Episode 7 of The Gilded Age starts with George Russell unveiling his plans for a new railway station – Union Central Station. Using electricity to light up the interior, the whole crowd gather and marvel at this beautiful model.
The thing is, the whole situation is marred by an undercurrent of worry. After all, George is still hung up over the letter from Mr Dixon and his accusations that he green-lit the axles to be installed on that train.
A few of the officials have actually seen the document too and apparently it’s legit. Unfortunately there’s even a statement beforehand, written in what appears to be George’s handwriting telling him that he needs to cheapen things up no matter what.
George admits that it sounds like him but he’s not so sure. After all, some money has gone missing which could swing things in his favour. Either way though, it looks like this is going to court. It’ll either be Dixon standing trial or George. If the latter is in court, George could be charged with manslaughter by negligence – and jailed.
Meanwhile, Larry reels from his rejection. After asking George to be an architect, and receiving a blanket “no chance”, he heads outside. There, he runs into Marian who gently encourages him, reassuring the man that he only has one life and making the wrong choice will haunt him for many years.
Meanwhile, hostility continues to brew for Agnes toward Bannister. She’s not even talking to him either, using Ada as a messenger to pass on whatever she has to say. This only fuels Bannister’s desire to figure out who ratted him out and wrote the letter.
Agnes’ anger is also directed toward Oscar and Miss Turner, whose scandalous affair gets her thinking about whether to tell Bertha or not.
So naturally, she decides to send Marian over to request Bertha fire Turner, which she eventually does. However, when Oscar finds out he ironically sees it as a big plus, given he can now access the Russell family house again without the fear of being found out. While he didn’t plan it this way, he is an opportunistic man and sees this as a big win.
Turner is not happy though and arrives before George, asking if he’s the one who had her sacked. He wasn’t, of course, but before she leaves, tells George that she would have loved her fully had he let her.
Just before Turner leaves the estate though, she writes to Bannister and lets him know who sent the letter. Bannister ominously retorts that “revenge is a dish best served cold” upon reading what she’s written.
Raikes meets Marian outside and gushes over her beauty before eagerly asking to meet in private again. He kisses her hand as the pair arrange a meet at Chamberlain’s.
Left to their own devices they get on well and eventually Raikes decides to propose, off the back of Chamberlain imploring them to discover if this is really love or not. Some of Raikes words do ring alarm bells, especially when he seems to try and convince himself of this love. That’s also something Marian picks up on too.
However, the excitement and euphoria emanating from him asking Marian’s hand in marriage is enough for her to change her mind. The thing is, Agnes is not convinced by Raikes’ motives and shoots down the man’s aspirations and ideas when Marian returns home. That’s obviously going to make their marriage all the more difficult.
That night, a big meeting gets underway as Edison gives a speech about electricity. Agnes and Ada aren’t there of course and also, by extension, neither is Marian. Peggy is there though, working on behalf of the newspaper.
Thomas Edison eventually steps up and addresses the people, igniting the street in a beautiful display of electrical lights. Bertha marvels at the sight, dismissing McAllister’s ominous question about the direction humanity is taking and shrugs it off, claiming they “go where history takes us.”
The Episode Review
A monumental period of history sees electricity start to become mainstream and with it, the beginning of a new age leading up to the world we currently occupy. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come as a species in such a short space of time, and The Gilded Age allows for a deeper appreciation of that through this storyline.
Alongside that though is the subject of George Russell and his issues at work. It’s clear this is going to dominate the back-end of this season and it’ll be interesting to see exactly what comes of this. Will George go to prison? Will Dixon meet his reckoning?
While this is going on, The Gilded Age also continues to add its various different romantic angles, with Raikes and Marian pressing forward, full steam ahead, with their marriage plans. It does seem a little sudden and I regrettably have to agree with Agnes here. Does Raikes have an ulterior motive? Why the rush to get this settled now?
Either way, The Gilded Age continues to deliver enthralling drama and the latter half of this season has really come into its own. Let’s hope next week’s follow-up is just as endearing!