One of the things that I love about the Anne and Gilbert relationship in its early days is the academic competition they have. We see it in full force at the top of the episode as the two are the last two standing in an advance spelling competition. I should note the words that Mr. Phillips gets the students to spell is pretty creepy because it all has to do with his relationship with Prissy Andrews. We do see Gilbert give Anne side glances as she continues to successfully spell words as she clutches her stomach in obvious discomfort.
To me it looks like Gilbert throws the spelling bee when he misspells “engagement” and Anne wins. I should note that when Mr. Phillips mentions the word engagement, this perks Prissy up and makes him happy too. This relationship has always been inappropriate and am glad this series puts a glaring spotlight on it versus just making it implied in the CBC miniseries. Sooner or later, we are going to get Miss. Stacey but I think it might not be until next season.
We learn that Anne’s stomach pains are menstrual cramps and gets her period during the night. Anne, not understanding what is going on, thinks she is dying and tries to clean her bed sheets. Marilla comes down and tells Anne that she is entering womanhood. Anne is none too pleased at becoming a woman as she isn’t ready and gets hysterical. Matthew comes out to see what is wrong but Marilla shields Anne from Matthew and tells him to get out. Marilla manages to comfort and calm Anne down. Marilla suggests that Anne stay home from school but she refuses as she needs to be able to keep up with the other children (specifically Gilbert).
Speaking of Gilbert, we get a glimpse of his home life, something we never really saw in the books nor the miniseries. We see Gilbert taking care of himself and his father who is bedridden and uses a wheelchair. Gilbert also seems to be taking care of the household finances as he mentions to his father’s caregiver that he will have her wages for her the next day. We see later that Gilbert decides to miss some school to take care of his father.
At school the next day, the other girls (Josie, Diana and Tilly) share when they go their periods and how it makes them feel older. Ruby is devastated that she hasn’t gotten her period yet and is not a woman. Anne continues to talk about her period and what it means but Diana has to tell her to keep it a secret as it something that females don’t discuss out in the open especially in front of boys. The girls tell Anne of how one girl who got her period during school was called upon and people saw that she bled through her dress. This makes Anne self-conscious as she stands up to try and name the provinces of the Maritimes after Gilbert named the territories of the Prairies. Of course Anne was unable to name them because of her embarrassment. Anne is so happy the weekend is upon her but when she comes home, she is all moody.
The next day, Anne isn’t doing so well but perks up when Marilla says she can invite Diana over for afternoon tea. However, Anne comes down a bit when Marilla refuses to get her a dress with puff sleeves for the tea. Matthew hears Anne go on and on about a puff sleeve dress that he sneaks up to her room to take one of her dresses. Matthew makes his way to Carmody for the day and he shyly enters a dress shop but promptly leaves when he gets overwhelmed when surrounded by lace, puff sleeves and dresses. Matthew is then greeted by a shop keeper who gets him to buy unnecessary winter boots. Matthew does end up going back to the dress shop and starts to ask the clerk for her help when someone from Matthew’s youth recognizes him. Her name is Jeanie and she is the shop owner. At first I wanted this woman to be played by Mag Ruffman who played Olivia Dale nee King, Thomson’s love interest on Road to Avonlea but I knew the show wouldn’t plus it would help me stop calling Matthew Jasper.
I did wish we got Matthew buy more unnecessary stuff like in the miniseries such as a pound of brown sugar and a rake before finally buying the dress.
Matthew tells Jeanie all about Anne and her desire for a puff sleeve dress. Matthew hands over one of Anne’s dresses for the dressmaker to know her size. Later, the two have tea and talk more about Anne. We get a glimpse of Matthew’s youth when Jeanie shows him a button he left her on her desk. We see a shy Matthew leave the button on Jeanie desk (she collects buttons) and we see that the two did like each other. However nothing came of it because Matthew was pulled from school because his brother Michael died. Matthew leaves and Jeanie lets him know the dress will be ready in a week.
Now onto one of the most memorable scenes in Anne of Green Gables. Anne is preparing for her tea with Diana. Marilla lets her know that she can server the raspberry cordial with her tea. Diana arrives and drinks are flowing freely. Anne tells Diana that the cordial taste different than the one she had with Marilla and Matthew but she likes this cordial better. The girls are toasting to womanhood and all the things they can look forward to, mostly it has to do with getting breasts. Unlike the CBC miniseries where Anne was oblivious to Diana getting drunk, both girls are drunk and head off to Marila’s room to play dress up with her clothes and corset.
Diana’s mother comes around to Green Gables and sees her daughter and Anne drunk. Marilla comes home and sees that Anne has mistakenly served red currant wine. Mrs. Barry tells Marilla and Anne that her daughter will no longer associate with Anne and that they won’t sit together at school anymore. Both girls are very upset and being torn apart. Marilla tries to reason with Mrs. Barry and tries to this separation to be only for two weeks but Mrs. Barry says that this is permanent.
At school the next day, Mr. Phillip’s rearranges the seating with Ruby now sitting next to Diana and Anne now next to Josie. During recess, the two girls tearfully pledges eternal love and friendship and take a lock of each other’s hair as remembrance.
As the school day ends, Mr. Phillip’s makes Anne take Gilbert’s school work to him so he won’t be behind when he returns. Anne thinks this is one of the worse things to happen to her but does it reluctantly. Anne knocks on the Blythe’s front door and it takes a while for someone to answer. Anne sees Mr. Bltyhe answer the door and clearly sees that he isn’t well. Mr. Bltyhe lets Anne know that Gilbert is out back chopping wood. Mr. Blythe is kind and compliments Anne on her red hair and has only heard good things about her. Gilbert arrives and is concerned about his father and wants to help him back him but Mr. Blythe says he can make his own way back. Anne gives Gilbert his homework and he is glad to receive it as he doesn’t want to fall behind Anne. Seeing Gilbert’s home life seems to soften her opinion of him.
A week has passed, Matthew gets Jerry to pick up the dress but also gets him to give Jeanie a button from his Sunday best suit. Matthew presents Anne with the dress and it is a lovely scene where she gets all emotional as she opens the box. Anne comes down and looks lovely in the puff sleeve dress. Marilla tells Matthew that he spoils Anne and points out he is missing a button off of his suit. Anne wants to delay going to church so she can make an entrance. We then see the three of them go to the church as a family.
Next week, we know that Anne saving Minnie May helps get her back in the good graces of Mrs. Barry and it looks like we get the introduction of Aunt Josephine.