Sunday, 3 November 2013

'The Labours of Hercules': Screenshots from AleKino broadcast

"ueetba", a Poirot fan from Poland, very kindly sent me these screenshots from the broadcast of The Labours of Hercules.

SPOILERS if you don't want to see what the episode looks like. Click the 'read more' link to see all the screenshots.



























20 comments:

  1. Just quickly flicked through these, it looks something like a direct sequel to MOTOE.

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    1. Yes, I think it might be a 'sequel' in terms of tone and atmosphere. After all, the press pack refers to Poirot as depressed.

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  2. It’s going to need to you re-jig your timeline, “The Double Clue” happened almost 20 years before, even if you set it as late as 1941 it will cause problems.

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    1. I know. Ueetba prepared me for this. How could they make such a silly mistake? The series has been set in the 1930s ever since the first episode in 1989 - how could 20 years possibly have passed between "The Double Clue" and "Curtain"?

      Thankfully, "The Double Clue" doesn't contain any specific references, and neither does "The Labours of Hercules". Still, Rossakoff mentions Hitler and Stalin and a new world in "Clue", so that complicates things.

      My temporary solution will be to move "The Double Clue" to 1929 (the year of Germany's general election, whe Hitler's rise to power had just begun) and set "The Labours of Hercules" in 1946, just after the war. That's 17 years. Vera's 20 years could easily have been an exaggeration. Now, Alice is in her early twenties, which doesn't quite work. Taking Vera's shifty character into account, though, I think it's possible that she had Alice before she first met Poirot (a bit of a stretch, I agree). You never quite know when she's telling the truth. She might just have used his infatuation in "The Double Clue" to escape justice, just like she tries to convince him to let Alice escape justice in "Labours". Christie rarely referenced WW2 in her novels, so "Labours" could be set post-war without any references to that. I know this is stretching things, but it's the best I can think of. If you have any better suggestions, please feel free to comment!

      Of course, this all depends on when "Curtain" is set next week. Hastings' daughter Alice is a major issue, since she can't possibly be in her twenties when her parents only met about a decade earlier, in 1936 (presuming that the episode is set in the late 1940s). Philip Glenister mentions in the press pack that "Curtain" is set ten years after "Labours". Obviously they intend Labours to be set in 1939 and Curtain to be set in 1949, but if this isn't explicitly referenced, I'm inclined to move "Curtain" into the 1950s to accommodate for Alice's age. If there's a caption or something that explicitly places the episode in 1949, we'll have to pretend Alice is Hastings' niece, whom he and Bella adopted when she was a young girl. Sigh. This is getting so complicated.

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    2. I don't have any better suggestions for this, but The Incredible Theft is misplaced in your timeline, Hastings is already with Bella at that point but the episode has him seeing a young student architect.

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    3. Thank you! Must have forgotten about the architect. That's annoying. Do you think it could pass as early spring 1936 instead, before Bella and Hastings met? It has a very autumnal atmosphere, I know, but the episode also refers to Sir Anthony Eden, who became Foreign Secretary on 22 December 1935. So it has to be placed in 1936 or later. Otherwise I'll just have to ignore Eden and place it in October 1935.

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    4. I think the season would be less noticeable than the anachronism.

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    5. True. I'll move it to spring 1936, then. Thank you! :)

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  3. I think the best choice would be, to forget about the 20 years ago reference (ridiculous non- sense, the biggest mess- up!) and perhaps wait for Curtain's period before locating Labours. Thus resulting in perhaps 1940-41 lol

    Evgre

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    1. See above for my suggestions so far. (Why do they insist on adding all these impossible references in the final four episodes??)

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  4. Oh my... What a dull and silly plot. "Chimneys", "Secret Adversary", "Brown Suit"... It could have been possible for Christie to write a Poirot's with a secret villain, but not an easy and vague plot like that. As I said before... A tragedy. In 90 minutes. Hopefully, next week will heal us all.

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    1. I have to disagree, Matheus. It's slightly silly and vague, true, but considering the challenge they were facing, I'm actually amazed that they managed to make a somewhat coherent story out of about half of the novel. It has its issues (and I'll come back to those in my episode-by-episode review), but overall it's an interesting look at Poirot's inner journey and choices in life. But I think we can all agree that "Curtain" will be the masterpiece this year :)

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    2. The adaptation did to Labours almost with the Sherlock series does to the stories - deviating while also constantly referencing the stories, but also piling on ambiguities and never really clearing them up. This one, I think, has shades of the original Big Four as well as Labours, I would say.

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    3. The Countess' plea for her child to be spared somewhat calls to me the end of the book Big Four, where Poirot secures the cooperation of the Countess (who is working with the Big Four!?) by telling her that her son, Niki, is alive and that he (Poirot) can reunite them. And it is implied that they stay friends (at least) after that, because of the Cerberus story. Here, the Countess was saying him saving her child was what it would take for them to stay friends (or whatever).

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  5. Did you catch that the Countess talked about her father wearing the cuff links when they were fleeing somewhere...I didn't catch it, but it sounded like somewhere in Russia from where, presumably, they would have to flee during the revolution. But in The Double Clue, she is supposed to have just arrived from Russia.

    There are also contradictory and mysterious references to what she has been up to the past twenty years. "My life of crime is largely over" "I have sometimes lost my money and my dignity" "My life has not always been so agreeable." There were many mixed signals about her financial situation and status in The Double Clue, also.

    And then the flippant references to a casual affair with Alice's father amid taunts about how she and Poirot could not have conceived Alice (fans have speculated that Niki, her son in the books, is Poirot's son, and certainly fans would have speculated about Alice if nothing had been said about her father. In fact, the discussion of Alice's father felt like a "use of the fans' theories" much like in Sherlock: Empty Hearse.

    All of this takes off on the story "The Capture of Cerberus" featuring the Countess, in which Poirot recalls that the Countess has previously told him "wildly contradictory" stories of her early life. And the reference to such stories is itself a continuity issue, because those conversations didn't happen in the other stories (Double Clue and Big Four, originals) where the Countess appeared - implying that she and Poirot have been in each other's company at some other time that we don't "see."

    Did you also notice that nowhere in this episode was the first name of Vera ever used? Poirot's not in the habit of calling ladies by their first names, perhaps, but usually, someone says the first name at some time. In the Double Clue, it was definitely Vera; Hardman used it when he introduced them and then later Poirot mentioned the full name because it became relevant to the "double clue" itself.

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  6. And given the character of both these women, one does have to wonder HOW Mr. Cunningham was gotten so permanently out of the picture...I think Poirot was jealous of him, though, and that may have prejudiced him against Alice.

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  7. "Taking Vera's shifty character into account"...her first name is ironic, isn't it? ("Vera" being a root of "verify" and "verity" and "veracity." But in Nancy Fairbanks' series about food writer Carolyn Blue, Carolyn's husband's mother is known mostly to friends as Vera, however, her full name is Guinevere! I doubt if they intended that as the Countess's name, but it would fit the quest and myth themes (albeit by mixing quests and myths).

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  8. Did you notice that each of the Rossakoff women (if I may call them that) actually told Poirot the other was obsessed with him? Countess: Alice studied you. Alice: "She speaks of little else (but you.)" (Really? The Countess talked about him that much?) Were they both working together to flatter (and therefore manipulate) him in a coordinated way?

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  9. Did you catch that 1) Orla Brady is in her 50s now; Kika Markham was around 50 in the early 90s when she played the role, and 2) the Countess would probably have been too old to have a child after she met Poirot?

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About Me

I'm a passionate fan of Poirot, Agatha Christie and the ITV series. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or requests, please e-mail me at poirotchronology@gmail.com, post a comment on one of my blogs, or get in touch on Twitter @pchronology. (I used to call myself HickoryDickory)