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S03.E02: There is Something at Work in My Soul Which I Do Not Understand

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Canadian Air Date: September 29, 2019

US Netflix Drop Date: January 3, 2020

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Anne's search takes her back to the orphanage, where she's forced to confront new realities. Meanwhile, Elijah pays a visit to Avonlea.

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If she is "forced to confront new realities", then I have to think they changed the story of Anne's parents from the books, where they were simply incredibly poor. I am guessing in this version they died under more sinister circumstances.

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I was looking forward to this one, but I found it lacking.

A lot of time was devoted to Bash, Mary and her son.  I didn't find this subplot too interesting, perhaps because these characters have not been developed enough.  I didn't like the son nor feel for him despite his unfortunate circumstance, and the outcome was predictable.  Last season, I found Gilbert splitting his land with Bash to be a tad far-fetched.  I'm sad for Gilbert that he lost his father's valuables and I hope this isn't going to affect their friendship.

Once again, Ms. Stacey was like an adult Anne imposter.  Matthew was looking at her like she was crazy when she was talking to crocuses on their ride to get the printing press, and it felt like a parody of the iconic scene when Matthew drove Anne to Green Gables for the first time.  It seems like they're testing the romantic waters between Muriel and Matthew, and I can't say I want them to go there.  I think this was meant to be comic relief for this episode, but it didn't work.  I did like the line where Matthew said "love can storm in and make a mess of everything you have in place in your life" because that is an apt description.

I'm not sure why they were being all cryptic about Gilbert's new love interest.  I'm also not sure why this subplot was necessary. 

Essentially, Anne found out nothing at the orphanage, so this was basically to show Anne confronting her past and entering a building where so much trauma occurred.  I thought it would be easy to feel emotional for Anne in such a setting, but it wasn't.  I don't know if it was the dialogue or the over-acting, but the emotions and Anne's outburst in the tower didn't feel genuine to me.  I suppose "Anne's forced to face new realities" was when she realized she thought she was really Princess Cordelia and believed everything she made up when she was younger.  I found all that too meta, when Cole explained that Anne used her imagination to save herself.  The only part which I actually found moving was when Cole said Anne's empathy saved his life.  

And finally, the conflict at the end with Marilla felt very manufactured and out-of-nowhere.  Last episode, Anne told Marilla outright that she went with the Micmac girl to her settlement.  This time, she read about it in the newspaper and acted like Anne was lying to her about it.  On paper, I can see how an over-protective and hurt Marilla might lash out and forbid Anne from going to Nova Scotia again, but it was too over-the-top.  This show is supposed to be all realistic and raw, but it frequently reverts to melodrama like this and it weakens the show.

Edited by Camera One
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I liked the episode but hated it at the same time. I can't believe the hands from the promos ended up being Gilbert with another girl 😣 . The entire episode was so sad. Gilbert and Anne were low-key fighting again, and on the train when he said he's "taken notice" of the fact that Anne doesnt need him, was that a reference to the first episodes take notice scene showing that he's mad about that?? I was happy to see Cole again though.

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From the previous episode thread:

On 9/25/2019 at 7:03 PM, SeanC said:
  • Also, Anne and co. would have been referring to them as the "Micmac" at the time, but I completely get why the show would choose to use the updated/preferred transliteration of the tribe's name, considering the Mi'kmaq's exposure in entertainment media consists of...this show.

It seems like they were pronouncing Micmac in this episode?  Maybe it was just Marilla pronouncing it that way.  I forgot how Ms. Stacey pronounced it.

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  • Anne talks about taking the ferry to the mainland to visit her old orphanage. We'll have to see when exactly this happens, but she seems to be planning to do it in the middle of winter, which would have been impossible.  The Northumberland Strait was not navigable in wintertime due to the iceflows, and Charlottetown harbour was not an all-year port in any case. The only way from Prince Edward Island to the other side in the wintertime was to travel via iceboat, essentially a rowboat with metal runners installed so that the occupants could physically drag it over the ice as needed. As you might guess from the description, nobody traveled this way unless they absolutely had to, because it sucked. Mostly they just carried the mail and any nonessential travel was saved until the spring

That's an interesting point.

I wonder when this episode takes place compared to the episode before.  There wasn't snow in this one, so maybe it was the end of winter?  

I was wondering how Anne and Cole got to the orphanage without the ferry, but it looks like they only showed the return journey back.

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Marilla being so upset about Anne visiting the settlement seems like a pretty glaring plot hole.  Didn't Anne tell her as much in episode one?  I'm going to have to go back and rewatch that.  Maybe I misunderstood and Marilla thought she traded for the basket the same way that the other kids bought hockey sticks, at the pond.  

I think they're setting up the Anne/Gilbert thing to mirror Gilbert and Christine in the books.  Anne, despite insisting she doesn't love him, repeatedly gets jealous whenever she even sees him with someone else.  That doesn't happen until they're in university together though, and Gilbert is 100% devoted to her throughout school years and Queens and during their teaching years.  So...yeah.  Not sure I'm into that.  It seems too early and the show hasn't depicted them being friends at all.  

I love Cole.  He's so grown up and sophisticated.  And even Miss Josephine's snooty butler seems to adore him now.

I'm over Bash/Mary/Mary's son.  So predictable, so uninteresting.

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I didn't really get Marilla's freakout at the end, either. I mean, I get why she's freaking out overall - she's terrified of losing Anne - but the end felt very strange. 

I guess we can safely say that Gilbert has a type. He's into oddballs. But that gal he was having tea with was 25 if she was a day, and he looked like her kid brother. Weirdness. I initially thought maybe she was going to be some sort of Christine Stuart stand-in, but I don't know where they are going with this.

Nice to see Cole doing so well with Aunt Jo and as mentioned above, even the snooty butler.

Apparently being a massive butthole is a job requirement for that orphanage. Geez. I do hope Anne is allowed to discover what she is looking for, but that it isn't as devastating as "they just left her there and the orphanage told her they were dead."

I think/hope they aren't going for a Miss Stacey/Matthew match. He seemed a little weirded out there for a bit at sitting next to such an Anne clone. They are leaning so hard into the Anne clone thing that perhaps it is a good thing that Gilbert is looking elsewhere. Anne's first husband is clearly destined to die young. I did laugh when Miss Stacey was all, "What, exactly, are you implying is covered in cobwebs during my singlehood, Rachel?"

I too am over Mary's son.

They were hitting the crocus symbolism pretty hard. Miss Stacey noted them, they were at the orphanage, and Gilbert plucked one from the vase on the table at tea. Officially I think they are meant to symbolize "cheerfulness" or "rebirth" as they are the first flower to bloom after winter, and I'm guessing they are going with the former - that they are all symbolizing change or happiness after darkness.

Edited by Kostgard
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7 hours ago, dubstepford wife said:

I'm over Bash/Mary/Mary's son.  So predictable, so uninteresting.

11 minutes ago, Kostgard said:

I too am over Mary's son.

Here here.

I saw this storyline coming from a mile away even before the season kicked off.

And it's like...can we just not?

It's been done a thousand times before. No we don't need to see it. Again.

Edited by Harvey

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I rewatched the scene from Episode 1.  I guess I had forgotten.  Anne only said to Marilla that "some Micmac stopped by the hockey game today, and I made a trade".  

Though I still don't buy that Anne didn't tell Marilla and Matthew about her visit to the village during dinner or afterwards.  It clearly left an impression on her, and Anne is not one to hold back on sharing anything.  

Matthew said Anne's article was very "eye-opening" and he did not seemed concerned at all, so I also don't buy that Marilla would have prejudices which were so much deeper.  I suppose this could be explained by her sudden over-protectiveness (which needed a trigger of some sort.  I would have understood over-protectedness immediately after the incident with the boarders last season, but not now, when Anne has mostly been left alone.  She even went to Charlottetown with her friends aboard a train last season).  By Season 4, Marilla will probably be babysitting in the Micmac village. 

Edited by Camera One

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I'm not sure why they're trying to hook Gilbert up with this older girl, unless they want him to have some sort of experience before he and Anne get together, which...does that apply to her too? Is she going to get some other love interest as well?

Is this one of those shows that won't get its main couple together until the series finale or something? I long ago lost all patience with those kinds of shows and I was hoping we were done with them.

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:50 PM, ruby24 said:

I'm not sure why they're trying to hook Gilbert up with this older girl, unless they want him to have some sort of experience before he and Anne get together

It's going to be impossible to predict the arc of Anne and Gilbert's relationship since neither the plot nor their characterization parallel the books in any way. I thought that they were still on the idea that Anne couldn't betray Ruby by acting interested in Gilbert, but apparently they have changed to a theory where Anne is blunderingly oblivious to the fact that Gilbert could be interested in her and too immature not to lash out at him because Marilla (Marilla!) gets too emotional and overprotective. I wasn't quite able to follow why Gilbert went to the doctor's office in the first place -- was it because he has started on his ambition to become a doctor someday?

I'm quite exhausted by the fact that all characters (unless they are clearly marked as outsiders immediately) are violently hostile to Anne.

Were there any children at the orphanage at all?

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On 9/30/2019 at 1:09 AM, Camera One said:

I thought it would be easy to feel emotional for Anne in such a setting, but it wasn't.  I don't know if it was the dialogue or the over-acting, but the emotions and Anne's outburst in the tower didn't feel genuine to me.  I suppose "Anne's forced to face new realities" was when she realized she thought she was really Princess Cordelia and believed everything she made up when she was younger.  I found all that too meta, when Cole explained that Anne used her imagination to save herself.  The only part which I actually found moving was when Cole said Anne's empathy saved his life.  

It felt clumsily handled. What was she supposed to be (over)reacting to? I took it that she knew that she might find her writing there -- was she expecting that it would be as brilliant as she remembered and she was set off by Cole laughing at it? It's alarming if she doesn't have enough security at Green Gables and empathy for her younger self to recognise that it's OK if she wrote silly things to comfort herself in a place where she was so badly treated. And seeing her take the trip with Cole reminds me that if they hadn't introduced him as a character the natural thing would have been for her to have this emotional relationship with Diana. I know that Cole was created in order to have more obvious DIVERSITY on the canvas, but I also know that a lot of young lesbians grew up loving the relationship Anne had with Diana because it was framed somewhat romantically. Minimizing what Diana means to Anne doesn't sit right. 

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17 minutes ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

What was she supposed to be (over)reacting to? I took it that she knew that she might find her writing there -- was she expecting that it would be as brilliant as she remembered and she was set off by Cole laughing at it? It's alarming if she doesn't have enough security at Green Gables and empathy for her younger self to recognise that it's OK if she wrote silly things to comfort herself in a place where she was so badly treated.

I'm not sure either.  It seems like she was angry that her younger self truly believed in her fantasies.  Or maybe she was angry at the injustice of the system and her circumstance?  I know that's what the viewer was supposed to feel.  

It's strange that this version of Marilla has actually mellowed way more quickly and fully than the one in the book or other adaptations, and if anything, had created an even more comforting and secure environment for Anne, yet she feels even emptier and is much more affected by not knowing details about her parents.  I think historically, it was more normalized for orphans to know nothing about their background, especially in a time when mortality rates were higher.  

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I thought Anne was made aware of the possibility that her parents hadn't died, as she had been made to believe, but that they had left her at the orphanage because they didn't want her. (The man leaving his children behind specifically said "Tell them I'm dead", as I remember.)  She was upset because suddenly it felt as if she had always been living in a fantasy world, thinking parts of it (like having parents who were in love and loved her) were real.

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I really liked the new girl...but not with Gilbert, lol. She seems like an interesting character for the time. It's frustrating watching Anne and Gilbert keep dancing around their feelings, and misinterpreting each other's words and actions. 

That scene with the orphanage with the two kids being left behind was very hard to watch. 

On 1/9/2020 at 5:28 PM, morakot said:

I thought Anne was made aware of the possibility that her parents hadn't died, as she had been made to believe, but that they had left her at the orphanage because they didn't want her. (The man leaving his children behind specifically said "Tell them I'm dead", as I remember.)  She was upset because suddenly it felt as if she had always been living in a fantasy world, thinking parts of it (like having parents who were in love and loved her) were real.

Yes, that's how I took it as well. She was suddenly wondering if she had imagined hearing that her parents had really loved her.  I do wonder who may have told her that though, if her parents had passed when she was so young.

My heart broke a bit when Marilla overheard Anne's prayer. (Was that in this episode? I watched two late last night so I might be confusing them).

I loved Cole's insight about Anne's experiences being responsible for her empathy and accepting mind.

In general this season, I'm kind of over both Ruby and Josie. Tillie is fun. I miss seeing more of Diana though.

On 9/30/2019 at 4:13 PM, Kostgard said:

I did laugh when Miss Stacey was all, "What, exactly, are you implying is covered in cobwebs during my singlehood, Rachel?"

Oh Rachel - that whole conversation just took a hilarious turn, lol. Marilla just being "I'm out" and walking off was great too. Would Ms. Stacy be considered a spinster if she'd been previously married and widowed? 

Edited by CrazyDog

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On 1/13/2020 at 3:18 PM, CrazyDog said:

Would Ms. Stacy be considered a spinster if she'd been previously married and widowed? 

I think people would probably cut her some slack for a few years since to be widowed so young is tragic. But she also lost her husband before they had children and she is still well within her childbearing years, so I think she would be expected to remarry and people would think it was weird and "a waste" if she didn't remarry.

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