Summary: We have gone off piste.
Charlotte (our main girl) volunteered for an unpaid internship to do the filing for chaotic Tom Parker. Why he doesn’t have a kindly old clerk along the lines of Messrs Cheerybles’ Tim Linkinwater* is anyone’s guess, but there you go. Tom took Charlotte along to the building site where she shone at the decidedly non-genteel foreman Mr Stringer and he shone right back. In future episodes I’ll be cheering from sidelines for these two to commit Class Treachery and for Charlotte to be appointed architect.
Charlotte apologised to Sidney Parker (Mr Grumpy) for her comments in Episode 1. He was unbelievably yet also believably rude back. Sidders turns out to be “negress” (their word) Miss Lambe’s guardian, but seems to hate the job (and her).
Arthur Parker turns out to be a jolly nice chap who likes toast and wine, rather than a buffoon. He is a Good Thing.
Sir Edward Denham, Bt. is not actually related to his Poisonous Sister (they’re only steps) and therefore it’s totally fine for him to brush her hair and so on. They live, well, they lie about languidly, in a stylish dump with lewd wall paintings and a hole in the roof.
Edward told Poisonous Sister he was being sexually assaulted in the woods by Clara Brereton (“She quite undid me”), when Charlotte caught sight of them. We don’t believe him but then Clara tells Poisonous Sister she learnt her personal services skills from some unnamed old roué who is worse than Edward (my guess is the roué = Miss Lambe’s dad).
The pineapple Lady D ordered for a luncheon party in Miss Lambe’s honour looks fab but turns out to be rotten inside. After Lady D’s rude, racist behaviour to Miss Lambe, referring to her mother’s slavery out loud FGS and trying to marry her off to her awful Edward, we might think the rancid novelty fruit is a metaphor for Lady D’s own heart. But no, it turns out the old lady was only being a bit mischievous and Meant Well.
Not sure whether we are supposed to let her off because, you know, Racism in the 19th Century, or condemning her for being an arse. Anyway, Georgiana was very 21st century and sassed her right back by speaking in patois and being so bootfaced that the atmosphere, such as it was, lay in ruins. So we like her a lot. Also Charlotte said she was not looking for a husband, and at some point equated marriage with slavery. So, go Charlotte!
Charlotte was out walking along the cliff edge while simultaneously frowning about how strange people are (it brought to mind President Ford’s difficulty walking while smoking**) and came across poor Georgiana contemplating Ending It All. Let’s face it, she’s a virtual prisoner alone in a chilly place, torn away by horrible Sidney from the only thing/person she loves (I’m hoping this turns out to be A Woman), unable even escape to London because she’s so rich she’s not allowed to carry cash (just like our dear Queen) so who can blame etc? Luckily Charlotte made Georgiana laugh so she decided not to fling herself off the cliffs of England (Samaritans – please take notes here) and they are now Best Friends.
Luncheon party – excellent. Main meal was taken mid-afternoon. Big tick for that.
Black walls inside everyone’s houses – looks great, if a bit 1970s West End disco (and I should know) but there are so many I’m longing to rest my eyes on a few pink and white stripes. Marking you down for going over the top.
Nudity quotient for Sidney
1 (0.5 for Sidney’s barechested bareknuckle boxing + 0.5 for emerging from the sea wearing no clothes, back view only).
Fidelity to the original
Who would not have twigged Lady D’s reference to the opening line of Pride and Prejudice? But actually, when it comes down to it, we’re so far adrift this is now almost zero.
As you gird your loins, or whatever, to enter Episode 3, remember we’re definitely not in Austenland anymore, Toto.
*Nicholas Nickleby reference.
**Older person’s reference. Ignore if young.