The pilot and first series of Endeavour concentrated on how the young Inspector Morse shifted from a naive academic to a hard-drinking, opera-loving, insightful detective. This second series focuses more on Morse’s relationship to authority and his trust of the system. This makes the series a bit more subtle than the first, character-wise. However, the complexity of the mysteries and motivations has only increased.
The cast continues to deliver beautifully. As Evans (Whitechapel) matures into the Endeavour role, the stories focus more tightly on him and Allam’s (The Book Thief) Thursday, much as the Morse series did later for he and his Sargent.
Russell Lewis keeps his creation on track, playing with the future we know but building a believable foundation from which it might have sprung. There are inside nods and jokes, including an appearance by John Thaw’s daughter and a heavy poetic clue that you will either recognize or not late in the run. With or without these gifts, the stories themselves are solid and engrossing.
It is a blockbuster of a series that will leave you wanting more. In fact, if there isn’t a new series soon, I can see the hate mail flying. It may be the only negative thing I have to say about this latest go-round: while each individual mystery completes, there are larger arcs that they left on a cliff-hanger. Mind you, we know what must happen, more or less, but it really felt like a cheat as there was no reason to do so, other than, I think, TV station politics. Shows are vying for shrinking BBC dollars, but employing cheap tricks to help force the issue is a bit vexing. Here’s hoping the next series arrives quickly.