Father Brown (2013–…): Season 3, Episode 11 - The Time Machine - full transcript

Father Brown visits student Jacob Francis at the family home as Lady Felicia is worried about him. Jacob's father died a year earlier, a presumed suicide, but Jacob is sure that he was murdered and has built a time machine in which he claims he can travel back to prove the case. His other relatives are cynical though his vision of the near future seems to be accurate. But when Jacob also dies Father Brown suspects that his theory was correct and tries out the time machine for himself.


- Wake up!
- What?

What's going on?


- Lord!
- What on earth is he up to now?

Looks like he's started a fire.

Go downstairs, telephone the fire

I'll fetch the extinguisher.

- Maybe I should help.
- I'm perfectly capable.

It works!

It actually works!

What works?

My time machine!

"The Time Machine"

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Sync: Marocas62

Father Brown
Season 3 - Episode 11


Thought you were supposed to be
helping me.

Sorry, Mrs. McCarthy, I was just
re-living my youth.

Oh, I suppose you'll
be climbing a tree next.

No, no.
Not with your gout.

- Sorry to interrupt.
- Not to worry.

Mrs. McCarthy won't
let me play anyway.

Never mind. I wonder if I might
have a word?

Something of a delicate matter.

Manic depressive, obsessive,
and, lately, delusional.

- Delusional?
- His father died last year -


Only Jacob's become convinced
it was murder

by one of his own family.

- Could he be right?
- Absolutely not!

- They're delightful.
- How long have you known them?

I met Georgina at
a charity function

for the arts several years ago.

She's an aspiring
romantic novelist, like me,

although, frankly, her work
isn't a patch on mine.

Her structure's a bit overwrought
and her language is too flowery.

- Back to the murder.
- Suicide.

Jacob says he can prove
it was foul play.

- How?
- Georgina won't tell me,

but she's worried her nephew

is going the same
way as his father.

I said you could...

examine the facts
of Frederick's death.

Talk to Jacob.
Show him it was suicide.

Assuming it was.

Frederick was found in his
home laboratory

with a vial of strychnine
beside him.

- Suicide note?
- No,

but the room was
locked from the inside.

- Windows?
- Yes,

but the laboratory's
on the top floor.

- Sheer drop.
- Perfect.

- Let's go.
- Now?

Yes, no time like the present.

On your marks!

Get set!


Good girl.

- Thanks, Dad.
- 11.5.

Run like that in Vancouver next year

and you'll be coming back with
another bronze.

She deliberately distracted me.

Is that true?

Of course not.

I won't abide cheating.

There's no greater dishonour.

Father Brown,

Arnold Francis -
Jacob's uncle.

I've asked the Father to help
with Jacob's... situation.

My cousin doesn't need a priest,

he needs a psychiatrist.

Angelica and Sarah,
Arnold's daughters

and Olympic champions, no less.

Not quite.

Silver and bronze.

I think that still qualifies.

"Champion - a person who's
surpassed all rivals

"in a sporting contest
or other competition."

Oxford English Dictionary.

I stand corrected.

What do you think
you can do for Jacob?

I don't know till I talk to him.

Well, he's not going to
listen to you.

- He's an atheist.
- I'm not trying to convert him.

I'm trying to give him
some answers

to some questions.


"The story practically
writes itself".

Sister against sister,

at the British Empire
and Commonwealth Games.

You'd be a fool not to cover it.

Everyone else is.

Good, I'll see you tomorrow.

The Times of London
are coming to the luncheon.

Don't say I don't do
anything for you.

How many people
are coming to this thing?

Now is not the time for

- Felicia, darling!
- Georgina!

You're looking
as pulchritudinous as ever.

How very perspicacious of you.

You must be Father Brown.

I told Felicia
this wasn't necessary.

- I'm only here to help.
- Where's Jacob?

- In his laboratory.
- In fact,

you've come just in time.

He's promised
a demonstration at noon.

- Demonstration of what?
- His time machine.

- His what?
- Told you.

Jacob's studying quantum physics.

22 and already doing
a PhD at Cambridge.

Practically a prodigy.

Even so, he does sound like he may
have been reading too much HG Wells.

Your predecessors were
similarly damning

of a young scientist named Galileo.

Locked him in a dungeon.

And don't even get me started
on Giordano Bruno.

You must be Jacob. My name's...

- What's going on?
- This is Father Brown.

He has some experience
in criminal matters.

Lady Felicia thought he could help.

Father Brown has a commendation
from the constabulary.

- I don't need any help.
- I'm not here to intrude.

Even so,
I must admit to be fascinated

by your field of study.

- Is that so?
- Absolutely.

Unlocking the secrets
of the universe -

Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg

and now, perhaps, you.

You've read their work?

Well, can't pretend to understand

but unlike my predecessors,

I believe that scientific

should be celebrated, not damned.

It's time.

Lumbricus franciscus.

Named after my father.
He discovered them.

Your father was a biologist?

A brilliant one, at that.

This used to be his lab.

And your mother?

She died giving birth to me.

I'm sorry.


Please, have a seat.

I present to you an invention

that will forever
redefine and expand

the known laws of physics,

transforming our world in ways
I can't even begin to imagine...

and ensuring my place
in history.

The power to transcend
the fourth dimension,

to captain the arrow of time.

My machine.

Looks like a fairground ride.

How does it work?

By generating radial
geodesic motion,

it creates an
Einstein-Rosen bridge,

by way of a maximally
extended extrapolation

of the Schwarzschild metric.

What are you going to do?

The power cells haven't fully
powered up yet,

so it'll be a short trip.

A quick nip into the future,
then back to the present.

With proof.


He's going to electrocute
the lot of us.


What the...?


Is that it?

The 12:05 at Newbury should
have just started.

I've got a bet on that.

- And you are?
- My chauffeur.

Which horse, Chauffeur?

- Sailor's Honour.
- Too bad.

What are you saying?
You've been to the future
and know the result?

Exactly! And written the names of
the three winning horses

on a piece of paper
inside that envelope.

Puddle Jumper still on the
outside, Dumb Luck close behind,

Sailor's Honour striking
out for the lead.

Sounds like I backed
the right horse.

Wait and see.

..overtaking Sparrow's Nest,
then Fluffy Duck, Puddle Jumper,

Sailor's Honour streaking ahead.

Sailor's Honour has fallen!

Sailor's Honour is out of the race.'

'And now it's Dumb Luck
and Wackadoodle neck and neck,

Due North falling back
behind Sparrow's Nest,

then it's Puddle Jumper,
Fluffy Duck at the rear.

And now, in the last furlong,

clawing back the distance,

pushing past Dumb Luck,
'and he's crossed the finish line!

Wackadoodle in first,

Due North second,

and Dumb Luck in third.

What a race!
What a race.

Jockeys and horses alike...

"First Wackadoodle.

"Second Due North.

"Third Dumb Luck."



I'm not surprised you don't
want to believe it.

- Meaning?
- Meaning...

I'm almost certain I know
which one of you killed my father.

And you think it was me?

The machine will have fully
charged by 1pm,

allowing me to travel back
a year and find out.

And then what?

Stop the murder?

I can only observe,
I can't change history,

as per temporal modification
negation theory.

- Of course.
- But I can witness the crime

and confirm my suspicions.

How do you explain
the locked doors?

I believe the killer
subdued my father in his lab,

forced him to swallow the poison,

and, then,
escaped through the window,

using a rope to climb down.

- Problem?
- Well, the killer

would've had to secure the
rope to something solid.

- How would they have got rid of it after...?
- Perfectly obvious.

In the distraction,
after we entered the room,

they simply untied the rope and let
it fall through the window.

Why would any of us
want to kill your father?

- The house.
- The house?

My father and uncle
each inherited half the estate.

They wanted to sell it,

in order to finance
their daughters' lust for glory.

But my father
was blocking the sale.

We lived here, with my grandparents,
since I was born.

This is our home.

Of course, whoever killed him
was too short-sighted

to realise I'd inherit his half.

Your father was well-loved.

He was part of this family.

To even suggest...

I'll make sure she's all right.

I'm not listening to any
more of this nonsense.

You need help.

My brother's death was a tragedy.

You're turning it into a farce!

- You all right?
- I'm fine.

If you don't mind me asking,

which of your family
do you think...?

My uncle.

The barbarian.

I heard him arguing with my father
in his lab

a few hours before the murder,

my father telling him
he was "going to put a stop to it".

- The house sale?
- What else?

- Did you tell the police?
- Of course.

But the Inspector,
stupid clod called Valentine,

didn't think it was relevant.

He does make the odd mistake.

Shortly after the argument,
I was sitting there

when I heard a smash.



I ran to the door,
but it was locked.

Dad, open the door!
I started banging...

Dad, if you can hear me,
open the door!

'..calling him. The rest of
the family came running.

Arnold and I broke through.

We found him on the floor...

Dad! Look at me!
..writhing in agony.

He was dead within seconds.

And then I saw it -

the vial.

It wasn't suicide.

It's not logical.

He wasn't depressed.
He was angry,

Ready to fight for this house.

Does that sound like a man
who kills himself?

How hard can it be?

What do you think you're doing?

- Off!
- All right, fella.

Fella, calm down, calm down.

- Was only going to take her for a spin.
- Out.

Listen, when you've done
what you've got to do,

how about you let me...?

- How's Georgina?
She wanted to be alone.

I'm sorry for dragging you
into this.

If I'd known how far gone
Jacob had...

I don't think Jacob is as far gone
as people think he is.


Come on!

You don't seriously think Jacob
has built a time machine?

No, but I don't think he's
necessarily wrong about his father.

I told you,
they're not capable of...


If he wants to play his
make-believe games, let him.

Oh! Jacob!

He planned to use it go
back in time

and prove that his
father's suicide,

by strychnine,
was, in fact...

- murder.
- Jacob had some problems.

We should have got him help.

It's not our fault.

There's no suicide note.

History repeating itself.

Of course, the other possibility is
that, if his father WAS murdered,

whoever did it would be afraid that
Jacob was going to expose...

Yes, well, I'd rather not make
any assumptions just yet.

Thank you very much.

In the meantime,
Sergeant Goodfellow, here,

will take your statements

This way, please.

Father Brown.

Oh, boy.

I'm sorry.

Are you all right?

As all right as one can be after
a second death in the family.

Were you close to Jacob?

Not particularly.

We didn't have a lot of
common interests.

What about his father?
You seemed very upset earlier.

Well... Well, of course.
The things Jacob was saying.

If you'll excuse me, I don't think
you're telling the whole truth.

What were you apologising
to Frederick for?

- It's my fault.

His death?

God, I miss him.

You have no idea
what that feels like.

To be able to say it out loud.

The only thing worse than grief

is having to hide it.

- Tell me.
- Confession?

- If that's what you want.
- I'm lapsed.

It's never too late
to return to the fold.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

It's been ten years.

I'm listening.

I started it.

Seduced him, I suppose.

- Why?
- When I met Arnold,

he was my dream come true.


Champion rugby player.

Until shortly after the girls
were born.

He developed acute arthritis.

For a man like Arnold,

that must've been a bit of a knock.

He became bitter.


He might have snapped out of it,
but then the war came.

He was forced to stay at home,

while his friends died
on the battlefields.

After that,
a string of failed businesses.

By the time financial necessity
required we move here,

he was a shadow of what he was.

I know it's selfish of me, but...

I needed more than that.

How long were you
and Frederick lovers?

- Four years.
- Did Arnold ever find out?

We were scrupulous
in our discretion.

Then why do you blame yourself
for Frederick's death?

When Angelica and Sarah started
to show prowess on the track,


It was as if something
reawakened in him.

He started to pay attention
to his daughters for the first time.

To all of us.

So I plucked up courage...

..and I ended it with Frederick.

He was devastated.

A week later, he killed himself.

What's going on?

I am offering counselling.

How are the girls?

They're fine.

We're all fine.

We don't need counsel.

Thank you for your concern, Father,
but what we need...

..is time to grieve.


Of course.
Good afternoon.

What was all that about?

Like he said.


It is the most plausible explanation.

You have a very loose
definition of "plausible".

Just a small amount
of strychnine

in the bowl of Frederick's pipe -
one puff, that would be enough,

plus conveniently burning
the evidence.

Even if that's how he ingested it,

it doesn't mean he didn't
put it there himself -

evidenced by the vial
that was found beside him.

But the killer could have
planted that in the confusion

after they all entered the room.

Doubly so in the case of Jacob's
murder, with all the smoke.

Here you go, sir.


- So you've reopened the case?
- No.

Just reviewing
some of my predecessor's findings.

Does it mention whether Frederick's
pipe was found at the scene of the...?

- That's none of your concern, Father.
- I am just trying to...


Besides, did Jacob even
smoke a pipe?

- I don't recall.
- So how was the poison administered to him?

I haven't quite worked that out.


But I urge you not make the same
mistake as your predecessor

by thinking that
Jacob's murder was suicide.

And I urge you to get on your bike.

Both figuratively and literally.

Strychnine acts in seconds,

so Jacob had to have
ingested it in the room.

- Good morning, Father.
- Good morning.

But no food or drink
near the body.

- No tobacco.
- You're in one of those.

And no-one near the room
when we arrived.

I'll get started on these accounts

and you can tell me
all about the murders.

- Sid told me...
- I think

the answer
lies in the laboratory.

I'm going back to the house.

- I don't think that's a very good idea.
- Why?

If there's a murderer
in that family,

there's no telling what
they might do to stop you.

I could always whack them
with my umbrella.

Well, you are not going alone.
Besides, I can help.


I can whack them with my handbag.

And although this takes place

in the shadow of a tragic death
in the family,

we hope our girls
will inspire everyone

who sees them to exult in life,

to perseverate against the odds.

How do you feel about your sister
overtaking you?

I'm very proud of my sister,

but I'd be lying if I didn't say

I'm certain I'll be beating
her to gold in Vancouver.

Not if Helsinki's anything to go by.

Help yourself to the refreshments,
and in 15 minutes,

the sisters will run the track

and show...

..show you why they are so confident

that they will be
returning from Canada

clutching gold.

Thank you.

What are you doing here?

Father Brown thinks
one of your friends

is a cold-blooded killer.

I wouldn't put it quite like that.

- You're persisting with that notion, are you?
- Yes, I am.

- Well, I hope you're wrong.
- So do I.

Mrs. McCarthy, would you mind
waiting here and holding the fort?

I'll be back in a minute.

I don't recall inviting you.

Lady Felicia invited me.

- Please leave this room.
- Of course.

Just one question, if you don't mind.

Jacob said he heard
you and his father

arguing before Frederick died.

Was that about the house sale?

Who do you think you are?

Some sort of detective?

I said get out.

I'm afraid I can't do that.

And why's that?

Because there's been another murder.

I mean it this time.

So what do you want to report?

The Inspector'll think
you've gone mad.


Father Brown was snooping
around my house.


Erm...I got lost on the way to
the little boy's room.

I'd like to see your brother's pipe.

- What?
- Frederick's pipe.

It was on the floor when he died.

It's in a box with his belongings.

Look, I really don't have time
for all this.

We'll wait.

So you think I may be right?

I'll know what to think

once I've accumulated
the evidence, Father.

Thank you for your patience,

I do believe that
Sarah and Angelica

are ready to begin.

On your marks!

Get set!

- Everything all right?
- I saw that girl...

Come on, girls!

Very good!


Could it be strychnine poisoning?


Confirm it with a blood test.

So much for the press luncheon.

This is all they'll be
writing about now.

That's the least of our worries.

- We need to get you to hospital.
- It's just a dizzy spell.

This is a vendetta against this
family. What else could it be?

- I know who did it.
- Not now, Mrs. McCarthy.

I saw her put something into
her sister's water bottle.

Some kind of powder.

Is this true?


Miss Francis!

Miss Francis!

I don't even like running.

- Then why do it?
- Why do you think?

For your father.

It's all he cares about.

The only person in this entire

who didn't treat me like second
best was Uncle Frederick.

He helped me with my school
science homework.

Said I had aptitude.

I didn't kill him.

Or Jacob.

Then what did you put
in Sarah's water bottle?


That would've given the press
something to write about.

She only took a swig.

Wouldn't have made her collapse.

Then the strychnine must already
have been in the water...

Angelica Francis, I am arresting
you on suspicion of murder.

You are not obliged to say anything,
unless you wish to do so,

but what you say will be
taken down in writing

and may be given in evidence.

SHE SOBS: Please, I didn't do it.
I didn't do anything.

You're not taking my daughter

- I'm afraid you don't have a say.
- Not until I've telephoned
a solicitor.

- You're making a mistake.
- Please, Inspector.

Now, aren't you glad you
brought me along?

I almost solved the whole thi...

Isn't it curious...

that Sarah survived
strychnine poisoning,

but her uncle and her cousin didn't?

Well, maybe she has
a stronger constitution.

She is an athlete, after all.

The poison is in the dose.

And in small doses...

Mrs. McCarthy, well done.

"Sarah Francis -
Training times."




What's that?

A whopper of a clue.

So you know who did it?

Not quite.

But you do know how it was done?

Not exactly.

But I think it's something
to do with these worms.

Worms, what worms?

Mrs. McCarthy,
would you mind waiting outside?

I'd like to conduct
an experiment.

The solicitor's on his way.

She's not going anywhere
until he gets here.

What in the blazes...?

What the hell do you think
you're doing?

Just a spot of time travel.

You think this is some kind of joke?

On the contrary.

I think it's deadly serious,
after what I've just witnessed.

- Which was what?
- Two murders.

First Frederick, and then Jacob.

You mean...that thing really works?

Jacob was troubled,
but was clearly a genius.

- You've been back in time?
- Twice.

I hid in the corner a year ago.

I witnessed the murderer
put strychnine

in the bowl of Frederick's pipe.

And then, yesterday,
the culprit put the poison

in the cooling fan
so Jacob would've inhaled it

when he turned on his machine,

which also explains why

some of the strychnine fragments
went into the worm tank.

In both cases,

I think we can safely assume

the killer discreetly
planted the vial

after they entered the room.

So, who was it, then?

Jacob said he heard you arguing
with Frederick.

"I'll put a stop to it," he said,

but he wasn't talking about
the house sale, was he?

He was talking about you.

You've been using strychnine
to enhance your performance.

That's ridiculous.

Only this afternoon...

you took too much.

Do you have any evidence of this?

- It's all in there.
- That's private property.

- You can't!
- You knew about this?!

Mr. Francis?

I only found out after the Olympics.

Frederick told
me he found her

stealing strychnine
from his lab.

- You cheating...!
- You swore to me

that you'd never do this again.

Frederick was going to inform
the Olympic Committee.

She'd have been stripped of
her silver.


Which gave you both of you
a motive for killing Frederick

and stopping
Jacob revealing it.

The only question is
which one of you did it?

Following Jacob's lead,

I've written the killer's name

in this envelope.

- No, don't! Don't do it!
- Stop her!

Wackadoodle clawing
back the distance,

pushing past Dumb Luck.
And he's crossed the finish line!

Wackadoodle in first,

Due North second

and Dumb Luck in third.

I don't understand.

Jacob recorded the race
minutes before we entered the room,

then he switched the radios
after the demonstration.

And I switched them back again.

But the race started after
we entered.

To complete the illusion,

he set every single clock in the
house seven minutes early.

The rest was just theatrics -

electricity and dry ice.

All with the aim of
flushing the killer out.

Sadly, it worked too well.

I prayed that it wasn't true.

How could you?

Miss Francis, come back!

Hey, stop there!

Look, there's nowhere to go!


- Put it down, Sarah!
- Don't come any closer.

Sarah, please!

- I'm not going to prison.
- Sarah!

Sarah! Listen to your family.

- Sarah!
- Or what?

I'll go to hell?

Is that what you think?

- Where else am I going?
- Well,

- it's up to you.
- I'm past redemption, Father.

I've killed two people.

Faked their suicides.

Maybe a real one is what I deserve.

You deserve understanding,
like anyone else.

To do what you've done,

I can only imagine how terrified
you must have been.


Of what?

Tell him.

You only love champions.

Don't you dare try to
blame this on me.

It's true.

Sarah, put it down, please.

I love you, no matter what.

Both of you.

If I've made you feel less than...


You're both so precious to me.

All of you.

I'm sorry I find it so difficult.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.


Ah, Inspector,
what a pleasant surprise.

No need to look so happy, Father.

I'm not here to convert.

I've been meaning to ask
you about this.

Admittedly, I wasn't 100% sure

whether it was Arnold or Sarah,

I was sure

that if the culprit believed

the time machine was real...

They wouldn't miss a last chance
to save themselves.


I suppose this is one of the rare

- where my meddling has proved...
- Meddlesome?

As usual.

Good day.

Another pleasant surprise.

How are you both?

Adapting to new circumstances.

I'm starting university
in the autumn.

- Natural sciences.
- Congratulations.

Sarah's trial should be
over by then.

- How is she?
- Coping.

Barrister's arguing

that the strychnine may have
impaired her mental state.

Diminished responsibility.

And your husband?

Angelica, wait inside.

I told him about Frederick and I.

If there's one thing I've learned,

the fewer family secrets,
the better.

How did he take it?


We'll be fine.

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