoes. Thursday and Strange go poking about their Jamaican contacts for "Cromwell Aims," making a lot of people nervous as they do so. Morse goes to find Frances' mother, who is in an expensive private old folks' home, and not very responsive. She keeps identifying pictures of Frances as "Jilly." Meanwhile, it turns out her nurse is also Linda Grisham's mother, who reveals the mother isn't a big fan of the older daughter Frances, which is why Jilly controls the money. The family is very rich.
Suddenly it all makes sense, does it? This is about money. The eight-weeks pregnant woman wasn't Frances. It was Jilly. The woman posing as "Jilly" who turned up at the station who "reported" her sister missing along with the husband was the real Frances. (That's why they didn't initially bring a picture.) Anoushka and Bedlow never saw a picture of the dead woman the police found, they were just told it was Frances. This is why Anoushka was shocked when she looked at the bus window and saw her co-worker walking down the street, a twist that necessitated taking her out. The deaths were modeled on Grisham's daughter's murder, inspired by the nurse's story. But they took the method from the papers, which is why they go the details wrong.
Meanwhile, our red herrings aren't completely innocent this week. While Morse and Thursday are arresting the real Frances, Cedric attacks Cal's pregnant-as-hell wife, who stabs him in self-defense and then promptly goes into labor from the shock of it all. Chased down by Morse, Cedric commits suicide by train, leaving the police to discover he was the one to kill Linda all those years ago when her prefect badge and shoes turn up in his model train room.
That's all the murders solved, though Cromwell Aims and Eddie Nero still go free for another episode. Let's hope the division doesn't send Box and Dawson back next week to keep working on it.