SNARK WEEK RECAP: North & South Book II, Episodes 5&6

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Starting with our second Snark Week, I’ve picked a shitty frock flick to recap, because I love sharing the blow-by-blows with you. This year, I asked you to choose what film/series I should recap, and the clear winner was North & South: Book II (1986), the sequel to the be-mulletted and peach-acetate-satin-ified Civil War epic North & South (1985).

In series one, which I recapped a few Snark Weeks ago, we established many of our key characters as the story wended its way to the outbreak of the Civil War. This time, war has broken out! And in case you care, note that I refuse to recap any of the war/battle shit. Read my recaps of episode one, two, three, and four, and now join me for the TWO final episodes:

War shit happens! Periodically! I fast-forwarded!

Patrick Swayze has learned that George is in prison. He gets Derpy Cousin Charles to help him rescue him. They have to kill the evil prison commander to do it, and they send decrepit George on his way… in a rowboat? Through enemy territory?

It’s Christmas. Number One has bought Plastic Cameo a fancy necklace, about which she’s excited. Northern Blonde and Northern Mom think it’s tacky, and are worried about George. George surprises everyone by showing up home! Northern Blonde is so happy!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Plastic Cameo is dressed as a Christmas elf.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Northern Blonde has a nice blue dress, and dumb sparkly black dangly bits in her hair.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Northern Mom is dressed as a Christmas present.

The Southern clan continues to do lots of manual labor to keep things afloat. Evil Overseer accosts Southern Blonde, Semiramis scares him off with a gun, Evil Overseer vows his revenge.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Lots of boring cottons.

Derpy Cousin Charles has grown a beard.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

It’s not a good look.

Tits Out has dedicated herself to the African American refugees of Charleston. She’s spending all her money to get them food, but there isn’t enough. Rafe Beaudeen continues to think she’s a damn fine filly. She takes him into her room at the boarding house, which, would so not be okay by 1860s standards?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

There’s a LOT OF THIS. zzzzzz.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Luckily she’s still getting her Tits Out, although I am mesmerized by the weird boob dent — I’m guessing it’s a corset line?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

More zzzz + cleavage.

Northern Blonde has nursed George back to health. He’s headed back to the war, but a fellow soldier turns up to warn him that the army has discovered the shoddy cannons came from his family’s ironworks and is about to arrest him. George goes to the tavern where his brother’s shady business partner works, the two fight, and George kills him. This seems to incur no problems? George realizes that brother Number One is to blame and confronts him and Plastic Cameo. Number One crumbles, and George announces that both he and Plastic Cameo will be going to jail for a long time. And thus is the end of Plastic Cameo, and I am sad, because she made me laugh!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I don’t love the neckline with that chemisette. Also, note front buttons and unnecessary back closure.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

There’s so little to screencap with the boys, so here, George in a semi-interesting dressing gown.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

It’s hard to see Plastic Cameo’s busy outfit clearly.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I SHALL MISS YOUR OVERACTING!

Slutty Brunette goes for a horse ride with Bent. He suggests she shag some old guy in return for the old guy’s donation. She’s offended and starts to say that she and Bent are in love, when he cuts her off and says they have no time for love but are partners. She recovers … by agreeing to prostitute herself? Huh?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Cute hat and riding habit! As always, Slutty Brunette gets the best costumes.

Slutty Brunette does indeed prostitute herself:

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6
1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

The sheer black chemise is sexy, but not historically accurate from what I know.

She goes home and starts to Think About What She’s Done, but wakes up Secessionist Husband, who mutters “it’s alright”and goes back to sleep.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Her hair has gone full 1980s Hair Metal Band.

Bent takes Slutty Brunette out to see the guns, ammunition, and gunpowder he’s stockpiling for their coup:

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

She’s rewearing this Zouave jacket ensemble.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Cute hat, although I feel like she should be selling candy.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Bent does this SUPER GROSS thing with his tongue during making out, and I felt like if I had to suffer, you had to suffer with me!

Tits Out continues to be Mother Teresa. She sells her father’s house in order to fund her charity work. Rafe Beaudeen buys it anonymously because he’s in luuuuuv. He tries to get Tits to marry him, saying he loves her, but Tits tells him her husband is still alive and she can’t.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

zzzz. Not even any cleavage!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Oh the fluffy male hairstyles of the 1980s!

Bent is in Charleston trying to buy more ammo, but the price has gone up. The seller suggests he track down the elusive wealthy Mrs. Picard (or Pecan, I can’t tell with all the OTT Southern accents, but either one is funny), which is what Tits Out is going as. He turns up at her boarding house while she’s not home.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Boarding House Biddy is SO not wearing a corset. Those are some LOW HANGERS.

Tits Out enlists LINDA FUCKING EVANS (Dynasty), an actress, to play her. She doesn’t want Bent to recognize her, and she wants to know what he’s up to.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I like the skirting shape and the sleeve turnbacks, although it’s all ruined by the tan skin…

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

AND THE MAKEUP. She’s doing that “lip liner outside the lip line” thing.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Linda Evans goes for it. Bent tells her right away about his coup and asks for her money, which seems like a stupid move? She says she’ll consider it. Bent thinks he maybe recognizes her, she dodges.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Same pattern as the aqua dress?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Bent KNEW that Linda Evans wasn’t Tits, and somehow he follows the real Tits to a graveyard (??) and accosts her physically, trying to remove her veil so he can see who she is. She tries to fight him off, and then Rafe Beaudeen jumps out of nowhere to save her. The two fight, and Bent kills Rafe. As Rafe dies, Tits tells him she loves him, but it seems like a nice gesture rather than a serious declaration.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Southern Mom bemoans the world she has lost.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Derpy Cousin Charles is Feeling It from the war (i.e., war is hell). He turns up at Spunky Filly’s house — she says she hasn’t seen him in forever. He is initially cold and emotionally wounded, but caves. The two have Tender Moments(TM).

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Yes plaid is historically accurate …

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

… but she just looks like a schoolgirl!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

As they’re talking, I’m mesmerized by the potato+cabbage table centerpiece… especially when Derpy Cousin Charles put his hat on it a moment later!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

A different dress post-shagging. What’s with the weird gathered yoke?

Secessionist Husband tells Confederate president Jefferson Davis about Bent’s coup. Davis enlists Patrick Swayze to investigate.

Slutty Brunette turns up to warn Bent, but before she can, Secessionist Husband arrives and she has to hide. Then, dun dun DUN, Swayze pops out — all by his lonesome! They sent a general? On his own? To stop a coup? With no reinforcements?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Slutty Brunette is contractually obligated to lift her skirts.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Farewell Fluffy Hair!

Bent and Swayze have a ridiculous fistfight. A lantern gets knocked over, and the warehouse explodes with Bent in it. Like all bad movie villains, Slutty Brunette starts to worry she’s going to hell and confesses all her crimes — including her threatening Tits Out. But Swayze still doesn’t know where Tits is.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Going full thespian!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Tits can’t get food/supplies, so she pulls a Steel Magnolia and goes to see General Sherman in person. He, of course, can’t resist this fine specimen of womanhood and says he’ll supply her refugee camp.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

WHAT NO CLEAVAGE?

Evil Overseer is captured by Forest Whitaker, who now leads a band of African Americans living rough in the woods. At first it looks like Whitaker will kill Evil Overseer, but Evil Overseer slimes his way into Whitaker’s good graces.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Slimy Senator is keeping Virgilia as his mistress, but the authorities are looking for her — he hasn’t “made things go away.” Virgilia isn’t happy, but she’s stuck. He’s gross, asking her if he’s a better lover than her dead husband.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

An even nicer dressing gown on Slimy Senator!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Okay, I’m torn on this dress. I think I like it? It’s very Worth-inspired. But something bugs me — could be the purple bertha, could be that it’s Kirstie Alley wearing it?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Random extra looks like an ottoman (as in furniture).

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

She’s got sparkly tremblers in her hair, and a makeup beauty mark.

A troop of Union soldiers show up at the Southern plantation with plans to burn the house down. Southern Mom says they’ll have to burn it down around her. They cave, saying they can use the house as their headquarters … but this plot thread gets dropped?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

The war is over!!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Derpy Cousin Charles shows up at Spunky Filly’s house, only to discover she’s dead … in childbirth, giving birth to their child. He heads to Charleston? Richmond? where some family member of Spunky Filly has been caring for the child, and announces he’s taking his child home.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

What’s up with teeny girl on the right?

Billy comes to the Southern plantation and his wife, Southern Blonde, is thrilled!

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Formerly enslaved man Ezra (I think I called him Eric last recap, for anyone who is taking notes) is about to leave the plantation for good, but Semiramis admits she has feelings for him and he stays.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Semiramis gets a decent dress finally!

Southern Mom continues to wax poetic about times gone by. Semiramis and Ezra are going to get married, and Southern Mom announces she wants to give them a parcel of land on the plantation as their own.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Slimy Senator tells Virgilia he’s leaving her. She protests that he cares about her, and he says nope, she was only a challenge. Oh, and the murder charge has been dropped as a witness has come forward. She pulls out a gun and shoots him dead? This all seems like SUCH a weird ending for Virgilia. I mean yes, she’s always been crazytown, but she could have, ya know, put her energies into more social causes? I’m just confused where the author/screenwriters thought they were going with her character arc.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

SHE’S A SULTRY LADY OF THE NIGHT PEOPLE.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Okay so theoretically she had sections of her hair braided in whatever updo she was wearing, but I’m just thinking she has randomly crimped pieces of hair.

Virgilia is set to hang tomorrow for murder. George comes to see her and the two reconcile.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I admit it, I’m a sucker for a floppy-haired, dark-haired, bearded man. I HAVE A TYPE.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Northern Blonde comforts Northern Mom.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

That’s … a lot of look. Very Renaissance inspired.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I like the stripes and all the velvet bands, not so sure about the iron-on applique on the bodice front.

George doesn’t know if Swayze is dead or alive, but he’s got to find him. He’s checking various morgues and hospitals. He finds Swayze and the two rekindle their bromance.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) has a few lines here.

Swayze and George go to Charleston to find Tits Out. Jimmy Stewart is convinced that the two are in luuuuv and tells where Tits is. Swayze turns up at her boarding house and the two are reconciled. He meets his son.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

“Junior, maybe someday you will have a mullet just like your father’s!”

Forest Whitaker/Evil Overseer’s gang attack the Southern plantation, setting it on fire, right as Swayze, Tits, and George ride up. There’s a RIDICULOUS shoot-out where a majority of the gang members get shot, which, you’d think the other gang members would take off? Southern Mom hits her head and dies. Swayze is Very Sad.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

THE PATHOS.

The Southern clan holds a funeral for Southern Mom. Swayze reads from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (?) about reconciliation.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

I see Southern Blonde decided to keep her hair casual … for her mother’s funeral?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

George tells Swayze he wants to reinvest in their textile mill, and he wants the money to go to rebuilding the Southern plantation, which has burnt down.

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

BROMANCE 4-EVER

And the final shot! Apparently we’re walking to wherever we’re going?

1986 North & South Book II ep 5-6

 

Dear god that’s over! NO I WILL NEVER DO BOOK III UNLESS SOMEONE PAYS ME $1000 MINIMUM!!!

 

 

 

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

26 Responses

  1. Boxermom

    When I first saw the title of this post, I thought it said “Part 566”. It certainly feels that way, & I didn’t even watch it! Thanks for going through this (hope there were a lot of pink drinks involved). :)

    Reply
    • India Edghill

      Aw, c’mon! N&S is the TWILIGHT of historical video: a true Guilty Pleasure! Love your recap of it.

      Reply
  2. Michael McQuown

    You’ve got to work really hard to produce something that bad. The death by a 1000 cliches.

    Reply
  3. Terri Alley

    Did anyone else get Wizard of Oz flying monkey vibes at Ashton’s purple & hot pink Zouave jacket & flat cap ensemble?

    Reply
    • Lily Lotus Rose

      Now, that you mention it, yes, I can totally see that! My first thought was, “She looks like the Singing Telegram girl in Clue.” Either way, it was a very distracting costume (among many others)!

      Reply
  4. Jamie LaMoreaux

    I worked at Waldonbooks when the 2nd book of the triology came out. EVERYONE came into the store asking for North and South book 2. it’s title is Love and War. no one would believe us. we were taking the hard covers out of the publishers boxes and people wanted the paper backs. we got yelled at a LOT over this.

    Reply
  5. Katie O.

    It feels like every single character (and costume) choice was made by rolling a die. What a wild ride lol

    Reply
  6. Tita

    No worries, third North and South is more or less just Derpy Cousin Charles riding around in Texas.
    Snoozefest x 100.000

    Reply
  7. Bea

    now, I READ the books in high school and the miniseries take on Virgilia is…. grrrrrr.
    I figure Alley read the books and went “Oh, now THAT is a character!” and the network was Not Having It.
    .
    in the books, she survives the war, marries a free black man and gets spit on a lot by Southerners.
    In the 1980s, she was SHOCKING and TRANSGRESSIVE…. so, naturally, television had to “punish” her character by
    a) turning her into a “whore”
    b) killing her afterwards
    .
    So Frustrating

    Reply
  8. Kaite Fink

    It took me a horribly long time to figure out who was playing the Congressman. It’s David Ogden Stiers, better known as Major Charles Winchester from MASH. It was bugging me. Any way… Thanks for taking one (or eighteen) for the team!

    Reply
    • hsc

      I know what you mean. Plastic Cameo #2 seemed awfully familiar, then I suddenly realized it was Mary Crosby, probably best known as the answer to “Who shot J.R?”

      And yes, praise to Kendra for the great job recapping and snarking this one!

      Reply
  9. Lynelle Tarter

    Virgilia’s ball gown makes me think of Esmerelda in the Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    Reply

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