Miss Scarlet and the Duke Romance Performs on Outdated System

You possibly can’t flip Eliza Scarlet and William Wellington into Jim and Pam.

Final yr PBS gave audiences the charming Victorian-era thriller sequence “Miss Scarlet and the Duke.” Although akin to different PBS and BBC reveals like “Ripper Avenue,” creator Rachael New’s thriller sequence feels so charming “as a result of Being Feminist (capitalization supposed) isn’t what it units its deal with.” Season 1 concluded with Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips) and William “the Duke” Wellington (Stuart Martin) probably embarking on a romance — which, for a tv present, is usually a blessing or a curse.

The 2 actually had a flirtatious bond, however a relationship might have an effect on Eliza’s need for a profession, given William’s disdain for Eliza’s work. And within the second season premiere, which aired Sunday on PBS, it appeared just like the pair had been collectively. Then abruptly, William and Eliza notice a relationship isn’t within the playing cards for them and break up.

The path is actually an attention-grabbing, if irritating, transfer for the primary episode of a brand new season. The dinner within the Season 1 finale, whereas not wholly indicative of an outright relationship plot, indicated a need to check the waters of a relationship. Contemplating how shortly tv reveals need to stake their declare, it’s doable that alluding to a romantic pairing between the 2 might have been a strong conclusion had the present simply ended there.

However it didn’t (thank goodness), so the second requires a little bit of a tweak to definitively conclude any pretense of an overt relationship whereas nonetheless offering a will-they-or-won’t-they narrative to propel future seasons ahead. It’s a retcon that is sensible. Romantic stress is the guts of a powerful TV couple, however for all the need to see them get collectively, it doesn’t all the time work.


“Miss Scarlet and The Duke”

Bringing two characters collectively is a difficult needle to string, and one which has made TV writers nervous since David and Maddie lastly received collectively on “Moonlighting” after seasons of crackling sexual chemistry. Scores dropped precipitously shortly afterward, and thus was born the parable that concluding a will-they-won’t-they romance meant kissing your present goodbye. And whereas Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer) would keep collectively all through the lifetime of “The Workplace,” the home points they confronted felt of a chunk with the skilled world wherein the characters lived.

You possibly can’t flip Eliza Scarlet and William Wellington right into a Jim and Pam, most critically due to the period wherein they’re residing. Their relationship isn’t strictly will-they-or-won’t-they. In Eliza’s eyes, to be with William is to submit herself to a lifetime of domesticity. Season 1 discovered William begrudgingly admitting that detective work is Eliza’s calling, however he can’t fully change who he’s and the period wherein they reside. Their relationship is a query of who will undergo whom first. If Eliza submits, the very premise of the present adjustments.

This would possibly clarify why Season 2 sees William obtain extra criticism from a brand new Scotland Yard superior and is positioned in control of a brand new protégé, Oliver Fitzroy (Evan McCabe), who William believes isn’t lower out to be a detective. As Season 1 confirmed, William has extra energy than Eliza — as a Scotland Yard detective and a person — however has problem discovering his humanity and putting him reverse a detective he perceives as missing the everyday traits of a Scotland Yard detective forces William to confront his view of himself and his occupation. It’d simply be sufficient to permit him a glimpse of a world the place he and Eliza may be collectively whereas she works alongside him.

Season 2 of “Miss Scarlet and the Duke” would possibly really feel like a step backward for Eliza and William’s relationship, however to separate Eliza and William is to assist them develop as characters. The need-they-or-won’t-they system can see a big shake-up if their relationship develops in a method that adjustments how William, as a personality, sees ladies. It’s a thriller followers must be desirous to see unfold.

“Miss Scarlet and the Duke” airs Sundays on PBS.

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