The war is over, and everyone’s happy except me, and Samantha Stewart.
“Foyle’s War” Set 5 has only three episodes: Plan of Attack, Broken Souls, and All Clear. I read (source includes spoilers) that British ITV decided to end the series and that it therefore had to be wrapped up quickly, so not only are there only three episodes (instead of four like the others) but these three aren’t quite up to the standards of the first four seasons. It’s hard for me to know if I agreed or if I was just disappointed to reach the end of the series.
So, the set. “Plan of Attack” resolves the dramatic ending to Set 4, which I won’t give away here. The episode involves Milner’s investigation into transportation fraud under the direction of a superior officer who can no longer do the job; meanwhile, poor Samantha Stewart, Foyle’s longtime driver, has been fired and is now working in a job she hates. Of course all of that will be rectified by the end of the episode. When Foyle steps in, it’s to look into the suspicious death of a military cartographer.
“Broken Souls” brings the team to an investigation inside a facility for troubled soldiers, their minds broken by the stresses of war. The problem is that almost any one of them, and some of the staff, could’ve been involved, and the investigation is further complicated by the fact that Foyle knows the doctor in charge of the psychiatric center, a Polish refugee. As always, “Foyle’s War” brings home the consequences of war in a very real way.
And finally, “All Clear” brings us to the end of the war. Foyle has pretty much had it with policing, but crime continues even as people wait for the formal announcement of armistice. I thought the episode portrayed the exhaustion people felt and the desire to just walk away from it all, even knowing that it’s not really possible to do that. It’s an odd thing that I didn’t want the war to end (of course, I’m glad World War II ended, I just didn’t want the series to end), but neither did Sam Stewart, whose job and purpose for working ended as well. How bittersweet it must’ve been for so many women!
I continue to recommend “Foyle’s War” to anyone who likes history or mystery (and especially to people like me who love both). The costumes, cars and bikes, hairstyles, and so forth bring the era to life, and the portrayals of home front problems illuminate what it means to live in a country that’s fully engaged in war. The acting is uniformly strong, especially the understated approach of Michael Kitchen in the lead role, whose simple clench of the jaw tells a whole story in itself. The mysteries are often secondary because the reality of war made them so, but they’re usually well done, too.
Set 5 may be a bit less strong than the others, in that it didn’t investigate a major theme of war like the others did, but it did wrap up the series along with the war. As it turned out, “Foyle’s” has continued past Set 5, but I didn’t know that when I watched it, and I thought it was a much better ending than many television series come up with today (U.S. version of “The Killing”???).