'C.B. Strike: Career of Evil' review: A severed leg doesn't make up for the lack of sexual tension
After receiving a severed leg in the mail, Cormoran Strike and his faithful assistant Robin Ellacott must seek out the vengeful man from his past
'Career of Evil' is a wild-goose chase served with an excuse for sexual tension. For those who have followed 'C.B. Strike' from the time it crossed over to America, the show is still enjoyable but has become quite underwhelming when it comes to the detective side of things.
In this episode, one fine morning at the dirty old office in Demark Street, detective Cormoran Strike's assistant Robin Ellacott, who is as chipper as ever, receives a mysterious package. Assuming it to be a gift, because that is what someone like her would do, she opens it only to find, to her ultimate horror, a severed leg.
The two then set out on a wild-goose chase through London and Edinburgh trying to find out what this mysterious foe wants. Meanwhile, there's also the case of a young girl who goes missing and everyone thinks its Strike. In my opinion, this sub plot got lost in translation. The lyrics of his mother’s favorite Blue Öyster Cult track is certainly a nice touch, though.
'C.B. Strike' follows one-legged war veteran Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) as he tries to find his footing (no pun intended) as a private detective in London. As expected, he's short on money, sleeps in his dirty old office in Demark Street, spends the day at the local pub and is finding it an uphill task to find clients — well, at least in the beginning.
After solving the high profile case of Lula Landry's apparent suicide in 'The Cuckoo's Calling,' and nabbing the sly killer in the gruesome murder of author Owen Quine in 'The Silkworm', Strike is pretty much doing well in 'Career of Evil.'
He's even become a little less of an alcoholic, if I may add. He still smokes like a chimney, though.
As far as the predictability factor goes, the show had so far been insanely gripping in terms of the crimes. I wish you could say that about 'Career of Evil'. After the wild-goose chase and much off-road driving, you'd expect the reveal to be amazing. Sadly, it was a tad bit underwhelming. One is so distracted by the pretty thickly veiled attraction between Robin and Strike that the focus shifts away from the murder.
The time they end up holed in a hotel, both lonely but hesitant, is honestly underwhelming simply because it feels like even the creators aren't sure how they want to go about it. Confusion is great when it's in a character's head, not in the creator's. While this angle is explored a lot more in the books, the series doesn't really do justice to the aching longing that the two characters have for each other.
Having said that, it's not like it's absolutely non-existent. The panic on Strike's face when Robin gets attacked? Way too real.
More than anything else, Robin's character was a letdown.
As for the man in Robin's life, in an extremely disappointing move, she ends up with him. Mathew (Kerr Logan) is still a painful, annoying and sulking fellow — kudos to Logan who has done an amazing job portraying him. Apart from the other two characters, his performance is commendable. For such a smart, funny and intelligent detective, one cannot help but wonder why Robin is still with the bloke. He's pitiful! The drama in this part of the series overshadows the crime.
In a shocking revelation, Robin also finds out that he, always so jealous and mistrusting, cheated on her, with his ghastly friend Sarah while Robin was going through a particularly difficult time. And she still ends up marrying him. Sure, the show is an adaptation of the novels, so it cannot be exactly the same as the book, but, for a woman like Robin to end up with that dweeb is just lame.
While the moral compass is what stops Strike from making a move, it is not clear what stops Robin from leaving Mathew. The chemistry between the two is more than your average main hero and sidekick — they are partners and that's what Robin Ellacott deserves.
An even bigger let down is the tragic backstory to Robin — sexual abuse, PTSD and anxiety. What was really amazing about Robin, always, was the way she was such a badass while being such a wholesome character through the series. Unlike the cliched burnt-and-thus-careful-with-fire protagonist, she was a ray of sunshine and yet had depth. Can a woman protagonist not be strong without having gone through hardships? Slightly problematic, eh?
This series, written by Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith, was supposed to be her baggage-free storytelling. Oh, well.
If you missed out on the season finale of the final installment of Cinemax's C.B. Strike series by JK Rowling, you didn't miss out on much.