There are times when a TV series needs a recurring character to come in and shake things up. That time has come for Miss Scarlet and the Duke 2×04 in the form of Patrick Nash. Eliza (Kate Phillips) encounters him on her latest case. This plot point and the entertaining progression of the background events make this episode a significant one.
Nash (Felix Scott) is a successful private investigator with his own agency. Including a large number of employees. And, of course, he has heard of the only lady detective in London…
If you think you know where this is going, not so fast. At least, the writers aren’t going there yet, which is something I applaud them for. They could easily have been predictable and only used Nash as a device to make William (Stuart Martin) jealous, but there is something more substantive going on here.
There is no way to be sure what the rest of the season holds, but this episode shows a strong thoughtfulness for the characters. That’s always a good thing, and that’s especially true at storytelling moments like this one.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke 2×04 has no shortage of fun stuff to unpack, and I’m ready to get to it!
“You do not want me for an enemy.”
Eliza’s latest case is a doozy. The manufacturers of an elixir are being blackmailed. One bottle has already been poisoned and, unless they pay money, more will follow. To top it off, the poison is derived from a rare plant called the Angel of Inferno. Eliza has her work cut out for her. And this time, nothing goes easily. The reason why is Patrick Nash.
Remember in my review of last week’s episode when I said that William should have genuine competition for Eliza? Well, not this guy. Not yet, anyway.
Nash may be successful, but his methods are unscrupulous and sometimes borderline illegal. That’s one of the reasons why Eliza refuses when Nash asks her to work for him. Nash then decides to undercut Eliza with her latest client. So it’s a race to solve the case, and our heroine has a lot at stake. Nash can cheat by impersonating a police officer or framing Eliza for pickpocketing, but she has more to lose. One thing we know about Eliza is that she will not back down from a fight.
“She’s just trying to make her way in the world.”
She will need all of that fire in her for this case, too, because Moses is not around to help and William has conflicts of his own to deal with. William has had a protege all season in Detective Fitzroy (Evan McCabe), which has been a major source of stress. Fitzroy is the son of the police commissioner, who considers him useless and expects him to be made Inspector soon no matter what.
In this episode, we get to meet this paragon of fatherhood. And he’s just another example of men being terrible. I wanted to get my hands on him personally when Fitzroy showed up with bruises on his face.
William feels for the young man, too. So much so that he disregards the Superintendent’s orders and pulls Fitzroy off a dangerous assignment. William can’t blame Eliza this time! Though, that doesn’t stop him from venting about Eliza to Mr. Potts, her nemesis in the city morgue. However, Potts recently began spending time with Eliza’s housekeeper, Ivy, so he doesn’t offer the agreement William expects.
I mean, William basically makes himself a third wheel on their date, and he’s totally oblivious! This is probably the most amusing moment of the season so far.
“Not nearly often enough!”
What is not amusing is the character of Nash and his interaction with Eliza. His actions reveal an arrogant and predatory nature. Plus, Eliza already told William in the season premiere that she would have no master, so if Eliza does eventually agree to work for Nash, the writers need to make it convincing. Whatever happens leading up to that would have to make a lot of sense, in terms of the character of Eliza we have come to know over two seasons. Right now, Nash is a provocative character for the plot, but only time will tell how effectively he is used in the future.
After all, Eliza and Nash do not have the level of chemistry between them that Eliza and William do. The writing tells us that the central relationship in this show is Eliza and William, and this episode strengthens that with a scene in which Eliza lets her vulnerabilities show. She admits to William that part of her desire to beat Nash at this case is so that William will be impressed by her skills. Eliza doesn’t let down her guard like that with many people. At the moment, Nash doesn’t feel like he can become one of them. Presenting him as a romantic possibility would have to be carefully done. If all this speculation turns out to be off the mark, well, Miss Scarlet and the Duke 2×04 has me ready for more either way.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke airs Sundays at 8 PM on PBS.