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Tara Ariano

The Bletchley Circle

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Whoops!  Totally my bad -- I thought PBS premiered the second season last week, but it turns out they're throwing it up against the new Mad Men this coming Sunday. (Yes, this means I obtained the second season by other methods and have already watched it.  It's good!  Sorta.)

Edited by Demian
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I have to watch it on-line because my PBS station airs it too late (well, it's late for me to watch it on a Sunday night). 

I think Jean's a bit bitchy about Susan's hesistancy to rejoin them.

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Was it weird to have cast Paul McGann for just two scenes? That seems like an extravagance.

I visited Scotland last year, and drove by Rachel Stirling's family home. You know, the castle. I waved.

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I hope we get more back story showing why Jean is so sure Alice is innocent - other than her being a Bletchley girl. The mystery looks promising. I'm glad the show is back!

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Yeah, Paul McGann.  I recognized his voice and thought, Oh, great.  I do like his voice.

 

And then he was a corpse.

 

Maybe he has some flashback scenes in episode two?

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I finally finished the episode last night and read Sarah's post: so many great points about the extraneousness of (especially) Timothy, Susan's constant reminder about Her Obligations and What Really Matters, snooze.

I am, however, very intrigued by the mention of the travelling Susan and Millie were supposed to do after the war, but then didn't. Was I the only one who got kind of a vibe between them, like that they might have been a couple during their Bletchley Park days? And I swear I'm not just asking because of Millie's pants.

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To me, the vibe is that Millie is interested that way in Susan, unrequitedly. And not just because of her pants.

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I got the same vibe re: Millie and Susan. Their conversation together seemed too intense to be just about a friend who switched her travel plans at the last minute.  I went back and watched S1 E1, and in the first scene between Millie and Susan there's the same tension. Millie even emphasizes that Susan left her in the lurch to marry and have kids. True, it could just be the bitterness of a hurt friend, but in terms of Millie at least, it seems like there were more serious feelings involved.

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Oh, okay. I was wondering if they were going to add Alice to the Circle, but no, she's a replacement for AMM not an addition. That makes sense. I'll miss AMM, but I always like Hattie Morahan.

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So there were no negative repercussions of her breaking the secret? Or was it acceptable because she revealed her former role in the presence of the military?

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I wondered about that too. But it made them take her more seriously. Also, what will happen to Lucy and her job at Scotland Yard?

slightly off topic, I hope the social media campaign will make ITV see that TBC is a worthwhile drama and renew it for another series.

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I just caught up on this season today and I'm glad you're talking about Millie/Susan, because I've been wondering if I'm either dense or delusional about their relationship. Based on all of their conversations this season and last, I think they were in love with each other, but Susan either got scared or she was pressured to marry Tim. "And then what happened, happened." Talking about regrets, etc. All the tears and the awkward wistful looks. That's beyond friendship, and it's on both sides.

I love this show so much, and I will miss AMM for the rest of the series.

Edited by Carrie Ann
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Loved the fashion commentary! 

 

I found the episode intriguing but feel as if something is still missing.  The show's premise is great -- intelligent, capable women and their camaraderie -- and they solve crimes, too!  I think it could pack more of an emotional punch, but as it is, it doesn't quite get there.  The final scene was nice, though.  And Susan and Millie's embrace was touching.

 

That said, I prefer Alice to Susan, so I look forward to the next two episodes.

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I think you (and I) prefer Alice because she seems warmer than Susan. Susan is like an ice-queen, unless she's about to die. But after the crisis, she's very cold, and emotionally detached, imo. And she seems a bit of a bitch too.

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Self-righteous, IMHO. I'm with Kanako that something's still missing from the show, though I can't put my finger on what; the puzzles themselves seem a bit tame, or not tied to what they did at Bletchley Park. But I like Alice as the fourth better than Susan.

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An acquaintance of mine is headed off to Malta for vacay today. I should warn him about black marketeers and human traffickers.

 

OMG, I am coveting Millie's hostage-dress. So pretty.

 

I also like having a Lady Gangster, just for a change of pace.

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Sarah, TBC reminds me of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"---library, Scooby Gang, the sound level of their voices (almost inaudible at times, lol), and the incidental music is the same. So maybe it's missing Vamps and the Hell Mouth? lol

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Millie's hostage dress is very cute! If I could find a similar dress pattern, I will definitely knock it off. I also like her coat in the vomiting after finding Jasper scene.

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Surprisingly, I didn't miss Susan much.  While I admired Susan's brilliance, I found her personality grating.  I also liked the fact that with Susan gone, Millie got to do a whole lot more.  Gosh, Rachael Stirling is absolutely gorgeous!

 

That said, it seems that the ladies are using their skills less and less.  I mean, Lucy is using her beauty and charms -- and not really her photographic memory.  The only thing in this episode that had anything to do with "patterns" was Alice discovering that the Maltese are using hotels.  That's more Charlie's Angels than The Bletchley Circle.  I guess in that sense I did miss Susan...

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Based on this last (figuratively and literally) installment, it looks like the Ladies would have become crime-solving consultants for Ben or for the military---if ITV hadn't cancelled them. Hopefully, the ITV petition will have some influence.

 

Anyhow, I'm happy that Lucy was able to use her photographic memory in this one. And something tells me, if Susan were around she would have out-machined the Enigma machine and figured out the code while ironing her husband's shirts.

 

I also like that Ms Maltese Gangster was also a code breaker (for the other side) during the War.

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Stirling is every bit as beautiful as her mother was in her day. And without makeup! When she came out of captivity she was very pale, without makeup (unless she had makeup on to suggest that she had no makeup on!).

I agree, I miss the use of skills they had in the first series. I was expecting Millie to do the "Right, Left, estimated distance, bridge, river horn") thing that I've seen people do in other thrillers, to be able to trace back where they came from when they can't see outside the vehicle.

And bad news about the cancellation. The responses here suggest that the publicity has really fallen down on this series. They couldn't have given it more time? Also true for "The Hour."

Poor Jasper. Note to self: Learn to proofread.

Edited by Catherinewriter
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I was sad to see Susan go, but I am happy that Tim and she ended up happy and recommitted.  I thought his reaction to her news, as implausible as it was that she would announce her secret like she did, was perfect.  It was like a lightbulb moment for him, and my love for him grew three sizes when he quickly started talking about jobs she could take when they moved.  Of course, when he told the kids their mother was a hero I thought, "This is why they aren't allowed by law to tell anyone because you will end up being a big blabbermouth!"

 

Does anyone know why Anna was leaving?  I know she played Elizabeth Darcy in Death at Pemberley;  did their shooting schedules conflict?

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I wanted Jean's gangsta coat. A. Lot.

 

Glad to see some old-school code breaking going on. It takes a knack to make looking words up in a dictionary suspenseful; I think this hour did so.

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I'm so disappointed by this.  I'd love to see it continue.  The writing this go-round seemed to have some issues, but I love the characters, especially Millie and Jean, and the premise of former codebreakers solving crimes.

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Finally had a chance to watch the season (well, okay, series) finale.  And I thought it was fantastic!  The girls were putting their skills to good use.  It felt like code-breaking was truly front and center.  That was what differentiated this drama from other procedurals in the first place, so I'm really glad that TPTB got to maximize it in this episode.  What a pity that it now seems that it was too little, too late.

 

The scene where Millie applies lipstick on Jean was very sexy.  Some lesbian vibes there, too?  Perhaps it was also because of how the scene was lit, but I found it to be a very intimate scene.   

 

I've already signed the petition to keep TBC on the air.  I hope we get pleasantly surprised!

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I'm finally watching S2! ITA that there must have been something more between Millie and Susan than the platonic friendship they have with the other girls. Millie was upset about more than just "hey, we were supposed to go on vacation together!" I know they have an important mystery to solve, but I hope we get some more insight into their relationship.

 

I'm glad that (so far) this mystery is less creepy than last season's. That guy creeped me the fuck out.

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One of the things I both love and hate about historical dramas is seeing how differently women were treated in the past. After Susan told her big secret, for a second there I thought her husband was going to be mad, which of course would be ridiculous in modern times since a woman is allowed to work and have a past, but back then women were expected to pitch in with the war effort and then go back to their traditional roles afterward. I really liked that when Susan visited the first school in the previous episode, she was clearly looking for a place where her daughter would really be educated (hence, asking about calculus and more advanced math).

 

I agree that based on the premise, this show should be awesome and I find it's not quite at that level, but I'm not sure why. We have smart women solving mysteries but it somehow isn't living up to its potential.

 

I loved that Sarah did a fashion commentary. I often find myself staring at their coats.

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Man, they really just stuck Alice into the circle to replace Susan without skipping a beat. I don't dislike Alice, mind you, but it's really obvious that the show wanted a new character to take Susan's place.

 

I agree that the characters are using their skills less. In S1 they were constantly using the skills they learned at Bletchley and this season they're mostly using their connections to sneak in or get info.

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Just realized that

Anna Maxwell Martin isn't in these last two episodes

, which makes me wonder if I want to continue watching at all.  She was by far the most compelling character and actress.  Not sure why, but she's always manages to fascinate me with her roles.

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I just discovered this show yesterday (I'm always late to finding good shows). I love Anna Maxwell Martin so I tuned in.  The first couple episodes were really good. I haven't finished the third, but it really was edge of your seat storytelling.

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  Not sure why, but she's always manages to fascinate me with her roles.

 

Probably because she's just a great actress.  First noticed her in North and South and then saw Bleak House, she's just great.  I just discovered this show and tuned in specifically because of Anna Maxwell Martin.  Glad I did.

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In case anyone has missed this, The Imitation Game opening December 25th is based on the real life Alan Turing who led the team that cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park. 

 

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Our PBS station is re-showing this series, just started Season 2.  I'm hoping someone can answer a couple questions, one about the show and one about the times of the show.

 

First, I am confused about the age daughter of Alice and John.  She is supposed to be 17, however when the episode starts isn't already 1944 when they say their goodbyes, then it flash forwards 10 years ahead.  Was there anything said about the two of them knowing each other before the war?

 

About the foreign post for Susan's husband, is the set up for a single person, no family, meaning he would leave Susan and the kids behind or can he bring his whole family but is choosing to only bring Susan and put the kids in boarding school?  (and is it summer there, where are the kids going to school now if Susan is researching boarding schools before she learns of the new job?)

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Thank you -- great overview, and I also think it is a shame there were not more series.  I actually delayed watching the final two episodes because I knew there would be no more.  But I did miss Susan's presence, even though, as you point out, it made dramatic sense for her to go abroad and focus on the family that had been splitting her focus and creating such anxiety for their safety.  In the real world, after raising the children, I think she would seek out the rest of the circle again -- all that cryptic talent waiting to be tapped! 

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First, I am confused about the age daughter of Alice and John.  She is supposed to be 17, however when the episode starts isn't already 1944 when they say their goodbyes, then it flash forwards 10 years ahead.  Was there anything said about the two of them knowing each other before the war?

I thought I was so late to this party, but look!  A post from April 2015!  I also was very perplexed about the 17-year-old daughter, and thought I had the date of the episode wrong.  Because 1945 (after a nine-month gestation) plus 17 years is 1962, and I thought the series was in the 1950s?  Or are we supposed to ignore her age?  I did a little reading on the series, but did not see anything to explain this. 

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