Gentleman Jack Recap: Season 1, Episode 6 ("Do Ladies Do That?")

This post continues my recapping of the TV show Gentleman Jack. For those not familiar:
Gentleman Jack is an eight-episode drama series from BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright (To Walk Invisible, Happy Valley).

Set in 1832 West Yorkshire, England, Gentleman Jack is inspired by the true-story and coded journals of Anne Lister (played by Suranne Jones), and follows her attempt to revitalize her inherited home, Shibden Hall. Most notably for the time period, a part of Lister's plan is to help the fate of her own family by taking a wife.
The series is on HBO and runs Monday nights at 10 PM. (Note: Recaps will include spoilers for that episode.)

When we catch up with Anne, she is staggering home after having just been assaulted. Just for some extra salt in the wounds, a package arrives at home that turns out to be the ring she had ordered for Ann.

"FML." — Anne, probably.

To explain her injuries to her family, Anne tells them that she fell off a wall. However, when Marian is alone with Anne, she says she knows she's lying. Marian could have been a smidge more sympathetic about it, in my opinion, but she's annoyed that Anne missed meeting the dud of a man she brought to dinner the other night.

Meanwhile, Ann Walker is not doing well. And, by that I mean, she's having nightmares and hallucinations while also having universal TV symbols of "crazy woman," which consist of not wearing make-up and having disheveled bedhead. Due to these troubling signs, Ann's family sends for Anne to swoop in and help. (Oh I see, everyone is fine with the lesbian when they need her help in a crisis.)

But swoop Anne does, and she agrees to spend the night when Ann tells her she's scared of the voices in the clock or something. Indeed, later that night, when the clock chimes, Ann hears voices saying that Anne is going to be killed. Anne does not scare easily and simply responds, "Well, yes, eventually."

But the scene is eerie in a gothic sort of way. Since the series is not a supernatural one, the viewer doesn't necessarily expect for ghosts to appear or anything, and thus the "voices" themselves aren't scary. But watching Ann decline into agitated mental illness is, because she is almost certain to be misdiagnosed and mistreated.

In fact, Anne wants to take Ann to York to see a doctor, because she fears that Ann's family will have her put in an institution. Later, though, we learn that Ann has a sister in Scotland and her husband very-sketchily wants to bring Ann there for treatment. Woof, I don't trust him. (And maybe that's because here the show starts to have a Fingersmith vibe to it).

Anne and Ann talk about their options. Ann doesn't seem to want to visit her sister, and wants to travel with Anne, but when Anne proposes to her again, she says no.

And, I dunno, what did anyone expect? This is a show about queer women (although there's time to turn things around), and aren't such characters so often destined to unhappiness and/or institutionalization? But also, Anne proposed out of what looked like a sense of desperation to not lose Anne, but what Ann seems to need right now more than a marriage proposal is help. So, Ann goes off to Scotland, and Anne Lister cries.

All in all, it's a pretty heavy episode.

In other plotlines, some stuff with the coal happens, Anne has begun a correspondence with her ex, Mary, whom she plans on meeting in London (Oh really? Kept her on the backburner, did we?), and one of Anne's tenants wants to marry Anne of Green Gables.

Bits and Pieces:

One of my favorite lines from the series so far, although I believe it's in the previous episode, is when Anne is trying to convince Ann that everything is fine, and that this is the perception the townspeople have of them: "We're just two respectable women who choose to spend time together and THAT'S ALL."  I look forward to incorporating this into my movie/TV quote lexicon.

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