This week, instead of watching the six part mini series on the regular Sunday, I had to watch it on Monday night. It was because of Easter Dinner- my family came back close to the end of the episode. Due to not knowing when my family was going to get back, we recorded the second episode. The first episode ended with Jean Valjean realizing he needed to change his ways to become a better person and Fantine left with Cosette what they are supposed to do now that Felix left them.
This episode starts on Fantine. We now have an older Cosette- about three or so. Fantine is looking for work. Fantine’s only light in the world is her daughter. They end up at the Thenardiers’ inn- so now another character is introduced- Madame Thenardier. We see her being loving to both Eponine and Azelma. I actually love how Azelma is in the series- in the musical, the only Thenardier children they show is Eponine and Gavroche, but they did have five children. Eponine and Azelma are outside swinging and playing- it seems to Fantine that she can trust the Thenardiers with Cosette. It does look like she is abandoning Cosette, but she isn’t- she still loves her daughter. As she leaves, the Thenardiers still seem like they are loving.
Back to Jean Valjean. He has a prosperous company and is now mayor. You can see his past haunting him. That is most clear when Javert arrives. Everything that Javert said- a number of things, I am like that was exactly that character would say. Javert questioned Valjean a number of times it seemed- like he seemed to notice that Valjean was hiding something- don’t forget Valjean is Monsieur Madeline at this point. When Valjean said a certain line- Javert said did something in your past make you come to that conclusion. There was the cart scene that made Javert wonder if Madeline was Valjean. This series goes deeper into Valjean and Javert’s dynamic and deeper into the complexity of Javert- a character I struggle to find common ground with and understand.
Fantine does ask for a job in his factory, and it seems like things are going well for her. The Thenardiers do increase her salary, and she still trusts them. Well, what does one of the factory women do? Find out her little secret by following her and listening to one of the letters the Thenardiers have sent- which leads to her being fired. I was surprised it was Valjean that dismissed her- that is not like him- in both book and musical- it was a foreman person who fired her, not Valjean- I remember that. I know what is going to happen, which I don’t want to watch. After being fired, that is when she hears about Cosette being deathly ill- which leads to the beginning of the whole “Lovely Ladies” scene. It is the worst I have seen that scene played- you see all the tools they use before the cutting of hair and the teeth pulling, and then while the action happens, you hear her pain. After the teeth pulling, her mouth is bloodied- all of that is harder to sit through. All of that happens before becoming a prostitute- which is the order it happens in the book. When she becomes a prostitute, no one wants to take her because of what she looks like now. She has become sickly, and you can tell because you see blood when she coughs- you know.
This episode actually shows Gavroche- the Thenardiers actually use his name. It actually tells you that he is related to them- the musical or musical film does not tell you that he is a Thenardier. The musical only tells you about Eponine- not about Gavroche. You see their abuse further- you saw how abusive Monsieur Thenardier can get- in the musical, in the early scenes, you only saw the nature of Madame Thenardiers’ abusive side, not Monsieur Thenardiers’ abusive side- you don’t see that until 1832. You saw Eponine and Azelma throwing things at Cosette- so in one scene, these three girls were playing together, and now that is lost. So you slowly are starting to get an idea of the environment the Thenardiers’ daughter are going to be growing up in considering what you saw in this episode.
It did go back to Marius and his grandfather. His grandfather has taught him to believe his political views. Marius is still a child, and has been believed both Napoleon and his father are traitors. You saw Marius see his father on his deathbed- so in this series, Marius saw that happen as a child- which I believe happened at a later age in the book.
I got emotional again, which was at the “Lovely Ladies” scenes. I was kind of shaking at times. It was very very hard to watch all of that. Usually it is a bit easier. I was crying seeing all of that unfold. That is the hardest scene to watch in the musical.
This episode left you at a cliffhanger- Valjean heading to turn himself in when someone was believed to be him, Fantine in the hospital quite weak (hoping to see Cosette again) and Valjean did ask a factory worker to get Cosette and take her to the hospital (which we don’t know if that will happen). I believe I know what is going to happen towards the beginning of the third episode. I hope at the end of the 3rd episode or the middle of that episode, there is a time jump- after all there is a lot going on in 1832.