I feel a little guilty putting young Endeavour in the Lustbox – it seems far too crude for him. But lovely as he is, Shaun Evans doesn’t provoke in me all the feelings that Endeavour does, so poor old young-Morse will have to suffer the indignity as best he can.
There’s a quite magical alchemy going on with Endeavour (the show). It’s been excellent from the beginning, but Coda, the last episode of the third series, was one of the best bits of British TV I’ve seen in ages. They’ve taken a good idea, thrown every piece of talent they could find at it and produced a real, bittersweet gem. And the jewel in the crown is young Morse himself.
Shaun Evans is simply astonishing in this role. You can see the man Morse will become, even as you realise that Endeavour is in some ways a very different person from the prickly DCI in his future. Evans never makes the mistake of impersonating John Thaw, though he clearly channels him – there are moments when a movement, a stance or simply a thought flickering across his mind can floor you.
And obviously it helps to be beautiful (regular visitors to the Lustbox will know I’m a sucker for a pretty pair of eyes and cheekbones you could pare parmesan on), but there’s a stillness in Evans’ performance that makes it impossible to take your eyes off him.
The setbacks that young Morse encounters, particularly his unluckiness in love, are heartbreaking – doubly so if you allow yourself to remember that there will never be a happy ending. Looking at Endeavour – clever, respectful, kind and with a “weakness for the fairer sex” (as Felix Lorimer tells our hero in Coda), it seems impossible that he’s destined for such a lonely life.
I can’t be the only one who wishes she could change that future.
Jo the Hat