Hunderby: Compromising Positions

Previously on Hunderby: Hester found out about her husband’s affair with Helene and told Helene she was dying, which prompted Helene to break up with Fogarty. Fogarty immediately fell into an alcoholic depression and Helene found out from her hunchbacked rapist that she’s pregnant.

Edmond gathers his staff in the kitchen to share the good news that Helene’s womb is not as “useless as an empty dungeon”. He orders up a massive feast to celebrate.

That night, Jeff helps Edmond put on his stockings, which annoys Edmond, who sends Jeff away. When he stands up, we see why he wanted his privacy: he’s quite, well, turned on just now. He fetches a scourge, kneels before a crucifix and begins beating himself. Jeff returns, takes the scourge, and they kneel down together to pray.

Downstairs, the party’s getting underway, and it looks like half the village has been invited, along with Brother Joseph, who won’t leave some young boy alone. Curiously, it appears the Fogartys have been left off the guest list. Helene looks bored and eyes Hunchback John uneasily as he dances about.

Later, Joseph goes to speak to Dorothy and that creepy village woman who clearly never bathes. He says it’s curious this should happen, since Edmond hasn’t lain with his wife in several months. And how would he know that? Seems like a strange thing for Edmond to be telling people, when he’s supposed to be working to get her pregnant. Dorothy says a man’s seed can survive in warm, dark places for quite some time. Joseph continues that the will of Edmond’s late mother stipulated the child would have to be born within the year, which means they’ve only got six months. Dorothy and Creepy Woman say a baby can live at six months, and they’ll be sure it’s arrived by then. Yikes!

Fogarty watches some drunken men and shirtless women stumbling down his street, cackling away. Hester calls his attention to her and tries to seduce him by showing off her new dress and recently scraped tongue. Sexy! Fogarty’s not interested, so she reminds him that it’s their anniversary and she wants him to visit “her special place” as he did when they courted. He tells her that, back then, her limbs were not all withered and gross. She weeps and asks if he’s been drinking. He takes a swig from a bottle and tells her no.

At Hunderby, the crowd cheers Jeff on as he plays the drums. Hunchy John corners Helene and congratulates her, but when he starts sniffing her and getting creepy, Dorothy grabs him and pulls him off. Edmond scolds her for manhandling him and invites him to partake of some refreshments. Helene is sent off to bed and Edmond goes to admire Jeff’s playing.

Fogarty’s passed out, but he comes to when Hester starts to undress him. He asks her to leave him alone and passes out again.

Helene sits in her room, weeping. Through the window, she sees Brother Joseph chase that young boy across the garden, and then spots Edmond riding piggyback on Jeff in the same direction. I don’t think she sees Dorothy shove Hunchback John into the well when he kisses her. So, that’s two accidental deaths Dorothy’s responsible for, now.

Jeff and Edmond are in the church, where Edmond tries the drum out for a bit. Jeff takes it out of his hands and they have a moment.

Hester has somehow managed to get Fogarty’s pants off and maneuver him on top of her, but he’s so thoroughly unconscious that’s as far as things get.

The next morning, the townspeople file into the church and find Jeff and Edmond naked and snuggled up together under the pulpit. Creepy Lady suggests they stumbled and hit their heads and Dorothy adds that that’s how their clothes fell off. Joseph appears just as Edmond begins to come around, and Dorothy swiftly suggests witchcraft, backed by Joseph. Everyone starts to panic, whipped up by these two, and agree that it’s best to seize the manwitch before he does further evil.

Helene goes to Fogarty’s and starts hammering on the door. Hester shoves Fogarty off of her and reaches for her crutches.

Poor Jeff’s now bound and gagged at the front of the church, where Joseph has taken his place in the pulpit to observe the proceedings. Creepy Lady comes forward with the boy Joseph was chasing around the night before and says the kid claims someone was messing around with him. The kid says it was someone all in black and Joseph swiftly diverts all that suspicion onto Jeff. Because he’s a black man, and all. Edmond, sitting in the front row, says nothing but looks ashamed.

Hester finally makes it to the door and finds Helene still there. Helene’s come to see the doctor, but Hester claims he’s not there, even though they can both hear him moaning in the background. Helene tells Hester she’s pregnant and Hester congratulates her before hustling her away.

Back at the church, Joseph can’t believe Jeff isn’t even speaking in his own defense. At last, Edmond speaks up, saying the man is mute. And then his elderly manservant comes in, dragging a sack full of dead Hunchback John. At least, I think he’s dead this time. Helene should be relieved, at least. Naturally, they lay that at Jeff’s door as well.

Hester’s sitting on Fogarty’s exam table while he lays on the floor, still only about a quarter conscious. She takes the opportunity to jab him with one of her crutches, and then immediately (and fakely) apologises.

Joseph calls on Edmond, as Justice of the Peace, to pronounce judgment. Edmond can’t say anything, so Dorothy suggests they hang Jeff, and the villagers back her up, so a hanging it is.

And…wow, they actually do hang him. We cut immediately to all of them sitting in their pews, calmly watching Jeff swing from the rafters. That was just seriously dark.

Fogarty’s sufficiently recovered to go out for a drunken ride.

Post-kangaroo court, Joseph hustles out of the church to return to Fiji.

Fogarty arrives at the church and, after a second, realizes he’s looking at a hanging man. This instantly sobers him up and he cuts him down. Fortunately, Jeff’s still alive. Fogarty urges him to get out of Hunderby, which I think he’s already figured out.

Helene arrives home and runs into Dorothy in the kitchen. Smiling scarily, Dorothy promises to attend to Helene’s every need and never let her out of Dorothy’s sight. Awesome!



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