John Noble

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s02e13 – Murder Under the Mistletoe

Murder Under the Mistletoe is the “Miss Fisher’s” Christmas (in July) special I obviously needed but didn’t know I needed. The episode opens with Essie Davis taking the girls—Ashleigh Cummings, Miriam Margolyes, Tammy Macintosh—to a ski lodge; Southern Hemisphere, snowy summers. But when they get there, of course there’s a murder—people are finally giving Davis crap for finding murder wherever she goes—and then they get snowed in. So everyone’s trapped up there with a killer.

Lots of great suspects—Simon Burke, Greg Saunders, George Shevtsov, Alicia Gardiner, Sylvie de Crespigny. There’s also teenager Emily Milledge, who proves you can be Goth in the 1920s. There’s a big backstory—there was a mine collapse in 1919 and it killed a bunch of the workers; widow de Crespigny married mine co-manager Burke; who does he co-manage the mine with—Margolyes. There’s a lot of good Margolyes stuff this episode. Anyway… Milledge is de Crespigny’s daughter.

There are secrets and flashbacks and Ruby Rees coming home from school early and having to hang out with the boys (Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, and Anthony J. Sharpe, which is adorable). Plus Macintosh gets a bunch to do and not just doctor stuff.

Great direction from Tony Tilse, really fun script from Elizabeth Coleman.

Nathan Page and Hugo Johnstone-Burt brave the snow storm to get to the lodge and assist in the investigation, but the episode focuses on the multiple suspects and the entire cast being in grave danger. There are numerous murders throughout, including one with a complicated Rube Goldberg setup to get the job done.

Really good villain.

Great postscript with the titular mistletoe figuring in.

It’s a perfect Christmas special.

Also—there’s a John Noble cameo; he plays Margoyles’s since deceased husband in the flashback scenes. It’s very cute to see Margoyles opposite a husband.

Oh, and Cummings—she’s doing the full investigating again. “Miss Fisher’s” season two—with this episode as its victory lap—did a lot of character development on Cummings. Did a little on everyone else, but a lot on her and rarely spotlighted it, just let it happen. Very nicely done indeed.

Hunters (2020) s01e04 – The Pious Thieves

The best part of this episode is Dylan Baker getting pissed off Lena Olin is cutting him out of the Nazi plans and scheming to get back into them. Baker’s stunt-casting, more so than even Pacino (who, playing a Jewish Holocaust survivor in old age is the heaviest lifting Pacino’s had to do in a mainstream part in, what, decades), and it’s great to see Baker do his thing. I mean, it’s a little iffy because you’re rejoicing in his evil Nazi bastard being angry he doesn’t get to be a more evil Nazi bastard but… Baker’s amazing at being evil. What can you do.

Baker’s plot line has him manipulating politician Becky Ann Baker, who’s fine and maybe even good, but not really enough to stand-off against Baker. I’m not sure anyone on “Hunters” is enough to stand-off against Baker. I’ll have to see Pacino do it to believe it.

Then the main plot. The main plot is Pacino and the gang breaking into Nazi banker John Noble’s bank, where the bad guys have a safety deposit box. It’s going to be an intricate plan and require a lot from the team. It feels a little like Inside Man during the heist preparation scenes but not during the actual execution because it turns out the team isn’t all that great at the heist thing. There aren’t cracks so much as the team is a bunch of amateurs. Outside Kate Mulvany, who’s a little better this episode when she’s got to narrate some Holocaust flashbacks for Logan Lerman so Lerman has another chance to realize the Nazis were actual bad guys and not just misled padawans or whatever.

Lerman also talks to Jerrika Hinton, who continues to lose presence in the show.

There’s a good showdown scene between Pacino and Noble to round off the episode.

The episode’s also got a recurring flashback with A.J. Shively and Anna Ewelina as star-crossed lovers during the Holocaust but it’s just to later emphasize Lerman’s lack of understanding, complete with some Schindler’s List black and white stylizing. “Hunters” nicely doesn’t shy away from being a lot but occasionally it’s way too comfortable about it.

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