There’s always pressure to forgive either our own kind, a pretty girl or a dashing man, when we might not do the same for someone not “one of us” or someone plug ugly or plain.
If the end is good – the bringing down of a tyrant or cad, with the added impetus of the heroine finding true love – then we might just let something untoward slip by, be swept under the carpet and we can rationalize it to ourselves later.
I’ve done it myself, I wonder if you have. Someone less forgiving though, say Ian Anderson, might say to the flawed hero:
Playing at the hard case, you follow the example of the comic-paper idol who lets you bend the rules.
This Poirot episode is troubling in that respect:
Of late, I’ve been watching a glut of Poirot episodes newly uploaded and by and large, Series 3 onwards has been excellent, the production values first class, the supplementary writing also first class.
I like the era, the formal manners, the more formal dress, the pretence of decency, if not its actuality. The art and music is better from then, the women more alluring and yet there was just as much immorality beneath the surface, just as much hatred and inhumanity but it was done within the constraints of etiquette – I know I’ll get torn down for that.
Thus Anthony Valentine can be an utter cad as Raffles but:
The Raffles era is not one I’d care to return to, nor do I suggest that Raffles’ burglaries are ameliorated by his gentlemanliness or social status – the old boy network, frankly, leaves me cold though I’ve admittedly benefited from it in the past.
Poirot is far easier to adopt as a role model and yet in the episode above, for a start, Naomi Cusack isn’t the Helen of Troy I’d die for – I find her cold and into herself. Then the estranged brother who kills the blackmailer by accident in a fit of pique is not particularly nice either and the family is definitely not nice.
So the only reasons we’re left with to turn a blind eye are the institutions of the family and of marriage – but would you also forgive Ma Baker and sons, would you also forgive Fred and Rosemary West?
Two comments at youtube:
# The morality there is dubious. He may not have intended to murder the guy, but he’s still responsible for his death. That’s manslaughter at the least, Poirot should have reported it.
# I so agree … even if, there is no way to know whether he meant to kill him or not, the evidence just points to the fact that he’s somehow responsible for the guy’s death. What if he pushed him down the stairs instead and then argues that he didn’t mean to kill him? Is he still innocent?
So, if we decide not to let the killer get off scot free, what would we actually do – turn him in? If we did, then we’re snitches and the family’s dirty linen comes out, which in turn wrecks her marriage to a prince.
Poirot chose to let sleeping dogs lie and wasn’t even thanked by the matriarch.
I’d obviously like to know what you would have done.