Monday, May 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Gentleman Jack' - Anne Lister Makes a Major Proposal to Ann Walker in 'Oh Is That What You Call It?'

HBO's Gentleman Jack - Episode 1.03 "Oh Is That What You Call It?"

Lister confides her hopes for a future with Ann Walker to her aunt, as Ann's neighbor, Mrs. Priestley, has an inkling about the two women's relationship that presents a threat. John Booth is surprised at his own romantic success. The Rawson brothers step up their attempts to out-maneuver Lister in the coal business. Marian grows annoyed that her sister is treating Shibden like a hotel. The mouthy behavior of Lister's tenant, Sam Sowden, causes problems for his son, Thomas.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Gentleman Jack.

"Oh Is That What You Call It?" was written by Sally Wainwright and directed by Sarah Harding

So far, the drama has proven that people fundamentally want their family and loved ones to be happy. However, they want them to pursue such happiness in the traditional way that has long been accepted by polite society. They gossip and scorn anyone who presents in a different manner or goes about things in a way that makes others scoff at how uncommon it is. Anne Lister wouldn't be questioned at all if she were a man. She feels cursed because of the life she has chosen. She acts on her feelings and wants to be taken seriously by the world. And yet, the world often attacks her for not falling in line and doing things the expected way. Instead, people try to warn off those who get close to her. Society doesn't want Ann Walker to be anywhere near Lister. The Rawson brothers want to continue cheating Shibden Hall out of the coal on their land. Lister is proving to the world that they shouldn't underestimate her. She is asking for what is right and fair. No one would question the arrangement she is proposing to Ann Walker if she were a man. Aunt Anne points that out as well. It's because of that one simple fact that makes everything much more complicated in this world. Lister doesn't want to find a husband to manage the property for her as she bears his children who will one day inherit the land. She doesn't want children at all. She makes that a part of the deal when she presents it to Ann Walker. That's a fascinating concept because she is asking the new object of her desire to make this life-altering choice that could earn them so much hatred in the community. On some level, Ann is open to the offer because it presents as so much simpler than worrying about a man trying to steal her fortune. She has long been wary of the world and how people are always after what she has. She has been skeptical and isolated. Anne Lister has come along and sparked a new passion inside of her. That is invigorating. She is open and willing to everything that Lister proposes. It's freeing because it could be wonderful to be with a companion who truly makes her happy without having to worry about all the pleasantries of the world. Marian may only be looking for a husband and wanting children to spite her sister. She wants a claim to Shibden Hall as well. One that will finally give her some say in the family home she lives at. She wants to be taken seriously. Lister is so cruel in the way that she diminishes her sister and the concerns of others. She goes after what she wants. That is remarkable and empowering. She may not always be on the right side of history. She may also be tempting Ann Walker into something she may not want. And yet, it's still incredibly telling when Ann laughs upon being caught by Mrs. Priestley. Eliza had her concerns and those were confirmed. But that only frees Ann and Lister more. Their relationship may be completely in response to the community saying they can't be together. But that won't make their journey together any easier. In fact, them committing to it now so early in the season may actually doom them. But everyone is fundamentally trying to make the right decision in order to be happy and protect their families. John Booth wants Lister's support to marry Eugénie. Lister is thrown and surprised by that request. But she also isn't going to let her concerns be the reason why two people can't be together. Meanwhile, Thomas Sowden feels the urge to actually kill his father because of the threat he poses to the family being able to stay at their home. Thomas is the one being protective and doing what must be done. But it's also incredibly disturbing and may show how this mentality may only lead to chaos and heartbreak moving forward. Thomas and his family will be better tenants now. And yet, Lister may not condone murder especially considering the passion she has for discovering who caused the accident that led to a young boy losing his leg at the start of the series.