Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

"The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is a psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster's obsession with 17-year-old Rosa Bud." When we read this synopsis during our weekly Skype meeting (why yes, dear readers, we have those), we all backed away slowly. After much heated debate, I decided to take one for the team as I've been reviewing the current Masterpiece Classic season anyway. Obviously, this is with the exception of The Old Curiosity Shop, which I loathe and refused to watch again. Sorry! 
Anyway, I sat myself down with a cuppa to make it all better and pressed play. To my surprise, the visually stunning intro really spiked my curiosity. Huzzah! Although, for some reason I can't explain, it made me wonder if the story was set in Venice (it's not). I blame Rosa Bud's sumptuous orange dress. Normally I'd say I wanted to steal this dress, but not if it comes with stalker of a choirmaster, John Jasper. The choirmaster has four things going against him:
  1. Played by Matthew Rhys, the last thing I saw him in was The Edge of Love, which left me scarred. for. life. I just don't understand a world where a woman can have an affair with her BFF's husband (Matthew Rhys) when she's married to Cillian Effing Murphy. I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! *CREYES*
  2. His name is Jasper. Now, perhaps I'm biased due to Newsies fanfiction circa middle school, but I'm just inclined to think that anyone named Jasper is a bad guy.
  3. Opium addiction, anyone?
  4. He's in love with his pupil Rosa Bud who just so happens to be engaged to his nephew, Edwin Drood. Zut!
"Nor does it matter if you love me, Rosa, or hate me. I no longer care." Yikes, creeper!
Despite the title of the story, John Jasper is the main character. After all, Charles Dickens was never afraid to put a twisted character at the center of his novels. Needless to say, this was definitely a period piece that had me looking on with furrowed brows the entire time. That's to say it had none of my favorite things. There wasn't a single heart clutch, swoon-worthy proximity, or even a loosened cravat to satisfy me. Not all period pieces are created equal and this time around I really started to resent it. Spending so much time with this character just made me uncomfortable. And I'm the person you always yell at for cheering on the bad guy in a love triangle! Seriously, I have a terrible soft spot for the dark and twisty guy, emphatically declaring that he can be redeemed. But in the case of this psycho druggie? Not so much. But even though John Jasper has CRAZY EYES, has rather disturbing opium-induced emotional fits, and the explanation for why he is the way he is came too late for me to really care, it wasn't the fact that he was wholly unlikable that I generally disliked this one.  

Really, I didn't much care for any of the other main characters. Their behavior remained a mystery, their traits feeling a little flat. This is mostly concerning Rosa Bud and Edwin Drood. What I kept asking myself was, "WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSED WITH ROSA?" Oh, you just moved here, Neville? You should know you're obsessed with Rosa Bud. Why? Granted, I'm not that actresses biggest fan, but still... What is it about this character? Maybe Dickens could have explained this, but he died before he could finish writing the novel. So right after we see John Jasper aggressively declare his love for Rosa, we are seeing someone else's interpretation of what Dickens might have written. It felt a little too choppy and forced (heavy on the BBC's Robin Hood "We're all related!" cure all, for instance).
Jaunts in the crypts? No thank you.
However, the mystery of Edwin Drood i.e. who murdered him and where did his body mysteriously disappear? - the aha moments surrounding this plot line did feel true to Charles Dickens. So I really appreciated that. My favorite part of this story was hands down the secondary characters. To me, the likes of Mr. Grewgious, Durdles, and Mr. Bazzard stole the show. I was at my happiest whenever they were on screen.

The real mystery of The Mystery of Edwin Drood is how Dickens meant to end it. Once you leave the actual canon and step into the uncharted territory of assumptions, the water gets a little dicy. Because Dickens was a mastermind! I have no idea what twisted story he'd have delivered if he could have. And while this version's end is certainly Dickens-esque, would that really have been how it happened? Doubtful. It unraveled far too quickly. My guess is it would have been a lot more complicated and taken ages longer to unfold. Alas, we'll never know!

P.S. But for every mediocre period piece, the universe supplies us with a great one! Well... that might be an exaggeration, but hopefully not in this case! Masterpiece Classic will be airing part one of Birdsong this weekend! The WWI love story stars our prince Eddie Redmayne, this week's congratulatory face Richard Madden, Matthew Goode (I have a sneaky feeling we'll be congratulating his face v. soon), and one of our favorite French ladies Clémence Poésy. This is the one I've been waiting for all season and, y'all... I AM FREAKING OUT!!!!! *counting down the minutes*

1 comment:

  1. I just could not bring myself to sit through this whole thing. I made it through the first ten minutes, said to myself, "HECK NO," then promptly deleted it from my DVR.