Pip Miller

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s03e08 – Death Do Us Part

I didn’t realize until five episodes into Season Three there were only eight episodes this season. I knew it was the final season, but I didn’t realize it was a short final season. Director Daina Reid handles the series finale with aplomb; there’s a list of things the show seems like it’s going to get done in the last episode and then the list of things we hope it’ll get done. Writer Kris Wyld creates a lot of tension between the two, with Ashleigh Cummings and Hugo Johnstone-Burt’s nuptials seemingly the only positive guaranteed element. Not because it’s really part of the plot, just because… well, just because.

But the other inevitability is villain Colin Moody. His vendetta against Essie Davis’s no account, albeit royalty and wealthy father, Pip Miller, is drawing a lot of blood and quite viciously. Moody’s physically imposing, but he has this standing energy about him. Moody’s dangerous in every frame in every scene, even when he’s hanging out with an old friend. Like, sincere friend. It’s incredible what the show’s able to get away with as far as performance sincerity when the viewer’s got more of the facts to Moody’s violence.

There’s also a regular mystery—with Moody somehow involved—with a noted scientist (David James), who plays a character named Tode but it’s pronounced toad so the whole episode is the cast talking about Professor Toad. It’s very Wind in the Willows. Anyway. He gets killed off in some strange way by someone, possibly even local Catholic priest, Dennis Coard, which would be one hell of a twist, wouldn’t it?

Cummings is beside herself—even with everyone in danger, including herself—at the idea of now revealed to be un-Christian to scientists Coard being the one to marry her. It’s very cute. There’s only so much time for Cummings this episode and she does get a very nice finish to her series arc, so the cute little moments are nice to have.

The episode’s so full there’s no time for Miriam Margoyles and Tammy Macintosh didn’t get her episode this season. Having her around more was okay but not a substitute. Ruby Rees never made it back, leaving Jane the either.

As for Essie Davis and Nathan Page… how do the Honorable Phryne Fisher and Inspector Jack Robinson leave things? As successfully as they can. Wyld finds a certain way of framing things to get it done. Maybe not the hoped for, but better than the good enough. I’m sitting here with a smile thinking about it.

It’d be preferable to have more “Miss Fisher’s,” but as is… it’s just right. Enough.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s03e06 – Death at the Grand

It’s a single location mystery, which is always a lot of fun on “Miss Fisher’s.” Though this single location mystery turns out to be an incredibly dangerous one. It’s the local Grand Hotel, which is no longer as grand as it used to be; someone throws the concierge (Nick Mitchell) off the roof and he’s holding onto a bag belong to one Miss Phryne Fisher, which is a big surprise to everyone. Including Essie Davis, who didn’t even know the bag was missing.

It doesn’t take long for Davis and sidekick Nathan Page—seriously, it’s fine, but Page really doesn’t get anything his own this season—to discover the mystery involves theft, gambling, and one Baron Henry Fisher (Pip Miller). Miller’s Davis’s estranged father, who’s supposed to be being responsible with his money but instead losing it in a rigged poker game to intensely creepy poker hustler, Goran D. Kleut.

Kleut wants the money Miller owes him and is apparently willing to get violent to get it. Hotel owner Nell Feeney is little help to the investigation, so Davis installs Ashleigh Cummings in the lobby to actively snoop. And this time, new constable Henry Hammersla is more than willing to learn from Cummings’s superior detecting abilities. Maybe a little bit too willing to learn… especially since Cummings hasn’t heard from Hugo Johnstone-Burt lately.

But while Davis and Fisher are convinced the murder has something to do with hotel-related Feeney, Kleut, or maid Michala Banas, the audience knows it’s creepy Colin Moody. Moody always in the background, lurking, as he starts stalking Davis, who’s got zero idea she ought to be worried about him. Moody’s less creepy than Kleut, which affects the tension, but not necessarily in a bad way—delaying Moody’s extremes just make them all the more effective later on.

Excellent direction from Mat King. There’s a phenomenal poker game sequence and he really does well giving the hotel a personality.

There’s a charming finish and a surprising development in Cummings’s lessons—it starts with her picking out her preferred gun for her adventurer career; plus Miriam Margoyles is around quite a bit, including some wonderfully comic moments.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s03e01 – Death Defying Feats

“Miss Fisher’s” season three premiered almost a year and a half after the second season concluded, so the opening run-through—confirming returning cast members and breaking the show’s usual murder sans Miss Fisher intro—makes sense. Ashleigh Cummings is at a magic show with Travis McMahon and Anthony J. Sharpe, Essie Davis is getting ready for her dinner date with Nathan Page; everything is as it should be.

Until Pip Miller (who isn’t Jon Voight but looks enough like him I thought they’d “scored” Voight as a guest star) shows up at Davis’s door and she cancels plans with Page… and when the guillotine act at the magic show results in an actual decapitation. Then everyone’s evening is ruined.

Davis and Page meet at the magic show and Page is in a bad mood because of the stood-up dinner date, which is going to be his subplot through most of the episode (at least until we find out more of the story with Miller, who’s the magic show’s new investor). But he’s glad to have Davis along, as she used to perform in magic shows and knows how the tricks work. So they can ascertain quickly the guillotine was tampered with and the magician’s assistant murdered.

Grant Piro’s the magician; he was also engaged to the victim. Other suspicious characters around the show are prop guy André de Vanny, contortionist Eloise Mignon (who’s gets a fantastic sequence), and Kate Mulvany. Mulvany’s father used to own the magic show and she’s been teaching de Vanny tricks, which suggests they might be trying to get the show back (to Davis and Page). But Mignon and de Vanny have something else going on too. So lots of suspects and entertaining ones.

Plus there’s Page being very jealous of de Vanny, Cummings taking her investigating up a notch—to the point beau Hugo Johnstone-Burt has to finally take notice of it and appreciate it—and then a fantastically tense conclusion.

Tammy Macintosh makes a couple appearances—she’s now the coroner, which is a great way to keep her around—and Miriam Margolyes, who’s also got history with Miller, is around. It’s a very fun, very steady episode, with some great twists and turns, both in the mystery and the subplots.

Though it really doesn’t seem like Johnstone-Burt and Cummings’s engagement has made much progress in the sixteen months since their last appearance… ditto Page and Davis, but with the latter it’s part of the charm, with the former… you just wish Johnstone-Burt would get his Protestant head out of his ass.

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