Welcome To Paradise – Episode 3 Review

WELCOME TO PARADISE: Tuesday 8th November, BBC1, 9pm

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and a witch doctor turns up dead. Just another day in Sainte Michele, but unfortunately the series is beginning to feel as predictable as the island’s increasing murder count.

Now that Death in Paradise has reached its third episode, a definite routine has been established. We can pretty much rely on the following: Poole is irked by the tropical setting, his condescending prejudices about island life are proved wrong and he solves a confounding mystery with a sudden realisation from the unlikeliest of places. There are five more episodes to go and already it feels like the writers are just painting by number for the first 45 minutes.

As ever, there are a few highlights though. The BBC clearly knows that the show’s bread and butter is the setting and this episode is heavy with Caribbean nuances. The main ingredient continues to be good, old-fashioned detective work and although Poole’s revelations can seem outlandish, his methods are still refreshing. His DIY technique for retrieving fingerprints from the latex glove is much more satisfying than the work in most detective shows, where every piece of evidence can be scanned with a computer.

Yet Poole’s budding relationship with Camille is plodding along so slowly that I find myself almost completely uninterested. Dwayne and Fidel continue to develop nicely but we have yet to see them out of uniform and it seems like we never will. The writers are missing a great opportunity to break from the mould and feature their brilliant supporting cast more heavily.

Once again, Poole lightened up a bit at the end of the episode but given the predictable nature of the show, he will likely be just as big of a stick-in-the-mud next week as he ever was. Of course, the most important part of every episode is the brief, five-minutes or so when Poole reveals the killer. Refreshingly, the answer did not come completely out of left-field this time, but quite the opposite. The surprise was still decent and at the end of the day, this is the most important thing for a whodunit series.

Episode three is not exactly a disappointment, but it’s certainly not an improvement on the other two. It’s saved by some solidly unique moments and the show channels classic mysteries like Columbo, where you can rely on the characters and formula to be consistent (or to put it more bluntly, predictable) but for the mystery to keep you on your feet. The charm has not completely worn off, but hopefully next week will feature some stand-out moments in the story and substantial change in the characters or else there will be real trouble in paradise.