“Whenever I see the girl, she always manages to unhinge me.”
If there was one quote to describe how we all feel watching Gentleman Jack, I think that would be it.
The story of Anne Lister is not a commonly known one. Now, however, her name makes history all over again.
Anne (A.K.A “Gentleman Jack”) is unapologetically sure and confident in who she is and what she wants. Whilst the other women of the village dress in silky dresses of all shades, Anne doesn’t give in to what her society expects of her. Instead, she embodies her internal persona and parades around wearing all black, a long coat, a cane and a top hat to finish it off. And thank God she does.
Even the way she composes herself is brilliant. I mean, have you seen her walk? Have you seen the way she sits? The looks she gives to Ann Walker? Have you seen the way she doesn’t back down in the face of men? Not only is she an icon for all women out there, but for lesbians in every century that’s ever been or ever will be.
Surrane Jones has stepped into Anne’s shoes with ease. In a recent interview, she was asked her thoughts on the topic of straight actors playing queer characters. Her answer made it perfectly clear that she not only understands the responsibility of the character she’s playing, but also genuinely cares about how she does it. She emphasised the importance of having LGBTQ+ people behind the screens which is what helps make Gentleman Jack so well executed.
Thanks to Surrane and the crew who’ve made Gentleman Jack possible, we’re instantly invested in Anne’s story. There’s a lot of different components to Anne and her life, but one of the pivotal pieces is her relationship with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle).
As soon as she lays eyes on Ann Walker, she knows she’s fallen. What makes it even better is that she knows Ann will fall for her too.
Typically when telling a story in a time period like this with a lesbian character, it only ends in sorrow. Whether it’s that they can’t accept themselves or are being persecuted by those who don’t understand it, it always seems to take a hard hitting approach that leaves you feeling exhausted. But Gentleman Jack does no such thing.
Whilst there’s still a few heartbreaking moments, it’s a much more hopeful story. Anne and Ann’s relationship solidifies with every encounter they have together. Ann simply can’t resist Anne’s charm (can anyone at this point?) and it soon becomes clear that they’re going to be unable to stay away from each other for too long.
Surrane Jones and Sophie Rundle’s chemistry may just be what fans have fallen so hard for. Their connection is believable and you can feel the care and attention they’ve put into telling this story right. They effortlessly bounce between playful flirtation and honest moments of sorrow. The show really doesn’t need anything else to lure us all in.
The final episode of Gentleman Jack is beautiful beyond words. There’s so many moments of perfection and it’s an ending that feels so absolute. I just want to watch these two extraordinary women live out the rest of their lives together forever.
Gentleman Jack was just the show we needed in our lives. We’re all hooked into this journey now and I for one can’t wait to see where we’re taken in Season 2.