Our “first modern lesbian” is back and this glorious episode was well worth the wait


Ever since viewers first saw Anne Lister, played by the phenomenal Suranne Jones, swaggering across Halifax, refusing to be intimidated by men or make herself smaller, the “Gentleman Jack effect” was born. Once the season one finale aired, showing Anne Lister and Ann Walker secretly taking communion and exchanging rings, we’ve been desperate to see what is next for these two newlyweds. We’ve pondered over what could be in store, and shared our stories of how Anne Lister and Sally Wainwright’s groundbreaking show has changed our lives. 

Before we dive in, consider this your official warning for SPOILERS.

Last night at 9pm, we fans collectively held our breath as we prepared to be reunited with the characters of Gentleman Jack. Thank heavens and providence that within mere seconds, the episode proved that it was well worth the wait. Season two triumphantly kicks off in Halifax, 1834, just four weeks after the secret wedding. So what’s changed? 

Miss Lister is taking on entrepreneurship more rigorously than ever before. A lot of the episode features Anne striding around town so much so that fans took to social media to express how they felt exhausted on Anne’s behalf. Of course, we saw Suranne break the fourth wall and charm viewers with her witty comments. Anne is determined to make Shibden hall perfect in preparation for Ann to move in and is thinking of securing their future together. 

Meanwhile, Ann Walker’s struggle with mental health continues. She is receiving care from a doctor in York (much to the disapproval of her controlling and money-grubbing relations) and is turning her attention to painting to help aid her recovery. 

A smitten Anne visits her wife in York and, ever the entrepreneur, talks business in the bedroom. After all there are estates to combine and wills to rewrite. When the two Ann(e)s visit friends, we receive a little teaser of what’s to come this season regarding Isabella “Tib” Norcliffe. One of Anne’s past lovers who is name dropped at the dinner table. In a later scene, Anne confides in a friend that she knows that Miss Lister is in love with her, but when it comes to whether she feels the same way she reflects that “We none of us feel the same way at 40 as we did at 14… With her I could be happy. I’ll make it work.” In one super romantic scene we see Ann sketching in the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey as Miss Lister strides (of course) over the moor and gazes across the mist at her wife.

Later, when Ann comes to stay in Shibden ahead of the pair’s trip to Paris, we see the first marital spat between the couple. Ann is vexed that Anne had been conversing with her aunt. The two quickly make up and when Ann tells her wife that she loves her, it should be noted that Anne doesn’t return the proclamation. That said, she becomes playful as they kiss. “God you are pretty,” says Anne. “In a certain light?” replies Ann. “In a certain light,” Anne teases. 

Oh and of course, there’s plenty more brewing this episode. Sam Washington is investigating the lies and deceit of his new son-in-law. Anne’s sister Marian has a cough that has many viewers concerned. One of Anne’s tenants is moving out and her solicitor advises Anne to sell it as her borrowing is becoming excessive. Anne remains firm on getting the price that she wants for the property and fantasises about one upping her rivals, the Rawsons. 

Oh, and you didn’t think I’d end this without talking about Anne’s scorned ex, Mariana Lawton? Throughout the episode, she has been writing letters to Miss Lister full of love and devotion. She’s clearly jealous of Ann, who she sees as a rival for Anne’s heart. We later see Mariana crying whilst clutching a letter where Anne confirms her relationship with Miss Walker and their plans to move in together. But is Anne Lister truly over this past flame? Many of the promotional images for this series hint towards a potential love triangle. Before the episode ends, Mariana can be seen writing to Anne and shares a cunning glance at the camera. What on earth could she be planning? 

What did fans think of this episode?


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