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S01.E06: Heads Have Rolled for Less


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Just keep reminding me that America wasn't shit.

It just keep abusing Peggy and Peggy has no choice but to take it.

Peggy in 2022: When I met you, you wasn't shit.

America in 2022: Why you keep bringing up the past?

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8 minutes ago, dmc said:

I think I am ready to admit I don't like this show.  It's not awful but it's not particularly good either.  I am not attached to the characters or what happens to them. However, it can be fun to watch a show where you don't care what happens to anyone.

I was thinking along the same lines. As of this episode, I've come to terms that I only really like the Scotts. Everyone else... whatever.

Edited by AntFTW
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2 minutes ago, AntFTW said:

I was thinking along the same lines. As of this episode, I've come to terms that I only really like the Scotts. Everyone else... whatever.

I really wanted to like it though. I love this time period but yes, I don't.  

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I liked this episode. Lots happened. These people sure make a huge deal about lunch! You know Mr. Church narced out Bannister. Poor Aunt Agnes is starting to see the new money people are starting to take over. She’s been betrayed by Marian, Bannister and now Oscar.

Was a doll tea party really a thing back then because it was creepy! I’m glad Gladys has finally made a friend and ally in Mrs. Astors daughter, now she’ll finally get out of the house and away from her smothering mother. 

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I cheered for Agnes busting into the Russells’ with guns blazing and her skirt dirty.  Clearly she wasn’t expecting Ward McAllister to be there.  Was it Armstrong or Church who wrote the letter telling her Bannister was there?

 

I hope Agnes channels all her rage into Turner.  

 

“She wasn’t driving the train, Agnes.”  Ada doesn’t win often, but when she does she does it well.  And who knew Ada was so curious about world religions?

 

Good for Agnes for sticking up for Peggy to Mrs. Armstrong.  As crappy as Armstrong’s private life may be she doesn’t need to take it out on Peggy.

 

Holy shit, Bertha - just let Gladys come out.  Hopefully her new friendship with Miss Astor will lead somewhere good for her.  You could practically see Bertha pumping her fist in celebration at having an Astor in her house.

 

WTF was up with the creepy dolls’ tea party?  Was the real Mamie Fish as much of a weirdo as fictional Mamie Fish?

 

I felt so bad for Church at Bertha choosing Bannister over him for the dinner.  He didn’t do anything wrong, he just wasn’t English.

 

It was nice seeing more of Harry.  I’m glad he and Marian have a secret all their own now.

 

Mrs. Chamberlain’s house looks like the old post office in my hometown.  At least we know her complete “secret” now.  

 

I find Jack adorable enough to swaddle.  I’m happy that Bridget seems to have forgiven him for his behavior on their sort-of date as well.

Edited by eejm
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More Peggy Scott and Clara Barton together please!  Ms. Barton gives absolutely no fucks about society bullshit, and has no qualms about saying so -- I am loving every second of it! 

Like her or not, you gotta give it to Bertha the way she handled walking into a conversation about her husband being a murderer. . . . Mrs. Morris refusing to acknowledge her husband's personal responsibility . . . a trait of rich white wasps going back for over a century. . . . 

Looks like they gave Nixon the good snark lines this week and Baranski got the imperious lines. Which she can do  just as amazingly as snark. 

I was so hoping we were going to get some Audra McDonald vocals with that piano playing. Fellowes was just cruel to deny us that! 

I may be at a table for one, but I'm really enjoying this show. At first I was kind of "meh" about the downstairs staff, but I'm really liking that they're being presented with a lighter approach than the heavy-handed soap opera downstairs drama of Downton.

ETA: AV Club Review says it was Turner who wrote the note to Agnes about Bannister: https://www.avclub.com/the-gilded-age-recap-season-1-episode-6-1848594773

Edited by SailorGirl
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(edited)

Larry Morris (d'oh! I mean Russell) definitely seemed like a better match for Marian in this ep. Agnes thinks Raikes is an adventurer, but Peggy's warning also sounded like she ought to listen to it. He doesn't have a plan, just sees stuff he wants. Larry's got a plan to be an architect.

I thought maybe it was Bertha who sent the letter, maybe to get Agnes over there or something. 

I thought George was annoying and proving Turner right about him wanting somebody focused just on him.

I was really distracted by the clean streets in this ep.

Edited by sistermagpie
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10 minutes ago, SailorGirl said:


I was so hoping we were going to get some Audra McDonald vocals with that piano playing. Fellowes was just cruel to deny us that! 

Given so many in this cast are Broadway veterans, they really should do a musical episode.  I know it would be off brand for this show, but maybe they could do an episode where Mrs. Astor stages a musical and it becomes a big society thing to audition. 

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46 minutes ago, Straycat80 said:

These people sure make a huge deal about lunch!

Oh it’s not lunch, it’s luncheon. Geez, these richie riches sure are helpless. And persnickety about every stupid thing - fork placement, glove wearing, teaspoons. Sooo important.

I really liked the floral arrangements for Bertha’s luncheon. 

32 minutes ago, eejm said:

And who knew Ada was so curious about world religions?

What else does Ada have to do all day other than read? For that matter, what does Agnes do all day?

25 minutes ago, SailorGirl said:

I may be at a table for one, but I'm really enjoying this show.

Table for two; I’m enjoying it too.

That doll tea party was just weird, was that a thing? So strange. It’s not like the “kids” that were invited were 6 years old. 

And yeah, Gladys needs to come out already. As much as I hate that whole stupid tradition and that particular phrase for it. 

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Marian is so annoying, she literally didn't even want Raikes writing to her in the first episode.  Her defending Raikes in front of Agnes who is literally only trying to protect her and is giving her an allowance is just so annoying. He is using her because she's the one who is literally getting him all this invites to society, she literally introduced him to society. 

I also think that maybe Carrie Astor is talking about her future husband, in real life she had to literally starve herself so Mrs.Astor would allow her to marry him.

Larry actually got a story this episode! and he would actually make a good match for Marian, he didn't propose to her within 5 seconds and they actually have chemistry. He's also a billionaire who is a sweetheart but Marian is too.busy pinning over Raikes.

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I liked this episode too.  Even though the racist cab drivers were shitty, I'm glad Peggy just said to Marian - "welcome to my life, I have to get to my meeting".  Marian's naivety can be very exhausting to witness.

I'm glad Peggy told her mom to back off putting their family business in front of strangers.  I hate that her mom is so passive in the feud between father and daughter, does she just expect for everything to blow over?

I laughed at Bannister's little skip after he was told he would be paid $100 for the luncheon.  Agnes didn't show any class storming into the Russells, that would have been an embarrassing situation to be in.

Armstrong is conniving and shrewd.  After being slapped down for trying to get Peggy in trouble, she made herself useful to Agnes again.

It's really sad that Gladys was isolated for so long.  Somehow, I never realized that she didn't have friends to talk to.

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I didn't love this episode, but I do like the show, if that makes sense.  I definitely missed some nuances and had to come here to read them.  I'm still confused about who some people are.  Some of the men look the same to me and sigh, it's hard for me to know who is related to who and how.

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2 minutes ago, Tango64 said:

Someone filled me in. I missed something.  What was the letter told the Christine Baranski character something wAs going on across the street?

We don't really know yet. The substitute butler just handed her the letter when it came, she read it and marched across the street.

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Just now, Bulldog said:

 

 

Make that a table for three.  Now, why doesn't that butler take off the white gloves and pour us some wine!

May I pull up a seat? I unabashedly love it. Christine Baranski is amazing, just the expressions on her face were a work of art as she took in the Russell palace and tried to figure out what to do once she’d crossed that last threshold into the luncheon.

Loved the scene with Audra McDonald and Denée Benton as well, just fantastic work by both of them.

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1 hour ago, kristen111 said:

What is the name of the piece Peggy’s Mother was playing on the Piano?

According to Reddit it's Beethoven Piano Sonata # 8 in C minor (Pathetique). I hope that's accurate.

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I loved how Bannister's lie about going to see a lawyer set off a game of telephone in the Van Rhijn (sp?) household.  

I know Church is the obvious choice for sending the message to Agnes, but I wouldn't put it past Bertha herself to have sent it.  It would accomplish two things: 1) it would finally get Agnes inside the house so she could see it in all of its glory, and 2) it would let Agnes know that Bertha was having lunch, er luncheon, with McAllister.    It would be a risk because Agnes could have easily made a scene.  But I bet Bertha was banking on Agnes not wanting to embarrass herself in front of McAllister.  

Glad to see the writers haven't completely forgotten about Larry and Marion as a potential couple. 

I wonder if Bertha has realized yet that Gladys, whom she keeps under lock and key, has accomplished something that Bertha has never done despite her best efforts.  Gladys actually got an Astor to step foot in the Russell household. 

Noticed Peggy referred to Marion as her friend.  I guess the boot incident is now forgotten. 

Loved Agnes for stepping up for Peggy in front of Armstrong.  Actually, everyone in the Van Rhijn household seems to like Peggy except for Armstrong. 

Waiting for Oscar to actually twirl his mustache. 

I would think that George and Bertha posing for a photo in front of the wreckage would not have been a good look.  

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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

Given so many in this cast are Broadway veterans, they really should do a musical episode.  I know it would be off brand for this show, but maybe they could do an episode where Mrs. Astor stages a musical and it becomes a big society thing to audition. 

When Gladys said to daddy “I’m just a normal girl who wants to live a normal life” I was, like, well talk about a song cue!

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13 hours ago, Bulldog said:

Glad to see the writers haven't completely forgotten about Larry and Marion as a potential couple. 

 

Right?  They had more chemistry in their two brief interactions than Marian and Raikes at any point. But I honestly feel at this point that Marian doesn't deserve Larry or to be happy.  She's such a bland dipshit.

It seems like she is only interested in Raikes because 1) she's flattered and 2) Agnes disapproves.  And even then, her interest is rather lukewarm. She just seems sort of dim and bland all the time, except when she's interacting with Larry.  

 

I like this show well enough.  And I love Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, and Carrie Coon (seriously, it's a testament to her talent that Bertha is not utterly unlikable).  But this show suffers from the same issue of pacing and curious remote lifelessness in much of the writing and directing that Julian Fellowes's last project, Belgravia had. That said, I'll stick with it. 

Edited by RachelKM
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Agnes is so exhausting some of the time, but then keeps redeeming herself because of Peggy. It was so nice to see her tell off Miss Armstrong.  Raikes is a social climber and Marian is completely clueless. I am wondering why he was after Marian in the beginning when she had no money and no social standing. I prefer Larry and am glad he’s sort of getting a storyline so maybe she has someone to go to when Raikes screws her over.

Rich people love luncheons don’t they? 
 

So happy that Gladys has a friend. She’s such a nice person, and hoping that George sticks up for himself more often. It was nice to see him getting annoyed with Bertha when she cared more about a luncheon than people dying in a train crash.

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2 hours ago, Straycat80 said:

Poor Aunt Agnes is starting to see the new money people are starting to take over. She’s been betrayed by Marian, Bannister and now Oscar.

Only Bannister actually betrayed Agnes, as he is in her service, helped her "foe" and lied to her about it. 

Marian told her aunts she will have a lunch at Mrs Russell and Mr Raikes would be there.

As for Oscar, he is a grown man, so he don't have to obey her mother (unlike poor Gladys). Of course she can't know his schemes but thinks that he has a dalliance with Turner.

How could they be careless to take the risk to be seen together in the neighborhood, instead of parting in the park? And she actually touched him - a gesture that was reagareded as a sign of a intimate relationship even in the 1950ies!

2 hours ago, eejm said:

I cheered for Agnes busting into the Russells’ with guns blazing and her skirt dirty.  Clearly she wasn’t expecting Ward McAllister to be there. 

Marian told Agnes about McAllister.

2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

Agnes thinks Raikes is an adventurer, but Peggy's warning also sounded like she ought to listen to it. He doesn't have a plan, just sees stuff he wants. 

 

1 hour ago, BabyBella94 said:

He is using her because she's the one who is literally getting him all this invites to society, she literally introduced him to society. 

 

1 hour ago, ZeeEnnui said:

I like that it's not just Agnes who thinks that Raikes is a rake. Peggy can read a hotel room hallway, and can see nobody's favorite social climbing lawyer is shady. Too bad Marian's too dumb to see it. 

Peggy likes Raikes. She even encouraged Marian by saying that Raikes hadn't planned the incident before the door.  

As Marian said to Mrs Chamberlain, Raikes didn't need her to get to the society, he is already there. He gets invitations even to balls while she doesn't. And as we earlier saw in the opera, he got an invitation to the academy's box because of his own connections.

 The only help Marian has given Raikes is to invite him to the lunch at Mrs Fane's where he met Mrs Russell.

58 minutes ago, Bulldog said:

I know Church is the obvious choice for sending the message to Agnes, but I wouldn't put it past Bertha herself to have sent it.  It would accomplish two things: 1) it would finally get Agnes inside the house so she could see it in all of its glory, and 2) it would let Agnes know that Bertha was having lunch, er luncheon, with McAllister.    It would be a risk because Agnes could have easily made a scene.  But I bet Bertha was banking on Agnes not wanting to embarrass herself in front of McAllister.  

Bertha would never have taken the risk. It must be Church.

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You could practically see Bertha pumping her fist in celebration at having an Astor in her house.

I have a feeling she'll be doing something else with that same hand when she is alone later that night.

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3 hours ago, SailorGirl said:

ETA: AV Club Review says it was Turner who wrote the note to Agnes about Bannister: https://www.avclub.com/the-gilded-age-recap-season-1-episode-6-1848594773

Turner is a reasonable guess, but stating it was Turner based only on this episode is such an odd reach. It's like the Murder on the Orient Express, there are SO many reasonable suspects, from people who feel disrespected about the Russell's treatment of Church (pretty much all of the staff) to people who just want to watch the world burn (Turner). 

I get that the money was exorbitant (inflation calculators don't do justice to the current value of money, as while technically $100 then is about $2,800 today, but people didn't get paid the same back then, so $100 would be an EXTRAGAVENTLY large amount of money for Bannister to receive at once, even if it wouldn't mean that much to the Russells), but even with that in mind, Bannister's plan was oddly flawed. It's literally across the street from where he works! It seems hard to imagine that he thought he would get away with it. 

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18 minutes ago, RachelKM said:

They had more chemistry in their two brief interactions than Marion and Raikes at any point. But I honestly feel at this point that Marion doesn't deserve Larry or to be happy.  She's such a bland dipshit.

 

14 minutes ago, twoods said:

I prefer Larry and am glad he’s sort of getting a storyline so maybe she has someone to go to when Raikes screws her over.

I didn't see any particular chemistry. What I noticed that Marian seems to talk quite freely to a man who she has met only (If I remember correctly) twice.   

Until this episode, Larry has been blank. It's only now that his actions show what kind of character he has: he helps his sister and has an ambition to become an architect but keeps it secret from his father.

Regarding Mr Russel, for once I agreed with Agnes to suspect him. But he seemed to care genuinely about the offers of the train accident, unlike his wife.

But in the end his own foreman accused him. Is it true or is somebody bought the the foreman to sabotage the train? Is "the written proof" genuine or falsified?        

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I like that the show is willing to make Bertha seems downright cruel at times (both her seeming indifference to the train deaths outside of what it means for her society aspirations and the way that she treated Church so poorly). It's a bold choice that I appreciate. 

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They had more chemistry in their two brief interactions than Marion and Raikes at any point. But I honestly feel at this point that Marion doesn't deserve Larry or to be happy.  She's such a bland dipshit.

To pretty much everything you said:

giphy.gif?cid=790b7611242b7d15eadd6b9249

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49 minutes ago, Roseanna said:

I didn't see any particular chemistry. What I noticed that Marian seems to talk quite freely to a man who she has met only (If I remember correctly) twice.   

Until this episode, Larry has been blank. It's only now that his actions show what kind of character he has: he helps his sister and has an ambition to become an architect but keeps it secret from his father.

While I agree that Marian spoke rather freely to Larry, to me that is part of why they seem to have chemistry. Marian doesn't seem to hold any of the prescribe rules.  To the extent that she's more talkative and open with Larry is why she seems to have more spark with him.  Her reserve with Raikes feels more like indifference. 

Larry had a bit of development in the first two episodes. He was friendly and open with people and was making connections, including meeting Oscar and Carrie Astor. And he consistently argues on Gladys's behalf.  But then he was mostly absent beyond dinner with his family from the last few episodes.

That fact was part of my complaint about pacing. The Russells, Peggy, and Marian are the only stories that have had movement in each episode. And Marian's story seems to be mostly drifting through New York Society being mildly affronted by the rules and prejudices she stumbles upon in her path and having the world's most placid, uninteresting romance in the face of disapproval ever to grace my screen.

Edited by RachelKM
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The differences between American (or French?) and English service fascinate me. 

What did Bannister mean by, paraphrasing, “Salad is always served with the entree or with the cover with a curve similar to the plate”?

Marian does look terrific in pale yellows.

Those chess pieces were skinny.

I love the staff interaction. 

Why didn’t they show the dog this week? I loved how the dog was resting its paws on Ada’s thighs a few episodes ago.

I wish we could eat asparagus with our hands here.

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2 hours ago, ninjago said:

Marian looks so much like Cindy Brady it's distracting

Yes! I also keep thinking she reminds me a bit of Allison Arngrim - the actress who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie.

1 hour ago, twoods said:

So happy that Gladys has a friend. She’s such a nice person, and hoping that George sticks up for himself more often. It was nice to see him getting annoyed with Bertha when she cared more about a luncheon than people dying in a train crash.

We're starting to see a bit more nuance with George, which I like - utterly ruthless in business, but reasonable and somewhat empathetic behind closed doors. I wonder what the real story is behind the faulty train parts - is he really responsible? Or is it sabotage from an underling? I hope he puts his foot down and insists that Gladys be presented to society.

2 hours ago, twoods said:

Agnes is so exhausting some of the time, but then keeps redeeming herself because of Peggy. It was so nice to see her tell off Miss Armstrong.

I loved seeing her tear a strip off of Armstrong, plus the dress she was wearing in that scene was gorgeous. My other favourite Agnes moment this episode was the look on her face once she stormed across the threshold of the Russell manse!

I am intrigued by Larry's secret career pursuits - apprenticeship with Stanford White, no less!

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1 hour ago, RachelKM said:

While I agree that Marian spoke rather freely to Larry, to me that is part of why they seem to have chemistry. Marian doesn't seem to hold any of the prescribe rules.  To the extent that she's more talkative and open with Larry is why she seems to have more spark with him.  Her reserve with Raikes feels more like indifference. 

To me, that it tells just the opposite: because she isn't interested in Larry nor is he courting her, she can be "free" with him which wouldn't be possible if there were erotic tension between them. (Of course a relationship can also begin in friendship.)

She hasn't been reserved with Raikes except in the the railway station. After he proposed to her, she has arranged occasions to be with him and when she has been with him, she has actively encouraged him while also saying two times that he must get her aunts' approval.

But, as she said to Mrs Chamberlain, she wants longer occasions to meet him in order to be sure if what she feels is love. That shows that she hasn't left her wits which in turns contradicts claims that she is an object easily flattered and manipulated by him.

Edited by Roseanna
taking out a letter
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50 minutes ago, hoodooznoodooz said:

The differences between American (or French?) and English service fascinate me. 

What did Bannister mean by, paraphrasing, “Salad is always served with the entree or with the cover with a curve similar to the plate”?

 

I was curious about this and ran into Victorian era crescent salad plates.  https://etiquipedia.blogspot.com/2021/03/american-vs-british-crescent-plate-use.html  I was impressed with the party favors of carved fans and monogrammed gold cigarette cases, although I doubt that was in the English serving style.  

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1 hour ago, hoodooznoodooz said:

The differences between American (or French?) and English service fascinate me. 

To me, that these people estimate others on the basis of such trivial things shows that these people wouldn't be worth knowing.

Knowing good manners makes it easier to socialize as one doesn't need to think all the time what to do but does things self-evidently. But as young I was taught that a good hostess as well as a really civilized person is the one who, if she notes that her guest had done a faux past, pretends not to notice it - or even does the same. 

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3 hours ago, RachelKM said:

Larry had a bit of development in the first two episodes. He was friendly and open with people and was making connections, including meeting Oscar and Carrie Astor. And he consistently argues on Gladys's behalf.  But then he was mostly absent beyond dinner with his family from the last few episodes.

I haven't forgotten those, but these incident's aren't exactly development - he was just a nice guy. The only thing he actually did was to save Ada's dog which showed swift thinking and acting as well courage.

Now, hopefully, we shall see if he is capable to resist her father and choose his own career. And Mr Russell's reaction will show whether he is different than his wife.  

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7 hours ago, Bulldog said:

Noticed Peggy referred to Marion as her friend.  I guess the boot incident is now forgotten. 

To me it was obvious that they were friends even during the boot incident and that she only said they weren't out of anger. It also kinda annoyed me that everyone took that comment literally, stating that people like Peggy can't ever truly be friends with Marion, which I don't think is at all true or the message the show was trying to send.

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I’m liking Marion less and less.  She seems to be loyal to everyone except the woman who took her in, feeds her, clothes her and even gives her an allowance.   So in Marion world it’s perfectly okay for Bannister to deceive Agnes in a way that would hurt her when discovered.  
Oh and Bertha?  If Ward McAllister comes back, how do you plan to explain the different butler?  Unless you plan to poach him from Agnes, which is not going to sit well.  

Although Agnes admitted to letting her anger get the better of her, I would have told Church to go fetch him when she arrived.  If nothing else, it would have let Bannister know she was on to him.  Also wonder if Ward is going to wrangle the truth from Aurora about Agnes showing up.  And if so, he will dutifully report this to Mrs. Astor for a laugh.  

 

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(edited)

So all of this is leading up to Gladys' big coming out ball, right? Everybody keeps talking about how the house was made for parties, so we're going to see Bertha host a ball, we have to, right?

The whole train crash as PR nightmare/legal trouble for Russell seems a little off. It's a little early for muckrake journalists to uncover corporate cost-cutting measures. ( By that I mean too soon after the crash and too early historically) It's not like there's an NTSB at work. 

I feel like it was manufactured to create conflict for the Russells'. Two episodes ago, Bertha was totally cool with losing a fortune to get one over on the aldermen.

Edited by sacrebleu
Used wrong char name
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