And so we come to the end (of this season. Season 2 has been confirmed!). And it’s a happy(ish) ending that ties a few things up and leaves others dangling, as a season finale is meant to do.
Anne goes on that much-promised European road trip and winds up in Copenhagen. She’s living it up there, partying with friends, dancing with a cute little Parisienne, meeting the Queen, and getting all gussied up in white satin (!!) for the Queen’s birthday ball. It’s all good! And if she occasionally thinks longingly of Ann, well, there are plenty of things to distract her.
It’s just as well that she’s having fun, because back home things are going to hell.
The new pit meets with some setbacks which eat through almost all the capital Anne’s borrowed for the project. She writes to her father, asking if he can put up some cash he’d offered earlier. But with this collapse, he does not seem happy about that.
In Scotland, Ann is not doing so hot. She’s recovered from her possible suicide attempt, but is looking pale and haggered. Her sister, Elizabeth, is, understandably concerned (and just a side note: I only realised this episode her sister is played by the actress who played Lady Mae in Mr Selfridge. And I only realised that because she does this thing with her mouth that I recognised. Nice to see her again! Also, good casting, because I really believe these two have a great sisterly resemblance).
Elizabeth tries writing to Anne, but Anne’s reply, which includes her new address in Copenhagen, is stolen by Elizabeth’s husband, so she can’t keep Anne informed of what’s going on and Anne just thinks everyone’s stopped speaking to her.
What’s going on is Captain Sutherland is trying to force Ann to marry that worthless relative of his. He thinks it’d be good for Ann to have some babies; give her something else to think about. Yeah, that’s some 19th century male thinking: oh, you have serious mental health issues? Let’s just throw a baby at it. That’ll fix ya!
19th century male thinking: oh, you have serious mental health issues? Let’s just throw a baby at it. That’ll fix ya!
And the thing is, Ann starts to think that maybe he’s right. She tells her sister that maybe she’ll just go ahead and marry Sir Alexander, and Elizabeth’s response is, ‘Girl, run.’
Ann would love to, but it’s complicated because she has no way of getting home from Inverness on her own. So, she writes to her Aunt Ann, who takes the letter to the Priestleys. All three are shocked at the treatment Ann’s been subjected to, and the Priestleys agree to go all the way up to Scotland to fetch her. That’s no small journey: even today its more than 6 hours by car. Imagine doing that by carriage. Those Priestleys may have their reservations about Anne and Ann’s relationship, but they clearly care about their relative.
They hurry north and collect Ann on a day when Captain S is out. But he comes home just as they’re about to leave and Mr P is like, ‘I’ll handle this.’ But Ann is done with being pushed around and says that she’ll handle this, thank you very much. And she tells Captain S she’s going home and he can shove it. And Mrs Priestley takes him to task for not getting Ann the medical care he promised. Go, ladies!
Meanwhile, over at Shibden, Aunt Anne Lister isn’t doing so well. She’s so poorly, in fact, that the doctor writes to Anne in Copenhagen and tells her this is the last few days, and she’s unlikely to make it home before the end.
Naturally, Anne is not about to stand for that. She gathers her servants, hops on a boat, and makes the dangerous crossing home, followed by a frantic carriage ride that even the groom wasn’t quite up for. As in the first episode, we see Anne up on the carriage, handling things.
Happily, once she arrives Aunt Anne has much improved. Anne’s delighted by that but reams out the doctor for sending her such a panicked letter which doesn’t appear to have been true. Does she think he just wrote to her for fun? The poor guy insists he wrote in good faith, and that her aunt rallied unexpectedly.
So anyway, Aunt Anne’s not dying just now. Hurrah! But the pit sinking is going badly, and Anne’s father isn’t willing to put more money into it. He’s also understandably concerned that they might lose Shibden to this whole endeavour.
She goes up to the pit to see things for herself and winds up screaming in frustration at the verdant, glorious countryside. I mean, if this pit doesn’t work out as a coal mine, I’m sure she could turn it into an Air BnB just based on the view alone.
That’s where Ann finds her, having gone to Shibden to ask for Anne’s address in Copenhagen, only to find out she’s much more local now. The two of them go on to have the sweetest romantic scene which ends with the pair getting back together and Ann accepting Anne’s marriage proposal. Aww!
Ann and Anne go to church in York, and the scenes of the two of them taking the sacrament together are intercut with scenes of Thomas and Susannah Washington getting married. And we think everyone’s going to live happily ever after!
As soon as the Ann(e)s leave the church they start sniping at one another in a very stereotypical married-couple way. And it seems pretty early for that kind of thing. I mean, my husband and I certainly didn’t start bickering as soon as we left the reception, you know? Isn’t that the honeymoon phase?
And while Thomas and Susannah are all happy, there may be a slight fly in the ointment: His uncle, Benjamin, showed up and needed a place to stay. Thomas agreed and the guy seems amenable, but the problem is, Mrs Sowden told Mr Washington that she’d had a letter from this very uncle, saying her missing husband had stopped by his place and explicitly stated that he was going to America. Apparently Mrs S doesn’t know the cardinal rule of covering up a crime: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Of course just after the wedding some small talk between Washington and Benjamin reveals that Ben not only didn’t see his brother at all, but he’s not even capable of writing. So, now Washington knows that was a total lie. But really, is he likely to look terribly closely into this matter? Thomas is his daughter’s husband, and his father was a terrible tenant that they’re all well rid of. Guess we’ll find out in season 2.