Tonight marks the crucial halfway point for Death in Paradise. Last week‘s episode was predictable and formulaic, suggesting that any real character development or plot variation would be too much to ask. After a poor showing last Tuesday, we were left wondering if this series is worth watching, but being the the tolerant bunch we are, we decided to give the show one week to save itself. Would it win us back or would it crash and burn like a… crashy burny thing? You need wait no further because we are about to reveal all..
In the best episode since the premiere, we found what we were looking for in some side-character progression and a new take on the plotline. These improvements, along with the same charming and light-hearted mystery-solving chicanery we have grown accustomed to, made this episode a reminder that the series is worth your time. Most importantly, the writers ditched their strict formula for a mystery that reveals itself in the first scene, or so you think. With the killer confessing to the crime, the investigation takes a different route and although the old-fashioned methods and tone feel the same, the course is fresh.
As with Midsomer Murders gritty realism isn’t the goal here and if the writers can keep things moving with the characters, maybe allowing someone besides Poole to come up with the answer (though I won’t be holding my breath) and keep coming up with fresh gimmicks for the story, then the second half of Death in Paradise should continue to deliver.
This evening’s striking young suspect also provides the long-awaited love interest for Poole. He doesn’t act on his attraction, but it delivers some humorous scenes between him and Camille, with yet more hints at them getting together. Although nothing substantial happens, at least the idea of the two finally hooking up is strongly suggested and a romantic sub-plot, however minor, is what they needed to keep things interesting. They need to hit the all important first base soon though..
We also finally saw some real detective work from Dwayne, who finds and questions a poacher camped out around the murder scene. Since Dwayne is a local and knows this guy, he is able to use prior knowledge and realises that his presence is significant to the case. This knowledge is something that Poole can’t provide, giving the writers a good technique of implementing a support cast.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any solid of illustrations of low-tech detective ingenuity and the only method up Poole’s sleeve this episode is the tried and tested cell-phone in the rice trick (that old chestnut!) something anybody with butter fingers and a tendency to use their phone in the bathroom already knows.
But, the storyline was strong as was the final conclusion. As the mystery unravels starting with a confession, every answer seems to reveal more questions until Poole works his detection magic in the customary last minute solution. Once again, this was a crime of passion masking a love affair. Doesn’t anybody ever kill for money or revenge anymore?