In the last episode of The Durrells in Corfu, Larry invited home two very different houseguests who had Louisa torn between drunkenness and enlightenment. Gerry was dangerously close to returning to a traditional classroom and Leslie had to make a decision between the law and his loyalty to Daphne’s family. Meanwhile, Larry went missing at sea only to be rescued by some unexpected new friends. All the quirky details can be found in the episode recap here.
The theme of this week’s episode seemed to be infatuation - be it puppy love, a girl crush or that perceived perfection that makes you take a look at your own imperfect life.
We find Mrs. Durrell enjoying a leisurely weekend breakfast with her children though Leslie tells her she doesn’t need them anymore since Frank (the sloth) came along. She insists her hobby will always be her children which she refers to as “my own darling sloths.” The lately absent Spiro shows up at the Durrell abode and gets a big hug from Margo. He informs them he’s been chauffeuring a new family from Italy who, like them, have come to the island to start a new life. The Ferraris live in the expensive villa across the way. And according to Spiro, they are charming, perfect and the Durrells will love them. This seems highly unlikely, however; as Louisa already looks a tad jealous..
The New Best Foreign Family on the Island
Spiro’s news of the “perfect” Ferraris piques Louisa’s curiosity, so she attempts a reconnaissance mission only to find herself caught by Mr. Guido Ferrari (Luca Calvani) himself. He graciously invites her and her family for a meal where they will meet his son and two daughters.
As the Durrells set out for the Ferraris' house, Louisa worries about the impression they will make on the posh Italians. She wishes they had smarter clothes and tells Leslie not to mention Daphne’s pregnancy.
At lunch, her children appear uncouth next to the polished Ferrari brood. Leslie begins eating before Mr. Ferrari sits down, Larry talks politics and Margo is instantly captivated by the oldest Ferrari daughter, Clara (Antonia Desplat) which inexplicably causes her to gush about her physical appearance. Mrs. Durrell tries to distract from her children’s behavior by complimenting the Ferraris on their perfect English. For his part, Mr. Ferrari explains that his children aren’t accustomed to helping out because they had staff in Italy. Louisa says assures him that his attractive and delightful offspring will learn in time. Louisa’s obvious admiration of their new neighbors prompts Gerry to call out his mother on her unfair comparison between the animal-free Ferraris and themselves. Louisa assures them they are special and she just wants people to know that.
Upon the occasion of the Ferraris first visit to the Durrells' modest abode, Louisa tries to impress them with the fact that she’s expecting an inheritance and will fix up the house soon. But when Lugaretzia accidently drops something while she’s serving cake, Guido openly complains that she, and the Greeks in general, are clumsy. The Durrell children are taken aback by this slur but the normally silent Paolo (Sebastiano Kiniger) backs up his father’s assertion. Lugaretizia meanwhile mutters in Greek that she will spit in the teapot.
After tea, Guido compliments Louisa on being a charming host and excellent cook and asks if she would consider helping out with the education of his children.
Just then Spiro shows up to drive the Ferraris home. Louisa comments that Spiro has been a stranger. He replies that he’s got to make a living and is just doing for them what he did for her. Louisa responds with a terse “right,” which actually means that she thought they were more to him than just customers. In a retort very uncharacteristic of Spiro, he says, “Well to me right now you’re being a pain in the ass.”
When Louisa later informs Larry about the unpleasantness with Spiro, she also says she’s looking forward to teaching the girls. Larry scoffs that they’re lifeless and he reckons she’ll end up with the daddy because with Louisa there’s always a love interest. His mother assures him not in this case. She feels there’s something eerie about Mr. Ferrari.
Spiro’s cold behavior continues when he brings the Ferrari girls for their lessons. Though Louisa apologizes to him, he just backs away in his car without saying a word. The girls are overdressed for fish gutting, but they don their aprons in an effort to “make drudgery look attractive.” The girls laugh as they work. Clara, who says they never have fun at home, scales the fish while Louisa gets shy Violetta (Fabienne Piolini-Castle) to sing a song.
Meanwhile Leslie is showing Paolo how to sail, but the somber Italian lad won’t talk. Instead without warning he grabs Leslie’s gun from his holster and shoots into the water. When Les asks what he’s doing, he says he doesn’t know. Leslie calls Paolo a weird one.
The Durrell family’s suspicions about the Ferraris grow as the children are observed to be often fearful and nervous. Leslie has learned from a colleague in customs that the Ferraris left Italy in a hurry with hasty paperwork and very little luggage or money to speak of. Louisa attempts to pry the reason for their quick relocation to Corfu out of Guido at tea, but his excuse is that his girls were spoiled and his son needs to find his way. She suggests the fire brigade for Paolo. Spiro arrives at the villa and Louisa retreats, wondering what Spiro has gotten himself into.
Later Spiro comes to see Mrs. Durrell. They’re both apologetic and agree never to argue again. When Louisa says she doesn’t trust Mr. Ferrari, Spiro reveals that he just loaned him a lot of money. Louisa thinks something shady is going on, but Spiro says he’s just trying to think the best of people. Louisa says that’s why they love him so much, that and because…and Spiro adds, I’m handsome. Undisputedly the cutest Spiro/Louisa moment thus far!
Earlier Margo had asked Theo to check with his friends in Siena (the ones in ladies’ underwear) to see what they might know about the Ferraris. They sent him word that the family in question left Siena because Paolo ran down an elderly man with his car and they fled to Corfu to avoid prosecution. Louisa wonders if they should tip off the police. Margo pleads that Clara is too beautiful to suffer. But Larry says family secrets are like ants, where there is one, there are usually a whole lot more.
Soon after the Ferrari sisters show up excited for their next lesson. Louisa tells them today has to be their last visit. She knows about Paolo’s car accident. They say he was very unlucky, but Louisa reasons that he should go back to Italy and argue that in a court of law. The girls wonder if she would say the same if it were Leslie and Louisa says she hopes so. She’s supposed to be teaching them how to be women and women don’t have much power. But the least they can do is spread some honestly in a very dishonest world. Hesitantly, Clara says their father owes money so they couldn’t bribe the police to drop the case. Since their mother died their father has been a bully. Louisa takes their hands saying they talk to him about it when he gets there.
The ladies are playing cards when Louisa hears the horn of Spiro’s car, but it turns out to be Mr. Ferrari driving the car alone. He claims to have borrowed it, but Louisa is skeptical, knowing that Spiro would be unlikely to part with his taxi. She also takes the opportunity to tell him that they know why the family fled Italy and an argument ensues. He calls her a shrill mother who can’t control her children. She accuses him of leeching money off people and bullying his children. He insults her for associating with a known homosexual (Sven) and letting her son impregnate a peasant.
Just as Guido moves aggressively towards Louisa, Larry steps in to guard his mother and reveal the truth that Mr. Ferrari caused the fatal car accident and made his son take the blame. Larry urges Paolo to stand up to his father, telling the young man that he could take him in a pinch, but the ashamed and cowering Paolo backs down. Louisa takes the keys from Mr. Ferrari as he attempts to drive off with the children – for the sake of road safety. An angry Mr. Ferrari and his children leave on foot with Clara reluctantly bringing up the rear. Louisa hopes they’ve sowed enough seeds of rebellion in the children. Larry says, “God help them otherwise.”
Louisa drives off to find Spiro and locates him walking along a coastal road. Spiro says taking his car is worse than not returning his money and he was stupid to trust Ferrari. As he gets in the car Spiro admits his wife isn’t happy that he loaned and probably lost the money. But he says it was worth it for Louisa because he was worried she and Mr. Ferrari would end up together. Mrs. Durrell laughs, explaining that he really doesn’t understand women. Spiro readily agrees.
The next day Paolo and Clara come by to say that after arguing with their father all night and insisting he admit the truth, they will be returning to Italy. They feel bad that their father borrowed money, especially from Spiro, so they brought a watch and some other jewelry to make up for his loss. They say goodbye, thankful for the many valuable lessons the Durrells taught them.
Gerry’s First Love
While out in the field hoping for a rare vulture sighting, Theo and Gerry encounter a young girl named Galini (Olivia Lebedeva-Alexopoulou) who also happens to be bird watching. Instantly smitten, Gerry invites her to join them.
On another nature outing, Gerry and Galini are enjoying each other’s company and laughing over a tortoise. Clueless, Theo interrupts them to share a reptilian fact (that Gerry would normally be fascinated to learn). The youngsters arrange another meeting the next day to ostensibly locate a vulture. Theo invites himself along to the obvious disappointment of his companions.
Gerry ends up going to his mother with his third-wheel Theo problem. Louisa says Theo is the loveliest man and assures Gerry he’ll understand. That being said, neither one is willing to break the news that he’s in the way. On a visit to Theo’s house, Gerry eventually summons the courage to blurt out that he wants to spend time alone with Galini. It certainly could have gone better. Theo’s mortified and Gerry feels awful for embarrassing his friend.
Alone at last, Gerry and Galini find a vulture chick abandoned by its parents. Together they plan to rescue and take care of it and, even more thrilling, Gerry works up the nerve to put his arm around Galini.
After all this, of course Gerry must expect some good-natured sibling taunts. Larry offers his wealth of dating advice while Leslie tells him to get a look at Galini’s grandmother to see what she’ll look like in the future. Margo teases that he used that old “come and look at my vulture line.” This, of course, is one of the drawbacks to being the baby of the family.
Margo has been feeling very insecure in her looks lately so a bad reaction to sloth saliva has only served to make her feel uglier. When she meets Clara Ferrari, she sees in this beautiful, poised young woman someone to emulate.
Her lack of confidence has Margo asking other adults for advice. Florence Petrides tells Margo that she can’t mope around feeling inferior. The exhausted new mother says perfection is a mirage worth fighting for which of course means… time for a fun makeover montage.
Back at work, Margo asks Theo what he thinks makes someone beautiful. He of course replies that it’s hidden qualities like sensitivity and generosity of spirit that make one attractive. Margo says she hopes so, since she can’t do anything about her outsides. Theo mentions the upcoming celebration of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu. He is thought to have healing, magical powers and kissing his mummified feet can make a wish for your greatest desire come true.
When the Saint’s day arrives, we find Lugaretizia and Margo sitting in the square awaiting their turn to kiss the slippers of St. Spyridon. Lugaretzia has done it before; she wished for and received winter boots. Margo is going to ask for inner and outer perfection. In a candlelit crypt, the reverent crowd gathers around the mummified holy man. On her turn, Margo lays a big wet one on the saint’s feet. The crowd lets out an appalled gasp, but she figures if you’re going to do it, do it properly.
Later at the x-ray clinic, Margo has come down with a nasty bug since kissing the saint’s slippers. Theo tells her you’re supposed to kiss the air otherwise you pick up germs of all the other dying and sick people. An indignant Margo argues there should be a warning sign.
Back at home, Margo muses that she is drifting farther away from perfection than she hoped. She has another rash on her face, this time from her foot kissing fiasco. She wonders if Zoltan will still love her looking like this. Lugaretizia thinks not and says she should hide if he comes to visit.
Spiro brings news that the local fire brigade needs volunteers. Though Louisa is against such a dangerous activity, but both Larry and Leslie are up for it. The brothers arrive at the fire station to offer their services, but the mustachioed fire chief (Vasilis Vasilakis) tells them they first must pass a physical test. Leslie laughs at the idea he needs to be tested since he’s already a policeman in fighting fit condition. Larry says he’s wily which is just as important in an emergency. The unimpressed chief insists on the test.
It appears the test consists of crawling through a large burlap tunnel. Larry passes with a time of 2 minutes 18 seconds which is a record since Larry is the first to run the course. The overly confident Leslie gets panicked inside the tunnel and stamps off angrily at this failure to make the brigade.
Larry is keen to about his new role with the fire brigade and has a weird fascination with the fire chief’s bushy mustache. Though his Greek vocabulary is limited, Larry finds ways to contribute by sharing Theo’s book that contains information on more modern firefighting techniques. Soon after Larry is pleased to see the chief has listened to his suggestions which include installing a fire pole. He’s decided to try writing at the fire station so he won’t miss his first call out. Also it's hard working in a house full of Italian debutantes. When the call finally comes, however, the brigade reacts like something out of the Keystone Cops. Amidst all this chaos, Paolo shows up and Larry sarcastically welcomes him to the Corfu fire brigade.
Shortly after the fire station debacle and sensing that people are putting their own blazes out, Larry turns in his resignation from the brigade. The grand mustache agrees which sort of surprises Larry who thought he would at least attempt to persuade him to stay. He says he has Paolo now and rather magically Paolo appears with a fire pole.
So as Larry referred to it, the "Be Better than the Other Family Project" is over. Louisa realized how vulnerable all families are and promised never to compare hers to anyone else’s again. In her mind though, it does mean that the Durrells are the best foreign family on the island once more, not that any of us viewers were ever in doubt of that.
Do you want to talk about the conspicuous affection and jealousy between Louisa and Spiro? How about the adorable, bungled first kiss between Gerry and Galini, Larry’s unlikely stint as a fireman or Margo’s series of unfortunate rashes? We can even discuss the darker storyline of parental bullying. All topics are welcome in the comments section below.