Noah and the Whale
SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
So this is what the iPlayer description thingy for the first episode of series 3 of Death in Paradise reads:
A university reunion party that DI Richard Poole is attending is brought to an abrupt halt when one of the group is murdered with an ice pick.
What it fails to mention, however (and this is where the spoilers kick in), is that the murderee is, in fact, DI Richard Poole himself. In the first five minutes.
I quite honestly was not expecting this. Because – this is Death in Paradise, right? Nothing this traumatic ever happens in Death in Paradise. People leave. They shout. They hit other people. But they never, ever get murdered. Not people we care about, anyway.
So I found myself in the strange position for most of the episode convinced that Richard Poole had not in fact been murdered and was about to walk into the room and go “BAZINGA!” or something equally eccentric.
This impression wasn’t helped by the tone of the episode. Death in Paradise just cannot handle emotional loss. It can’t. That jangly, happy theme tune? Entirely inappropriate when the MAIN CHARACTER has just DIED. New Klutzy Detective who falls out of windows while trying to uncover a murderer? Ditto. I repeat, the MAIN CHARACTER of this show has just DIED. DIED. And, apparently, his colleagues and alleged friends are able to continue basically as normal while investigating HIS ACTUAL MURDER.
And no, a few pained looks from Camille do not count as convincing grief.
Because my brain essentially shut down at “murder of main character to which no-one is going to react appropriately”, I don’t really feel best placed to comment on the rest of the episode. There was a New Klutzy Detective, who was, you know, New and Klutzy (basically the same character as Richard but without the tea obsession). Harry the Lizard made an appearance. (I quite like the lizard, you know.) There was a far-fetched story about swapped identities and people being kicked out of Cambridge. (For future reference, the phrase is “sent down”. Not “kicked out”. Haven’t you ever seen Lewis, Mr Scriptwriter?) It was pretty much business as usual in Soapland.
Oh, apart from MAIN CHARACTER DIED AND NO-ONE REACTED. Did I mention that already?