Well, we’ve been in production here as a joint effort for six months now (yaaaaayy!!), though of course fearless Admin has been at it somewhat longer than me ( 😉 ). It seems as good a time as any to look back at Patrick Malahide’s four major roles in 2012 – all of whom we liked in various ways and for various qualities, by the way.
1. Sir Richard Lovell in “Endeavour“
One word springs to mind to describe Sir Richard Lovell, and that is “slimy”. Okay, two words if you add “creepster”. This “Inspector Morse” prequel, starring Shaun Evans and set in 1965 Oxford, involves a very young Morse cutting his Detective Constable baby teeth in the investigation of a young girl’s murder. One of the prime suspects is Sir Richard Lovell, Minister of State in Harold Wilson’s government. Lovell is suave and urbane, is powerful enough to annihilate a rookie D.C. without thinking about it too much, has a proclivity for sketchy parties involving underaged schoolgirls in various states of undress (you can see how he falls into the “slimy creepster” category), and moreover, is watched over by a fierce Special Branch watchdog in hipster glasses, “Dempsey” (John Light), so he seems destined to eel his way out of any lasting scandal. He’s a reprehensible character, but he does have a very self-satisfied “cat that got the cream” quality (as Admin says) and total self-assurance that make him fascinating to watch.
Unfortunately, much of Patrick Malahide’s excellent (and utterly repellent!) performance hit the cutting room floor in the North American broadcast of this show, so if you want to see it in its entirety, try to locate the uncut ITV (U.K.) broadcast version – or you can read Admin’s excellent recap instead. The cut version leaves out vital elements of the plot and comes across as confused and rushed as a result. This is the second “slimy cad” role that Patrick Malahide has had in the Morse series and its offshoots (the first being Jeremy Boynton in “Driven to Distraction“); we’re hoping that he might get the hat trick by appearing as a slimy cad in “Lewis” in 2013. 😉
2. Balon Greyjoy in “Game of Thrones”
Balon Greyjoy is the self-declared King of the Iron Islands in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series, based on the excellent (and highly addictive) A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin. He’s the head of House Greyjoy and also an old pirate who rebelled against King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) in an ill-fated uprising which led to him being forced to relinquish his only living son, Theon (Alfie Allen), as a hostage for his continued good conduct to Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) of House Stark, which is where Theon’s been for the previous ten years. All of this… has made Balon rather cranky.
Balon is a hard, ruthless, uncompromising man who abides by House Greyjoy’s motto, “We Do Not Sow”, and like his house’s kraken sigil, tends to tenaciously grip whatever he seizes. The Ironborn are a pirate culture and take what they want at swords-point, which is called “paying the Iron Price”. Obtaining what you want by any other means (like say, paying coin for it) is regarded as soft, weak, and disgusting. To say that Balon is suspicious of Theon after his ten years away in the relatively “soft” environment of Winterfell is a massive understatement; he’s more than a little disappointed in the son he hasn’t seen for years, still more when Theon naïvely attempts to broker an alliance between Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and the Greyjoys. However, Balon is also surprisingly progressive in that he’s defying Ironborn tradition by grooming his daughter, Asha (Gemma Whelan – I refuse to call her “Yara”), to assume power as his successor. He’s also not above playing his remaining offspring against each other when it suits his ends.
We only had a few minutes in two episodes with Balon, but Patrick Malahide’s performance made us want more. He’s a cold, stern figure in a cold, stern environment (located atop forbidding towers of ocean-scoured rock, the castle of Pyke is spectacularly decorated with sea-going and kraken themes) who can be at turns unrelentingly harsh (poor Theon is going to have serious “daddy issues” for years to come) or, with Asha anyway, surprisingly gentle. Check out Admin’s character page on Balon for more. Hopefully we’ll see Balon again in upcoming seasons of “Game of Thrones”, but considering the usual longevity/survival rate of George R.R. Martin’s characters, it might be best not to become too attached. 🙁
3. Lord Glendenning in “The Paradise“
Well, from sea-swept crags to the lap of luxury in Victorian England! Lord Glendenning is an extremely powerful member of northern English gentry who enters into an uneasy (and somewhat one-sided) business partnership with John Moray (Emun Elliott), an ambitious entrepreneur as well as proprietor and owner of “The Paradise”, a revolutionary-for-its-time department store. Matters are further complicated by the fact that Glendenning’s willful and spoiled daughter, Katherine (Elaine Cassidy), is just a wee bit obsessed with Moray and is determined to marry him – in a big way. I’m sure Moray would normally run screaming into the night to escape Katherine’s clingy attentions (he’s smitten with someone else anyway, sort of), but unfortunately for him, he badly needs her father’s money to expand his business – and Lord Glendenning knows it.
Lord G. was a bit of a sleeper for us. He seemed to be a complete pussycat at the beginning of the series, readily indulging Katherine’s whims and making only half-hearted protests at her excesses, though we did see a hint of something more when he threatened Moray with ruin if he hurt his daughter. It seemed like he’d never live up to his BBC character description of being “razor-sharp” and “wily”. But… in the last few episodes of the season, Lord G. finally unsheathed his claws and proved to be as “wily” and “razor-sharp” as billed, with timing so calculated and tactics so gangster even Jack Turner (more on him in a second) might’ve used them. I won’t say exactly what he did so as not to wreck the surprise, but we were beside ourselves with glee. 😀 If you want to find out more (with spoilers), please read Admin’s thoroughly enjoyable recaps.
“The Paradise” has been renewed for a second season, so luckily we’ll have more Lord G. to enjoy in 2013, gorgeous wardrobe, palatial estate, and all. 🙂 We really hope to see a lot more of his gangster side!
4. Jack Turner in “Hunted“
And here’s the man who could teach Balon a thing or two about ruthlessness and disappointing sons, Lord G. about being gangster and gorgeous wardrobes (though admittedly, Lord G’s doing pretty well in those departments already), and Lovell about successful amorality. Jack Turner is a self-made multi-millionaire and head of a criminal empire who got his start as a poor dockworker in the Seventies. He becomes the target of a series of elaborate (and frequently risibly incompetent) undercover operations carried out by the Byzantium Security Organization, which employs some of the worst (as in, terrible at their jobs!) clandestine agents I’ve ever seen. Their objective is to discover why Turner is so keen to buy a hydroelectric dam in Pakistan, then to prevent him from acquiring it, and finally, to kill him when they can’t figure out any other way to achieve their ends, collateral damage notwithstanding, all for an anonymous, deep-pocketed client.
Turner’s perceived weaknesses are his son Stephen (Stephen Campbell Moore) and grandson Eddie (Oscar Kennedy), both of whom are targeted and exploited by Byzantium’s “best agent” (Bwwwaaaaahh!! 😀 ) Sam Hunter (Melissa George), who comes to stay at the Turner residence as a live-in nanny. Despite all of the expertise (LOL!!) at Byzantium’s disposal, Jack stymies them at nearly every turn. He’s an old-school East End gangster who didn’t get to where he is by being stupid or careless, and he has second- and third-level contingency plans for nearly everything. He’s also completely ruthless and vicious when it comes to removing obstacles or threats (and/or inconvenient witnesses or no-longer-useful accomplices) and has no qualms carrying out the dirtier jobs himself. I could’ve chosen a blood-spattered Jack to illustrate this section, but I opted for his terrifying smile instead (a bad sign for anyone unlucky enough to see it).
Patrick Malahide did a wonderful job portraying Jack, somehow managing to imbue him with enough humanity and vulnerability to at least partially offset his savage brutality and create sympathy. Even while we knew that Jack was a ruthless crimelord, we were still rooting for him to defeat Byzantium and achieve his goals. Malahide outshone the material to create a fascinating character, one with nuances and subtleties the supposed “heroes” couldn’t even approach. Unfortunately, Jack met a disappointing and ignominious end (booooo!!) and will not be returning for successive seasons of “Hunted”, if there are any. If you want to know more about what happened (and why Byzantium is so laughable), please check out my recaps.
Well, that’s it for 2012! We had a blast reviewing Mr. Malahide’s work, discussing the stories, and watching his characters progress and evolve – and in some cases, admiring their luxurious and gorgeous wardrobes. 😉 Do check out Admin’s Tumblr for some great animated gifs and her views on the Year in Malahide. We’re really looking forward to the next season of “The Paradise”, and eagerly awaiting any other roles he undertakes for 2013.