Endeavour wraps up its sixth season with three cases that finally bring order back to the Morse-verse.
Children: PELICAN MAN! PELICAN MAN!
Endeavour began its sixth season with the shock of change, and I'm not just talking about Morse's mustaches. Instead of everyone transferring to a new setting but staying in old roles, our primary cast was flung hither and yon. Throughout three episodes, it was hard to see how things could ever go back to the way they were, with Morse and Thursday on opposite sides of the Box grift line, while Strange, Bright, and DeBryn were all off in their own worlds. Moreover, the finale opens with two sides of a new case, the opening of Cranmer House Tower Block and a body in the library, suggesting no progress will be made here either.
But when Morse first turns up, it's at a house with a group heroin overdose. Morse, naturally, sees the bodies as victims, while Jago sees this as merely fewer pieces of filth on the streets. But squint your eyes and look closer, at the location of this incident. Once the OG Morse-heads realize the cast is standing in our hero's own future living room from the 1980s series, things become a bit clearer. Whatever happens by the end of the hour, Morse will be home.
But first, there's the body in the library. It is the head librarian at the Bodleian, Osbert Page, offed in the stacks by a man with muddy boots. (The Oxford people are appalled by that detail.) Who killed him off is not clear, but something was up that day as Dr. Jasper Nicholson (Aidan McArdle) found a threatening note in Hebrew tucked in his research book, and Professor Ernest Burrowes (Paul Jesson) a walking enthusiast and friend of Page was also on hand. Nicholson is getting all sorts of threatening messages in his mailbox and his classroom, suggesting he's hiding a deep secret of some kind. Perhaps one that would kill a librarian?'
And then, Cranmer House collapses.
Most will think of the recent tragedy of Grenfell Tower. However, this tragedy is pulled directly from the 1968 collapse of Ronan Point, from the sheering off of one side of the block of flats to the blaming of a gas leak as the culprit. (As Joanie correctly notes, the building should have been made to withstand that.) While most will worry about the survival of Olive Reynolds (Faith Omole) and her daughter Sandra (Zaris-Angel Hator), Morse has a different body he's concerned with: Hollis Binks, a surveyor for the Tower's builders, whose body was buried underneath his work for over a year.
But this isn't just any cold case. Binks was shot before being buried, with the same gun that killed George Fancy. Strange, Bright, and DeBryn order Morse to keep digging. Thursday is not to be trusted, especially when Strange identifies the gun. It was first found at a crime scene, headed up by the then-DS Box. Morse finds himself once again interviewing Burrowes, who knew Binks. He was a walking enthusiast, like Page. Walks and sand samples lead to a construction site, where many men with muddy boots threaten Morse's life.
Morse's queries into Bink's disappearance start unearthing a lot of people who don't want him to find answers after he accosts Councillor Clive Burkitt (Alexander Hanson), who ran on getting the Tower blocks constructed. Bright finds himself offered a way out of Traffic and a cure for his wife's cancer if he'll stop Morse. (His refusal nearly gets him assassinated, but he's saved by a mob of children, to whom he and his pelican are celebrities.) Strange finds himself pushed to drop it by his Mason brothers. Even Thursday gets roped in, which is how he learns his former colleagues are cutting him out. Taking stock of his life choices, since Win is threatening divorce, he returns all the grift he's gained, but Box just throws him under a bus as a result, where Thursday's told, "Morse or you."
Nicholson's mystery and Page's fate are quickly solved. The former's threatening notes come from Burrowes, who discovered his colleague promised to get out the girl he loved and her Jewish family from Germany in 1939. (Despite this plot getting sidelined, McArdle's performance of a man living with survivor's guilt is the scene of the hour.) The latter was killed because he and Binks were good friends. Page's inquiries into Binks' disappearance got too close. But the culprit isn't Box.
As was evident from last week, Box, like Thursday, is a man who has seen a lot in his time as a copper and is angry at how unfairly it's all played out. Like Thursday, he felt terrible when he started being on the take, but at this point is in far too deep to pay it back and get out, as Fred does. The gun Box found isn't in his possession. It was stolen from evidence by his bagman, Jago. Jago killed Fancy to take over Nero and Ames' heroin trades. He's also doing politicians dirty work, like killing off Binks who tried to stop the Tower blocks from getting constructed when he found they were being built corruptly and could collapse.
Jago kidnaps DeBryn and threatens Thursday's life, but it's Box who comes in on the side of good and takes him out, getting shot in the process. The combined reports take down all involved with Jago, causing the head of Castlegate to retire early in embarrassment. Bright is offered the job, taking over the station. Strange, now done at Division, happily transfers to Castlegate to join the gang while Fred gets Box's DCI job with Morse as his second.
As Season 6 concludes, Morse moves into the now cleaned up space last owned by the unfortunate heroin victims, looking around with satisfaction. Now all he needs is the car, but that's best saved for Season 7, no?