Endeavour season 9 ending explained as finale includes death

Endeavour: DS Jakes returns ahead of final episode

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WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from Endeavour season 9, episode 3 Exeunt

The curtains fell on the hit ITV crime drama Endeavour this evening (March 12) with a two-hour film, which saw some loose ends wrapped up. The aptly titled grand finale called Exeunt saw the characters take to the stage for one more case. Exeunt also featured some nods to the original Inspector Morse series as well as Endeavour Morse’s (played by Shaun Evans) final case alongside Fred Thursday (Roger Allam).

Who died at the end of Endeavour?

None of the usual suspects bit the bullet with fans predicting the demise of Fred and others fearing for the safety of Sam Thursday (Jack Bannon) and his sister Joan (Sara Vickers).

There was foreshadowing Fred might kick the bucket after he had a funny turn and had to rest for a while and later got punched by Sam.

Not only this, Fred and his family were threatened but these were all red herrings to throw viewers off.

Instead, it was corrupt copper Arthur Lott (Danny Webb), who found himself finished off by a biker gang seeking revenge for a killing he’d ordered on one of their own in Camden.

The case of the week

Even Exeunt featured a case of the week with the detective duo looking into the deaths of outspoken academics, whose death notices were appearing in the local paper before they’d been bumped off.

After going to the undertakers, it emerged a disgruntled bigot married to a local florist was behind the killings with his gripes towards his victims covering a litany of prejudices including racism, homophobia, xenophobia and misogyny.

Joan Thursday

Joan and Jim Strange (Sean Rigby) got happily married with Endeavour missing the nuptials to learn the truth about Blenheim Vale with Peter Jakes (Jack Laskey) stepping in as best man at the eleventh hour.

Endeavour never confessed his true feelings to Joan despite a momentary daydream.

She and Strange headed to Kiddlington after Fred suggested it would give the officer a chance to progress further – in the Inspector Morse series the character became Endeavour’s boss.

Fred and Win Thursday

Fred and Win Thursday (Caroline O’Neill) went off into the sunset as they headed to Carshalton after Endeavour managed to recover the couple’s life savings.

Fred had lost them four years ago and was indebted to bent copper Arthur, who would only give him back the money if he shut down the Blenheim Vale case.

Blenheim Vale

The Blenheim Vale scandal has been a throughline in Endeavour since season two when Jakes was revealed to have been abused as a child at the residential home.

Jakes was one of a group of young boys who’d been physically and sexually abused by a paedophile ring, which consisted of respected members of the community including a doctor, a politician, a business owner and a corrupt police officer.

Endeavour and Morse were continuing to look into the cover-up of the scandal at Blenheim Vale but it was clear Arthur was trying to shut it down to protect himself and other members of the ring.

Arthur and Endeavour met and the detective revealed Fred had already closed down the case and “squared it away” with the new superintendent. However, Endeavour wanted to know the truth even if he couldn’t get any justice.

Andrew Lewis was killed because he was “poking around” and his mother’s death remained a mystery with Arthur simply saying “dead men tell no tales”.

Peter Williams wasn’t killed because no one would have taken his testimony seriously because of his background.

Instead, Arthur made sure the child was adopted by the Kennet family – a flashback revealed this was the biker found dead Raymond Kennet.

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Why does Morse never mentions Thursday again?

The last scene between Morse and Fred saw the detective revealing all about his interchange with Arthur as he handed over the Thursdays’ life savings.

But Endeavour held back on what happened to Peter Williams a.k.a. Raymond Kennet to spare him the truth: he had killed the boy they had been looking for.

Endeavour also confronted Fred about killing the biker, with the older man saying he would have killed Sam otherwise.

Although Endeavour had temporarily thrown off the bikers by telling them Tomahawk was Lott’s inside man, he warned Fred the gang would come after him.

Fred realised he, Joan and Sam would have to go much further than Carshalton if they were to evade the vengeance of the bikers.

This is the reason why Morse never mentioned Fred or the Thursdays again because it could put them in mortal peril.

The churchyard scene

Fred also gave Endeavour his gun – in case he needed it. The finale then cut to Endeavour sitting in a churchyard, loading a weapon with one bullet before playing Russian Roulette.

The scene cut away with the sound of the gun going off and the suggestion Endeavour had taken his own life.

But he was later seen at Blenheim Palace, which suggested he couldn’t have died and creates a layer of ambiguity.

Additionally, Reginald Bright (Anton Lesser) recited Prospero’s speech from The Tempest: “Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and

“Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve

“And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”

Additionally, there was a montage of the characters from over the years. This meta-textual moment seemed to signal the Exeunt of the title with the characters departing from the stage.

The final scene

Morse finished a performance at Blenheim Palace and drove out, passing a familiar red Jaguar with a shot of John Thaw’s eyes seen in the rear-view mirror and nodding nicely to the original Inspector Morse series.

This scene is also a nod to the Inspector Morse episode The Way Through the Woods in 1995, which was written by Endeavour’s creator Russell Lewis and a throwback to this and his first part of being part of the Morse universe.

Moreover, Last Bus to Woodstock is the title of the first of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novels with the town also being where Blenheim Palace is located and may be a reference to this as well.

Endeavour season 9 is available to watch on ITVHub.

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