You smell rather like my breakfast.
You know he deserved it.
Hmmmm…. can’t be that objetive when it comes to him 😈
As I point out in the recap I can’t really applaud her actions. Charlie has never hit her, Alice makes that clear to Ralph early on. She is the one to commit physical violence and not even in self-defence – a court might even see his actions after that, coming close to violence, as following from her incitement. As her husband, he’s supposed to “keep her in line”. It’s hard enough now, let alone in this time period, to have anyone recognise emotional abuse, so she’s got no grounds for divorce that would allow her sole custody of their son.
Add to this the fact that she’s committing adultery with an Indian native, and Charlie’s attempts to paint her as untrustworthy, and she’s playing a dangerous game. If, as I posit here, Charlie ever shows up dead/wounded in anything even resembling suspicious circumstances, she will be the primary suspect.
Her goading seems dangerous to me; what if he does snap and kill her in a fit of rage? He came close to real violence this time, and it was a near thing that he didn’t cross the line – but he didn’t.
This is such an insightful comment, and it’s precisely where the tension in historical drama lies–because she really is trapped, isn’t she? He’s just needling her and pushing her buttons and she’s got no real recourse at all. And if HE had been the one receiving her jabs and thinly veiled threats, and he had lashed out like that, would he have any consequences? And as a fellow human woman-shaped being, I have so much empathy for the intolerable situation she is in, while at the same time realizing that–as you said–she’s broken the rules she lives under and that’s bound to come back and bite her.
But he’s so perfectly civilized and horrible at the same time. (full body shudder) why DID she marry him in the first instance?
(I say this based entirely on the few bits on info about this show that make their way to the US, so I’m quite possibly completely and egregiously wrong about it all.)
We almost got an answer to that. I have more thoughts about
how Charlie is presented in s1 vs s2, and I will quote the exact line about
‘why’ in my ramblings. Spoilers, obvs.
In the recap I’ve got the entire s1 overview of every time
Charlie is mentioned. (My intent was to be thorough and if you’ve never seen an
episode you should be able to have an understanding of his character and impact
on the narrative).
The worst Alice can say is “I realised I didn’t love
him. I tried accepting it.” She just walked out, took their child – Percy
was no more than six months old, possibly less – and took herself off to India.
There is no indication she feared or despised him. When a
friend visits from England, she asks after Charlie as if she still cares –
“How is he? Is he all right?” and if he weren’t doing fine, would she
have gone back? IDK.
She specifically tells Ralph that Charlie “didn’t hit
me, all right? Or hurt me. He was, is, perfectly decent, in his own way. I
deserted him, not the other way around.”
She goes back, presumably at the end of the first series,
because he’s threatening to go to court and he’ll be awarded custody of Percy
(the law of the day says a child belongs to his father).
Three years later it’s s2 and they’re in India and it’s
partly to help out Ralph I guess, partly at Alice’s request, I don’t know what
other motivation Charlie has. Maybe the job really is a good opportunity but he
has no love for India. On the face of it he’s making an effort.
In s2e5 Aafrin Dalal asks Alice what she ever saw in
Charlie. Finally some backstory.
“You know, I think he was the first man to ever pay me
a compliment. No, not even that. I had no-one, growing up. No-one but a
great-aunt and an absent brother. Nobody ever told me it was all right to say
And then the earthquake happens, just as we’re getting
Later, after she has attacked him with the plate, he takes
her to their room and it looks like a beating is on the cards.
But here’s the thing; pushed to the brink of violence, he
breaks down and shows some humanity, a tearful screed about how Alice ruined
their happiness. I said earlier in the recap I can’t see a redemptive arc and I
still don’t think the show would go that way, but after that scene we get a
sense of Charlie as a real person beyond the sociopathic stereotype.
Some of that is down to my inclination to gravitate to
Ritson, perhaps, but much of it is in his skill at portraying Charlie’s
complexities (in a way that Riario won me over too).
Charlie is in pain, an abandoned husband whose wife snatched
his child from him, something he will not let happen again. He did nothing to
drive her away the first time, and I wonder if his controlling tendencies only
came into play after that event.
(It could be that the writers never intended Charlie to be a
major part of the show, and changed the character to suit their purposes once
he actually appeared onscreen.)
Meanwhile I find it hard to care about/root for often expressionless
Alice’s romance with incompetent terrorist sympathiser Dalal. I don’t know what
Charlie or Dalal see in Alice this season tbh, nor why Alice became obsessed
with Dalal. Additionally both Dalal and Ralph are shown to be physically rough
with women in ways that aren’t called out the way any of Charlie’s actions are.
Finally, we’ve seen Charlie kiss Alice’s hand, put an arm
around her, hug Percy. But there’s this moment where he stages the awkward kiss
on the steps, as if he’s not entirely sure about things – or needs things to be
perfect? And they’ve got one son, and there’s no way he’d believe she was
pregnant so are they having sex? (I’m only guessing they share a room, it
wouldn’t be uncommon to have separate rooms which would make it easier for her
to slip away at night.) And is this why she cheats, purely for sex; is Dalal’s
gormless thrusting worth her marriage, her child? [Likewise, Ralph shows more
affection for his sister and his manservant than for his wife; and then there’s
Cynthia’s touching of cocks without asking permission. The writers have odd
ideas about sexual conduct?]
I think there’s a lot of background we don’t know, things
that could be explored, that won’t be. Because Charlie=bad and Dalal=supposedly
good and Dalal’s ridiculous plots have to keep taking centre stage.