Barchester Chronicles, episode 5

Speaking of two of those three enemies, Slope has something he wants to chat about with the bishop, who is excited to talk theology, but that’s not what Slope has in mind.

6--question

“So . . . I have a question about just, you know, stuff.”

Specifically, Slope asks what would happen if Mr. Q. were to suddenly decide he didn’t want to be the warden. If that were the case, would the job revert to Mr. Harding?

7--stop trying to make this happen

“Why are you so obsessed with Mr. Harding? Stop trying to make Mr. Harding happen! Mr. Harding is not going to happen!”

8--just curious

“It’s just a theoretical question, dude.”

The bishop concedes that if for whatever reason, Mr. Q decided to do that, yes, Mr. Harding would get the job, though he is really doubtful it would even come up, seeing as Q. was so excited about the wardenship. Oh, you naive idiot.

Then we finally get to meet the secret weapon that made Grantly so happy–Arabin. He’s a ready ally and feels like combating foes like the Proudies and Slope require militancy. However, he’s not as extreme as Grantly, though he’s also not as willing to compromise as Harding.

I know I’m probably supposed to like/respect Arabin, but I must confess he’s the only character I don’t enjoy. It’s not that he’s bad, but he just doesn’t comes across as this intellectually formidable Oxford academic. He also lacks the natural charisma that many of the other performers possess. *cough* Alan Rickman, Geraldine McEwan, Nigel Hawthorne, Susan Hampshire. *cough* I don’t even dislike his character because that would require him to conjure up a compelling screen presence. Instead, he just generates  a “Meh” reaction from me.

9--meet the weapon

“My muttonchops aren’t as impressive as some of the other characters’. Are muttonchops a phallic symbol?”

In what is undoubtedly a direct contrast to the bland but good Arabin, the fascinating but repulsive Slope marches over to Q’s house, and though he’s already participated in some extremely shitty scheming throughout the series, he just takes the shit cake trophy in this scene.

Next scene: Slope has another suggestion.

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