There is something interesting about stories that don’t end with an artful flourish and a neatly tied bow at the top. It leaves room for interpretation and for characters to act in ways that follow the length and breadth of the audience’s imagination. When we watched The Artful Dodger Season 1, it was a wonderful story, but in many ways, some of the most interesting characters were left unexplored, with us getting only a hint of the other shades of their personalities. Frankly speaking, that doesn’t have to mean anything. After all, the entirety of every character is not relevant to the story, but knowing what they are capable of helps the audience develop a soft spot for them. It could be left at that. However, when a series is good, wanting to see more of it is a need. The Artful Dodger was announced as a limited miniseries, but there is no telling what its success might lead to.
To address the obvious points first, Jack and Fagin are in jail, and the latter has a signed pardon for his release. He will get out in no time, but the permit doesn’t extend to Jack. Considering the matter of his arrest, there are two charges against him. One is the theft of the gold, and the second is the operation on Belle. Concerning the former, Rotti will return the gold to the Governor. There will be the question of how she got it, and a story would have to be fabricated for that since implicating Fagin once again would lead to doubts over Jack. As for Belle, her operation was successful, and since the danger is past, maybe Jane would prefer to accept reality over the delusions she had been holding onto so strongly. That should lead to the charge dropping and Jack becoming a free man.
One of the two biggest challenges waiting for the artful dodger is his marriage and Oliver Twist. First, it is not likely that Jack will get Belle’s parents’ blessings just because he saved her life. He may have hope if he is made Chief Surgeon, but Sneed is not going to back off so easily. It is one thing to acknowledge in a moment of tension that someone is better than you, but Sneed has always cared more about power plays than for medicine and patients. Now that Belle is safe, Sneed may once again try to feed Jane’s idea that there was nothing wrong with Belle to begin with, and that Jack took an unnecessary risk with her life. That would mean that Jack would have to think of a bigger solution. He would have to prove that there is a successful way of performing the surgery that he did, and that would mean that he and Belle continue being a team and furthering medicinal developments across the country. Jack would gain far more success than a Chief Surgeon could, and Belle’s mother would finally see sense. While we are talking about Jane, it is worth asking whether she knows about her husband’s affair with Rotti. Our guess would be that she does, and it is one of the reasons for her demeanor and insistence that everything around her is alright, because she doesn’t have the strength to accept the facts and let go of her feelings. We saw that the Governor was attached to Rotti. It was not just another fling, but the couple was most likely in love. It is worth exploring how he fell out of love with his wife (and whether she did the same) and how he started being with Rotti. Maybe the answers to those questions will melt Jane’s heart and allow Belle to follow hers.
There is also the possibility that Belle and Jack will just elope. Oliver Twist will come back, and since he has lost the gold, he will be after Jack and Fagin’s heads. He will use his influence to make things impossible, and Jack may never be released from prison after all. Maybe Oliver will reveal that Jack was an escaped convict, and Jack will have to escape again. Belle would go with him because what else is waiting for her in Australia? Perhaps they will go to one of the other colonies and start afresh, where people’s problems are too many to discriminate based on gender.
On the other hand, what if the writers decide to make things more interesting? What if, instead of Jack Dawkins, it was Fagin who was the lead of The Artful Dodger season 2? He is easily the most interesting character in the show so far. Since his mission of a year has gone to dust, he might just go on his new adventure. He never struck us as the kind of man who would stay in a place for the love of family or friends. Fagin is too restless, and his love for the dark side of things is at the forefront of his personality. He may go somewhere else for his next scheme to get rich. He might also go back to London and perhaps take revenge on Oliver Twist. The master and the protege would go head-to-head, and that would be an interesting sight for so many reasons. Fagin has always been true to who he is, whereas Oliver has made a career and a life around lying. How would Fagin ever expose the truth about Oliver? Since we are talking about the latter, it is time to remember that Fanny needs justice. It is awful how she was made fun of throughout the show when she was being nothing but a sweet and decent human being. It must also hurt to have her hopes and dreams dashed to the ground by someone like Sneed or Oliver Twist. She deserves to find the man of her dreams, and if not that, then at least an attitude that doesn’t allow her to settle for anything less. ‘Justice for Fanny’ can be a great spin-off show of The Artful Dodger. The show is far from done, and a second season of it would be wholeheartedly welcomed by the audiences.