This week’s episode concentrated on those below stairs – deck? – and was dominated by a pair of foreigners, one suave, one swarthy, and the effect they had on their surrounding ladyfolk.
These two were painted in black and white cartoon colours by Julian Fellowes, with our hero, Italian waiter, Paolo, helpfully even dressed in white, while he courted cheeky, perky Annie, a chamber steward as pretty as she was comically big-hearted. “I don’t believe in envy,” she told him, while polishing silver spoons into mirrors for her lucky employers, “there’s always haves and have-nots.”
Paolo threatened to corrupt her with ideas of dreams, new lives, more dreams and – reach for the smelling salts – some equality. 20 minutes in, and he’d followed his pal’s advice to “offer her your dreams” and asked her to marry him. And, guess what, the dreamy Paolo had had to blag his way onto the ship in the first place, and was last seen rushing towards the watery cell of his brother Mario. Something tells me Annie and Paolo are the nearest we’re going to get to anything approaching the big-screen charm of Rose and Jack, so we might as well enjoy them while we’ve got them.
Meanwhile, his fellow foreigner Peter Lubov wasn’t having such a bonny time by any means, as the object of his affections was none other than the grim-faced Irish Mary (her with the brood of six of last week’s episode), which meant he soon got landed with a firm punch from an angry Irish electrician husband. At least she had a good excuse for being caught mid-clinch by the rail, one we can all file for future occasions - “You put us in steerage, what did you expect?” - and was thankfully saved any further explanation by the convenient sinking of the ship.
There’s a whole load of back story here, I’m thinking, that Fellowes had the good sense not to bother himself with – shame he didn’t do the same with some random scenes of Winston Churchill at the top of the show – yes, really – stomping around after the Siege of Sidney Street. Which seemed to have something to do with Peter Lubov getting another left-hook once he made it on-board.
The good news is that the overlapping stories are starting to make sense. The better news is there’s only one episode left.
Paolo and Annie have found true love amidst the ship's ominous rumblings