Good morning everyone, I hope you're all having a great week? I am packing like I'm getting paid for it, so I can't complain about that. Are you all ready for another episode of Home Fires? Me TOO! Rolling S1:E2 after the break
We're back in September of 1939; the army is training amidst the bucolic countryside; it's very upsetting for the cows, I'm sure. Steph (Clare Calbraith) looks ready to lose it, but we're more worried that Little Stan (Brian Fletcher) seems enamoured, aren't we?
Miriam (Claire Price) is horrified that her David (Will Attenborough) is among the training troops, but he looks thrilled, right up until she chases after him and wait: it wasn't him at all! Perhaps everyone has lost the plot
Frances (Samantha Bond) has all kinds of plans, first the jam and now the cricket field could be used for planting. Her sister Sarah (Ruth Gemmell) cautions her against acting as president before the election *coughJoycecough*, but Frances knows there isn't any time to waste. She seems to be the only one fully aware of what war brings, the famine and uncertainty.
Speaking of Joyce (were we?), Frances has come round somewhat on the former president of the Women's Institute: she is a born leader. We forget how important all that is, you know, the PTA heads that rule with their clique and shun outsiders and the community organization leads that seem to exclude more than include. They still DO everything, whether you like how they do it or not. Leadership is primarily about having the confidence in your vision and being able to convince everyone else of it. It's fine to complain in the back and whisper while pouting (tricky but possible!); what do YOU suggest?
Frances sums it up much better, it's about dragging everyone's horns in the right direction. Sarah jibes: you mean your direction, Well sure, Frances isn't about to disagree, if that's how you want to put it.
Bob Simms (Mark Bazeley) is mixing up his orders to keep things fresh for his wife Pat (Claire Rushbrook); he'd like a cuppa instead of coffee this time! Pat's not there and it will be awful when she returns from the butcher (where David's dad Bryn (Daniel Ryan) is slipping her a little extra because he can tell she's broke).
Miriam and David run back in to the shop, she can't stop crying. Bryn closes the shop and tries to comfort her, he came back, didn't he? But she can't get David dying out of her melon.
We're all extremely nervous as Pat walks home, aren't we? She can't find him immediately when she comes in, but he sidles up to ask where she's been? See: there isn't a right answer, so she tries to equivocate, she wasn't gone long. He's just getting started, and I can't help but notice that he's standing right next to the stove while complaining that he woke up thirsty and there she wasn't. Put the kettle on! It's right there! Look, you're practically leaning onnit!
Hmmm, Pat seems to be sticking up for herself a little bit, but Bob is a sadist of the highest degree, better to do that from arm's length. He goes as far as to blame his lack of success on her weighing him down and then doesn't let her go to the bathroom.
I watched a TED Talk once about domestic violence and while some of it was bang on, what really stuck with me is that Pat probably doesn't even realise she's being abused right now. She's supporting her husband, who's going through a tough time. He's not normally like this and as long as she says and does just the right thing, she'll help him through it. Just the problem is: there is no right way to do or not do anything for Bob or people like him. So
Alison (Fenella Woolgar) is letting a room to the new schoolteacher Teresa Fenchurch (Leanne Best), even clearing out a few of her deceased husband George's things. Boris the puppy is not ready for a new roommate.
Ah and the reason Miss Fenchurch requires accommodation is that Joyce (Francesca Annis) has managed to have the school cottage requisitioned, there's that selectively applied help again. She must not have enjoyed Miss Fenchurch joining the brand new Women's Institute.
Time for the first meeting! Frances looks vomit-y, but gives a rousing speech welcoming all to the first WI meeting during wartime, which women truly know the cost of. Her plan for the next year is to use every available foot of land for food production, only Steph looks excited about that and most people look downright aghast when Frances proposes plowing up the cricket pitch posthaste.
Sarah thinks it won't be worth the colossal resentment of the cricketers and the spectators, Frances doesn't think they'll be around much longer to complain anyway. SHE DIDN'T MEAN IT LIKE THAT. Joyce chooses that moment to swing in; didn't she mean it just like that? At any rate, she's just been to the District Council Meeting (clearly much more important) and they've decided to requisition this hall for the RAF, sorry ladies. First and last meeting, all at once.
Joyce throws the lack of election into the pot she's stirring before she leaves; there will be a secret ballot electing a committee properly, ta ta!
Alison is trying to make sense of Theo Driscoll (Paul Barnhill)'s bookkeeping; his outgoings are off. Has she missed something? There's a Prices of Goods Act coming into play shortly, so these are adjusted figures to make up for that. Alison protests that the Act is to prevent profiteering, Mr. Driscoll doesn't care particularly about the war: he wants to protect his margins. He'll protect her, too, if she plays ball, otherwise he and the other merchants from the Chamber of Commerce will have to find another bookkeeper. She declines.
Now I'm worried how she will pay the bills; if she can't get any clients and her George is dead, how will she live? I feel very invested in this answer.
Frances is scouring the local area maps for a new hall for their meetings when Claire (Daisy Badger) comes in with her tea; Frances warns her that she must think critically, not just accept everything at face value. It's wartime and war is driven by propaganda on all sides.
Claire doesn't have to talk, there's mail being delivered by a half-boiled pudding downstairs! She and Spencer (Mike Noble) have some wrangling to do. I think she might have taken the propaganda part to heart without exactly examining it, however...whether Spencer has a sweetheart in (odious) Jenny and didn't tell her doesn't have anything to do with the war machine. It's more important to her, though, and I FINK they come to an agreement, right before Frances RUINS it by asking for her post. GAHD MUM
The Campbell girls are liking the looks of the town's newest members; hey sailors! They're staying with the Reverend Collingborne (Mark Bonnar) and Sarah.
Bryn sits for a chat with David; he asks David to not go sign up, to wait until they come for him. It will be easier on his mum. Bryn did that to his mum years ago, it nearly killed her.
Oh jeez, I don't think Boris likes Miss Fenchurch at all, what's wrong with her? He takes her for a walk and gets free and he really hates her, why??
Spencer really doesn't have a sweetheart in Jenny (Jodie Hamblet), there's an odd vibe there. She's furious and humiliated when he doesn't want to stop in and see her.
He really does look like a half-boiled pudding, doesn't he, ladies?
Pat stops Jenny; is there still a situation for a telephone operator? Yay, now go get a different place to stay, no kids, right??
Dr. Campbell (Ed Stoppard) is getting dragged down by all the requests by mothers to declare their children unfit for duty; when Erica (Frances Grey - ARE THERE ONLY 4 NAMES IN ENGLAND??) tries to sympathize, he's angry that she's trying to stifle him due to his condition. He takes his frustration out on her before heading out for a pint.
Theresa Fenchurch and Alison are searching the woods for Boris; oh no. He's been hit by a car. A soldier finds him and brings him to Dr. Campbell's house. Young Kate (Rachel Hurd-Wood) answers the door and young Laura (Leila Mimmack) tattles on her father for being at the bar.
The Horse and Groom bar is where Frances was proposing having the next meeting of the WI! They fetch him from there; Boris might live if he gets to the vet soon enough. The young soldier Jack (looks like Guy Pearce, guessing he's Adam Long - Lewis from from Happy Valley series one! Woot!) offers to drive Boris.
Pat's off to start her first day of work, is it all right if I call her husband a sadistic supercilious c-word that doesn't moo?
She's late, but telephone operating looks like a lot of fun! You getta hear everything! Only downside: you getta hear everything. Jenny rakes Pat over the coals for her fraternising with the callers: she should not be calling people by their first name; they have no friends, they connect. THERE WILL BE NO HOBNOBBING! Jeez, Jenny, take it down a notch.
Alison gets through to the vet, where Boris is back in fine form! Yay! Theresa is so excited, how do you come back from killing your roommates dog? You cannot.
Bob Simms is feeling well enough to go groom the cricket pitch, Joyce stops him: doesn't he know the WI is planning to plow that over for flowers? That's not at all what they're planning, but your misinformation is well placed, Joyce, good job. She's pure evil in a lovely blue hat.
Pat's watching the clock as Jenny yammers on about the protocol for recognising voices (you can acknowledge if they acknowledge you first); she has to go! Claire pops round then and Pat makes her move. Jenny offers Pat the job, despite her age, and Pat returns the compliment by saying Jenny is an excellent teacher of the elderly, which made me laugh out loud. Pat is 46.
Claire is there for no reason, of course, checking on Jenny's relationship with Spencer. Jenny isn't about to concede; Spencer is the only man in these parts who doesn't reek of manure.
Pat's one minute late getting home, Bob would like to talk to her about flowers.
Jack and Kate are having a lovely time driving back from the vet's office; he asks her out for lunch the next day and she accepts, all smeared in dog's blood. Young people
Sarah's new houseguest has already broken something, he's extremely handsome. Hello sailor indeed, Nick Lucas (Mark Umbers)! He stares too much, though. This isn't a regular soap opera, love, it's Home Fires. He brings back an even MORE awful lamp.
David tells Miriam that he won't be going to war until called, and she appreciates every extra second she gets, so she will take it. He leaves and we all pretend like we're not almost crying.
Kate's off for her lunch, I think I see Laura chewing on her liver in the corner. Beware the sister without a date
There is a meeting at Frances's house, she can't believe that the men actually believe they want to turn the cricket pitch over for flowers. Sarah has it: "men have a tendency to believe whatever supports their existing prejudice."
Frances knows exactly who that misinformation came from; the women warn her that she has to take Joyce seriously as a rival for being elected president. The men are all riled up at the women and some people will take peace over right any time.
Sarah counsels Frances to choose her battles carefully; Steph puts it more clearly. If Frances insists on plowing the pitch right now, she'll lose the presidency and won't be able to lead them to victory. There is always time to dig up the cricketers after the season is over.
Jack and Kate (great names) are lying down, watching the clouds, but he can't see any shapes, that's what flight training did to him. He's explaining about wind shear and keeping himself alive; she jumps up and kisses him. "What do you see now?" "I see you" "Keep looking" awwww
It's time for the presidential election (hard pass, fanks, been a rough year for those) at the Horse and Groom, which is standing room only. The cricketers are all in their whites; peace in the home, ladies! That's how they're counseled by their menz.
Up in the room, Frances pulls plowing the cricket pitch off the docket, everyone sighs with relief. It's all very well and good to know how reasonable it is, it's quite another to have some Neanderthal who treats you like a doormat on GOOD days making your life hell. Time for the presidential vote!
Joyce and Frances sit outside waiting to hear the vote count; Joyce gets a head-shake from a crony and knows she's been defeated. She takes a second to hide her deep disappointment and marshal her inner forces, before turning to Frances: fancy joining forces? They could be unstoppable. Frances is distracted by the news of the vote call; Joyce reminds her as they walk in: "Unstoppable, Mrs. Barden" and gets "Unthinkable, Mrs. Cameron" in return, oh ho!
The new president is: Mrs. Barden, woot! Go Frances, it's your birthday!
Now go plow that fecking pitch
The National Notices of Registration have gone out to everyone; the government needs to know who they can call on to fight. Miriam sits with hers; will she list David on her census form? She will not. They will not be able to call on him easily. She's still terrified beyond belief and we're out.
I have to say, it was a pleasure to see Adam Long (Lewis Whippey from the first series of Happy Valley) again; he looks so clean cut and adorable that I didn't even recognise him. I wonder if actors prefer these period pieces or the modern gonzo stuff? Either way, it was lovely to see him and I'm enjoying watching everything unfold, until next time, you guys!