Monday, June 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Gentleman Jack' - Lister Escapes to the Past in Order to Move on From Ann in 'Why've You Brought That?'

HBO's Gentleman Jack - Episode 1.07 "Why've You Brought That?"

Before setting off for Europe to escape her heartache, Lister invites Christopher Rawson to Shibden to rebuke him for publicly insulting Marian. Lister comes up with a bold strategy to mine her own coal and expose the Rawson brothers' theft. In Scotland, Ann Walker becomes increasingly distressed when she discovers that Captain Sutherland plans to marry her off to his penniless cousin. A trip to London with her old flame, Mariana Lawton, exposes Lister to crippling memories of their past relationship.

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.

"Why've You Brought That?" was written by Sally Wainwright and directed by Sally Wainwright

Anne Lister has so much love and compassion for the world and her family. And yet, she has dealt with so much adversity as well. It's a near constant struggle for her to feel respected, appreciated and validated. She sees herself as an exceptional businesswoman with the best possible vision for her ancestral home. And yet, she has been constantly terrorized by the local community that sees her as a threat to both civility and the way that business has always been done. Of course, all of that has been done with corrupt intent. Christopher Rawson has not only abused Lister either. He paid for her to be physically assaulted. However, he was also responsible for a boy losing his leg while Marian is humiliated while in town. He is so accustomed to getting exactly what he wants by cheating the rest of the community out of what is fair and just. Lister sees herself as a compassionate and thoughtful person. She gives everyone a fair shake to do a good job. She has so much love for her family and what they aspire for in this world. Sure, she absolutely prioritizes her own needs. She is searching for personal happiness and fulfillment as well. She doesn't want to be reminded of all the times or instances in which she could be seen as a cultural oddity. She believes the people who invite her to their homes consider her as a genuine friend who is interesting and compelling to be around. That's the view that Lister has towards the friends she keeps. She wants to be intellectually challenged and respected by everyone she interacts with. And yet, the fear of not being accepted by the world can be absolutely crippling too. She expects Christopher Rawson to apologize to Marian while admitting his guilt to all of the vicious attacks he has done after being confronted by Lister. Because he doesn't, she is more than willing to sink her pits to disrupt his business. That will be a costly and timely undertaking though. It will take over a year in order to be completed. She wants secrecy to ensure that her plan goes according to schedule instead of being subjected to attacks by the Rawson brothers. Those are her concerns at the moment. And yet, she is also nursing a heartbreak after Ann has been sent away to live with her sister in Scotland. Lister has rationalized that by believing it is the best place for Ann to be at the moment. She believes she can slide right back into a romance with Mariana instead. And yet, her feelings for Ann are so powerful and true. Lister is the one who is continuously inquiring about her and her well-being. Ann made this journey because of her troubling health. Lister's doctor friend in York understands that it's about accepting how to live with this affliction of the mind. In Scotland though, everyone is more interested in getting Ann married off. It's so manipulative and isolating. Even when Ann's sister insists that she will protect her from her ambitious and opinionated husband, it's hard to feel safe in this environment. Ann is dreaming of a future with Lister. And yet, it's a tragic story that ends with self harm. That is so destructive and terrifying. There is the sense that Lister could feel that something is wrong and go to Ann in her time of need. That's not how life works though. Instead, she is simply running away and chasing after some new potential than continuing to live in this heartbreak and disaster. She probably won't stay abroad long after learning about what has happened to Ann. That will disrupt so much. But it should be very telling to see how these relationships come together during the conclusion of the season.