THE MINI-SERIES: Jamaica Inn
THE PAIRING: Mary Yellan (Jessica Brown Findlay ) and Jem Merlyn (Matthew McNulty)
THE EPISODE: Episode 3 – (available for streaming on Acorn TV March 30, 2015)
THE MOMENT: Mary decides Jem has her heart and goes off with him into the sunset…
Jamaica Inn came to a close this week on Acorn TV, and the ending was everything I hoped it would be: exciting, thrilling, suspenseful, and epically romantic.
RELATED Jamaica Inn Review: A Romantic Gothic Thriller for Period Drama Enthusiasts
Aside from the love story, the danger presented by Ben Daniels’ interpretation of the evil Francis Davey is gripping stuff. I didn’t know who was going to live or die. Would Jem and Mary get a happy ending? After all the darkness, was it even possible?
Jem and Mary
Throughout the mini-series, Mary didn’t quite know if she could trust Jem, a man she clearly was attracted to. He was a thief after all and related to his despicable brother Joss. Around Christmas, however, Mary decided to spend the day helping him sell his stolen horse. Even though he was a thief, and stood for everything she despised (so she said herself), she liked him. She couldn’t help it. And in a moment of weakness, she kisses him. Then she decides to spend the night with him.
Just as she makes this decision (and Jem leaves to go pay for their room), he gets arrested. Mary doesn’t know it though. She thinks she’s been abandoned by him, getting “saved” by the local priest Davey who begins to see something different in her, something he likes. We soon discover that Davey is not really a priest, but Joss’s boss, the man everyone is truly afraid of. He’s pure evil and just wearing a mask people would trust.
After her Aunt and Uncle are killed, and Mary figures out Davey’s true identity, she is kidnapped by them. But Davey doesn’t want to kill her, he wants to convert her to paganism (his viewpoint of it anyway), to make a point that she can trust no one.
Jem escapes from prison and arrives, trying to save Mary, but there isn’t much he can do. It all comes down to Mary. She has to make a choice. Who does she want to die? Davey gives her the power. It’s Davey, Jem, or Mary. Mary chooses Davey, Davey forcing a dark choice on her. Thinking he’s changed her (and he certainly has a little), he jumps to his death. She’s safe. Finally. Or so we think.
After putting her Aunt and Uncle in the ground, her childhood sweetheart (who she does not love romantically) comes with his mother to convince her to come marry him and leave this horrible place behind. But can she go when she is in love with Jem? Now that she knows he’s not so bad after all? What kind of life could they even lead together?
Just as she considers this option (and we begin to get a little worried), Jem arrives to see her.
They talk in the hall, but she tells him she’s going back home. To her, home clearly represents safety after all she’s been through since coming to Jamaica Inn.
Upset, Jem tells her to go then and she tells him, he’s being harsh. Jem merely responds in his manner: “I’m harsh to my horses too. Don’t mean I love them any less.”
Wondering what he will do, he just implies he’ll be going back out into the wild, but he makes quite the declaration as well: “If you were a man, I’d ask you to come with me.”
Mary can’t help but smile slightly at just the idea.
“We could travel the road together.”
Mary responds back with a nice quick wit: “If you were a woman, I’d have you on the farm with me. You’d be grateful for the peace.” But Jem doesn’t see that as the life for Mary. She’s a free spirit and would be trapped in that existence of drudgery; that because she is different, just one wrong move would make her an outsider.
Mary doesn’t think she can survive him, that they “speak a different language.” Jem thinks that’s the end of it, and he kisses her goodbye, with as much passion as he can muster.
With a look of pain, he walks away and Mary sheds a tear. Is a boring life with her friend really what she wants, she who said she could only ever marry for love? After he leaves, Mary overhears them talking about her, how she isn’t herself.
Isn’t she though? They think she’ll settle down once she’s married, but Jem is right: there is no settling down for Mary. She would never fit in in the long run. With an epiphany, Mary leaves to go find Jem before it’s too late. Jem leaves on his horse, wounded with his loss.
But Mary comes running up behind him on another horse. He hears her and turns around to see her smiling.
“There you are,” she says. “Where we headed?” With an understanding between the two, Jem asks, “So do I have your heart Mary Yellan?”
“I think you do Jem Merlyn.” They smile at each other.
“I know you do.”
The two leave, Jem and Mary ready to start their life together, a life of adventure, a life grander than the ordinary, and a life of love.
What did you think of Jamaica Inn and the romance between Jem and Mary? Sound off in the comments…
Photo Credits: Acorn TV/BBC
ARE YOU A ROMANCE FAN? FOLLOW THE SILVER PETTICOAT REVIEW:Our romance-themed entertainment site is on a mission to help you find the best period dramas, romance movies, TV shows, and books. Other topics include Jane Austen, Classic Hollywood, TV Couples, Fairy Tales, Romantic Living, Romanticism, and more. We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution. Join us and subscribe. For more information, see our About, Old-Fashioned Romance 101, Modern Romanticism 101, and Romantic Living 101.