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Gentleman Jack recap: five things we learned in episode seven

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Meena Alexander
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Gentleman Jack: Suranne Jones as Anne Lister

Anne Lister and Ann Walker are struggling to live without each other in the penultimate episode of Gentleman Jack, but will they reunite and give us the happy ending we so desperately want? 

Episode seven of Gentleman Jack focused on the rocky relationship between Anne Lister and her longtime on-again off-again lover, Mariana Lawton, who she rushes to for comfort in the absence of her beloved Ann Walker. 

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Anne is determined to distract herself from worrying about Ann’s health with glamorous company and long-haul travel, but the cracks in her chirpy demeanour quickly begin to show. The question is, will Anne and Ann be back together before the series is done?

Here are five things we learned this week:

A bully has pushed Anne to her limits

The beginning of this episode is largely devoted to Christopher Rawson, the conniving villain Anne is convinced is stealing her coal. After he harasses her sister Marian and fishes for information about the Lister family wealth, Anne invites him over for a showdown. 

Gentleman Jack: Vincent Franklin as Christopher Rawson
Gentleman Jack: Vincent Franklin as Christopher Rawson

When she accuses him of stealing outright, saying men have been heard hammering away at her upper coal bed, he responds with a sleazy, “Men in your bed, now there’s a novelty.” He clearly has no respect for her and his entitlement is nauseating. 

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In her rage and determination to win this long-running feud, Anne decides to put her family seat at risk by swapping the deeds to Shibden Hall for a hefty bank loan. 

This will allow her to sink her own coal pit and expose the thieving Rawsons once and for all, but if her family find out what she’s put on the line, they will be furious. She’s playing with fire.

There might actually be a happy marriage on the horizon

The fact that a character who murdered his own father by feeding him to some pigs is the one providing the light relief in this episode should tell you all you need to know about it. 

Anne’s tenant Thomas Sowden has his eye on the well-to-do daughter of Samuel Washington, who happens to be Anne’s right-hand land man. 

Gentleman Jack: Tom Lewis as Thomas Sowden
Gentleman Jack: Tom Lewis as Thomas Sowden

Although young Thomas is a mere farmhand, his “nobility of character” is enough to convince Anne that she should intervene to further his cause with Miss Washington and bring her parents round to giving him their blessing. 

And so we expect to see the youngsters wed and Thomas the man of his abusive-father-free household before long. Happy days.

There’s a lot of history between Anne and Mariana

In episode seven we finally see Anne set off on the European trip she’s been planning for months – without Ann. 

Instead, she meets up with old flame Mariana Lawton and spends some time with her in London before setting off for the continent, and for the first time we get a real idea of the complicated dynamic between them. 

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Mariana, who calls Anne “Freddy”, becomes jealous when she realises how serious Anne’s feelings for Ann Walker are, even now that they’re separated. 

She wants Anne to herself, despite ditching her to marry a man some years ago. “I always thought I was coming to you if Charles died, and here I find you were planning to move your little Miss Walker in,” she sulks. 

They argue constantly about the past, about the times each one tried to commit to the other but various things got in their way. 

“Do you know what miseries, what agonies I used to go through being seen with you, the way you used to look, the way you used to dress?,” Mariana cruelly says to Anne at one point, damning her for her “masculinity”. 

We expect Anne to balk at this, but instead she asks Mariana to move to Shibden just minutes later. We can’t help but wonder if this is out of heartsickness over Ann or sheer loneliness, but we’re sure it’s a bad idea.

Anne is trying to distract herself

We already know she’s not one for lounging around, but Anne has gone turbo with her social schedule in episode seven. 

She rushes around making preparations for her trip, then spends every evening with a different group of friends in London – even donning a very out-of-character ballgown for one such social engagement. 

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She’s clearly trying to keep busy to avoid worrying about Ann, but as soon as she stops for a second she tears up at the thought of her. This denial of her feelings – and her true self – can only go on for so long.

Ann is not coping well in Scotland

We don’t see much of Ann in this episode, but we see enough to know that she is utterly depressed. 

Isolated in Scotland without any of the mental health care she was promised, she also has to contend with her sister’s scary husband and his insistence that she spend time with a money-grabbing relative who clearly wants to marry her to pay off his debts.

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She spends most of her time gazing at a sketch of Anne’s face, no doubt wishing she was with her. Her desperation comes to a head in a terrifying final scene, where we see her purposely cut herself with a shard of glass in her bedroom. 

We always knew the lovers’ separation was bad for then both, but this just confirms that it’s downright life-threatening. We can only hope for a happy ending in the series finale, but right now, the outlook is bleak.

Gentleman Jack continues next Sunday at 9pm on BBC One

Images: BBC One

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Meena Alexander

Meena Alexander is Stylist’s sub-editor. She prides herself on her ability to spell big words, her vinyl collection and her photographic memory for every outfit Rihanna has ever worn.

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