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S02.E06: Warning Shots


AntFTW
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As George heads to Pittsburgh to deal with the potential strike, Bertha learns that the Duke will return for the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night. While the staff chip in to help Jack, Bannister tries to retrieve an incriminating letter from the Russell house. Ada and Luke return from their honeymoon and Marian receives an invitation from Dashiell.

Air date: December 3, 2023

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Ooh, you all were so right, Oscar is being conned. It’s so transparent now.

And you were right that George paid for the opera.

Gee, Marion is such a limp dishrag she’ll agree to a marriage she doesn’t want because she doesn’t have the backbone to speak her mind.  Ugh, I can’t stand her.

Of course Luke has cancer. Ada isn’t allowed to be happy in Fellowesworld. 

Edited by Haleth
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Poor Ada finally finds love and now he’s going to die. F U show writers. I got a tear in my eye when Agnes came over for support though. 
I’m thinking Marion will find a way to not marry Dashiel. She only said yes for the little girl. 
The scene between the strikers and military men was intense. And I’m surprised George has a heart after all. 
I’m not that interested in the downstairs drama but I hope everything works out for the young alarm clock inventor. 

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(edited)

It was so sweet how everyone rallied around Jack and supported him! 😭😭😭

These seems like layers upon layers of hot clothes that people of the 1880s wore outside during very hot times of the day.

Before Dashiell even uttered the words, I was like "No! You better not! I will fuck you up!"... but I'm calm now. I'm cool.

For the umpteenth time and to no one's surprise.... fuck Armstrong! 😊

Dammit! I didn't think they were going to take out the reverend like that.

Lastly, Oscar is an idiot. I find it quite funny, though, that the lawyer/banker/whatever guy said Oscar was using Maud Beaton. If Oscar is being scammed, his own greed makes him the perfect mark.

Edited by AntFTW
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4 minutes ago, Straycat80 said:


The scene between the strikers and military men was intense. And I’m surprised George has a heart after all. 
 

I told Mr. Marleyfan that George's heart grew 3 sizes that day.  Just like the Grinch who stole Christmas.

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21 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Backache=cancer, nosebleed=leukemia and nausea/faintness=pregnancy.

And a cough is consumption..bonus points if there’s blood on the handkerchief.

Agnes is such a conundrum of keeping the old school as is and progressive with her staff.

I was struck by the scene with Agnes, Ward, and Mrs. Astor how far Christine Baranski and Nathan Lane were from The Birdcage! 😆

Edited by chitowngirl
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Dreaded back cancer strikes again! I knew it…if the good reverend wasn’t a con man, then he’s a gone man. (Sorry)

I was touched by Agnes coming to comfort Ada.

i guess that everybody’s heart grew three sizes in this episode. The feuding butlers made up, George couldn’t fire upon men with children, Bertha ceded her primo box to the ex maid (though not for long) and Agnes unbent. She even gave a fiver to clock boy. 
 

Of course poor Marian got ambushed. I wonder who Dasheill would have proposed to if she hadn’t shown up? I laughed when she totally forgot about being engaged when Larry (sadly) congratulated her. I’m sure she’ll get out of it before the big day. 
 

I was surprised to see the soldiers wearing Civil war uniforms. I forgot how close to the Civil War this all takes place. I wonder at what point the US Army switched to what I think of as WWI uniforms, which are completely different. 

Edited by Jodithgrace
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(edited)

George's righthand reminds me of Henry Frick, who I believe was Andrew Carnegie's number 2 at Carnegie Steel.

I'm assuming this story is based on the Carnegie Steel workers' strike.

I don't remember much about the story but I do recall that Henry Frick's personally was said to be ruthless, stubborn and arrogant. I believe it got to a point of violence and people died.

Edited by AntFTW
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I couldn't remember what letter Church wrote that Bannister was so pissed off about. But it was that he alerted Agnes to the fact that Bertha hired him for dinner service last season. Right?

When George walked into the union leader's house I immediately flashed to Bette Davis walking in and proclaiming "What. A. Dump."

I just now recognized that Frances Montgomery (a.k.a. Dashiell's daughter) is Betty the Head Elf on the Disney channel's "The Santa Clauses."

I still don't understand the "scam" that Oscar is falling prey to. What is he investing in? A railroad? A company in which Maud is a major shareholder? What has she got to do with any of this? And who exactly is this man running said scam? This story doesn't make much sense. Oscar losing all his money is pretty low stakes. He'd just be that much more invested in finding a rich wife. It doesn't move the needle much.

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15 minutes ago, Bumblebee84047 said:

Dashiell is manipulative, creepy, and just plan gross.  But I think he's underestimating Marian.  If she's not intimidated by Agnes, she can certainly stand up to one weasley man!

What do you suppose Dashiell's end game is? Money seems obvious, but Marian doesn't have any, so what else? A mom for his daughter?

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3 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I couldn't remember what letter Church wrote that Bannister was so pissed off about. But it was that he alerted Agnes to the fact that Bertha hired him for dinner service last season. Right?

Yes.

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10 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I still don't understand the "scam" that Oscar is falling prey to. What is he investing in? A railroad?

Supposedly, he is investing in a railroad acquisition.

10 hours ago, iMonrey said:

What has she got to do with any of this?

Her name is on the business ventures. She said they are using her name for their business dealings.

Beyond that, we don't really know because they haven't revealed it yet. The popular opinion seems to be that Maud Beaton is charming Oscar into "investing" into a scam.

10 hours ago, iMonrey said:

And who exactly is this man running said scam?

I don't believe we know his relationship or title with regard to the business dealings. Other than him being the paper pusher and the intermediary (maybe a lawyer or banker) between Maud Beaton, Oscar and the investors, not much is known about him.

ETA: I'm still not yet convinced that it's a scam. Mr. Crowther (the lawyer or banker or whatever the fuck he is) seems to be worried for Maud Beaton about Oscar's involvement. He seems to be suggesting that Oscar is using Maud Beaton... and that just doesn't ring "SCAM!" to me. I think Oscar will ultimately lose his money. I'm just not there yet on the conclusion that it's a scam.

Edited by AntFTW
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8 minutes ago, gwen747 said:

What do you suppose Dashiell's end game is? Money seems obvious, but Marian doesn't have any, so what else? A mom for his daughter?

I think a Mom for his daughter, but I think in his own way he does like Marian.  He's just very much of his era, and thinks that men know what's best for the little ladies.  His "it's not as if your're a real teacher" line made me want to smack him.

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20 minutes ago, gwen747 said:

What do you suppose Dashiell's end game is? Money seems obvious, but Marian doesn't have any, so what else? A mom for his daughter?

Yes, a mom for his daughter--and a wife for him, which he also needs. He's basically said that. He's got a vacancy in his house and she's a good fit for it, so he's hired her assuming she's applying for the job. 

Edited by sistermagpie
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1 hour ago, Haleth said:

Ooh, you all were so right, Oscar is being conned. It’s so transparent now.

I'm embarrassed that I even considered it might be something other than a con. 

18 minutes ago, gwen747 said:

What do you suppose Dashiell's end game is? Money seems obvious, but Marian doesn't have any, so what else? A mom for his daughter?

I may be wrong, but I presume he does like Marian, and thinks she would make a good mother to his daughter.  I don't get the impression he has any ulterior motives with regards to Marian.     

19 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

 

I still don't understand the "scam" that Oscar is falling prey to. What is he investing in? A railroad? A company in which Maud is a major shareholder? What has she got to do with any of this? And who exactly is this man running said scam? This story doesn't make much sense. Oscar losing all his money is pretty low stakes. He'd just be that much more invested in finding a rich wife. It doesn't move the needle much.

It's like a Ponzi scheme.  There is no real investment, and everything is made up.  Money to older investors demanding a return is paid with money from newer investors until that is no longer possible, and the people involved in the scam vanish into the night.   

I do feel terrible that Ada essentially only got a few weeks of marital happiness.  I did like the scene with she and Agnes. 

Also, any scene with Pumpkin is obviously Emmy worthy. 

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Peggy's editor is getting on my shit list now.  Why is Peggy the one trying to set boundaries between them, when he's the one that is married?

I really hate that they decided to give Ada's husband cancer.  Why can't she just be happy in finding love, later in life!  The music box Forte had was cute, but I didn't realize that the maid had to manually crank the box! 

I was surprised to see Church stumbling into work drunk, but they decided to give him a dead spouse too.  Bannister was extremely lucky that he managed to catch the letter in time.

Dashiell is an arrogant asshole, and it looks like he passed that trait onto his daughter too.  Why on earth are both of them pressuring Marian directly and indirectly (though her family and coworkers) to join their family?  How can they think that's ok?  I don't understand why Marian was hanging around them so much either.  Last episode, Dashiell insinuated that he was thinking about marriage with her.  If she wasn't interested in him, why keep hanging around without being upfront about her feelings.

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4 minutes ago, Bumblebee84047 said:

I think a Mom for his daughter, but I think in his own way he does like Marian.  He's just very much of his era, and thinks that men know what's best for the little ladies.  His "it's not as if your're a real teacher" line made me want to smack him.

This.  I do think he likes Marian.  It seems as though he genuinely cared for, and maybe even loved, his diseased wife.  When she's come up, Dashiell sounds like he misses her. 

So I wouldn't call it a "game" or an angle.  I think it's a matter of thinking it's proper to have a wife and to have a mother for his daughter. Marian is pretty and he likes her and she has the right background. 

2 minutes ago, peridot said:

Peggy's editor is getting on my shit list now.  Why is Peggy the one trying to set boundaries between them, when he's the one that is married?

Yeah. I did not like that.  For the first time, I skipped ahead during a Peggy scene.  I was uncomfortable and annoyed. 

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13 minutes ago, AntFTW said:

ETA: I'm still not yet convinced that it's a scam. Mr. Crowther (the lawyer or banker or whatever the fuck he is) seems to be worried for Maud Beaton about Oscar's involvement. He seems to be suggesting that Oscar is using Maud Beaton... and that just doesn't ring "SCAM!" to me. I think Oscar will ultimately lose his money. I'm just not there yet on the conclusion that it's a scam.

Agreed. I’m wondering if this is all just leading to Oscar losing money in railroad stocks as the bubble bursts, it’s basically what ended the Gilded Age on a larger scale. No scam necessary.

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54 minutes ago, peridot said:

The music box Forte had was cute, but I didn't realize that the maid had to manually crank the box! 

Same! Especially after Forte said “I asked the maid to turn it on”. 😆

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59 minutes ago, Paws said:

. I’m wondering if this is all just leading to Oscar losing money in railroad stocks as the bubble bursts

I thought so too, but Maud saying “I have to go, I have to pack” seems like a convenient setup to Oscar finding his beard missing, and then opening the door to an empty investor office.

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Kudos to all who called it here and in the Facebook chat that he’d get sick and die. (I never thought he was running any con or anything bad).

it’s a pity because I’ve never seen a middle aged love story told well and I was looking forward to it as a spinster around Cynthia Nixon’s age. Sigh. They can’t beat it like she said since there are no treatments in this point in time and if he already has pain from the cancer he hasn’t long.

bummer.

and seriously Julian STOP with the “rich people are secretly good.” It made no sense when Downton guy (sorry blanking on name) was super OK with thomas being gay because eton (cause just no.) and George halting the soldiers is also wishful thinking. (It was also absurd when the irish revolutionary guy felt bad for the aristocrats whose castles got burned down in Ireland. Just. Would. Not. Happen.)

I once worked with the actor playing dashiell so I’m bending over backwards trying to like the character but there’s no sign he feels more than a general admiration for Marion. Surprising someone with a proposal like that is a TERRIBLE idea. But why oh why did she even GO to the party?? If I were her I wouldn’t have.

Peggy’s storylines bore me. I don’t turn on this show to be immersed in the social issues of the day- similarly if we spent many weeks on the strike I’d be bored with that. TBH I’m here for the clothes.

Oh and agree Maud is IN ON IT. The way she said she hoped she’d see him was veeeeery shady.

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I knew once Ada got married her husband would be dying soon. They weren’t gonna let her be out of Agnes’ house long. I did like how Agnes rushed to comfort her.

Marian isn’t going to marry Dashell it’s obvious end game is her and Larry.

Everyone is always getting engaged so quick in these shows. I guess it’s how it was back then but damn you hang out for like a couple picnic dates and next thing is marriage?

I hate Winterton so I want her to fail.

Oscar is definitely falling for a scam. The huge return cheque was just a part of it so they could tempt him to invest even more. I think the gal he’s dating knows. It’s a plan. It’s been weird from the start.you would think Oscar wouldn’t be such a sucker but maybe scams like that weren’t a thing back then.

I don’t really like the route they are taking the Peggy and Fortune storyline. I don’t need a romance angle to it it’s already interesting enough to me. Them kissing is just annoying if anything.

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So did a dark haired gay man piss off Fellowes at some point? Because Oscar is getting  the Thomas tries everything for money plot.

The real question is how much money does Oscar have access to? In I think the pilot Agnes says the VanRhin money will and should go to Oscar. I thought it was implied he was living off his salary and Agnes still had her husband’s money. could Oscar access that now or mortgage Agnes’ house?. That would be a hell of a finale for Agnes and co to lose the house.. Although I still think Marion’s  stocks are worth millions unbeknownst to all.

Edited by BloomsburyRez
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1 hour ago, lucindabelle said:

I once worked with the actor playing dashiell so I’m bending over backwards trying to like the character but there’s no sign he feels more than a general admiration for Marion. Surprising someone with a proposal like that is a TERRIBLE idea. But why oh why did she even GO to the party?? If I were her I wouldn’t have.

Marian couldn't help but go to the party when this another lady (rector?) took her class. 

I think that the way both Dashiell and her daughter pressured her to come to the party and belittled her teaching ("you are not a real teacher", "surely the poor understand") was a red flag, showing what kind of marriage she will have: none of her own interests is allowed, they will always brushed aside by her husband and step-daughter's wishes.   

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5 hours ago, Haleth said:

And you were right that George paid for the opera.

Yes, and he lied to Bertha he didn't, just as he now tries to keep his help a secret. Formerly this kind of behavior was presented as a proof of great love, but now it's simply patronizing, especially as Bertha expressly told him never lie to her again.

Nobody has so far mentioned Turner who now seems to have found a method to win Bertha - until George stepped in.

Any suggestion how McAllister can offer to the duke and how can he otherwise beat Bertha? 

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2 hours ago, lucindabelle said:

and seriously Julian STOP with the “rich people are secretly good.” It made no sense when Downton guy (sorry blanking on name) was super OK with thomas being gay because eton (cause just no.) and George halting the soldiers is also wishful thinking. (It was also absurd when the irish revolutionary guy felt bad for the aristocrats whose castles got burned down in Ireland. Just. Would. Not. Happen.)

Yes, George didn't got where he was now if he cared for other people. Let's remember how he behaved toward rich men in the first episode. Now we are supposed to believe that he cares for whjat happens to his workers' families and asked if there is a school (anyway, the oldest son seemed old enough to have left the scool). 

Also, we haven't seen the strikers enough to really root for them, they exist simply as helpers in George's plot. They don't seem especially reasonable: eight hour's work day isn't their long term plan but they demand it at once and it's foolish to prepare to shoot themselves as in a fight they are certain to loose. 

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3 hours ago, peridot said:

Dashiell is an arrogant asshole, and it looks like he passed that trait onto his daughter too.  Why on earth are both of them pressuring Marian directly and indirectly (though her family and coworkers) to join their family?  How can they think that's ok?  I don't understand why Marian was hanging around them so much either.  Last episode, Dashiell insinuated that he was thinking about marriage with her.  If she wasn't interested in him, why keep hanging around without being upfront about her feelings.

Of all heroines I remember, only Polly in L. M. Alcott's An Old-fashioned Girl was wise enough to show in time that she didn't love a suitor and even she was helped by her true love's passing-by. 

I have understood that a woman couldn't say anything directly, but she could use indirect signs without embarrassing a suitor. Instead, Marian had even encouraged Dashiell and his daughter by offering to take her to the "mother and daughter" event.       

 

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6 hours ago, Haleth said:

Gee, Marion is such a limp dishrag she’ll agree to a marriage she doesn’t want because she doesn’t have the backbone to speak her mind.  Ugh, I can’t stand her.

But that's realistic in that age. She has no money and Agnes doesn't live for ever. After Raikes jilted her, nobody but Dashiell hasn't courted her. Clearly, he is her best option if she wants to marry and have no plans f.ex. to become a "real" teacher.  

But of course, as this is a fairy tale and she is meant to be its young heroine, Fellowes will arrange her something better.

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5 hours ago, RachelKM said:

I am nominally team Larian.  But what was with Larry bolting out in apparent .. upset(?) or maybe annoyance(?) from the party after the engagement?  They look to be heading that way. But his reaction didn't feel earned. They are not far enough along for him to view it as a personal slight. And he seemed utterly unperturbed by both the topic and Marian's obvious indifference when they spoke later making the alternative explanation, he could tell she wasn't all that enthused, unlikely too. 

I wish it had been the latter.  They definitely are not at a place I would believe him to be in love or even more than slightly interested romantically. But the show has established their friendship enough (just barely) that I could believe him concerned by her reaction to the proposal.

Yes, as Marion's friend Larry would be concerned by her odd answer to Dashiell's proposal. In an ordinary case a man who wasn't a family member could hardly ask directly if she loves him or felt pressured to accept, but she had told him how Raikes had jilter her, so maybed it will happen later. But I am not rooted for them as characters nor a couple. 

4 hours ago, peridot said:

Peggy's editor is getting on my shit list now.  Why is Peggy the one trying to set boundaries between them, when he's the one that is married?

It's actually a common story: as Peggy wants to proceed in her writing career and she gets respect and encouragement from her editor, can she throw all this away even because she knows her feelings only grow being near him?

Instead, he gets both ways: daily services (presumably including sex) at home and fighting and working for a common cause and her admiration in work.

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Good grief, I thought public proposals with all the social pressure were a relatively new thing. Shame on Dashiell! I'm sure Marian will find a way out of this horrible predicament.

"Poor Aunt Ada. She doesn't have much luck." Understatement of the century, Oscar! And poor Dead Poets Rev. I knew her bliss and separation from Agnes couldn't last, but really, show, you can't even give them a couple of happy episodes?! The minute his back hurt I think we all knew what would happen. I'm guessing at the beginning of the next episode we will be at his funeral or look at his gravestone already... At least the little dog is well.

Meanwhile, her sister in Edithhood, Peggy... I don't even know what to say. She seems willing to begin a realtionship with her married boss because she "will get hurt anyway." I'm sure his wife doesn't understand him or is mean or something... It's almost as if they don't know how to tell the story of a successful independent woman. I'm glad they already did a baby story with her, so hopefully we'll be spared the out-of-wedlock pregnancy drama.

Ah, the anonymous unwashed masses are glaring threateningly at George, and he is suddenly surprised the workers' kids don't go to school... Sure, how could he possibly know?! What a lovely man for not having the troops massacre down his workers. Heart of gold.

I must rewatch the proposal from hell scene, as I absolutely didn't notice Larry storming off. If they're trying to show that he's secretly deeply in love with her already, they have failed with me. Do the work first, show!

I'm glad the butlers made up.

As for Oscar... He is still trying to con/ charm a (as far as he knows) unsuspecting girl into marrying him while he ofc can't have feelings for her, just for greed. Maybe his journey is to realize that. By all means, do what you have to do if you need to protect yourself (remember, it can be dangerous for a gay man in this time and place), but other than that, don't be a dick. Maybe that's his journey.

I assume Ada will return to live with Agnes, but be more of an equal and speak her mind etc.

 

Edited by ofmd
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8 hours ago, Bumblebee84047 said:

Dashiell is manipulative, creepy, and just plan gross.  But I think he's underestimating Marian.  If she's not intimidated by Agnes, she can certainly stand up to one weasley man!

Dashiell is either gonna have to do something so awful - like touch another woman's arm or something, or Dashiell is gonna end up with a back ache:  You CAN'T let Marion marry this dude - she CLEARLY belongs with Larry!  Come ON - you already crushed Aunt Ada's happiness under a bootheel - please don't subject us to boring Dashiell and Zanita Shin.  (I swear the kid is gonna Ye Gads! us any minute!)  But they can't just let Marion break an engagement can they?  Was that a thing to just 'rethought this and not so much now' breal an engagement?

OK - the center box war....Turner can't win this one, but not sure how effective her bargaining is:  They either go to the Met or say at Academy...but Winterton's have one choice and one choice only....and it ain't Academy, so not sure how Winterton's followers will still go to Met or stay at Academy?

It just seems like, once again, Turner has underestimated her position.

Why do I feel like they are going to set up some redemption arc for Armstrong regarding John's clock thing?  Like...she is gonna give him the money he will need for some guild membership or something.  She's just so unnecessarily evil. (I mean...jeez lady....you moved up in the world from your Mom....be a little less bitchface all the time?)

 

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8 hours ago, lucindabelle said:

and seriously Julian STOP with the “rich people are secretly good.”

This is brilliant and sums up why I find his work so obnoxious.

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I don’t really like the route they are taking the Peggy and Fortune storyline. I don’t need a romance angle to it it’s already interesting enough to me.

Why can't Peggy be a smart young Black journalist making her way? That story would be very compelling. Why does she have to have a secret love child and now possibly another scandalous entanglement with a married man who's her boss?

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12 hours ago, Haleth said:

Gee, Marion is such a limp dishrag she’ll agree to a marriage she doesn’t want because she doesn’t have the backbone to speak her mind.  Ugh, I can’t stand he

Unpopular opinion here, but I can’t stand her constant smile.

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12 hours ago, Haleth said:

Gee, Marion is such a limp dishrag she’ll agree to a marriage she doesn’t want because she doesn’t have the backbone to speak her mind.  Ugh, I can’t stand her.

I mostly agree, and maybe I've already missed a similar reply, but in her defense, look at what she had to deal with at that moment, it's a lot.  

I WISH she had said yes, and then turned around in private and read that fucker the riot act, but oh well.

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12 hours ago, AntFTW said:

It was so sweet how everyone rallied around Jack and supported him! 😭😭😭

These seems like layers upon layers of hot clothes that people of the 1880s wore outside during very hot times of the day.

Before Dashiell even uttered the words, I was like "No! You better not! I will fuck you up!"... but I'm calm now. I'm cool.

For the umpteenth time and to no one's surprise.... fuck Armstrong! 😊

Dammit! I didn't think they were going to take out the reverend like that.

Lastly, Oscar is an idiot. I find it quite funny, though, that the lawyer/banker/whatever guy said Oscar was using Maud Beaton. If Oscar is being scammed, his own greed makes him the perfect mark.

And there was NO deodorant! Think of the smells!

That Dashieil did the most manipulative kind of proposal ever conceived! That is not romantic! 

Just to 'save face' Marion was forced to accept in front of everyone! Notice she looked right at the ;little girl before she gave her answer? She likes the daughter more than the father! ha!

Ada got to find her soul mate. Ada got to experience TRUE LOVE! Nothing lasts forever! There are no guarantees in life but most people never get to experience what Ada was privileged to know -- even for a short while.

Plus this will get her back in the house with Agnes

Oscar fell hook line and sinker! And notice Maude is conveniently leaving town!

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6 hours ago, Snazzy Daisy said:

LUKE: "I suffer from a bad back."

ADA: "I'm afraid I made it worst."

ME and my imagination... 😆😆😆

giphy.gif

Me too!

I thought “OMG! Ada blew the Reverend’s back out! 😱😭😱😭

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Oh, my!  So much going on in this episode!  I am really loving Season 2.  It is so much better paced than Season 1.

The Opera War:  Here's my prediction...  Bertha finds out how/why Turner lost her box at the Academy, so Turner no longer has bargaining power and has to accept whatever box Bertha gives her.  I'd love for that info to come from Mrs. Astor.  Or even better, one of the staff.  Another angle - there's no way Bertha could host the Duke and not have the best box. 

Oscar:  Holy hell!  This is a scam!  How is there any doubt on this thread???  And, yes, Maude is totally in on it. She's ready to skip town with Oscar's cash.  Someone said above that it's a Ponzi scheme, but I don't think so.  With a Ponzi scheme there is a payout to the earliest members, the later ones get screwed.  On this one, everyone gets screwed - it's an individual (or small group) target, not a wide net like a Ponzi scheme.  They will take Oscar's money and run. 

Since Oscar is somewhat scamming Maude himself, I can't feel too sorry for him.  But, I think he will lose a good amount of Agnes' fortune, possibly mortgaging the house.

If that happens...  it will be Marion to the rescue.  She will either have to go through and marry Dashiel to save the family home.  Or...  Larry may grow a set, and step in and propose instead, which would also provide the money to keep the VR household going. 

Dear Mr. Fellowes:  damn, you're predictable.  My post from Ep. 4:

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So I'm going to now guess that the Reverend truly loves Ada, and as such, will be meeting an early demise. 

and, from Ep 3:

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I was really hoping that there would be a compromise there - that George wouldn't be a 100% robber baron asshole, and would be just a tiny bit progressive for the time.  Maybe agree with Union guy on the safety issues, and become a leader in the industry for that.  I'd rather see George battle the other corporate men on something like that than George vs. the union. 

and, from Ep 4, about Jack and the alarm clock:

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My hope is that Agnes does something generous, spots some talent in him, arranges for an apprenticeship, something of that sort. 

OK, no apprenticeship (yet), but she gave him $5.  That's about $150 today.  ($3 was around $90, so that's a good chuck of money from Marion, and whoever downstairs gave $3, too.)

As for the union stuff...  There is no way the military/police guy would have ordered his men to fire with George and the other guy standing right there.  He would have had them get to safety first.  They were sitting ducks up there, and some of the union guys had guns.  And yes, I can buy George calling off the war at the last moment.  It's his factory, his property, his men.  He has everything to lose from a bloodbath right there.  Even if you take out the people factor, George would lose money from that battle.  He's smart enough to know that.  And, yes, I can see George having a soft spot for the workers - he and Bertha came from modest backgrounds, he knows what it is like to work. 

I wonder if Robert Sean Leonard has it written into his contract that he gets to hold/pet/carry the dog as often as the script plausibly allows?

 

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