It’s been a rough week for a lot of people, so this column will be shorter than others.
I was satisfied with the episode overall–it was a tight, well-constructed, action-adventure installment that gave Dwight a chance to be the hero, with some capable back-up by Demelza. And Ross even had a brief moment of common sense returning home from a fruitless meeting with the fugitive Mark Daniel, though we all know it won’t last, because Ross.
- The smuggling storyline: All the pieces came together in a suitably dramatic way, from Dwight & Caroline’s failed elopement to Dwight and Demelza’s discovery of the informer’s identity to Dwight’s warning beacon on the hill to Demelza bluffing about Ross’s whereabouts to the excisemen, then taking the first opportunity to jump out a window to warn her errant husband. And how could anyone not feel sorry for Caroline, hugging Horace in the coach and trying not to cry when she realized that Dwight wasn’t coming after all?
- Mark Daniel comes up craps: The dawning disappointment on the faces of Ross and his friends as their last hope regarding Wheal Grace crumbled with Mark’s rambling account of his whereabouts the night he fled–well acted by them all. However, the Mark/Keren story was one of last year’s weakest links, so I didn’t feel the pathos of Mark maundering on about how young the wife he killed was (especially since Newdark characterized her as a cheap little slut who attacks Mark first and dies by misfortune rather than spousal jealousy).
- The end of Demelza & Elizabeth’s faux-BFFdom: Never rang true to me that Newdark tried to make them girlfriends in season one. Canonically, they never descend to catfight-levels, but at best, they maintain a guarded civility that never warms into friendship. At worst, they resent each other and eye each other askance because they both want to be first in Ross’s heart. Demelza’s insecurities and Elizabeth’s sense of entitlement were both on display in their rather chilly encounter. Reading between the lines, I suspect that Demelza felt Elizabeth took advantage of Ross’s sense of guilt and family obligation in the months after Francis’s death, while Elizabeth, perhaps unconsciously, seems to have twined herself around Ross like ivy about an oak rather than make any stir to shift for herself. And becomes pettish when he isn’t there 24/7 to address her particular concerns. And then there’s Ross’s hero complex, which contributes to the continuance of this sometimes tedious triangle.
- Pop-up George: is it really necessary for Ross and George to run into and glare at each other every week, especially when there’s no important information or even dialogue to impart? I thought their wordless encounter in Truro was completely gratuitous.
- So was the scene of Ross & Company boarding the ship to meet Mark, for that matter. They’re traveling from one island to another–logically, we can assume that they’re not swimming to their destination.
- George playing on Elizabeth’s fears by secretly sending the tinners to Trenwith and imparting the rumors of local unrest. Not in the books, and it doesn’t reflect well on either character. George looks meaner and more manipulative towards the woman he supposedly loves, while Elizabeth looks stupid and gullible for falling for his scheme. Feh to the whole scenario.
Any WTF? in the show was canceled out BIGTIME by this week’s WTF? in the real world. The WTF? that has left countless people scared, sickened, sad, and dreading the future. Still processing what happened, and no, not happy about it at all.
Until next week!