After enjoying episode 3 so much, I was disappointed in episode 4. It had the potential to be interesting, but it ended up feeling rather slow and boring. I guess all series need that one episode–you know, the one that is filler. That filler is setting up future episodes, yes. I still think that this one could have been more satisfying. Let me tell you why:
- This episode lacked the quirkiness of the others. While the donkey scenes and the heat stroke played up the siblings’ nature (and this is the only thing in the episode that smacks of Austen’s novel), it just didn’t take it far enough. The only moment that made me laugh was when Arthur promised Diana he would never exercise again and live a recumbent lifestyle.
- This episode was sad, but not sad enough. There was a lot of heartbreak in this episode, but not in a truly dramatic way. Does that sound terrible of me to say? 🙂
There was understated heartbreak. Even Georgiana took her beau’s departure rather well, all things considered. I felt the most for Esther, honestly. I do like it when “bad” characters are shown to have heart, and Esther loves her “brother.” Does he love her? Meh. Not as much as he loves money. To see Clara torturing Esther with the knowledge of the bro-sis intrigue wasn’t that satisfying. Hearing her drop in another clue about molestation continues to be a tease (which I’m not too keen on). To hear her tell Esther that it’s never gonna work out for Eddie and her didn’t feel devious or genuine. It felt lukewarm.
- Speaking of torture and teasing, the Charlotte-Sidney drama wasn’t doing it for me this time. I’m glad she got an education on slavery, but the shouting match in the street felt more like a plot device to allow Mr. Stringer to gaze upon Charlotte some more. This poor guy is besotted with her, but she’s gonna break his heart, right? Then there’s Tom buying that necklace, living beyond his means. There was a lot of male daftness in this episode.
I am glad that the episode touched on the issue of slavery–that reminder of how we profit from other’s enslavement was noteworthy. The sweetened tea we drink and the clothes we wear, Otis reminds Charlotte, would not be possible otherwise. This is a lesson I still think about today–do we know where our goods come from? Do we know who makes them and what wages they earn? Do we know the history of this as it is intertwined with enslavement?
One more thing: we need to talk about Charlotte’s hair. Why was it so messy in this episode? Regardless of the fact that her hair style is out of period–and that aaaaallllll other characters in the show have period hair–it just seemed messy.
I will wrap up this post by saying how surprised I am at how many Austen fans in a Facebook group I am a part of are fighting over this show. Like, it seems ridiculous to me that people who love Austen are being so mean to each other. I’m not going to out the group, but people need to get over their proprietary attachment to Austen. This show is an adaptation. Take it on those terms. Enjoy the pretty scenes and the costumes. Don’t worry too much about it. Austen will be OK. 🙂