As you may remember from last week's episode of The Durrells in Corfu, Aunt Hermione died rather unexpectedly, and it was decided that Louisa and Larry would accompany her body back to England. For a more details on the wacky funeral and Leslie’s latest (and quite significant) dating predicament, check out the full recap here.
So for the first time since we were introduced to the family over two seasons ago, a small contingent of Durrells have returned to their rainy, uninspiring hometown of Bournemouth in the Southwest of England. Louisa has made the journey out of duty, while Larry is hopeful that a change in venue will help jumpstart his writing career.
Meanwhile, the younger Durrells have stayed behind at their Corfu homestead, where they laze around the house and patently ignore all of their mother’s instructions. Leslie, as the oldest and a father-to-be, announces that he’s naturally in charge. Margo quickly installs another layer of hierarchy and places herself in charge of Gerry since he’s just a kid. So it is that poor Gerry finds himself at the bottom of the ladder; even his dog Roger won’t obey his commands.
Not that any of this really matters. We all know that before her departure Louisa asked her most trusted “friend” to keep an eye on her children. And though he takes this responsibility seriously, Spiro concentrates most of his attention on his promise to keep Margo and her boyfriend Zoltan apart until Mrs. Durrell returns. After all, one unintended pregnancy is enough for any family to deal with.
At first it appears that Spiro is merely taking on the role of a protective father when it comes to Margo and her beau. However, when Spiro tells Margo he is cross with her for seeing Zoltan against her mother’s wishes, young Miss Durrell accuses him of being prejudiced because Zoltan is Turkish. When his claims of religious conflicts and a 600-year-old siege by the Ottomans can’t satisfactorily explain why the Greeks and Turks hate one another, Spiro realizes he has no argument. He gives into letting Margo see Zoltan, but only if he chaperones the couple.
During their lunch date, Zoltan tells Margo she’s beautiful. Spiro objects to him talking about love, bodies and anything rude about Greek culture. The two men argue about taxes and who invented hummus. Spiro claims he’s just doing what Mrs. Durrell asked him to do and Zoltan asks why he cares so much. He replies that some people deserve to be cared for, some do not. In the end, Margo gets fed up with both her dining companions and leaves for work, saying she’ll see Zoltan again when her mother returns.
Clearly she said this for Spiro’s benefit because Zoltan pays a secret visit to the Durrell house, only to be injured by Leslie’s overenthusiastic security apparatus. Zoltan stomps off and Margo finds herself lonely and brokenhearted. She finally enlists Spiro’s help to find her estranged boyfriend, not for herself, but for the good of Turkish-Greek relations. At first the two can’t find one good thing to say about the other’s culture, but Zoltan finally proves to be the bigger man and compliments the Acropolis. Spiro grudgingly admits to his fondness for belly dancing. Who knew Margo would be so skilled at mediation and peacemaking? She is a middle child (and a girl) after all.
A New Career for Leslie
While Spiro does his best to protect Margo’s virtue, Leslie’s main concern is guarding the family’s lives and meager valuables. The local paper reports a gang of thieves is loose in Corfu and Leslie is all over it. He sets up a crime prevention system around the perimeter of the property and rigs up some of his guns so he has quick access to them from his bed. His zeal for the project concerns both Margo and Gerry, so he ultimately agrees to put up a sign that warns intruders they may be shot.
Soon after, the Superintendent of Police (Kostas Kromidas) shows up at the house. Leslie assumes he’s in trouble with the father of his pregnant girlfriend or about the warning sign. The policeman assures him the sign is good and they need people to help the police more. Lugareztia brags about what a fine young man Leslie is and suggests he show his muscles. The officer inquires if Leslie would be interested in police work, to which he emphatically replies that he would love to be a policeman.
Leslie takes this opportunity seriously, training fully armed and in uniform. When Spiro laughs at his news, the young recruit warns him that after a few months of training, he’ll be able to arrest him. In fact, Leslie sees the job as the perfect combination of public service and getting your own back on everyone.
The officer-in-training's hopes are dashed, however, when he ends up grazing an intruder (who turns out to be Zoltan) with a warning shot. Margo’s clandestine suitor threatens to report him for attempted murder and Leslie is convinced that the police won’t take him now that he looks reckless.
Disappointed and downhearted, Leslie does the honorable thing and goes to the police superintendent to resign for shooting Zoltan by accident and for not reporting that he’d been arrested previously for drunken brawling and poaching turkeys. Turns out Zoltan didn’t file a complaint against him and the officer says they all shoot someone by mistake sometimes. He tells Leslie “Don’t stray again, but who better to fight crime than someone who has done some.” That must be some interesting police force!
Gerry the Donkey Advocate
This week, Gerry’s advocacy on the behalf of animals continues when he encounters a man on the road ruthlessly whipping his donkey. He runs off but tells Theo about the abuse he witnessed. Theo says people there only value animals for the work they do and that education is the answer to changing people’s attitudes.
Gerry sets out to teach the inhabitants of Corfu about humane treatment of donkeys by setting up a table bedecked with slogans like, “Let’s be kinder to donkeys” and “Mistreat a donkey and you’re the ass”. Alas, his message is not particularly well-received and a local man complains to him about the English who come there and try to tell them how to live their lives.
Later, young Master Gerry encounters the donkey beater again, but this time he confronts him. At first he moves to strike Gerry, but when the boy doesn’t back down, he tells him to take the worthless donkey. Gerry brings the poor animal to Theo for an x-ray of his injured front leg, knowing that if it is broken the donkey will have to be put down. Fortunately, there is no fracture, though Theo is tiring of x-raying healthy limbs on behalf of the Durrells.
In the end, Gerry has rescued a mistreated animal and he and Theo continue to campaign asking villagers to “be kind to donkeys” and “Love your ass”.
Meanwhile in England…
Larry and Louisa are greeted by rain in Bournemouth. Immediately upon arriving at Aunt Hermione’s house, Larry receives an invitation from a posh Bohemian named Durant (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) to stay at his house for free-minded artists in London. Novelist Durrell enthusiastically buggers off, leaving his mom alone until the funeral. There he finds kindred spirits in writers Henry Miller (Trevor White) and Jonquil (Alice Henley) , as well as painter Ruby (Laura Ferries), who convinces Larry to pose for a portrait.
To be fair, Larry rarely has the opportunity to hob nob with arty types and he was surely looking to avoid his mother’s provincial, humorless relatives - Cousin Prue (Felicity Montagu), her husband Geoffrey (Jeff Rawle) and Basil (Miles Jupp), a solicitor who babbles on about cricket and always seems to be putting his foot in it. In their minds, Hermione’s burial was “very pleasant with a good turnout. The rain held out is the main thing.” And it came as no surprise that Larry didn’t make it to the service, calling with a lame excuse that his train was cancelled due to cows on the track.
So when Louisa’s cousins have the dullest possible plans in store for the rest of her stay, Louisa tells them she has to go to London to see Larry. Leaving her relatives shocked and scandalized, Louisa shows up at Durant’s house. The flirtatious host calls her a goddess and insists she must stay with them. Her son isn’t thrilled to have her on his turf, but he also can’t turn her out.
Louisa regales the Bohemians with the story of moving her family to Corfu and they're eating out of her hand. They admire the necklace she's wearing so instead of the boring truth that she took the costume trinket from her dead aunt’s jewelry box, she says she sold her hair in Arabia and bought the necklace with the proceeds. The absinthe and lascivious talk flows until Larry warns his mother that Durant is used to getting his way. Louisa says she just wants lively conversation and Larry apologizes that he’s just being protective. Nonetheless, Louisa makes an excuse to her host and runs off to barricade herself in her room.
The next day, Louisa expresses her wish to leave but Durant promises to behave if she stays. Meanwhile, the Bournemouth cousins show up, and in Larry’s words, “worlds collide.” They have come in search of Hermione’s necklace which, it turns out, is not only real, but worth more than the rest of their aunt’s estate combined. Louisa admits she borrowed it but didn’t think it was valuable. Seeing as she swapped the necklace for Durant’s socks the night before, she goes to his room where he strongly comes on to her yet again.
When Louisa can’t locate the necklace, she tells Prue that she actually took it to the bank with some other valuables earlier and she’ll get it in the morning. Durant offers to let Prue and Geoffrey stay at his place to save time and train fare. The cousins accept the offer and Prue confides in Louisa that if they don’t return the necklace, they won’t inherit anything.
After more fruitless searching, Louisa tells Larry that she suspects that one of his arty, amoral friends have taken it. He breaks it to her that he’s found his world, it’s thrilling, and he wants to stay in England. Louisa doesn’t look pleased. Outside, mother and son continue their conversation. Louisa misses the children and considers Corfu her home now. Larry says he’s fallen for Ruby and he will to stay as long as she wants him.
In the morning the missing necklace turns up on a naked Henry Miller. Louisa tries to spare her cousins from seeing the writer in the altogether, but when she leaves for “the bank” they get an eyeful anyhow. Soon after, Prue and the necklace are reunited, and Louisa is free to return to her beloved Greek paradise.
Larry, meanwhile, learns that not only is his new girlfriend an avant-garde artist who paints him as a glass of water, she is also sexually interested in his own mother. Change of plans… Larry tells Louisa he’s going back with her. In their family, he’s used to playing the free-thinker. In the real world, it’s a bit harder. But before catching their boat, they need to get all that family shopping done.
Reunited and not a moment too soon
In contrast to the rain in England, it’s a tranquil, sunny day in Corfu. Gerry, Leslie and Margo clean up the shambles they created sharpish as Spiro picks Louisa and Larry up and chauffeurs them home. The kids run out to hug and greet their mother. As they enter the spic and span house, there's not a dirty pan or a chicken to be seen. However, when Larry goes up to his bedroom, it's a slovenly mess which they claim is how he left it. Larry smiles when his Louisa tells him to tidy his room because he's not with his arty friends now. Despite all his attempts to break from his family, he always ends up coming home, doesn't he?
So how did you like the multi-location focus of this episode? Would you be able to leave your children at home like Louisa did? Which guest character did you like the most - the Bohemians, the cousins, the police officer? Let's get the Durrell chat going in the comments!