As the series finale of The Durrells in Corfu approaches, the family continues to struggle to fit in to their adopted home whilst trying to cope with a rapidly unravelling world.
On our last visit to Corfu, we met Spiros’s formidable and flirtatious wife, Dimitra. The Durrells and friends embarked on a disastrous day trip to visit Larry. And Margo returned to England to gain confidence and start her life anew. The expanded recap of the episode can be found here.
This week we find there is a contingent of Corfiat society who are less than pleased with the goings on at the Durrell guesthouse. Gerry struggles with his feelings for a friend and Margo finds an unconventional avenue for engaging her challenging new student.
A House of Debauchery
Through the eyes of busybody Postman Argos (Alexandros Zouridakis), the Durrell guesthouse is treading in very tawdry territory indeed. Honestly, what self-respecting Corfiat would blame him for thinking this way? Louisa’s current clientele are poster children for loose morals, Spiros is constantly doing “important jobs around the place” and the usual parade of animals wander freely about the downstairs rooms.
Despite Spiros being a more-or-less permanent fixture now, Leslie expresses disappointment that he hasn’t officially left his wife Dimitra yet. Louisa reminds him divorce is still extremely rare in Corfu, so she’s just happy they get to have Spiros around the house.
Louisa drops in on Florence Petridis with a list of eyebrow-raising medical supplies for her guests. Mrs. Durrell has come to the conclusion that with Europe so doom-laden, why not be decadent? Theo, however, is concerned about how the family may be regarded by the community. Having a married man around the house is particularly problematic, though Florence is quick to add that Dimitra is reputed to be a real flirt herself.
Back at home Louisa fills Leslie in on the rumors she’s heard about Dimitra’s wandering eye (which is rather hypocritical considering the “large tool” innuendo that Spiros and Louisa engage in.) After a passing chat with the extremely love-starved Basil, Leslie starts to hatch a plot.
With a combination of flattery and wingman encouragement, Leslie suggests Basil call on the very attractive Dimitra. When Basil balks at the idea of seducing a married woman, Leslie convinces him he’ll be doing them all a service – even Spiros who has clearly had enough of the marriage. Once in town, Leslie offers a few courting pointers and it’s no time at all before Dimitra has invited Basil into her home with a come-hither look.
Meanwhile, our nosy postman has upped his anti-vice offensive by ushering a contingent of townsfolk to spy on the Durrell’s den of iniquity. There they witness a range of depravity including nude sunbathing, homosexual frolicking and extra-marital wooing all set to jazz music. Add Larry’s reputation for writing dirty books into the mix and the virtue squad is visibly scandalized.
Argos and his squad spread the word and in no time the women at the food stalls in town band together to ignore Louisa. Although Pavlos the monk won’t be straightforward with her about the shunning, Theo kindly spells out the fact that while most people in Corfu love them, more conservative Greeks see their lifestyle and associations as immoral. Louisa asks how they can show their love and respect for their neighbors and the culture. Theo suggests they participate in Panegyri, an upcoming local festival. AND just tone everything down for a while.
Leslie is having second thoughts about pushing their lonely lodger towards Spiros’s wife and asks Basil to abort the plan. Though he understands full well Leslie’s motives to clear the way for Louisa and Spiros to be together, Basil isn’t sure he wants to stop the affair with Dimitra.
Over tea, Louisa shares her concerns with Spiros regarding their current arrangement. He’s aware of the effect their unconventional relationship is having on her reputation and assures her it will pass but Louisa isn’t content to risk the closure of her guesthouse by offended villagers. She calls a house meeting to inform her guests of the complaints about their morals and asks everyone to be more sensitive to the traditions and culture of the island.
As part of her campaign to repair the Durrell reputation, Louisa and the gay American couple, Harry and Lumis, arrive in town conservatively dressed for church. Little do they know, they’re in for a 2 ½ hours of worship in Greek.
Back at the guesthouse, a clothed Veronica, be-wigged Countess and Iliad-reading Basil are on their best behavior when the postman arrives on his rounds. Speaking in his most fluent Greek, Leslie invites Argos and a few of their neighbors in for tea and a chat. Everyone seems reassured that the Durrells are well-mannered, moral foreigners. That is until Louisa and the guys return, loudly mocking their church experience, offending their visitors and undoing all their hard work in an instant.
Fortunately, Theo and Spiros have not given up on helping Louisa improve her standing with their fellow Corfiots. Theo reiterates his idea about participating at the local folk festival and Spiro agrees it could help. While the dance lessons go less than smoothly, Theo insists he can make them look like they belong there.
When the Durrells first arrive at the Panegyri celebration in traditional costume, everyone stares, skeptical of their skills and intentions. Leslie decides plying them with booze and snacks is a better path to endearing them the locals. On the way out of the bar, Leslie spies Dimitra and follows her. He comes upon her and Basil in a lip lock and tries to stop them, but they disregard his disapproval and head off to her house.
Les returns to the festival to hand out drinks which seems to please everyone. Louisa impresses with her dancing and it appears that, for now at least, she and her brood are in the town’s good graces once more.
The next morning Spiros shows up, duffle bag in hand, asking Louisa if he can stay at the house for a while. He says it’s to do with his work on the zoo. He tells Leslie, however, that Dimitra appears to have a boyfriend and if people find out, it will bring shame upon him and his children. He adds that he finds out who the man is, he’ll end up in jail for murdering him.
Leslie confronts Basil about continuing the affair. He defends his actions, claiming as a red-blooded man he was helpless to put a stop to it and reminds Leslie it was his idea in the first place. Les says it was a mistake and warns him about Spiros’s threat.
Gerry’s Romance Woes
Whilst Louisa is trying to get back into the good graces of her neighbors, Gerry’s mind is on matters of the heart. As he gathers beetles in a matchbox, little does Gerry know that his gal pal Galini (Olivia Lebedeva-Alexopoulou) is harder to impress than she used to be. When he comes upon her coquettishly talking to another boy on a motorbike, Gerry is embarrassed by his gift. He tries to cover by saying he might go for some smokes later. Galini, rather unkindly, tells her new friend in Greek that Gerry needs more than a matchbox to impress her. Gerry takes the hint and leaves.
Later, Louisa and Spiros find a downhearted Gerry in his room. He petulantly responds to his mother’s attempts to cheer him up and informs her there is more to him than animals.
Indeed, as the youngest Durrell’s moodiness continues, Theo suggests that Gerry’s loss of interest in his zoo is a result, not as Louisa supposed of missing his siblings, but of problems with a girl. When Louisa asks Gerry about Galini, the miserable boy breaks down crying. He tells her about the new, older boy with the motorbike and how Galini was impressed by him. To gain her love, he needs a motorbike too, but Louisa can only offer a new bike with a bell. Gerry is not amused.
In a last-ditch effort to win Galini’s heart, Gerry commandeers Leslie’s long trousers and attempts to display his “maturity” by taking the new boy’s motorbike for a spin. It’s a big fail for Gerry as he immediately drives the out-of-control bike into a stack of haybales.
In the end, Galini comes to her senses when she experiences a touch of the green-eyed monster herself at the festival. Another girl has asked Gerry to dance, so Galini steps in to claim her man and a kiss.
Margo and Maud Go to the Cinema
In Dorset, Margo is unhappy with her obstinately gloomy charge, Maud Kemble. When her pupil refuses to be taught, Margo reminds her she gets paid even if they do nothing.
But when Mrs. Kemble asks Margo and her relatives to keep Maud for the week while she takes a trip, Miss Durrell is less than eager to take on the task. The desperate mother offers expenses and double the weekly rate. And while Margo doesn’t exactly agree to the arrangement, Mrs. Kemble takes her hesitation as a yes.
Maud proves to be so immoveable and disagreeable that Margo sprays her with seltzer just to get a reaction. Maud starts crying and Margo says they need to get out of the house. A trip to the cinema is what’s called for even though neither of them has ever been to one. By the end, both girls are enchanted by movie magic and Maud sees that life can be quite exciting, sparking interest in the world around her.
The girls become regular movie goers though they keep this fact from Cousin Prue and Geoffrey. The couple start to become suspicious and Prue warns that Maud’s mother is a huge cheese in the village, and they’ll be damaged socially if she leads Maud astray. Not one to be intimidated Margo tells her to keep her hair on.
Prue and Geoffrey’s curiosity get the best of them and they tail the girls to the cinema. Prue scolds Margo in front to everyone calling the theater a “pleasure house.” Maud invites them to stay and watch and Margo suggests the experience might make them rounder people.
We must assume Prue concedes that the flicks won’t corrupt Maud because we see the girls at the cinema watching a news reel. Margo learns that Albania has been invaded by Italy and immediately knows that she needs to go back to Corfu to be with her family.
So it appears that we’ll be seeing more of our dear self-assured Margo soon. Basil (and a very well-meaning Leslie) will surely be watching their backs for a vengeful Spiros. Very serious times face the world and particularly Europe. Do you think Larry will return to Corfu? While I have enjoyed the interactions he’s been having with his siblings through their letters, I dislike that we so little of the eldest Durrell these days.
Only two episodes of The Durrells in Corfu remain so let’s get chatting about how we think this all might end!