Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Middlemarch watch-along: episode 4

This was a very Dorothea and Casoubon-heavy episode of Middlemarch.

The animosity between Ladislaw and Casoubon increases when Ladislaw accepts a job at Mr.Brooke's newspaper. Casoubon thinks a job as a newspaper editor will reflect badly on his status and tells Ladislaw he is not to visit them anymore, without telling Dorothea about it. Dorothea does not find out until she meets Ladislaw at her uncle's home. Ladislaw sees right through Dorothea's pretend happiness. 

Oh dear, those 1830's hairstyles....

In the mean time, Casoubon's condition is still serious and in one amazingly acted scene (with hardly any words spoken) Lydgate tells Casoubon what could happen to him and Casoubon subsequently refuses to be comforted by Dorothea. His health issues do prompt Casoubon to finally make a start on his book to Dorothea's great joy. The work proves not to be very enlightening however, as we soon see in Dorothea's expression.

I am a serious and strict landlord. Really!

Casoubon also broaches the subject of what Dorothea is to do after he dies. He wants her to promise to obey his wishes, without telling her what these wishes are. Dorothea ofcourse cannot answer this question directly. The next day she wants to give Casoubon her answer, but when she finds him, he has died.
Dorothea falls into a depression after Casoubon dies and goes to live with her sister and Sir James and wear a hideous widow's cap. It is soon revealed that Casoubon made a will in which he forbade Dorothea from ever marrying Ladislaw. This means he's even more despicable than we already saw, but also that he wasn't blind...

Why did I ever think this would be a good idea?

Lydgate and Rosamund are still happily-married newlyweds, but we see Lydgate staring worriedly at Rosamunds expenses a few times. Her behaviour is surely spurred on by a visit to Lydgate's wealthy relatives. Rosamund also drops hints that she wishes Lydgate had a different profession than being a doctor. Luckily, there's some good news for Lydgate when Dorothea promises to help his hospital financially. Ladislaw, in the mean time, has become firm friends with the Lydgates: visiting Rosamund to sing with her and being invited to dinner by Lydgate to whom he more or less confesses there's a certain reason why he's staying in Middlemarch....

Me not understand. Could you please explain again?

Unfortunately no Fred Vincy in this episode. We do hear reverend Farebrother tell that Fred has left Middlemarch for a while because he's so ashamed about his debt to the Garth family.

Quote of the week: 
Mr. Brooke: 'Wilberforce and his negroes, all fine and good. Reform of criminal law, long overdue. But I don't want to go the whole long you know! To give the vote to every Tom, Dick and Harry would be changing the whole balance of the constitution, you see?'
Ladislaw: 'Yes, but we want to change the balance of the constitution, that's what reform is about!'
Mr. Brooke: 'Yes, yes, but we don't want to go to extremes, do we?'

Discussion question(s):
- Dorothea finally gets to work with Casoubon on his book, yet she soon seems to tire from it. Why do you think this is? What had she expected to be differently?
- What do you think of Ladislaw's character now that you've gotten to know him a bit?

That time when you invited a friend over and he and your husband buried their heads in books and papers, while you tried to entertain them


  1. Dude! Most of this was in my episode 3! All except the reading of Causabon's will -- mine pretty much ended with Dorothea finding him dead, IIRC. I haven't watched my ep 4 yet cuz I have company.

    Oh, Rosamund's hair! She kept making me think of Cindy-Lou Who. Very ridiculous and full of frippery. And yet, she pulled it off!

    I think that working on Casoubon's notes is much more tedious than Dorothea had expected, and also I suspect she was suspecting he was not as brilliant as he thought. That was my impression, anyway.

    I don't quite know what to think of Ladislaw. I want to like him -- he's sweet and funny and so intelligent. But I worry he's hiding some sort of dark, Willoughby-esque secret, and that's why Casoubon was so worried about Dorothea, not just that he was jealous.

    1. He! (Don't think I've ever been called dude before!) I have discovered something, apparently there áre 7 episodes in my version of Middlemarch. On the cover it only says the total amount of time (350 minutes), so I thought approximately 6x60 minutes. But when I put in the second disc in my computer I saw there was an episode 7, so apparently it's more like 7x50ish minutes.

      Anyway.... Do you think Ladislaw is sweet? I often think him quite forceful and really angry at the world etc. That makes him a little less easier to like in my opinion.

    2. Lol! I wasn't calling you a dude, it's more like saying "Whoa!" or "No way!"

      Okay, so at least now we know why the eps have different stuff! I know mine has 6 because it lists 1-3 on one side of the disc, and 4-6 on the other side.

      Anyway, yes, I think Ladislaw is sweet. But I have a penchant for characters who are very angry and even abrasive to the world, but are using that to guard their very sweet and tender inner selves. And sometimes I think of characters as sweet and nice that other people think are not -- like I absolutely love Sawyer on Lost, and my mom (who has only watched the first 3 seasons) thinks he's the most unbelievable jerk ever.

      So, yes, I see that Ladislaw is impatient and annoyed with the world, and angry at so many things, but I quite like him anyway.

    3. Hehe, language/culture confusion!