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Episode 5 is like the episode in Emily of New Moon, The Book, where Emily thinks she's been poisoned and accidentally reignites an old rivalry-- only different.  It  opens with Emily composing some poetry while the landscape busies itself being bleak. I do appreciate the will to grimness of this show so far, even if it mostly manifests as melodrama.

Who am I kidding? I love melodrama.

Emily is fascinated by Lofty John's orchard. Is she going to be POISONED? Laura has amazing sleeves and shows a refreshingly out-of-character vindictiveness when discussing Lofty John's purchase of the New Moon land.

I really hope Emily goes to visit that condescending priest in this episode! I love the condescending priest!

Ilse continues to be awesome, and Emily to be petulant. Poor Emily. The claims against Lofty John are exaggerated here, and he is rumored to be in league with the devil (not a feature of his characterzation in the book, where he was a “high and lofty fellow” who tricked the Murrays out of some land through card-sharping or something.) I guess this is Ilse and Emily being imaginative, but as we've already seen Gothic ghost romances on the beach and a significant part of Jimmy's exposition given to friendly ghosts, so it's hard to gague the rules.  Emily and Ilse are investigating his barn or house or whatever it is, but it's creepy and there are apples all over the place. Creepy apples.


. . . and when Lofty John does show up, he bellows a lot and makes sounds in his throat. All right, there's a strange child doing monologues in his barn; he has a right to be angry.

Good heavens, he's telling her to eat the apple. This is not how the story goes! I guess they're going to spin it so that Emily thinks she's opened doors for demons or whatever the Presbyterian equivalent is and milk that for drama. Well, it's the same principle-- have some unkind fun at the expense of an imaginative little girl.

And eat it she does, wincing with fear.

Oh, no! He told her to eat it and then told her it was poisoned? NO. THAT IS WRONG. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE THIS GUY.

Book spoiler: In Emily of New Moon, Emily and Ilse make a habit of stealing apples from Lofty John Sullivan's orchard. (He's not rumored to be in league with the devil in the book, only a Roman Catholic and a contentious neighbor). One day he catches Emily eating a big apple from his barn. He feigns horror and claims the apple was poisoned. It's a mean joke and causes some fallout between the Sullivans and the Murrays, but eventually things get sorted out. Book-version Lofty John is headstrong and certainly careless of children's feelings, but not malicious. He doesn't turn out to be a great friend or anything, but he's no worse than most of the adults Emily encounters, and considerably better than some.

In the TV show, he catches Emily telling a story about an apple in his barn, tells her she has to eat it now, watches her finish it with a smile on his face, and then tells her the apple was full of rat poison and she'll be dead in an hour.

What the hell, ETV?

Oh well, at least the cliffs are nice and bleak. And Emily asks Ilse to fetch Pandora (the immortal cat) and Perry before she dies. Because Perry is awesome and can save her with jauntiness and industry where doctors fail. He has been saving all his pennies up in a sock because he doesn't play cards or smoke like the other Stovepipe Town boys and now he is going to rescue the boss' daughter from certain death, thereby inheriting New Moon and making a million in the Canadian Stock Exchange, because Perry is the Greatest.   

Actually, he never shows up in this episode. Boo.

I like that TV Emily doesn't like Teddy at first because he comes off all creepy and dickish. That is, I like it because I think Emily/Teddy is fundamentally untenable and a boy raised under Teddy's circumstances is more likely than not to have some issues with social skills. I dislike it because it's a huge ridiculous romance cliché.

Honestly, I don't think Aunt Elizabeth would ever say “There's a touch of Lucifer in that child.” That is un-Murraylike in the extreme. Emily would say it about a cat or something and be sharply reprimanded for talking of things she doesn't understand. Jimmy should never have to reprimand Elizabeth for using the Devil's name.

Emily is A Sensitive Child, which means we spend most of every episode watching her cry, whether in humiliation, indignation, or terror. This is more uncomfortable on the screen than it is on the page. Perhaps the screenwriters should have accounted for this difference in their screenplays.

More ghosts. I guess this is going to be a theme.

Illegitimate Murray baby ghosts! Who wants to guess that His Loftiness was that baby?

Oh, well, at least we get to see Elizabeth tell him off! Too bad in this version he's all sloppy and mad with grief over his sainted maligned mother so what should be an enjoyable personality clash is reduced to Elizabeth threatening to lock him up in an asylum and then running away as he bellows.

Also, GUESS CONFIRMED, less than five minutes later!

Then he chases them through the woods and threatens to cut down all the trees. Ok, now we go see the condescending priest! Come on, Emily, you'll love him! He'll feed you plum cake and give you backhanded complements that you can mistake for regular compliments and make fun of your appearance!

Come on. We can't have gotten all those references to John being a Papist for nothing.

You have time. It's going to take him all day just to get through that one tree. No, he's not even trying to fell the trees, just hacking away at them and crying. Poor guy. It's not his fault the screenwriters decided to rachet up the drama.

Man, can't neighbors have a quarrel without one of them being crazed with grief over his mother's mistreatment by his father's family? I am pretty sure that this is a dramatic possibility, since it happened in the book. 

Ok, Laura is not going to tell this story. She is not going to tell Emily that Alexander Murray “strayed from his marriage bed.” and a child was “born on the wrong side of the blanket” That makes no sense. You know who should be telling this story? Perry Miller. Perry would piece it together from the giant hints the rest of the Murray family has been dropping and give it to Emily straight. Laura would not. Ever. Not now, and not ten years from now. If it had some direct bearing on Emily-- if, for example, she were unsuitably engaged to a worldly older man, and that man were rumored to have witnessed the Black Mass fathered a child somewhere, the aunts would tell her together-- rather, Elizabeth would tell her as tersely as possible while sitting up extremely straight, and Laura would sob. This scene is nonsense. Check your mores, ETV!

YES CONDESCENDING PRIEST TIME. Time to focus on what's important!

There are loads of candles and a dude in a cowl and everything! So scary and foreign! In the book, Emily just goes to the house where the preist lives. Here, she has to wander into the church and freak out. Visuals, drama, whatever.

Hm. He's “Father Ducharme” in ETV. IN the book, of course, he's Father John Cassidy, Giver of Cake and Smugness, Keeper of the Comical Irish Accent. Maybe ETV is trying to be more inclusive of French Canadians than the books were. It would be impossible to be less. I hope he has French plum cake!

Man, Father Ducharme barely condescends at all and there is no cake whatsoever and where has Perry been this whole time? John, who is not in the least lofty in this version even though they still call him that, talks sadly to a rat, and ghosts ghosts ghosts, and now the barn is on fire and Jimmy and Emily save the day because their hearts are pure.

Maybe he is called Lofty John because he lives in the loft.

Oh, well, at least the trees are saved and there is a heavy-handed diary ending. What more can you ask, really, except cake?

I miss Father Cassidy and the original Lofty John. They weren't after taking Emily any too seriously, to be sure, but they were a lot more fun, and they weren't crudely carved out of giant blocks of plot device and Victorian tragedy respectively.

I see from IMDB that Father Ducharme will return. Will he bring cake and explain to Emily how to get her heroine out of the convent this time? I hope so.

In conclusion, Episode 5: Paradise Lost was a huge waste of everyone's time and did not even have Perry in it. The next episode is called “The Enchanted Doll.” There were exactly zero enchanted dolls in the Emily trilogy, though there was a dead snake that looked alive for a second there. Am I going to watch it? Of course I am.


blase ev

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