"No one in the world wants us to be together apart from us," says Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) to Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) at the close of season 2 episode 8, which aired on BBC One tonight (29th May 2022).
It’s this declaration that perhaps best encapsulates the second season of Gentleman Jack which, following on from the couple’s happy ever after in season 1, has explored the difficulties of navigating a relationship in the early 19th century without a marriage certificate or child as a bond, and with external forces – everyone’s preconceptions and prejudices – stacking up against them.
Tensions over the division of the Walker estate, which the couple want in order to change their wills and leave each other a life interest in their estates, have been rapidly escalating throughout season 2, with Ms Walker’s tetchy brother-in-law Captain Sutherland (Derek Riddell) doing his best to delay the process.
In the midst of the family feud, both Ms Walker and Ms Lister have cast doubts on their relationship, with the former admitting she would like to have children, and the latter straying with her former lover Mariana Lawton.
So, do Ms Walker and Ms Lister overcome their problems in the Gentleman Jack season 2 finale and does Captain Sutherland sign the division of the Walker estate? Read on for everything you need to know about season 2 episode 8.
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Be warned: full spoilers for Gentleman Jack season 2 follow.
Did Captain Sutherland sign the division of the Walker estate?
Tensions over the division of the Walker estate showed no signs of easing in season 2 episode 8.
After discovering that the deeds to Crow Nest had been at Shibden Hall for months – and clearly in Miss Lister’s hands – at the end of season 2 episode 7, an increasingly tetchy Captain Sutherland arrived from Scotland in an attempt change Ms Walker’s mind.
When he realised that wasn't going to work, he set out on a mission to destroy Ms Lister’s reputation, insisting to Ms Walker’s solicitor Mr Parker it would be irresponsible of him to sign the division, given Ms Lister’s “unnatural” hold over his sister-in-law.
As a way of explaining what he was getting at, Captain Sutherland alluded to a case in Edinburgh brought against two women.
But Mr Parker was having none of it – and was quick to point out that the case had in fact been brought against the woman who had accused the two women of sexual misconduct, and that she had been sued, and that Captain Sutherland could face the same fate if he carried on with his slander.
He also pointed out that even if Ms Walker and Ms Lister did have that kind of relationship, "it’s not illegal", making clear that Captain Sutherland had no legal grounds for denying Ms Walker the division of the estate that was already half hers.
However, Captain Sutherland wasn’t going to give up that easily – and on it was to Ms Lister’s lawyer, Mr Gray, to give him the same spiel.
Mr Gray certainly seemed to be mulling it over and considering Captain Sutherland’s request to hand the Crow Nest deeds straight over to him.
As a result, when Captain Sutherland stormed over to Shibden Hall to tell Ms Walker that him, Mr Parker and Mr Gray were all on the same page – and that she should return to Scotland with him and Elizabeth – Mr Gray’s decision remained unclear.
"Mr Gray and Mr Parker now that I have spoken to them both have a much better understanding of what is going on here and believe you me, they were both shocked," he told Ms Walker and Ms Lister.
However, at that moment, the Lister’s footman Thomas knocked to say Mr Gray was here from York, which prompted Mr Sutherland to falter, and Elizabeth to burst out that he was lying – all before it emerged that it was in fact a different Mr Gray (a landscape gardener from York and not Ms Lister's lawyer).
Humiliated and defeated, Captain Sutherland then signed the documents there and then. Hurrah.
What happened to Anne Lister and Ann Walker?
Throughout season 2, Ms Lister and Ms Walker have certainly had their troubles.
And in season 2 episode 8, things only seemed to be getting worse, as Ms Lister refused to let Ms Walker meet her friends while they were in London to find a master for Ms Walker’s new school.
"I won’t be sifted for money. We said our arrangement would be as good as marriage. You should have taken me to see your friends," she told Ms Lister on the journey home, as well as making clear that she knew something seedy had gone on between Ms Lister and Mariana Lawton during her visit.
Meanwhile, Ms Lister continued to dream of Mariana, and had some unpleasant things to say about Ms Walker, telling the camera: "There is danger in the first thought that it is possible to part. She is queer and little-minded. And I fear for her intellect. I will have to make the best of it for the moment and then perhaps I will be at large again."
However, after Ms Walker had laid the first stone at Lister’s Northgate casino in front of a huge crowd and Mr Sutherland had signed the division papers, she expressed her wish to go to York one day soon and sort out their wills.
"I’m sorry for doubting it," she told Ms Lister as the episode came to an end, who replied: "Don’t be. We are the only people in the whole world on earth who want us to be together. It won’t be easy. It’ll never be easy. But we’re both still here aren’t we."
We're not crying, you're cr… no, actually we are crying.
What happened to Marian Lister’s engagement to Mr Abbott?
Ms Lister had nothing but disdain for her sister (Gemma Whelan) when she revealed she planned to marry rug maker Mr Abbott (John Hollingworth) earlier on in season 2, making clear she was marrying beneath her – and that she’d want nothing more to do with her if it went ahead.
In season 2 episode 8, a distraught Marian revealed that it was all off with Mr Abbott and that she was planning to move to the family’s small estate at Market Weighton – and take her father with her. But it was clear she was hiding something.
Later, Marian refused to attend the stone laying at Ms Lister’s Northgate casino, expressing concerns that the crowd might make comments or throw things, before admitting she hadn’t been entirely honest about Mr Abbott, and that he had called things off after being taunted with the marriage announcement in the paper about Ms Walker and Ms Lister.
"He said he couldn’t associate with me anymore because people say things, which of course they do," she said, before repeating her wish to move out of Shibden Hall.
What was the meaning of the monument of the dead child?
On their way back from London early on in season 2 episode 8, Ms Lister took Ms Walker to a church with a monument to a dead child she had once visited with Mariana Lawton, which had the words "in form and intellect most exquisite" inscribed on it.
This prompted Ms Lister to ask whether, in another life, "What if that was me? What if I’m her?", before launching into a monologue about her strangeness and how she’s always been so different to the other Listers.
She then asked Ms Walker: "What if it’s the child that I can never give you? In form and intellect most exquisite."
Of course, how the pair navigate their relationship without a child to bond them has been an important theme throughout season 2, with Ms Walker admitting earlier in the series that she would love to have children and casting doubt on her relationship with Ms Lister.
It was a poignant moment – and perhaps the most vulnerable we’ve seen Ms Lister so far in Gentleman Jack.
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