Episodes 7 and 8: “Tarts and Tartans” and “The Ladies in the High Castle”
More Meaningful Title: This Whiskey Tastes Like Cat Bottom
I’ve decided that this trip to Scotland is my fave double episode of all. I know that when this series is cancelled- and with two of its main characters evacuating London like a sinking ship this seems likely- I will watch this episode with love in my heart, a gleam in my eye and gallons of alcohol in my bloodstream.
C + LJ + S =
So, apparently, Caroline and Lady Julie have had words off screen at some event they both attended. I hate when this happens because I can’t analyze it. Lady Julie recaps the convo for the cameras Sophie and then starts crying. Sophie – freshly eviscerated by Caroline and blood-sworn to never put a foot wrong again – just wants Lady Julie to stop (as we all do). Lady Julie – who reminds me *exactly* of Gena Rowland’s character in the film A Woman Under The Influence – feels abandoned by Sophie. Imagine a torn piece of flesh with AH-mazing hair being fought over by ravening wolves: this is Sophie.
In a related scene, Caroline brags to Luke about the “effort” that Sophie is making (to being Caroline’s friend again? To being a better person? To bigger hair?). It’s like Satan reporting that his demons are fully operational again after a brief hiatus for maintenance. This kind of exchange is literally why I watch the show.
The ladies fly to Scotland. Fleming hyperventilates. (Probably because she’s sitting beside Fuck It’s Juliet™). Caroline takes charge and bosses everyone around. She’s in her element as the centre of attention and it’s fantastic to watch. If the show could just be distilled to these core moments it would be my dream come true, not to mention a ratings juggernaut. It could be called “Women Having Fun!”
|Caroline, supreme leader of the pink ladies
Caroline has rented Dundas Castle for the ladies, which is truly magnificent, and later the menfolk will follow. Caroline has rules! She lists them rapidly so as no one will notice. They mostly revolve around the ingestion of calories, like a good little bulimic. But remember all the damage she caused Lady Julie and Fleming by insisting she Doesn’t. Have. Any. Rules. Dammit!? All forgotten. How convenient!
Here’s where Caroline really shines: she literally lured Marissa to Scotland to harm her. Among the other ladies Caroline lays the groundwork for a fight with Marissa over who started the Dubai rumour – which is a nonissue because as long as it keeps Caroline in the spotlight, she adores any attention – but first she steals Marissa’s bedroom. Because it’s better. Talk about putting your guests first, Caroline! I think you should write a book on etiquette and protocol. It could be called, “Why Sociopaths Succeed“. Marissa is a nursing mother and you just pushed her out of a bedroom that has an adjoining bathroom because you wanted to be closer to your makeup artist.
When I was a kid, I thought everyone lived in a castle.
-Baroness Fleming, on perception, fantasy and reality
So Marissa, showing a magnificent amount of courage, confronts Caroline directly about the Dubai rumour/issue/something/nothing and Caroline has to scrabble to regain superiority. Which she never quite does, so she turns around and blames Juliet to deflect attention. Marissa categorically denies all allegations. This is the best offense. We all have so much to learn from how Marissa handled this situation. (I’m also laughing at the part where Caroline tries to tell the ladies WHY her family is moving to Dubai and it’s so boring, they literally tune out…mostly because whatever she says, it will be a lie.)
We also have to hand it to Adela for sharing such a painful truth so beautifully; she is now in sobriety after a long period of alcohol addiction. She’s lovely and I love her. In fact, the whole group is having a fabulous dinner, talking and laughing. What we don’t have is a muzzle for Fuck It’s Juliet ™, who, from here on out will not have a conversation that doesn’t end in argument. Juliet says something insensitive to Adela and makes the situation about herself. Adela excuses herself. Caroline berates Juliet. So far, this is a master class in elegance. The car ride home was so funny, I’m running it on repeat. Please be like this always, Ladies o’ Londoooo.
The Next Morning…
Fuck It’s Juliet™ earns the her title of Asshole of the Year by managing in the course of one dinner and one breakfast to alienate Adela, Marissa and Sophie. In Canada, we call that a hat trick. But in truth this was entirely caused by Caroline prompting Juliet’s desire to prove to Caroline how “loyal” she is. Juliet is literally a machine that Caroline can steer but not actually control. She sends Fuck It’s Juliet™ into the room and then works to dodge the land mines. Not an efficient system, but it’s the best one Caroline has right now because she has burned all the other ladies and no one trusts her. So Caroline went to pick at Marissa, then like a rabid dog Juliet took to the scent of blood causing Marissa, Lady Julie and Adela all to leave. Caroline is now left in a room where Juliet is fighting with Sophie. Not a good look, skinny girl.
(I’m very, very proud of Lady Julie for leaving the room and supporting Marissa. Lady Julie is the type of woman who always needs a cause, it’s just a matter of choosing her battles wisely. Not choosing this battle was a big win.)
Because Caroline is basically in a castle-competition with Lady Julie, she *needs* this trip to run smoothly so she can maintain dominance in the group. Not trusting the women not to fight whilst shopping in Edinburgh, she promptly divides the group roughly in half…
C + LJ + S + J = ️
Shop vintage while Caroline mocks them from her throne chair. Then off to “lunch”, which consists of glasses of white wine. Each woman takes a turn pledging fealty to Caroline, even Lady Julie. It’s like watching that scene in Braveheart right before the corpse falls through the roof. [gif not available]
M + A + F =
This group marches right to the nearest Italian and tucks into actual food. #FlemingTheFoodie makes small moaning noises, she is – by her own admission – a “moaner”. Marissa and Fleming forge the foundation of a real friendship. It’s lovely to watch.
Dinner includes a whiskey tasting and then the haggis is piped in by a bagpipe player, but not before a poem is screamed at it.
I’ve died and gone to hell.”
-Caroline Stanbury, predicting the future.
Marissa didn’t bring her newborn and now she is sad. Because I used to teach swimming to tiny terrors I know everything there is to know about children (joke, bitches, I only saw a baby once and it was from far away and it was unconcious) Rule #1 is, Your kid doesn’t miss you but you miss your kid. That’s why you should just bring it him her with you. In a bar. On a plane. To the moon. If you want to cure your separation anxiety, strap your baby to your hip and carry on with life.
|Marissa’s life advice, rn.
So, now Marissa is in pieces because Caroline and Fuck It’s Juliet™ have been at her for two whole days and she doesn’t have her support system. She has obviously spoken with her husband and I suspect that she has even tried to extricate herself from this trainwreck of a weekend. Which is why Caroline is forced takes this opportunity to apologize to Marissa. Caroline doesn’t give a fuck about Marissa but she does seem to really respect the business acumen of Marissa’s husband Matt… Who arrives the next morning with the other husbands, ready to protect his wife. He reminds me of Mark Darcy fighting for Bridget Jones. It’s actually quite romantic.
They do some fun activities like falconry and quad biking and archery. Caroline is correct that having the men around stabilizes the women. What she means is that she is on her best behaviour because no one wants to be married to the real Caroline Stanbury. Sad but true. Everyone has a great afternoon.
At dinner, Cemmin looks handsome in his kilt, Caroline looks a bit fat in her dress and Sophie is dressed like a rockette. Caroline even re-apologizes to Matt directly. Verrrryyyyyy interesting. Caroline is sucking up to Matt and I want to know why. Is she just one of those women who needs men to like her? I guess, but that’s so basic… I expect more.
Then there are speeches for Caroline.
Horribly embarrassing speeches.
Sophie has apparently re-married since this morning, because she says “mine [husband] is not here” and starts crying. Prompted by a producer indiscernable emotion, Lady Julie spontaneously jumps up and no one knows what she is trying to say. I’m expecting tears and I am not disappointed. It’s a mess.
Then there are fireworks! Magnificent fireworks and all the Ladies, plus their husbands (real or imagined), dressed to the nines admire them on a perfect Scottish summer evening, gazing into the sky before Dundas Castle. This is how I want to remember you forever, Ladies of London.
#Times Sophie Embarrasingly Declares her Love & Loyalty to Caroline: 3
#Times Caroline spoke about food: a few
#Times Caroline ingested food: goose egg
I would have thought that this would be the end of the series, given how fantastic this double episode is, but apparently not…
Next Week: Hats, Champagne, and some other stuff.