Unsurprisingly, the latest Harlots is all about mourning. Charlotte’s family is still trying to get justice, but the lies around the events that led to her death are already piling up. Hal Pincher is blaming his brother Isaac, and Emily Lacey is even covering for them both by providing them an alibi and lying to Margaret’s face. Most miraculous of all, the magistrate tasked to investigate is actually interested in solving the murder.
Quigley is also genuinely pained, attending Charlotte’s funeral before she’s thrown out. She is quickly becoming the most fascinating character to watch and the show’s true wild card, showing signs of change even as she remains as dangerous as she ever was. She sends her new darling Kate off with Lady Isabella’s newly returned brother Blayne, a man she knows to be dangerous, in an attempt to get the Prince interested in making Kate his mistress, giving Quigley a chance to recover the power she’s lost.
Quigley’s bond with Kate is the main driving force for what may turn out to be a kind of redemption for her. Well, as much redemption that’s possible under the circumstances. Staying with the monstrous Mrs. May, the woman who helped make Quigley what she is, turns out to be the catalyst for a kind of reckoning. Quigley has always been most sympathetic when she remembers her abusive past and how she’s continually chosen to repeat the cycle. The question is, will the temptations of power lead her to do so once again with Kate?
If the answer is still unknown, at least Quigley is finally taking her anger out on the right people. In the figure of the genuinely frightening Mrs. May, a direct line can be traced to Quigley and all the young women who have suffered at her hand, and also to Margaret and the ways she’s betrayed her own daughters as much as she’s protected them. When Quigley poisons Mrs. May, she tells her, “You and my father put a numbness into me. The numbness of a misused dog. You made me into a beast.” Soon after her murderous deed, a candle flares underneath Quigley for a second and she laughs. She called herself a priestess before, but now she may indeed become just that as she begins to finally conquer her abusers and take her power back, just as her peers have done.
Speaking of those peers, Margaret is still in the middle of a love triangle that grows more complicated by the day. She and her husband now have no secrets, but Margaret still has feelings for William, the father of her son and the loving partner she was forced to leave. Her best chance for survival, both for herself and her family, lie in America, which her husband is planning on departing for in two days. Just how likely is it that Margaret will leave with her daughter’s killer still at large though? As anyone with even a passing knowledge of Harlots knows, such a possibility is slim at best.
Margaret’s situation has also grown more fraught than she knows, what with Quigley taking over Mrs. May’s share in the business her daughter Lucy started, and the fact that Quigley just happens to sneak a glimpse of Margaret very much alive and well. Not that it seems to bother Quigley much, who departs with a chuckle. But Kate, even as she learns profanity and other tricks of her new trade, may be forming a connection with the upright magistrate investigating Charlotte’s death. If her new surrogate daughter shows signs of wishing to depart, Quigley may take less sympathetic action. Given the many ways everything and anything could go, who’s to say? In the case of Harlots, this is said in the best way.