'Endeavour' Recap: Season 8 Episode 3

Daniel Hautzinger
Jim Strange in season 8 of Endeavour. Photo: Mammoth Screen/Masterpiece
Strange is sent to look in on Morse when Thursday begins worrying about his safety during a winter storm. Photo: Mammoth Screen/Masterpiece

Endeavour is available to stream. Recap the previous episode.

There’s a daunting finality to the site of the Oxford professor Patrick Stanton’s death: a graveyard at the end of a bus line. Stanton was stabbed multiple times, and has Xs cut over his eyes. He has an empty envelope on his person marked “WYCH.” His stomach was full of brandy and mints—perhaps he was the drunk several people on the bus remember.

No, that was Morse—which explains why he’s out “sick,” again. Bright and Thursday are worried about Morse, who hasn’t been the same since the tragedy in Venice. Bright thinks that a transfer might do Morse good; Thursday would rather have him take time off and possibly enter rehab, not that Morse likes the suggestion.

But he’s in a bad state: he doesn’t remember being on the bus. Only after Thursday finds his bus ticket does he realize. A memory is jogged: Stanton helped Morse after he fell; Morse noticed he was wearing numbered cufflinks. Searching Stanton’s rooms, Morse notices a flier for a football pool with a photo of a winner with stars over his eyes and a paper with the code WSW3MA on the ripped-off back of a bus timetable.

Thursday has more than Morse to worry about: his son Sam has gone missing from the army. Sam recently witnessed the death by sniper of a comrade as part of the unrest surrounding the Troubles of Northern Ireland; Thursday thinks he might be fleeing that horror. Thursday throws himself into police work as a distraction, upsetting his wife Win, who is watched over by their daughter Joan. Thursday stays late at the station to wait for Strange to return from surveilling the bus Stanton last took.

Morse is riding the same bus line, having recognized a young woman who was on it when Stanton died. It’s a wintry night, and the bus swerves on ice and loses power. The conductor hits his head, but a doctor on board says the wound isn’t bad. The lights flicker back on, and the driver explains that the bus is stuck in a snowdrift and its engine is dead. When the lights again go out, everyone agrees to leave the bus and seek shelter in the nearby Tafferton Park Hotel, where the woman Morse recognized once waitressed.

The hotel has been closed for eight years, ever since a series of people were murdered there by an escapee from a psychiatric hospital. Morse has to climb through a window to let the others inside, but there’s no electricity. Linda, the young woman who waitressed there, finds candles and offers to look into the hotel’s storeroom with the doctor for medication for the conductor. Morse joins them; he and Linda can see if the emergency generator still works.

But first, everyone introduces themselves. There’s Linda; Dr. Nicholls; Mrs. Bruce-Potter; Norbert Hobbs; Richard Blake; Elsie Watson; Percy Walsh; and Lawrence Yeager, in addition to the bus driver Peckett and conductor Les. Morse doesn’t reveal that he’s a policeman.

While Morse and Linda get the generator running, Peckett takes Les upstairs to lie down. Hobbs goes in search of a bar, despite Morse’s warning to stay together. When he doesn’t return after a long while, Morse goes to investigate. He finds the bar and takes a sip of liquor, but finds the fortitude to stop—and notices a broken bottle and bloodstains.

Strange finally returns to the police station—the buses have been cancelled due to the storm—and tells Bright and Thursday that he noticed Morse taking another bus. Bright goes home, and Strange offers to check to see if Morse made it home. Thursday stays at the station, digging into his memory.

He calls Dorothea Frazil, as the Stanton murder reminds him of the Tafferton Park Hotel killings: one of the victims, the hotel manager Churchyard, had Xes cut into his eyes. Thursday finally returns home and Dorothea meets him there. She runs through the old murders: Warren Loomis was in a psychiatric van with another inmate when it crashed. Loomis killed someone at the hotel’s masquerade ball, put on his costume, and began killing others. He was eventually caught, and later killed himself.

Thursday decides to speak to the other inmate, a cannibalistic terror named Creech.

Morse goes searching for Hobbs after warning the others of possible danger. Peckett dismisses Morse—he remembers him as the drunk on the bus the other night. In Hobbs’ discarded jacket, Morse finds a bus timetable with the same WSW3MA written on it as Stanton’s. There’s also some sort of account book.

Suddenly, Linda screams. Hobbs is dead on the ballroom floor, with Xes on his eyes. The power goes out.

Everyone gathers again, and Morse admits to being a policeman. He goes to check on the generator—but first looks into the manager’s office, where he finds a set of numbered cufflinks like those Stanton was wearing. There’s also a telegram with the WSW3MA code and a reunion referenced around the time of the Loomis murders.

Mrs. Watson decides to brave the elements and leave the hotel. Yeager disregards Morse and wanders off to fend for himself. Blake tries to find Morse by the generator, which is outside the hotel. Dr. Nicholls, Walsh, and Peckett go to check on Les upstairs—but the door is suddenly locked. Morse appears and breaks the door down—and Les is gone, the window open.

Blake reappears, shivering—he got lost in the storm. Nicholls sits him by the fire. Peckett gives him liquor for strength, and admits to Morse that Les was having an affair with a woman who lived at the end of the bus line; Peckett waited for Les to meet her before turning the bus around the night Stanton was killed.

Morse and Nicholls examine Hobbs’ body and find more numbered cufflinks. They learn that he was recently in jail from an envelope on him, and that he was a football pool agent. Morse notices that the table cards, still set up from the masquerade eight years ago, have seats for Stanton, Yeager, and Walsh.

Before going to see Creech, Thursday is chastised by Win for not doing anything to help find Sam. She blames Thursday for sending Sam to the army; he will be responsible if anything happens to their son. She even turns on Joan. Strange eventually shows up to report that Morse isn’t home. He comforts Joan.

Creech recognizes Stanton, and says three more people will soon die. Creech admits that he was helping Loomis at the hotel; he killed Churchyard himself and cut the Xes for fun; there were other targets but he didn’t know who they were to kill them too. But he shows Thursday a photo of Loomis at the psychiatric hospital, with his visiting sister—a young Linda. Behind them stands Peckett.

Morse follows Walsh after he goes upstairs to investigate a movement. Morse finds Yeager first, in Churchyard’s office, dressed in a costume and dying of stab wounds with Xes on his eyes. He goes to find Walsh, and eventually runs into him in Churchyard’s office, trying to get into the safe.

Morse has figured things out: the WYCH on Stanton’s envelope referred to Walsh, Yeager, Churchyard, and Hobbs. Each of the three living men received invitations to meet someone at the end of the bus line this evening, thinking it was from the others. WSW3MA meant, “when shall we three meet again.” They had a rule to never acknowledge each other in public. They were all part of a football pools betting syndicate. Stanton developed a system with their cufflinks to prevent any one person from having the information to open a safe if they ever won.

Linda and Mrs. Bruce-Potter appear with knives and continue the explanation. Bruce-Potter is Loomis’ grandmother. Loomis was good with numbers, and figured out how to win bets, demonstrating it to his teacher, Walsh. Walsh had Churchyard use it, and he won. But Loomis figured out that Walsh stole his method—and thus winnings. Walsh had him sent to a psychiatric hospital after the boy attacked him.

After Loomis killed Churchyard, the money was stuck in the safe, and Hobbs wouldn’t share his cufflinks until he was out of jail. The men hoped to finally open the safe tonight—but they were invited by Linda, who had discovered what happened with her brother. She enlisted the help of her grandmother and Peckett, who was an orderly at Loomis’s hospital and sympathized with his story. They’re all taking revenge for Loomis—but Thursday has figured this out as well and arrived with police officers, who arrest them all. Nicholls, Blake, Watson, and even Les, who hid in the bus after escaping the hotel, are safe.

Sam is still missing, but Thursday has at least helped Morse—the detective agrees to take time off to work on his problems.