TV: The last ever Endeavour

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The writers of Endeavour had earned my trust, but dare I trust them one last time? As the ninth and final season of the hit ITV crime drama broadcast the final episode I had one burning question: Could I be certain that the writers would tidy up all the loose ends to my complete and total satisfaction?

I enjoy a nice solid ending, thank you very much. No cliff hangers, fatal accidents (Unforgotten writers; I’m looking at you), unresolved issues, sudden cut-offs, bizarre plot twists or waking from a dream two minutes before the closing credits roll. No, those options simply wouldn’t do. After all, I had let their characters into my living room, I’d invested emotionally into every single one of them, but would they stitch me up for the last episode?

Would the charming and witty Dr DeBryn ever find love? Could Chief Superintendent Bright carry on? Would the fabulous Miss Frazil finally meet someone? What would become of young Joan, our lovely Joan? And Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) himself, what of the lad upon whom the main plot line rests? And oh yeah … I suppose all those pesky crimes still needed solving too. But my very worst worry was – would they kill off my beloved Fred? How could they convincingly write Detective Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the man who had mentored Morse, out of Morse’s future?

For dysfunctional reasons of my own I confess there’s a part of me which needs to believe in the Freds of this world. For a couple of hours Endeavour provides me with a brief respite in which to do exactly that. I desperately want to believe that the important big things are being run properly, by proper grown-ups who properly know what they’re doing. They’ve lived a life. They know people. They may be deeply flawed and human, but they are also fearless, fair and fatherly.

Fred Thursday has seen, and been, both the very worst and the very best of people. And while he’s no stranger to rough justice, on the whole, he aims to play by the book and uphold the law. He navigates his way around the edges of turmoil, inner conflict and human suffering with equal measures of tenderness and toughness. Roger Allam commands an incredibly powerful screen presence. Without uttering a single swear word his steely glare oozes don’t-mess-with-me old school justice. He plays Thursday with such gripping force, I can barely stand to watch him play another part, and face up to the reality that he’s actually an actor.

Another part of me needs familiar things not to end. Not to change. Not ever. Because there can be a dreadful sadness in endings. There’s a part of me which longs for familiar things, and people, to go on forever. It seems I am not alone in this longing. In the final episode of the final series the writers of Endeavour grab this issue by the horns. They face up to it, well, like grown-ups. They somehow shine a light on these longings, which are an essential part of our shared humanity, thus allowing the viewer to feel less alone. And isn’t that one of the things which good writers of fiction do? They somehow help the reader, or the viewer, to feel less alone. As the final credits rolled and the familiar Morse theme played, I knew I had been right to trust them. They did ok.

Episodes of Endeavour are available to stream on ITVX.

Main photo credit: Fair Usage

Val Fraser

Val Fraser is a trained journalist with over 12 years’ experience working on staff in various demanding media environments. She has authored/edited thousands of articles including news, travel and features. Val has authored/contributed to nine non-fiction books. A regular columnist, she stepped up to the role of Digital Editor in September 2022 and is responsible for the Sorted Magazine website.
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