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- 28th September 2008
Episodes Six to Ten... continued
George has been an understated character all the way through. I like how consistent he’s been in terms of being placid and calm while growing inwardly. Proving that he gets George completely, Bevan Lee gives him the most beautiful epitaph: ”His whole life proved that decency is not a weakness."
Sarah and Elizabeth have had the most profound and significant journey. This is something of which the series is acutely aware. It goes back to the very first episode. Their one-to-ones are the tent pegs of the series. From Elizabeth coming to the cottage with her chequebook in the first episode through her dare for Sarah to live at Ash Park for three months and that post-dinner “manipulative matriarch and scheming Jewess” cards on the table conversation to their reflection on their relationship in the Season Four finale. It would all be far less meaningful without these.
There’s been more progress here. Elizabeth has willingly attended a Shabbat and Chanukah. Sarah has asked Elizabeth to guide her in being Mistress of Ash Park (Sarah coming to terms with arranging menus and whatnot in light of her new marriage has been reminiscent of Krystle in Dynasty’s First Season).
In the final episode, Elizabeth asks to speak to Sarah alone and they dismiss George before getting down to business. Elizabeth hands Sarah some papers:
The look on Marta Dusseldorp’s face as she reads speaks volumes. And the chemistry between the two women is as alive as always.Elizabeth said:I was given these yesterday. They’re results of my tests. It’s why I popped home after Christmas.
The ghost of their earliest meetings hovers over their scenes, and it makes this one alive with history and depth. The very fact that Elizabeth has chosen Sarah of all people to be her confidante and trusts her to help is incredibly meaningful:
Elizabeth said:What point in George knowing. He would cancel this wonderful opportunity in Israel to hover here anticipating a death that will come when it comes… Sarah, I watched Douglas fade. I’m trying to spare George the same. And David. Let him remember Granny as she is. This [letter] is to give George when I’m gone.
Sarah said:If you go.
Elizabeth said:Evasion doesn’t become you. You’re the only one who’ll know of this until it’s impossible to conceal.
Sarah said:Promise one thing: if you’re clearly fading and feel that we can reach you, let us know.
Elizabeth said:If I’m absolutely sure. The coward in me, oh, hopes for an attack in my sleep. To close one’s eyes and simply not wake.
Sarah said:Hard to imagine a world without you.
Elizabeth said:It’s harder for me. [they laugh] …I will miss you. I’m not talking of Israel.
Sarah said:And I you [she cries]
Elizabeth said:That’s why I’m telling you now. So that you can be composed by tonight. And, selfishly, so I can see one pair of eyes at midnight that knows the truth.
Sarah said:I may well cry.
Elizabeth said:Excuse it as tears of joy. Dear Sarah. I love you.
It’s a conversation that would have been unimaginable just a short time ago. And it's straight from the heart. It’s been quite a journey for us and them. They do indeed look into each other’s eyes at midnight, and both are smiling. Because of the genuine warmth between the actresses, their performances quite possibly influenced by the genuine ending ahead offscreen as well as on, I found myself moved to tears by this scene.Sarah said:I love you.
Elizabeth had also reminded Sarah that she was given a short time to live years before, and “the ticker” had done well to bring her this far. Given this, and her wish to go in her sleep, it’s poignant to learn from the end text that:
Which got my face wet all over again.Elizabeth passed in her sleep in 1963. Her chosen epitaph was “Life is a blessing. To die fulfilled an even greater one.”