There are a lot of firsts in this episode. Anne’s first day of school, perhaps the first boy to have a crush on her, and also there is even a first for Marilla as well. The first time she really thought about being a mum.
Episode Focus: A First Time For All Of Us (Anne & Marilla)
With having a ward now, Marilla isn’t just experiencing what it is like to be a mother when Anne is around, but also when she is away. For whether it is defending Anne or apologizing for her, as well as being invited to a mother’s group, Marilla realizes what she has been missing out on. Though, as Marilla realizes how cliquey these women are, she is reminded why, despite her need for gossip, she has stuck with Rachel since her childhood.
Switching to Anne, oh so much happens. Within a few days, she insults most of Diana’s friends, attracts the classroom hottie, who loves how passionate she reads, and even catches one of the girls having alone time with the teacher! Something which, as she talks about petting mice [note]a euphemism for something sexual[/note] and what happened at her old home, further taints people’s opinions of her. Not Diana, since she seems to be rather loyal, but the rest of the class find her odd. Well, except for the classroom hottie Gilbert (Lucas Jade Zumann).
While Anne ends the episode with smacking Gilbert with a chalkboard [note]Only cause she keeps trying to smooth things over with Diana’s friends but Gilbert is insistence on getting Anne’s attention and having some sort of discourse[/note] and being embarrassed by Mr. Phillips (Stephen Tracey), thus leading to her not wanting to go back to school, you can tell she enjoys it. Granted, long division is confusing, but Diana seems to get it. Which maybe what further bonds Diana and Anne. Diana seems to have a mind for math but isn’t the strongest of readers. As for Anne, we know she has a voracious appetite for words but, being that she hasn’t been in a formal school setting for years, math, besides basic less and more, is beyond her. So it will be nice to see those two help each other out.
Oh, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I loved the fact Diana doesn’t seem embarrassed by Anne and tries to smooth things over with her school friends. For, being that Diana is a bit posh, or at least her folks are, there was this fear she’d choose social acceptance vs. being friends with the weird orphan. Yet, Diana held strong, gave some of the girls, like Josie Pye (Miranda McKeon) [note] that wicked child [/note] dirty looks when they made fun of Anne, and she tried to be there for her.
Just as much as Marilla did behind the scenes. For, as is becoming slowly clear, Marilla perhaps saw herself as Anne does now. Someone plainly, maybe ugly, and I think that is why she never thought of motherhood [note]as per what Rachel says[/note]. Yet, here she is now, with a child who needs so much attention and stimulation and she is unsure what to do. Something which seems frustrating but, you can tell she is growing fond of the idea and seems to like it. Hence why, even with some apprehension, she joins that little progressive mother’s circle. She, in my mind, wanted to be hip and perhaps make things easier for Anne in her own way.
Though, I do wonder, being that Rachel says she had 10 kids, did Marilla ever make an effort to babysit or anything like that? Do they call her some affectionate term? Especially considering Marilla likely been around them their whole life. But perhaps what I’m looking forward to the most is Rachel revealing more about the younger Marilla. Almost to the point, I got my fingers crossed for a flashback.
Subplot 1: You and Your Eavesdropping (Matthew, Jerry [Aymeric Jett Montaz], and Anne)
Being that Jerry can’t afford to go to school, and likely his family hasn’t gotten too far, you know there is some form of amazement when it comes to Anne. For both he and Matthew are mesmerized by her personality and big words. Almost to the point, you’d have to wonder if Jerry’s eavesdropping is because he wants to learn from her, maybe even grow closer? For while I don’t subscribe to the idea every boy/girl friendship, or acquaintance, will evolve into a relationship, there is something there, don’t you think?
But, on that note, I must admit I find myself questioning if, like Marilla has taken to Anne, maybe Matthew has to Jerry? For, so it seems, Jerry is working the type of hours which makes going home a waste of time. So I wonder, as they work, and surely talk, if Jerry is becoming like a son to Matthew and whether Jerry may lead to us learning why Matthew never, so it seems, married or pursued having kids of his own. Much less if he ever wanted them.
I do hope Matthew isn’t lost in the mix as Anne gets older. He is, after all, the one who fought for her to stay and, arguably, is the most accepting of her. For while he may be simple, and a bit more isolated since he doesn’t have friends his age, there is still a story to explore there. Like a childhood crush or something. Maybe one on Rachel.