Arthur and George Grand Finale

arthur3The third and final episode of Arthur and George aired tonight and the pace was almost completely different from the first two episodes, making me wonder if I was watching the same show.  Maybe a different writer wrote episode three.  In any case, Arthur discovers his pal George served time in prison with his prime suspect, but later finds out his prime suspect isn’t his prime suspect after all.  There are a couple of twists like that one in the episode, plus there’s a foot chase, a fight, and about a dozen locale changes.  It’s a good treat.

Martin Clunes still has the bulk of the dialogue, as in episode one and two, but there’s a bit less exposition this time around, so it’s not as noticeable.  The UK Telegraph cited this show and Martin Clunes as missing some essential element of drama to pull the series together.  I think I agree.  There’s something missing.  Things are way too slow in episodes one and two, and episode three almost feels too “by the book”.

The writer for episode three threw in every finale convention he could think of.  There’s an evil man out for revenge, who is hiding amongst the good guys.  There’s a rising climax and a fistfight.  There’s a capture and a monologue by the villain to explain his motives, as in Scooby Doo.  And last, the villain dies after trying to escape.  All these things are typical in every generic detective story ever made, and none of them are absent in episode three.  Yawn?

Arsher Ali does a good job once again as George, but Hattie Morahan is surprisingly absent for most of the last episode.  Morahan was so prominently featured in episode two that I was expecting her to be present in order to follow up on the subplot she was in last time.  There’s no such follow-up.  Instead, Arthur just resolves the whole thing in about five minutes time at the end of the show.  Stupid waste of Hattie Morahan.

In all, this whole series has been disappointing.  Martin Clunes does some good work and tries to hold the whole thing together, but the series dumps everything on him, including the majority of the endless, endless dialogue.  The third episode is a little too late to save this whole thing, but at least it tries.