Private Eyes s2 ep 15

A modern twist on a traditional Rear Window-type theme this week, as a lonely little boy with time and a DRONE on his hands comes to believe his teacher has been murdered by her next door neighbour and hires a very sceptical Shade and Angie to investigate.

The ostensibly idyllic suburban setting brings up some apparently unresolved issues for Angie, but this is Private Eyes not Peyton Place so it’s nothing remotely traumatic. The mystery itself meanwhile meanders along quite nicely with the charmingly exasperated Maz popping up every now and again (“Thank God it wasn’t carrot!”), and Zoe in the background working on a (not that interesting, admittedly, but at least it doesn’t take up much time) side job for Shade Senior as well. No problem. “The Hills Have Eyes” is not in any way re-inventing the wheel – and lest any horror fans get the wrong idea, it’s about as close in tone to the movie of the same name as Paddington is to Nightmare on Elm Street – but it’s a cute, cosy story with some deft wee twists along the way, and, as usual, a thoroughly good heart at the centre of it – my eyes actually got a little misty at all the happy neighbourly togetherness at the end. Aw. Oh, and bonus: Shade and Angie pretend to be a married couple for a couple of minutes, so there’s that too. SQUEE.

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Private Eyes s2 ep 14

“Leroy’s missing!” “Leroy….your colleague?……Boyfriend?” “No! Leroy’s an octopus!”

Of course he is. But more to the point, he’s an exceptionally rare and special octopus, his possible future wife Sally (an octopus celebrity in her own right) is on her way from Oz to join him, and frantic top marine biologist Dr Sila Mazhari desperately needs Shade and Angie to bring him back safe and save the world! Well, OK, not the world. But the species!

To add some extra-personal stakes to all of this, Sila is Maz’s not-so-little-sister and isn’t currently talking to him/ vice versa, Shade keeps accidentally bidding on Bengal tiger puppies and Jules has taken to keeping the Shade house mouse (ew) in a food container which she should now burn (after setting the mouse free somewhere very far from the house, I’m not a monster) while she frets about Italy and Liam some more. None of this will make any sense if you haven’t watched this episode, so you absolutely should. It’s completely delightful, and it’s full of warmth and love. Much like octopuses and their three hearts, as Shade might say. Bless.

Private Eyes s2 ep 13

This show is the highlight of my week.

At the end of a completely unconnected sting operation, Shade accidentally ends up being taken hostage and driving a murder suspect round Toronto in a taxi at gunpoint. As you do. Angie is frantic, Zoe is great, Nolan (boo!) and Maz (yay!) are more than decent, in fairness, but not entirely on board with how Everett Investigations likes to do things, and Shade is just lovely.

Of course, because this is the nicest show on tv – I know we keep saying it, but it’s true – things flip round a bit, the “killer” turns out to be nothing of the sort, and our heroes not only solve the case but turn the poor guy’s life back around as well. Awwww. AND Angie gets to kick some serious ass. YEAH.

I do feel we were cheated out of a proper Shangie hug, mind you. (I know she explained that she was tied up at first, but they cut the rope after that, didn’t they?) That shoulder squeeze did not count. But other than that minor disappointment – I mean, I would really have enjoyed a Shangie hug. Which lasted maybe a beat too long. With them staring intensely at each other for a second just before they were interrupted and pulled apart. Ok, yes, I have thought about this at some length. Er….. anyway, other than that “minor” disappointment, I have no complaints. “A Fare to Remember” (HEE) was funny, sweet, and a bit exciting – a little island of kindness and understanding in a world that sorely needs it. I loved it.

Private Eyes s2 ep 12

*SPOILERS*

Shade, Angie, Mel and Dr Ken are all on a “weird work weekend double date thing” at Shade’s friend Mark’s hotel, with free board and lodging in exchange for Everett Investigations looking into the possibility that Mark’s thoroughly unpleasant husband might be cheating on him. Awkward.

The investigation hasn’t even started yet though when said husband is found dead in his office in the dead of night, with a storm raging outside, the hotel just about cut off and everyone alibi’d up except Mark himself. Awkward squared. Since baby-faced Deputy Conroy is just a little out of his death and Shade isn’t going to let his friend go down without a fight, the “dream team” take charge of the investigation, which means quite a fun, Agatha Christie-lite episode as well as what I might have thought was a nice way to flesh out Mel and Dr Ken a bit more if I didn’t already quite like Mel and absolutely loathe Dr Ken with every fibre of my being. GRRR.

Because Dr Ken is a) an idiot and b) incapable of reading a room, he proposes to Angie yet again, causing utter consternation for both her and Shade, which both of them fail spectacularly to hide. None of this is lost on the significantly brighter, more independent Mel; the chance to observe Shade and Angie in their natural habitat – ie together, working a case – just serves to convince her of what she already knew, and she quietly breaks it off with Shade, while Angie ditches Dr Ken yet again because, well, you know why, you guys. YOU KNOW.

By episode’s end, then, our OTP are not only single again, but sitting together in a lovely romantic hotel in front of a roaring fire, looking very like the last scene in a Hallmark movie, except for the foot or so between them on the sofa. I can’t have been the only person desperately willing them to budge up a little. (SQUEE.) If Shade and Angie are not quite there yet, though, Maz and Zoe are miles out in front. Turns out I was wrong in thinking they were dating on the DL, but no matter; Shangie might not able to organise their own love lives but they do a grand job with their friends’ – sure, Zaz may not have saved the world from nuclear meltdown but they’re adorable nonetheless. As is this show. I love it.

Private Eyes s2 ep 11

Shade and Angie are spending most of their nights (and the early hours of their mornings) talking to each other – instead of their partners – on the phone. Mel is miffed that Shade still has trouble sharing his worries with her, and unless I miss my guess, has also noticed that he has absolutely no such difficulty sharing them with his supposedly non-romantic partner instead. Oh, and someone may or may not be trying to kill King Bob of Mediaeval Times, who is neither William and Kate-style royalty, nor the BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z variety, but has knights, squires and something of a monarch delusion nonetheless.

It’s all light, sweet and warm-hearted as ever, and Shade and Angie are exactly the right sort of kind and supportive to the slightly oddball client, sorting things out swiftly and cheerfully so we can all bask in some nice fuzzy feelings as Bob gets his marbles back and a thoroughly happy ending to go with them. Aww. No happy ending for our happy non-couple yet, though. If this were any other show, I’d say Mel is deliberately befriending Angie to, er, neutralise the threat/ psych out the competition, but that’s not Private Eyes’s style (unless Dr Ken is involved, he would TOTALLY do that kind of thing, GRR, BOO DR KEN!) – I really think they just quite like each other. Which would be nice and all, but did you SEE Angie looking longingly at that phone, hoping Shade would call? And Shade looking sadly at his, deciding he’d better not? Come on.

Private Eyes s2 ep 10

“It’s a shame when two people can’t see what’s right in front of them.”

Killing me, here. Yes, Private Eyes is back and reminding us that Shade and Angie are still happily attached, just not to each other, and that doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon, even if the look on Angie’s face when Shade is giving client Beth the last pep talk of the episode suggests Ms Everett at least knows what she’s missing out on.

Shangie isn’t the only shipping game in town, though: I’m not quite as invested in Maz and Zoe, but I like them both and they’re a very sweet couple, although they really could fret less and hang out together more, bless them. Dating advice from Shade and Angie doesn’t help much, but I’m pretty sure that big pantomime with the leaving from separate doors and making a big noise about separate social events means Maz and Zoe eventually decided to ignore the “play it cool, wait it out” advice and are now secretly getting on with the business of getting happy, together. Good for them.

Nice people worrying if other nice people might not be into them aside, there is of course a bit of comfortingly low-stakes, lo-fi crime to be solved too: this week, up-and-coming boxer Beth thinks someone is rigging her fights and doesn’t want to win that way, thank you very much. The PI-client relationship is complicated by the fact her current manager is Shade’s former one, aka the Guy Who Stole All Shade’s Money, but it’s no surprise that our heroes still can’t bring themselves to say no to the plucky young fighter. More often than not, Private Eyes is a show about giving people a chance, knowing that sometimes it works out (Angie and Shade, Angie and Nora, Zoe and Maz) and sometimes it doesn’t (everybody and Murray), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. I suspect I should remind myself of that a bit more often in real life.

Story-wise, well, I don’t like boxing, but Shade’s connection with Beth – deepened by how much of himself as an earnest, sincere young man who just wanted to be the best hockey player he could be he can see in her – is actually quite lovely, Angie and Don are exactly as they should be, and, as usually happens with Private Eyes, I end up thoroughly enjoying the episode anyway. Aw.

Public Service Announcement 20 of 2018: Private Eyes, Ackley Bridge

Oh, thank God. Our beloved Private Eyes, the nicest show on TV, is finally back on UK screens. I don’t understand why we had to wait 6 months for the second half of season two, but it doesn’t matter now. We’ve made it through the Shangie-less winter and here comes the sun: season two resumes, at last, at 8pm tomorrow (Monday) on Universal. Reviews every week for now at least, and probably quite a lot of snarling at Dr Ken, if I have any say in it. Grrr.

If you’re looking for something to occupy yourself on nights when Private Eyes is not on, meanwhile, you could do significantly worse than check out channel 4’s great school dramedy Ackley Bridge, season two of which starts on Tuesday at 8pm. I’m not sure I’d feel the same way about it if I were a teacher myself – given some of the things the staff and pupils get up to, I suspect/hope there’s been a significant amount of dramatic licence taken – but I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed season one and its clear-eyed, compassionate and often funny look at race, religion, family and identity from perspectives not often represented on British tv. No plans to review it, but I’m looking forward to watching. Let me know if you do too.