Week four in Jericho, and everyone's under threat, from the the ale-flogging Capsticks to Charles and his viaduct dream.
The viaduct project is hanging by a thread, made worse by the Blackwood brothers' spat, while Annie finds her voice, only for it to land her straight in hot water.
Here's what we learned from episode four:
Annie's a new woman
George showed off his new industrious side this week - so his mum followed suit. Seemingly putting village life behind her and settling as a navvy in Jericho, this week we saw her open a new business, take on Coates and even drop some of her airs and graces. I like new Annie. Having been left a bankrupt widow, she refuses to rely on a man again - even Coates. Going behind his back to source meat may have been risky, but I think the gruff foreman respects her feisty new attitude, deep down. Taking on rogue school boys, looking after her fellow Jericho residents, and even dropping her snobbish attitude towards Lacy Polly, it seems she's finally embraced her new community, even if she is a bit naive.
The Prince is cast out
Meanwhile, Johnny's rise from Jericho navvy to Lord of the Manor practically ruined 'the Prince'. George, seemingly still bitter about Johnny and Annie's lingering glances and unrelenting sexual tension, decided to spill the beans about who Johnny really was, and all hell let loose. Johnny ended up cast out from both ends of the valley - his grudge-bearing brother won't even take the estate from him, and the navvies don't trust him. It was rather predictable that the confrontation at the work site led to more scrapping - but it a surprise when they decided Johnny was too good to throw a fist at. He decamped to the moors under a pitiful shelter, singing a rather morose version of Scarborough Fair (at least, that seemed to be the tune) - it was hard not to feel sorry for him.
Charles is desperate
The other Blackwood was determined to keep his expression set at stony, even when Johnny offered him exactly what he wanted on a plate. Between Charles' refusal to interact with his brother, and the conversation between Johnny and Isabelle about how he needs to follow her lead and atone for what he's done, I'm convinced the first engagement between Charles and Isabelle ended because she had an affair with Johnny. (He is the better looking brother, let's be honest.)
It's not like he can turn away the offer, either - there's two weeks' wages left in the bank and Charles and Isabella seem to be the only people, aside from the workers, who give a toss about Jericho in the first place.
Jesus comes to Jericho
Enter the Methodist Society, Charles' final hope for investment. Calling Jericho 'the promised land' wasn't quite enough for pious Jonas Soresby however, who pulled a bit of a Titus Salt and decreed that the only way the society could back the Jericho project was if its shanty community led more saintly lifestyles. A quick tour of the town beautifully coincided with the Capstick's variety show, where a raunchily dressed Alma wailed and strutted across the bar and made some frightening references to her garter. Throw in some fighting (of course), prostitutes waving hello and everyone being half-cut by lunchtime and you've got 'nothing less than Sodom and Gomorrah!' Whoops.
The Blooming Rose of Jericho
Alma's set her sights on the Alhambra - and with Martha still recovering from her fever, she could force herself into the spotlight. Davey's face when he saw her dressed up for the show was probably similar to the face I was pulling while she sang and shimmied around the bar. Good grief. Soresby was probably just as offended by her vocals as he was her suggestive moves. Afterwards, she spilled her heart out about how much she hated Jericho, and wanted to escape - anyone else finding it difficult to feel sorry for her? Should be nicer to folk, shouldn't you Alma.
Mabel is attacked
Mabel's boisterous spirit from last week was somewhat subdued tonight when Soresby's evil-looking son decided to rough her up and leave her bleeding and distraught in Lace Polly's hut. After all of Annie's empowerment and new-found confidence, Mabel's attack was a stark reminder of the rights of women at the time. Too scared to report it for fear of further violence, unable to turn to police because a) she's in an illegal industry and b) her word counts for nothing against a 'gentlemen' (used in the loosest sense of the word), all Mabel could do was stay indoors, turn away punters and wait for the bruises to fade.
Annie takes a stand
Annie may have decided to become a proper navvy woman, but she showed tonight how blissfully naive she can be about how other folk live. Mabel's been attacked? Call the police! Let justice be done! But her attempt to shame Soresby about his son's exploits, brave and brilliant as it was, almost cost her her liberty. As much as Soresby Jnr was man-handling her and deserved a bit of a slap, Annie soon realised, barricaded in her hut, that she'd messed with the wrong Methodists.
Don't mess with Jericho folk
But never fear - Coates came to the rescue, deciding to take a break from scheming and rule-imposing to protect his workers. Even Charles asked Annie for her side of the story (only, I'm guessing, because he'd actually met her before, up at the house). His sense of justice was short-lived however, when Soresby had a pop at Mrs Blackwood - luckily, she could defend herself. He quoted what the Bible said about women speaking out - and her response was cheer-worthy: "What does it say about priggish men and their inflated opinions?" I could be warming to Isabelle.
Coates realised very quickly that keeping the navvies on side was crucial. He put up an admirable fight for Annie too - but Charles' missing backbone meant Soresby got to drag Annie away to face the police.
There's a new Blackwood in town
Enter Johnny, fetched by George (see, he likes him really), who decided to embrace his proper title and use it to his advantage. "This is my estate," he growled, "you're on my land." Three birds with one stone really - he wins back the navvies, plays the knight in shining armour for Annie and winds up his stubborn brother. But was it all for show, or is Johnny going to take Charles' project over? Charles can't carry on, with no investors, no cash, and no estate - and if Johnny can't work with the navvies, he may as well command them. How exciting.
Quote of the week...
...goes to Lacy Polly, helping Annie to move a table. "Actually, it will make a change to do some work standing." Brilliant.
No cash, brothers at loggerheads and a shanty town full of navvies to pay. What next for the viaduct? Is it too late for Charles to take the estate from Johnny? Will the black sheep Blackwood take the reins instead?
There's four episodes to go - and a lot of loose ends to tie up. What did you make of this week's offering?