Stars: Tom Weston-Jones, Kevin Ryan, Ato Essandoh, Anastasia Griffiths, Tanya Fischer, Kiara Glasco, Franka Potente
Writer: Tom Fontana & Will Rokos, Teleplay by Kevin Deiboldt
Director: Jeff Woolnough
Network: BBC America, airs Sunday nights
Original Telecast: September 23, 2012
Just when I think I’ve sort of figured BBC America’s COPPER out, they have an episode like “Arsenic and Old Cake”. There are some rather disturbing character shifts in this episode, but the main story and murder mystery is one that ends up being comical (and yes I am surprised as you that murder can be a laughing matter on this serious of a show).
The murder weapon in this episode is a fruitcake. Yes kids, a fruitcake. The thing that makes it comical is how many people had said fruitcake in their possession and then passed it on to someone else; making it a very twisty turvy trail for our favorite Irish detectives to follow. What they uncover by the end is nothing short of ironic genius, and I won’t spoil it for you.
So let’s instead talk about characters that are having shifts in their personalities or in who they have been presented to be thus far in the show. Starting with my new least favorite, Elizabeth Haverford (Anastasia Griffith). Elizabeth has presented herself as an advocate for the poor, children, and black populations of the Five Points area in the first several episodes, but now we find out that she does have limits to her generosity. Annie (Kiara Glasco) is still not fitting in to society life, and after she assaults Elizabeth and shames her with the open admission that she had intercourse with Elizabeth’s husband, Annie bolts for Eva’s (Franka Potente) Paradise. Now here’s where things get interesting.
Eva, who thus far has proven herself capable of cold-blooded murder, refuses to take Annie in and teach her the prostitution trade. Instead she tries to convince her that she needs to live with Mrs. Haverford, because that’s the kind of place Eva is working to get in her life (to live among the swells of the city). So Eva does have morals. She just doesn’t like other women touching her things. This moves Eva up a notch on my respectability meter. Sure she killed a whore a few episodes back, but she’s not a bad person and she’s trying to help save a damaged little girl from becoming more damaged.
So, once Annie is delivered to Elizabeth, the two-faced scorpion delivers her into the hands of her “father” who is really her disgusting husband who is about 25 years her senior. Even though Annie screams and cries to Elizabeth that she is sorry, and begs not to let him take her, Elizabeth just looks a bit flustered as the door closes and Annie is dragged away.
Now this in of itself is bad enough, but in the final scenes of the episode, Elizabeth lies to Detective Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) and tells him that Annie has been sent to live with a nice family in California. Clearly her conscience isn’t bothering her anymore as she rides him against the wall. So now Elizabeth has gotten rid of the child that stood as a form of competition for Corky’s attentions and seems completely alright with her lies. Why does Anastasia always end up playing loathsome women? She was a bitch on wheels in ONCE UPON A TIME, and she’s turned out to be a woman of questionable values in this series. She needs a more wholesome character to play to show the softer side of Sears; because at this point I’m rooting for Eva to introduce her to her shiny razor.
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Article: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “Arsenic and Old Cake”