Friday, May 30, 2014

CWE: "Fortunes of War" (1987) - Parts 6 & 7

Summary: Harriet and Guy are now living in Cairo, not all that far away from the fighting. Simon Boulderstone, a young British officer, is involved in the desert fighting. He's also just learned that his older brother, Hugo, has been killed.

Part 6:
  • A very quiet opening, in the desert at daybreak.
  • September 1942.
  • Simon is completely convinced that Edwina, one of Harriet and Guy's flatmates, was in love with Hugo. Not so much.
  • Oh, the railings on those stairs are amazing. So very 1920s.
  • OK, with all that talk in the last entry about how Harriet tries not to judge ... she totally judges Edwina. But then, so would I.
  • Mortimer! She's very cool.
  • Ah, our trip to the Birka. They are pretending to be daring, but really mostly finding it sad and embarrassing. As you do.
  • ... and we're back in the desert. OMG that's Jeff Rawl! I was staring at him, knowing that I knew him, but had no idea. He's so young! I've only ever seen him as a relatively old man.
  • Hee. Dobson wants to complain about the noise of Angela and Castlebar having sex, but he's too embarrassed, so sends up Harriet. As you do.
  • Angela is far too explicit about her sex life. And we learn that Harriet and Guy don't have much of one.
  • Ah, yes, Bill Castlebar's wife, Mona.
  • Oh, the pin. Angela gives it to Bill, then has to give it to Harriet when Bill's wife asks about it. And she insists that Harriet keep it. This will come up again.
  • Angela is ... a selfish friend. She's not a bad person, but she can't see outside her own issues, sometimes.
  • And Harriet is now expected to soothe Edwina too, when she finds out that her boyfriend is married. Harriet is so incredibly practical.
  • "I hate him!" "Well, he is an aristocrat."
  • Off we go to Luxor. Which is NOT the place to be. What with the cholera outbreak and the burning bodies and all.
  • Angela: "Where is everybody?" (1) They are in the middle of a war, and (2) they are in the middle of an epidemic. I mean, maybe they don't know about the epidemic, but did they ask? Again -- the British privileged doing what they've always done and not expecting things to change.
  • Angela refuses to stay, because she's afraid that Bill might die. Bill, who isn't there. So Harriet stays, alone, in the middle of an epidemic. Sigh.
  • Pinkrose! He *will* give his lecture on Byron.
  • Guy struggles to keep up his endless enthusiasm in the face of Professor Lord Pinkrose.
  • Ah, Aiden shows up in Luxor. He's pleasant company for Harriet -- and not a threat. At least, it's not Harriet that he's in love with...
  • Aiden tells the story of when the boat he was on was torpedoed and only 3 of them survived. He is not a happy man.
  • Oh, yes, Edwina's married boyfriend got Simon a promotion. Less of a good thing than it seems.
  • Boom.
  • Harriet's home, and she's not well.
  • Guy has no patience with illness. Or for sitting around with a sick Harriet. And he's taken her pin.
  • Third time someone tries to send Harriet back to England. This time she's sick (with dysentery) and tired and just doesn't have the fight in her anymore. And Angela is going back, so why not.
  • Now Edwina is wearing the pin.
  • Poor Guy is a little startled and sad that Harriet wants to leave.
  • Finally, the day of Pinkrose's lecture arrives.
  • BANG. No more Pinkrose.
  • Yet again, Angela abandons Harriet to travel back to England alone.
  • Sad bear. And Guy won't even go to the port with Harriet. He just doesn't have time.
  • Harriet doesn't get on the boat, choosing to run away with Mortimer and her girlfriend, telling no one.
  • So, naturally, the boat is torpedoed and sunk, with no survivors.
Part 7:
  • I was just thinking ... it must be odd reading this without seeing the show, and I'm assuming that everyone I know won't have seen it. And maybe not reading this, either.
  • Meanwhile, on the road to Damascus, Harriet sings.
  • Guy goes back to work. "We Share Your Sads." And Guy doesn't really cope.
  • Guy visits the zoo, and the sad bear.
  • Meanwhile, Simon is still alive, if not exactly feeling anything below the waist.
  • Edwina visits Simon. It does not go well.
  • Harriet wonders what she's doing, I think, but can't imagine going back. She doesn't know that the boat sunk, of course, and thinks that no one will notice that she's gone for months.
  • Guy goes to visit Simon, since Edwina won't and Harriet is (supposedly) dead.
  • Guy is very much not dealing well with Harriet's apparent death. Spending time alone. Taking walks. Taking time to visit people in the hospital.
  • Let's all tickle Simon's feet!
  • "What's it like in Damascus?" "Same as everywhere else. Full of bloody foreigners."
  • And Edwina convinces Guy to take her out. They are very much not suited. Plus, she's wearing Harriet's pin.
  • At heart, Guy will always be Guy.
  • Aiden was transferred from Damascus (where Harriet is looking for him), to Jerusalem. And now he's in Cairo.
  • And now it becomes clear that Aiden would be happy for Guy to move on with him. "Well, you know me, always too busy." "Come for a holiday." "I don't have time for holidays." "Or for me."
  • Edwina, of course, has met someone else.
  • Meanwhile, Harriet wanders alone, as usual. I do admire her willingness to explore, to see the world around her, whether she has company or not. She doesn't give up or go home just because her plan didn't work out. She's in Damascus and she wants to see what there is to see.
  • Harriet, naturally, attracts a nice man who shows her around. And buy her tea. And hit on her.
  • "You know, Mrs. Pringle, you are like the new moon." "Thin and pale?"
  • Angela and Castlebar appear, on the run from Bill's wife. And Harriet abandons her "protector."
  • "Oh, god, everybody's dead these days." Aiden shot himself.
  • "The poor man was absolutely besotted by Guy, like everyone else. Although goodness knows why."
  • Simon is learning to walk again. And he does not give in easily to Guy, which is a trend we're seeing more of -- people losing their rose-colored glasses when it comes to Guy.
  • Pyramid climbing again. Seeing Rupert Graves makes me want to dig out my VHS copy of "Maurice."
  • It's starting to dawn on Guy that Harriet was very alone.
  • Edwina's getting married to the random guy who she met at the bar. Time passes very quickly in this series.
  • It suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea how Edwina ended up in Cairo, how she lives, or anything.
  • Easter service. I'm assuming they're still in Damascus.
  • Mortimer! Bringing Harriet the news of her untimely death.
  • The wedding, and Harriet's return. Which Edwina somehow makes all about her.
  • Bill is not at all well.
  • Harriet comes back from the dead and Guy easily slides back into old habits.
  • But Bill doesn't make it. Really, everyone dies in this.
  • And we end on the top of the pyramid:
"You'll never leave me again, will you?"
"Don't know. Can't promise. Probably not."

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