The Gilded Age: Let the Tournament Begin
March 21, 2022 7:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

As Ada and Aurora rush to stop Marian from making a huge decision, Bertha and Mrs Astor's clash impacts all of New York society.
posted by bcwinters (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The only one more manipulative than Mrs. Russell is Mr. Fellowes.
posted by fairmettle at 9:29 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]

I was looking forward to this and it didn't let me down. Is it just Downtown Abbey: America? Yes. Is it supremely silly? Yes. But so enjoyable.

First we have to give it up for Carrie MF Coons - I shudder to think how Amanda Peet would have handled the role, CC is perfection. The Russells are #MarriageGoals and if either one of them ever cheats, my heart will be broken.

Hoping that's the last we see of Mr. Raikes. I say BOOOO sir. I was hoping we were going to find out he stole money from her estate and she's secretly rich but maybe that's coming later. I suppose they're going to push Larry/Marion as end game, which I'm meh on at the moment- not sure their chemistry will make for compelling TV.

I didn't expect the Peggy baby story to flip so quickly, and yet here we are. I am still finding her father's actions a little bewildering. When we see the Russells drive off Gladys' less-than-exorbitantly-wealthy suitor, we may not agree but we can understand what else they're looking for. What other options did Peggy have? We haven't gotten much insight into the Black social scene and I would like to see it very much. Bring in more Broadway actors, please!

Didn't see the storyline with the "French" chef coming. Didn't imagine we'd get to the end of the season with zero insight into the Michael Cerveris storyline.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:42 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]

"The Gilded Age’s first season wrapped up its razor-thin plots with a finale so pretty and uncathartic that I thought it was surely a filler episode...It suffered instead from a peculiar if relaxing commitment to anticlimax, a determination to let crisis collapse and resolve into inconsequentiality"—from from Lili Loofbourow's recap for Slate.

At least everybody seems to be having a great time behind the scenes?
posted by bcwinters at 6:54 AM on March 22

Why don't people either just enjoy what they're watching or watch something else. Everyone needs everything to be something other than what it is. The tv has never been a wish granting genie, it's just a tv.
posted by bleep at 10:05 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]

Agreed, the whole season has been enjoyable fluff. The only part that really didn't work for me was the whole Mr. Raikes sub-plot - he was just so painfully dull it was hard to feel any investment in that relationship.

Very little surprises along the way (except the 'French' chef), but the plot here isn't what makes it enjoyable to watch.

What other options did Peggy have?
To marry someone of her class, of course - and not a mere stockboy working for her father. Clearly her father thought she'd be more likely to marry another elite Black Brooklynite if she wasn't an unwed mother (which, probably true).

I also hope the second season explores more of New York - not only the social circle of Peggy's parents but more of the Lower East Side, early Chinatown, etc. I realize the focus on the ultra wealthy is the point, but presumably some of these wealthy characters have businesses that employ some of the hoi polloi. I'd also enjoy a bit more historical events (like the electricity display) and less purely socialite plot points.
posted by coffeecat at 11:16 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]

I am glad Bertha was triumphant! Bertha thinks she and Mrs. Astor have things in common, but Bertha would never be bullied by her daughter's feelings!

I am glad the Mr. Raikes-Marion thing is done, it was boring!

I will watch another season with delight, if it is offered to me, but I hope it has at least 50% more Peggy!

Please consider my exclamation points to be the punctuation equivalent of the score of this series, which is nothing if not over the top!

(Also, my boyfriend was in the room for the first half of this finale, and then paused the show, said "This should end with a montage of rich people dancing at the ball cut with scenes of them getting stabbed in their beds" and left - I would also watch that show, tbh, but this was fun.)
posted by the primroses were over at 3:53 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]

I enjoyed watching this show (primarily for the visuals, I think) but I have to say it did fall a bit on the boring side for me and I keep thinking that it might be because I don't buy this sort of over the top period piece with American accents. It takes me out of the story hearing them talk like me!
posted by something something at 6:50 AM on March 23

Well I loved it. Highlights for me:
-Marion upgrading her look from fairytale princess to stylish urban witch
-Her Prince Charming failing the test. Time for new suitors!
-Bertha stubbornly, triumphantly rules-lawyering her way into society. You go, fellow potato picker's daughter!
-Thinking about how all of these people are the grandparents of everyone in every other NYC-funny-period-drama like Billions & Mad Men etc.
-How extremely dignified they handled Peggy's story where the racism is like irritating background noise but she has her own plot and her own things she's trying to accomplish and she does them on her own terms. The show treats her like a person.
posted by bleep at 7:50 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

And also like I love how shows like this are full of jokes & make me laugh. Really an underrated quality that I don't see come up very often.
posted by bleep at 7:57 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

I love this show so much.
posted by kbanas at 7:59 PM on March 23

During the final ball scene Mrs freecell said “I know that sort of wealth is abhorrent but THIS IS THE LIFE I WAS MEANT TO LIVE!”
posted by freecellwizard at 8:20 AM on April 8

Just finished, I agree with the "enjoyable fluff" characterization by coffee cat above. I think it's the costumes that kept me coming back more than anything. My feeling is this show has fallen a little flat, it had almost no buzz in my world, and I can't really argue otherwise. But I enjoyed it and hope they bring back more.

The non-fluff part was Peggy and her story. The depiction middle-class Black life, also a smart young woman making her way independent of most of the suffocating social formalism that's the show's stock and trade. So I was dismayed these last couple of episodes to see her story turn from her journalism career to this lost baby thing. It felt diminishing somehow and the new story doesn't really work well. But those first few episodes her writing was so good! I hope they bring it somewhere meaningful.

The other standout story for me was Aunt Ada who goes from being a mousy little detached person to someone with a steel backbone and a much shrewder understanding of the world around her than anyone gives her credit for. I suppose that's a bit of a trope but Nixon played it so very well and she's a fun balance to the mustache-twirling Agnes.

The French chef subplot was a mistake.

It's remarkable how much this whole season was womens' stories centering on womens' characters. The men feel almost like an afterthought, a decoration. I'm totally OK with that; the stories were good, the actresses excellent, and it's a nice balance to all the male oriented entertainment. Downton had some of this feminine balance but it feels like Gilded Age doubled down on it.

They just started production on season 2. Looks like it'll be about a year before it airs, spring 2023 at the earliest.
posted by Nelson at 6:55 AM on May 17

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