- The Athens episode is very much a transition for the series. We left several established characters behind, either in Romania (Lawson, Sophie, Foxy, Inchcape, Galpin...) or Greece (poor Yaki), and we've kept not only Guy and Harriet, but several others. But Cairo starts a distinct new chapter, with new characters and points of view.
- "Are we still refugees?" "Yes, we are darling." "How do we stop being refugees?"
- Silly. Pinkrose can't stay in the refugee housing!
- Oh, the old man and his dog! I forgot about him. And Dobson is back. With Bill Castlebar, poet.
- And Gracey is back too. Guy is so relentlessly positive ... for now.
- "The first human ever to admit reading my poetry." "Everybody likes Guy Pringle." "He reads everybody's poetry?" "Yes, I think he probably does."
- Uch. Dubedat is disgusting.
- And now Guy is off to teach at the business school in Alexandria.
- Can I just quote things?
"Is Guy enjoying Alexandria?" "No. He hates it. He says it's like Birmingham."
"Has he ever been to Birmingham?"
"How are your homey Egyptian digs?"
"There is a vacant room at Garden City."
"Of course, you might find the inhabitants rather eccentric."
- Ah! We meet another new major character! It's Simon Boulderstone, Hugo's brother.
- It's a little hard to tell how much time has passed. We're not 10 minutes in and Guy is off-stage in Alexandria and Harriet has moved. She mentions to Simon that it's been several months.
- Simon is an army officer, only the second we've met. We didn't get to know Charles very well, but Simon is young and eager and very innocent.
- "How do you collect money in a dog?" "There's a slot in it's back."
- Harriet has become a bit of a realist on her own. "We're protecting the Suez Canal. The route to India. Mr. Clifford's oil company. It has nothing to do with the people. We just stick pins in maps."
- Oh, the Hoopers. Rich, frivolous people, until their son gets killed by a stray mine.
- Urgh. Mr. Clifford is very irritating. I do like Simon, though. We get a lot from his point of view in the rest of the series and he seems, like I said, young and innocent, but he doesn't seem to have any illusions about the war. He's there and he'll do his best, but he doesn't begrudge anyone who keeps out of it and expects things to be bad. And he has a lovely friendship with Harriet that's not complicated like her relationship with Charles.
- Plus, you know, he's played by a young Rupert Graves.
- Now we stick with Simon. I guess we did see some things from Yaki's point of view before, and now with him gone, we need another non-Pringle. It's also the most that we get to see from the military point of view. Simon is kind of on the outside, though; he's new and doesn't know where they are, or what they're doing, or much of anything.
- "In my heart, I say better the devil you know. But I'm brushing up on my German to be on the safe side."
- Ah, December 1941.
- More people trying to get Harriet to leave with the women and children. "When have I ever behaved like a woman?" Love her.
- "As a dear friend once said, do I look like a military objective?" "What happened to your friend?" "Somebody shot him."
- "I love you, but I can't remember why."
- Oh, our third army officer, Aiden Pratt.
- "Are you waiting for Guy Pringle?" "Usually, yes."
- "Two men were shipwrecked on a desert island. They didn't know each other, but they both knew Guy Pringle."
- The military stuff is kinda ... not terribly exciting?
- Poor Harriet loses her job at the American ... whatever it is where she works.
- "But why has he been sacked? The organization doesn't usually sack people for incompetence."
- Hee hee. I love that Dobson just hangs out around the shared house in a towel.
- Guy is relentlessly positive most of the time.
- We never see Guy and Harriet being particularly physical together -- its not that kind of show -- but it's nice to see them happy now that Guy is back in Cairo. Even if all his attention is now focused on running the school.
- Heh. And back come Dubedat and Lush, begging for jobs. And of course, Guy gives them one.
- Oh, this is where that line is from! "Civilians, are we?" "I have the body of a weak and feeble woman."
- Speaking of privilege, Simon has a hard time letting it go.
- And now his brother Hugo is dead. Poor Simon.
- Angela Hooper moves in.
- It's interesting. Guy generally likes everyone ... except certain women. He didn't like Bella in Bucharest generally, and he never cares for Angela, as I remember. Harriet, on the other hand, seems to like those women, or at least make the effort to be friendly with them. Sophie, on the other hand, Guy liked -- or at least liked her flirting and her flattery and need. Harriet, of course, had no time for her.
- Harriet seems very quick to judge. She doesn't trust or like easily, for the most part, and holds herself separate in a way that Guy doesn't. She is friendly with most women, however, including those who seem frivolous or shallow. But she's also ... not judgmental, if that makes sense. Bill is married, having an affair with Angela, who's about to get a divorce. She doesn't really pass judgment there -- she still enjoys their company and let's them live how they chose.