Thursday, November 17, 2022

Round Two: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons: Season 1, Episode 2 “Conquer or Die” (B)

I must admit that I’m not at all familiar with the world of this show’s source material. I saw “Cruel Intentions” when I was young and probably didn’t understand most of it, at least beyond what was presented in a straightforward way and not meant to update what was originally conceived of and presented centuries ago. I know there have been many other adaptations in the time since, and while I’ve likely seen some, I’ve forgotten all about them and the plot contained within them. I was surprised, therefore, that a major star like Lesley Manville, who also stars in another series that premiered last month in the United States, “Magpie Murders,” would have been killed off so quickly. But her influence - and her newfound absence - is key to Camille’s development as a character, since she had a leg up in the world thanks to her new friend and then had to start from scratch with someone who took her for an opportunist taking advantage of someone’s kindness. She has multiple men fighting over her and doesn’t necessarily want any of them, and fortunately she’s not the only one with an ax to grind with the smooth-talking Valmont. I particularly enjoyed how Florence made it clear to Valmont that she wanted him far away from her, encouraging him to strip naked in the carriage and then throwing his clothes out the door before threatening his life. That certainly sends an emphatic message, even if Valmont isn’t likely to be entirely put off by someone who thinks they have power over him.

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