The Village, Episode 3…the drama is slowly unfurling.
We begin to see that Gerard Eyre, Bert’s teacher, in a conscientious objector. The very idea that a man could reject combat on the grounds of it being morally wrong was dangerous.
With the Middleton family, we see a land dispute going on and John possibly has to sell a field. The family is starting a new life with the prospect of dairy-farming. However, things take a turn when John and Grace see soldiers approaching and they think that Joe is dead (he is not.)
Nevertheless, around this time farm horses were being commandeered and the soldiers use emotional manipulation to get the family to part with their horse. They also offer money.
Grace works in a boot factory with Martha and several other women. She is sacked by the owner when she is late because she has to care for her daughter. The influence of one of the other owners ensures that she manages to keep her job.
During their lessons, the children are lectured on conscription and that it is a great honour to fight and die for your country, but others think that the teacher ‘sounds like Lord Kitchener,’ with the way he sprouts propaganda ideologies.
Mr Eyre teaches Bert about photography and I hope that this story thread is included more in the later episodes and series because it could be interesting for sure.
On the other end of the scale, the war is seen to be a business opportunity for the upper classes, making money through industry etc. The Allingham family also have a new addition to the family. Caro has Joe’s baby, and her brother George is in love with Martha. He is also keen for conscription so he can escape his family and be heroic. It seems that he is exempt from fighting for various reasons but he still wants to enlist. He is in moral turmoil. I think that during this period in history, the war killed off many noble families’ heirs who would’ve inherited in time. I also think that perhaps miscellaneous sons of the families probably enlisted too.
Martha continues to fight against her bosses and is constantly thinking about the rights of the women and their families.
Furthermore, we see that Joe is back home and suffering from what could possibly be PTSD, or shell-shock as it was known then. He is suffering as a result of seeing the trauma of death and destruction on the battlefields, and I am sure that many men returned from the battlefields when the war occurred; changed irrevocably and almost a shadow of their former selves. Joe later confesses all to Martha, and he kisses her out of frustration.
Bert’s teacher, Gerard Eyre, is questioned by the soldiers about his conscience because he is clearly refusing to fight because he sees it as wrong; an hypocrisy. He is ashamed of it, and when he’s in the pub Joe grudgingly buys him a drink. Maybe secretly he too is slightly ashamed?
Before he goes, Eyre gives Bert a camera and makes him promise to ‘look at the world’ and ‘record what you see’. I think that this was a very beautiful scene because even if Eyre has to go to war against his conscience, he will leave something beautiful behind him (i.e.: giving someone a good memory of him.)
Caro’s baby is taken away when she is distracted and this is the start of the madness that seems to take over her, which I also feel could make an interesting storyline in the coming series if more series are commissioned. She is clearly distressed when her child is taken away from her but at this point in history, it was a male-dominated world and women who did wrong (i.e.: prostitutes, unmarried mothers) were punished severely by society.
Joe and Bert have their own secret code when writing to each other, so that Bert will know Joe’s location. However (SPOILER) this gets Joe into trouble in the later episodes.
Eyre is sent off to war, but wants to walk down the street proudly so that Bert can take his first photograph.
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