Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Middlemarch watch-along: episode 7 (the end!)

We're nearing the end of our time in Middlemarch...
And Lydgate seems to be nearing the end of his wits as he fights once again with Rosie about their dire financial situation. Rosie has written to Tertius' rich uncle, but the letter they get back is less than friendly... To blow off steam, Lydgate goes to the pub where he gets quite drunk and is dangerously close to loosing a large sum of money. Luckily Fred, who seems to have matured quite a lot since the last episode, is able to steer Lydgate away from danger.

Have some roles been reversed or what?
The next day, debt collectors come to the Lydgate household to pick up furniture. Rosie is devastated and tells Tertius she wants to go live with her parents again.

Then, an unexpected bit of good luck comes Lydgate's way: Mr. Bullstrode offers to help him with his financial difficulties and offers him 1000 pound! Lydgate has just been to see the very sick Raffles, who's staying at Bullstrode's house again and told him on no account can Raffles have any alcoholic drinks. 

That moment when all your dreams and hopes crash...

The next morning, Raffles has died. Word about this reaches town and as the gossip spreads, both Bullstrode and Lydgate's reputations are in tatters. At a meeting of the hospital board, Bullstrode is asked to withdraw from all his public positions. Mrs. Bullstrode soon finds no-one wants to receive her anymore and in a touching instance of 'stand-by-your-man' she puts away all her jewelry and fancy clothes and goes to comfort Bullstrode (he really doesn't deserve her!)

When Dorothea gets word of Lydgate's situation, she wants to help him and she offers to talk to Rosie for him. But when she visits Rosie, she finds her in the arms of Ladislaw! Dorothea rushes home and is devastated.

No funny caption for this one. Great acting though!

Dorothea, being the woman she is, still goes to visit Rosie again and tells her she should not blame her husband at all. Rosie in her turn tells Dorothea that Ladislaw was only comforting her and made it clear he could love no-one but Dorothea.

Bullstrode leaves Middlemarch and offers the lease of his house to Fred and Mary. This means they can get married at once! Apparently their story has progressed quite some off-screen, which I think a pity. I would have loved to see some more of Fred's changing and growing and how he became 'worthy' of Mary.

Ladislaw visits Dorothea and they seal their love with a kiss. Celia is none too pleased with Dorothea marrying beneath her, but Dorothea tells her she's 'very fond' of Ladislaw.

A voice-over tells us how the stories of our Middlemarch-friends go on: Ladislaw becomes a politician, Lydgate and Rosie move to London and Fred and Mary lead a simple but happy life in Middlemarch.

A love so magical no words are necessary. Literally.

Quote(s) of the week:
Dorothea (to Lydgate): I can't believe this should happen to you. You meant to lead a higher life then the common and to find better ways.
Lydgate: Yes, I had some ambition. I thought I had more strength and mastery.

Voice-over: The growing good of the world is partly dependent on un-historic acts and on all those Dorothea's who live faithfully their hidden lives and rest in unvisited tombs.

Discussion questions:
- What did you think of the way the stories ended? Had you expected these endings at the start of watching Middlemarch?

The cutest couple of Middlemarch (IMHO)!


  1. Overall, I was very happy with the way this ended! I have to admit, I feared Ladislaw was gone for good after the last episode, and I fully expected Dorothea to devote her life to helping others and never marry again. So I was extremely happy that he came back and they got together! Definitely going to read the book! Have you read it?

    I was very happy for Fred too. I wanted to see a bit more of Mr. Farebrother, but maybe he'll be in the book more. And I feel bad for Dr. Lydgate, but he did marry a flirty airhead, so he kind of got what he deserved. I'm sorry, that was mean. But true.

    So in the end, we've got the contrast between Dorothea and Lydgate, two people with high ideals who want to help people and change things. The way I see it, Dorothea realizes in the end that she can help more by being herself than by spreading money around, but Lydgate discovers that if all you have is your work, and you can't work, you're not much use. Would you say that's a fair assumption? Who you are is more important than what you do?

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the ending. I thought it was all over a bit sudden? Especially for Dorothea and Ladislaw and for Fred and Mary (the Lydgates got quite a lot of attention in the last episodes). Anyway, yes, I did read the book, but I think over 5 years ago, so I don't remember a lot of details.

      You've definitely got a good point there with your theory about how to help people and change things. Other 'messages' from Middlemarch are (IMHO) 'you don't always have to immediately make radical changes, you can lead a good but simple life' and 'the life partner you choose will really make a difference to the plans you have'

    2. Yes, it did all wind up extremely quickly. And I would much rather have seen more of Fred and Mary than so much Lydgate drama.

      And I agree with both the lessons you point out. Especially the latter one. Both Dorothea and Dr. Lydgate married without knowing much about the person they were marrying, only to discover that their ideas of those people and the people themselves were not one and the same.

      And definitely there was a theme of how too much change too quickly just doesn't work. Sad, but true so often.

  2. Hello Birdie. I'm glad I came across your blog. :) I hardly ever watch television shows but when I do, I watch BBC shows. I recently finished watching the 2006 BBC version of Robin Hood with my mom. I really look forward to participating in future watch-alongs with you.

    1. Hello and welcome to Lady of the Manor! Thanks for your comment, I look forward to hearing from you in future watch-alongs!