My two favorite shows are showing their new seasons tonight on PBS: “Call the Midwife” at 8pm, which I mentioned last year, and “Grantchester” at 9am.
I like that they feature nuns and priests respectively, albeit Anglicans (Episcopalians in the United States), and that the depictions are realistic. You can identify with the characters and come to love them as human beings.
“Grantchester” takes place in the village of Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, England. In it, Geordie (Robson Green) is a police detective who teams up with rebellious priest Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) to solve crimes. James Norton created the role of the priest but left in 2019 and recently portrayed a pansexual in HBO’s “The Nevers”. You can’t predict who’s always the good or the bad cop.
We are in 1958 in the new season so that undermines the historical environment. But the fifth season finale, which originally aired in February 2020, showed religious life in a particularly powerful way.
A woman was found murdered on Jesus Green near a convent with a cross on her body and her hands crossed over her heart. She wears what appears to be a wedding ring until the vicar realizes it is a ring for a nun, then they go to the convent of the Order of Saint Beatrice to find out if she is. is one of them. She was.
And then you meet Sister Grace (Tracy-Ann Oberman), the formidable Superior of the Convent – all tough and tenacious. She is beautiful, is not afraid of anyone and is authoritative.
Geordie and Will conclude that she killed the woman because she wanted to leave the convent. So they loot him and find the other sisters are acting a little weird.
“Are you here to comfort or intimidate?” Sister Grace stands up to Will and Geordie, who think she is enslaving the nuns.
But Sister Grace does not reveal any secrets of the convent. And there are many.
“Some find this life constraining,” she says, “but restriction can be liberating for others. “
Will and Geordie find out that Sister Grace was embroiled in a personal scandal years ago and was allowed to found her own order, which appears to operate outside the hierarchy.
Geordie concludes, “Women don’t want to be there. It is not a convent but a bloody prison.
They also discover that many of the women who live there have been reported missing by their families and are eventually reunited. But Sister Lavinia (Andrea Valls) returns to the bruised and beaten compound and Will realizes that the convent is in fact a refuge.
When he goes to apologize, Sister Grace cuts Will down to his waist:
“You are all moralizers with no sense of wonder, just judgmental and hypocrisy,” she said. “We all live in a broken world full of broken people. When you think you’re different you are special, that’s deeply arrogant.
Will realizes he’s been fooled and admits: “I’m afraid if I fall, I won’t stop.”
She kisses his hand. And I leave the rest to those who have PBS Passport so you may be surprised.
Considering that this show was the last from last season, it has come full circle and it’s a penchant for shows featuring religion; everything is fine in the end.
Leonard Finch (Al Weaver), the vicar, invites his wicked and estranged father, who is disappointed that Leonard is a homosexual, to visit him. In fact, he calls his son a “sissy”. And as his father drinks more in the pub, Leonard detects that he’s locked up and has a male lover while he was married to Leonard’s mother, which infuriates Leonard. Leonard stands up to his father, who threatens to “hand him over” to the bishop – remember this is the 1950s.
“Go ahead,” Leonard told him. “Your son loves men. I am not afraid. I am happy.”
Then he dismisses his father, saying, “Something I doubt you ever was.” “
Leonard tearfully tells Mrs. C. (Tessa Peake-Jones), the governess of the parsonage, that she is his real family. At first, the seedy Mrs. C. could not accept Leonard’s sexuality but eventually learns to accept him as he is. She invites her lover, Dan Marlowe (Oliver Dimsdale), to Will’s birthday party.
On another front, Geordie’s mother-in-law, Diana, had to be confined to a mental institution and his wife, Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth), was in conflict over placing him there. She is afraid to visit him for fear that she will not recognize her, and Geordie says he will go with her because her mother needs to know that they care about her.
A previous powerful episode saw Will help set up a troubled and impoverished young man with a boxing trainer, who assaulted him. Will can’t face him but then concocts a plan. He installs her in his own business financed by his mother, who has just married a rich descendant.
And that hints at what could happen in Season 6.
Prior to the priesthood, Will obviously had a troubled life, which must have included alcoholism, among other demons. His mother reminds him that he is doing so well and begs him, “Please don’t go back. “
This season can reveal if he does.
Reverend Alexander Santora is the pastor of Our Lady of Grace and St. Joseph, 400 Willow Ave., Hoboken, NJ 07030. Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @padrehoboken.
“Grantchester,” Season 6, is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Sunday, October 3 through November 21 on PBS.