Alias Grace: Part 5   Show Only 
November 5, 2017 3:20 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Grace recalls the day of the murders in more detail just as a familiar face from her past threatens to undo everything Dr. Jordan has been working for.

"...the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world..." - Edgar Allan Poe

*Jordan reads Grace and McDermott's confessions, in which Nancy is strangled by the pair, then dismembered by McDermott. He walks with the Reverend and discusses the case, and the Reverend tells him that he needs to find a new living situation, as if it became known that he was living alone with his landlady the scandal could be used against him by the Tories. The next day at the governor's mansion, Jordan gives a speech to the society.

Grace: I suppose she's afraid of me. When people are afraid, they often behave with cruelty. You don't seem afraid of me, Clarrie.
Clarrie: Afraid of you for rising up against your master? Miss Grace, where do you think I come from? The young doctor is teaching them all he what he knows out there. I know more about him than you would think.
Grace: What do you mean?
Clarrie: He likes his things to be clean and tidy and he's willing to pay for it. So I did some work at his landlady's house yesterday. Her husband ran off on her, and he seems to be taking fine care of her.
Grace: What sort of woman is she?
Clarrie: She has a wild rolling to the eye and a twitchy manner. And those two things together always mean warm work behind closed doors. Doctor Jordan better watch himself. Because if I ever saw a determination to get a man's trousers off him, it's there in her eyes.
Grace: That is quite coarse.
Clarrie: Oh I think it is coarse and unnatural that they take their breakfast together now.

*After Jordan's speech, Jeremiah introduces himself as Dr Jerome DuPont, and says he wants to use hypnotherapy on Grace. Grace faints at the sight of Jeremiah, but does not reveal his identity when she revives.

Grace: Today I must go on with the story. Or the story must go on with me, carrying me inside it, along the track it must travel straight to the end, weeping like a train, and deaf and single-eyed and locked tight shut, although I hurl myself against the walls of it and scream and cry and beg God himself to let me out.

*At the session, Grace tells Jordan of the day of the murders. After Kinnear rode off to the city, Nancy gives Grace and McDermott their notice. McDermott tells Grace he plans to kill Nancy with the axe that day, then wait for Kinnear to return the next day and shoot him, then rob the house of any valuables, and that Grace can either help him or be killed too. Grace tells Jordan that she wasn't sure if he was serious, but wasn't sure he wasn't, so she played along, but convinced him not to kill Nancy that day, so they wouldn't have to account for her whereabouts.
*In bed with Nancy, Grace tells her that McDermott wants to kill her, but she dismisses it as bluster. Grace dreams of Mary in the bedroom, with a jar of fireflies; Grace opens the window to let them out, but they're gone when she turns around. Later, she dreams of Nancy in the garden, bleeding from her forehead and falling down, choking. She tells Jordan that it was the dreams which were to blame for her being put in the asylum.
*The next morning, Grace is in the garden. She sees McDermott take the axe into the house, and hears Nancy cry out.

Grace: After that I can remember no more for a time.
Jordan: Nothing about the cellar? Nothing about seeing McDermott dragging Nancy by the trap door and throwing her downstairs? It's in your confession.
Grace: That is what they wanted me to say The lawyer. Mr. Mackenzie, he said I had to say it, to save my own life. He said it was not a lie, as that is what must have happened, whether I could remember it or not.
Jordan: Did you give James McDermott the kerchief from around your neck?
Grace: The one that was used to strangle poor Nancy? It was mine, I know that. But I have no recollection of giving it to him.
Jordan: Nor of being in the cellar? Nor of helping him to kill her, nor of wanting to steal the gold earrings from her around corpse which he says you wished to do?
Grace: All that time is dark to me. In any case, there were no gold earrings taken. I won't say I didn't think of it later, when we were packing up. But having a thought is not the same as doing it. If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.

*Kinnear returns home; McDermott shoots him from stable and drags him to cellar. Grace runs away and McDermott shoots at her and misses, whereupon she faints.
*Jamie testifies that he came to the house and saw her at the pump, wearing white stockings presumably stolen from Nancy. Grace says his testimony convicted her, and when she and McDermott are sentenced to death by hanging she faints in the courtroom, impaling herself on the spikes of the witness box.
*Grace begins to unbutton her shirt to show Jordan the scars, but he stops her.
*Jordan confers with the Reverend, frustrated that he was unable to get to Grace's hidden memories, and uncertain as to whether she is a true amnesiac or a cunning murderess. The Reverend urges him to consider using DuPont's hypnosis, that his report must be favorable if Grace is to be pardoned.
*Jordan stays up late into the night reading the confessions, in which Grace and McDermott pack up the valuables and steal away at night by carriage. He dreams of having sex with Grace, only to wake and find the landlady in his bed. In the morning he leaves for Toronto by train.
*In prison, Grace ponders what story she will tell him when he returns. McDermott's version?

Grace: What I remember is waking up to a beautiful night. I was in Nancy's clothes. And I looked up at the sky, which seemed so close I could touch it. I thought the sky was only a thin surface, like paper, and it was being singed away. And behind it was a cold blackness. And it was not Heaven or even Hell that I was looking at, but only emptiness. This was more frightening than anything I could think of and I prayed silently to God to forgive my sins. But what if there were no God to forgive me? And then I reflected that perhaps it was the outer darkness, with the wailing and the gnashing of teeth, where God was not.

*At roadside, Grace screams at finding McDermott on top of her. He says she invited him into her shawl, but she resists and bites him, and he stops, saying it was only a test of her virtue and he'll wait until they're married.
*The stop at an inn for breakfast, then take a ferry to Lewiston. McDermott tries enter her hotel room at night, but she turns him away. She dreams of walking on the road as Kinnear lights the way with a lantern, and sees Nancy and then Mary in the window of Kinnear's house, then is awakened by pounding on the door and she and McDermott are arrested and taken away.
posted by oh yeah! (1 comment total)
Again I find fascinating the theme of how men will protect only as long as they feel belonging. Jamie Walsh testifies against her despite having wanted to marry her - after she is discovered having run away with another man. McDermott protects her as long as she’s going to sleep with/marry her, then is willing to give her up when she won’t.
posted by corb at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

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