This is the last of the three part miniseries of Tipping the Velvet from BBC and author Sarah Waters, let's see what our saucy little minx Nan has been up to! Rolling E3 after the break.
We left Nan and Blake showing Diana what they thought of working for her AND her giant vintage thunderstick; Diana is shocked to find them entwined around each other AND her harnessed pal: what's going on? Blake's mortified, I'm creeped out because Diana brought all those ladies back to Nan's bedroom but Nan herself is just defiant. And still covered in blood, it must be said. Nan! Take five minutes and get a cold cloth! That poor girl's underskirt is RUINT!
Diana throws them out without a moment's thought, of course, which Nan expected but Blake most certainly did not. Nan makes another run at Diana, she's the love of her life! And she's oot on her arse.
It turns out Blake is much more pragmatic in the clutch than our Nan, they'd better sell The Boy's clothes or themselves, unless they want to spend the night in the open. They make it into a shelter, at least men and women are separated, so there's that. I think everyone has the plague, though, I'm spraying down my screen as we speak.
Nan's not worried, though. Let's face it, she hated Mrs. Lethaby and she's just happy to have a sweetheart that she can stand. She wants to make a go of it with Miss Zena Blake, which tells me Miss Zena Blake will be gone by morning. Nan's just not that great at reading people.
Nan's woken by I think the junk lady in Labyrinth
Blake has indeed gone, hours ago, which delights the junk lady and devastates Nan. She's left to beg for change, face all battered and still oddly freshly bloody, even after all that. She looks like a zombie beggar, but that just wasn't all the rage back in the late 1800s as it is now. She's thinking about home and Kitty constantly but she doesn't want to go back in this state and can't afford it regardless.
She thinks of a place! Mrs. Milne and Gracie will take her in, they treated her like family! She staggers to their doorstep, but it's a gentleman who answers the door, with no idea of where Mrs. Milne and Gracie have gone. He's somewhat sympathetic, until it sounds like she might want food or money, then turning her away. She remembers Florence; any idea where she ended up? He knows the cross street of Florence's new address! Off she goes
I mean this in the best possible way; she's been on the streets for 48 hours and is still probably doing better than I would be, but it seems... much longer.
She finally makes it to Florence's door, to pass out immediately. Ohhhhh, I think Florence has a husband and a baby girl to boot, perhaps I misread that over-long eye contact in the doorway from across the street. Or it could be someone else's baby! Sure!
"She's been in the wars, poor girl" and that's what the other guy said! Right before he closed the door in her face in case it was catching. This guy even thinks "they've" cut her hair, hahahaha. Prison, maybe? Or "one of your reformatory girls?" whuut?? Could this be the long lost pal of Zena Blake? Sorry, sorry, too much River. It ended so sadly for me.
ANYWAY, Nan's waking up! And Flo is MAD. She remembers Nan all right, she sat in that cafe for ages feeling like a fool! Nan had ducked out when she realised how embarrassed she was of her streetwalking life, just flat out made a run for it in the middle of a date. Like one of those Tindr tales of meetups gone awry. And why should Nan go to all this trouble to find her NOW?
Nan couldn't think of anyone else, though, and remembered her so clearly, she thought Florence would recall her as well. But Florence has changed, what with the baby, says Nan and just like that, I know the baby isn't Flo's.
Flo tells Ralph (Hugh Bonneville) that Nan's an old friend of Mrs. Darby's, but she doesn't quite remember her name...? Florence is still very angry, but Ralph's kinder, asking what happened to her face? Nan starts to lie but remembers what a crap liar she is and resorts to the truth, sorta. She was living with someone ("a gentleman?" Florence breaks in - hmm) a rich one who called her the love of her his life, and somehow manages to slip in that she was pregnant but lost it during the beating. Socialist Ralph hates the rich and wants to let Nan sleep over, Florence sternly says that it's just for one night. Then she'll help her look for work and a place to stay.
Maybe Florence was mad at being walked on because she DID think it was a date, and felt worried and mad about misreading the situation, which she hadn't, but of course she wouldn't have known that. Because Nan ran like a rabbit in a field.
Hallelujah, Nan's getting a wash in, woo hoo! Watching that sticky bit of red molasses on her lip move for the past 15 minutes was making me stabby.
Nan calls Ralph "gentle as Jesus" and hahahahaha I'm sorry, that just caught me wrong. Florence is still mad and writing aggressively, staying up with Nan for a bit to lay out the rules. Nan can't stay because if the girls from the hostel found out, they'd be all over the place. Ralph will be gone by 6 and Florence and Nan will be gone no later than 8 am, DO YOU UNDERSTAND, NAN?? She does, and thanks them for their hospitality, especially since Florence hardly knows her. And her husband. Florence gives her a hard look and takes her leave.
Nan dreams of oysters and Whitstable, waking at the crack of 8 as Florence is leaving. She talks her way into staying a little bit longer, stepping outside to meet a neighbour, scrubbing the windowsills. People probably don't do that any longer, but I bet it's soothing. I've been dusting plants lately and there is nothing more relaxing.
The neighbour tells her, Florence and Ralph are siblings, ohhhh, I knew it! And the baby was one left behind by another lodger. Oh if I thought there was a chance someone would leave behind a girlbaby...
And THAT explains maybe why Florence was so grouchy; she thought she had a date with Nan, who she thinks was living with a man, no way she's letting her under her skin again. But there Nan is and she has a plan; she'll make herself indispensable! She repeats to herself over and over "this WILL be my new home" and then she dusts a lot and secures a giant pineapple. I just talked about dusting!!
She has a bath in a wee tub (boobs!) in the middle of the kitchen before making supper and settling down to wait. An aggressive ginger barges in, introducing herself as Annie Price (Diane Beck), she's a sanitary inspector and has some leaflets for "Florry." She gives Nan a good once over, something smells good!
Ohhh, Nan watches the shadows of Annie and Florry cuddle in the hallway, it appears she was right about her after all.
Florry's still mad, she liked her house the way it was! And she wants Nan gone, just as Ralph walks in with the. Oh. It's a boybaby, the lacy bonnet threw me off. That's totally fine if you want to leave one of those behind too, I won't even need to buy anything, I've got three of everything you could possibly need.
Nan manages to get the baby to stop crying, causing Florry to give her a one week trial period. Then maybe a month after. So Nan became a kind of housekeeper to the Banners, and er, shouldn't someone be looking for a parent or two for the wee lad? I'm such a hypocrite, if it was a girl I'd be all "SHE'S FINE RIGHT WHERE SHE IS, GIVE US A SMILE DUCKIE!!"
Nan's thinking of it like playing, which makes sense, as an actress. Her hair grows out and I mourn the sleek bob. Florry's still glaring at Nan all the time, but it seems to have softened a little bit, picking at her own hair even
As time went on, Nan got more confident and went looking for fella's clothes again and getting her hair cut. I can't even tell you how much I want to cut my hair like that, it took me 45 minutes to comb out my hair the other day. 45 minutes!
Florry comes home to find Nan singing and cooking and dancing with Cyril, watching from the doorway with a smile on her face.
They have a lovely visit in the park, lots of shots of the wee bebeh in between innuendo about who would be in each other's Socialist paradise.
That night, we found out why our Florry was so cold to her; okay, settle in, this is a long story and there are tears within. The night Nan was supposed to go to the lecture with Florence, Nan explains everything about why she ran. She let Florence think it was a man, but it wasn't, it was a lady who found her selling herself as a boy to men on the streets. She didn't want to tell Florence that, but she didn't want to lie, either, so she bailed. Florry asks her if she has ever been happy? But yes, Nan was happy with Kitty, her first love and has been lately, staying there with them.
Florence went off to the lecture anyway and met Lillian, whom she fell in love with. She did not receive Lillian's love in return, Lillian dug dudes and that's where Cyril came from. Lillian's fella didn't stick around for the baby's birth, and neither, unfortunately, did Lillian, dying during a difficult childbirth. She'd only been gone 6 months when Nan showed up on her doorstep, that's why she was so cold. She didn't think she'll ever love again. Nan knows she can't compete against a ghost, especially one whose baby has been peeing all over her, she thinks Florence thinks she's not good enough for her. I will say that unrequited love is much harder AND easier, all that yearning, but then you never have to find out, do you?
The next morning, Nan's all packed and ready to go, she can't very well stay here any more, can she? But Florry's been up half the night thinking about things; can they maybe go on a date that night? Just them too? Awwww, Nan's got a real girlfriend! And they already live together.
They got to a gay bar, which confuses Florence at first, she thought there would be only women? But they are! Look closer! They eavesdrop on a conversation about two women "tipping the velvet" while a gentleman paid for the pleasure of watching; "what's that?" asks wide-eyed Florry. Ahhhh it's *tongue sticking out* *head nod "down there"* I see! Florence had never heard that before! I hadn't either, before this show!
Annie comes up then. Yay, Florry's out of the house! And Annie's in love again, (I think) Jude from the office and maybe Nan can get Florence sorted, what? Show her the way, Uncle? (er. Some English expressions...) With that, Jude's arrived and Annie's off to keep her all for herself. Jude looks like me! If I was really drunk and squinting in a funhouse mirror.
One of the ladies in the bar approach Nan; isn't she Nan King that was onstage with Kitty Butler? Half the girls in London were in love with her, give them a song, Nan! Florence looks a wee bit freaked out, so Nan demurs until Florry encourages her. Up she gets; singing right at Florence who tears up and watches, rapt.
There are loads of men lurking about in front (just like on Ladies Night!); Nan's stopped by Charles Frosbisher (Alexei Sayle!!!!) who remembers her from the stage before. Just say the word, she'll be trodding the boards again! Florence looks 'CITED!
Also lurking about are drunk men looking to explain to these "toms" (like tom cat?) what a real man can do for them; I'm mostly concerned that Nan seems intent on arguing with these drunk arseholes; that's a dangerous situation. She tells one off spectacularly and that's it, the men are coming! RUN!
They get away easily, though, so I'll stand mom-down. They stop on a bridge to see a man skating in top hat and tails while shooting stars fly overhead and they kiss and kiss and kiss. It's lovely, if just a teensy tiny bit overdone (I mean. Shooting stars?).
They scoot back home to make the beast with two backs. Wow, Florence has the most wonderful unexpected hair! I bet it takes her at LEAST 45 minutes to comb that out the once a month they washed it back then. It's lovely and I was quite worried Ralph was taking photos, but it was an effect of the show, whew.
The next morning, Florence asks what happened. Arrgh, Nan and I cry, don't tell me you didn't want it or are going to pretend you don't remember?! But no, she just never thought she'd be in love again and there she is, with Nan. She asks if Nan is serious about going back to the halls, but Nan figures if Charlie Frobisher thinks she oughtta, she might. What does Florence think? Florry would be rather proud to be a friend of Nan King's, and very happy to be a lover of Nan Astley's! Woo hoo, Nan's finally got a real girlfriend!
Ralph's coming! Oop! Nan makes to leave, but Florence motions for her to stay. He bursts in with Cyril, er-ooh, he can't find Nan, um. Er. *hand wringing* Well. Um. Can she just hold the baby while he goes for a er. Um. *stare at the wall* shave? Of course and off he goes, after a couple more pauses and the girls burst out laughing. He IS just about the best kind of man, Nan! He even helps move Nan into Florence's room, Nan's home at last.
Ralph's practicing his speech for some kind of Socialist convention? Rally! A rally! And Nan's been drawn into politics, as we all should, to some extent, right?
Nan's started at the halls as well, being shown her massive dressing room and more giggling. Back home, Ralph's still practicing his speech, this time in a slightly larger tub having a bath in the kitchen.
Nan's practicing her new act when Kitty shows up, er-ooh, everyone OOT! Kitty's still married to Walter, after a fact, and wow: I haven't heard Marriage of Convenience in ages! Nan doesn't want half-hearted Kitty, though, she wants all of Florence and that's that. Right? Nan's finally happy, don't ruin this, Kitty! She gives our Nan a few days to think about it, promising to leave Walter if Nan wants and kissing her goodbye. She'll be in to see the show on Monday to get Nan's answer.
Nan's staring into the ether a million miles away from Florence, who offers a penny for her thoughts? Ralph saves Nan, coming in just then and thumping away; the rally's off! They can't rent tents, that's it! Nan's got another idea, though, how about the theatre? It's dark on Sundays, why not have the meeting there?
The women have Ralph's speech better memorized than he does, but it's finally time! How will he do? Not well at first, buck up, Ralph! So much heckling and then Nan jumps up on stage, reciting it from memory and getting all shouty. That's what is needed, some theatrics! Florence and Cyril watch proudly with much awkward clapping around the baby.
Nan's reliving all of the best moment with Kitty that whole night, not the bits about Walter, I'd wager.
It's time for the show! I do hope Nan throws her rose at the lovely and stalwart Miss Florence and not Kitty. I understand that Kitty might be who she considers to be the love of her life, but Kitty was never innit the same as she was. She's only saying she'll leave Walter to get Nan back, firmly on the side.
Nan does an awesome song, The Sweetest Girl in LondonTown, interspliced with cuts of reality, her different hats, walking the streets without a penny to her name and so on and so forth and somewhere in there, Florence figures out who the shadowy character is waiting on the upper balcony. It gets chokey up in there, and why am I tearing up?? WHAT'S GOING ON?? Who will she choose?? And then the rose flies and it's to our Florry, yay!
Short cry break.
Nan's back in Whitstable, she's brought Florence in a lovely red dress! They hold hands and go up to meet the Ansteys; I sincerely hope she puts her sister in her place. And we're oot and we're done!
Thanks so much for suggesting the show, Dixie, I love recapping ideas! I'm working on finding Fingersmith next by the same author. And thanks to everyone who read the recaps and to the show itself, for putting massive vintage Victorian sex paraphernalia in my nightmares. Cheers and as I said on E1, keep tipping that velvet, ladies! Now I even know what that means!
ps: I borrowed the top pic from heyfool on Tumblr. Fanks!