After having the first two episodes of Murdoch Mysteries deal with some pretty dark subject matter–human trafficking and the after effects of Brackenreid’s awful beating–I was glad for a rollicking good ride thanks to a couple of miscreants from the annals of history.
“Glory Days,” written by Peter Mitchell and Jordan Christianson and directed by star Yannick Bisson, welcomed Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh–also known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid–to Toronto where they became embroiled in a storyline focusing on William Barclay “Bat” Masterson (Steven Ogg), the frontier lawman, gambler and sports writer who pulled a gun on the notorious duo moments before a prize fight featuring Canadian boxer George “Little Chocolate” Dixon. Higgins and Jackson were in the audience and tackled Bat before he squeezed off a shot in the packed room.
Bloody hell indeed.
With Bisson directing, the somewhat light-hearted episode turned its focus to not only whether the dastardly duo was in Toronto but to Murdoch and Julia’s upcoming nuptials. Turns out Margaret Brackenreid wanted to take over the planning of their happy day. Or something as small as taking care of the flowers. Anything, Brackenreid confessed, to get Margaret to stop talking about it during dinner. Speaking of the wedding, Julia wasn’t so sure she wanted to have the ceremony in Murdoch’s Catholic church, so she went to speak to Father Clements (Anthony Lemke) about it and was challenged to consider her own faith in the church.
As it turned out, the men Bat saw at the fight weren’t Butch and Sundance but the lawman (who took great pleasure in showing Julia his, um, six-shooter) wasn’t about to give up on the hunt. He grew only more bold when two men robbed the Bank of Toronto at gunpoint and were identified by the stuttering manager that Butch and Sundance were on the loose. Things got serious when a train headed to Simcoe, Ont., was robbed of its Grand Trunk Railroad payroll by the criminals and a man was killed in the process. It was then the truth came out: Butch and Sundance weren’t really in the city but Bat lied they were because he missed his “glory days.”
There were several funny moments during the chase, most notably Brackenreid, Crabtree and Murdoch standing outside a house of ill repute while Bat “questioned” a young woman who claimed to have seen the two. Murdoch Mysteries can be serious to be sure, but it can be very, very funny too. Who else howled when Murdoch stumbled into the table after he was proffered by the prostitute or snickered in anticipation of Crabtree’s bachelor party for the detective?
And a special thank you to Mitchell and Christianson for including “horseback ride” in Monday’s script; having the Toronto coppers play cowboy–complete with an expansive accompanying soundtrack–was a great nod to the wild West. And Murdoch’s football tackle of a baddie through the wall of a hay loft? Just awesome.
Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.