The episode was centered around Mackenzie's Cavalcade of Mysteries where Phryne was investigation the murder of the magician's assistant Pearl who died whilst performing the guillotine act. As the episode is centered around the show it gave the opportunity for some glitz and glamour and this was fully explored with a tribute to Houdini's mermaid act and some fabulous mermaid show girls performing a Busby Berkeley style dance number.
The episode also saw the introduction of Phryne's father the Baron who interrupts Phryne plans for an evening in with Jack and continues to put the dampeners on any chance that the pair have of a romantic tete-a-tete. The Baron has dubious dealings with the magic show having sold the family estate and squandered the money (on what we don't discover). I think the baron will be around for the rest of the season and continue to be a thorn in Phryne's side.
During the episode we also see the development of Phryne and Jacks relationship from flirting to something more intense and potentially more serious (if they don't continue to be interrupted!) However for me it felt like this relationship seems to have moved to the next level fairly quickly and the transition does not seem to be very smooth. A sudden jealous side to Jack also seems to have emerged.
There is also a shift in Dot and Hugh's relationship. Although the dilemma that Hugh is facing between loving a stay at home wife and a working woman seemed to be resolved in the last serious with Hugh and Dot deciding on a long engagement, the issue seems to have reared its ugly head again in this episode and a scene where Hugh tells Dot to leave the police-work to the professionals and go home for a nice cup of cocoa seems particularly condescending and out of character for the normally lovable policeman.
I have to say as much as I loved the glitz and glamour of the episode it wasn't one of my favourites and there was something about it that left me cold. I had the same feeling with the first episode of the last series though so it may just be that the episode does not meet the excitement and hype that I have created waiting for the series to start and the first few episodes have to fit a lot in introducing new characters and laying the groundwork for the rest of the series The last season really found its stride once it got a few episodes in so I'm hoping this series will be the same. I also noticed that unlike the last series this series does not seem to have an unsolved mystery or story-line that will run throughout the whole series unless you count Phryne's father who may continue to be a thorn in her side for the rest of the season.
Overall the season kicked off in great style and I for one cannot wait for the next episode!