The final (kind of) season of “Foyle’s War” wraps up the series and ends World War II, but don’t take that to mean that any of us get any closure.
If you haven’t watched the series, don’t start here. None of it will be as meaningful to you, and I’m just going to assume you know who all of the characters are.
Set 6 contains three episodes that take place during the summer of 1945, but its theme is that war doesn’t end when the war ends. A character in “The Russian House,” the first episode, states it bluntly: “when the war is over, another war begins.” He’s speaking of poverty, unemployment and other postwar adjustments, but he might as well be talking about the Cold War, too. The episode focuses on Russian prisoners of war, white Russians who fought with Nazi Germany and against Stalin and the communists. Of course. only a few years later most of England would be anticommunist, too, but in 1945 that made future allies into enemies. Many of the POWs, including one that Sam knows, don’t want to go back, so when their employer is murdered, suspicion naturally turns to the Russian. The episode also highlights the awkward relationships among Foyle, Sam and Milner, who are no longer a team but who are still the good guys.
The second episode, “Killing Time,” shows that the war is only beginning for African-American soldiers. The Americans are hanging out in Hastings, waiting for enough troop ships to arrive so they can go home. American officers want to institute a color bar to keep black and white soldiers apart, in order to keep the peace, a move that Foyle opposes but other Brits support. Meanwhile, a woman who lives in Sam’s boarding house, having been kicked out by her parents because she’s raising her mixed-race baby while the black American soldier father tries to get permission for them to marry. This is a story line that can’t end well. And, there is a series of highway murders that may also be connected to the Americans. The portrayal of American race relations is a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s a stern reminder of the problems black soldiers faced.
Finally, “The Hide” tells the story of a British soldier under trial for having served in a special troop of Brits supporting Hitler. The traitor, James Devereaux, comes from an honorable family, but he won’t explain himself or his decision to join the Nazis, won’t see his family, won’t mount a defense. He seems to be connected to a young woman founded murdered in her bedroom for no apparent reason. Foyle investigates and slowly unwinds the story of what really happened, not just in Nazi Germany, but to the young woman and inside the Devereaux family. Meanwhile, Sam and her friend fight to stop development on the village green, as postwar progress seems to threaten history and tradition.
The stories are not just interesting or mysterious, but thought-provoking and sometimes even intense. The acting and production values are top-notch, and if the tone at the end is somewhat melancholy, that’s only appropriate to a series about the war.
I keep hearing that there’s to be a Season 7 of “Foyle’s War,” and Christopher Foyle does mention that he’s off to America to handle some unfinished business, which I took to refer to an earlier episode involving an ugly American. These three episodes set the stage for a continuation of the series by demonstrating that in many ways, the war didn’t end just because peace was declared.