Houdini and Doyle Season 1 Episode 4 “Spring Heel’d Jack”

 

Our famous, crime-solving gents are at it again, being famous and solving crimes. This week finds Houdini and Doyle operating largely without their official police escort and better third, Constable Stratton, hunting down a supposed demon that’s been linked to several deaths. Stratton invites Doyle and Houdini to consult since there’s a witness who claims to have seen a dark, winged figure leaping from the murder victim’s building. The good constable begs off the case, however, claiming that she’s been ill, even though she doesn’t seem ill at all. Since two world famous grown men have nothing else to do with their time, Doyle and Houdini feel the need to get to the bottom of her suspicious behavior in between investigating.

 

13-2When Doyle and Houdini visit the first murder victim’s home, they run into a friendly acquaintance of Houdini’s, a pulp journalist who overhears Doyle liken the suspicious murder to a past mysterious death attributed to Spring Heel’d Jack, a demon that feeds on fear. The journalist, of course, prints that story and begins a fearsome rumor throughout the city. The rumors about Spring Heel’d Jack become widespread immediately and infect the people, including Doyle’s young son, with terror. What sells papers better than terror?

 

Another few attacks, including an additional murder, occur with more witnesses to this “demon” and our investigators begin drawing parallels between the victims’ lives. Houdini, of course, is set on disproving this whole “demon” nonsense. He shows that the supposedly inhuman speed and acrobatics performed by the fleeing Spring Heel’d Jack are fully human, and an athletically inclined man, such as Houdini himself, would be capable of what the witnesses claim to have seen. Doyle seems less on board the supernatural train than he usually is, probably because there’s really no benefit to him if fear-feeding demons do actually exist. In fact, it’s in his interest for this all to be a hoax since his poor little boy is terrified out of his mind because of the demon rumors.

 

18-1Through a series of deductions, they discover the culprits: the shady journalist (to literally no person’s surprise) and his circus performer accomplice (no real surprise here either). At least Houdini decided to unfriend the guy before he turned out to be a murderer. To be honest, this “mystery” was pretty lazy. I love cop procedurals because I like to try to figure out the crimes with the characters, but these mysteries are getting a little played out. Not a good thing since we’re only at episode four. The idea of mass hysteria was interesting, though, especially in a time period where not many people were educated enough to spot a hoax very easily.

 

What’s great about this show isn’t the mysteries (unfortunately), but the characters. In this episode, Houdini and Doyle’s friendship is much more established and totally cute. Houdini rides around town in Doyle’s fancy motorcar, does little magic tricks for Doyle’s kids, and talks to Doyle about his wife’s condition. Doyle gives Houdini pointers on making his new giant billboard advertisements even flashier and introduces him to the phrase “death defying.” Both of them enjoy being recognized for their famous feats, though Houdini is recognized more than Doyle–could be the enormous picture of his face on a giant billboard. They are seriously adorable together and it definitely makes me forgive the show for lazy writing in other places.

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One character aspect that was missing in this episode was the nice dynamic between Stratton and Houdini. Stratton runs off at the beginning of the case and mostly leaves the other two to their own devices. They worry about her when they haven’t heard from her in a few days so naturally, they break into her house. While, yes, they initially had good intentions–checking on a friend who was potentially ill–their good intentions mean nothing as they snoop through her house while she’s out. They find a totally suspicious illuminati-looking ring though, so I guess it was necessary for exposition purposes. She catches them and is understandably pissed, but she’s also definitely not sick. She also looks really nice in clothes that are not her drab, pinstripe police uniform.

 

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So what was the dear constable doing if she wasn’t sick? She was out spying on some dude. Her lover? Her husband? Some nefarious thug-type? Doyle follows her later, performing every man’s duty to make sure women get home safely (rolls eyes), and she beats him over the head, reminding him that, yeah, she’s actually a police officer. She can handle herself. He does catch another guy spying on her though, and finds out, after questioning him, that he’s a friend of her husband’s. So she’s married, but who is this mysterious husband? I guess that’s part of the bigger season storyline and we’ll just have to wait and find out. I’m hoping he’s linked to that illuminati ring and that we get to see some real conspiracy stuff coming up.

 

So not much excitement going down this episode, but they’re definitely setting up for more to come. Here’s hoping the trio will be reunited and Houdini and Doyle’s bromance will continue to bloom into a beautiful broquet. Buh dum tss!

 

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