The Gilded Age S01E04 is the fourth 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 “A Long Ladder”, The Gilded Age S01E04 brings us the aftermath of last episode’s dark tragedy, as the Russells turn the corner and take that first step up the titular ladder of society. This episode was chock full of conflicts and tensions brought about by the social stratification of late 19th century New York. Every character’s daily existence is defined by where they stand in relation to that social ladder.
At the very bottom, the servants desire a means to progress beyond their status – as demonstrated by Turner’s indecent proposal to her master. For Peggy Scott, her writing ambitions grant her the opportunity to escape her father’s plans for her life. For Marion Brook’s suitor Tom Raikes, a chance to prove to Agnes Van Rhijn that he can be worthy of Marion’s hand and finally for Bertha Russell, a continuing drive to be accepted in New York’s elite circles.
The Gilded Age S01E04 lays bare the prejudice that exists in terms of class and race that seems entirely unacceptable to us in these contemporary times but obviously still prevail in certain quarters of modern society, despite the time that has passed since the late 19th century. As always, these social prejudices provide grist for the mill with respect to laying obstacles in front of key characters as they struggle against these constraints, giving the audience due reason to engage with them.
Now streaming on HBO Max.
… still there’s more …