I rewatched this episode in the middle of the night last night with a critical eye. I had a mind to do this post this morning ahead of my weekly watch-along club that I’m in, but due to staying up too late playing video games I didn’t make it to WordPress until now. But in waiting, I have realized something I never noticed before.
And The Moonbeams Kissed the Sea starts with a body found in a library, and of course Sgt Hathaway has a smart remark. This week’s episode, which is the season opener of season 2, is the story of a gambling addict murdered (the library body) as well as some students who were doing forgery as performance art. It’s just a prank, bro! There’s some more bonding and zingers between Lewis and Hathaway and Innocent, and the thing everyone seems to remember, a performance by Tom Reilly as a young, probably autistic artist. Think of the Hollywood version of a savant, but less ridiculous cause they don’t have K-Mart in England.
But the real aspect I became interested in last night was the performance of Caroline O’Neill as the wife of the murdered gambler. The whole story begins and ends with this guy’s addiction even though he’s hardly in the show due to being dead. But his wife, oh man. It’s the most beautiful subtle depiction of someone who is fed up with being married to an addict to the point that she’s low key relieved he’s dead. It is a master class in underacting, which I love to see. I might ironically enjoy someone chewing the scenery as much as we all do when Lisa is tearing them apart and they’re mad as hell and can’t take it anymore, but when an actor can convey such heartbreak and insanity without being bombastic I’m so impressed. She’s talking to the cops as a witness, and then she kind of goes off on a tangent about why you never see flies anymore. It’s a realistic view of shock. This woman has had it up to here, but gets it across without smashing things or hollering. Good stuff.
I’m sure there’s an original Morse connection in the episode, but the main thing as far as the Morse universe goes is that O’Neill plays Win Thursday in the Morse prequel Endeavour, a character who I think is the wife of the young Morse’s mentor. I never have gotten into Endeavour, for reasons I’ll get into later.