I just love this series. Tonight - episode four!
And here's the CBC link for the episode here.
SPOILERS BELOW =D
Marilla, Matthew, and Jerry seem to be indulging in Anne's listless behavior - she's not paying attention to her chores and she spends all her time making up fantasies in her head. Marilla goes to Rachel for advice, mostly because she's almost at her wits' end. Rachel tells her to be patient and to let Anne make up her own mind to go back to school - Rachel's confident that Anne will go back, since she's a smart girl. Except Marilla loses her patience when she finds that Anne forgot about the pie in the stove and almost burned down the house and puts her foot down - Anne is going back to school tomorrow. The idea is absolutely distressing for Anne, because she knows she's too different from all the other kids and she can't stand the idea of never fitting in and not having any friends (she doesn't even think that Diana will want to be friends with her anymore). It's enough that she brings back an old friend - Katie Maurice - to talk to. Marilla's even more upset when she discovers that Matthew told Anne that she doesn't have to go back to school; Matthew's trying to be sympathetic, it's making things worse it seems. As we've seen throughout the series so far, Anne's primary coping mechanism when things are too difficult is her imagination; while it has given her the perseverance she needs, in this case we're seeing the extremely detrimental side, where she's using it to escape from dealing with reality.
So Anne sets off for school rather unhappily the next day... and returns acting rather cheerful. (I'm going to say it - I totally thought she was skipping at this point.) And it repeats. Nobody at Green Gables clues in right away that anything is amiss, until Diana and Ruby drop by and mention that Anne still hasn't go back to school. (It's so sweet to see how Diana is worried about Anne and how maybe she's too sensitive and worries about how Anne's been hurt - Diana's been a true friend through and through.) Instead, Anne found a little shack and has been hanging out there all day. Marilla is understandably furious that Anne has been lying, enough to call the minister (not Reverend Allan, it seems) over to sort Anne out. The minister's not used to girls who think for themselves, and presents what he thinks is the perfect solution: if Anne won't go to the school, she can stay home and learn to become a proper wife. Anne and Marilla don't say anything, but they aren't too comfortable with the minister's suggestion. Also, there's a bit of cabin fever, because Marilla is finding Anne at home all the time without anything to do is a bit too much. Anne honestly wants more than to be just a wife (she thinks she wouldn't be very good at it), but her sounding board (Jerry) isn't exactly helpful.
The second half of the episode involves a huge fire at the Gillis house. The community rushes out to put out the fire, but Anne realizes that all the doors and windows are open inside and risks her life to go inside and close all of them. It turns out she read the fire manual at the orphanage enough times to know that the open doors gives more oxygen to feed the fires. Her quick thinking mitigates the damage and the Gillis family is grateful. But Ruby is horrified that she is going to stay with Anne until her house is rebuilt, because she's afraid of what all the other kids will think of her associating with Anne (Diana calls Ruby out on this). It's a little sad to see how Anne is resigned to the idea that nobody will be friends with her and she reassures Ruby that nobody will think that they're friends. In spite of all of Anne's boisterousness, she's got very low self-esteem.
So Ruby's upset at staying with Anne, though she manages to come around as Anne tells her stories of Princess Cordelia, offers to share her only two dresses, makes helpful and positive suggestions of things to look forward too (like being able to choose a new colour for her room or baking biscuits for the men rebuilding the house), and also how much she doesn't like Gilbert after he unforgivably humiliated her (so Ruby doesn't keep thinking that Anne likes him). When they go to the Gillis house the next day with said biscuits, Billy Andrews insults them with a "go back to the kitchen" because they're girls and can't do anything when Ruby trips and falls, Anne tells him off because Billy's an idiot and she can do his job better than he can, and ignores Gilbert when he goes to help Ruby up (and he stares at Anne a bunch of times while Ruby is just swooning at how chivalrous Gilbert is). Standing up to Billy makes Anne realize something important about herself - she's braver than she thought, Matthew certainly agrees (they're an adorable scene when Matthew tells her how impressed he was with how she stood up to Billy). Also, Anne and Diana and Ruby start the story-writing club.
On the night that Ruby's about to return home, Anne has a heart-to-heart talk with Marilla about the minister's suggestion that Anne should stay at home to learn to be a proper wife. Marilla has been thinking about her own lack of opportunities and tells Anne that she's got a lot more options than Marilla did. It's up to Anne want she wants to do, but Marilla thinks that Anne's got too nimble a mind not to go and that the minister is too old-fashioned. Anne wants to go back to school, which she thinks should be more bearable now that she has Diana and Ruby as friends.
It's honestly so nice to see that happen - there are still some kids who look at Anne with uncomfortable or unpleasant expressions (Josie Pye, anyone?), but it's so sweet when Diana and Ruby run up to greet her (and hahaha, Mr. Phillips' totally dry, "Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, go sit down in the seat").
I thought it was a pretty interesting episode, particularly as it brings up what opportunities and social expectations were present for women in the time period. It's not surprising that Anne doesn't seem thrilled at the prospect of just being someone's wife some day, but it was good to see how Marilla, an independent-minded but socially restricted woman, has become aware of how she's been limited from a number of opportunities because she's a woman. There's a particularly telling scene where Anne contemplates all the things she could be (an aviator, cartographer) to Jerry, who doesn't have a clue what they are, but being a practical minded boy, he points out that instead of imagining those things, she could just go to school. Jerry can't go to school, but as Anne is not really listening to him, he mentions that unlike Anne, whose options appear to be school or learning to be a housewife, he can be apprenticed to a blacksmith or a butcher.
So, it looks like next week - Anne is going to invite Diana to tea (I'm dreading this) and Matthew may or may not attempt to buy a dress with puffed sleeves. Ooh ooh ooh!
Love to hear everyone's thoughts on the episode! =D