Jack and Miss Fisher in Death and Hysteria

Jack and Miss Fisher in “Death and Hysteria.”

“Death and Hysteria” is an interesting look at mental illness in this time period, and overall was a fun episode I enjoyed.

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“Death and Hysteria” opens with a murder at Aunt Prudence’s house (I love that Aunt Prudence is played by the actress who played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter…). Aunt Prudence, in the wake of her son Arthur’s death, has invited a physician to move his sanatorium for hysterical women to her house. This episode is quite interesting and …delicate, as the murder weapon is a, er, sexual device that allows for some hysterical scenes as Phryne and Jack are forced to discuss it’s workings and interview the inventor. The best part was when Phryne calmly explained the device in objective terms and waited for a while for Jack to get it until he confessed that he knew of such devices from an investigation in a brothel, which Phryne was very interested in hearing about.

Meanwhile, Hugh’s gone fishing, which is an interesting way for him to relieve all the stress of the previous episodes, leaving Dot on her own for now. Luckily, she’s loyal as ever, but it’s not hard with Jack’s new obnoxious and infernally annoying constable. He’s cute, but sexist, takes too much credit for stuff and doesn’t know nearly as much detective stuff as Dot. I was satisfied when he had to ask for her help in the end. Dot, of course, handled his childishness like a pro. There also seems to be some underlying tension between the two as they challenge each other….but he’s lame and Hugh is in our hearts forever! Maybe the writers were opening a potential path in case something went awry, or they wanted to open up the options for some jealousy and posturing on Hugh’s part. Or they wanted to show that Dot truly loves Hugh. Either way, it’s a welcome development.

The snobby new Constable. You'll never replace Hugh! And stop being mean to Dot! Death and Hysteria - Miss Fisher

The snobby new Constable. You’ll never replace Hugh! And stop being mean to Dot!

Thankfully, Miss Fisher and Jack were well aware of his newbie obnoxiousness and shut down his attempts to be important in the investigation. Jack, who has come a long way from when he struggled to share the job with Miss Fisher in season 1, says that Miss Fisher will assist him with interviewing suspects instead of the new boy wonder. Plus, Jack has Miss Fisher order him around for good measure!

There’s also some emotion involved for Aunt Prudence, who is helped by Bert and Cec to come to terms with her recent loss. A message presented by one of the psychiatrists himself: any of the “wacky” treatments can work for Aunt Prudence if she’s convinced they help – but the only way that one can truly be helped is acknowledging the source of grief or trauma.


Favorite part, at the end, after witnessing hypnosis, incest, and traumatized women all over the place:

Death and Hysteria - Miss Fisher season 3


Phryne: You never did tell all about the Chinese brothel.
Jack: I have trouble recalling trauma.
Phryne: Do I have to put you on a couch and psychoanalyze you?
Jack: Sounds inviting. Perhaps another time. In a more intimate setting.
Phryne [flirting with her eyes]: I’ll have to hold you to that.

How direct! ~*~

What did you think of “Death and Hysteria?” Sound off below on the episode, the state of Jack and Miss Fisher’s relationship, or any other thoughts you want to share!

Photos: Acorn TV

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