Some time back when chatter was about a new show being produced by BBC America, I was not terribly hopeful with regard to what the quality might be. After all, we in North America have been subjected to so many pale imitations of UK & Continental successes (Torchwood, my personal eek!) tailored to a less adventurous palate that they defy counting ~ so what kind of chance would a period piece have being produced here in its entirety, even given that the story takes place here?
My doubts have been proven resoundingly unfounded and I am ecstatic.
A huge amount of credit for what I feel to be realistic portrayals of life and surroundings of the era and location goes to the producers and directors for insisting upon it; to the makeup and costume folks who kept the fingernails dirty and the wristwatches out of sight; to the designers & crew for an amazing set (as I have read described elsewhere); to the writers for not holding back an inch and to the cast, definitely the most obvious to those of us out here watching, for giving us characters we could love/hate. Each & every one seemed to immerse themselves in the filthy, no holds barred world of civil war era New York. How awful life must have been – most people in Five Points were not long off the boat, escaping horrific conditions in Ireland & Scotland only to find life was not much better – they were still downtrodden, life was cheap, there was war, there was disease, perhaps the only difference was that they could make a little money, any which way they chose. And that they did, following the highly notable example of Boss Tweed & his cohorts at Tammany Hall.
Not so strange then given the era, that even with a comradeship formed under the worst of circumstances, Morehouse, Corcoran & Freeman clearly exhibit the separation of class – the great divide as it were.
So, what do I think the future might hold? hmmm .. musings follow …
Forgive me for this,, but I cannot see any logical way in which Matthew might escape persecution/prosecution ~ he did beat up a white man, unforgivable back then no matter the circumstances, no matter the ‘guilt’ of the victim. One has to wonder what Corcoran might do ~ he and Matthew have already had (negative) words about their civil war experiences and as we have seen is increasing his drug dependency. My feeling is that Kevin’s good side will win out (eventually) and he will do whatever is necessary, by any means, to help Matthew. And of course Sara will find something else for which to blame herself – or will she surprise us all and fight for her man? And unrelated – will we ever learn how Matthew came to develop medical skills.
What of Morehouse? He has thrown Daddy to the wolves (just deserts) but will he be able to follow through? Behind the carousing drinker there is a heart, controlled as it may be by the constraints of society. Has he been looking for Daddy’s approval all along? Hopefully he will discover Elizabeth’s southern connections – the man who fought for the north cannot (as we have already seen) abide a person’s collaboration with the Confederacy. Will he extend a hand to Matthew? (Correct me if I am wrong but I seem to recall reading or hearing that Morehouse is not aware that it was Matthew that performed his surgery, he believes it to have been Kevin – is this true or am I imagining?) If I am not, then perhaps it will be revealed to him to secure his help. Then again he might not want that to be public knowledge.
Ah Francis … g’bless. Of all he has done, using the excuse that Kevin was off to war to justify sleeping with his wife is just simply the worst, and indeed a good part of the cause of his torment. So what might happen to Maguire in the future? I think he may go back to being a copper, I think he will have to work very hard to regain Kevin’s friendship , if ever he does. I think Andrew may blame him in part for Kevin’s addiction – all in all our Francis has difficult times ahead even assuming that no-one takes action about the murders. Yet the mores of the day would not condemn his murders any more than those committed by Corky, Annie or Eva, would they? Francis is like the little child looking for love (in all the wrong places, to quote the country song).
Annie’s future baffles . Eva has told her that she has a real chance to be a child, but does she really? Here is a little girl, forced into a ‘marriage’, abused, whose little sister has been murdered. Certainly, with a lot of help, she MIGHT be able to shuffle all this off into some hidden compartment of her mind – but what about the killings? Can she ever really forget Mr. Haverford’s death even if she felt he deserved it – what about the Madam whom Corky dispatched – and last but not least, her ‘husband’. Judging by her actions so far, I am fearful that she might use Corky’s involvement against him, threatening to tell all if he does not do what she wants (whatever that might be). There are sadly no shining examples for her to follow insofar as doing a turnabout.
Eva ~ will Francis discover that she murdered Mollie? God help her if he does.
Ellen ~ I feel no sympathy for this lady. Yes, the accidental death of her own child by her own hand is traumatic yet I think that she is perhaps more desperate about how she will survive if there is no Corky than she is about their daughter’s death … just an opinion. In my heart I hope she disappears in some fashion but I really don’t think that will happen.
Elizabeth ~ not really a lady before her time, history shows that upper class folks of this era projected a patently false aura of morality whilst indulging in all sorts of vices. There was a hint that she may have been poor in her past, so was she subjected to god-knows-what in order to become Mrs. Haverford – was this why she was so upset when she discovered the truth about Annie’s ‘husband’? Methinks her downfall will be her association with Southern sympathizers.
Kevin Corcoran ~ COPPER ~ tough, violent, caring, gentle and by any standard save that of the day, corrupt. A man frustrated by the unexplained death of his daughter while he was away fighting; his own inability to find his missing wife & living with the guilt of not being there for them. When he finally does find her, the revelations are almost too much ~ his daughter was killed by his wife ~ his wife was having an affair with his best friend (and she had an abortion because of the affair) ~ his best friend had been hiding his now addicted wife from him all along. What does his daughter’s image leaving the home signify ~ that now he knows what happened her ghost can rest? Again, my opinion only ~ I believe that with Matthew’s persecution Corky will find himself torn – can he or does he want to help Matthew, who certainly did the crime but who had what he felt were extenuating circumstances ~ I believe he will have opposition from Morehouse who, until he realizes Matthew’s importance in his own life, will tell Corky to leave it alone ~ I believe he will be discouraged by both Andrew & Francis from trying to help Matthew . I also believe that he will hit bottom with his addiction and claw his way back to help Matthew. I hope.
At first, when you look at the murders these folks have committed you might wonder that they do not use knowledge against one another ~ Corky knows what Francis has done (as does Andrew) but will his own guilt associated with Annie stop him from doing anything about it ~ Annie of course knows what Corky has done, but can she take a chance & tell the world (to get her way) given that she has committed two murders herself …. Oh what a tangled web etc.
Flawed heroes ~ I love them, dirty fingernails & all ♥
For a little while, Sunday television fare was extraordinary and we know it will be again.
psst - if you read this without having seen COPPER, do yourself a favour and watch season one so as to be prepared for season two - another opinion