This review contains spoilers.
2.9 Think Gently Of The Erring
Think Gently of the Erring features sleazy politicians, shameless displays of inebriation, and sharp objects applied with considerable force as Copper builds to a climax in the final few episodes of the season.
The biggest new development this week comes with the return of Eva’s violent side. (Remember that time in season one when she murdered somebody? Yeah, that happened.) This guy Ramsey is certainly a douchebag, but it’s questionable whether that justifies gouging his eye out. Eva is taken to the poshest prison cell ever, with plenty of room for drinking booze and having sexy time with Corcoran on the double bed.
The show takes a leaf from mystery programmes when Ramsey is murdered in his hospital bed and all we see of the killer are hands wearing a large black ring. I’m not sure Copper has ever shown a murder happen without letting us see the perpetrator, and it’s a bit of a jarring thirty-second genre shift. Still, the mystery of the killer is enticing. Who would wear a ring like that – someone rich? Who has it in for Eva?
My money’s on Donovan for being involved somehow, if only because the guy has been oozing increasing amounts of sleaze lately. Eva tells him the baby is his, but it’s not clear whether this is true since she is obviously trying to use the news to earn herself protection from execution. Donovan turns it right back on her.
By the way, the first woman to be executed by the U.S. federal government was Mary Surratt on July 7, 1865, for her part in Lincoln’s assassination. That doesn’t necessarily mean smaller governing bodies didn’t do it sooner, but it does call into serious question the cavalier way the Copper characters discuss the possibility of Eva’s being hanged. And that’s not even bringing up the fact that she’s pregnant, which means, according to Eva, that the baby will be hanged too. I’ve never had a real problem with this show’s historical content before, but seriously Copper? We’re supposed to believe they would hang a pregnant lady? It’ll be over a hundred years before even abortions are allowed.
Donovan also has a mysterious lock box oh-so-cleverly hidden behind a giant painting, filled with some papers that Lansing kills Milo O’Hearn to get at. On Donovan’s orders, a supremely creepy Francis catches Lansing, gets the papers back, and buries him alive. On the flip side, a charming Francis flirts with Theresa Trembley, a witness to Alderman Bartlett’s murder. Turns out Corky was right about that case still being open.
Matthew Freeman wants to publish a paper warning the people about wells contaminated with the disease plaguing the city, but to do so he and Morehouse have to devise a plan to give the credit to a white professor. Freeman is admirable for never hesitating or complaining about the injustice of this; he just wants to help people.
Meanwhile, Hattie gets sassy with a jerk of a white guy and though she gives him exactly what he deserves, she’s treading dangerous ground for the Freeman family. More dangerous, though, is Matthew, who threatens the guy with an axe and then hurls it through his window. Interestingly, he blames Hattie for his behaviour, telling Sara they need to get her attitude under control. Apparently Hattie has Jedi mind powers capable of forcing him to hurl pointy things at people. Sheesh! Men.
After weeks of watching Elizabeth gettin’ slizzard on Big O, we finally start seeing some consequences in the form of untoward sexual advances and a conversation with a telegraph machine. She ruins Freeman’s chance to have his paper published, and Morehouse is very upset until she distracts him with sex. But he refuses to provide more opium, so Liz gets her own source and starts chugging it like a carton of lunch milk. Kudos to Anastasia Griffith for playing a fabulous inebriated rich lady in 1864. Bet they didn’t train her for that role in film school.
In other news: Hattie presses for more info about Sara’s brothers, threatening to unravel Sara’s lie about their deaths; Donovan is making progress on his aqueduct bid and has Norbert Morehouse’s backing; Robert Morehouse has no appreciation for the time it takes to write a good research paper; Corky hunts down Ramsey’s equally douchebaggy cousin and wails on him; and Andrew and Sybil O’Brien are adorable. It was a jam-packed episode. But none of the events of the week stand out as being pivotal—they are all building toward something bigger.
Next week, the usual drugs and whores plus an extra-large helping of sleazy politician. Donovan is stepping up his game.
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