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Season 2 Episode 3

Life Born of Fire

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 09, 2008 on ITV
out of 10
User Rating
31 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The suicide of a young man in a church causes a stir in Oxford. When more murders take place Lewis tries to find out more about a church group called The Garden.

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  • Extremely disappointing!

    I have always enjoyed this show. It is great to see the city of Oxford and the acting is always wonderful. The plot and the writing were so disappointing in this episode. Every character except Lewis and Hathaway was unidimensional. The point of the program seemed to be the Catholic church is evil and it is torturing gay people. The secondary plot seemed to be that gay people are weak and wounded and can't help their behavior. I am neither Catholic or gay but I think both groups deserved a more balanced portrayal. It was extremely disappointing and I won't be watching again.moreless
  • On the Road from Gethsemane to Calgary, I lost my way.

    There was a risk that an episode focusing on Hathaway's past would be the undoing of Lewis ... but the opposite was true ... this was one of the finest episodes of UK Detective TV I have seen, I was moved to tears by a storyline that was convincing and acting that was muted and effective.

    Throughout the two series of Lewis, we have had hints at the interesting back story to Hathaway ... someone who had abandoned his training as a Priest to become a policeman, someone restrained, but intense, someone holding something back. And the whole story unfolded with a well-balanced tale of the Church vs homosexuality, and the conflict created in young Christian men.

    It could have been mawkish, and at first I thought it was going to go over the same old ground of abuse and the Church, but the story was much more than that. A story that no love is wrong, and all love should be cherished.

    Who was the bad person in this episode? What was the motivation? It was all there in front of us from the start, but we were half way through before I even had an inkling of where to look for the perpetrator.

    The number of times Lewis tried to reach out to Hathaway, tried to get him to open up was indicative of the strong feeling Lewis has for his Sergeant, he is like a son to him. And at the point of Hathaway's undoing, the wound caused was open and raw, and the emotions of these two men laid bare.

    In the end, it doesn't matter whether Hathaway is gay or straight, just as it does not matter in the real world too. A person is much more than their sexuality.

    So, trust not the person, but what you know about that person to be true.moreless
  • Lewis and Hathaway track a murderer tied to their pasts. Absolutely Superb, and the best episode so far. Extraordinary.

    This episode is astoundingly good. It's complex, deep, with wonderful clues all around, and tied directly to Hathaway's dour streak. Lewis and Hathaway are, as usual, looking for a murderer, but this time it's a serial murderer. Members of "The Garden", a religious semi-cult, are being killed, with direct clues being left behind by the murderer. All through this episode, you feel the hidden murderer's presence. You can't quite put your finger on which of the suspects is the guilty party. Is the murderer actually more than one person? The surprising ending is both unexpected, dramatic, and poignantly tragic. You feel the pain and frustration, AND madness, of the murderer at the end. As always, it's not just the murdered we mourn in Lewis (and Inspector Morse), it's the justly and injustly ruined other lives, the ones left behind in the tragedy, that are also deeply felt by the audience.

    This episode confirms the greatness of the writers and production team for Lewis, many of whom were brought from the Inspector Morse series.

    Lewis is fine, intelligent and moving drama. Well done.moreless
  • Hathaway's gets a hinterland

    Although interesting this episode was a bit laboured. It was trying too hard to create a hinterland, of torment with drink and women, for Hathaway. The 'is he gay was cringeworthy. The theology he is lumbered with and so we have it explained why he left the church. The parallels with Morse continued in Lewis rescuing Hathaway from a house in Jericho reminding us of the first episode of Morse, the Dead of Jericho, where Morse's troubled hinterland of drink and unrequited love was first established. I do like Hathaway and can see it running and running when Lewis is dead. Maybe they should call it Murdering Oxford! So making Hathaway complex might succeed in long run. One thing I found interesting was that the actor playing Mr Cooper, David Ryall, was the driving instructor Derek Whittaker in the Morse episode Driven to Distraction!! I am not sure what to make of this - was this to echo Morse again?moreless
  • Complete Claptrap

    I'm a big fan of Morse and now Lewis. However, this episode was obnoxious and contrived claptrap. Granted, the academics of Oxford do 100x the realistic share of killings in the series, but this episode was particularly poor. First, the characters were one-dimensional and distractingly silly. I don't want to spoil the plot, but one of the central characters is gay and high Anglican. I basically have no contact with Anglicans, but I know enough about that church to know that there are many, many viewpoints within it and there are many congregations that are highly welcoming to homosexuals. Especially in a college town like Oxford. Instead, the main character associates himself with some extremist group. Not only that he leaves them, only to come back, and leave again, and then come back to cause harm. The harm then snowballs into just insane repercussions. This is supposed to be an intelligent person in a university setting?

    The back-story on Hathaway was kind of interesting, but intertwined with this outlandish and impossible plot.

    This aired just as the Lambeth Conference issues involving acceptance of homosexuality within the broad Anglican church were coming to the forefront. The episode seems to present a hypothetical of what can happen, all in bad taste.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Hathaway comments on the crucifixes in Will's flat, but we're shown ordinary crosses, not crucifixes, which are crosses with the crucified Christ. Since Hathaway studied to become a priest, he should know the difference.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Lewis: "Life born of fire." I bet that means something in Latin.
      Hathaway: What makes you say that?
      Lewis: This is Oxford. Everything always means something in Latin.

    • Hathaway: I was training to be a priest. Kind of closes your life down a bit. Then I was training to become a policeman.
      Lewis: Closes down your life even more.
      Hathaway: Thank heavens we found each other, sir.

    • Dr Hobson: Where's your better half?
      Lewis: By that you mean Sergeant Hathaway?
      Dr Hobson: I was gonna say your Mini Me, but I didn't think you'd get the pop culture reference.
      Lewis: Don't be daft, woman. Even I've seen The Italian Job.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Lady Hugh [ about Reverend King ]: "Whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap."
      Lewis: An eye for an eye?
      Lady Hugh: Well, I wouldn't go that far.
      Lady Hugh justifies her dismissal of Reverend King with another Bible verse, Galatians 6:7.

    • Lady Hugh [ to Lewis ]: "The merciful man doeth good to his own soul", and that deserves a cup of tea at least.
      Lady Hugh's response to Lewis' rescuing her from the angry mob is to quote part of Proverbs 11:17.

    • Dr Hobson: I was going to say mini-me but I don't think you'd get the pop-culture reference.

      Which does of course refer to the Austin Powers movies, not "The Italian Job" as stated by Lewis.