Doc On The Box – Jonathan Creek: Daemons’ Roost

Alison Belkin grew up in the gothic mansion known as Daemons’ Roost, with her mother, step-father and two sisters. Her step-father, Nathan Clore, was a director of many horror movies, including one based upon the legend of Jacob Surtees, a dark magician with a torture chamber where a woman, chained to the floor, would watch her lover fly through the air into a firey death pit. Surtees, it should be said, was one of the previous owners of the mansion.

daemons-roost

After her mother and sisters die in mysterious circumstances, Clore sent Alison away, but as he nears the end of his life, he summons her and her new husband back to the house to explain to her the truth about her mother’s death – only he has had a stroke robbing him of the power of communication. But as events in the house turn sinister, it’s a good thing that Alison’s new husband just happens to know Jonathan Creek…

You may remember a while ago when I got very excited about a new series of Creek, only to be utterly deflated by a fairly dreadful series of three episodes. So it was with a degree of trepidation that I approached this one, especially as the blurb in the newspaper for the episode didn’t mention a murder anywhere. I was expecting another pile of village shenanigans, and, with a slow start, I was a little worried.

I needn’t have been though. This was the best episode for a long time and I won’t go into details for fear of spoiling things. Yes, the villain’s scheme really didn’t make sense and one has to question putting clues to your own identity into your death-threats, but this was a real return to form for the series. I figured out the impossibility almost straight away, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the episode at all.

The one thing that did, though, was the notion that Jonathan, having finally sold the windmill, is throwing out all of his magic bits and bobs, including his boyhood magic sets. I’m not quite sure why there is a need to remove his eccentricities and it seemed out of character.

Still, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Lots of fun.

Oh, and you can’t freeze vodka in a household freezer…

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18 comments

  1. This was the only bit of festive TV I actually saw — I have yet to catch up on Doctor Who, Father Brown, Witness for the Prosecution, etc — and I hated it. Hated, hated, hated it. It was lumpen, padded to an insane degree to make it up to “special” length, out of keeping with the ingenuity and respect of almost everything that has come before this recent revival, and (in possibly the most horrible element of the entire thing) entirely glossed over the main characters flat-out burning a man to death. Ugh. Awful, pale imitation crud; to think I could have spent that time reading…

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    • So you didn’t like it?

      Maybe the difference is that I did sit through The Witness For The Prosecution, which I’m not bothering reviewing. If you thought Creek was padded, then goodness only knows what you’ll think of that, which, coupled with a blindingly obvious plot from Christie, meant that this was a major let down.

      As for this one, yes, the burning is very out of character – that whole thread was utterly unnecessary, especially as apparently the character was named something else in The House Of Monkeys. I’m not saying this was first rate Creek, but it was a lot closer to it than other recent episodes…

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  2. As we don’t get your Christmas viewing until about 6 months later I haven’t seen this but I did glean from my twitter feed that Jonathan burns a man to death and then everyone ignores the fact. This reminded me I should stay off twitter…always and also that perhaps I might have more fun going back to the early episodes for a re-watch.

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  3. I wasn’t impressed by the last batch of three but agree that this was a great improvement. Some good dialogue, several puzzlers to think about, and a great pseudo-Hammer trailer to kick it off. But it was a bit padded: the whole business with the old enemy out for revenge is the hoariest of cliches and could have been entirely cut. For the rest I was happy, though I’m still a bit perplexed about a pic of a scarecrow giving JC an aha! moment about the identity of the wrongdoer…I don’t get exactly why it led him to the person in question. May have to rewatch that. And the eyeball/iphone reveal wasn’t exactly convincing. But overall this was so much better than the previous three that I hope we get more.

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this one – certainly a much more successful concoction on its own terms than the previous three, I agree. It felt a bit like a concluding / farewell entry with the refetences to previous cases – and the sweet subplot about his brother tended to underline that. Can you freeze vodka if you mix it with water? It probably should have been gin …

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    • SPOILERY HINT:

      The contents of the missing pages revealed why Alison had been sent away and that reason gave an intimation as to her life expectancy. They were suppressed by the first murderer so that they could potentially benefit from any inheritance coming her way…

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    • At the beginning, Nina tells Jonathan and Polly all about Daemon’s Roost which she has learnt from her husband who was doing a job there the previous week.
      Later we see Ryman working at Daemon’s Roost and assume he is Nina’s husband since he is black like Nina.However, at the end we learn that Nina’s husband is a taxi driver and from his picture we find that he is white and the same person who brought Stephen and Alison to Daemon’s Roost.

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