Gentleman Jack, episode 5, review: Suranne Jones shines as things get serious for Anne Lister

Michael Hogan
Suranne Jones as Anne Lister with Brendan Patricks as Thomas Ainsworth - WARNING: Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

There was mid-series misery  for Gentleman Jack, as Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) was left broken-hearted and bloody-nosed.

Recently widowed Reverend Thomas Ainsworth (Brendan Patricks) set his sights on Lister’s lover, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). Having learned that he’d previously taken advantage of Walker, however,  Lister was having none of it. 

Some see this series as a sapphic spin on Poldark; others, “Fleabag in  a bonnet” for its conspiratorial looks to camera. Here, it was more like a less polite Pride & Prejudice. Rather than Lizzie Bennet’s subtle skewering of Mr Collins, Lister took a direct route. “If you weren’t so insignificant, I would horsewhip you black-and-blue,” she snarled at the simpering clergyman. 

Having seen off her romantic rival, Lister proposed marriage. However, Walker declined after her interfering family told her that it was “unnatural”. 

A Bafta shoo-in for Suranne Jones?

Jones shone as the complex, charismatic Lister, whether vigorously striding around the Halifax countryside as a woman on a mould-breaking mission, or in the more intimate moments as a woman who merely wanted to find love.

Surely Jones is a Bafta nominee-in-waiting? Lister might have been able to stare down a wimpish priest, but she met her match in the closing scene of this fifth episode, when dastardly mining magnate Christopher Rawson (Vincent Franklin) sent a thug to intimidate her.

As Lister picked her top hat out of  the dirt and dabbed her wounds, her face hardened with resolve.  Something tells me Rawson will  get his comeuppance and Lister  will get her woman. I can’t wait to witness both. Between them, Jones and writer Sally Wainwright have created a heroine to root for.

What did you make of the latest episode of Gentleman Jack? Is a Bafta nomination on the cards for Suranne Jones? We want to hear from you in the comments section below.