Anne Episode Recap: Wherever You Are Is My Home

A note on my complaint about Marilla being a tragic woman because she turned down some guy:

I said in the previous post that book-Marilla is “totally cool with her choices” regarding choosing not to marry Gilbert’s dad way back when, but as it turns out, she did regret it. But like, not melodramatic-Netflix-series regret, just kind of low key regret. As far as I’m concerned my point still stands. Her being over-the-top tragically devastated that she never married and such is just sad, and makes no sense when, again, the fact that she and her brother remain unmarried is exactly the reason for Anne’s arrival to Green Gables which is a happy thing and probably wouldn’t have happened if Marilla had married, and Anne Shirley is no one’s consolation prize. She’s the best. SO.

On to the finale of this first season:

Wow, it’s way too dramatic. Matthew gets suicidal. He actually tries to kill himself in this episode. I’m not 100% against this in theory, first because we could probably use some sensitive depictions of people dealing with depression and suicide ideation (this is not that, not at all, but I do think it was at least partially an attempt at it, and maybe it will mean something to someone, IDK) and second, because I do think adaptations can and should change fundamental things in order to be more relevant to the moment they’re being made in and to add new depth to the story, but this entire episode didn’t work for me and I have very little to say excepting this run-on sentence I’ve just written.

I do also want to ask who in maple-syrup-loving hell that guy is at the end. The shot holds on his face forever, and then Anne’s reaction to his existence goes on forever, and I’m completely lost.

At first I thought she knew him somehow, or maybe that he was about to declare that he was someone somwhat significant to the Cuthberts, or maybe to Gilbert, or, anything, really. But no.

So, what I’m left with – is Anne going to have a crush on him? He’s probably some character from one of the other books and I’m just out of the know. I could google it but instead, I’ll wait for season 2.

This series so far has had a lot of very high notes, but right now I mostly just feel like revisiting cozy, comforting Anne of Green Gables with only minor drama and no rape references and attempted suicide.

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Anne Episode Recap: Remorse is the Poison of Life

All right, let’s get back on this vegan horse.

(I don’t know, OK, horses make me sad so whatever)

A Series of Unfortunate Events has been updated on Netflix with its so far amazing season 2, which I am halfway through, and I decided to prolong my enjoyment of that by finishing up Anne first so here goes, with the penultimate episode with a title that doesn’t make sense. “Regret” instead of “remorse” would work, but as it is it’s confusing. Only Diana’s mom is remorseful and it’s framed as a good thing so I’m a little lost.

Things that I remember about the series so far:

  • Anne isn’t allowed to be Diana’s friend anymore because they got drunk on what they thought was raspberry cordial but was actually sherry or something
  • Matthew has some sort of romantically tragic past, much to my annoyance
  • Gilbert’s dad is dying

Things that I didn’t remember about this series and was confused about as I watched:

  • The kids talk in a really difficult-to-ignore modern-type jargon – except Anne who is over-the-top, and Diana, who talks pretty much like she does in every other version (albeit she’s a little more savvy than normal)
  • Maybe it’s just the boys who talk like it’s the 21st century and not 190whatever, saying things like “I don’t get you” and such
  • None of Anne’s interactions with Gilbert make sense, except for the part when she cracked a slate over his head

Regarding that last one then: it’s kind of a shame. My theory, based on the fact that the running theme of ROMANCE = GOOD, LACK OF ROMANCE = HORRIBLE TRAGIC REGRET permeates this episode in particular, is that the writers/directors/creators were, strangely, feeling a little pressured to apologize for including the Anne/Gilbert romance at all.

And I have some evidence to that effect.

Exhibit A: Lesbians and Kindred Spirits

In this episode, Diana’s great aunt comes to stay because her “companion” has recently died. Anne misunderstands and thinks that means her companion was her BFFL but Great Aunt Josephine comes right out and says that she was basically married to the woman, so there’s that. Which is great!

It’s not so great that this reveal is done in a super allonormative (centering sexual/romantic relationships as the most important type of relationship at the expense of every other type of relationship) way but whatever. 190something lesbians are really, really important, and I’m much more annoyed with the handling of Marilla’s tragical romantical past than the “Aunt Josephine is a lesbian and therefore Anne should begin preparations to marry Gilbert at the age of 14” subplot.

But anyway, in setting us up for the very unshocking lesbian reveal that we were all supposed to understand long before Anne does, the older lesbian couple gets connected, multiple times, to the Anne/Diana friendship. When I studied Anne of Green Gables in university, my prof made a brief note that queer readings of Anne abound because of how intense their friendship is.

There are a lot of… declarations of love. Vows. Over dramatic promises and bonds. It’s good stuff.

I’m more than OK with reading Anne and Diana as being maybe sort of a lot romantic and/or sexual, and I’m also more than OK reading it as a very important platonic friendship. But in this episode, they seem to nod to the same-sex attraction interpretation of the relationship and then dive right into highlighting Anne/Gilbert.

This is especially bizarre because so far it has been extremely one-sided, with Anne feeling angry, ashamed, and frustrated in most of her interactions with Gilbert and only feeling a little bit of sympathy for him when she learns that his father is dying. We’re not really ready for the cutesy stuff to happen. She’s barely acknowledged that she doesn’t hate him.

I’d say they’re going, “See, Anne/Diana, we know, that would have been great, here’s an old lady lesbian grieving over her dead lover as compensation while we pursue Anne/Gilbert instead” if I were cynical, which I both am and am not. I want Anne to have her Gilbert romance. I don’t see why she couldn’t have more than one romance, frankly. I also don’t know why she has to have any romance at all. The book ends with an itty bitty nod in that direction, which we all knew was coming the whole time but which is still, compared to the show’s version, pretty muted. In my opinion, the more muted version makes a lot more sense considering the ages of these characters.

It’s also better done. The gradual shift from dislike to totally crushing on each other while competing in earnest the whole time is done very well, and it’s one of the bigger draws for a lot of the books’ fans over the years. I can’t help but feel that if the writers had been less concerned with trying to make Anne/Gilbert “progressive” by “justifying” its existence, which it does by showing that strong, confident, independent role-model Josephine was also into romance, the whole romance subplot would have been a lot better.

Exhibit B: Live your life with no regrets (and that means get married or do the 190whatever lesbian version of getting married)

Early in the episode Great Aunt Josephine tells Anne that she can get married at whatever age she wants, if she wants. And if she chooses a career she can order her own white dress and wear it whenever she wants. Anne declares she’s going to be her “own woman” and she’ll be the heroine of her own story.

K, good, great, I like it so far.

Then Anne tells her, “I’m just like you, no romance ever.”

And Aunt Josephine says, “That’s not like me at all, I lived a full life, was basically married to my woman, etc. Basically, just make sure you live without regrets.”

While Aunt Josephine cries about what she’s lost due simply to old age but doesn’t regret having because “grief is the price we pay for love,” Marilla is there for the contrast, showing us that the actual tragedy is to turn down romance and then get old and wish you hadn’t turned down romance.

Now if only Anne was aware that living without regrets can sometimes mean choosing to not have romance.

I’m honestly trying not to go on and on about this stuff, partly because I’m not aromantic and so this isn’t entirely my lane. But also because I like to try to balance my legitimate enjoyment of a thing while acknowledging how it might be flawed in ways that might exclude or erase certain types of people. I’d like to just say “Hey, decent but sort of confusing episode; I didn’t like how the Marilla ‘tragic romance’ thing was handled though, kinda allonormative/amatonormative, guys.” I don’t really trust that my urge to dissect it and explain exactly why it bothers me is a good urge and not an obsessive, slightly self-destructive, time-wasting, re-centering urge.

While I was reading The Night Circus I was actively fighting the urge to get annoyed about how important the romance was at the expense of every other type of relationship the characters could have gotten happiness, support, and meaning out of, but I ended up writing forever about it. I really would rather not have done that, but I can’t ignore it when I see it. Also although there is a lesbian romance mentioned in that book, just as there is one mentioned here, The Night Circus’s lesbian romance is super tragic, involving suicide, even, whereas here, it’s simply a portrayal of a woman who has grown old with her lover and is now alone because, well, death happens, which makes it slightly better.

It’s still weird that it’s the catalyst for Anne to learn that romance isn’t the devil, but, this portrayal still a little better, and I don’t know that complaining about the allonormativity is worthwhile when at least this show is just casually here on Netflix noting that queer people lived and loved even as far back as 190something. (I know queer people have existed forever, I just can’t convey sarcasm in this medium).

I’d love to instead gush about how (genuinely, honestly, giddily) happy I was to see references to ACTUAL GAY WOMEN on this show and just leave it at that, but Matthew and Marilla are sort of important icons of mine. There are a couple of unmarried older family members in Emily of New Moon as well, but I don’t remember their names. Anne of Green Gables is the bigger cultural product, and I’m very familiar with shy, terrified-of-women Matthew and severe, had-a-romance-with-Gilbert-Blythe’s-dad-but-decided-fuck-it Marilla.

Annnnnnnd instead of just calmly portraying Marilla’s slightly wistful, “Oh, yeah, he was my beau once, we were going to get married but things changed,” as, yes, slightly wistful, maybe even quite sad since he’s dead now but mostly OK with her life choices, they went full tragic.

So Matthew and Marilla’s mom was a mess because of their older brother’s tragic death, it’s implied they both turned down possibilities of romance because their mother was too much of a burden/tyrant/boring familial relation for them to do what they really wanted, which was romance obviously, yadda yadda.

I’m going to just go ahead and state for the record that portraying Marilla as this sad woman looking back on her unmarried, virginal life and going “AHHH WHY DIDN’T I JUST DO THE THING” is the wrong choice. Not because romance (… and sex) is bad, but because in the source material Marilla’s totally cool with her choices. Why change that?

Why change that indeed, when, if Marilla had been married with biological children, she’d probably never have adopted Anne and Anne would instead be living in horrible conditions, being abused and listening to husbands rape their wives every other night?

Like? Did they temporarily forget what story they’re telling?

Here’s the better version:

Marilla confides in Anne, who is currently worrying about how large (or small) a role romance should play in her life. “I had a romance once,” she says in her harsh but strangely vulnerable Marilla-esque way. “I liked him, he wore a stupid hat, he asked me to marry him, I had other things to do. Who knows what would have happened if I’d said yes. Maybe I’d have been happier. But having said no, I’ve been led to the point where I needed to adopt a precocious orphan and so far that’s turned out very well, so whatever, make the choices that are right for you.”

I say, if you must “justify” letting Anne have romance when she’s also very clearly a feminist in this version, do it without accidentally implying that romance is an essential part of womanhood, feminism, and life in general.

But also, you could just not bother trying to justify it. No one worth listening to thinks Anne liking a guy ruins her feminist cred, or, in fact, her queer cred. Come on.

Other Stuff

Gilbert’s dad dies, which I sort of mentioned. Gilbert gets in a fist fight. Also maybe he moves to Alberta, or maybe we’re just supposed to think he moved to Alberta.

The girls make a shepherd’s pie for Gilbert, and as they’re explaining the pie to him Diana says that Anne is a good cook and then Anne screams, “BUT I’D MAKE A HORRIBLE WIFE!” And then she runs away and everyone looks around at each other uncomfortably and it is quality television.

Also Matthew’s favourite ship sinks? There’s this part where the grocer tells him it sank and there was no insurance and the name of the ship seems to mean a lot to Matthew. I’m confused. Maybe we’re not supposed to know until the next episode what that’s about or maybe it’s something I forgot from a previous one but I hope it’s just that he likes to look at that ship and now he’s sad because he only has second-rate ships to look at.

I’m sure that’s what it is.

ONWARDS.

Anne Episode Recap: Tightly Knotted to a Similar String

This episode opens with the grossest spelling bee ever.

The horrible, horrible teacher is setting words for the teams (girls vs boys, because of course) while staring at Prissy. The words he chooses start with stuff like “gorgeous” and “ravishing” and then “callous” and “cruel” (because she isn’t simpering, and is instead looking distinctly uncomfortable), and then it’s “contrite” and, ugh, “engagement,” which she perks up about.

Uggggggh.

It finally ends because Gilbert lets Anne win. Later in the show, his father is dying, she figures it out, and feels some sympathy.

Also, she gets her period.

She screams and yells things about it that I want to scream and yell about it also every month. Marilla gets all affectionate. She and Rachel have a nice conversation about menstruation and Anne and the girls do the same. It’s nice. Rare, I think, for media to show women talking long enough to get around to discussing experiences they have that don’t revolve around men.

Matthew buys Anne her dress, from a lady who is apparently the girl he was *supposed to end up with* if only *tragedy* hadn’t struck and made him, and Marilla, apparently, *tragically unwed forever.*

I don’t want to complain too much because there are allo people who remain single and their experiences and feelings about them matter also. There are probably also lots of ace and/or aro people who have relationship woes of various kinds. I just think it’s kind of sad. I wish Matthew (and probably Marilla) didn’t have to be portrayed as such tragic figures just because they don’t have romance and/or sex.

This story line hasn’t progressed, though, so who knows what I’ll think about it later.

Anne and Diana accidentally get drunk, then Mrs. Barry declares that they can never associate with each other again, and it is very dramatic. Anne and Diana declare their love for one another and then Anne’s all happy because she gets to wear her puffy-sleeved dress to church, the end.

Mostly, I liked it. I like that Anne gets to act moody and ridiculous like a teenager would. Rare, refreshing, cleansing, etc.

Anne Episode Recap: An Inward Treasure Born

(changing up the featured image because of this)

All right so:

People determined to excuse Aziz Ansari because the woman he was super aggressive towards didn’t just leave the apartment entirely or say explicitly “no” or “stop” was annoying today. Based on the discussions I saw about it I was expecting it to be much grayer than it was when I actually read it. I was thinking, “Really, guys? You think she wasn’t being clear enough?”

There was also some Margaret Atwood nonsense. She wrote an op-ed called “Am I a Bad Feminist?” and the answer is yes. She really is, if indeed she’s a feminist at all. Her shtick is calmly, gently restating over and over that feminism makes us all want to insist that women are angels, victims always, forever blameless.

  1. No.
  2. To me, feminism is the radical notion that a woman can be flawed and complicated and that human experiences can be gray and SHE SHOULD STILL HAVE HER BASIC HUMANITY RESPECTED.
  3. I honestly thought, until recently, that was kind of what Atwood meant, to a certain extent. But apparently no.
  4. To Atwood, “women aren’t angels” means “we need to always always always mistrust sexual misconduct allegations especially if they’re against well-respected and powerful men I like. Because women aren’t angels.”
  5. (Nobody is saying we need to instantly convict every person accused of sexual misconduct. Nobody. NOBODY IS SAYING THAT.)
  6. (False accusations are rare.)
  7. (Rapists and sexual harassers never facing any consequences whatsoever for their actions is PRETTY COMMON.)
  8. (That NEEDS TO CHANGE.)
  9. (We can start by getting rid of judges who excuse rape because of what the victim was wearing or because there was previous flirtation or because “she didn’t look like a thirteen-year-old.”)
  10. (Holding more terrible men accountable for their actions is PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HURT ANYONE WHO ISN’T A TERRIBLE MAN.)
  11. Fuck you, Atwood.
  12. Ten bucks several Atwood controversies down the line is going to be one that is her going full TERF. I’m calling it now.

Also the thing she retweeted the other day, apart from the Sullivan shit piece, was a shit piece about how #metoo goes too far in that workplace flirtation can be hot.

There’s a little paragraph that’s like, “Straight women like when men are sexually aggressive because it confirms our desirability and can be thrilling and unexpected.”

OK so kudos to this writer for discovering what kinks are.

She should have followed through with her research to determine that acting on those kinks with a partner still requires consent if it’s being done, like, right.

I find it hard to believe that – look, I don’t care how kinky you are. You aren’t always, in every context, with any potential partner, up for being grabbed and kissed, or even just flirted with. Which is where the millennial feminist affirmations of “FUCKING ASK” or “enthusiastic consent” come in. It should not be that hard to understand that none of us are asking you to not have your romance and your sexy funtimes the way you like them. And MAYBE, a conversation about harassment and assault, particularly where women are just trying to go to work and do their jobs, is NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU TO SHOW UP AND SCREAM INTO THE VOID THAT YOU LIKE FLIRTING.

Nobody cares. Do your thing. Do it consensually. THAT ISN’T WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, BRENDA.

I’m finding it legitimately exhausting that the backlash so far has been people itching to do a bad take looking at a movement revolting against the silencing and horrific sexual harassment and assault of women in the workplace and going, “But, but, but, how will we do romance, then?”

THAT. ISN’T. ROMANCE.

IT ISN’T ROMANCE.

THAT YOU JUMP SO QUICKLY TO EQUATING IT TO ROMANCE IS SCARY AND AWFUL.

STOP.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

So on this episode of Anne, a pastor shows up and says Anne doesn’t need to go to school anyway because she can just stay at home and learn how to be a wife, and then Marilla gets PISSED and yells at Matthew, who basically just asks if she’s OK, “Now, is there anything I can bake or clean or mend or fetch for you?” before storming off, and then when Billy jokes that “girls are so useless” and they should “stay in the kitchen” and that they should “leave the men to their work” Anne screams, “Why don’t you give me that hammer and I’ll finish the job myself if YOU’RE too busy being a bully to GET IT DONE?” And then all the men laugh.

Last episode I thought Ruby and Josie smiling in a rather shocked way meant that they admired Anne for smacking Gilbert with the slate, but apparently I was wrong. This time, I’ll say I guess it’s possible that the men think Anne is just being silly, but it still plays to me as though they thought it was legit great that she screamed that at him.

When it comes to Ruby (and Josie, probably, but she isn’t here this episode), I still think she does admire Anne. I think she just understands that Anne’s behaviour and personality and orphan status make her stick out, and that it’s socially unacceptable to be seen publicly liking her.

I’m going to hold onto that because the smiling/awe from last time really, really doesn’t make sense to me as the girls laughing at Anne’s expense. Do they not know what to make of it? Are they shaken to their cores? Yes. You’re not supposed to loudly, violently, publicly rebuff Gilbert Blythe. But Anne did. Upon further reflection they decide to uphold status quo and keep treating her badly because she’s too dramatic for their delicate sensibilities (or so they’ve been taught).

So apart from the screaming, this episode was fairly dramatic in other sort of overblown ways. Anne gets to be a hero and I like it, but it is kind of out there. I prefer the budding friendship with Ruby. I also like the moments she gets with Gerry, who keeps hinting that he really wants to go to school and be educated but he doesn’t have that opportunity. My prediction is that Anne will lobby for him to go to school at some point, or that she’ll teach him herself, or both.

Well that’s all. Hopefully news won’t be as aggravating next time I recap an episode, or, if it is, hopefully Anne will scream at someone again because it’s so rare to see girls and women in media fully let loose with their rage. It’s CLEANSING, I say.

Anne Recap: But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?

WELP.

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.

marillarachel

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.

ruby

Even Josie is impressed.

josie

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?

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.

I’m hopeful.

ANNE SHIRLEY HAS A VERY BAD TEMPER.

YES.

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.

Anne Recap: I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me

OK, first of all, these episode titles are unreal.

Secondly, that Anne official image I’m using as my header is unreal. I always feel like she’s looking straight into the depths of my soul.

As much as I think both of these things are super pretty but also a little much, it’s still kind of amazing that, as I said somewhere in the episode 1 recap, if Anne Shirley was real she would very much approve of this adaptation.

As far as the second episode goes, though, I thought most of it was a little “meh.” Approximately 3/4 of it is mostly unnecessary – Anne has taken the train back to Halifax but didn’t return to the asylum like she was supposed to and is instead trying to make her own life as a thirteen-year-old with no money and no adult.

Which is, to recycle the phrase, a little much.

Matthew finds her at a train station selling poetry readings so she can get to… New Brunswick? I can’t remember. She yells at him about how if she goes back with him like he wants, her place at Green Gables will always be precarious and that’s unfair. I’m with her, honestly, but I think a heartfelt conversation between her and Marilla would have sufficed instead of this lengthy adventure.

Anyway. Matthew calls her his daughter spontaneously, shocking himself and Anne, and so she chooses to go with him. I know Matthew likes her right away but I’m a little skeptical that he’s already at the point of spontaneously referring to her as his daughter but I’m OK to go with it because portrayals of adoption are rare and often are in fact horror movies.

I call this whole thing unnecessary because in the book, the brooch does go missing and Marilla does force Anne to confess and then punishes her, but she punishes her by not letting her go to picnics.

Sending her back to the asylum and then freaking out for most of an episode out of regret and fear of what might have gone wrong while Matthew is away fetching her back is A LITTLE MUCH. It’s a much bigger mistake. It’s only sort of forgivable because Marilla hasn’t bonded completely with Anne yet, but even still, what she does is pretty cruel.

But I am willing to forgive the show for this because it leads to a very good final five or so minutes.

Before that, Anne has to be told by like ten different people that Marilla was extremely worried about her, and she still doesn’t believe it because Marilla is against showing her feelings. It was kind of tiring, but on the other hand I like that the focus is on the difference between “Shout it from the rooftops” Anne and “Never say it ever” Marilla. I’m looking forward to this continuing.

And then she and Marilla have a nice conversation in the nice woods.

And finally, Marilla and Matthew ask Anne if she would like to take their name, so she signs their family bible as “Anne Shirley Cuthbert” but keeps making mistakes and she wants to add “Cordelia” in there as well and although I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this moment is, I’m still going to just state for the record: I was delighted and I still am. Anne is the best. Amybeth McNulty who plays her is the best.

Anne Shirley (or, apparently, now: Anne Shirley Cuthbert) is like if a manic pixie dream girl were written well. Which – to be fair – sometimes they kind of are. I think the reason she works where others are grating and kind of insulting is that the whole thing is her own story. She is open and honest about every single one of her feelings and people are confounded by her and in awe of her. People are always trying to get her to contain herself, but she doesn’t. She is unrepentantly Anne of Green Gables.

As a young girl who kept everything to herself, I really loved Anne for being unashamed and unafraid of externalizing the wonder she feels just from existing.

Aaaaand now that I’ve fully remembered why I love this story hopefully I continue to love this version. Considering a flawless five final minutes saved an entire episode for me, I probably will.

Anne Episode Recap: Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny

In 2017 I fell disastrously out of love with two popular shows, Game of Thrones and Stranger ThingsSo to start 2018 off better, I decided to watch Anne on Netflix. I’m going to watch it properly, slowly, and recap each of its seven episodes because I might like it a lot. Or I might not. It’ll be fun to do this with something that I’m not convinced about yet so I don’t end up feeling betrayed.

Anne is based on Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, and I’m mostly familiar with this animated version of the story:

Which is delightful.

Also the musical version:

Which is also delightful.

So I think my main problem will be that this new Netflix show seems so far to be the dark and gritty reboot of Anne of Green Gables.

On the one hand, Anne Shirley, whose picture is the dictionary definition for both “precocious” and “melodramatic,” would absolutely love this version of her story, if she were real and not a fictional character in a children’s novel. She’s enthralled by gothic romance and is just a little bit quixotic. She’d love her story to be told with more excessive darkness than it usually is.

On the other hand. It’s still a children’s story. Do we really need the scene where one of Anne’s previous “foster fathers” whips her in the front yard? Do we really need the scene where a group of girls dangle a dead mouse in front of Anne and basically threaten to murder her?

No, I’m going to say.

But that’s just me.

Other than that, I really like it so far. My two worries for the upcoming episodes are as follows:

  1. Now that Anne’s (almost) situated at Green Gables, we shouldn’t need anymore harrowing examples of how difficult life would be for an orphan in the Maritimes in the early 1900s. But I suspect they’ll grittify other things to make up for it, and I don’t know how I’m going to feel about it.
  2. If they make Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert into tragic figures just because they’re single and childless I might get more than a little mad. First, they aren’t childless anymore because Anne, and second, if they had done what people are “supposed” to do and settled into heteronormative relationships, then Anne would be stuck with Mrs. Byrd or worse, because they probably wouldn’t have had a need to adopt her. Third, it doesn’t need to be portrayed as a tragedy just because it’s not the usual depiction of what a “happy” 60-something’s life should look like.

To be fair on that second point, Marilla does, at one point in the novel, think wistfully about the beau she had when she was young. Once. She can do that once, and she can be anxious about aging without someone to eventually care for her (again, until Anne is cemented there) and still be more or less fine with her life choices. Please.

And on the plus side:

The Mrs. Lynde apology was amazing. The song from the musical is probably my favourite from that show:

“Just make my headstone commonplace. And print my name in lowercase. Without an “e.” Just… leave a… space.”

Amazing.

And yet this show’s version manages to be just as good, without there even being a song!

In this episode, we covered:

  • being picked up by a bewildered Matthew at the train station and waxing poetic about a cherry tree;
  • crying a lot;
  • being overly dramatic about how “ugly” she is;
  • being insulted by, insulting, and apologizing to Mrs Lynde;
  • Marilla’s constant attempts to be meaner than she is and to not laugh out loud;
  • being rude to the hired French boy, who is likely unique to this adaptation;
  • meeting the Barrys and pledging eternal love and friendship to Diana;
  • and being accused of stealing Marilla’s broach and being sent away.

There’s still green hair, drunk Diana, Gilbert in his entirety, and other school drama to get to.

Well. So far I’m into it.