Endeavour’s Muse – A Fancy Egg Scrambles Lives

Fabergé eggs are costly bejeweled creations, made for Russian royalty in the late nineteenth century. 

Twelve Monograms, 1895 Fabergé Easter Egg

April 1968. The first episode of Endeavour’s Series Five opens to a briefing about a Fabergé egg. Nastya’s egg, Innocence, is to be displayed at the Oxford University. Nastya or Anastasia was one of the daughters of the then Russian Tsar.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna – Public Domain

She was just seventeen when the whole family was wiped out but many of their treasures continue to surface and attract auctions. The episode begins with the solemn notes of Mendelssohn’s oratorio based on Elijah.  Elijah is a prophet in the Bible.

Meanwhile, somewhere, a man is painting a woman in the nude. Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse feels that the artist is seeking to recreate a famous work of art.

And, somewhere else,  a man is murdered. Detective Inspector Fred Thursday identifies him as a boxer and petty criminal. And, in the murdered man’s apartment, the police find “contact mags” – publications with phone numbers for sex workers.

Endeavour is a series which boasts some fine music and what is more fitting for sexual scandals than Verdi‘s La Traviata, the tragic tale of a noble minded young man’s love for a high class prostitute.

One such lady was the last to see the murdered man alive, before he was found in his taxi, with bullets in his chest and a spike in his ear.

In the meanwhile, a masked someone, it is suspected, is trying to rob the fabulous egg. Is it “The Shadow”? This burglar is known to leave a red rose as signature.

Now, there is another corpse, stabbed in the eyes with a steak knife. And he has lipstick – the same type that the police found in the car of the first corpse.  It’s time to look for a deadly female!

Could it be Eve, the lady in the white raincoat seen leaving his place? Eve has been posing for the artist.

Wally Gobetz Paris – Musée d’Orsay: Manet’s Olympia

Elsewhere, women take telephone messages – somewhat like today’s call centres. And one of these women is a friend of Eve’s. Long ago, they were raped. Are the murders revenge?

Precious eggs, pretty women, lecherous academics, boxers, gangsters all come together in Muse. While I’ll admit that getting hold of Endeavour might cost you an arm and a leg, it’s a worthy investment for an entertainer that’s worth every shot.

Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender is played when Eve does the Dance of the Seven Veils, a term which has come to mean something less exotic and more in the nature of synonym for strip tease.

In the midst of all this, the police force is being restructured. A very unsettling time, as it is, for our protagonists, British detectives based in the academic Oxford.

As for Joan, on whom Morse has a crush, it does not look like they get to spend the night together, even in this episode.

Muse continues the fine tradition of providing the viewer with aesthetic pleasure and of opening the mind to diverse snippets of interest. When a book or show does this, it serves one of the greatest functions of communication – that of being enriching. Muse also has a piece from Erik Satie, a fascinating cerebral composer.

As usual, this episode is also written by Russell Lewis. Lewis has written almost all of Endeavour and most of the Morse and Lewis shows as well. The award winning screen writer has also directed Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse for British television.

Muse is directed by Brady Hood whose Sweet Maddie Stone won for Best Short at the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival 2017.

To wrap up this glance at the first episode of Series 5, watch a trailer for the whole season:

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