For those of you that missed it, last night was the final part of the PBS mini-series, South Riding. Can I just say – loved it!
You know how some productions leave you hanging or get in its own way by trying to be too artsy? Well, not South Riding. It folds out with a conclusion that satisfies the audience while at the same time, gives room for additional installments. How?
Well, Lydia Holly, the poor student who lost her mother, not only goes back to school but excels and (what seemed to me) to go on to higher success as a professor. Her father initially seemed to be busy trying to recapture his lost life instead of helping his daughter find hers. Careful prodding by Sarah Burton took care of that. Would Lydia come back to thank her teacher? What would her experience be for a poor country girl at the university?
Midge Carne, Robert Carne’s daughter, grows up to be a stable and lovely young lady under the tutelage of her grandfather. What’s the in-between story? You see her grandfather motion for her to hold her head up in one scene. Is that a loving reminder or overbearing meddling? Midge was originally left in the care of Mrs. Beddows – a pillar of the community who has a heart (of which she admits) that’s smitten with Robert Carne. How did this fact make her act or react in other situations? Did her husband know? She hinted that it did indeed affect her marriage.
Alfred Huggins, a member of the city council, got what he deserved – nothing. No money, no profit and no prominence. One thing that drove this into being was Robert Carne. He exposed Huggins and Anthony Staith’s (another member of city council) sneaky and corrupt ways. Staith is probably the only character that didn’t completely get what he deserved but here again allows for another opportunity to continue the story.
Lastly, Robert Crane, Sarah Burton’s main love interest and member of the city council, did tragically die, and not by his own hand either. I so hate that he died! Just when happiness entered his life too! This, of course, devastated Sarah. So much so that when she overheard her neighbors low-rating Robert, she came to his defense vehemently. She lets it slip in a moment of rage that she knew him ‘very well.’ Embarrassed, she hops on a train to London. But before departing, quick-thinking Mrs. Beddows convinces her to stay. Why was she going to London of all places? Was it because Joe Astell – her second love interest – was there and had practically proposed to her? Although Sarah stays in South Riding and seemed very happy with this decision, you wonder whether she will ever find true love and keep true love. Astell had pointed out how both of the men she loved previously had died tragically and that she needed to do herself and favor and move passed the pain to start living. Will she learn to start living or was her life complete as it was?
This story has so much potential for a follow-up. We’ll have to stay tuned on a future Masterpiece Theatre Classic season and see.