Home Fires S1:E4 Coward of the County Recap

It's been a minute, hasn't it? I've missed Home Fires, although lord knows we've got some (very distant) topical reminders of fascist statehoods. Who's ready to roll S1:E4? Me too!!

Steph Farrow (Clare Calbraith) and Little Stan (Brian Fletcher) walk us into Great Paxford where we see the signs of impending war: curb painting, bacon rationing. BACON.

It's February 1940 and Jack (Adam Long from Happy Valley!) is ready to roll, let's go Kate (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and Laura (Leila Mimmack)!! Laura is late every single morning, but I've got my ears up for the familiarity with which he treats her. I know, they all live together, but still. Eyes.

They're off to Tableywood Air Force base to married-people argue over what they're going to do with their spare room in the cottage they're moving into. One wants an office, one a nursery: you guess who wants what! NO, GUESS!!?!

They're a lovely couple, aren't they? The exact opposite of Bob (Mark Bazeley) and Pat Simms (Claire Rushbrook), the latter of which is going to work at the telephone exchange. She's quiet and drawn.

Frances Barden (Samantha Bond) and her sister Sarah (Ruth Gemmell) are meant to be working out the location of an air raid shelter, but Sarah's a little distracted with her husband the Reverend Collingborne away at war. Frances comforts her, but warns her to not worry unduly about the Reverend coming back different; they'll all be changing.

Joyce Cameron (Francesca Annis) has come to see butcher Brynn (Daniel Ryan) for her ration of pork chops; Claire (Daisy Badger) flibberting around in the background talking about the Women's Institute working on the new air raid shelter makes me tense. Frances wants the WI to build a shelter big enough to house the whole village, which sends Joyce's ears up. WHERE? Where will Frances find that much room for her shelter?

Bob's getting his nerve up to make a call about a/his job (? he keeps repeating "a living wage"), picking up the phone to hear...his lovely wife Pat, who's been keeping her job quiet to pay the bills and not emasculate the sodding sadistic wanker. I'd wager he will not like this.

Claire runs straight back to Frances to tattle on herself spilling the beans to Joyce. It is better to get shite locked down when Joyce is about, no doubt, but maybe they'll be okay. I have ten dollars on "Not Okay."

Also Not Okay is Bob Simms with his wife getting a job, but Erica Campbell (Frances Grey) is on the case, watching from around the corner. She watches as Bob manhandles Pat into the house and eavesdrops as he tells Pat she WILL quit her job, so the village will stop laughing at big Bob's wife having to get a little job to support them.

Erica goes to her medicine cabinet and prepares? Laundanum? I can't tell yet

Spencer Wilson (Mark Noble) is being a bit of a knob; short sharp-ish answers to Claire, but then, he is off to war; I've heard that makes people tense.

Brynn is furious. David (William Attenborough) still hasn't received his ration book from the government! That's because his mum Miriam (Claire Price) didn't exactly register him...so he didn't get called to the war...and I guess she didn't tell David's dad either. It's "possible" Miriam might have something off the form, you know, "something like having a son?" asks Brynn.

It's illegal, though, Brynn's going to call the government, and David bursting in just then makes Miriam spill it all. She's his mother! She won't let him fight!

I'm trying my best to be sympathetic and I can't really imagine what would happen if my boys were conscripted, but I hope I would respect their wishes and autonomy as people separate from the fact that I birthed them. That probably won't happen.

Erica brings her concoction to Pat, she's been worried about Bob since his food poisoning, here's a tonic to put in his food or drink! Just one teaspoon a day and dang, this doctor's wife doesn't mess around! I hope it's cyanide and you can't prove I said that.

Sarah about comes out of her skin when Nick Lucas (Mark Umbers) bursts in on her staring at Air Raid brochures; he advises her to tell everyone to get on that air raid shelter faster rather than slower. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN????

And why is he so handsy? It's making me wonder if he's who she was looking out the window for earlier.

Little Stan isn't actually all that little, is he? He's made it out to the air force base to see Laura under the guise of dropping off the milk bill. She calls him "the boy from the farm" to her boss / boyfriend, so no love for Little Stan today. He should really get a new nickname if he wants to make a serious run at her.

Joyce finds Claire checking out her church; her husband is on the board and will make sure no such air raid annexation will happen. I hope that was Claire deliberately leading Joyce astray but I can't even say how surprised I am that Joyce is married. She has unhappy spinster written all over her.

I love the word spinster for it's connotations, but I think people who choose not to marry are brilliant. It takes a lot of courage to go it alone in this world: bravo.

Alison Scotlock (Fenella Woolgar) is learning the uncomfortable facts of life from Nigel Hughes (Graeme Hawley); it's too late to stop cooking everyone's books because it now looks as though she's running a "well-oiled criminal enterprise." All I have to say about that is I think most people would have a pretty hard time believing that an accountant masterminded a bunch of people war profiteering, especially since she clearly isn't living high on the hog.

Ah, yes, Claire was laying red herrings about with her picking about in Joyce's church, she's in collusion with Frances to distract Joyce from their real target. The women brainstorm about different things they can provide for the air raid shelter, teacher Teresa (Leanne Best) covers for Steph, who seems a little discombobulated.

Laura's heading off from work. Her boss Richard (Phillip McGinley) creeps me right the eff oot, but Laura digs him enough to swap spit before heading home for the day.

David's made his decision, he was prepared to wait until he was called but since his mum messed with that...he's off. And today. His dad begs him to come right back to this spot after, right back here, son. Aww you guys. He cries.

He returns home to tell Miriam that their son is gone, she's just as devastated as they knew she would be.

Joyce has been busy; her and her henchwoman stop by Frances's house to share the news of Joyce's husband having commissioned an architect to build the air raid shelter. Just in case she wanted to see what a professional design would look like instead of "a cobbled together amateur affair."

Oh but they don't need it, the WI's already planned and has one underway! The blueprints shore are purty, though. The shelter is located in Frances' cellar, she must be megarich, hey? She walks away while Joyce literally stands with her mouth open.

Bob's working away, shouting "TEA!" over his shoulder, as you do, Pat taking a minute to stir in the "tonic" before bringing it in. She gets busted for no sugar and I have to mention that Bob brought the tea all the way back into the kitchen to drop it off so she could stir in some sugar and bring it all the way back to where he was tapping away.

Teresa has a visitor! It's Connie Ward (Rachael Elizabeth) and Teresa is very much not happy to see her, practically shouting 'NO WE DON'T WANT A CUPPA!!!" at Alison and dragging Connie out into a nearby field. Hmmmmmm, when we last saw Teresa a lot, she was at a dance and I got a bunch of vibes re: her sexual orientation, I have to wonder. And wonder no more, this is the love of Teresa's life, and Teresa ran when they were found out to save Connie's job and her future career.

Connie's come with an ultimatum in the form of two tickets on the S.S. Alexis to New York: come with her to the new world and live without shame.

Er. Connie thinks that the United States of AMERICA is a better place to be openly gay? Hm. Maybe on the whole, but I don't think that's the case these days.

Little Stan walks in on Richard and Laura making out on his desk, she was supposed to lock the door! Is Richard married? Or just a regular jerk?

Oh ho, so that's why Spencer was acting so oddly; a haughty Jenny (Jodie Hamblet) lets Claire in on why: he's registered as a conscientious objector. The whole town is talking about it and Miriam is taking it very personally, cowardly Spencer and his mother are not allowed in the butcher shop.

Teresa's trying to make up her mind when she overhears a row at the Farrow farm, they've only got two months to change the way they farm or the WAC will take over and evict them. Teresa comes in for a chat, she knows exactly what Steph's problem is with all the newly required paperwork: Steph can't read.

She offers to help Steph sort out the paperwork, then teach her to read and watching a strong person like Steph struggle not to cry is heartbreaking.

So is the thought that Teresa just gave up her possible new life with the love of her life.

Claire confronts Joyce about Spencer; it's she who has been calling him a un-patriotric coward. She takes a moment to dig in the knife deep about Claire pretending the church was to be requisitioned, Claire should have come right back at her for that, but she's used to being kicked and cowed she is.

Kate shows Jack the cottage they'll be in on Saturday, yay! It's tiny and lovely and perfect for such a happy couple.

I didn't even throw up when I typed that, I think I'm growing as a person!

Whatever Erica put in that tonic, it must be potent, Bob's high AF and spaced right out. He even smiles and says thank you and says she can go to work if she wants! This is the best tonic ever! Pat goes and gives the bottle a little rub, she knows what's up.

Teresa gives Connie the bad news, she feels very attached to this "quiet little nothing in the middle of nowhere" and she won't go to New York to be an accessory in Connie's life. She presses a kiss to Connie's cheek and with a whispered "Goodbye, my love" she's gone.

Now. Teresa made a good point in that Connie could have made any number of reasonable overtures instead of showing up with a ticket to another continent, but I can't help but think that Teresa never loved Connie. Not in a rom-com Everything Must Be Overcome kind of way, but to choose to stay somewhere she JUST moved to instead of leaving with the women she loved? Hm

Laura's helping Kate pack, she doesn't think she'll see Kate much after she's gone. Little Stan comes to see her just then, but before they can talk, Richard comes in to see Kate.

JACK DIED???

Come ON!!! What???? Kate collapses as we all try to think WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT, EXACTLY??? Holy shite. Okay, Home Fires, I see you, that woke me up at the end.

So. We lost Jack and we've got a conscientious objector in our midst. I know of people that dodged the draft for the Vietnam War and I guess since I was surrounded by hippies the whole time; I never realised how badly some people would view that. Of course everyone opposes war; war is terrible, literally the worst! But it's also a duty and I never realised how difficult it would have been to be a CO in 1940. By the sixties there was a whole movement against it, but back then, you were a coward if you didn't fight for your country, if you didn't yearn to do so.

The War With Joyce is veering into cartoonish territory, I'm having a hard time with it seriously, although I do love how well the parts are played. Until next time!