ITV’s Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour returned for a fifth series and it’s safe to say the first episode was a hit with viewers.
“Flawless from start to finish,” one RadioTimes.com reader wrote of the tale, which saw Morse attempting to track down a killer who was picking off members of a men’s club in particularly artistic fashion. The commenter added, “The theme of women’s power over men and the name checking of Astor and Pankhurst was not lost in this, the centenary year of The Suffragettes cause. Welcome back Endeavour!
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Another reader praised the “well paced classic episode” for “clues and the odd red herring” that left the audience guessing about the real killer’s identity right up to the end of the episode.
However, not everyone was impressed with the plot.
“I had hoped that we would pick up from where it had left off and that we would see Endeavour trying to help Joan after leaving the hospital,” wrote Alison B. “One of the reasons that I love Endeavour, and enjoy it more than Morse, is there has been more of the personal side of the detective; however this was lacking in this episode for me. Certainly not the best episode, despite the quality of the acting.”
If there was one thing the majority did seem to agree on, it was that something about Evans’ Morse had changed.
“Endeavour is top-class television drama, with a wonderful script and period detail evoking the 1960s,” wrote Chris Shaw. “It doesn’t matter if I never fully understand what it is all about (like the original Morse), it is just such a joy to watch. In this first episode of the new series the main character has evolved a bit more towards the John Thaw incarnation,” he said.
“He’s starting to show more of Morse’s curmudgeonly behaviour as he ages,” Gareth Johnstone added on Facebook.
Darren Webster wondered if the young Morse might well out-Morse his brilliant predecessor.
Is the once 'apprentice' Shaun Evans starting to out 'Morse' the late great John Thaw?!? Loved the new episode of #Endeavour last night.
— Darren Laurie (@DRLPhoto13) February 5, 2018
And Hayley Webster went into fascinating detail on the topic of Morse’s transformation in a very eloquent Twitter thread.
And then last night's episode. Morse is different. He's the same but different. He's had his promotion. All is as it should be, and yet, he's different. Evans acts this so brilliantly I can't even tell you. I cried, okay, I did. In the meeting with Joan. The only bit he softens.
— Hayley Webster (@bookshaped) February 5, 2018
Will young Endeavour Morse become more like his older incarnation by the end of the series? We’ve got five more Sunday nights worth of drama to devour before we find out.
This article was originally published in February 2018
Endeavour series five airs on PBS Masterpiece on Sundays, 9/8c