It is often said that Good things come to those who wait, and this rings true most definitely for the viewers awaiting the return of the villainous Adam into Henry Morgan's life. I can happily say with no risk of hyperbole that this was one of the best episodes in the season so far!
The timing of an episode with a crime originating in Nazi Germany was either genius timing by Matt Miller and his team, or marvellous Serendipity. In the week we commemorated the freeing those interned in the horrors of Auschwicz , we have an episode based around the priceless artworks stolen by the Nazis from Jews across Europe during the Third Reich.
Again the Writers have outdone themselves!! And again it was not the crime itself, that prompts the outpouring of love to follow...
Nazi paintings long lost, now found and being rightfully returned to descendants of the family's from whence they came, the Good Samaritan is battered to death with Swastika embossed priceless statue. Good story, fine detecting by Henry, Jo and the gang, all pretty much what we expected from our favourite cross genre Show! I never detract from the excellence of the core mystery because they are consistently so good
The revelations about Adam's connection to the camp where Abe lost his parents was handled wonderfully and the persona we have come to expect from the 2000 year old murderous psychopath was blown to smithereens, leaving us and Henry wondering about our own opinions about whether it is nurture or nature that made him the way he is?
Is Adam dangerous? Undoubtably ! Is he irredeemable, perhaps ! It is those little chinks of goodness, of empathy for Abe, that has suddenly made our Adam oh so much more interesting! His interactions with Abe whilst intentionally slightly tense, are also bordering on tender and the first genuine smile of the series is bestowed upon Abe.
Now let's not get excited, Gandhi he is not, the gift he gives Abe is borne of a particularly vicious murder after prolonged torture, but his gift was bestowed out of a shared past, a shared pain and so the monster becomes just that tiny bit more like us! He seeks to redress a balance that I suspect he knows means more to the idealistic "youngster" who sees the world in black and white than to him. Yet he blesses his his beloved Son with the ultimate gift. Adam has been living in the Grey area for millennia so for him to do this for any reason is worthy of note.
The denouement with Abe and Henry is both moving and heartwarming, Henry relinquishes a small part of his parenthood to the faces in the photo and Abe becomes part of a lineage, part of a true Bloodline, gaining an identity beyond his adoption.
Burn Gorman has such a singular face that he can make even a glance seem ominous and he is given great material to play with in Adam, I cannot wait to see what and why the favour he asks of Henry in return for his boon will impact the show and seeing more of Adam will be a bonus in an already beloved show
Henry's flashbacks take us back to the time he realises his Father is not the honourable and principled man he believes him to be. I found myself in another Gentlemen's Club with Ioan Gruffudd righteously arguing against Slave Ships for a few seconds. He has been here before in the Superb Amazing Grace, but here we find Henry at once enraged and disheartened that the pedestal his father had been placed upon had toppled.
We learn the Provenance of the Morgan Pocket watch in a moving scene between Son and father where resentment is combatted with true contrition and the merits of letting go of perceived slights quickly are shown in stark relief.
Ioan Gruffudd excels as ever in the expressing the myriad emotions of humanity, I cannot speak enough about his acting talents, he seems supremely cognisant of the frailties and intricacies the human condition, I find his performances engaging and sincere whether in the present day or the past and it is evidence of very intelligent writing that gives him such scope for exploring this within the confines of what on paper could be a commonplace crime drama, but closer inspection reveals a much richer and ultimately, satisfying viewing experience.