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BBC War and Peace - Ep 2 comments [Jan. 10th, 2016|10:31 pm]
alley_skywalker
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Ok, so last week’s war scene was Schorn Grahern NOT Austerlitz. Suddenly a lot more things make sense lol. I should have guessed, but…I thought the text on the screen before the military sequences in the episode said “Austerlitz” so that’s why I was confused. Anyway, it was Schron Grahern, which means the timeline wasn’t scrambled. At least they’re faithful to that.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… My God. Things got a lot worse this week.

SPOILERS

First of all, man, the pacing of these episodes is really fast. Now usually I like energetically paced stuff, but sometimes things just feel kind of rushed in this show, even the important parts often don’t get a chance to sink in.

Alright, so I’m not sure how I feel about this Pierre anymore. I mean, on his own merits, what a lovely cinnamon roll! But really, the more time goes on, the less he feels like canon!Pierre. I mean, canon!Pierre is also a well-meaning, socially awkward, idealistic duffus, but canon!Pierre is also rather thoughtful (even at this stage) and kind of judge-y and just a teeny-tiny bit pretentious sometimes. BBC!Pierre is none of those things.

The scene with the letter where Nikolai talks about being wounded and his promotion is not nearly as good when you don’t have Vera around to point out to her overly-hysterical family that the news is actually good news and they shouldn’t all be crying about it.

Wait, so, Nikolai writes secretly to Sonya? Also, she knows important news but doesn’t tell anyone else? That doesn’t sound much like Sonya.

I like how they cut from Sonya being all emotional over Nikolai to Nikolai with the whores. I’m glad the show is acknowledging what a dick Nikolai really is.

BERG! (But still no Vera :( I would have so loved to see them together.) BERG!

Ok, the scene where Nikolai comes to see Boris is not nearly awkward enough. This was, in a way, the beginning of the rift between Nikolai and Boris, that’s, in a lot of ways, the point of this scene. They’re still friends at this point but you can see how their viewpoints are starting to diverge. That doesn’t come across at all in the show version of this scene. Also Nikolai is not nearly annoying enough here. In the book he’s basically just making shit up, here he’s just kind of…tactfully leaving things out. Bolkonski, on the other hand, is pretty much as insufferable and arrogant here as he is in the book version of this scene.

I do love how charming this Anatole is. His confidence and the way he doesn’t take himself too seriously comes across so well. (Although “does he beat you?” – wtf was that? Lol. I did laugh at “impotent puppy” too, despite my love for Toto.)

Ok, that garden scene was a lot more PG in the book lol. But seriously, this is why I feel like Anatole sounds a little too invested in the whole affair in that scene with Vasili earlier. (He wasn’t invested at all in the book. There he was all “whatever, dad.”) Like, him going after Mlle. B. so obviously was pretty much a marker of how little he care about this thing to begin with. (Also, Anatole asking if he can try again later also sounds off key. He knows he messed up the thing and he doesn’t care because he doesn’t care too much whether it works out or not to begin with. He’s just there because his dad wants him to be.)

I’m starting to see what people are saying about old Bolkonsky not being nasty enough. He really isn’t nasty enough.

“I’d give them all up for one moment of glory.” Yup, that’s book!Andrei too. And one of the reasons I dislike him so much.

On re-watch, I actually think Austerlitz was long enough. Maybe it could have been a little longer, but I’m not one for lots of violence on my screen so… I do however think the “sky above Austerlitz” could have been longer. Not because I care much for Tolstoy’s philosophy, but it is a pretty big revelation moment for Andrei and character moments are important. (Also, this is why Andrei writing that letter – which I guess he never sent – before the battle seemed off pitch. He’s not really thinking of his family much before the battle – other than that he’d willingly give them up for glory. It’s not until after he’s wounded that he comes to some of those sentimental revelations.)

I do give the show props for their soundtrack. The soundtrack is nice, especially during the battle scenes.

Nikolai calling Natasha “Tasha” is annoying. That’s such a non-Russian nickname. I can kind of understand Niki (even though that’s not a diminutive they’d generally use either) but “Tasha,” seriously? Come on BBC, Natasha is already a diminutive.

Ok. I can’t put off talking about this any longer. First of all: Pierre/Helene. They’re both trying wayyy too hard here. Pierre certainly lusts after Helene and he wants to have a child, but he’s a little too focused on fucking her all the time. Canon!Pierre was always kind of shy about sexual things. For all his love of “women and wine,” his lust for Helene gave him pause from the get-go. Actually, his behavior in the marriage isn’t as off as hers. Like, Helene telling him that he’s being made a fool of but also telling him he should have other women? She wouldn’t encourage infidelity from her husband – it puts her at too much of a disadvantage. On the other hand, she wouldn’t particularly care if he’s being made a fool of – she already has a low enough opinion of him. As long as it doesn’t affect her reputation, she thinks Pierre is more or less a lost cause. Honestly, canonically, neither of them is actually super interested in the other.

But, ok, I can kind of see this interpretation of their marriage. We don’t get many scenes with them in canon to begin with. But it gets worse. The sudden reveal that Helene is fucking Dolokhov on the dinner table is so….coarse. IDK how to put it. It has like no lead up whatsoever. She has shown nothing but disgust for him, so it doesn’t make much sense… I mean, are they saying she has some kind of kink for men she finds gross? IDK, it’s weird. Also, the anonymous note that Pierre gets makes no sense in this context. Have Helene and Dolokhov ever even talked in public? Again, she shows nothing but disdain for him – where could anyone get the idea that they’re fucking? I know Pierre comes off as terribly naïve in this situation in the book too, but here it’s just ridiculous.

And Dolokhov. This one is really the kicker. I don’t know if these scenes would have looked better with a different actor (probably yes, at least a bit), but they certainly look awful as is. Dolokhov’s characterization is fucked. I don’t know if they just completely misunderstood his character or if they just purposefully thought, “well, we need a villain and we don’t have one, so let’s make this guy into one.” This isn’t about me liking him. Canon!Dolokhov has plenty of traits to find unlikeable, but he’s NOT an ill-mannered, low-class brute. He does like to party and tease mercilessly and he’s damn good in battle and merciless towards those who antagonize him. But he’s got edge and class and the Rostovs like him. Can you imagine the Rostovs liking this Dolokhov? (Can you imagine this Dolokhov falling in love with Sonya?) Dolokhov is certainly sharp-tongued, but he’s not callous and he’s intelligent. He’s sharp and poised and poisonous and there are layers and layers beneath the surface. He’s not…whatever this disaster is.

Man this Andrei is just way too emotive. (I do like that he looks kind of lost when he’s handed the baby. And the whole scene is pretty well played, though Lise’s off-screen screaming was a little awkward and didn’t sound very genuine. I feel bad for the actress, though. That’s a hard sort of thing to play.)

Nikolai and Dolokhov have had like zero interactions. Is he even going to be Dolokhov’s second or are they going to pull the same sort of shit as the 2007 adaptation here?

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