After the jarring fast-forward in the previous episode – where time skipped to Becky and Amelia suddenly having children, then again to when their babies become young men – we’ve got to grips with the situation. In episode 6, writer Gwyneth Hughes puts the mothers side by side: Amelia loves too much, and Becky much too little. It’s a fascinating exploration of both characters, and shows an even bleaker window into Becky’s dark soul. You start to wonder whether she can love at all.
But still, Hughes maintains an ambiguous mystery behind Becky. After gaining access to royalty, she heads toward a heavenly, unfocused light before plunging into the darkness of Steyne’s reward for getting her there. This doesn’t feel like a comedy anymore, but a fantasy that's harsher. The realities behind the pomp and status are being unveiled, and maybe the finale will reveal them entirely.
As W. M. Thackeray says at the start of each episode, this is ‘a world where everyone is striving for something that is not worth having’. This episode is the darkest horse in the Vanity Fair merry-go-round, and Becky is growing her inner-monster. She won’t let anything step in her way to get what she wants – and even when she does, she wants more. As her ambivalent husband says: ‘Don’t fly too high, Becky. You’ll leave the rest of us behind’.
It’s doubtful that she cares about leaving anyone behind, but the smell of her wings burning in the sun like Icarus might cause her some discomfort. Maybe this will become true in the finale. But this episode proves that Becky isn’t just devious, she’s dangerous.
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On 30 Sep 18, 9:00 PM – 10:05 PM