Gentleman Jack Recap, Part 2


Gentleman Jack (2019) is set in 1832 Halifax, West Yorkshire, and based on the diaries of Anne Lister (1791-1840), a landowner and industrialist who wrote extensively of her daily life and her same-sex love affairs. It’s airing on HBO in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K. Check out our interview with the series costume designer Tom Pye. Read all our series recaps here.


Episode two gets right down into it, building up Anne Lister and Ann Walker’s love affair, also more coal drama. There’s another autopsy, a more explicit, if briefer, sex scene, and a couple new dresses…

The first thing Anne Lister says to Ann Walker is: “I was just passing” — the title of last week’s episode.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Miss Walker in a new pink floral dress with possibly the biggest sleeves we’ve seen so far.

They start talking about Walker’s sister and her three children, both derisively referring to motherhood, then Lister volunteering, “I dissected a baby once.” She’s kinda freaking Walker out with a lot of anatomy talk — might want to pace yourself, Lister.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Oh Anne, you & your wacky flashbacks!

After a quick scene of the Shibden servants gossiping in the kitchen, Lister continues to chat up Miss Walker. As she tells the TV audience, “the nature of what Miss Walker feels for me is love!”

But first, Lister has to talk with Mr. Washington about coal. It’s the pits, har har.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Srs biznz.

We meet nefarious land/coal-owner Jeremiah Rawson, who brings his dog to work (apparently, it’s not just for tech companies). He and his brother Christopher yap about coal.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Don’t say I never did anything for you, Kendra!

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Haven’t mentioned the men’s costumes, but they’re quite snazzy with pops of color. Here, Jeremiah Rawson is in shades of dark blue, not the typical black or brown.

Lister visits her tenants, the Hardcastles, where she acts like a doctor to the injured boy. The kid asks if she’s a man, and she muses, “Well, that’s a question, and you’re not the first one to ask it.”

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Lister wore this outfit in episode 1’s flashback with Miss Vere Hobart. Seen only from the front, I thought it was a pelisse, but now I can see that it’s a short jacket.

Back at Shibden Hall, over a meal, Lister tells her family of her plans to improve the estate. They’re not impressed — but when are they, the ingrates.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Anne in the double-breasted coat she’s worn at meals before.

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Sister Marian in a new brown gown with more deflated sleeves & a matching collar, showing variation in 1830s fashion.

Lister and Walker take a turn about the garden. Walker has been getting harassed by a cousin for money, so Lister encourages her to write a strongly worded letter. Back in the house, they talk about a trip to the Lake District that Walker is about to take. Lister snaps a letter opener, cutting her hand, which Walker is sweetly attentive to. Lister invites her travel abroad in the spring.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Full view of Lister’s jacket, which Tom Pye showed us a sketch of. Walker wore this pink gown in the last episode when Mr. & Mrs. Priestly visited her.

In the Shibden kitchen again, the groom John decides to hit on Eugénie, since she basically needs someone to marry her and cover up the pregnancy.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Too much time can’t have passed because Eugénie’s pregnancy isn’t showing in this fitted plaid dress.

Back to Walker’s house, where Lister is telling her about glory holes in Paris, but “I just went there to study anatomy” (and that’s the name of this episode). Flashback to Lister in bed performing cunnilingus on a blonde lady. Here on the couch, Lister finally says, “I think you’re a little bit in love with me.” Walker is surprised but pleased but not sure but you know it’s gonna happen. It’s rather sweet and charming.

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Next, Lister visits Mrs. Priestly, who’s saying Miss Walker has this “weakness in her spine, I think it’s menstrual.” Questionable diagnoses aside, Priestly recommends Lister as a wise choice of friend for Walker. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Same dress as we last saw her in, without the lace kerchief & with a different cap (her indoor cap; the other was worn under a bonnet).

Marian’s back in her first plaid gown, and still haranguing Lister, now about muddy boots at the dinner table. Anne doesn’t give a shit about her crabby sister because she got a wedding invite from her old lover Miss Vere Hobart.

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John the groom has three little girls already. What’s Eugénie gonna think about that?

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Look — fortunate bigginses! Because they’re worn by little girls! Lower-class little girls! THANK YOU!!!

Lister is off to chat with Mr. Rawson about the Hardcastle accident (since the other Rawson is a local magistrate) and, of course, coal.

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Again, Rowland is snazzily dressed. He’s got money, also this isn’t the dull end of the Victorian age when men get trapped in dark suits.

Miss Walker is listlessly packing for a trip to the Lake District, and her friend Catherine Rawson is all bonnets and ribbons, and btw, y’know Lister can’t be trusted around other women. Ann: “What does she bite them?” Walker basically tells her friend to sod off.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

This was the last dress we saw Walker in from episode one, but with a lace kerchief.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Miss Rawson (yes, related to the coal brothers) is wealthy so she has giant sleeves & fancy hair.

Lister has another big coal talk, now with maths, blah blah blah.

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Marian (repeated plaid dress) & Dad sit in on Anne’s coal bargaining. Just pointing out Dad gets some sassy garb here with his purple coat & yellow waistcoat & breeches.

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But Anne does all the talking, natch.

Likewise, the Rawson brothers are off at their office, drinking and yammering about Lister, noting “she likes the ladies,” but they’re more concerned with her coal.

Lister visits Walker again before her Lake District trip. Walker is kinda like ‘I don’t really want to go now, I’ll miss you, boo-hoo.’  Lister says she’s going to a wedding in London that she doesn’t really want to go to either, so it’s like they’re even.

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Walker is wearing the blue dress she wore in her very first scene, in the carriage, in episode one.

Miss Rawson comes in to say let’s hit the road for the Lake District. As Lister leaves she says something about seeing a man, so Rawson makes an astonished face to Walker, who’s like, ‘see? NBD!’

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Sorry, that kerchief looks like a placemat.

Lister sorts more coal stuff, then tells Eugénie to pack her trunk for London. Bam, we’re in a church, tons of fancy-dressed people, it’s wedding time.

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The bride looks fine, bridal ‘n shit.

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The groom is apparently Scottish, since the kilt.

Lister is wearing a SUPER TALL black hat with black beading and the most AM-AY-ZING ostrich feathers, it is faaaaaabulous.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Because of course you want to SLAY when you’re at the wedding of your ex-lover.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

Classically pretty 183s wedding gown.

Gentleman Jack (2019)

This is the hat Tom Pye said is based on an Ingres painting of the Queen of Naples.

After the wedding Lister run back, ditches the hat (yikes!) and tells Eugénie, “We’re going to the Lake District!”

Gentleman Jack (2019)



Looks like we’re off to the lakes in episode 3, airing next Monday!


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

19 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Why is Marian such a pill? Prevailing theories include 1)needs to get laid: 2)jealousy : 3)Anne won’t let her have a pet 4)Combo of 1 & 2.

    Wish Anne would carry a ‘pointy end’ item when she’s meeting the evil coal brothers.

    Can you do a WCW for Johdi May, if you haven’t?

    Am planning on watching this this evening.

      • Trystan L. Bass

        I actually have a draft of a Jodhi May WCW sitting around for once Gentleman Jack stops filling up all our Wednesdays!

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Oh & re: Marian – there’s a hint in the ‘scenes from’ ep 3 where Marian yells at Anne something about ‘I’ll have a son who’ll inherit all this’ so yeah, maybe jealousy & needing to get laid! Tho history shows that she didn’t inherit (Anne left everything to some distant cousins plus a life interest to Ann Walker) & I can’t find anything about Marian so maybe she died young? Must not have married or there’d be a record of it.

      • Mina Van Berh

        Big yes to a WCW about Jodhi May!

        Also, about Marian – I found this statement about her on the Twitter page of Shibden Hall:

        „Anne Lister’s younger sister Marian was born #onthisday (12th of Oct.) in 1798. She lived at Shibden with Anne and their father Jeremy and Aunt Anne. She died in 1882. Marian is played by
        in the forthcoming #GentlemanJack TV series. #OTD“
        But no word about her being married.

  2. Andrew Schroeder

    I am so shook by these costumes. Dey so pretty. Love that wedding gown. Love that fuck-you-very-much hat. Love that all the ladies are wearing pelerines and chemisettes and buckles and shit.

  3. Susan Pola Staples

    After seeing episode 2, I want both Miss Lister’s wedding scene hat and the wedding dress. These costumes are so gorgeous, Gentleman Jack is fast becoming my favourite frock flick set in the 1830s. I enjoyed Anne reacting with the boy who lost his legs. She may not want children, but she’s good with them. And I thought the fortunate biggins so appropriate for the three little girls. Like you mentioned, class apropriate.

    I like the good influence Anne is on Miss Walker, she’s becoming more independent, confident and stands up for her views and friends. Can’t wait for the Lake District.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Lister’s response to the boy’s question was so perfect — it’s something that felt modern & yet timeless & just real.

      • Susan Pola Staples

        I absolutely agree. And somehow maybe because it didn’t talk down to the child elucidated a response from him.

        BTW thanks to the May WCW comment above.

  4. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I adore the attention to detail that have been put into the costuming for this production. My only tiny quibble is that Miss Vere’s wedding gown appears to be white. Pre-1840 a virgin blue gown or even black would have been considered highly fashionable.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Yeah, white wedding gowns are not “tradition” yet, but it did happen. White was still a very fashionable evening or formal gown, so this could be used as her best dress for the season as a newly married woman.

  5. Susan Pola Staples

    Or being presented at Court to Queen Adelaide and King William.

  6. Roxana

    The concept of a wedding dress as a spectacular and expensive costume that could never be worn again except as a wedding gown had yet to be invented in the 1830s. Up to the turn of the century brides were still being married in something they could wear for best after the wedding even as the trend towards today’s ridiculously expensive and otherwise useless gowns co-existed.

  7. Popcorn

    I don’t mind Marian’s bad temper, mostly because I love Gemma Whelan from the show ‘Upstart Crow’ (available on Britbox and, more cost-effectively) dailymotion).

  8. Roxana

    So that’s what Anne Lister wears for best! I’ve been wondering.

  9. Sarah Walsh

    I could’ve sworn that the scene with Anne Lister in bed with the blonde woman was her imagining doing so with Ann Walker – but it makes more sense that it was a flashback!