A predictably rushed finale brings Belgravia to an overdue close after a sporadically entertaining but ultimately charmless season.
This recap of Belgravia Season 1, Episode 6 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words
Julian Fellowes’s rather charmless Belgravia has always been a period drama redolent with the very worst impulses of the form, but as I’ve chronicled throughout these recaps, the soapier and sillier it got the more watchable it became. The concern I expressed last week was that it might have trouble closing; that there was still so much to deal with that a single hour couldn’t possibly contain it all. And it turns out I was right, since Belgravia Episode 6, the finale, is such a frantic procession of conclusions that the whole thing seems a bit of a mess more than anything.
But it does, I suppose, do what it was supposed to do in tying off various loose ends and ensuring that everyone got an appropriate comeuppance. The flagrantly evil John Bellasis (Adam James), for instance, was forced to flee after trying and failing to push the industrious secret heir of the Brockenhurst title and fortune, Charles Pope (Jack Bardoe), into the Thames. Good riddance. John rambling about dirty tradesmen, alongside the meddling house staff, led by Turton (Paul Ritter), was perhaps the closest the show really came to making a solid point about the English class system, but I don’t imagine any of them will be missed.
John also left Susan Trenchard (Alice Eve) pregnant after their ill-advised affair, but her marriage to her nonentity of a husband, Oliver (Richard Goulding), has hardly been the stand-out romance of the season. That honor goes to Lady Maria Grey (Ella Purnell), who has remained determined to marry Charles despite the protestations of her mother, Lady Templemore (Tara Fitzgerald), and at the end of Belgravia Episode 6 even got to do so.
While all of this was happening it was quite easy to pretend that one cared, but in the aftermath, I could scarcely recall the big emotional events or what I was supposed to be feeling during any of them. Things happened one after another, but nothing really stuck, and the same can be said of the show itself, which has lacked the wit and trim of Fellowes’ best work all throughout. It was in its middle episodes, rather unusually, that Belgravia found the right balance of period theatrics and soapy melodrama; this conclusion was too much at once, written into that predicament by a doughy script that could have stood to lose a few lines from virtually every exchange.
Still, here we are. It’s over now, which is perhaps just as well. Let’s hope that the next Fellowes outing is a bit wittier – and that he leaves enough time to end it properly.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.