“Garrow’s Law”, Series 3, Episode 2: “Luddites and Liars”

24 November, 2011 at 8:47 pm 4 comments

Smell that? Lovely, isn’t it. I’m cooking chicken soup for Mr. Southouse (Alun Armstrong), you see. I also put the poker in the fire; the man looks like he could do with some mulled wine.

But more about that later. Ghastly goings-on in Spitalfields! Rioters are raiding their local Comet for the latest iPhone, Nike sneakers and flat screen TVs!

Ah, no, wait, wrong era. It’s the end of the 18th century, and the rioters actually have a reason for rioting and wrecking down the place, breaking looms and cutting silk. They are weavers, seeing their livelyhoods threatened by those newfangled looms and greedy masters.  Here’s one of those fine specimen, Mr. Matthew Bambridge (Derek Riddell), experiencing the 18th century version of head -> desk.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for Mr. Garrow (Andrew Buchan). He has to deal with a fine seleciton of rapists, thieves and some suitably embarrassed looking gentleman who tried to get up and friendly with a cow. Obviously, he wasn’t her type, though, so the whole affair didn’t go anywhere but the Old Bailey.

Boy, his mother must be proud.

Cutpurses and strumpets – one can’t help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, Mr. Garrow is getting a tiiiny bit fed up with the daily routine.

While Mr. Garrow enjoys some refreshments, Mr. Southouse is on his way to Newgate, where a very special prisoner is waiting for his help: his nephew George (Harry Melling).

Just what has poor Dudley done for the Dursley’s to kick him out of no. 4, Privet Drive? And, even more important, why is the son of Mr. Southouse’s brother called George Pinnock? I guess you’d have to be a wizard to solve that riddle.

George wants to work for Mr. Southouse and learn the trade, but Uncle John would rather catch typhus than burden himself with his unruly nephew. (Ehr… good Sir, that was a metaphor, not a recommendation…)

While Mr. Garrow works like a farm horse to earn the daily gourd and duck eggs, Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal) is issued with a writ by the ever-charming Sir Arthur Hill (Rupert Graves) regarding her jewels which, by law and logic of the 18th century, are not her jewels but his. She immediately hurries to Mr. Southouse, only to find George the Oddly Named camping outside his uncle’s door.

Mr. Southouse explains to her that there is nothing he can do about the writ; it’s perfectly correct and legal, just like Sir Arthur keeping Samuel from his mother.

By now, Lady Sarah is also aware of that, but still, you can’t blame a girl for trying. I’m still all in support of the whack-Arthur-on-the-head-with-a-rolling-pin-and-run-off-with Samuel-to-Switzerland solution.

Enter Mr. Quinn (Rúaidhrí Conroy) and Mr. Foley (Hugh O’Conor) stage right, two weavers accused of having cut silk and broken looms while wearing Guy Fawkes masks. They hope for the help of Mr. Garrow and Mr. Southouse, because really, they haven’t done a thing, nothing at all, good sirs, and we have a witness who can speak for us!

Mr. Garrow takes note of all the facts: Mr. Bambridge identified the two men, and the only witness they can come up with to speak in their defence is Mr. Quinn’s wife, who also happens to be the sister of Mr. Foley. Sure, that will convince the jury! But you know what it’s like: if there’s a hopeless case, Mr. Garrow will take it.

Poor Mr. Southouse; dragged once again into a case which will make no money and only cause trouble. And then that terrible chill! Mr. Garrow does the sensible thing and invites Mr. Southouse for supper at his home.

Mr. Bambridge has hired protection for his manufacture. Tough guys who jump aside when barked at by Mr. Southouse, but less inclined to move for George, who follows his uncle like a lost corgi and still hopes for employment.

But what is Mr. Southouse doing at Mr. Bambridge’s house, anyway? Aaaah… undercover solicitor! Pretending to be a potential customer, he tries to find out whether Mr. Bambridge really identified the right men.

While Mr. Southouse is earning his BAFTA, Lady Sarah returns to the pawnbroker to recover her jeweles. Alas, she’s ripped off mightily, as had to be expected, and wooosh go the savings of the William/Sarah household. Looks like duck eggs are off the menue for the time being.

On the plus side, recovering her jewels gives Lady Sarah the unique chance of throwing the stuff right back at Sir Arthur. She does so with gusto, though I’d preferred if she’d emptied the content of her reticule over his head.

Once more she tries to make him see sense and return Samuel to her, but you can’t talk sense to somebody who has none. When, oaf that he is, Sir Arthur tries to kiss her, Lady Sarah pulls a face and flees the place.

I’m beginning to think that his diet is the explanation for Sir Arthur’s behaviour. Whenever we see him, he’s eating grapes. He must be terribly constipated, maybe what’s needed isn’t a custody case but a laxativial cordial… let’s not go further into this, but rather head for Newgate, where Mr. Garrow meets the only witness of the defence, the very lovely Mrs. Quinn (Nora-Jane Noone).

When she enters, she hastily says a few words in Irish to her husband and her brother. Her reply to Mr. Garrow when he inquires on what has just been said does neither convince me nor Mr. Garrow. Something’s fishy!

Fish is not on the menue chez les Garrows, but suspicious looking pie and beef that has been hung for six weeks. Unfortunately, the butcher hadn’t told Lady Sarah that the cow had died of old age. Mr . Southouse braves the pie anyway, and Mr. Garrow takes the whole thing with humour.

The discussion turns once again to Samuel, and Mr. Southouse insists that there is nothing that can be done, and that the whole thing is a lost cause. He advises Lady Sarah to put everything behind her. She’s deeply hurt, and Mr. Southouse apologises for being too harsh. It’s quite obvious: without Samuel, Lady Sarah can’t be happy. Where does that leave Mr. Garrow?

Elsewhere, the mood is not festive, either. Sir Arthur is moody, much to the confusion of his mistress, Lady Henrietta Armistead (Olivia Grant). She asks the just question why on earth he wants to keep Samuel if he isn’t his son. He whines that his only contentment is his wife’s pain – well, Henrietta, it looks like your company is not contentment enough for the fine gentleman! The girl has a good head on her shoulders, though, and quickly understands that Lady Sarah is still a rival. She says so when Sir Arthur offers her his wife’s jewels, and turns the generous offer down, not without mentioning what a cheapskate Sir Arthur is, obviously having bought his wife’s jewellery at Poundland.

Mr. Southouse feels so sick that he visits his doctor (Mark Prendergast). A capable man, he even washes his hand after the examination! (Look at that place – major historical medical geeksquee here!)

Bad news, though: Mr. Southouse caught prison (gaol) fever – also known as typhus. Good grief! He has to rest and stay at home – what to do now? There’s nobody who could help him, he’s all alone! Where to find an assistant? He’s doomed! The end is near!

Oh – wait a second.

Lady Sarah tries to drown her sorrows in cook books. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: where is Jamie Oliver when you need him?

Much to her surprise, Mr. Southouse comes for a visit. (What was that again about resting and staying at home? Argh. Men and illness.) He brings the good news that there has been a precedent for her custody case, and offers to give her the 400 guinees needed to go to court. Not as a loan, but as a gift. Of a friend. Awwwww!

That, along with him being obviously ill, should ring all alarm bells, but Lady Sarah is too overwhelmed to notice. That’s why I’m cooking chicken soup for him, not her. And, with all due respect, I think my chicken soup is better, anyway.

So the custody case will go to court, but for obvious reasons, Mr. Garrow can’t represent her there. Where to find a barrister to represent her in such a scandalous case?

I’m not an expert when it comes to the legal profession in the 18th century, but I should assume that there were more than two barristers back in London at that time. But hey, it promises more Mr. Silvester, so I shan’t complain. He’s snarky about Lady Sarah’s request, but of course he doesn’t turn it down. Huzzah, what a wonderful way to get on Mr. Garrow’s nerves! He swanns away, expressing his gladness to Mr. Garrow that the fee for his services won’t be a problem, because “she’s determined to have me”.

My guess is that Mr. Silvester went straight to the carpenter to have the doors in his house adjusted; otherwise his head wouldn’t have fitted through them anymore.

Later, the case against the two weavers begins. Mr. Quinn and Mr. Foley plead “not guilty” – but is that true? And if it is, does the jury care?

Mr. Bambridge repeats under oath that he can identify the two men as having been part of the riot in his house. Those bothersome troublemakers, demanding decent pay and planning to set up unions! Unions, good grief, where has this country come to?

While Mr. Garrow can expose Mr. Bambridge as a man who gives evidence in court if there is a reward for it, new evidence comes to light which seems to confirm that the men were involved in suspicious activity. Finding the shadow of the gallow falling upon him, Mr. Foley is talked into giving King’s Evidence against his brother-in-law by Mr. Silvester. King’s Evidence is, simply put: “you’ll confirm that your mate is guilty, he gets hanged and you’ll walk free”. Of course, there’s also the option of “Mr. Garrow wins the case and you both walk free, your sister won’t disown you and you can still look at yourself in the mirror without throwing up”, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t come up.

Mr. Garrow interrogates Mr. Southouse regarding the gift of 400 guinees, and not even after Mr. Southouse says that “every man’s life should carry at least one moment of recklessness” does he suspect that his friend could be seriously ill. Mr. Garrow, you’re very dashing, very cute and very adorable, but at times, you’re also very thick.

Well, at least somebody has common sense in this series… it must be the Southouse-cum-Pinnock genes. Aw. I like George.

The trial starts – now, I won’t spoil the outcome for you, but Mr. Garrow is sneaky and getting mightly on Judge Buller’s wig wick.

I can sum up the verdict for you, though, without giving anything away:

Judge Buller: “What’s your verdict?”

Jury: “No idea. We need more time.”

Judge Buller: “No, you don’t. Verdict, please.”

Jury: “Oh, well, fine then: here’s our verdict.”

Judge Buller: “I don’t like your verdict. Reconsider.”

Jury: “Nu-hu.”

Judge Buller: “O rly?”

Jury: “Ya rly.”

Judge Buller: “Meanies!”

And his lordship? He’s sulking; nothing good come out of that. No grapes this time, though. Except sour ones.

The episode ends with Lady Sarah worrying whether Mr. Garrow really could accept Samuel as “his” child, even though he isn’t. The question indicates that she’s missed the last two series. Mr. Garrow is rightly hurt by the interrogation. From a viewer’s point of view, it’s rather neat they are always arguing in bed, though. Lovely screencaps a-plenty!

The motivation behind the case of the two weavers is now as much of a hot topic as it was back then. Jobs disappear, families are ruined, for no other purpose than maximising the profits of shareholders. Is it right to break the looms, though? Is cutting the silk an act of cutting your nose to spite your face? Does the cause justify the means? Who knows – but maybe we’d all be better off if we still had weavers.

(One question is left for me, though: would Mr. Bambridge and Mr. Farley be in the same boat?)

WATCH THIS EPISODE ON THE BBC’S iPLAYER!

Inspirations for this episode
by Mark Pallis

Next week (BBC1, Sunday, 9pm): Garrow is confronted with an impossible choice: to expose British colonial brutality in open court, or to re-unite Lady Sarah with her son. The dangerously ill Southouse intervenes, and Garrow is forced to decide. Love or honour? It cannot be both.

Please note: this review is up with a delay because I currently can’t use my right hand. As typing with my nose is out of question, I’m currently mostly incommunicado. I do read, though. Thanks for your understanding.

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Entry filed under: 18th century, garrow's law, resource, tv. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Garrowites vs Erskiners: This Time, it’s not about the Gavels. Review: “Garrow’s Law”, Series 3, Episode 3: “Dark Forest of the Soul”

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Pallis  |  3 December, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Great! I love reading these. Thanks.

    Reply
    • 2. Molly Joyful  |  4 December, 2011 at 1:48 am

      thank you, mark. i’m so way behind with the reviews; one-handed typing makes for very slow reviewing. can’t wait for the last episode! and thanks so much for all the background information; it’s as interesting as the show itself.

      Reply
  • 3. Robert Corrigan  |  6 December, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Just to say I have made some food for each of the 3 series. This one I infact msasde the pies (8) in all

    Reply
  • […] Episode 2: “Luddites and Liars” […]

    Reply

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