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Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×03 “A Pauper’s Grave” Review

Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×03 “A Pauper’s Grave” Spoilers Ahead

MASTERPIECE Mystery! "Miss Scarlet and The Duke" Season 2 Episode 3 Sunday, October 30, 2022; 8-9pm ET on PBS Eliza is forced into hiding when she is the prime suspect in a series of break-ins at city morgues. While the Duke tries to find other suspects, Eliza turns to Moses and her other associates for help. Shown: Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet  For editorial use only.
Courtesy of Element 8 Entertainment and MASTERPIECE

It’s hard to believe it, Miss Scarlet and The Duke fans, but we’re already halfway through the second season. Usually, we get to see Eliza cement her career as a private detective as she solves the weekly mystery, but “A Pauper’s Grave” flips the roles when Eliza is accused of stealing files from the mortuary. She’s mostly forced to sit this one out as those dear to her work to prove her innocence, allowing us to look closely at some of our favorite characters. 

Right off the bat, this was Ivy’s episode — as much as she may disapprove of Eliza’s career choice, she’s just as adaptable in sticky situations. Previously, we’ve seen her providing moments of comfort and wisdom to Eliza, but this week, we see just how incredible her heart is. We’re more than aware of how she cares for Eliza, not only for her physical safety but her emotional well-being as well. (She immediately located Duke on his day off with a woman when Eliza was arrested and had no qualms about interrupting them). However, her warmth and kindness are not reserved only for Eliza, but it’s very much of who she is, and as such, extended to Mr. Potts.

Ivy in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2x03 "A Pauper's Grave"
©Masterpiece PBS

We also need to mention that when William protests helping because it’s his day off, Ivy coyly tells the woman he’s sleeping with that Eliza is his wife, prompting her to throw all his belongings out the window while William howls in the middle of the street that she’s not his wife. You keep saying that, duke, but at the end of the day, you know with complete conviction that she will be one day. You might as well start acting like it now.

She initially sets out to obtain information from Mr. Potts by impersonating Mrs. Thackery, the Chief Commoner’s wife. And how well she does! She successfully manipulates the information from an unsuspecting Mr. Potts through flattery and under the guise of a dinner invitation. When she runs into him later in the day, we see her visibly become uncomfortable as he exclaims his excitement for the dinner and his intent to purchase a new tie. This situation indicates two things: first, Ivy is an honest human being who reflects on how her actions will affect others, and second, her love and loyalty for Eliza triumph over her own morals.

And despite acting out of her comfort zone and eventually being confronted by Mr. Potts for her behavior, we see that she is genuinely sincere in her regret for misleading him. It continues to weigh on her to reach out and make amends by inviting Mr. Potts over for pudding.

This act reveals yet another admirable quality in Ivy — she’s her own person. Despite her staunch loyalty to Eliza and her antagonistic relationship with Mr. Potts, Ivy has no trepidation in inviting him over and forging a connection with him. She does not need Eliza’s permission, and she’s aware of it. It’s no wonder Eliza is as independent as she is when she’s got someone like Ivy around throughout her life.

Shown from left to right: Stuart Martin as William "The Duke" Wellington and Ansu Kabia as Moses in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2x03 "A Pauper's Grave"
Courtesy of Element 8 Entertainment and MASTERPIECE

Another highlight in Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×03 was something I personally had been hoping to see this season. I am, of course, referring to William and Moses teaming up together. Although brief with their interaction, we got a glimpse of how well a full-fledged partnership could work between the two. It’s clear that both men care for Eliza and are protective of her — William has a long history with Eliza and her father (and he’s in love with her, let’s be real), while she and Moses are kindred spirits in a way. 

Both Eliza and Moses have to navigate their way through London through whatever means they can and with caution; it’s something they inexplicably understand about each other. Therefore, it’s no surprise that she turns to Moses when she needs to go into hiding, and he is the one on the streets investigating on her behalf.

Simultaneously, William is doing his independent investigation to help clear Eliza’s name, which is at risk to his career. He requests a day to thoroughly investigate the matter, even if there is “evidence” against Eliza. William jeopardizes his relationship with Superintendent Monro by roping Fitzroy to discreetly gather information when William is removed from the case. While this decision indicates how much he undoubtedly cares for Eliza, it also demonstrates his care and respect towards his job.

While Monro’s chief concern seems to be having results and maintaining his position as superintendent by pleasing others, William commits to finding the truth. He is able to swallow his pride and work with Moses when he realizes that Moses is right — they are on different sides of the law, which means they can help each other retrieve information the other may not be able to. For now, they are able to put aside their differences to help Eliza, but hopefully, they can work together for other circumstances in the future.

Stuart Martin as William "The Duke" Wellington and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet in Miss Scarlet PBS wiliza
Courtesy of Element 8 Entertainment and MASTERPIECE

Finally, may I say that although we did not see much of Eliza in this episode, it was nice to see her place faith in those around her to ensure her innocence. Even when holed up in a small room with Clementine, she maintained her patience and compassion. Not once did she judge Clementine or lash out in frustration for Clementine taking her money and using it to go drinking instead of asking for information. And once Eliza finds out she’s all clear, we get to see another role reversal with her showing up at the right time and saving William from harm. Yep, she’s still a badass.

Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×03 “A Pauper’s Grave” was gripping and entertaining, and it’s all thanks to the writers for being able to come up with a storyline that didn’t showcase the main character solving the mystery. As good as Eliza is, a large part of her success also derives from the help and support she gets from her friends. Viewers got to see just how much value each character brings to the table, and it was a fun, engaging adventure from beginning to end. 

Now streaming on PBS: What are your thoughts on Miss Scarlet and The Duke 2×03 “A Pauper’s Grave?” Let us know in the comments below.

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Alice Sarkisyan View All

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

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