I do love a good series – especially one that I can easily binge watch!! I’ve mentioned/recommended Anne with an E before in my Top 10 Things To Watch On Netflix and once again I would thoroughly recommend you go and watch it. Especially now as Season 2 has been released – now I have to admit I have already watch finished season 2 after having rewatched the first season for this post.
So if you haven’t watched it yet then I will not spoil anything for.
To summerise – Anne with An E is the newest version of Anne of Green Gables written by Lucy Montgomery. It is all about Anne, an orphan, who has been adopted by the Cuthberts – Marilla and Matthew, brother and sister who have had their fair amount of sadness in their life – the series shows Anne trying to assimilate into life on the Prince Edward Island, just off Canada.
Now this is your final warning – after this part there will be many spoilers!!
Episode 1 – Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny
Let’s start with the opening titles – they are beautiful with the flowing leaves swirling around Anne and lots of wild life with some of the lines that Anne says scribed onto branches. The song aswell is lovely!
The first episode is opened dramatically with Matthew Cuthbert riding across the fields as fast as he can followed by a whistle of a train! – love that you have a dramatic open because it draws you in straight away. It also is explained what is happening fully at the end of the episode giving the episode a circle story telling method. This episode is longer than the rest of the series but it helps to set up the foundation of the story.
I think its quite funny when you see Marilla and Matthew have a conversation at breakfast but it’s a very one sided conversation.
There are some lovely framing in this episode aswell as the rest of series. Especially the fading in and out of the view from the train and Anne’s reflection in the window.
Through the series whenever Anne has a flashback – I think it’s quite clever the colour palette that is used in the frame is more blue or colder tones compared to Anne in Greengables where the colour palette is oranges and yellows which is a warmer colour palette. This could be seen as Anne feeling more comfortable at Green Gables and that she is happier with the Cuthberts.
When Anne is picked up by Matthew the journey portrays that Anne has some shared characteristics to Marilla as Matthew is quiet the majority of the journey while Anne chats away. This is when my favourite shots happen – when they go through what is known as the Avenue and the sun is reflecting through the different cervices between the flowers.
I think what work with Anne’s breakdown is that through the whole of her journey there we were getting snippets of Marilla talking with Rachel (who is the town gossip) how they are needing a boy to help with the farming and then you have Matthew who doesn’t tell Anne anything! Then Marilla’s expression when Anne and Matthew return to Green Gables, it hits you in the gut as Anne has been taking in this beautiful place that is now her home and then after she gets into the mindset that this is finally happening her dreams and wishes just get exploded. In that way you are seeing the emotions from both sides but its more emphasised from Anne’s point of view.
What really gets Marilla to really look at the situation and get to know Anne is the journey to Ms Hammond to try and fix the mistake. I like that Marilla kind of lightens up a bit and actually has a proper conversation with Anne. This is all followed by a visit to Mrs Bluet who could do with a hand to look after her children basically! The reaction of Marilla at the circumstance that Anne could be placed in makes her change her mind in a way to have Anne on a week trial.
This is followed my Anne being told by Marilla to “Wipe that silly grin off your face.”
Over the next few days a lovely relationship between Marilla and Anne blossoms.
Another relationship is formed in the friendship between Diana and Anne – the first conversation starts very one sided as she has had bad experiences being called weird and being severely bullied due her extraordinary use of words however Diana loves it!!
Now this is when next part of the Circle Story Telling comes into the episodes – Marilla thinks that Anne has supposedly stolen her family broach and sends her away back to the asylum. However Marilla finds it and sends Matthew to try to get her back.
This is when the cliff hanger happens!! – Damn, I know!!!
Episode 2 – I Am No Bird, And No Net Ensnares Me
The framing at the start of this episode is lovely – the camera is looking through the cherry tree that Anne had observed when she first came to Avonlea but is focusing on the train platform.
Also while Anne is travelling back to the asylum the colour palette is starting to use more and more blue or cold tones showing that she is going away from a place of warmth and happiness back to her personal hell.
I also like the shot of Anne outside the Asylum as she looks extremely small compared to this huge dark building – it kind of portrays how Anne feels – that the people in this place makes her feel very very small.
This is when we are going to have a small moment of appreciation for Rachel who is the voice of reason when Marilla is panicking. It really shows the fondness that Marilla has towards Anne and that she feels terrible that she was quick to judgement.
Now I really liked that Anne decided not to go into the Asylum as she couldn’t bare to go back to that life. Also the fact she was selling poems for a small fee in the train station. After that when Matthew found her, I quite liked that she was learning from her past experience and she was slow to trust again but after Matthew calls her Anne his daughter she finally realises that this is actually happening.
I liked that they didn’t stretch out the storyline of retrieving Anne too much because that could of easily been done and it also means you get to see her go back into daily life again.
Mrs Cuthbert doesn’t show her happiness and joy when Anne is back. But in a way her anger “well it sure took you long enough to fetch her.” is her way of telling them that she cares.
The Cuthbert’s end up hiring Jerry to help with the farm work while Anne will give Marilla a hand in the house. I really like the back and forth between Anne and Jerry.
The church picnic scene really just shows the beginning of the many barriers Anne will have to leap through to get to be accepted into the community. It is heart-breaking that Diana, her one and only friend, is not allowed to go to her. The conversation between Marilla and Anne brings to like what Anne is worried about and shows that Marilla really does care for Anne.
The Bible signing scene makes me feel all warm inside – it reassures Anne that she won’t be sent away again. It also wraps up the episode nicely so it will lead onto Anne daily life as a Cuthbert!
Episode 3 – But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?
The episode starts off with the everyday morning of the Cuthbert’s and Anne heading to school the first time in Avonlea.
The framing on the trees all around Anne walking is beautiful. I love that she is practising introducing herself to the class. Then deciding to put an Anne touch to her hat by adding flowers!!
Also when she arrives at the schools it all nice and quiet outside then she enters and it is complete chaos.
On top of I liked that Diana gave Anne a tour and also gave an amazing death stare at the girls who were being unkind to Anne – it shows the difference between Diana and the other girls in the school.
Some of the one liners that Marilla says to Rachel are quite witty. Such as the “We ran out of time!” (that was Marilla being interrogated about the meeting with the Progressive Mothers)
When Anne comes home from School I thought it quite sad that she hid her sadness so that she didn’t create any problems but also she was wanting to go to school for so long and now she was there and it was not really meeting up to her expectations.
I like the edit of Anne lying on her bed when she flops!!
Also when Anne speaks to Belle, the horse, and Jerry reacts!
Now meet bully number 1 – Billy – ironically one letter away from bully, who basically terrorises Anne on the way to school but thankfully Gilbert saves the day. Ohh Gilbert!! He’s great!! He also has some great lines.
Also it shows that not everyone is evil and hates Anne – Gilbert is intrigued that she is different and in the great words of himself.
Then without Anne knowing she hurt one of the girls, Ruby, feelings because she has liked him for 3 years.
Also the mothers just as mean as the girls and you understand where they get their attitude and lack of manors from!
This is one of my favourite scenes – Anne has been warned not to talk to Gilbert however he approaches her while they are being watched by the other girls!!! The framing of it is brilliant!!
Now for the classic Anne of Green Gables scene – after not getting to talk to Anne, Gilbert tries to get her attention during class which ends up with him pulling one of her braids while calling her carrots which results in him getting hut across the head with a chalk board.
This ends with Anne being humiliated on front of her class which leads to her walking out of school.
Episode 4 – An Inward Treasure Born
This episode carries on from the last episode stopped.
The episode opens showing the normal running of the school and then showing what Anne is doing. After not doing much with her days Marilla forces Anne to go the school however she doesn’t actually go to school!!
However this isn’t really shown until Diane and Ruby go and visit Anne.
I thought it was quite sad when Anne is being told by the minister that she doesn’t need to go to school.
Now we have the turning point of the episode!! A fire!!
It’s very dramatic and it really shows how the community comes together to help each other. Then super duper Anne goes into the burning building to try to slow down the fire.
Finally she is accepted a bit more into the community!
I thought it was quite funny that when Ruby was forced to stay with the Cuthberts that she starts of being extremely upset and the whole ordeal and then after the few days, her and Anne actually become friends. Also I thought they didn’t stretch those few days too much because they managed to show the progression of the relationship aswell as showing that due them being busy it made the days fly past.
Also one of my favourite scenes of the episode – when they take some baked goods for the men who are repairing the house and Anne finally talks back to Billy Andrews.
Also I love that Ruby finally sees Anne in the same wonderous delight that Diana does. Also finally Anne has not one but two allies at school which draws her to go back. This also starts their little writing club. I love Ruby’s reaction to Anne.
On top of that I really like the progress of Marilla and Anne’s relationship!!
Episode 5 – Tightly Knotted To A Similar String
I really liked the editing at the start of the episode as it has the raucous of the school in the background while showing the weather which submerges you into the time of year and prepares you to be plummeted into the daily life of school.
The good old spelling bee – I thought that it was quite funny seeing the rivalry between Anne and Gilbert. Also this line….
(because Anne with an E!!! – oh it’s the little things!)
Now onto Anne starting her period – or womanly flowering time! I thought it was interesting that they showed what it was like for young girls in that time period dealing with their first period. Also the fact that she is usually dramatic then the new hormones will just highten that. I also found it was quite funny Matthew’s reaction as he has obviously had to deal with Marilla growing up!
Following that we get to see into the morning routine of Gilbert’s family which I thought was about time but it also introduces that this is going to be a major theme in the coming episodes. It also reveals what Gilbert has to deal with.
I thought the shot of Gilbert running in the snow was beautiful – just the contrast of the white snow and the dark clothing of Gilbert.
Also once again Rachel is a brilliant source of comic relief – “I’d rather be pregnant then menstruating.”
Now onto Anne’s afternoon tea which goes south! I love Diana’s reaction the table place setting that Anne had placed. Also I liked that when the girls got drunk it went all out of focus to show how they were feeling and to emphasise that they were drunk.
It was quite nice to see that Marilla understands that Anne made a mistake however it was heartbreaking to see the reaction of Diana’s mother.
Especially that Diana and Anne are so so close that even the thought of them being separated from each other would probably make them be distraught. Their goodbye scene is so sad – it was when Diana told Anne that she could never love anyone like her which was followed by Anne asking you love me?? It was at if she has never had someone tell her directly that they loved her and from being raised in the Asylum she has never looked for it.
Also Matthew gives Anne her dream dress, with puffed sleeves. I love Matthew’s character so much, he is so gentle and kind and he would do anything to make Anne happy.
I also love the lighting that glows around Anne when she unwraps the dress box. It as if she is surrounded by heavenly light which links back to what she has said before that having a dress with puff sleeves would be her highest form of heavenly bliss!
Episode 6 – Remorse Is The Poison Of Life
Once again we have a very dramatic beginning of Diana running through the dark forest holding a lantern.
I liked that even in this chaos they took a few minutes to hug each other and share a “I missed you” moment. Also it showed what Anne had learnt to do in her past.
This is a great way to show the progression of time without having a mass of episodes of Anne and Diana being forced to not speak to each other. But by showing Anne’s way of redemption that will help her earn the respect from Diana’s mother.
I loved that her mother went to Green Gables and says “I’m here to apologise and thank your wonderful Anne.”
Also I like that the amount of time that has passed is slipped in – which turns out to be a month- this just gives you a good amount of context.
I love Diana and Anne’s reunion!! I like that the camera swirls around with them as if they are in their own little world wind!!
Now onto the sad part of the episode – sadly Anne makes the realisation that whenever Gilbert comes back to school he will be an orphan. I liked the transition of this scene to the next which is the funeral scene. The bell of the school bell in way became a knell.
At the funeral – I quite liked the bit where you can see Anne in the background just behind Gilbert and she goes to approach him but she doesn’t have the right words to say so doesn’t say anything.
However when she does decide to say she doesn’t exactly take the right direction.
I like that we get to see more of Miss Barry who is so similar to Anne is some ways and I love that they have a lovely friendship blooming. Also I thought it quite entertaining when Miss Barry found Anne’s little hut and hears her ranting about Gilbert!
We once again see Matthew’s kindness when he offers to help Gilbert with the harvest when it comes about.
I quite like that they introduced another storyline that would flow into the next episode with Matthew’s grain being destroyed in a ship going down.
Finally for this episode – I really liked that Billy finally got a punch. It really showed that he has no empathy and obviously nothing tragic has ever happened to him.
Episode 7 – Wherever You Are Is My Home
We now see the end result of Matthew making a loan without discussing with Marilla. This also makes Anne worried as she just thinks that they will send her away. I think that really shows that Anne is still not sure if she will just be sent away again. But I liked that Marilla had a quiet moment with her and said the your a Cuthbert through good times and hard times.
I think that Jerry and Anne are brilliant together and they do give a nice comic relief that is needing during all of this bad times.
Also Anne’s creativity and art of storytelling is really shown when she is at the Pawn Shop. On top of that we get to see Gilbert again after his departure from Avonlea. It also meant that we got to see Anne and Gilbert smooth over everything especially as their previous conversation was at his father’s funeral and that didn’t end well.
I also like that both of them are quite relaxed with each other. Also Jerry’s reaction when they are just staring into each other’s eyes is quite funny.
In addition I liked the twist of the hooligans who hurt Jerry, looking at the advert for Green Gables. It sets of a new story line without leaving it to the last minute to go – oh no that story line is ended and so that other one.
Once again we get to see lovely Miss Barry who greats them like old friends.
Meanwhile we have Matthew lying in bed thinking that his life insurance would help look after Marilla and Anne. In a way this shows his selflessness in this situation but at the same time he doesn’t realise that he has all of these people that don’t want him to die and there is always another way.
I like that we see Jerry in a more timid light – when he goes into the same bed as Anne because he isn’t used to sleeping on his own. That really shows how Jerry lives without showing his whole entire family which I thought was clever.
Also I quite like that they worked together to get the money back as in Anne thought of using her cleaning skills to get some money raised.
I quite like the cliff hanger at the end with both of hooligans coming to Green Gables. It really sets up season two but it doesn’t spoil anything because in a way anything could happen.
Overall I really like this season, it has it’s ups and downs and does really well to develop and grow the characters. There are quite a lot of storylines weaved into one season and I think they did really well to introduce them early enough that they flowed from one storyline to another which out rushing into it with no context.
I hope you enjoyed the review!
Over the month of July I am posting a new blog post every week. (I know I’m not doing great this week being two days late!!) If you would like to keep up with the goings on of my blog and possibly see some sneak peeks why not go follow me on Twitter.
If you would like to see my previous blog post where I show you what I got up to in Germany then click here.
Also I have a Podcast that is coming out every Wednesday over July and August. It is called Books N Cake – The Podcast and a special guest and myself discuss a new book every week while eating cake!! The next episode is being released next week! To go listen to that you can find it on Apple Podcast or on this link – http://www.podcasts.com/books-n-cakes-ea839a823
Other than I will see you next week.