I just want to complain about Expiation for a couple of paragraphs, and I don’t even want to rewatch it first. So I’m going to put up the title card, and then spoilers are coming. This episode is so ridiculous it doesn’t even deserve an analysis.
Spoilers. In this, the final episode of the first season of Lewis, a woman is found hanged in her home. At first it looks like suicide, but then it turns out that her husband killed her. Why? Because he found out that when she was a child, she was babysitting her infant brother, and when he scratched himself with his fingernails as infants are wont to do, she decided to solve the problem by taking a pair of shears and cutting off his hands. Then she grew up and was released onto the world with a new identity and got married and had a couple of kids, but her husband found out what she had done. So he convinced his spineless best friend to swap wives with him with the lame excuse that it’s because HIS original wife is “a sexual animal” who can’t be satisfied by spineless friend, and when said best friend found out to whom he was now married and that everyone in the foursome knew but him, he killed her. And then he killed another woman who I think was a social worker who had worked with her.
Also, Lewis almost dates a witness/suspect, and extracts information from her middle school aged son with intimidation. And Lewis and Hathaway both harass an Oxford don who is dying quite theatrically of cancer in order to find out the back story behind a mentally ill and vulnerable cart pusher at the supermarket who was acquainted with the first victim who had earlier cut off her brother’s hands. I can’t even remember if the supermarket employee actually was able to provide any evidence.
Worst of all, we’re supposed to feel sorry for the woman who killed her baby brother as she has grown up to be the type of person who tries to make amends by spreading love and light and taking in strays. But I don’t buy it! If you’re old enough to babysit, you’re damn well old enough not to cut off the baby’s hands, and if you do, you’re never going to be anything but the type of person who cuts off a baby’s hands! I will accept no excuses for this fictional behavior. And I will accept no excuses for the fact that someone imagined this as a work of fiction and then wrote it and got it made into a major television show. This is not a shot on camcorder horror movie that went directly to the shelves of your video store, this is goddamn ITV! And to add to my indignation, because the writers in the Morse universe love to recycle, the idea of a child who murders someone and then grows up to be a do-gooder is repeated in the episode Wild Justice. Arrgh!
The only thing I like about this story is that in the end, when the murderer is going to kill his two kids, except they’re not his kids because when the wife swap happened the women kept their own kids, anyway, he lures them to a museum by promising to show them the shrunken heads. And I only like THAT because it is mentioned in the far superior Morse episode “The Daughters of Cain” that people try to steal the shrunken heads from the museum.
OK, I like two things, the other being that the “sexual animal” wife is played by the actress who played June in the IT Crowd, who gave Jen a job interview and kept trying to get Jen to tell her what IT stood for. And I like that episode because Jen says “I shouldn’t even know who they ARE,” when she realizes she likes same the weird bands Moss and Roy like, which is a line I repeat every time I get into a discussion with my husband, a wrestling fan, about wrestling. Piss off, June!
Fine, the third thing I like is that the friend who pawned his infant murdering wife off is played by the same actor who played a cop who was murdered on a pretty good episode of A Touch of Frost for, you guessed it, being such a sexual animal that he got murdered by a cuckolded husband. But I don’t like anything else about this episode!!
I even hate the thumbnail of Expiation on streaming, because it’s just a picture of the first victim dead and hanging. I want to watch COZY murder, not hand chopping wife swapping murder!
Actually, now that I’ve typed all this out, I think I will go watch it again because it sounds MENTAL! But I will wait and watch it tomorrow with the Lewis watchers club and tell them in chat how much I HATE IT!