According to IMDb, this episode aired a whole month after “Unnatural Habits”. So is this episode supposed to just be a Christmas special? It seems that shows tend to have Christmas episodes that don’t fall into the season storyline, and I am not really sure why that is. When I wrote my fic for this episode (Then Come Kiss Me ), I had "Murder Under the Mistletoe" connect to “Death Defying Feats”, so in my mind it is connected to the rest of the storyline. There is definitely a lot wrong with this episode as far as storyline goes, but let’s ignore those for now and focus on Phrack, because there are some interesting things happening.
First, can we just address that Phryne is wearing, yet again, a stunning outfit. Another beautiful tweed coat, much like the black and orange ones she wore in the last two episodes. I love how they are all the same style, but each has something a little different about it.
Mac: ”This is a holiday. Must you find murder everywhere?
Phryne: “Mac. You know very well murder finds me.”
Phyrne’s response to Mac caught my ear, because I have heard the following response in the movie several times recently:
Forsythe: “Wherever you go, Miss Fisher, trouble follows.”
Phryne: “I prefer to think of it as the other way around.”
So, is she contradicting herself?
Phryne pulling off her hat and fluffing her hair! The scene where she fluffs her hair in “Cocaine Blues” is definitely one that stands out to me as a moment that sold me on this show. You can just tell when someone is wearing a wigーthey seem so careful not to mess it up. I fuss with my hair all the time, so it just brought a level of realness to the scene that I connected to. Plus, having never seen Essie Davis in anything, I instantly had respect for her as an actress for cutting her hair in such a specific style. So when she did it again in this episode, I almost died.
(Source ^ tumblr // v mine)
There are very few times where I like Hugh, but his conversation with Dot on the phone and his explanation to Jack afterward is absolutely adorable.
Dot: “No-one seems to think it's a problem, except for Miss Fisher, of course, who thinks it's a murder.”
Hugh: “Murder? Miss Fisher's always right. Except when she's wrong. Like when she breaks the law and when someone more important is right.
Dot: “Oh, Hugh, there's something about this place that scares me. Anyway, we arrived safely, Hugh, so goodbye for now.”
Jack: “What was that all about?”
Hugh: “Miss Fisher's gone on holiday again, sir.”
Jack: “Oh. Anyone dead yet?”
Hugh: “Only one so far, sir.”
Can we pause for a moment to appreciate this lean?
When Hugh mentions Dot and Miss Fisher, Jack’s face is hard to read. He isn’t happy or sad. He seems instead just amused by Hugh’s attempt to correct his "Miss Fisher's always right" comment and the fact that Phryne is so predictable. If it had been after any other episode, this would be the reaction I would expect.
I love that there is no indication in this scene that they will be showing up at the house in the Alps. If we look back to “Dead Man’s Chest” or “Death at the Vine”, Jack needed a bit of persuading to show up, and here it seems to be by his own choice (and maybe some prompting by Hugh). But I do wonder why Phryne didn't bother to call him. There has been a murder! This would be the perfect “excuse” to get him away on vacation with her. So the fact that she didn’t call, or that she instead had Dot call Hugh, seems a little out of character for her.
At this point, the one death may not be suspicious enough or Phryne thinks she can handle it. A lot is going on and she has a lot of emotional people to deal with. She did call Bert to have him look for paperwork at Aunt P’s. Maybe she intended to call Jack after talking with Bert, but since the phone call was cut short by someone screaming, she didn't get a chance. And even if she was thinking of calling him once the second body was found, she didn’t have time because he and Hugh show up. I would like to think that two bodies would warrant her calling him. So why didn't she make it a priority to call him?
Jack and Phryne left each other at the end of the previous episode with it pretty freaking clear that they were both in love. There can be no denying that Phryne knows he loves her and that Jack knows Phryne loves him - that they are in this together. However, when Phryne opens the door of the house and finds Jack, it is almost like this is the first time she has seen him since their "Not always, Miss Fisher" moment. According to the timeline, it has been about a month, and it seems that their relationship hasn’t gone anywhere since then.
Jack may have said "Until our next murder investigation," but I can't imagine that either of them would literally wait until the next case to see each other! And Jack certainly couldn’t have gone a whole month without having an investigation. So why haven't they seen each other in a month?!
Even though their feelings were pretty clear, I don't think either of them knew quite how to navigate this change. Maybe they were both waiting for the other to call and a couple days turned into a week and now it has been a month. If they had been better at communicating, they might have been able to figure it out a little more quickly and smoothly. I may be way off, or be thinking far too deeply about this, but this is where my head went. They have been allowed to hang for too long and it's now awkward.
Back to Phryne at the door. She stands there trying to process why Jack is on the doorstep as they are shivering on the doorstep. Unlike in “Unnatural Habits” where Jack doesn’t even wait for an invitation to enter (and the door was opened less than this one), here, he waits. Neither of them, at this point, quite know where they stand. Is this why Jack ended up coming all the way out here without being asked? He decided that it had been long enoughーthere was a murder and he was going. His appearance really was a complete surprise. Even if she had thought of calling him, she knew she hadn’t. So what would bring him and Hugh all the way out there in a storm? It is one thing for him to randomly show up at Wardlow or a crime scene, but this is quite out of the way.
There are two instances where Jack makes a comment, and I would kill to see Phryne's reaction, but you can't see her face. Instance number 1:
Hugh: “They closed the road behind us.”
Jack: “We may be here longer than we’d planned.”
How convenient! But what is Phryne thinking? We don’t know! Because her face is in the shadows, so we can't see her face. This is where you would expect a Phryne smirk or some suggestive comment. BUT WE GET NOTHING!
Since a second body has just been found, they jump right into the caseーnot a surpriseーthe two dead people in the house are more important than the current state of their relationship. All the emotions are quite highーbetween everyoneーwhich honestly makes sense. Stuck in a house with a murderer.
I know there is a lot of talk about Jack’s sweaters. But honestly, I don’t mind his off-white large cable knit one. Add to it his curly hair and you have a man that I am sure Phryne would love to curl up next to. These big houses with their tall ceilings and large windows are awfully drafty :suggestive smirk:
I do find it interesting that Jack is wearing a tie with the sweater. And it isn’t even that he went home, took off his suit, and put on a sweater over the dress shirt and tie he was already wearing. He has a different tie on than he did in the previous scene from the police station. AND he wears the same tie the next day with the green sweater. I would really like to know what happened between his conversation with Hugh at the station and when they showed up at the house [it has been added to my list of fic ideas].
So...Jack shows up without being asked. Maybe he misses her, or he is questioning why she hasn’t popped into the station in the last couple of weeks. Maybe he is thinking she changed her mind. So he makes the decision to go help. He has Hugh with him to provide an excuse if needed. Phryne acts a little weird upon seeing him at the door, but of course lets them in. Why wouldn’t she? But now there have been two people murdered. This is no time for their usual waltzing around each otherーit's all business. Well, almost all business. We do get this little gem:
Phryne: “Nicholas could have found the poem and murdered Vera for revenge.”
Jack: “Or Quenten murdered her because of... thwarted love.”
Phryne: “That would do it … (pauses) Especially if it’s been thwarted long enough.”
She is looking at him when she says that second part. Does she think that Jack has gotten cold feet? That he has been avoiding her? I would really like to know what happened in that month’s time. Were they really waiting for another murder investigation? Who is avoiding whom? Does someone need to take a hint and make a move? I am feeling that continuing on with this episode analysis might spur some fic ideas (which I am not opposed to). If this really is the first time they have seen each other in a month, and she is dropping a hint here, I don't feel that Phryne can be too upset with Jack. She could just as easily drop by the station as he could drop by Wardlow. She is not a traditional woman who is going to wait at home for him to make the move.
But she might also be hinting at the fact that things keep getting in the way. It might not have anything to do with either of them, but instead circumstances outside their control. For all we know, they have seen each other. She might have asked him to come along but he couldn't get away (until there had been a murder). My thought process is shifting right now as I take in this new idea. I had really thought that they had getting in the way of themselves, but we have seen Aunt P interrupt them. So what if in the last month little things just kept happening like that. So at this point, they are both kind of sexually frustrated! Which would certainly explain Jack's weird behavior. He seems high on somethingーhyped up, overcompensating, diving into the case to avoid thinking about the fact that he still hasn't been able to kiss her! If this is true...then him walking away from her at the bedroom door was impressive.
The power goes out! So not only do we have the “and they were snowed in” trope, we also have “and there was no power.” Too bad this house probably has plenty of bedrooms. We finally get a little Phrack action when they are out talking with Chester about the fuse box. Phryne loops her hand casually in the crook of Jack’s arm! My heart just melts when she does this ("Queen of the Fairies" / "Deadweight").
The lead up to that scene is interesting. As Jack the Phryne walk down the hall with their candles, Jack is in full DI mode. He has two dead people and a house full of people in danger. But if you look at Phryne’s face, she looks a little more contemplativeーlike she is finally taking a moment to think about their relationshipーthink about everything that has happened in the last few hours. Despite the situation, she finally has Jack within her grasp and she can't help herself (and who would blame her?).
Jack: "I don’t want anyone taking chances. So lock your door."
Phryne: "But Jack, if I lock my door, nobody could get in."
Jack: "It’s too great a risk Miss Fisher. Lock it tight. Goodnight."
I love Jack's smile! There is absolutely no denying what it is that she is suggesting. Batting her eyelashesーleaning into him. He knows what she is not so subtly getting at, and I will admit that I wish he would have gone along with it...at least to keep her company. However, Jack feels that this is no time to be distracted. As I said before, his restraint is impressive. But what exactly is "too great a risk”? Because you know it isn't just about her safety. She seems slightly agitated (yet amused at the same time) that something has gotten in the way again.
This episode is so overly dramatic. The music, the camera zooms, the acting, all the heavy breathing and running around. It is wonderful.
We do get a couple scenes with Phrack doing their typical interviewing - the couch in front of the fire place being their new interview room. Their outfits complementing each other. And we get some very close together scenes.
Then we come to the second scene where I wish to God we could see Phryne's reaction.
Jack: “Stay close.
Phryne: “Is that an order Inspector, or are you just scared?”
Jack: “Only of you.”
I love that she doesn’t huff about his direction to stay close, but instead finally comes back with another of those lines we have been waiting for, and he does not disappoint either. They are getting back into their usual repartee. But again! We can’t see her face to get her reaction. What exactly is it about her that scares him? And why does she call him Inspector? She has been calling him “Jack” for the past two days. It definitely seems like a term of endearment at this point AND I AM HERE FOR IT.
Jack gets hit over the head (much like in “King Memses’ Curse"). I can again see fic opportunity here. Even if they don’t have a night of lovemaking, she could certainly nurse him back to health. He looks perfectly pathetic standing there with his hand on his head. We get one “Jack!” when he fell to the ground, but through the whole scene when they are questioning Nicholas, we don’t get one look to him. All I wanted was one glance of concern.
And then we jump to the Wardlow and the party. We start off with Phryne and Mac on the chaise and Jack alone doing his lean against the piano. The end of S1 also had a partyーat that one Phryne merely toasted Jack from across the room. This time, we have Phryne bringing Jack a drink. They are just so perfect together. I honestly CANNOT get enough of this scene. They are standing SO close. When Jane walks up and shakes the greenery over their heads, you see a moment of panic cross Phryne’s face before she mutters out her excuse. She even stumbles over the words (whether that was on purpose or just a stumble on Essie’s part-it works!). And the way Jack looks at her! “Quietly appreciating her” (thank you glamorouspixels for that description). That man wants to kiss her so badly.
Phryne: "I’m not sure that my kisses can be compelled by sprigs of parasitic greenery."
Jack: "Hemiparasitic. Of the genus Viscum."
Phryne: "I’ll take your word for it."
And when Phryne turns to him! Damn! She is so turned on by his nerdy reply. They could catch the room on fire with those looks. It is almost like as soon as their eyes lock onto each other the rest of the room fades away. She leans in. Like WAY in. If it weren’t for Aunt P’s deliberate interruption, who knows what would have happened. Even as they reluctantly pull away from each other, their gazes hold. They really didn’t want to be interrupted AGAIN.
Jack has a grin on his face and his slight nod is saying “later, Miss Fisher, definitely later.” But as Phryne turns away, there is an interesting look on her face. Is it annoyance at being interrupted? Or does the overwhelming wave of desire she feels for this man shock her? Something new for her...this caring so much for someone in this way. Maybe she thought it would dissipate only to find that it is very much alive, and she doesn’t quite know how to react.
It is usually Jack who seems a little off kilter by her, so I love that we are maybe seeing Phryne effected by the situation. It takes her a minute to get into the singing as well, and even as they are singing, her posture makes me believe she is still thinking about wanting to kiss himーlike the warmth of his gaze is still washing over her. I mean, she could just be enjoying the music and the company of friends, but I prefer to think that she is thinking about kissing him. And the grin on Jack’s face! That man is happy and unusually bold and comfortable considering the situation.
Aunt P continues to cast disapproving glances in their direction during most of the singing. Maybe she is concerned that this is more than a passing fancy of Phryne’s. This is the second time she has “caught” them. Though I don’t see why she would have anything against the pairing. I guess she can be a bit of a snob and maybe wants Phryne to do better than a police detective, but honestly, at this point, she should be happy with Phryne settling down with anyone. It has to be better in her mind than what Phryne has been doing...unless Prudence doesn’t know. But she could just think that those displays of affection are better left for a more private time?
So, how did we get from here to their date in "Death Defying Feats"? We don't really know, but I guess that is what fanfic is for. And that is why I wrote my missing scene fic Then Come Kiss Me BECAUSE I NEEDED TO KNOW (and then the story turned into a 3-parter with a mind of its own).