The Gilded Age S01E02 is the second episode of a historical drama television series created by Julian Fellowes for HBO that is set in the United States during the Gilded Age, the boom years of 1880s New York City. Fellowes is, of course, best known for creating critically acclaimed and popular period dramas like the Gosford Park film and Downtown Abbey TV series.
Entitled “Never the New, Part 2”, The Gilded Age S01E02 provides us with a glimpse of what the series will be primarily occupied with in this first season. Basically, the struggle between old money and new – which from a contemporary perspective seems utterly non-sensical but gives us a fresh perspective of New York society and life in the late 19th century. Along the way, there will be opportunities to explore the underclasses as well viz. the working class and the African-American community.
Already billed as the American Downtown Abbey, The Gilded Age’s American snobbery is similar to the British class prejudice but is solely predicated on wealth – mainly time of acquisition determining the pedigree of a family and whether the same will be included into so-called high society. Our main character Marian represents a youthful progressive attitude that seeks to treat everybody equally, while her Aunt Agnes (and others like her) is hellbent on preserving the status quo at all costs.
After the crushing disappointment of the last episode, robber baron George Russell and his wife Bertha, gain a certain amount of revenge for the slights accorded them from the old money families, as the Russells’ immense wealth begins to have an impact on those standing in their way for acceptance. Clearly, this running theme will be embedded for the rest of the season while the various characters scheme and jostle to achieve their own ends.
Now streaming on HBO Max.
… still there’s more …