Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×05 “Quarter to Midnight” Review

Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×05 “Quarter to Midnight” Spoilers Ahead

Eliza, Moses, and William in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2x05

Greetings, readers! We’ve got the fifth episode of Miss Scarlet and The Duke’s season this week, which means we have some thoughts. And after the events of “Quarter to Midnight,” as well as “Angel of Inferno,” I’m sure you all do as well. 

Last season, I proceeded to gleefully unhinge my thoughts on the fifth (and my favorite) episode, “Cell 99,” during which we were blessed with some great one-on-one interaction between Eliza and William. Now, I don’t know if it was the intention of showrunner Rachael New or not, but yet again, we have an episode revolving around Eliza and William working together with a slight twist. This week focuses heavily on William, who has been offered the position of Chief Inspector in Glasgow.

During Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×05’s opening sequence, we see Duke maneuvering his way through the streets of London, and we get a glimpse of his established routine — he heads his way to work with ease and with a sense of gratification. When he learns that Munro has put him up for promotion, he shows interest until the superintendent mentions the position is in Glasgow and requests time to consider it. 

William and Eliza in Miss Scarlet and The Duke "Quarter to Midnight"

Now, what I find extremely interesting is that William sets out to Eliza about the job offer immediately. A few thoughts: Eliza is the first person he wants to share the happy news with, but also the person he considers would have the most impact on changes in his life. In a way, Eliza’s initial reaction mirrors William’s when she learns of the promotion. At first, she presents excitement for her friend, but once she hears of the location, she dismisses William’s ever accepting it. Eliza’s reasoning is that William has been offered promotions before and has never accepted them because he is content with his life in London. 

As you can imagine, this sparks a lively argument between the two. William is insulted that Eliza thinks he lacks ambition and is settling while bringing Eliza’s own ambition into the discussion, stating that if the roles were reversed, she wouldn’t hesitate to drop everything and leave. We also repeatedly hear that William has not declined the offer and was seriously considering the promotion. This little tiff continues throughout the episode as the two join forces (like Eliza convinces William to hire her services) to solve a series of murders based on popular author’s books.

These two can argue all they want and claim their discussion is based on career choices, but we know what’s going on here. One, William heard Eliza say something about him, and as such, his pride prods him to do the exact opposite to prove her wrong. Two, he’s not butthurt about the “lack of ambition” comment so much as her not conveying any reaction to his possible leaving and absence in her life. Three, he’s worried that he doesn’t appear positively in her eyes because he doesn’t jump at every opportunity as she does. (We had these same thoughts after their “breakup” in the Season 2 premiere episode.)

William looking at Eliza in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2x05

Eventually, the two are able to resolve their differences when Eliza explains that she is “envious” of his life. He’s fulfilled and content, which is something she doesn’t have. As Eliza claims, these qualities make William “one of” the people she respects the most. (And just like the fifth episode of the first season, William freaks out when he’s considered “one of.” How the hell is he not the sole person that consumes her mind?) Anyway, it all seems to work out well enough for William to decline the position officially.

Alas, as much as we think there will be a happy ending in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×05 “Quarter to Midnight,” it is not so. Not yet. Munro reveals that Fitzroy’s father, the police commissioner, wants William gone. It turns out this jackass of a father does not appreciate that William has been stepping into the role he should have been doing all those years and thinks that his son has shown no signs of improvement. Keep in mind that not too earlier, it was William who was doling out advice to young Fitzroy on how to fit in with the other police officers. It was William who offered his spare bedroom to the young detective after Detective Phelps had bruised him up in the pub.

William in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2x05 "Quarter to Midnight"

And it has been William who has been consistently looking out for him and shaping up young Fitzroy to become a proper law enforcement representative. It seems that William has no choice but to accept the promotion in Glasgow…

Join us next week as we see what comes to fruition. Will William be leaving for Glasgow, and how will Eliza react? And can someone please do something about that jackass police commissioner? Hopefully, all questions will be answered in the season finale.

Now streaming on PBS: What are your thoughts on Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×05 “Quarter to Midnight?” Let us know in the comments below.


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