A tired Poirot finds himself reinvigorated when he begins investigating a series of murders linked by stockings, the alphabet, and his own travels Continue reading Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders
All that promise adds up to…kind of a disappointing ending really. But the costumes and cinematography are great! Let’s talk about that a little! Continue reading The Miniaturist, Part II: In Which None of Your Questions are Answered
Previously on Death Comes to Pemberley: Wickham was brought before an inquest, which declared him a murderer, so now he gets a full-blown trial. He’s also apparently been a busy boy, having fathered a child with Louisa Bidwell under a fake name. Georgiana’s decided she’s being forced to marry Col Fitz, so Henry’s heart is broken and things are super tense between Lizzy and Darcy.
Wickham, less smug now, tries to settle in his jail cell, but it’s no good. He flashes back on time spent with Louisa, walking through the woods and probably carving that heart in the tree. He seems sad.
Previously on Death Comes to Pemberley: Lizzy and Darcy just wanted to hold their annual ball, but then Lydia showed up screaming her head off, Wickham was found with a dead body in the woods, and things got complicated really fast.
Darcy looks down at his sleeping son. The boy wakes and smiles up at his dad and Darcy smiles back, tucks him in, and heads out.
Lizzy washes her face and gets ready for the day, pausing to look at the letter fragments she fished out of the fire. She looks out the window and sees men poking around at the edge of the woods. A little later she goes to play with the kid and seems disappointed to hear that Darcy’s already been to see him and gone.
Two young ladies wander around some very picturesque woods, looking for something. One of them’s nervous and decides to wait in a clearing while another, Joan, wanders off, still looking. After a few minutes, Joan comes running back, screaming her head off. As the girls flee, the camera travels a bit deeper into the woods, where there’s a grave marked ‘Darcy’.
At Pemberley, a cute moppet tears through the house, chased by his nurse, and finally attaches himself to his mother, Lizzy. The nurse apologises, Lizzy says it’s fine, kisses the kid, and sends him away so she can ask a man named Bidwell if the silver’s taken care of. Pemberley’s all in a tizzy getting ready for the annual ball, it seems. Mrs Reynolds, the housekeeper, walks through the ballroom with Lizzy, then accompanies her down to the kitchens so she can check out the food. While they’re examining half a dozen different types of biscuits, Joan and her friend from the woods come rushing in, babbling about seeing Mrs Riley’s ghost out in the woods. Lizzy is amused, but Reynolds yells at them for making a ruckus in front of Mrs Darcy. Lizzy asks who Mrs Riley is but all Reynolds will say is that it’s an old wives’ tale.
A well-dressed man arrives on horseback at a modest estate—Ashby Manor—and wastes no time making it clear he’s a snob and a half. His name’s Peter Clemence, and he’s coolly greeted by Ashby’s proprietor, his cousin, Leoric. Leoric introduces his family: his ward, Isobel, younger son Meriet, and his clearly much favoured older son, Tristan. Tristan’s pretty fiancée, Rosana, strolls over and Peter kind of hits on her before he’s hustled away by Leoric.
At the abbey, Cadfael gets a visit from Hugh Beringar and Sergeant Warden. Beringar’s heading to Westminster to give an accounting of the shire. Cadfael rather unthinkingly asks who’ll be in charge of keeping the peace and Warden’s like, uh, I’m right here? Cadfael’s response is a definite, oh, yeah, well, I guess you’re better than nothing. Though barely. Nice, Cadfael.
Previously on Ripper Street: Jesus, where to begin? Jackson’s no-account brother, Daniel, showed up with a stolen, uncut diamond that Jackson hopes to use to buy his way back into Susan’s affections. She, meanwhile, has finally given in to Duggan’s gross demands and is stuck with the man living in her house. Reid and Cobden consummate their relationship, with Best ickily listening in, because apparently he has nothing better to do than to stalk Reid. Jedediah Shine showed back up to play puppetmaster with Flight, his conflicted little spy, and to strangle a jeweler whom Reid knows personally. Drake, in a spiral of misery after Bella’s death, is self-punishing in a big way, but he returns to Leman Street when he accidentally discovers said jeweler’s body in a pauper’s grave. All that happened in just one episode. We can’t say this show’s not going out with a bang.
Back when I was a wee anglophile, my favourite book was definitely A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden was definitely in the top ten as well. Later, when I grew up, I was delighted to discover that she wrote a number of books for adults as well, including the two books this telefilm is based on: The Making of a Marchioness and The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. I read Marchioness, but I’ll confess, I didn’t even know a sequel to it existed until a couple of years ago, and I never read it. Marchioness is, from what I recall (it’s been several years since I read it), just an ok book. It’s a Cinderella story, but not a particularly romantic one. Instead of falling instantly in love with her prince, the Cinderella in this story (a rather Mary Sue-esque woman who’s pretty unbelieveably innocent) accepts his proposal for purely pragmatic reasons: she’s broke, has few prospects in the world, and is 34 years old, which definitely put her in the old maid category at the time the book was published (1901). A woman that age, with no family or independent fortune to fall back on, was facing a pretty grim old age of complete poverty. If you’re looking at it purely from the angle of women’s roles at the time, it does have some merit and can be interesting. Burnett, who suffered an unhappy, abusive marriage, was speaking from experience on these issues, and she had some rather pointed things to say. What a shame, then, that when the books were adapted for ITV, everything that happens in the first one is basically mashed into the first few minutes, so we can linger on the potboiler that was The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. But we’ll discuss all that later. Here’s how it all happened:
Previously on Ripper Street: A crazy poisoner was taken off the streets, Drake developed a crush on Rose, there was some weirdness between Susan and Jackson, who obviously have a shady past, and Reid’s wife got her funding for a home for former prostitutes.
Susan’s giving a new girl the rundown (I get 60% of your earnings in return for protecting you here) when she spots one of her former ladies returned. Well, I say lady, but this one, Lucy, looks super young, especially dressed in a rather childish white dress and prim white gloves. She’s like a china doll, with a fragile, wounded-bird like beauty. Susan’s delighted to see her and runs right over for a hug. Lucy’s not there for a reunion—she needs a job. Susan regretfully says she can’t provide one and Lucy says she doesn’t know what’ll become of her. Susan sadly tells Lucy that she’s pretty much purpose-built to fulfill all the worst desires of men and Lucy adds that this is her curse, and the whole world profits from it, but not her. The brutality of the Victorian era is once again writ large.
A balding man with a moustache and Geraldine Somerville make their way across a graveyard and lay a bunch of yellow iris on the grave of a woman named Iris Russell, who died in 1934 aged 32. Geraldine (Pauline here) refers to the man as Barton and pleads with him about something mysterious. He tells her not to stop him, because he has to do “it.” She flatly tells him she’s afraid, and he tells her not to be. He shares it’s been two years since Iris dies and vows to help her rest in peace.
Poirot’s getting an OCD start to his morning, placing perfect little dollops of jam on teeny, tiny squares of cracker or toast or something. Hastings comes in and suggests he have a proper English breakfast, but Poirot says that sounds dreadful and he’s fine with his toast bites. He then starts bitching about English food. Fortuitously, Hastings then catches sight of a large advertisement for a new restaurant called the Jardin des Cygnes (Swans’ Garden) on Jermyn Street. The name gives Poirot pause—it’s familiar to him. Hastings suggests dinner for two, undoubtedly fueling quite a bit of slashfic, if there is such a thing out there for Poirot, and I’m willing to bet there is. I’m not, however, willing to check, because that sort of fanfic scares me. Poirot snaps that it’s time for work.