This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day; it's also aired in Canada already.
Episode 5 Asks, Is Anne With An E A Woman Now?
Stephanie Cangro has more questions about 'Tightly Knotted To A Similar String,' some of which aren't even shameful at all!
Why is Mr. Phillips such a creep monster?
As if being a terrible teacher and sexually preying on students wasn't enough, Mr. Phillips also seems to get off on combining the two, leading to the world's first (and only?) sexual tension-filled spelling bee. It's the weird kind of gesture that seems to both (a) totally interest Prissy Andrews, and (b) be the sort of thing that you would expect the haughty mothers of Avonlea to rise up against, if they weren't too busy ostracizing Anne and Marilla. Yet, even though Mr. Phillips's affair with Prissy is a secret, his classroom behavior certainly isn't, speaking volumes for the "children should be seen and not heard" ethos of the turn of the century. Kimberle Crenshaw doesn't introduce the theory of intersectionality until the 1980s, but a line reading suggests that L.M. Montgomery would be supportive.
Why has it always sucked to be a woman?
As Anne moves into her "womanly flowering time," the poor thing not only has to confront a body that feels as though it's completely betrayed her and the prospect of having to wash her used cotton clothes in water ("first cold, than hot") each month, but also social stereotypes. It's a familiar tragedy -- I, a woman, have never known another to have an I Was So Thrilled When I First Got My Period story -- but watching the "a woman's cycle is a shameful thing" argument get recycled yet again never quite fails to enrage, even if it is true to the historical era. Mostly, it just sucks, though at least it might be relatable to any middle schoolers watching. Take note, girls: Anne's we-can-make-a-person attitude is where it's at.
Why is Gilbert so damn charming, eh?
Admittedly, Gilbert Blythe was my first personal literary crush, so I'm grading on a curve, but really: Anne makes him seem literally perfect. It's easy to see why Ruby loves him, what with the Walt Whitman recitations and all. And while it's perhaps not the truest adaptation -- the "Carrots!" beat was off for me -- his unfailing interest in Anne, overall politeness, attentiveness toward his father, dark hair, and dark eyes are swoon-worthy, and I'm going to stop right there before I sound more like a Mr. Phillips-level creep than is necessary.
How much will Anne alter Matthew's story?
Thus far, the show has been fairly true to the original book in its portrayal of Matthew, but "Tightly Knotted To A Similar String" takes two significant liberties with the introductions of a love interest and a previously unheard of late brother, Michael. Are we to infer that Michael's passing is what led to Matthew's leaving both school and his sweetheart? Marilla herself is no slouch in the lost love department (hello, Mr. Blythe!), so it feels weird for Matthew suddenly to be on a parallel track, and even weirder to feel that there's some underlying mystery to the Cuthbert family.
What's up Diana's mom's butt?
Who among us hasn't mistaken an unlabeled bottle of currant wine for raspberry cordial? Both drinks are gross, so it's not like the taste would even be a giveaway. Plus: Diana got out of the house for a few hours. Where's the loss here, exactly? It's not as though she'll suddenly drink herself into forgetting all of her French or that her hair can't be combed back to perfection. Considering that Avonlea is tiny and that Anne is currently the resident hero, one would think she could get a little leeway, but not as far as Mrs. Barry is concerned. And what's even worse is that she recruits Mr. Phillips as an ally! Way to be a snob, lady.
Keep it in your pants, Rachel!
Not a question, just a plea.
Why does everyone listen to this minister anyway?
First he demands that the town get rid of all currant wine; then he tells Anne she needs to leave school and prepare for wifehood; then he slacks off during the Gillis house rebuild? For being such a sensible woman, it's a small miracle that Marilla didn't come to her senses about this half-wit until having Anne opened her eyes!
Is Matthew sick?!
That little chest pain at the end certainly doesn't seem great, and maybe that's a spoiler, but then again -- maybe not? His shenanigans are too cute to end now.