Monday, 23 June 2014

Middlemarch watch-along: episode 6

Here we are at the one-to-last episode of Middlemarch!

Last episode, we left Lydgate and Rosie in a very unhappy place and it doesn't get any better this episode. Lydgate tries to explain to Rosie they will have to live less luxurious, but Rosamund doesn't want to listen to him or help him. Meanwhile, she's visited by Ladislaw (who apparently is still hanging around Middlemarch). She airily talks about Casoubon's will and Dorothea's situation, without realizing Ladislaw knew nothing about this part of his relative's will. Ladislaw is mortified and when he meets Dorothea by accident, he tells her he will leave Middlemarch and never come back, because she is forbidden to him.

You're telling me whát?!

Dorothea meanwhile has rather revolutionary plans for Lowick. She wants to build a model village on the estate for the employees. Dorothea's family are not too thrilled about her 'social' leanings, but luckily Mr. Garth is very enthusiastic about the plan.
After working on it for a while, unfortunately he has to tell Dorothea there is not enough money for her plan. And so poor Dorothea again looses something she set her hopes to..

Oh dear, I have a common laborer for a son....

Frank, still jobless and without plans for his future asks Mr. Garth if he can learn the trade of estate managing from him. Mr. Garth is wary (and so should I be! I do really like Fred, but I seriously doubt his work ethics) but wants to give it a try. Fred hears that Mr. Farebrother is also in love with Mary which makes him very jealous. Mary gives him a fair scolding, but also tells him he has all her affections.

Visits to mother-in-law: always akward

The Lydgate situation has become so bad that Tertius and Rosamund have to move to a smaller house. Rosie begs Lydgate if they can't just leave Middlemarch instead. While Lydgate ponders all the plans he had to revolutionize medicine when he just came to Middlemarch there's some more bad news waiting for him. Mr. Bullstrode tells Lydgate he will withdraw himself from public business, which means also withdrawing his support for Lydgate's fever hospital. Bullstrode's excuse is his health, but Mr Raffles has visited Mr Bullstrode again and made more threats.

You lazy boy, you're late for school again!

Quote(s) of the week:
Fred: I know I have no claim on you Mr.Garth, quite the opposite.
Mr.Garth: No Fred, you have a claim. The young ones always have a claim on the old to help them further.

Discussion question(s):
- What do you think will come of Fred's plans to become an estate manager? Do you think he's suitable for such a type of job?
- Why do you think Ladislaw reacted so angrily to Dorothea? It was hardly her fault what Casoubon wrote in his will!

But Tertius, we can't give up our extended TV package. We would miss our weekly fix of Once Upon a Time too much!


  1. My episode 5 ended with Lydgate and Rosie's fight and her saying she hates his research and so on. What rotten fools they both are! I want to give them both a good tongue-lashing.

    I think Fred could perhaps be an acceptable farmer or shopkeeper, but he mostly just needs to marry Mary and then do whatever she tells him to do. He seems fine at following instructions, but very heedless otherwise.

    And I think Rosie suspected Ladislaw didn't know about the Casaubon will, and told him on purpose. She's rather meddlesome, and didn't seem to be truly surprised when he said he didn't know.

    But I don't know if Ladislaw was exactly angry at Dorothea. More just at the world and all its injustice. Except he was very offended that she thought he could ever forget her. If he's angry with her at all, it's for marrying Casaubon in the first place, which is ridiculous, but he's not always the most logical man, is he?

    All in all, I don't see how this can all possibly get wrapped up in one more episode!

    1. You raise some good points; I should watch both the scenes with Dorothea and Ladislaw and with Rosie and Ladislaw again to see if I agree with you.

      Sigh, I still don't think Ladislaw is sweet, though I've tried to look at him with your view in mind. I do think Fred is sweet though, what does this say about me, I wonder?

    2. Maybe I should say that Ladislaw has the potential to be sweet. I think during his earlier encounters with Dorothea, he's very kind and, yes, sweet. However, he also has a very abrasive way of putting things -- a defense mechanism, I think, because he's had to fight for everything he's ever gotten in life. And now this person he loves, the future he could have with her, everything he could ever need or want -- they're being denied him from beyond the grave by an antagonist he thought he had escaped at last. It would take a much better man than Ladislaw to not be turned bitter by that. Honestly, the whole Dorothea-and-Ladislaw plot is what is making me definitely want to read this book. I want to see what they're both like in the original!

      And Fred is definitely a sweet, nice guy. Like how he rushed in to defend Mr. Garth's assistant and the surveyors! He just lacks stick-to-it-ive-ness right now, but maybe now that he has a definite aim in mind, he'll improve in that regard too. After all, it's not his fault he had indulgent parents who basically raised him to be an idle wastrel. Already he seems to have improved greatly from having a job to focus on!

    3. You're right, after this rewatch, I also want to reread the book and look better at Dorothea and Ladislaw. Actually, look better at everyone, just refresh my memory about how George Eliot originally wrote them!