Review of Anne Episode #7: Keeping Anne Shirley Cuthbert

Anne 27JOSIE!!!

That vicious little ninny Josie Pye is at it again, needling our Anne.

In AOGGMDAM, I literally said I wanted to “time/book” travel so I could flick her on her the forehead.

Josie, not Anne.

Although, I love the name Josie or Josephine, just not the Bully Girl.

Friends, Neighbors, Countrymen and Countrywomen of Anne Nation, we’ve come to the last review for this season of “Anne,” apparently to be known in the US as “Anne with an E.”

Not sure what the name change or the PREPOSTEROUS airbrushing of the Anne image will do to lure Americans viewers. I mean, what does it say about Netflix’s perception of their American viewers in general that “their” Anne has makeup and straight teeth? I could go on, but I won’t. Just do not get it, that’s all. I’m embarrassed for my friends here in this great country I have called home for almost 3o years!

Back to Josie Pye, gossiping with the girls over Matthew “not having a good head for money” and mortgaging Green Gables due to the fact that all of his crops sunk with a ship on their way to the mainland.

In point of fact, that did happen to PEI farmers!

Anne gets agitated at Josie’s words and stomps over to defend Matthew and Green Gables. “Oh, you didn’t know…?” Josie gloats. “Do you at least know if they are going to keep you?”

Classic mean girl stuff. They find your most tender vulnerability and wait for the perfect moment to throw a flaming torch at the exact spot. (FLICK! FLICK! FLICK!)

Wonderfully, Diana is deeply supportive, which makes all the difference for Anne.

Anne runs home to find out what is going on and overhears Marilla and Matthew arguing about his mortgaging the farm. Matthew, in a state of high stress, crumples, a victim of coronary thrombosis. (Cue up near heart failures for me and Natalie! Gasp! Surely they won’t KILL MATTHEW??? We engage in Lamaze breathing to cope. “It’s too soon…look, he’s alive!”

I kinda figured they were too smart to let go of RH Thompson so soon in the series. He is irreplaceable!

Anne bares her soul to Marilla. Are they keeping her? And the answer is an unwavering yes, no question. “You’re stuck with us now,” Marilla says. The emotion between them is exquisitely played. 

Anne 14

But, to make a longish story short, Green Gables is up a creek without a paddle. Mortgaged to the hilt and now the “asset” is bedridden for months.

Adorable Jerry is let go as the farmhand (to which Natalie and I said “Nooooooooo!”). But luckily, there’s plenty more Jerry Baynard in this episode. He accompanies Anne to Charlottetown where Anne sells some Avonlea treasures to the pawn shop and Jerry sells the horse at auction, whereupon he is beaten by a couple of thugs in a back alley. Again, we are gulping in those deep breaths. (In for five, hold for two, release!)

Neither of us liked this scene or the one later which had Matthew contemplating suicide. OR the scene where the two thugs (quite creepy, I might add) spot the “room for rent” advertisement (said the Canadian way “ad-VERT-is-ment”) at Green Gables and quite like what they see. NOOOO! UGH!

I decide they are pedophiles, which scares me spitless….!

But maybe not. This series has a penchant for going dark and suddenly pulling back before things get TOO dark.

I liked many scenes, too. When Marilla touches her cheek in the place Anne had kissed her is right up there. She still can’t quite believe she is a mother and there is SUCH love.  

When Aunt Josephine absolutely insists on helping out Green Gables (and rehires Jerry on her dime). anne 28Pride goeth before the fall, the Good Book tells us. And the Good Book is, as usual, unerringly right.

She cuts through the Cuthbert Pride and helps Anne convince Marilla that sometimes it is better to receive with an open heart of thanks than let pride shut the helpers down.

More to love:

* Gilbert and Anne’s super sweet, appropriately awkward interaction in Charlottetown (where they run into each other). The halting smiles and twinkling eyes say “I feel something for you but who knows what it is…Maybe someday we will know.” And of course, someday they will know. “Take care of yourself,” Anne says. “Come home someday.” Yes, Gilbert, do come home from the mountains and the prairies and all the places you want to explore. Send postcards!

* Matthew and Jeannie’s equally sweet interaction (you know, the Button Romance from a few episodes ago). Their connection over many decades is really quite marvelous to behold. And Jeannie is good for Matthew. She gently convinces him that suicide for a life insurance policy is the wrong way to care for his family, especially Anne. “She finally belongs somewhere,” Jeannie tells him, astutely. 

* I was proud of the ladies for taking charge and taking action to save Green Gables. Anne calmly crunches the numbers. She accompanies Marilla to the bank (and the DREADFUL banker, a PYE, of course), and hustles to get cleaning work in Avonlea to help pay down the debt. Aunt Josephine insists on helping. Rachel Lynde takes up a collection. This is the show’s feminist underpinning at its finest. 

But even with Aunt Josephine’s help, and Anne’s scrubbing floors, it’s not enough. They must take in boarders. Those creepy boarders, though they don’t know they are creepy–yet. The very last scene of the season shows Anne opening the door to the younger, sort of good looking guy who beat Jerry up in the alley. There is a frisson of…something. Is she attracted to him? Repelled? Does something about him twig her memory? He’s youngish and rakishly handsome, which, as we know, is Anne’s type. UGH!

And then it was over, for now. A peculiar and unsettling ending to a wild cinematic ride.

Natalie and I reflected on the way over to Juliana’s that the off-book “invention” comprised about 40%, with iconic stuff making up the majority of the storytelling. But Episode #7 was all off-book. 100%. So then we decided it was more 50/50.

In 11 days, you can all see for yourselves what I’ve been seeing for the last 7 weeks. It’s already super controversial, and it hasn’t even arrived in the USA yet. You know what they say: All publicity is good publicity, right? Who knows with this series!

I do know I’ve been hearing reports from all over of young girls in Canada watching “Anne” and then burning the midnight oil–with the BOOKS! 

Remember, even if you violently disagree with some of the plot alterations, all kindred spirits should at least try and keep an open mind to the possibilities.

Can’t wait to hear YOUR thoughts!

Have any of you been able to watch?

What do YOU think about what me and other viewers have been saying?

Are you prepared to buy into some serious revisions here? Or would you prefer, as I do in my heart of hearts, that all of this phenomenal writing and acting and filmmaking would reflect Maud’s original story?

Every comment on my blog until the Anne series has properly aired on Netflix (May 12) will be entered in a contest to win a fetching Anne of Green Gables art piece or frameable quote from my favorite Etsy shop, Carrot Top Paper Shop! Anne 9So comment away, won’t you, Anne Internet Friends??

 

 

Comments

  1. Kerri says

    As usual, an awesome review and summation of this, our final episode. As for why Anne is air brushed for the States, that is simple, Americans have tomato everything big and bold like their national pride! I shall not expound on that any further. As for the episode, though I have kept an open mind, seeing Matthew contemplate suicide is ridiculous! He has endured his brother’s death, losing his lovely lady, endures almost having Anne wrenched from him, only to off himself over this? You said it yourself when you said that many Prince Edward Island folks had debt, profound debt. I loved the emotion of Marilla touching her cheek where Anne kissed her, I loved seeing Anne comforting Jerry but I do think Anne was far too hard on Jerry when Marilla had him take her into town, it isn’t Jerry’a fault. Jeannie (please excuse my spelling) was an awesome woman, strong but gentle, a great wife for Matthew I do declare. Well, I think I have ranted enough, off to petition the CBC for more of this.

  2. Ginny says

    When Matthew was contemplating suicide, I literally yelled, “If this happens, I’m done” and I’ve actually thought the series rather brilliant despite going off-book all along. It was the first time where I felt they had crossed the line. I’m glad Jeannie was there to step in and talk him off the metaphorical ledge.

    There really is a lot to be said for this series though—Megan’s series is and will always be everything, but this series has added an extra dimension and it’s pretty groundbreaking in a lot of ways. If I had episode 5 growing up—my word. It could have potentially changed how I saw myself. So empowering.

    One last thought. Jerry—Jerry reminds me so much of Perry Miller from the Emily of New Moon series with the caveat that Perry did get to go to school. Am I the only one to notice this? I wonder if we’ll see the same sort of dynamic with a love triangle since they’re able to keep him on and he’s become such an endearing character already. Serves Anne very much in the same way as he did Emily. Maybe with Mrs. Barry’s support, Jerry can also find time to go to school? Maybe?

    • says

      it was the weirdest choice the series has made yet. I found they can canonically justify their other character choices and I have been fine with that… but this one, I got angry!

    • Lorilee says

      Ginny! Yes to everything. I hated that they had Matthew contemplate suicide and was so glad they pulled back on that. Yes, this is a brilliant and groundbreaking look at Anne, and empowering for girls. YES! Perry Miller from the Emily books! We are reading Emily for our next book club (it will be my third time). Emily has always been a little bit darker than Anne. And isn’t Perry such a Canadian name? I never hear it here!

    • says

      Actually, I prefer this series to any other Montgomery adaptation I have seen previously. While this episode made choices that differed from what I would have done, I still maintain Montgomery would advocate for this interpretation. Every other choice has been either routed in canonical lore or an extension of the context of her life. It does well at reading in between the lines and excavating a character-focused nuance from the book rather than connect the iconic scene dots like the adaptation that I grew up with.

      It is a remarkably intelligent take that builds a world and reclaims it from the very wrong assumption that it was a children’s book. The casting is perfect and it doesn’t try to be any other carbon copy adaptation. Walley-Beckett herself said that if people want an Anne for five year olds it is easy to find. But, what a delight in honour of Maud: an author who spent her ENTIRELY life trying to be taken seriously but often at the mercy of the rubrics of the restrictions of her publishers and her time period. Thus, a series like this that is multi-layered and infused with careful story telling —a magnificent character piece— does the intent of her world and the building of her many worlds justice.

      As someone who suffered from mental illness and whose life was undercut with darkness, I believe she would relish the fact that this series can explore things she never was able to in her fiction ( though she tried— )

      I think writing it off as “sounding ridiculous” doesn’t give it justice. Yes, it is uneven but most adaptations are and it is sure as heck making me appreciate the book more than I ever did before.

      I find that the naysayers aren’t so much attached to Montgomery’s work and life so much as they are attached to the Sullivan versions that we all grew up with — and those took several liberties in and of themselves. (Morgan Harris, anyone?)

      • Lorilee says

        Rachel, I too wonder if people are more attached to the Sullivan series (which took great liberties in the sequel and went 100% off book parts three and (cough) four. Knowing the darkness Maud grappled with, and the restrictions of her era, I too believe she would have been a fan. But not of Matthew’s suicidal thoughts! That was a bridge too far for me.

    • Kerri says

      I think you should try it before yo automatically declare it ridiculous. While I disagree with some of its choices and I rapidly am tiring of feminism now, having established the feminist core, I do think it is a worth adaptation.

  3. gina says

    I only have been able to watch some clips on YouTube, I have wait until netflicks. I watched the scene with Gilbert and Anne in episode 7. I couldn’t take it. I was weeping. Every time I watch it. I read spoilers of every episode, so I know what’s going to happen. I am disappointed in Gilbert’s story in episode 7. It makes no sense that he leaves and wants to travel. He is only like 15, and he’s smart. I would think his father would want him to finish school, go to college and make something of himself. Also, he mentions that he heard that Matthew was sick. I wonder if he is still in contact with someone, one of his classmates? I am hoping that in season 2, Gilbert is not missing for most of it. My thinking is that Jerry recognizes those 2 thugs, and somehow they kidnap Ann, beat of jerry. That way Gilbert finds out and helps out. I don’t know anyother reason to have these thieves in the story other than to bring Gilbert back to avonlea. He did say he would only come back when he has something to come back to. He seemed surprised when Anne tells him she misses him. Maybe after hearing this, he realizes he has something to come back to.

    • Kerri says

      You are right about Gilbert, he needs to return and do wha the is meant to do, attend school and become a doctor. I love Jerry, always have and always will but it is confirmed now fro episode 7. If they do not continue the show, it will be a life long arrow, a perfect graveyard of hurried hopes now.

    • Lorilee says

      Gina, thanks for your thoughts! It is surely a mystery why they have Gilbert traveling. Maybe to encompass more of Canada? they have already mentioned Saskatchewan and the rocky mountains of Alberta, so I think they are wanting to somehow pay tribute to the whole country. Check back in and let us know what you think when you’re able to watch the series on Netflix!

  4. Tasha says

    Yes. Yes yes yes to everything you wrote – except I take your flick tonthe forehead and raise you a slap across that smug little face! Ooh that Josie Pye gets my blood boiling!

    My thoughts are all in a whirl over this episode. I loved it even with the totally new storyline. And so far I’ve liked jerry but haven’t totally fallen for him – until this episode. He’s was too adorable for words and I now accept his character as another favourite. Gil – 13 year old me would swoon over this handsome little fella.

    I have I say – I was sure that after this episode that was it. But now I believe that if they leave this open as much as they did and don’t do another season then that’s the cruellest thing that could ever happen and life truely would be a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

    ♥️

    • Lorilee says

      You make me laugh, Tasha! If you do get to time/book travel, can you tape your encounter and post it on YouTube?

  5. Neeta says

    I’m excited! I like how it will have more of the back story about why Anne creates another world for herself and is a imaginative as she is.

  6. Mori says

    First and foremost, thank you Lorilee for the reviews, they were a treat to read.

    I very much like to peruse youtube for songs that I like, and listening to different interpretations of the originals. This new series is just that, it uses a well known story, has enough familiarity to get us hooked and then delivers a new vision. Just because of that fact I’m already happy to watch it. I did not expect however to like it as much as I did and this is now my favourite Anne adaptation by far. Let me give you my reasons:

    - I think I have seen basically all the movies and series made about this story. My favourite was the 1985 mini-series by Kevin Sullivan. At this point in time however, it is an old film, with costumes and hairdressing of old, with editing and music as it was done back then, and every other detail about making films in the 80′s. The new version is completely modern, not only in the script but in the way it is filmed and produced. This is basically an opinion that comes from me being 37 years old I’m sure, but I prefer the more modern take.

    - Whenever you see a book adaptation you compare what your eyes are watching with what you read in the books. The 1985 version follows the books closely but to me the main cast (Anne and Gilbert) always seemed a bit old and my mind could not easily compare them to the books and thus it created a special place for them, a separate reality. Other adaptations I saw might not have had this problem but they had a quality problem. Poor scripts, poor acting, so-so actors (I’m looking at you PBS adaptation).
    This new version however, dear me, what wonderful scenery, such delightful sets showing the train station, green gables, the school, Charlottetown. What lovely music setting the tone in each scene very well, and the acting and actors, well, they just drew me in. Amybeth has such wonderful expressions, a soothing voice, to me she fits the part perfectly. But she’s not alone, Marilla is brilliant as well and so are Matthew, Rachel and Diana. Brilliant I say!

    About this last episode though, it is the saddest of the bunch. The whole way through you are thrown into the depths of despair and you are never pulled back from there. Let me remind you: Matthew has a heart attack, green gables is doomed to be lost to the bank, the Cuthbert’s have to sell everything they own and Marilla parts with her brooch and Anne with her new dress, Matthew attempts suicide, Jerry get’s beaten up, and last but not least, those ruffians end up at Green Gables to do god knows what! The only light in this dreadful pit of gloom was Gilbert finding Anne and them being able to explain and say goodbye to each other. There are cliffhangers all the time but I believe this might be just too much to have unresolved in a new series that might never see a season 2.

    PS: Dear Lorilee, I did not even think about the look on Anne’s face, on the last scene, when the 2nd ruffian came along, being a look of interest. He looks very old, she’s a child, that can’t possibly be, can it?

    PS2: What are everyone’s odds on there being a season 2? I think that this new series has had some buzz so far but not nearly enough and I am hopeful that the Netflix’s release will fix that as it will open the series to international viewing. In my opinion the series as tremendous quality and all it needs is good publicity to find success.

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