This one is a winner. Truly and completely a winner.
Finally, Anne is settled at Green Gables so she goes to school and it’s THE BEST.
While at school she learns the complicated politics of being friends with girls and enemies with boys and also insinuates that Prissy Andrews is fucking the teacher OOPS.
There’s a scene in which her new girlfriends are enthralled and giggling listening to her explain sex without having her even having the faintest clue that sex is what she’s describing, and it starts off as hilarious (ANNE SHIRLEY IS TALKING ABOUT SEX!!!) but then it gets dark because now she’s describing the alcoholic abuser she lived with and all the times she listened to him rape his wife without really understanding that that’s what she was listening to. So. Oops.
The girls are scandalized – not because it’s rape, but because of Anne’s impossible-now-to-ignore proximity to sex and alcohol, because it’s 1908, of course.
Parallel to this is Marilla, joining a progressive mothers’ group.
MARILLA. JOINS. A. PROGRESSIVE. MOTHERS’. GROUP.
THEY DISCUSS FEMINISM.
Then Rachel gets mad at her for “being a suffragette.”
Marilla: There was a lot of civilized talk about women’s education social reforms.
Rachel: Next you’ll be telling me you all burnt your corsets and danced naked in front of town hall!
Marilla: We ran out of time.
Oh and also Matthew: I reckon every new idea was modern once… until it wasn’t.
I love Matthew.
Marilla and Rachel are snapping at each other as Rachel is leaving but then Anne bursts in and congratulates them for being such good friends for so long and then they sort of forgive each other. Aww.
But Marilla gets kicked out of the progressive mothers’ group because of Anne’s Prissy Andrews teacher-fucking insinuations, as Mrs. Andrews is kind of one of their leaders. But near the end Marilla goes to visit Mrs. Andrews and declares that it isn’t Anne’s fault that she’s witnessed so much, and, also, too bad progressive parenting doesn’t have any room for compassion. Rather than looking scandalized and obstinate, Mrs. Andrews appears thoughtful.
So. I hope Marilla gets to be in the progressive mothers’ group again and I hope she stays there forever.
Meanwhile pedophile teacher is the actual one at fault and it seems pretty clear that this show is going to hold him to account, which is delicious.
Oh, and Gilbert shows up.
He saves Anne in the woods, she gets told off because Ruby likes Gilbert so she isn’t allowed to talk to him, she promises not to.
All this while, by the way, Diana has been working hard trying to make sure Anne can be part of the group and she is a goddess. She is amazing. I love her so much.
Making Diana’s job harder and perhaps ensuring that Anne can’t be friends with these girls is the fact that Gilbert thinks Anne is cute, and he’s popular, and he’s not used to rejection, so he persists. And finally, at his lowest, bewildered that she’s determined to ignore him (BECAUSE SHE WANTS FEMALE FRIENDS!!!) he does that thing where he pulls her braid and calls her “Carrots.”
And she cracks her chalkboard over his head. Screaming, “I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU.”
And then Ruby and Tillie and Moody stare at her in awe.
Even Josie is impressed.
I think… I think Josie might actually be a little bit in love with Anne in this version?
Maybe she’s actually of the opinion that Anne is ridiculous and is laughing at her, but as of the end of this episode, to me, this is reading as admiration. Which is cool, because I think we need more adaptations where female characters who supposedly hate each other in the original are just going to be friends in the new version. Why not?
A Rebecca where the narrator and Mrs. Danvers become BFFs, for example? Yeah. I want that. Would it change the entire story? Yes. Good.
In this case Josie was always more of a Kate Sanders to Anne’s Lizzie McGuire, which makes the possibility of their friendship make even more sense.
ANNE SHIRLEY HAS A VERY BAD TEMPER.
The episode ends with Anne running into Marilla’s arms and sobbing that she’s never going back to school.
This was perfection. LM Montgomery would be fucking proud.
I’m sorry I’m swearing while talking about an Anne of Green Gables adaptation but MARILLA IS IN A FEMINIST GROUP NOW AND ANNE HAS JUST BECOME THE ENTIRE CLASS’S HEROINE FOR REFUSING TO INDULGE GILBERT’S NONSENSE AND WALKING OUT ON THE PEDOPHILE TEACHER. SO.
Oh hey it’s the 1985 version AND the 2017 version.
What I think I’m also really liking about this episode as opposed to the others so far is that while everything I said last time about how Anne was always great because she just does what she does and says what she says without worrying about judgement, in this episode, she’s completely worried about judgement.
That is, she’s struggling to tamper down on her big personality in order to have friends and succeed. I have to assume, because it happens in the novel, that she ultimately finds a balance between being who she is and thinking about others. As in, there are some moments where she shouldn’t just talk. Like when she’s basically slandering Prissy Andrews. That’s not good. But sometimes she should absolutely be who she is and not worry about societal norms, like when Gilbert is being mean and the pedophile teacher is being misogynistic and unfair. In order to get through life without being exiled or hurting people you have to care a little bit about fitting in with the people who matter to you, but you do have to find ways to be true to yourself.
So, yes, she’s like if a manic pixie dream girl were actually written to be a human being. Which is awesome.