Review: Parade’s End (Episode 5)

Tonight is the last hour of the miniseries! Usually I am sulky and weep when series are so short, but for once I’m okay, if not glad, to see Parade’s End come to a close. I know I was a bit iffy after the first episode, but if you missed an episode or missed the series  completely, it’s worth checking out later (although I’d probably watch it over a week, not a few days).

I wish episode 2 had been cut and we could have gone right into the war and events seen in episode 4, or they’d focused that hour into episode 5. It was nice to see Sylvia put some of her stubbornness to better use when she went to visit Christopher. These scenes were probably my favorites of Hall’s. I finally came to accept Sylvia as a well-rounded character, not just some crabby opposite for Christopher. Despite her uncaring and seemingly airheaded ways, she is smarter than most give her credit for (as seen in discussing Campion’s war career).

The battle scenes were fairly short, but wonderfully done. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Christopher in the middle of such chaos, having hallucinations and being so tired and stressed were perfect, and part of me was a bit sad when Christopher’s moment was cut short.

In the end I can see why Christopher and Sylvia’s mismatched relationship worked at times (however weird it was, they did have some sort of connection and genuinely did care for each other), but I’m glad we get to see how the love triangle is resolved. We see an even more brash, irrational and cruel Sylvia than we’ve seen (oh, poor Goby House!) in the past. Her actions are exceptionally awful and they seem like kind of a jolt in the story, but Hall does a nice job of making it work, smirking and playing things off as if they were silly little things.

One of the most powerful and in my mind most important scenes of the entire series between Sylvia and Christopher is one without words-and it’s all of three seconds (although her very bold outfit certainly makes it clear what her thoughts are). The brief look they share makes it clear both parties see how much each one has changed and is an oddly quiet end to their crazy relationship.

Despite all the unhappiness that seemed to weigh down the series I am glad I stuck with it. The acting and writing were well done, and the attention to making the sets, costumes, props and cinematography will surely make Parade’s End another British drama that will be loved years from now.


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