Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Masterpiece Mystery: Miss Marple (The Pale Horse)

It's too bad there's only one episode in this latest season (Series 6) of Miss Marple--because I loved "The Pale Horse," and I'm ready for more!

In 2010 PBS Masterpiece won me over during the Classics season with shows like Jane Austen's Emma, Northanger Abbey, and the action-packed The 39 Steps. And then later that year the new, modern version of Sherlock was an absolute treat for me, and I became intrigued by the Mystery season. I ended up watching a couple of older Miss Marple episodes with my aunt and uncle while visiting some family in Texas over Thanksgiving break, and I really enjoyed them.

When I discovered that JJ Feild was playing a role in this latest episode of Miss Marple, I was even more convinced that I had to see it! JJ Feild was Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey, and he did a splendid job, in my opinion. ;) Gotta love a hero with a sense of humor and a great smile!

Anyway, overall I found "The Pale Horse" to be a wonderful episode! (And just to clarify, "episodes" for PBS Masterpiece are movie-length--about 90 minutes, generally.) With plenty of interesting suspects, a creepy setting, and the ever-lovable (and quite insightful!) Miss Marple, you get the perfect mix for a "keep-you-guessing" mystery.

When Miss Marple receives a letter with a list of names from a dear friend (Father Gorman), and then later discovers that Gorman has been murdered, she sets off to seek justice for her friend and follow the clue that he gave his life to protect. "Teaming up" with an inspector (who doesn't really appreciate her meddling ways at first), she tracks down leads and eventually ends up at the Pale Horse Inn, where she encounters "witches," secretive guests, and a complex and dangerous scheme.

I like the array of characters, as well as the twists and turns along the way. As for the ending, well, let's just say I didn't see it coming--which is a good thing when it comes to mysteries, right? I loved the surprises, and Miss Marple is a heroine to admire!

I haven't read any of the Miss Marple books, but I've enjoyed the episodes I've seen, and The Pale Horse was a pleasure to watch! My family watched it with me, and they all seemed to really like it, too--from my grandparents, to my parents, to my younger sister (who came in part way through). This episode is a great way to spend the evening if you're a fan of "cozy" mysteries!

Discussion:

If you watched "The Pale Horse," I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you haven't yet watched it, feel free to click the link above to watch it online and then come back. Just be sure to watch the episode before you join the discussion because there will be some spoilers!

Here are some questions to get us started:
  • Do you admire Miss Marple? If so, what do you admire most about her?
  • What do you think about the setting of this episode? Do you find The Pale Horse Inn to be intriguing, spooky, disturbing, historically interesting, or something else?
  • What are your thoughts on the ending? Did it surprise you?
  • If you've read or seen other Miss Marple mysteries, how do you feel this one compares?

And don't forget...

Tomorrow we're discussing Death on the Nile (A Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie!

14 comments:

Kav said...

Argh. I checked out the link but I can't watch it up here in Canada. And my library doesn't have it either. Grrrrrrr.

Cozy in Texas said...

I loved the Pale Horse. Miss Marple has such a quiet presence.
Ann

Bluerose said...

You always encourage me to want to watch Masterpiece episodes. I hate that I've never really watched them.
I did try that one time(I can't even remember which one-you didn't like it, either, though), but then I drifted away. They all look so good, though!! :)

Ruth said...

Great thoughts, Amber! Glad you enjoyed this episode too. I thought it was a lot of fun, and the whole idea of what was going on w/ The Pale Horse inn was deliciously spooky. Fun times!

Renee Ann said...

Hi, Amber! Guess what Netflix just delivered to me today? Masterpiece Miss Marple series 4, discs 2 and 3. I love all the Miss Marples, but especially this actress's portrayal. And I really enjoy how the more modern Masterpiece Miss Marple episodes kind of play up the campy or comic elements of each story--as in The Pale horse. That was a fun one. I love cozy mysteries!

I read somewhere that Agatha Christie remarked to a friend, "Oh, I finished my book last night." The friend said, "May I read it?" And Dame Agatha replied, "Oh, no! It's still in my head." And supposedly she then sat down and wrote it out . . . If that's true, must be nice . . . (sigh)

Casey said...

I haven't seen any PBS MAsterpiece theatre, so I'm not going to read the comments. ;-)

But I did read Agatha Christie in high school and really enjoyed her. I read one Miss Marple mystery, but will admit to liking Hercule Perio (can't remember how to spell that) best. Sounds like a fun show to watch.

Amber S. said...

Kav,

I'm sorry! :( I was hoping since it was online that it would work in Canada, as well...

Does your library have the first season of Sherlock (2010)? It's fabulous, and we'll be discussing the first episode on Thursday! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ann,

I so agree! :) It was amazing how she brought it all together in the end!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

I hope you don't feel bad about it, though, 'cause I don't want to pressure you into watching them! :) I think the one you tried to watch was Downton Abbey, right? The Mystery season is quite different than the Classics, so maybe you'd like them better... Not sure! (Although I think you'd enjoy the Jane Austen Classics ones.)

But if you can find a copy of Sherlock (2010) to borrow (or buy!), I highly recommend it! There's a bit of language and some homosexual references (but not in a serious way), but overall I absolutely loved it! We'll be discussing the first episode on Thursday. :)

But no pressure...seriously! ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ruth,

Thank you! :) I so agree about The Pale Horse Inn--"deliciously spooky" is a great way to put it!

Glad you could drop in! Your reviews are always so thoughtful and in-depth, and I know how much you love these shows. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee Ann,

Awesome! :) We bought the first season the other day at Target, but we were pretty disappointed with the first episode. Cheesy (and confusing) much! So I definitely agree about this actress--she does a marvelous job! And I'm glad you enjoyed this episode, as well. :)

As for that quote... If that is true, she must have quite the amazing memory!! Wow! I'm reading my first Agatha Christie book right now, and I really like it so far! She was quite talented. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Casey,

If you liked the books, I think you would really like these latest Miss Marple and Poirot episodes! :) You can watch some of them online if you get a chance sometime!

And I'm just reading my first Christie book right now (a Poirot one). I really like Poirot, as well! :)

~Amber

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Argh! I've never seen Miss Marple or any of the other Masterpiece Mysteries! I *really* need to start buying some of these on dvd because I've only heard great things about them. :-) Sorry I'm so late to mystery week!!!!

XOXO~ Renee C

Amber S. said...

Renee,

No problem! I'm glad you could still make it! :)

As for the Masterpiece Mysteries, I highly recommend them! The ones I own on DVD are: Sherlock (Season 1) and Poirot (Set 6). I just got the latest Poirot season on DVD at Costco the other day for $24.99 (plus tax), which isn't too bad for three movie-length episodes! (Plus, it's about $40 on Amazon.com, I think...)

But if you're going to buy one, the one I most recommend is Sherlock! LOVE it!!!

~Amber