The Woman in White episode 4 recap Is Marian a Victorian Lara Croft?

The Woman in White episode 4 recap Is Marian a Victorian Lara Croft?

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One of the criticisms of the adaptation is that Wilkie Collinss 1859 classic has been given a non-too-subtle millennial makeover. This week the dialogue wasnt quite as egregious as in past instalments. Nonetheless, a few lines would have felt perfectly at home on a Saturday morning repeat of Scooby-Doo (We need to find out what really happened at the counts house).

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he spookiness grew even spookier as the BBCs adaptation ofWilkie Collinss Victorian classicThe Woman in Whitereached its penultimate hour. The dastardly bromance between Sir Percival (evil with vast luxuriant moustache) and Count Fosco (evil with fountains of curls) hurtled towards a dreadfully logical conclusion, as the pair hatched a scheme to solve the formers money woes.

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Another dangling question was why Sir Percival was so keen to have Anne packed off to the asylum and ultimately killed  in the first place. What terrible secret was she party to?

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Actually, all wasnt quite saved. With some light bribing Marian and Walter had sprung Laura out of the institution. But her wicked/dunderheaded uncle Frederick Fairlie (Charles Dancewith silly hair) refused to believe that his poor, supposedly-dead niece stood before him. This must be Anne Catherick  and if she wasnt immediately taken from his presence, he would inform the police.

After a spell in solitary confinement  Victorian madhouse solitary confinement at that Lady Glyde was understandably not quite herself. The abusive asylum staff had yelled at her that she was Anne Catherick and she was too deep into PTSD to resist. And while she recognised Marian during the rescue mission, she was unable to speak up for herself until her final face off with her uncle. Im not Anne Catherick Im Lady Glyde, she said, receiving a dismissive harrumph from foolish Sir Frederick.

The acting on the Woman in White has ranged from powerfully understated (Buckley) and feverish (the hyperventilating Vinall) to pantomime (Scott, whose moustache came close to literally twirling this week). But it somehow all slots together a testament to the performers and also to a fast-paced yet never over-stuffed script by Fiona Seres.

The episode also stepped beyond the gothic thriller territory of the first three instalments and embraced its inner police procedural as the death of Sir Percivals less-than-enthusiastic wife Laura aroused the suspicions of Lauras half-sister Marian (her suspicion being that Laura wasnt quite dead in the first place). All of that, and the anachronistic soap opera-speak was dialled down too characters were, praise be, no longer beginning every second sentence with okay.

A coward as well as a cad, Percival (Dougray Scott) initially feigned horror at the prospect of bumping off either or both of the pair (a horrendous question!). But he quickly came around to the perspective of Fosco (Riccardo Scamarcio). Marians fever was employed as a ruse to lure Laura to London. The next we saw of Vinall she was in a coffin, about to be lowered into the earth. Theyd gone ahead with it!

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The partners in slime were keen to have Laura out of the picture. Her fortune would clear Percivals debts and, as bonus, bag Fosco a tidy inheritance. If only she had an uncanny lookalike lately detained at the pleasure of the Victorian mental health system. By enormous coincidence, the series had already introduced us to eponymous Woman in White Anne Catherick (again played by Olivia Vinall).

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How is it, wondered Marian, the proto-feminist of the piece, that men crush women and go unpunished?

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Marian refused to swallow the official line that her half-sibling had suffered a weak heart. She and Walter sought out scrivener/proto-Sherlock Holmes Erasmus Nash (Art Malik) and then set off to piece together the puzzle of Lauras death. They scoured every asylum within villain-commuting distance of London and at last tracked down Laura. All was saved!

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When Fosco finally thought to close the door, Marian had no option but to scale the roof and dangleTomb Raider-fashion from a rampart, the better to catch the rest of the exchange.

Laura was packed off to the asylum in Annes place while her double was lured to a sticky end by Count Fosco (posing as a doctor). But the heiress was ultimately rescued courtesy of some top sleuthing by Marian (Jessie Buckley) and back-from-Honduras Sir Hunkalot Hartright (Walter to friends and played by ex-EastEnder Ben Hardy).

There was some impressive physical acting here from Jessie Buckley, who until now has mostly communicated with darting gaze and pursed lips. Unfortunately, her clambering coincided with a downpour from which she obviously contracted a fever giving Fosco and Percival just the excuse needed to whisk away Laura. Sometimes you wonder why you bother.

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A woman suffers a life-changing ordeal yet is dismissed as delusional and mad. In the age ofMe Too, The Woman in Whites contemporary resonances dont need spelling out though writer Fiona Seres and director Carl Tibbetts were happy to do so anyway.

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The episode began with a suspicious Marian eavesdropping on Sir Percival and Count Fosco as they discussed at the top of their voices essentially their plans for Laura (they might as well have put up a sign: Please Do Not Disturb  Murder of Wealthy Wife Being Considered).

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