The saga of society moving in different directions continues, with the frivolous and the important, but in this episode of The Gilded Age, all the women have worn really ugly dresses except perhaps Ada, who managed to save things with the stunning blue number at the very end. It is hard to say what makes The Gilded Age so captivating. Maybe it is seeing people of the olden days live life the way the current generation is. Perhaps it is proof of the unchanging nature of humans and how it all sounds so pretty in proper English, delivered by people in sharp and proper clothes. It is also a look at the sense of community that keeps one on their feet, which is so different from the hustle of modern times, which is driven by a desire to be individualistic. There is just something about this show that has us hooked. But another shift from season 1 is that Marian is no longer the guide of the show’s conscience. That part has been split between the rest of the characters, and it is a timely change. This is the recap of the episode.
Does Miss Turner support Mrs. Russell?
Miss Turner, or Mrs. Winterton, maybe the current villain, but it is undeniable that she would have been a Twitter icon in today’s times. The hustle must be respected, and there is absolutely no question of calling her a ‘gold digger’ since it is pretty much what everyone in the show is doing. The old money folks, with their elitism, and the new money people, with their hunger for validation from those who came before them, all come from the same school of thought. Singling out Mrs. Winterton for it is simply in bad taste. If anybody decides to point out that she made a move on George, they are right, and there is no defense for it, but people have done far worse for money and status than try and strike up an extra-marital affair, so we have it in our hearts to ignore that bit and simply enjoy the rest of her victory.
Bertha doesn’t want to antagonize Mrs. Winterton, and she won’t be revealing that she was her former employee. At the party in Bertha’s house, Mr. and Mrs. Winterton are invited, and while Mr. Winterton is already established as a respectable and rich member of society, Mrs. Winterton is being viewed favorably, and so far, she hasn’t made any enemies. Bertha announces that she wants the Metropolitan to be opened on the same day as the Academy of Music, and this means that people cannot play it safe anymore. They have to pick one and make their allegiances clear. When Bertha and Mrs. Winterton speak, the former makes it clear that she has no ill will and just wants to continue with what she is doing. But Mrs. Winterton is holding a grudge. She says that the Met is a second-rate attempt to match up to the Academy, and she doesn’t have to suffer because she has married old money. But the real blow that Mrs. Winterton delivers is when she tells Bertha that something happened between her and George. Bertha asks her husband about it, and he tells her the truth, but Bertha is nonetheless hurt because of his keeping it a secret. George admits that he made a mistake, but Bertha is still angry.
How do things go with Mr. Henderson?
It was clear from the beginning that George’s objective in winning and dining Henderson was to give him a taste of the high life and then show him his terms. Henderson had probably hoped that such good hospitality would mean that George was willing to listen and understand, but that was never to be the case. George wants Henderson to call off the protests and take up a job in management in exchange, but Henderson is more conscientious than that. He is adamant that the future will favor the working class, and they will get the rights they are fighting for. Legally, Henderson’s prediction may be right, but he simply has no idea about the absolute menace of the hustle culture that is going to take over the world in a century or so.
With the negotiations unsuccessful, Henderson goes back to his union, where the men discuss how they can be prepared for what is to come. They understand that this won’t be the first attempt at bribery, so they all have to be prepared for further attempts at dividing their ranks. People are even ready to lay their lives on the line for better working conditions, and that just contrasts sharply against the frivolity of the battle between the Metropolitan and the Academy of Music.
How is Ada’s date with Mr. Forte?
Ada falling in love may be the best thing about the season. But before that, let us discuss Peggy. She is about to go to the South on a work assignment, and her family is worried for her. While Marian warns her to be careful when traveling alone with a married man, her family is scared of the racist nature of the South. Even in New York, Peggy has often been viewed with suspicion, and it has been made clear to her multiple times that she is not an equal. Therefore, going to the South is an even more dangerous proposition. But Peggy needs to drown herself in work to avoid thinking about the recent tragedy in her life.
Coming to the Van Rhijns, Agnes is happy about the friendship between Marian and Mr. Montgomery, but she is not sure about her sister’s evidently growing feelings for Mr. Forte. Ada remembers that Mr. Forte was looking for good clam chowder, and she has that made for lunch, especially for him. Agnes thinks Mr. Forte is dull, but maybe the real objection is that she hasn’t vetted him yet. In Season 1, Agnes prevented a match when she had the man tailed and found that he was courting Ada for her money. Agnes’ next step is to check whether the Reverend is a similar man or something different.
Mr. Forte asks Ada out on a date, and she is excited about it, though she doesn’t want to confide in Agnes about it. Therefore, she takes Marian as her cover, and when she leaves, Agnes and Mr. Forte have a lovely time talking about the artist they like at the end of The Gilded Age season 2, episode 3. Elsewhere, Bertha asks Geroge to arrange a meeting with the Duke of Buckingham, who is arriving in the city in two weeks. If George pulls that off, his wife may forgive him again.
The Gilded Age is very artful silliness, and it would be delightful if Oscar Wilde had a continued presence in the show. Would it be safe to assume that he would get involved with Oscar Van Rhijn? That is something to think about.