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Miss Scarlet and The Duke 1×06 “The Case of Henry Scarlet” Review

Source: PBS

It’s Sunday, folks! Unfortunately, it means we’ve been graced with the season finale of Miss Scarlet and The Duke. And although we may be sad that this is the end (for now), the finale was full of excitement and intrigue that only cemented our love for the series. Eliza and William pick off from last week as they continue to investigate who is responsible for the bills of exchange forgeries and Henry’s murder. Much was unpacked in this episode, so let us commence!

As the episode begins, we see a flashback of Henry Scarlet held at gunpoint in his office with an unknown individual. Henry initially refuses to drink what appears to be a poison. However, the unknown individual presents a picture of Eliza–the threatening message is clear, and Henry asks for no harm towards Eliza before drinking the contents of the glass. (The man drinks the poison without hesitation for Eliza’s safety–now that’s father’s love right there). The camera cuts to the unknown individual, and it’s the masked shooter from the previous episode, confirming that Henry’s murder was connected with the forgeries.

We then see PC Honeychurch and Frank informing William about the death of Nathaniel Caine at William’s office. PC Honeychurch claims he had a cup of tea, only to wake up on the floor. Frank confirms that there were traces of laudanum in the tea, but anyone could have easily poisoned the tea. With the death of Nathaniel Caine, William’s only lead on the case is Moses, and he orders Frank to find him.

Meanwhile, Eliza restlessly waits at home until she spots William arriving. Before stepping inside to speak with her, he warns the guards outside not to consume anything and to remain alert. He then joins Eliza inside the living room and informs her about Nathaniel’s death, but she doesn’t react as he expected. She confesses she overheard the guards as she brought them tea and cakes which William is not happy about at all. Eliza quickly apologizes and expresses concern that William looks exhausted. William seemingly catches onto Eliza’s intentions and immediately tells her, “Do not pretend that you care.” They have a small moment as she ushers him to sit down and asks about his hand before turning the conversation to the case. Newsflash, buddy, but I’d wager she cares just as much as you do (and we all know that means A LOT). 

William states that at 70,000 pounds, it’s the largest forgery operation Scotland Yard has ever seen. The forgers cashed the remaining bills and escaped with gold. William theorizes that they would have to hide the gold since it’s too heavy to travel with. However, William says they still have no information on who is responsible, and does not mention anything about the lead on Moses. William asks again for Eliza to remain inside. Before leaving, William asks her if she has spoken to Moses recently, and she lies that she hasn’t in some time. Ah, you two, deliberately omitting information is not helping. It’s not helping the case, and it’s not helping the development of your romantic relationship with one another. The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Rupert Parker. Rupert tries to appeal to the guards to let him go inside by claiming he needs to see Eliza due to an urgent personal matter. William relents and allows Rupert inside. Once inside, we find out that Rupert indeed does have a personal matter–Tilly Hildegard has proposed marriage to Rupert, which has put a damper in his plans.

As Rupert prattles on about the proposal, Eliza asks Rupert if he has her message from Moses. He hands her the note but continues to express his distress about marriage with Tilly. Eliza offers Tilly’s perspective, stating Tilly wants to be in London in a marriage of convenience for her and Rupert, but if Rupert doesn’t want to get married, he should just tell her a “firm no”. She then requests Rupert’s help.

We next see William and Frank as they raid the flat where Moses has been staying as Moses watches from a hidden corner across the street. Back at Eliza’s, Eliza and Rupert concoct a plan to distract the guards so she can escape her house. The efforts are needless, however, as Rupert observes that the guards have disappeared. Eliza senses danger and tells Rupert to leave. William and Frank continue to search Moses’ room–William finds several weapons and goes through his wastebasket until Frank finds a bag under the bed. 

Eliza is in an alleyway of sorts, apparently waiting for Moses. Instead, William arrives, who read the message of their meeting place during his search at Moses’ room. William is annoyed she’s abandoned the safety of her home, but she accuses him of dismissing the guards, which he denies. Eliza asks why he’s interested in Moses. William replies by showing her the bag, filled with forged bills of exchange, suggesting that Moses was part of the criminal activity. 

After, an infuriated William is at Superintendent Stirling’s office, questioning why the guards were dismissed. Stirling claims that guarding Eliza’s house is excessive and that he doesn’t believe she’s in any actual danger. Stirling thinks that William is personally involved, stating that William “has taken a shine” to Eliza and his judgement is clouded. William fires back that Stirling’s judgement should be questioned, arguing that Stirling’s dislike for him should not be the reason to risk Eliza’s safety before leaving Stirling’s office. So many thoughts here. First off, William has reached a point where he’s openly and clearly sticking up for Eliza with no hesitation at the risk of his job. He’s leaped miles ahead compared to the beginning when he didn’t even want to publicly give her credit. Second, when your sh-tty boss who doesn’t even like you is able to discern something is going on between the two of you, then maybe it’s time for you to end everyone’s suffering and admit some unspoken feelings. We’re waiting over here.  

Anyway, we then see William bring Eliza food, who has been locked into a cell for her safety since William doesn’t trust her to stay put in his office. Eliza doesn’t believe Moses is involved in the case, but William argues that the evidence points otherwise. In his office, William gathers his men to cross reference files to see if they can compile a list of gangs. Realizing the large workload ahead of them, Frank declares they’ll need more help, and Eliza joins them. They’re able to come up with seven “tenuous” links of gangs to Nathaniel Caine. William and Eliza decide question bank managers and to show mug shots of the gangs. The two of them agree they need rest–William tells Eliza that he would like her to stay in his house for security reasons (sure, that’s the reason) and offers his room. Eliza isn’t down with that, since she has a reputation to maintain, of course, so she invites him to her house instead. (I’d just like to point out that at no point does anyone protest the necessity of William being by Eliza overnight.) As William heads off to update the desk sergeant with Eliza’s address, officers detaining the street preacher from the first episode come through Eliza’s way. The preacher manages to slip Eliza a note from Moses as they pass. 

Later that evening, Eliza and William are in her kitchen as William informs her about the guards outside, and Eliza realizes William paid the guards out of his own pocket. They sit to eat dinner, but I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what the “dinner” is supposed to be. Eliza has a great many skills–cooking is not one of them. (Ivy’s staying at Rupert’s for her safety.) William says boiled eggs are fine but is surprised to learn that Eliza doesn’t know how to do that either. We then proceed to a cute domestic moment as William teaches her how to boil eggs. William checks the time with his new pocket watch, and the conversation turns to Henry. Eliza remarks that if Henry could see them now, he’d think they were an old married couple. William reassures her that if he was married, he wouldn’t be cooking his own eggs. (Who’s gonna tell him?) Also, we had a whole conversation without bickering! Perhaps they should just partake in more domestic duties together.

After their boiled-egg dinner, Eliza checks on William and finds him sleeping on the couch. She proceeds to the dining room, where Moses is waiting for her. Eliza warns him that he’s in trouble, and he says the evidence was planted by William and he should slit William’s throat. Eliza tells Moses that she doesn’t think he’s a killer, but asks if he had anything to do with the forgeries. Moses denies having anything to do with the men who killed Eliza’s father, and she declares that she believes him. I love Eliza’s unwavering faith in Moses. Although society has cast him aside as a common criminal, she chooses to overlook that and sees the good in him. Moses just does what is necessary to survive in a world that doesn’t treat him equally. As Eliza affirms her belief in Moses, she also stresses that she doesn’t think Wellington would set him up.

Moses provides her a note and says it might change her mind–the note contains the address of Nathaniel Caine’s brother. Eliza remembers that police files indicated that Caine had no family. Moses reveals that someone from Scotland Yard has threatened Nathaniel’s brother, Benjamin, and forced him to keep his mouth shut. In the morning during breakfast (FYI, Eliza attempted boiled eggs on her own–they were raw), Eliza comes clean about meeting Moses to William along with the information regarding Benjamin Caine. William locks her up again at the station and heads out to see Benjamin Caine. We see Benjamin (Will O’Connell) frantically packing his belongings and reaching for the door, only to find William waiting. Initially, Benjamin denies that someone threatened him but it doesn’t take much for William to intimidate Benjamin, who reveals that Moses was telling the truth. Benjamin had reported his brother missing and had gone back to Scotland Yard a week later after receiving no news. He was taken to a room, where a “copper” told him he had no brother and to keep his mouth shut. Benjamin describes the man as “posh” and says he introduced himself as “Stirling.”

William returns to the station, where the alarm bells are going off. Frank explains a fire has gone off in the archives, Eliza and William learn that the missing persons files have been burned. Both agree to speak with the bank managers in order to identify the gang, but William doesn’t want to question them at the station. Inside Eliza’s office, William questions a bank manager while Eliza and Frank are present. The bank manager identifies the Cartwright brothers and reveals that they wore too much cologne to cover the smell of excrement. Frank remembers his uncle, who worked at a tannery and would often wear cologne to cover up the smell of “dog sh-t,” which was used to soften leather.

Eliza and the men consult a map in hopes of finding a place where the Cartwright brothers could hide the gold, and conclude it must be the abandoned Bermondsay tannery. Willian and Frank immediately search the building and decide to split up. Eliza, who was ordered to stay outside with PC Honeychurch, makes her way inside anyway. As William reprimands Honeychurch,  Frank finds Stirling dead at the bottom of a set of stairs.

Back at the station, William informs the chief is going to open an investigation into Stirling and police corruption. William also discloses Stirling had a train ticket to Liverpool–it’s possible the Cartwrights double-crossed Stirling and took his share of the gold. Then Frank enters with a new update: they’ve received a telegram that two men matching the descriptions of the brothers boarded the RMS Umbria bound for New York. Although Eliza is disheartened that her father’s killers will be walking free, William reminds that they have no way of knowing who actually murdered her father.

Not being able to do much else, William offers to take Eliza home and pick up Ivy on the way and take her home since he suspects Eliza will no longer be in danger. Eliza states that William is a true friend and is grateful for what he’s done, and she doesn’t know how to thank him. William reaches for her hand and asks her to have dinner tonight (F-CKING FINALLY, MAN!), and she agrees, but not before they find Moses and apologize to him. William refuses to apologize, stating that Moses was looking out only for himself, and Eliza counters that he risked his life to help her. So, in a turn of events that shocks absolutely no one and in true Eliza-William fashion, Eliza storms off home and dinner does not happen. (We were so close.) Instead, William ends up spending the night drinking with Frank. They share jokes about marriage and women while Rupert visits Eliza at home and warns her that Tilly is “most vexed” at Eliza because she encouraged her to say no. Meanwhile, William is helping a drunk Frank into bed, who reveals his wife has left him. 

Back at Eliza’s, Tilly barges inside Eliza and accuses her of trying to take her fiance. During their little spat, Tilly mentions that Eliza should be content with her inspector, who she saw “creeping up the stairs.” Eliza assumes that Tilly saw William poking around, but Tilly clarifies that it was “the other one.” At Franks, William searches for a blanket and finds the shooter’s fumigation mask. William turns around; Frank has a gun pointed at his face and retrieves Willian’s weapon. Frank admits to killing Henry and states that it would be the “end of it,” but Eliza kept interfering. William tells Frank not to blame Eliza for his crimes. Frank also admits he killed the Cartwright brothers before announcing he’ll need to kill William, too. They are interrupted by a knock on the door. Frank answers the door, and it’s Eliza, who claims she is unarmed and is trying to reason with Frank. Eliza stalls by saying she knows where Frank hid the gold until Moses is able to sneak up behind Frank’s back and knock him out.

Later in the night in Eliza’s drawing room, William speaks with Moses and confesses that Frank used him to distract him. As Moses heads out, William thanks him, much to Eliza’s delight. Before he leaves, Eliza informs Moses that William will give him a ride home. In the hallway, Moses tells Willliam that he doesn’t want a ride from him and he does not like William, but offers his hand to William for Eliza’s sake. William shakes, but warns Moses that he will be keeping his eye on him. Moses heeds his warning, smiling as he tosses William his wallet. This was such a great scene between the two characters, and I hope we get more interaction between William and Moses during the next season. Something tells me they’ll gradually grow to respect one another and maybe even become friends. 

The next day at her office, Eliza imagines a conversation with Henry. Eliza declares she’ll never be satisfied solving the case because it won’t bring Henry back. Henry reminds her that only hopeless people cry, and she is not hopeless. William arrives for a visit and announces that since he apologized to Moses, (he actually thanked him, but he claims it’s the same thing), Eliza can now go to dinner with him tonight. Eliza asks why he’s in a rush, and he aptly surmises that if they delay, they’ll only argue about something irrelevant. It only took him this long to figure it out, but hey, better late than ever. As they step out, he announces that he intends to take her to Gilbert’s and has already made a reservation. The episode ends as they walk to the restaurant and play a game to try not to get into an argument. (God help anyone in their path.)

This finale ticked off so many boxes, it’d be impossible for us not to be satisfied. As always, the episode was beautifully shot and well-written. We got our witty dialogue and entertaining banter sprinkled with humorous moments. Of course, we also got justice for Henry! Although we’ve only had a few moments with Henry peppered throughout the show, they’re enough to showcase his character and his humility, making us all the more invested in catching his killer (and as Henry said, you’ll be rotting in hell, Frank!). And naturally, many of you will be excited as we see Eliza and William’s relationship begin to hopefully blossom into something more.

We’re left clearly wanting more, and a large part is due to Kate Phillips’ performance. Her portrayal of Eliza Scarlet is no easy feat–her ability to balance Eliza’s femininity with her spirited and outspoken nature appears effortless. She proves that women onscreen can be badass and likeable without being mutually exclusive, and you can still have sizzling sexual tension with a good-looking Scottish detective inspector whose beard game is on point. As a character, Eliza is someone you want to have as a friend–she doesn’t hold grudges or judgements, and she tries to do right by everyone. She remains kind to and looks for the goodness in others despite facing her own obstacles and doesn’t back down for what she believes in. She makes mistakes, but she earns from them and admits when she is in the wrong. On the other end, we have Stuart Martin as her foil, who perfectly encompasses William Wellington’s masculine energy with layers of thoughtfulness and periodic benevolence. These two have chemistry that fuels life into the show, and we can’t wait to see what more they can bring in a much-deserved second season.

For now, we’ll impatiently wait alongside fans until we are bestowed with new adventures. Until then, we’d love to hear from our readers! What were your favorite moments of the episode? The season? Let us know in the comments below!

Alice Sarkisyan View All

Born and raised in Los Angeles. Fluent in sarcasm and film references.

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