PASS ON IT

THE MAKING OF A LADY – PBS/BBC

This is a weak BBC production. Marquis from the India service, previously married, childless, returns home. He’s urged to marry to keep all the family loot within his lineage.

His familial competition for the English estate is a ner-do-well cousin who was also in India and has married an Indian woman. That couple is joined by the wife’s mother. Marquis disapproves of his competition.

Marquis marries protagonist, a capable woman from a good family who has no fortune. [Her parents died when she was young; aunts and uncles have too many off-spring of their own.] Her capacities as a secretary are excellent; she can organize and keep matters straight. Theirs is a peculiar marriage – little communication about anything – lives, aspirations, living arrangements, what’s going on in the world. Late – two weeks, a month, however long after marriage they have sex and settle into a natural routine, which seems the only communication between them. He also teaches her to swim.

I didn’t understand why a previously married man did not start sex earlier, especially when he is trying to sire an heir. The shyness and introvertishness is added on as an explanation, but if she were shy she would not have married. It is not part of the story. The husband is very direct and assertive with his intentions before marriage, but those behaviors seem to fade.

Thus the protagonist dissolves to a stupid little girl. As mistress she wants to learn the workings of the house. Longtime butler and housekeeper (husband and wife) are cold and unaccepting of her. Protagonist: “I’d like you to show me the house today.” Housekeeper: “I’m doing the laundry today.” Protagonist: “Maybe I can help.” That’s very odd dialogue coming from the mistress of the house. The lines of the Protagonist should be: “I want to learn about that by watching or overseeing.” OR “No, you’re showing me the house today.”

Marquis gets called back to India. Protagonist realizes Marquis is leaving the morning when she comes downstairs and sees trunks being carried out the front door. There seems to be a failure to communicate, here.

It is no wonder why the protagonist is easily deceived by a forged writing suggesting the “second-in-line” cousins visit the estate and stay along with the mother. NOTE, the Marquis has told her he disapproves of his cousin, but there are no suspicions. Weird behaviors (reminded me of British movies of the 1960s, so there is a shift in time 1890 to 1965), and stuff happens: The butler dies (is murdered); protagonist gets sick; housekeeper refuses to stick around.

Protagonist never learns that 2 + 2 = 4 until she is cured: Marquis returns to estate, just in time to save his wife and unborn child. Like Sleeping Beauty protagonist wakes, and everyone lives happily ever after.

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