For Millennials. By Millennials.
The Bletchley Circle finally returns after its four-year hiatus. An all-new cast and a new mystery on their hands. Set three years apart from its last season, we find our favorite code-crackers, Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham), weary and dissatisfied with their mundane post-wartime jobs.
When Millie comes across an article in an American newspaper about a homicide uncannily similar to the wartime murder of their colleague (Clare), she decides she’s going to do something about it this time around. With Jean in tow, they travel 5000 miles to 1956 San Francisco hoping to find the killer who’s taken so many innocent lives.
With the help of their old American wartime colleagues, Iris ( Crystal Balint) and Hailey (Chanelle Peloso), they try to get to the bottom of things. However, that seems complicated to accomplish with the body count rising each day and no one in law enforcement taking them seriously.
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Episodes 1 and 2 Run-down
In the first two episodes of The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, we find ourselves in America. It is the dawn of the civil rights movement, and a city gentrification project is forcing the black community out of the Filmore.
Iris, wartime codebreaker turned Jazz pianist, is adamant about staying put. With a husband in the forces who are mostly away from home on official duty, she doesn’t want to displace her family and begin anew.
But when people start getting killed on her home turf she is forced to assist Millie and Jean in their inquiries. Accompanying them is good-natured Hailey, an engineer during the war who knows her way with a screwdriver.
Soon a map is laid on the table, and they get right down to the nitty-gritty. With the killer leaving specific unidentified markings on the victims’ palms and cutting their tongues out, they try and predict where his subsequent killing will be.
The Killer is Revealed
With the clock ticking away, they can finally decipher the symbol on the palms ( no thanks to Hailey’s “hobo-code” ) and are distressed that the killer is, in fact, the son of a city official. Not the wife beating town-alcoholic they had their suspicions on the entire time.
What is worse is that he is being aided by his mother (yikes) and she is implicit in keeping the entire thing under wraps from his father.
Naturally, it ends with both being handcuffed and escorted out of their pastel-hued home while the Bletchley-Four shares a drink at the local bar afterward. We also learn that Millie has decided to stay in America, whereas Jean is packed to return to England. Little does she know that the future holds numerous cases that will call on their unique skills…
The Good in The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco
The cast comprises all female leads that challenge the sexism and status quo of the 50s. The episodes nod to the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, adding history to the mix. And really, what a period drama is without a little bit of history squeezed in!
The Bad in The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco
Fans were let down when they realized most of the original cast (specifically beloved Anna Maxwell Martin) wasn’t returning for the reboot. The “mystery” for episodes one and two seemed very generic, with the killer acting all helpful and mailing letters to the newspaper with clues waiting to be deciphered. And let’s not forget the horrible American accents. It’s probably why it got a bad score on Rotten Tomatoes.
While the show does have its flaws, I still liked it enough to warrant watching the next two episodes that have already been released. Stay tuned for more updates.