Monday, March 28, 2016

James Norton and Grantchester

I have missed this show (and not only for the two gorgeous leads). It took guts to start the second season with their lead being accused of rape! Plus the writers showed us how the parson actually benefits from all his privilege - the very privilege the show likes to critique in others - and how that weighs on him. Hard to believe that he's the only minister in post-WW II Britain that was bothered by these questions but oh well.. He's the hero.

First the police arrested him after a lovely day at the stream with friends, asked him a few questions, believed his denials without any collaborating proof (at the time) and let him go. Because the word of a vicar is worth its weight in gold.

At this point in the story, only only Sidney cared enough to ask why Abigail would lie about sleeping with a vicar.

But she wasn't lying. It just wasn't "our hero." So the church steps in to protect the guilty and only Sidney speaks out for the innocent. Plus ca meme...

Their brutal look at the tragedy caused by womens' (girls') lack of information about sex, about lack of access to both contraception and abortion combined with male privilege caused these tragedies was grim and to the point - more than I would have expected from Sunday night TV. But the onus was still on the 15 year old girl to figure out how to protect herself, not on the guilty vicar to at least use a condom.

Mrs. Maguire is the one who was astute enough to realize that Abigail was pregnant and trying to get rid of it, just from seeing a picture of the turpentine. There's a back story here that we don't know about but how lovely and surprising to see her display such compassion.

How delicious that the new season started with Sidney and Geordie stripping to go swimming. It's so refreshing to see a show objectifying the men and both are quite eye candy, without being the steroid pumped up models that Hollywood pushes. And James Norton remains deliciously hot.

Geordie: Man cannot live by bread alone...if you get my meaning, Sidney.
Sidney: I never fail to get your meaning, Geordie.

A bit of nice repartee.  Phil: Nice ass on that one, for a secretary.
Margaret: Hearing's not too bad, either.

and a moment of tortured conscience: Sidney: I let her down.
Geordie: Only you would think that.

Sydney is a new kind of hero. Instead of being angry with Abigail or defensive or offended, he feels guilty that he didn't do more to help her when she was clearly in need. There is also an undertone of incest, played carefully so as not to cheapen the story, but it's there.

Sidney: Why would you presume that I'm innocent?
Archdeacon: The girl was a liar.
Sidney: Shouldn't we wonder why?

His concern for the young victim sets him off from everyone in the show. But then, the point of good writing is to have a believable hero, even if his purity seems a bit unreal compared to the rest of the cast of characters and their selfish actions.

Tommy: You won't tell my mum, will you?
Sidney: Tell her what? You found it on the meadows.

Sidney is portrayed as such an innocent and the beauty of Norton's portrayal is that we believe him. As does poor Tommy.

Margaret: It wouldn't do to tell them most of those girls didn't want their photographs taken, would it?

Sam: You've broken confidences.
Sidney: Only when I thought it necessary.
Sam: I can't break the rules like you do.
Sidney: I don't break the rules.

Torturing Gary was horrible to watch but probably historically accurate. Geordie just sitting there as Phil forced water down Gary's throat was sickening and a betray of Sidney's trust in Geordie.

Enough with the Sidney's and Amanda not-an-affair. She's married and as a vicar and "our hero" he's got to get over her and move on. She is not for him and means nothing but trouble. I have the books but haven't read far enough to see how this is resolved -- if it is resolved.

Do other viewers tune in more for the friendship between the two charismatic leads? However you take your tea (with or without milk and all the rituals involved with tea), it's one of the few shows on TV worth watching, IMHO, as always.

Mr Selfridge followed Granchester and I hope we will finally see the end of the rather annoying show and it's more than annoying main character. However, the real Selfridge did rather go off the rails at the end and it will be interesting to see if the show follows his real history. 
Globe and Mail Review

Top Dog on the show


Zoomie said...

I was interested to see that the water incident was explained with a quick comment from Geordie proving that he knew the "innocent" young man was lying about getting his revenge on the girl for not choosing him, that in fact he forced her to drink the turpentine. ("There were bruises!"). It was a very good, although haunting episode. I do like this series, although I agree that the married woman needs to be let go. She is clearly headed for a bad end (drinking martinis at 11am and very lonely). But, I suspect they are lining up the innocent Sidney to be seduced by her in later episodes. Hmmmm!

nancy namaste said...

We all want Sidney to be rescued by the right woman, not the scarlet married woman drinking at 11 AM.

It certainly is a set up because she wasn't that helpless before she married - was working in an art gallery, had more of a life, etc.

But Sidney is always susceptible to a damsel in distress.

Zoomie said...

Yes, and she was determined to marry the rich cat, even in the face of her feelings for Sidney, so she doesn't deserve him. :-)

Zoomie said...

Yes, and besides, she was determined to marry the rich guy despite Sidney's protests and clearly broken heart, so she deserves to be lonely and drinking at 11am. She had her chance at the beautiful and sensitive Sidney - now it's our turn! :-D

nancy namaste said...

Shall we flip a coin?