The Barchester Chronicles

Season 1 Episode 5

Episode 5

Aired Unknown Dec 08, 1982 on BBC Two
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Episode 5
Interrelationships in the diocese begin to get complicated as various alliances are made between persons for business, pleasure, or for abusive amusement of bored upper class members.

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  • Nothing MUCH happened, and when it did, it was underwhelming and came up rather suddenly.

    Well, after Episode 3 and 4 built me up with hopes of some good conflict, episode 5 left me rather disappointed. The tension was all gone...everybody seems to have been reined in somehow. I mean the characters are still the same cardboard cutouts as before, where character depth in Slope and Archdeacon Grantly was dramatically, starkly obvious, but now Slope and Grantly seem subdued--even while being sort of the same. Somehow the fire seems to have gone out of their characters too; I fault the writing, which begins a pattern that grows until the end of this mini-series in which there seems to be little preceding action that prepares us or shows us what leads a character to behave in a certain manner or make a certain choice. It's as if the writer realized "Oh, crap, I only have seven episodes to tell this story...." after he had written four of them.

    Where is Slope's subtle courtship of Madeline Stanhope Neroni before he declares his love and desire for her in this episode? We've seen him weaseling his way in on Eleanor Bold enough up to this point....and why is he suddenly ready to give up her and her money for this other woman? Where was her seduction of him? Where was the moment of decision?

    And who is this Dr. Francis Arabin? This meek, non-descript sort of fellow who we are supposed to see is falling in love with Eleanor Bold and she with him? There are no discernible yearnings or barely-cloaked passions, but we are supposed to understand there is an attraction?

    And Bishop Proudie finally grows some balls in the shadow of Slope's growing ambition and independence, but we don't really see it in-process: we just finally hear the Bishop disagree with his wife and side with Slope. Where was the tension? Where was the build-up? Where was the turning point?

Janet Maw

Janet Maw

Eleanor Bold

Recurring Role

Angela Pleasence

Angela Pleasence

Mrs. Grantly

Recurring Role

Cyril Luckham

Cyril Luckham

Bishop Grantly

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions