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14 January 2014 @ 11:35 pm
Death in Paradise: Series 3, Episode 1  
"Am I seeing things or did he fall out of the window?"

Exit Ben Miller, enter Kris Marshall.

I knew Ben Miller was leaving the show soon after series 2 had aired. I was a bit disappointed because I'd hoped the show would actually conclude with Miller still being the star of it. I had a headcanon that the last shot of Richard Poole when the series concluded would be of him finally donning a Hawaiian shirt and sitting down on a deck chair by the beach, staring out into the horizon and breathing a resigned sigh...just before getting up and going, "No, can't do it" and changing back into his suit. But since he was going to leave the show, I came up with a new headcanon that he would be returning to cold, wet Croydon and maintain some contact with his old team on St. Marie. Maybe he'd send a photo of himself at a pub drinking a tea and everyone would comment he looks really happy even if the photo showed him not smiling whatsoever. I was pretty okay with that conclusion to his character as well.

But that didn't happen. Instead, Richard Poole exits exactly like his predecessor: he's murdered.

I know the Internet at large was having meltdowns over the possibility that a beloved character might die on Sherlock this series. But screw all of that, the main beloved character of Death in Paradise was ACTUALLY killed off. My rage and heartbreak over that bitter, bitter twist was huge. Five minutes in, Poole is brutally killed with an icepick to the heart while attending a small 25th year reunion of his college friends on the island. It's a fairly standard locked room mystery in reverse in that Poole was in plain sight of the other four guests the entire time, making it nearly impossible to figure out how the killer could have done it without being seen. Or at least I gathered after watching the episode a second time since the first time I wasn't really paying attention. I could barely even register what Kris Marshall (Poole's replacement and the one who solves the murder, Humphrey Goodman) was doing on screen or if his acting was even any good because I was too busy going through the various stages of grief.

By the time we got to the end of the episode with the murder solved, I was just starting to come out of my fugue when we got to the scene with the remaining team members, all having a drink at Camille's mother's bar. When the Commissioner announced Poole's body had been released and he was being taken home, I sort of lost it. The fact that they were playing a softer rendition of the normally peppy theme song didn't help. The idea that two years ago Richard Poole came to St. Marie, thinking it would only be for a few days and not knowing then that he would actually never leave the island or return home is tragic. The show, being mainly a comedy at heart, didn't steep the episode in sentiment and angst, despite Camille, Duane, and Fidel all missing their Chief. They honored Poole by doing what he'd want them to do which is to be professional and do their jobs. Thus, the actual tone of the episode was pretty light considering. Or again, that's what I noticed the second time I watched it since the first time I was busy either sitting in shock or wiping away tears.

Humphrey Goodman is very different from Poole which is obviously a good thing. I'm not entirely sure if the actor or writer has an idea yet of who he really is other than a bag of eccentricities. But then again, that's pretty much how Poole started and by the end I had grown to love him so I have some hope that Goodman will turn out to be at least more complicated than he seems.

So farewell to Ben Miller and Richard Poole. I'm sure Poole is sitting in heaven with a perfect cup of tea and doing a jigsaw puzzle.
in_the_bottlein_the_bottle on January 15th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Huh. It's one of those shows that I always meant to check out but never got around to. I knew something big must be happening on it cos Ben Miller was tweeting about it last night, I thought it was the end of the series, not just him leaving.

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 15th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
I thought it was the end of the series, not just him leaving.

I think for some people it pretty much is the end of the series.