As someone who comes from Ireland, the Northern part that is, I always have a good chuckle whenever an American television series portrays the Irish by casting Americans, complete with somewhat suspect Irish accents. Just watch season three of Sons of Anarchy, trust me!
The most notorious example is obviously David Boreanaz’s attempts dotted throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and part of my heart sank throughout ‘Black Stockings’ whenever Bridget (Holland Roden) and various members of her family started delivering their lines. The accents are not the best, but thankfully we’re not in the territory of having someone say “top of the morning to ye, where’s me lucky charms?” followed by starting a jig.
The thrust of the narrative in ‘Black Stockings’, and the plethora of themes running throughout, means that it carries a charge that makes one look beyond any suspect accents. Coupled with Lore’s fantastic and now flawless marrying of beautifully crafted animation and stock footage to Aaron Mahnke’s narration, which has definitely found more of a groove after ‘They Made a Tonic’, it’s clear that Lore has definitely found its footing.
Opening with a disclaimer and a reenactment of a real life murder case, complete with chilling point of view camerawork, where Capgras delusion (a delusional disorder where one suspects someone close to them has been replaced by a double) was a suspected cause, ‘Black Stockings’ then moves backwards in time to the 19th century, delving into the case of Bridget Cleary and her murder at the hands of her husband, becoming a story that deals with themes of feminism and levels of spiritual belief, where one is replaced by another, and a strong independent women was something that many a husband feared.
There is a real element of tragedy and anger that comes from Bridget’s story. Despite those wonky accents, this is a story as much now, as Bridget’s murder is driven more by her husband’s inability to handle his wife’s independent nature and feminism, something that befell many a woman who tried to assert their independence from men. These women have to be punished, or so it seems; an idea that the episode delivers subtly but in a beautifully angry way. In fact, there is a underplayed anger running throughout the entire episode, but it’s palpable and when the episode comes to a brutal conclusion, its simmering and boiling, not to mention incredibly violent and harrowing.
It will become even more apparent with the next episode, but at the forefront of Lore’s mind is the idea of spiritual belief vs ‘modern’ belief, although the modern in this case is always off the time period that the episode is taking place. The Cleary family are at odds with an Irish society that wants to move away from superstition and belief formed through old ideals, and towards one that is more formed by religion, itself a form of spiritual belief; this time with a more organisational system at its core, and thus seen as more respectful, while also having to comprehend an undisciplined medical world that in incapable of handling Bridget’s condition, either because it isn’t advanced enough or medical practitioners had a habit of being drunk most of the time.
Being Lore, the supernatural and any suggestion of it is always just above the surface, and with the notion of ‘changelings’, beings who can seemingly replace loved ones with demonic doubles, it all leaves one to wonder whether or not there was an element of the supernatural going on, and Bridget’s condition was the result of being replaced by a being of supernatural origin, or whether Michael Cleary’s action where the deranged result of man driven to violent and extreme means because he was threatened by having a wife who was capable to functioning without him.
There are no easy answers, and it makes for a formidable and brilliantly uncomfortable viewing experience. After a mixed opening episode, and a rebound highlight with its second, ‘Black Stockings’ is indicative that Lore can work well on television. At this stage the show has gotten better and a little bit more assured, and best of all, we have another great episode to come
Now, where’s me lucky charms?
Lore is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Let us know what you think of the season…