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Keep Your Eye Out For THE GILDED AGE Season 2

What to expect in the sophomore entry, coming October 29th.

by Travlis Hallingquest
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With HBO ramping up promotion of the second season of THE GILDED AGE, it is high time the folks at HBOWatch provide a mini recap of Season 1, and what to expect in the second season. THE GILDED AGE was created by Julian Fellowes, the creator and showrunner of the internationally acclaimed DOWNTON ABBEY.  Fellowes is backed by the versatile Salli Richardson, who serves as Executive Producer and occasional director, HBO’s gold standard production, and a cast of seasoned acting veterans and talented newcomers.   Will the sophomore follow-up manage to keep the series’ snarky yet charming atmosphere? This reviewer believes so.

marian-and-peggy-the-gilded-age-s1e3

“Money isn’t everything.” “It is when you haven’t got it, ”The latter quote from S1E3 is by Marian Brook, the down-on-their luck young woman whose circumstances forced her to live with her wealthy estranged aunts. Early in S1, Marian befriends Peggy Scott, a young ambitious African American writer. The audience sees the series unfold through multiple viewpoints; from the servants in the homes of the rich, and through the nostrils of the old money and new money elites breathing down on everyone else. Marian and Peggy are the characters that the viewers can most relate. Marian may come from an impoverished background, yet her intelligence and resilience transcends her naivety to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Peggy is often faced with the perils of being a black woman in the 19th century, however her upper middle class upbringing afforded her a sublime education, as such she is often the smartest person in the room. The duo keeps the series from becoming overly cynical, for the backstabbing and underhanded business deals are entertaining yet dark.

TheGildedAge_S2PosterThe trailer and behind the scenes clips of Season 2 indicate that Agnes van Rhijn and Bertha Russel are up to their same antics. The former is determined to block the ventures of the latter, simply because NYC does not have room for new money. What is this new money that I have mentioned repeatedly? Railroads, telegraph lines, and steamships are fairly new innovations during this setting, and those that have prospered off such are often deemed new money. The newly rich may be innovative in their engineering and business practices, however their flair for abstract art and modern home design is frowned upon within the inner circles of those from generational wealth. The second season footage thus far is enticing yet does not reveal any nods toward my greatest interests in this show.  For instance:

  • Will Peggy continue the search for her son that she was forced to give up?
  • Will George Russel be able to help his wife find a segway into being accepted by her peers?
  • Agnes son is gay, will his secret cause Agnes to be shunned by her own inner circle of old money?
  • And where is the mysterious Sylvia Chamberlain?

Chamberlain is an enigmatic character who has been shunned by the entire upper middle class and rich elites. Her only interaction is with the likable Marian. Again, I am certain that this series will continue to impress with its narrative, but it would be disappointing if the Chamberlain character is not effectively used in Season 2.

A key takeaway from the Season 2 trailer is Bertha’s plan to build a grand opera house. Last season, many of her efforts were curtailed by Agnes. Even Bertha’s past philanthropic endeavors were not enough to get her in the snooty rich people’s inner circle. We can expect the loving George Russell to muster every fiber of his strength to help his wife. If this season is greenlit for subsequent seasons, I expect the Russell marriage to become analogous to what we have with Will and Jada. I know we are all tired of hearing about the Smiths, but I could not stop myself from comparing.

Season 2 of THE GILDED AGE premiere on October 29, 2023 at 10pm ET on HBO.

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2 comments

Carol Hamric October 20, 2023 - 11:23 am

Great news

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Jef Dinsmore October 22, 2023 - 7:04 pm

We know, right? We will review the season as it plays out. Let the Old $ – New $ rivalry continue!

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