Here I was hoping after last week I would get to write something fun. Who the hell was I kidding? I knew this week’s main story was about the Beardsley’s. There was no way that was going to ring the pleasant bell.
Free Will had a very obvious theme and I don’t presume to usurp it with my own. I will do as I have with my previous blogs and take the thing that hit me in the gut, and go with it.
There was a very small moment in the first half of the episode that struck me funny. Brianna said she felt like Scarlett O’Hara. The first time, I thought “That was one weird tone-deaf statement.” The second time, I heard something very different in her voice. I caught a passive-aggressive sarcasm. She is likely one of the best marks’persons’ on the ridge, she can run full speed in her 20 layers of wool and is incredibly intelligent. Knowing all of these things, here she is being left behind and not happy about it. Making such a comment to Roger pulls him into her annoyance. He tells her there is no one better to protect the ridge than she. At the same time, he is letting her know he hears her and validates her frustration.
I am not claiming that is what they were going for in this scene, what I am suggesting is Brianna needed her partner to sit with her on this. She craved his understanding and he responded.
There are many of us that would willingly sit next to Bree on this one. When we are feeling as if we are being treated less than, as if our value is being dismissed and we are being left behind as others less qualified are forging ahead, we lash out. Especially when we know, there is nothing we can do about it.
There are those who scream “You can ALWAYS do something.” Sure, we can, when prepared or able to face the consequences. In real life, there will be consequences. Whether it be financial, emotional, mental and/or physical. It doesn’t mean a person isn’t strong or worthy if they choose not to suffer those consequences. It means they are human. Here we see the life and marriage of one Mrs. Frances Beardsley. I will call her Fanny. Serious props to Bronwyn James for her portrayal of this complex character.
Here is a woman, essentially sold to a man to produce a child for him. He has had 4 wives before her, who didn’t. All are dead and buried on the property she is being held captive on. The math says the women aren’t the weak link here. The wives marked out and counted the days subsisting with this man like we might see on prison walls. Fanny speaks of the other wives as her companions. They, after all, know her pain first hand. She accepted her lot in life, arduous as it was.
Clearly abused, raped repeatedly, held against her will and having lost any concept of what free will might have been, Fanny held onto these women who no longer existed as her thread to humanity. Whether we believe Mary-Anne was a ghost or a figment of Fanny’s imagination, when we feel so desperately alone knowing someone else can relate to our pain is comforting. This is why support groups and therapy can be so effective in our world. Being heard, seen, understood and guided with love are powerful healers.
We saw this with Fanny, didn’t we? We started with her scaring the shit out of Jamie at the window. We ended with her finding the indenture papers for the twins, the deed to the property for her daughter and leaving her with the Fraser’s. The last moment we saw Fanny, it was in a tender moment with Claire. She was being heard, seen, understood and guided. Claire doesn’t only have the ability to heal bodies.
When Mr. Beardsly was struck down by a stroke, Fanny’s circumstances changed. She could have taken this opportunity to leave. He obviously was unable to stop her.
Through Fanny’s eyes, I saw a reflection of self. He was now defenceless like she was for 2 years 3 months and 5 days. As helpless as all of his previous wives. Completely captive not unlike Josiah and Kezzie. There is no doubt Fanny felt the time she spent in that house comparable to a slow death. Leaving him there to die wouldn’t be a punishment. Fanny’s heart, soul and mind had been broken to a point walking away was not an option. As much as her imaginary friends gave her solace while she was being beaten and raped, the act of torturing the man who made her a victim became a way of taking back the power he had stolen from them all. You know what they say about payback.
I believe the full circle moment came when she gave birth to the child. Obviously not Beardsley’s. The fact he knew she was pregnant and she was able to rub “This baby isn’t yours.” in his immobile face. That was the final hammer swing to plant that nail in the coffin, so to speak.
Fanny overplayed in technicolour what many victims wish they could do. Hers, of course, an ‘as seen on TV’ experience. Those who have suffered traumas ofttimes have dark thoughts about their abuser. Those images come from a deep-seated place. Those thoughts, with the appropriate guidance, have the ability to turn victims into survivors. These gut/emotional reactions enable us to process our rage from actions we ‘want’ to see happen into behaviours we ‘can’ accomplish in order to move forward.
Josiah and Keziah. These two took my heart and smooched it into a big ole ball of goo. Kudos to Paul Gorman, who plays both roles. I knew what to expect with the Keziah character because of the books. It was the way Paul played him, made the leaving his pants behind for the kittens, believable. The way he curled around that bowl of food, heart-wrenching. His gentle lean toward his brother (who wasn’t even really there!), so tender. He went from Keziah to Kezzie in a hot minute. *See my Interview with Paul here*
These two boys have not had enviable lives. They’ve been filled with tragedy and misery. In that, they have had one another. A connection so close and powerful, even with all their misfortune, they could count on one another to be there. Though Josiah may seem like the more capable of the two, I feel we will see in the future how they need one another to be whole.
Misery isn’t a solitary creature. It craves companionship, clinging to it. When we are isolated without an outlet or someone to lean upon – our misery becomes amplified seeking escape. It’s a human instinct, to seek others when feeling alone or afraid. Looking for someone to share our fears with, to have our back in situations that may cause us stress or be painful is natural.
It was apparent this happened the moment when Jamie arrived home and woke Claire. His mind filled with worry, his need to share with her, his person. It was as if we were being lifted gently into this mindset. We were softly eased into it, shown how beautiful it is when you share the darkness you have inside.
And then things got seriously twisted!
If you are stuck in your healing or in an abusive situation. There are people who can be your person. Feel free to DM me, I will listen, help find you supports or start here. For any violent situation in Canada. Click here.
Thank you for a thoughtful and difficult synopsis. Difficult show. I thought the tv folks handled it extremely well. One of their best, if unpleasant, episodes. I love the Beasley”twins” and cannot wait for further developments. I love that the shown is finally not downplaying Jamie’s astounding strength. He and Claire are partners in their strengths. This makes their characters so beloved. They are equal. As for Mr Beardsley….all deserved. I know two wrongs do not make a right. But I understand Fanny not just letting the SOB die. He did prove, in the end, that he has no repentance. No regrets. He was a monster. Was Fanny a monster? Unless we are in her horrifying position, I do not believe we can judge her. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.
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Thank you for taking the time to read, and your thoughts.
As always, love reading your thoughts. When we first meet Fanny we think she is a horrible person. Then we learn her story and think to ourselves how did she ever endure that life for 2 years 3 months and 5 days! I’m not so sure I could….. Can’t wait for the Beardsley’s story line to come.
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Claire’s comment of “What must you have done to deserve this” was very telling. If Fanny thought the things she did were fair play – what he must have done sends chills down my spine.
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