T'eyla Minh (teylaminh) wrote,
T'eyla Minh

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Grand Jonathan Creek Watchathon - "The Wrestler's Tomb"


I, er, did actually write down some notes last night, but they comprised the word "Kwiksave" and a teeny tiny Jonathan/Maddy exchange which had somehow escaped my notice before now... That being said, I shall doubtless ramble incoherently in amongst the Epic Picspam - and this one is actually quite epic, though the rest are less so.

Oh, be forewarned that basically the purpose of this rewatch is to geek out over Jonathan and Maddy (for research purposes, you understand) so the majority of the Thoughts are going to be about them. The impossible crimes are just padding. :P

That being said: ONWARDS.

Series 1, episode 1 - "The Wrestler's Tomb"

So, the pilot, as it were. Since I didn't see series 1 until it was repeated on the BCC (out of sequence), I never got to experience this actually as a pilot episode. Rewatching it with that in mind - and this time around I'm really paying attention to everything - makes it a lot more interesting. It's feature-length, and introduces all three of the main characters individually - first Jonathan, then Maddy, then Adam. Jonathan is shopping in Kwiksave - I wrote it down because bloody hell, that takes me back! Also nicely introduces the fact that he can be a bit of a skinflint at times, a point which Maddy moans about later in the series...

Maddy, when we first meet her, is on the telephone and doodling on the back of one of her own books, graffiti-ing her own face. That really says an awful lot about where her career is headed at that point. We also meet her publisher, Barry, who says something about "eleven thousand returns in Australia" - clearly, crime writing is not going so well.

We are also introduced to Maddy's boyfriend at that point, Trevor (as played by Alistair McGowan, the irony of which never fails to make me laugh considering on his impression show he did a Jonathan Creek skit!) Trevor seems like a bit of a prat, and basically his only function in the episode is (a) to enable Maddy to get into Serena Shale's office (she steals his camera equipment), and (b) to be dumped early on in the episode: as Maddy puts it, a "moratorium".

I really like the way Jonathan and Maddy ended up working together in the first place - a series of circuitous, linked events leading them back to each other after that initial contact at the theatre bar.

Talking of which: best.introduction.EVER. Maddy is there to stalk Francesca, the model involved in the Shale murder case; Jonathan, obviously, is there to oversee the proceedings. The way in which they meet each other is so ridiculous it's almost sublime - at the crowded bar, Jonathan reaches for a cocktail sausage, drops it, attempts to skewer it and gets Maddy instead. Her reaction is amazing - totally unimpressed, followed by evils as she wanders off.

So, the series of circuitous events that lead them together: Maddy lies her way into Francesca's house by pretending to be a grief counsellor. Adam is being his usual lecherous self and sends Jonathan off to Francesca's with a gift - at this point the line between "designer" and "errand boy" appears to be somewhat blurred - Jonathan is effectively his PA, from the looks of things. Jonathan arrives whilst Maddy is still at Francesca's, gift in hand, and of course, she recognises him immediately.

I love her unimpressed expression, and his little smirk of acknowledgement. Awesome.

Jonathan presents Franesca with the gift: "Adam Klaus would like you to have this, with his eternal, undying love." (Deadpan, which makes it even better - he knows Adam so well!) Francesca is so impressed with the dress from Adam that she immediately tries it on, agreeing to have dinner with him later. At this point Jonathan looks like wants the ground to swallow him whole, apparently being unaccustomed to French models stripping off without warning. Bless.

Maddy appears to be getting the measure of Jonathan in this scene, which is interesting. She still seems a little unimpressed, but Jonathan is not known for his social skills at the best of times. Also, apparently her brain is ticking away about the murder business. In fairness, the concept of asking a magician to help you with an impossible crime is definitely an original way of thinking, but it's Francesca who drops the information about Jonathan being the one behind all the illusions.

Next, we see Maddy chasing after Jonathan, when the following exchange ensues:

Maddy: Had any lunch yet?
Jonathan: Go away.

He's noticed the tape-recorder running in her bag and thinks she's a reporter. Entirely fair.

Anyway, somehow she persuades him into having lunch with her and discussing the Shale case. Jonathan asks, just for clarity's sake:

"And you don't want to go to bed with me?"

To which Maddy's reaction is this:

He explains how he's not very good on subtext with women and prefers to just ask. At this point I almost feel sorry for him - he has no idea what he's letting himself in for by getting involved. Their entire relationship is based on subtext! Anyway, Maddy sets him to rights in her own unique way (heh), though she may possibly be lying. It's sort of hard to tell. Aside from the fact he obviously likes her a little bit already, otherwise he wouldn't have asked. You have to wonder how far they're leading each other on, but it's proof that the game, such as it is, was afoot from very early on.

I really like the next scene in the restaurant, when she asks him to do a magic trick. His reaction is akin to asking a comedian to tell a joke, but he indulges her anyway. Actually, this is one of my favourite J/M scenes ever. You can immediately understand why Jonathan himself is not a magician, whether that's a stage illusionist like Adam or otherwise - he clearly has a few tricks like this in his repertoire, to shut people up when they ask him (which they always do, he says), but he also, very obviously, does not enjoy performing it. Or explaining it afterwards. The explanation comes in a world-weary tone, already anticipating her disappointment about the fact that it's "mind-numbingly banal". The trick itself, however, is enough to reel her in.

I sort of picspammed this bit to death, sorry.

"Think of... a well known city?"

"Now put your hand over mine..."

"...and concentrate hard on Constantinople."

I really wanted to screencap more of this, but they're odd out of context. Maddy's wide-eyed expression is adorable, though. As for Jonathan, for someone who claims to be rubbish at 'subtext with women', he does a very good job of flirting shamelessly, although you have to wonder if he's even aware he's doing it... This is the first scene in which they have tangible chemistry - as stated elsewhere, inexpicable yet perfect, leading somewhere mysterious but potentially brilliant.

"How did you do that? ... Please, I have to know."

"That is... mind-numbingly banal."
"Thank you."

Anyway, flirting-via-magic aside, she convinces him to help her with the murder case, and assures him she can find a way into Serena Shale's office so he can get room measurements and layouts and such.

Obviously, the way in which she does this is to steal Trevor's recording equipment (1990's steadicam FTW!) and pretend to be filming a documentary for Channel 4. It's bits like this, unfortunately, which date the show more than they should - things like phones, cameras, other equipment. For the most part, it has a charming, timeless quality which makes it infinitely rewatchable - perhaps because of Jonathan's windmill and the large stately homes where most of the mysteries take place - but occasionally you get a glimpse of a brick of a mobile phone, and the illusion is ruined. It does say a lot, though, that by the time we get to the two latest specials, the show uses modern technology (such as video-calling and YouTube) very easily without it looking out-of-place...

Anyway, have some pictures of Jonathan struggling to hold a camera. ;)

"It's called a Steadicam, it's supposed to eliminiate jerks."
"So does Clint Eastwood, I wouldn't want him strapped to my chest!"

I hadn't realised, actually, how much interaction they have in this episode, nor how close together all the scenes are. The next bit is Maddy visiting the windmill for the first time.

Jonathan puts his foot in it by assuming she's single and/or living alone, because of the raw onion rings at the restaurant. Which is... kind of odd, really, that he's been thinking so hard about it, considering his comment about subtext. If he's only involved out of professional curiosity, why is he even bothered?

Anyway, I meant to get a screencap of his workroom / living room because it proved my point about his obsession with Ancient Egypt, but I forgot. In any case, there's a a few artifacts hanging from the ceiling, in addition to his other passion of magic and Victoriana. (I am still so disappointed by "The Judas Tree" for neglecting those two things, considering what the episode was about. I was fully expecting Jonathan to be a fountain of knowledge, geekily spewing out information, but there was nothing like that.)

Another thing which is bugging me: in the World of Jonathan Creek book (sadly now out of print - I got it for Christmas at some point in the late nineties and it's brilliant) there is a diagram of the windmill, indicating where the rooms are. That diagram categorically states that the workroom is on the top floor, and the bedroom in the middle, but the view of the workroom in this episode seems to completely disprove that theory. I've been writing all my episode tags with that in mind and may well have to go back and change them as the rewatch progresses... but anyway, it's not really important.

Next: the intricately pointless model demonstration. If the word "adorkable" had been invented in 1997, I have no doubt that is the word Maddy would have used to describe him. But yes, she has a point: he is mad. One has to wonder what the point of the model even was: has he gone to all that effort to figure something out which obviously didn't happen? Surely he could have done that on paper - even the filing cabinet bit as it's all about angles. Or is it merely an attempt to impress Maddy? If it is then he's painfully oblivious when this happens:-

So many rewatches later, I'm still not sure. I suppose we'll never know.

Oh, this scene also gives us a bit of history about Jonathan: his parents live in Philadelphia and visit him every few months to find out if he's got a proper job yet. He also mentions "opting out" of college. I'd actually forgotten this bit when I wrote my Angstfic (the pre-"Satan's Chimney" story on the end of the tags), and I'm sorry to say I still prefer my version of events - of him going away to university, his parents subsequently moving away, and him inheriting the windmill from an aunt. He does, however, mention that it's been in the family for three generations, so that doesn't totally scupper my story. :)

I've only just realised that after he tells her all that, about his parents moving away, that Maddy just... doesn't answer him. She doesn't proffer any kind of information about herself in the slightest. Obviously, in light of what we learn later in "The Scented Room", that makes a lot of sense, but it may well be the first hint Jonathan gets that she isn't being entirely honest with him. I'm half-convinced now that her excited reaction to the floating chair contraption is actually just her way of distracting him from a potentially too-personal conversation.

Talking of which: another favourite bit. I think we can categorically state at this point that Jonathan is a little interested... even if his way of demonstrating it is to metaphorically pull her hair and run away. :P

"What do you mean, our next move?"
"I think you get off on puzzles like this..."
"Oh, really?"

Then there's some case stuff. They go to Serena's and find an elastic band, and Jonathan gets abused by a vacuum cleaner (only.this.show). Maddy figures out the connection between Hedley and "Katrina the cleaner" (David Renwick's penchant for names never fails to amuse) - her intuition in such situations is terrifyingly accurate. After snooping around Serena's house, Maddy subsequently drags Jonathan off into a bush when she sees Serena's car pulling up.

Then Jonathan realises he has to be somewhere, namely chaperoning Adam's date with Francesca. Apparently, the only reason for his presence seems to be so that he can reassure Adam that Francesca can perform the Iron Maiden/Sarcophagus trick effectively - yet, despite Jonathan's protestations, Adam does not want to listen. Adam does have a rather worrying tendency to invite Jonathan along on his dates for no apparent reason. In any case, they all discover the painting in the cellar full of bullet holes, along with another elastic band. The plot, she thickens.

After this, Maddy rings Jonathan to discuss things. He's absolutely not interested in the murder, the bullet-holed painting, or anything to do with the case: he's more concerned with the fact Maddy lied to him. (Again, couldn't really screencap this properly.) This conversation is really interesting: Jonathan has her figured out eerily well already, when he accuses her of "putting on an act". Without knowing anything about her history, he's already figured out that she hides her true feelings behind a wall. Understandably, he's also pissed off because "You told me categorically that you weren't interested in me, in such a way as to imply you were interested in me." only to then spot her entering the flat with Trevor. Amusingly, whilst she is arguing on the phone, Trevor is going to sleep on the sofa - one presumes because immediately on getting back into the flat, Maddy opted to call Jonathan. :D

Unfortunatey, much of what Maddy shouts down the line at him does not get through - which is a shame, because maybe if he'd heard her plea for him not to be so "infuriatingly bloody honest", he might at least have known when to shut up in future. :P Mind you, honesty is probably exactly what she needs, even though she doesn't know that yet. ;)

Back at the theatre, a day later, and Jonathan is trying to call her on the pay-phone. They reach a truce of sorts (I think this is the only sensible conversation they ever have about their relationship, at any point, which is saying something), and then he drags her off into a corner. I wanted to try and get a screencap of it, but it goes too fast. I did manage to get this instead though:-

Then, the format we're all used to: the big reveal of How It Was Done. I always seem to forget that actually, the majority of the mysteries are solved through a concerted, joint effort - Jonathan rationalises the impossible, yes, but Maddy's intuition is faultless. This one is no exception: without the missing piece of Hedley sleeping with Katrina (not Francesca as everyone assumed), then the entire thing would have remained inexplicable.

Afterwards, Jonathan and Maddy leave via the stage door, and she offers him a lift to the hotel, which he refuses, saying he'll get a taxi. When we watched this last night, Paul was most amused by the fact that the conversation obviously carried on to the point where she'd convinced him - he's getting into the tag mindset already. ;)

At the hotel, they've ordered coffee, which doesn't turn up. Maddy seems to want to stay, but then changes her mind - possibly because Jonathan, adorably clueless as ever, doesn't take up her silent offer.

"I promise I'll never bother you again."

Maddy leaves, Jonathan pulls back the bedspread, then there's a knock at the door. This episode is the only one to have a post-credits sting, too: Jonathan opens the door with an expectant smile, and it's the elusive coffee finally turning up. It's a format I wish they'd stuck with, actually: I think most of the episodes (if not all) end with a Jonathan/Maddy scene - usually a bit of comic relief - and it would have been interesting to see what else could have been added. (Although, I suppose in a sense that's what some of the tags do!)

So, there we go, first episode done. I anticipate these write-ups are going to get flailier and longer as the series progresses - there are some I have a lot to say about, and I make absolutely no apologies for the unabashed shipping within. :D

Roll on next weekend!

Click here for "Jack in the Box"...
Tags: fandom: jonathan creek, photos & pictures, reviews: television, shippiness
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