Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Murdoch Mysteries': Gillies murders the season

     Murdoch Mysteries has gone on sabbatical for the month of February, but not before James Gillies returned from (what Murdoch assumed was) his watery grave to hector Dr. Julia Ogden. Last week, he sent her a letter promising to kill William Murdoch if she didn't break up with him, and to kill both of them if she tells Murdoch that Gillies told her to. This week, Julia attempted to sleuth out Gillies' location herself, but received a further warning to stop or he will kill both of them. Then, at the end of the episode, Murdoch proposes to Julia, who tells him she can't, but not why.
     I was so frustrated and irritated at this that I posted on the Murdoch Mysteries Facebook page that I'm sick of this Gillies-dominated season, and speculated that if the producers are that intent on keeping Murdoch and Julia apart that they need to raise this juvenile delinquent to the level of master criminal, then they should kill her off as a less odious alternative to more Gillies. I've had three people agreeing, and only one questioning why Julia should have to die.
     I blogged earlier about how I didn't think Gillies was up to being the Moriarty of the show -- he's been mentioned in just about every episode this season -- and hoping that they would let him die off-camera and anti-climatically. My only hope now is that since Gillies hasn't actually been seen since he jumped off the bridge, that someone has been impersonating him for some reason. A forlorn hope, and one that would only complicate an already too complicated storyline.
     Confession: I have read none of Maureen Jennings' books about Murdoch, so I don't know if Julia Ogden is even a character in them or how deep her relationship with Murdoch is. I also don't know if Jennings cares deeply about how the show deviates from her originals or considers the show a separate universe that can progress as the producers wish.
     Personally, I like Julia (though my wife doesn't), but think it odd the way the show keeps inventing ways and reasons to keep them apart, only to remove or rule the obstacles irrelevant, then find new ones. She's not Catholic? No problem. She had an abortion? Umm ... no problem, I guess, maybe. Murdoch's met someone new to whom he's attracted and seems more compatible? Not good enough reason to dump Julia. She's left town for a better job? Wellll ... she could move back. She's married? Anullment or divorce or death could remove that obstacle. Guilt over being the reason for her husband's murder? They'll get over it.
     So, now, Gillies has to interfere, risking his life and freedom, just to bedevil two people who have threatened his super-man self-image. That might be good enough motivation for Lex Luthor with Superman, or Joker with Batman, but it seems pitifully poor for Murdoch Mysteries. It's just a symptom of how poorly this past season has been developed (and that's without mentioning the ridiculous earth-drilling vehicle a couple of weeks back).
     If this is the best the producers can do, maybe it's time to end the series altogether. Let us pretend that after Gillies was caught at the end of season 6, Murdoch and Julia got married and lived happily ever after. Or maybe have a full-season reset as with the infamous Dallas shower scene.
     I'll take any way out.


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