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S01.E06: Part Six 2017.10.30

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In 1859, Simon joins the Union Army; Grace gets some unexpected news in 1872.

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Can anyone who has read the book shed a little more light on the hypnosis session?  Since we know that Jeremiah was a fraud, nothing about that scene really worked for me.  There was no question to me that Grace was faking. But to what end?  

I figured the story of the murders wouldn't have a clear resolution, but I wasn't expecting such a sad downward spiral for Dr. Jordan.  Wow.

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I think the waving of Nancy told me all I needed to know of Grace and her "story". I remember very clearly she said Nancy ignored her when she first came to the house and in her real memory she was happy to see her.

I'm going with murderer, why I really can't say.

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I've read the book. Many times. And the book isn't entirely clear about all of it, either. The Governor's family (the house where Dr. Jordan and Grace meet) are a much bigger presence in the book and the spiritualist group the governor's wife is a part of is played up a lot more. The quilting is mentioned a bit in the show, but it's a wider motif in the book- fabric and clothing is discussed a lot but also this idea of patching together stories. The idea that Grace is an unreliable narrator is mirrored in Dr. Jordan's parts, too. He contradicts himself a lot. The pressure from his mother via letter to get married, he finds his landlady repellent but stumbles into an affair with her and the governor's daughter is also very interested. So again, this idea of different parts of his life getting stitched together. 

 

In the book I got the sense that Grace herself didn't remember exactly what happened but allowed Jeremiah (playing Dr. DuPont) to use her to expose their hypocrisy. Atwood did a really good job of placing this in it's time- this proto-psychoanalyst that Dr. Jordan is butting up against the spiritualists the Victorians were really into- the intermingling of the supernatural and science. 

And I never went away with a clear idea of Grace's guilt or innocence reading the book, but, as Atwood always does in pretty much every book she's ever written, she's examining this idea of how men control the lives of women and the hypocrisy in that. Even the idea of this gentleman Dr. spending hours of his time watching this female prisoner work as she tells him stories (facts. lies,  some combo) is subversive. He becomes enthralled with her, and becomes more and more unglued as they get closer to the murders in Grace's story. I always got the sense that Grace confesses in the seance to mess with the upper class people present basically because she can. They have given her that power. 

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I don't know why, but I've always been partial to believing Grace really was possessed by a Mary Whitney who died so angry she felt she had to take it out on the world. But that's almost entirely gut feeling, because this story is so intentionally enigmatic. We never do find out in the book or the show what she and Jeremiah said to each other when they had a moment alone -- I thought (and I suppose it doesn't hurt that this was what I wanted to think) that at least on the show it was played as Jeremiah being thrown for a loop by Grace. I mean, if he was trying to help her get her pardon, I don't think the "possession" was at all helpful. But then what could she have said that would have helped her case? "I remember now that I struggled against McDermott the whole time and I tried to throw myself in front of Mr. Kinnear and before that to save Nancy and I hit my head and that's why I couldn't give a straight story"? Whatever she might have said, I don't think Jeremiah was expecting it to be what she ended up saying.

Incidentally, Sarah Gadon's impression of Rebecca Liddiard (Mary Whitney) was pretty damn amazing. And it wasn't just the accent, she got the manner and cadence down so perfectly -- yet not so perfectly you would think it was one actress dubbing the other. I really hope around Emmy season that both those ladies get nods in the Limited Series categories. Most of the casting was great, but SG was a revelation -- at points in the show she seemed to embody every single one of the personas thrust upon Grace. She drew up a character who was somehow both incredibly deep and completely opaque; a mystery rapped in an enigma wrapped in a ton of petticoats. As for RL, Mary Whitney could have been such a difficult role to play, but she brought so much love and fire and hate and wisdom and naivety to it. You can see how Mary Whitney could have been in Grace's life for such a short time and leave such a lasting impression (with or without any possible possession shenanigans).

Edited by PinkRibbons.
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11 hours ago, PinkRibbons said:

I don't know why, but I've always been partial to believing Grace really was possessed by a Mary Whitney who died so angry she felt she had to take it out on the world. But that's almost entirely gut feeling, because this story is so intentionally enigmatic. We never do find out in the book or the show what she and Jeremiah said to each other when they had a moment alone -- I thought (and I suppose it doesn't hurt that this was what I wanted to think) that at least on the show it was played as Jeremiah being thrown for a loop by Grace. I mean, if he was trying to help her get her pardon, I don't think the "possession" was at all helpful. But then what could she have said that would have helped her case? "I remember now that I struggled against McDermott the whole time and I tried to throw myself in front of Mr. Kinnear and before that to save Nancy and I hit my head and that's why I couldn't give a straight story"? Whatever she might have said, I don't think Jeremiah was expecting it to be what she ended up saying.

Incidentally, Sarah Gadon's impression of Rebecca Liddiard (Mary Whitney) was pretty damn amazing. And it wasn't just the accent, she got the manner and cadence down so perfectly -- yet not so perfectly you would think it was one actress dubbing the other. I really hope around Emmy season that both those ladies get nods in the Limited Series categories. Most of the casting was great, but SG was a revelation -- at points in the show she seemed to embody every single one of the personas thrust upon Grace. She drew up a character who was somehow both incredibly deep and completely opaque; a mystery rapped in an enigma wrapped in a ton of petticoats. As for RL, Mary Whitney could have been such a difficult role to play, but she brought so much love and fire and hate and wisdom and naivety to it. You can see how Mary Whitney could have been in Grace's life for such a short time and leave such a lasting impression (with or without any possible possession shenanigans).

Sarah Gadon is amazing in this, in general. She anchored this entire thing and was a believable teenage Grace, more mature Grace and a believable Grace possessed by Mary. 

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Really, really enjoyed this and Sarah Gadon was a revelation. Terribly impressed.

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Thank you for the interpretations. Not sure what to think. I enjoyed the series but it was so well done that parts were painful to watch. The acting was excellent and I guess best left a mystery.

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I referred to the quilt motif in the book and the consistent mention of fabric and cloth. I went back and looked up the last part of the novel:

"While I am sitting out on the verandah in the afternoons, I sew away at the quilt I am making. Although I've made many quilts in my day, this is the first one I have ever done for myself. It is a Tree of Paradise; but I am changing the pattern a little to suit my own ideas.

I've thought a good deal about you and your apple, Sir, and the riddle you once made, the very first time that we met. I didn't understand you then, but it must have been that you were trying to teach me something, and perhaps by now I have guessed it. The way I understand things, the Bible may have been thought out by God, but it was written down by men. And like everything men write down, such as the newspapers, they got the main story right but some of the details wrong.

The pattern of this quilt is called the Tree of Paradise, and whoever named that pattern said better than she knew, as the Bible does not say Trees. It says there were two different trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge; but I believe there was only the one, and that the Fruit of Life and the Fruit of Good and Evil were the same. And if you ate of it you would die, but if you didn't eat of it you would die also; although if you did eat of it, you would be less bone-ignorant by the time you got around to your death.

Such an arrangement would appear to be more the way life is.

I am telling this to no one but you, as I am aware it is not the approved reading.

On my Tree of Paradise, I intend to put a border of snakes entwined; they will look like vines or just a cable pattern to others, as I will make the eyes very small, but they will be snakes to me; as without a snake or two, the main part of the story would be missing. Some who use this pattern make several trees, four or more in a square or circle, but I am making just one large tree, on a background of white. The Tree itself is of triangles, in two colours, dark for the leaves and a lighter colour for the fruits; I am using purple for the leaves and red for the fruits. They have many bright colours now, with the chemical dyes that have come in, and I think it will turn out very pretty.

But three of the triangles in my Tree will be different. One will be white, from the petticoat I still have that was Mary Whitney's; one will be faded yellowish, from the prison nightdress I begged as a keepsake when I left there. And the third will be a pale cotton, a pink and white floral, cut from the dress of Nancy's that she had on the first day I was at Mr. Kinnear's, and that I wore on the ferry to Lewiston, when I was running away.

I will embroider around each one of them with red feather-stitching, to blend them in as a part of the pattern.

And so we will all be together."

 

It's a glorious book. And I'm pretty thrilled with the adaptation and especially Sarah Gadon. 

Edited by Pogojoco.
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Maybe this explained somewhere, but I can't find it.  Why are there 6 episodes but the last 2 are the same?  Does it have something to do with Netflix?  Please don't tell me they cut stuff out to put it on TV with commercials, like they always did with shows like Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey when they brought them to PBS.

Other then that we really enjoyed the series.  I read the book so long ago and can't really remember it, just that I like it.  Definitely the best series that has ever been on CBC.

 

Sarah Gadon was awesome

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34 minutes ago, Blackie said:

Maybe this explained somewhere, but I can't find it.  Why are there 6 episodes but the last 2 are the same?  Does it have something to do with Netflix?  Please don't tell me they cut stuff out to put it on TV with commercials, like they always did with shows like Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey when they brought them to PBS.

Other then that we really enjoyed the series.  I read the book so long ago and can't really remember it, just that I like it.  Definitely the best series that has ever been on CBC.

 

Sarah Gadon was awesome

It actually makes me very happy for Canadian TV. So well acted, so well written, so good looking. A Canadian story done in a way that stands up next to any American or British prestige TV. 

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14 hours ago, Blackie said:

Maybe this explained somewhere, but I can't find it.  Why are there 6 episodes but the last 2 are the same?  Does it have something to do with Netflix?

Sounds like might be netflix having a problem on your end. There are six different episodes.

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I thought that was an admission of guilt at the end, in her letter. The talk of secrets kept between her and the hypnotist. I also thought that was why the doctor seemed catatonic at the end. I'll have to watch all of it again at some point, I haven't been feeling well.

Edited by Anela.
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5 hours ago, PinkRibbons said:
19 hours ago, Blackie said:

Maybe this explained somewhere, but I can't find it.  Why are there 6 episodes but the last 2 are the same?  Does it have something to do with Netflix?

Sounds like might be netflix having a problem on your end. There are six different episodes.

I PVR\d it off of CBC where it was aired before it went to Netflix and the last 2 episodes were the same and the episode descriptions don't match so I guess with adding commercials it still didn't fill out 6 hours.  How long is each episode on Netflix?

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2 hours ago, Blackie said:

I PVR\d it off of CBC where it was aired before it went to Netflix and the last 2 episodes were the same and the episode descriptions don't match so I guess with adding commercials it still didn't fill out 6 hours.  How long is each episode on Netflix?

I watched it on cbc's website as it aired, and it had all six episodes separately, each about an hour long. They're still on cbc's website for Canadian viewers in case you want to see if you missed anything. I couldn't tell you what went on with the actual airing of it on TV.

On another note, I am so pleased beyond words that not only were the writers (both original book and miniseries) female, but so was the director, Mary Harron, who I think did a really amazing job with both the look of the show (gorgeous, down to the last detail) and getting those performances out of the cast. All the awards to this show, the cast and crew.

Oh, another thing specifically episode 6. It takes a lot for tv or a movie to genuinely scare and/or disturb me but HOLY CRAP Grace/Mary under that black veil. *shivers*

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On 11/5/2017 at 1:27 PM, Pogojoco said:

Sarah Gadon is amazing in this, in general. She anchored this entire thing and was a believable teenage Grace, more mature Grace and a believable Grace possessed by Mary. 

She did a great job as adult Grace, but I didn’t buy her as a teenager. She looked like a girl in her 20s at Kinnear’s house. I did find the series exceptional. 

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On 11/3/2017 at 10:47 PM, Arynm said:

I think the waving of Nancy told me all I needed to know of Grace and her "story". I remember very clearly she said Nancy ignored her when she first came to the house and in her real memory she was happy to see her.

The scene with her waving gave me chills. That was the moment when I knew that Grace was, uh, fooling everyone. 

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On 11/3/2017 at 7:47 PM, Arynm said:

I think the waving of Nancy told me all I needed to know of Grace and her "story". I remember very clearly she said Nancy ignored her when she first came to the house and in her real memory she was happy to see her.

I don't think that can be a complete admission of guilt much farther than what she outright admitted to; embroidering the story to make it more interesting to Simon. We know Grace had a rage in her heart against Nancy, not least because Nancy allowed her to come innocently into a house with that much scandal hovering over it. Even if Grace is somehow completely innocent of the murders, she doesn't deny that she and Nancy started fighting. She may have felt the story sounded better if the animosity between her and Nancy had started earlier.

Plus, it could just have been that in reality Nancy waved and smiled at Mr. Kinnear and indeed completely ignored Grace like Grace said.

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Grace could have lied, but that doesn't necessarily mean she was a murderer (or murderess, as they would have said in her time).

I don't believe that "hypnotism" session was for real, but I don't exactly begrudge her the pleasure of spinning a tale for her own amusement over other people's reactions (or in an attempt to gain her freedom) after all the horrors she lived through.

If she participated in the murder but she didn't want to, she's still complicit in murder, but it's not the same as being a murderer. I would find that kind of complicitness (sorry if that's not a word, haha) pardonable. It was the olden times, it's not like she could have called 911. Her choices were: let McDermott think she wants to kill them as much as he did, or die. I wouldn't blame her for choosing to survive.

What would make her a murderer would be if she wanted to kill Nancy and Mr. Kinnear and she caused them to be killed either by proxy (asking someone to kill them) or by her own hand. I'm not saying this definitely didn't happen, but the "proof" that it did is spurious at best. The "proof" is that she was a liar and she was angry on the inside? And McDermott said it was her idea? That's not good enough. She should have gotten off on reasonable doubt.

Of course she was angry and somewhat hardened by the time she was telling this story, she has been locked up and abused for 15 years. It doesn't mean she was angry enough to plot a double murder when she was a teenage girl.

Outside of this forum, I've seen people float the idea that people are more sympathetic to women accused of crime. I don't think so. If Grace was a servant boy instead of a servant girl, people would find it hard to believe that a teenage servant boy manipulated McDermott into committing murder. People made a lot of assumptions about Grace because she is a woman. People were itching to punish her because the idea of a woman stepping out of line like this is more horrifying to them than if a man did the same thing. If Grace was a boy, it would have been much easier for people to see how little hard proof there is that she orchestrated the murders.

We live in a world where multiple women accuse a man of sexual assault and people would still say "They're lying hussies! He's innocent until proven guilty!" How much benefit of the doubt has Grace gotten from most people, outside of the tiny niche group that sought a pardon for her?

Edited by Bec.
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I enjoyed this to some extent -- the look of it, the writing...exquisite. If we're talking about Margaret Atwood heroines on screen, I thought Sarah Gadon was every bit Elisabeth Moss' equal. What a revelation. I was especially surprised to hear she is not from Northern Ireland. Excellent job with a  tricky accent. And even better when she was being Mary during the hypnosis session. I thought in the first few episodes that the actress playing Mary had such distinctive diction. SG really captured that. She is really one to watch. 

On the narrative itself, I think I need some time to think about this one. I think the thing I'm struggling with most is the hypnosis session. I kept thinking that she and Jeremiah were in cahoots, and that when she went "under," she was going to claim she had no role in the murders and would, therefore, be pardoned. And then...she did the opposite. And I couldn't figure out why. Why damn yourself when you can set yourself free? And then I started thinking how unsatisfying that ending would truly have been -- that Grace would be rescued by a man. 

Instead, she made her own choice. To tell her story. To point the finger at her tormenters. She traded freedom for truth. Or at least that's how I interpreted it. 

As for her guilt, I initially thought that we see the "real" Grace in the ending shots when we see, from her POV, Nancy waving at her happily on the day she arrived at Kinnear's. This seemed to be a real memory. But then, that paints a better picture than the capricious Nancy we see in Grace's story to Dr. Jordan. So what motive would she have had to want Nancy dead?

Ultimately, I don't think it matters, and that's the point. Everyone had already made up their mind about her guilt or innocence without attempting to understand her. 

Oof...clearly i've thought too much about this. :)

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One of my main takeaways from this is Sarah Gadon. Amazing in every possible way. Her as Mary was chillingly good. Even in the brief glimpses of Grace told from other points of view (McDermott's confession, the flashbacks during the hypnosis session with her among the hanging laundry) she managed to portray a very different Grace so well. And I didn't realise until afterwards that Kinnear was in fact Constable Benton Fraser (aka Paul Gross). 

I agree with the previous poster in that the story as told in the show (Haven't read the book so can't comment) is meant for us to basically project our own ideas and beliefs onto. Like Grace talks about mainly early in the first episode, that she is all these different things all at once, she in a way becomes what the newspaper men say she is. And again, in telling her story to Simon and then over and over again to Jamie the story isn't her story; it's what the men she's telling it to wants to hear. It's about them in some way. Same thing with the Reverend and the rest of the group who have decided what they want the story to be already. From this, I prefer the idea that during the hypnosis, she finally had the chance to tell the story she wanted to tell. Whether she told the truth or not, I don't know. But for once it wasn't what someone else wanted, or needed, to hear. 

There are just so many ways you can interpret everything that went on in the Kinnear household. You can plausibly find support for Grace knowingly manipulating McDermott into the murders to McDermott acting all on his own and scaring Grace into acquiesence for the sake of survival. And everything in between. 'Mary' could be a split personality disorder, it could be a dissociative condition that occured after the fact to handle the guilt and rationalize what happened, it could be a complete and total fabrication. Or maybe her soul really simply couldn't escape out the window and instead inhabited Grace. Or her guilt made her think it did. For a while I even thought that Grace really was Mary, that it was in fact Grace who died and Mary who assumed her identity and moved on. After all the only other perspective of that household we get is Jeremiah, and she says towards the end that her secrets are safe with him, and his with her. I tried to summarize my thoughts on what I believe really happened, but no train of thought ever really held up, nothing matched completely with what we saw. I can form strong and coherent threads that lead far, but never quite mesh into a clearly patterned quilt. Always something that clearly stands in the way. 

I kept trying to spot any hints, any pattern in the interactions that felt 'off' in the Kinnear household. (And in everything really, including the shots of her hands when cutting back to her working on the quilt in the hope that it would say something about the truth in what she had just said). But then I thought of another work directed by Mary Harron; American Psycho. Where I never could figure out just what Willem Dafoe's detective knew or didn't know. I've read that that was done through shooting each scene between him and Patrick Bateman several times, with Dafoe in some takes acting as if he knew he was guilty, in others as if he strongly suspected, in others as if he believed him innocent, others as if he was unsure. And then cutting between the different takes several times during the scenes. Perhaps something similar was employed here. Regardless of which, the unreliable narration was very well done. 

In the end I know which way I'm leaning when it comes to guilt, but I think I'm quite content to accept that it was meant to be as ambiguous as possible, and that any strong belief either way really reflects more of my own beliefs and experiences and ideas than they do what I actually saw and heard. 

Edited by Lathund.
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It's really a shame this is getting so little attention. Very well done, amazing job by Sarah Gadon and amazingly well-written by Sarah Polley. I almost gave up after the grimness of E1, but am glad I stayed on. The pace, music, screenplay, all evoked the period so well. Coincidentally I am reading a novel that deals with the Victorian spiritualist movement, so I'm surrounded by the atmosphere at the moment.

I don't quite know what I think, but I'm tending toward guilty. The multiple personality angle was very well built up (even going back to Mary's death scene and aftermath), but for that to be true, Jeremiah would have had to be a genuine hypnotist - and we know he's a charlatan, out of his own mouth. I'm okay with the end being ambiguous, though, as it fits everything that came before.

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On 11/12/2017 at 9:23 PM, peggy06 said:

The multiple personality angle was very well built up (even going back to Mary's death scene and aftermath), but for that to be true, Jeremiah would have had to be a genuine hypnotist - and we know he's a charlatan, out of his own mouth.

Although I'm leaning toward Grace being guilty and the MPD being faked, I think it's possible that Jeremiah really did learn how to hypnotize people. (Of course, everything else about his identity and profession was fake.) I've never been hypnotized or seen anyone do it, but as far as I know it is a real thing that can be learned like any skill; it apparently is effective at least for some people in stopping smoking and may have other medical uses. If he really did hypnotize her, it's possible that what she said under hypnosis was true--that is, Mary Whitney was controlling her actions, either as an alternate personality or as a spirit possessing her (the latter being possible if Grace truly believed in and feared spirits). 

The apparent agelessness of the characters continued to bother me in this episode. In the last scenes Grace was about 46, yet other than a few gray hairs looked the same as she did when a teenager. Similarly, not much aging was done on Jamie--it looked like they just slapped a fake wig and beard on the teenage Jamie. 

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I don't know what to think!

When did Jeremiah admit to being a fake?  I remember when he looked at her palm and told her the future....

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In the book it's Mary who laughingly says the stuff about Grace crossing water three times while they sit around predicting husbands. I think in the show we are supposed to believe that Jeremiah may have some powers*, but is essentially a showman. At least at the time that Jeremiah was trying to bring Grace away with him, he was definitely planning on being a con artist, since he specifically mentioned he'd rehearse her so that she would do a convincing trance (I would love to know what Grace left out of her story to Dr. Jordan that had Jeremiah mentioning he knew Grace had an aptitude for those kinds of tricks, having seen it for himself.) I especially loved the part of the hypnotism session when he invites anyone to try to bend Grace's arm, because that was pure and utter theatrics sort of suddenly popping up in the middle of a "scientific" procedure.

When I choose to believe the trance actually worked, and that the possession idea was literal, I tend to think Jeremiah is actually as surprised as anyone. Like, either he accidentally conducted a successful hypnotism, or it was Mary realizing a prime moment to pop out, or some combination of the two.

*My guess is that those kinds of powers are a sort of vague sense of the future. A lot of people claim to know things before they happen (although usually it's just a psychological aftereffect); maybe some of them are tapped into a bit of a sixth sense. Like Grace's mother predicting her own death and later Grace being so sure doom was coming to the Kinnear house.

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2 hours ago, parrotfeathers said:

When did Jeremiah admit to being a fake?  I remember when he looked at her palm and told her the future....

I think it was when he was trying to convince her to leave the Kinnear home with him. He said that he was going to give up peddling and become a hypnotist--I don't remember the exact words but he definitely indicated he could fool people with this.

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I was thinking that they made the doctor seemingly true to the times during the hypnotism with his questions, at first I thought he knew what she was doing but then I didn't. Afterward was a bit too progressive and modern with his mental health opinions. I do think Grace would have had something like PTSD from all her trauma. The truth telling during the hypnotism is something Mary would have done and I do wonder like the doctor, if she took the opportunity to say what she thought, inspired by Mary, she definitely emulated her perfect life with the "dog named Rex." I do think she helped murder Nancy and Kinnear, but I don't know why, how did she think she would benefit?

It was hard to imagine Grace as young girl who didn't know better, was she supposed to be 13 or so at the beginning? She looked about 25 the entire time. Grace and Jaime seemed like a Peeta/Katniss marriage arrangement.

The Doctor definitely had his issues his going comatose was bizarre? Jaime certainly got off on her abuse.

Edited by Megan.
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17 hours ago, Megan said:

I do think she helped murder Nancy and Kinnear, but I don't know why, how did she think she would benefit?

If she helped or even manipulated McDermott into murdering them (and I'm still not convinced she did either, although she may have helped under threat from McDermott), I think it would be less about benefiting from the crime and more about escaping another bad situation.

On 11/11/2017 at 5:57 PM, Lathund said:

'Mary' could be a split personality disorder, it could be a dissociative condition that occured after the fact to handle the guilt and rationalize what happened, it could be a complete and total fabrication.

Maybe it's because I liked the character and didn't want her to be a bad person, but a dissociative condition seems most likely to me, given the trauma Grace has suffered throughout her life (modern-era psychiatrists have seen dissociative conditions in victims of severe abuse/trauma). But complete and total fabrication seems almost as likely!

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Although part of me really wants to know the truth about the murders, the other part of me understands why the show left it ambiguous. I haven't read the book, but I know that the murders really happened and Grace was a real person, so it's not surprising that using the little factual information that's available as the source material resulted in this "ehhh, maybe she was playing everyone but maybe we will never know what really happened" is okay with me.

In the context of the show's version of what happened, I think that Jeremiah wanting to hypnotize Grace was his way of giving her a way to exonerate herself so that she would be released from prison. He looked very surprised by what ended up happening. I knew she was going the MPD or possessed by a spirit route as soon as she started speaking because she sounded so different. It wasn't just her accent either. Grace tended to speak in a softer tone while her Mary voice was harder and definitely had a sneer to some of the things she said.

It seems redundant to say at this point, but Sarah Gadon was really amazing in this role.

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On 11/7/2017 at 5:19 PM, Blackie said:

I PVR\d it off of CBC where it was aired before it went to Netflix and the last 2 episodes were the same and the episode descriptions don't match so I guess with adding commercials it still didn't fill out 6 hours.  How long is each episode on Netflix?

Each episode I watched was right around the 45 minute mark.  All 6 episodes were different.  

Yeah I was *really* confused about the whole Jeramiah/Dr. Jerome plot point.  I get that he was a charlatan pretending to be a doctor, so I understand why he pretended to have never met her.  But what reason would Grace have for going along with the farce and pretending she didn't know him?  Or at least confess to Dr. Jordan in one of their sessions that he was actually "Jeramiah"? 

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6 hours ago, Duke2801 said:
On ‎11‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 5:19 PM, Blackie said:

I PVR\d it off of CBC where it was aired before it went to Netflix and the last 2 episodes were the same and the episode descriptions don't match so I guess with adding commercials it still didn't fill out 6 hours.  How long is each episode on Netflix?

Each episode I watched was right around the 45 minute mark.  All 6 episodes were different

I guess they just repackaged it for tv with commercials.  I have read all the synopsis of all the episodes so I know I didn't miss anything plot wise. But why on TV they would have 2 episodes the same I don't know.I guess because it is promoted as a 6 part series for Netflix. I guess I am the only person the actually pvr'd it off the TV rather then watching it online or Netflix  haha

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On 11/18/2017 at 5:17 PM, Paloma said:

Maybe it's because I liked the character and didn't want her to be a bad person, but a dissociative condition seems most likely to me, given the trauma Grace has suffered throughout her life (modern-era psychiatrists have seen dissociative conditions in victims of severe abuse/trauma). But complete and total fabrication seems almost as likely!

I always was intrigued by the TV movie "Sybil."  I learned a couple years ago she claimed the whole thing was a fabrication.  

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39 minutes ago, parrotfeathers said:
On 11/18/2017 at 6:17 PM, Paloma said:

Maybe it's because I liked the character and didn't want her to be a bad person, but a dissociative condition seems most likely to me, given the trauma Grace has suffered throughout her life (modern-era psychiatrists have seen dissociative conditions in victims of severe abuse/trauma). But complete and total fabrication seems almost as likely!

I always was intrigued by the TV movie "Sybil."  I learned a couple years ago she claimed the whole thing was a fabrication.  

I didn't know that! I remember being so fascinated with the Sibyl story, but your post made me do a quick search and I found this: https://www.npr.org/2011/10/20/141514464/real-sybil-admits-multiple-personalities-were-fake

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In my newsfeed this morning an article in vulture.com appeared on Alias Grace.  It was well written and explains why we are so fascinated with this story.  I never knew vulture.com even existed.

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So, I was thinking that by the end of this I would have SOME idea of what really happened...but I still have no clue whether Grace was guilty or not. She was certainly involved to an extent, but to what extent? I still have no idea. Was she just too afraid to stop McDermott like we saw? Or was she the mastermind, like he said? Did she have some kind of second personality? Was she possessed by an angry ghostly Mary? What memories were true, and what were white lies, or details to appeal more to the listener? I dont know. She straight up said that she made some "details" up, but what details, exactly? Was that smiley waving flashback of Nancy real, or imagined, or was she waving at her boyfriend next to Grace? And what would that even mean? 

I think the most likely explanation is some variation of what she saw, and perhaps she really did black out after the murders to block out the trauma. That seems rather likely, but I really dont know. A part of me, the part that has always been fascinated by the Victorian Spiritualism movement, almost wants her to have been possessed, and Jeremiah accidentally brought Mary Ghost to the foreground. I mean, the whole series had a slight magical vibe throughout (Graces mom seeing her death beforehand on the ship, the apple turning into a J, Jeremiah actually seeing glimpses of the future, all the stuff about spirits) so maybe something really DID happen. On the other OTHER hand, all those prophesies and weird events could have easily been coincidences, or just good guess work. I do actually like that they kept it ambiguous. Grace was a real person, as was this case, and from the brief Google search I did, no one really knows what happened to her after she was pardoned, and there are still a lot of lingering questions about the whole case, so I think this was the best way to play it. 

Simon ended up getting a pretty raw deal in comparison to the other surviving notable characters. Grace and Jaime seem decently content on their little farm, Jeremiah is achieving some renown in the hypnotism/mysticism circuit, and Simon ended up getting possibly permanent brain damage from the Civil War. On the other hand, he did seem to remember Grace, so maybe it starts coming back now? 

On 11/15/2017 at 4:43 PM, PinkRibbons said:

I think in the show we are supposed to believe that Jeremiah may have some powers*, but is essentially a showman.

That sounds like a cool story in and of itself. Jeremiah the traveling peddler turned hypnotist/con man/showman turns out to actually have real powers, and not even he realizes how much power he has. As for his hypnotism session, I think he came to the house and did the whole hypnotism thing as an excuse for Grace to make something up to help exonerate herself, he didn't expect the whole "possessed by Mary" thing at all. He looked honestly really shocked by what was going on, even as Grace went on and on. If she was faking, then she really SHOULD have gone off with Jeremiah to join his act. The woman had a gift for theater. 

All in all, a really interesting story with lots of great acting and a fascinating and creepy story. 

Edited by tennisgurl.
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I very much enjoyed this program. And all of the valuable comments here.  

One thing I'll add is that it's important that the show is true to the most salient facts of the real Grace Marks story. She ran off with McDermott.  She suffered from emotional problems while in prison. In that light, I imagine the scenario wherein Grace was indeed guilty, and wove the tale she thought gave her the best chance of gaining her freedom. She allowed the spiritualists to see what they wanted to see and kept them on her side. She gave Dr. Jordan an opportunity to diagnose her as suffering from a severe psychological disorder and therefore open to a pardon on that basis.  She just didn't realize that he would stay true to his professional ethics and not write a report that he could not sustain.  

Although I agree with those who say that we are not supposed to know the real truth, I tend to lean towards Grace being guilty. She said that Jeremiah knows her secrets and I can't think of anything else that he might know about her besides that.  The thing about the last quilt representing the joining of Mary, Nancy and herself somehow indicates to me that she was consciously aware that Mary was still a big factor in her life.  Also, Grace and Jeremiah are shown sitting together by themselves just before the hypnosis session, so they would have had ample opportunity to rehearse. 

Either way, the TV version of Grace Marks is a thoroughly engaging and compelling character.  Scheherazade, indeed.

Edited by PeterPirate.
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On 11/25/2017 at 5:36 PM, tennisgurl said:

That sounds like a cool story in and of itself. Jeremiah the traveling peddler turned hypnotist/con man/showman turns out to actually have real powers, and not even he realizes how much power he has. As for his hypnotism session, I think he came to the house and did the whole hypnotism thing as an excuse for Grace to make something up to help exonerate herself, he didn't expect the whole "possessed by Mary" thing at all. He looked honestly really shocked by what was going on, even as Grace went on and on. If she was faking, then she really SHOULD have gone off with Jeremiah to join his act. The woman had a gift for theater. 

 

This. I was thoroughly creeped out during the hypnosis. She got Mary's voice down perfectly. 

I really enjoyed this show and loved the performences. 

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I think Grace enjoyed playing people along.  Of course I am not saying she was not abused her whole life.  But I think she maybe thought she was paying everyone back after the murders, especially with her husband after she was released.

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On 11/11/2017 at 5:57 PM, Lathund said:

And again, in telling her story to Simon and then over and over again to Jamie the story isn't her story; it's what the men she's telling it to wants to hear. It's about them in some way. Same thing with the Reverend and the rest of the group who have decided what they want the story to be already.

Yes, I think she just told whatever tale she knew her audience wanted to hear -- like the lawyer said, she was Scheherazade telling tales to save her life. And the point wasn't to claim innocence or guilt, it was to make her audience fall in love for her so that they would help her -- which they did.

She gave the doctor a fascinating medical case, Jeremiah an able assistant, Jamie a wanton waif, the Spiritualists a creepy possession, etc etc etc. Grace is just supremely good at singing for her supper. It's not for nothing that she got her sentence commuted while McDermott got hanged.

I have no idea whether she was really a murderess or not. It's impossible to know the truth behind all the stories. Maybe it doesn't matter? Maybe it doesn't matter what the truth is or maybe the truth doesn't really exist, it only matters or even all that exists is what people want to believe and hear?

On 11/18/2017 at 0:36 AM, Megan said:

The truth telling during the hypnotism is something Mary would have done and I do wonder like the doctor, if she took the opportunity to say what she thought, inspired by Mary, she definitely emulated her perfect life with the "dog named Rex." I do think she helped murder Nancy and Kinnear, but I don't know why, how did she think she would benefit?

I think that Grace's motivation was like she said -- she was furious that things would turn out for Nancy, but not for Mary, when they had committed the same "crime" (getting pregnant by their boss). I think that Grace wanted Nancy to be punished and die like Mary had, and for Mary to live her dream like Nancy had. So she killed Nancy and made Mary's dream life come alive, down to the cat named Tabby and the dog named Rex.

It's interesting because in real life, I don't think Grace Marks even ever stood trial for Nancy's murder, just the murder of the master of the house. The story could easily have been portrayed as a problem between McDermott and his boss, with Nancy and Grace as mere footnotes. But in this story, the old man and the handyman are the footnotes and the events all revolve around Nancy and Grace.

In real life, I think that Grace Marks probably didn't have a whole lot of choice but to go along with the murders and probably didn't have the kind of agency that Grace in the story had. Not least because she was a kid when it all went down. But it's like Grace told Jamie, a girl of 15 or 16 is considered a woman, even though a boy of that age is still considered a child.

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On 12/27/2017 at 11:12 AM, rue721 said:

Maybe it doesn't matter what the truth is or maybe the truth doesn't really exist, it only matters or even all that exists is what people want to believe and hear?

And not to get too off-topic, but that is why we are in the political mess we are in today. But I still believe that there is such a thing as objective truth and it does matter--it's just that in Grace's case, the objective truth didn't matter to those controlled her life and determined her fate.

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This show was riveting but now that I’ve finished it I am very confused. I’ll have to think about it more before saying more than that. 

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On 25/11/2017 at 11:36 PM, tennisgurl said:

I mean, the whole series had a slight magical vibe throughout (Graces mom seeing her death beforehand on the ship, the apple turning into a J, Jeremiah actually seeing glimpses of the future, all the stuff about spirits) so maybe something really DID happen. On the other OTHER hand, all those prophesies and weird events could have easily been coincidences, or just good guess work.

Did that really happen, though? I thought she made that bit up to make that sucker Dr. Jordan feel special, so he'd like her and be more inclined to recommend she be released... To me, that was the surest evidence that she had done it... or that she was very manipulative, at least. That and all the fainting, especially when her lawyer said she had "nerves of flint", even though he himself had seen her faint - or "faint"? - when her verdict was read...

In the same vein, Grace offering to show Jordan the scars was quite good too!

About the hypnosis scene, I also wonder: can someone who isn't evil really sound so evil? Or even want to? To me, that was Grace's true colors she was revealing in that moment. Although the different way of speaking was odd for sure...

Anyway, my personal takeaway was that the show was saying she was guilty!

How odd that real-life Grace's trace was lost completely after she was released from prison! It wasn't even that long ago... She probably changed her name? I have to say, I went into the show expecting more of a resolution, so even though I really enjoyed it, not knowing for sure what happened does leave me a bit frustrated...

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I too expected to come out of this with a clearer view towards her innocence or guilt, but I like that I still can't decide between the two. I tend to veer towards innocence of sorts - knowing what could or would happen and putting it out of her mind - coupled with a sharp understanding of people and what makes them tick developed in childhood and honed during the incarceration years. And very strong superstitions, which may have coloured how she interpreted or related "facts". Ultimately, a tragic character, whose potential completely went to waste due to her circumstances.  

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With how manipulative Grace Marks is portrayed I think it's certainly possible for her to have somehow convinced mcDermott to commit those murders. She may have made him believe it was going to be easy as pie to flee the country and I think we all know what the promise of sex can do to a man. So when they were accused, and mcDermotts blood went back to his brains, he finally realized Grace's manipulation. Yeah, I really think it's as simple as that.

Beautiful acting, beautiful decor, the story is done but if there were more to tell, I'd definitely watch.

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