Thursday, August 19, 2021

Modernizing a Classic: What Questions Did the Early Cancellation of Anne with an E Leave Unanswered?


Much to many fans' dismay, Anne with an E was abruptly cancelled after negotiations between CBC and Netflix fell through. Despite an online petition and trending social media posts calling for a renewal, the show was said not to perform well in the 25-54 demographic. Silly me, I always thought this was a story for younger people. However, if you have watched the series, you will quickly discover it is not geared toward the 8-16 crowd. 

While I feel the show wrapped up most of the storylines, there were some things left hanging. Let's discuss a few of them. Spoilers will be in white.

The first on my mind is how would Anne and Gilbert's long distance relationship go?

The third and final season of Anne with an E found Gilbert and Anne declaring their feelings for each other. But with Anne studying at Queens and Gilbert at the University of Toronto, they decided to be pen pals for now... despite having follow up questions after their kiss. 

So, what does their future hold? Will Anne use the money Matthew gave her from the sale of the cow to visit Gilbert in Toronto? Will Gilbert use his down time to visit Anne or will they plan to spend their summer holidays together in Avonlea? And if so, would they get married prior to finishing school?

Would Cole move out of Josephine Barry's house? 

Cole discovered a safe haven on Josephine Barry's estate where he could be who he wanted to be without judgment. Would he find love? Would he eventually move out of Aunt Jo's house... or better yet, inherit the place after her passing?

What is the future for Jane and Prissy Andrews?

Considering her support of the status quo, it almost surprises me that Jane attended Queen's with the other girls, but it was considered a respectable profession until one found herself a husband. Jane's quip about getting everything handed to her without having to lift a finger makes me wonder why she needed a profession in the first place. What does she do with that education? 

Prissy is a different matter. Already showing a strong sense for business, I would like to think she continues to find her own way. She makes me think of Lady Edith from Downton Abbey, who was also determined to define her own success. Though Prissy has her sights set on improving the Andrews empire, maybe if her father pushes her away too much she would find a place that would appreciate her talents. 

What is in store for Mrs. Andrews and the other mothers who make up the Progressive Mothers Sewing Club?

The mothers of this club meet to discuss the education of their young daughters. They believe that a woman's education is just as important as a man's. Well, duh! The funny thing is that when Miss Stacy arrives on her motorbike with her pants on and no corset, they don't embrace her. It takes the young people of Avonlea to show the residents how her more modern methods of teaching make a difference to them now and will impact them in the future. The group seems to disappear after the first season, but Mrs. Andrews remains a regular character.

By the end of the series, Mrs. Andrews has three children who are on different tracks. Oddly, the only boy, Billy, is the one whose future seems uncertain. Prissy told her father the reason she wanted to get involved in the running of the farm was because of Billy's lack of "talent" in that regard. The only thing Billy is known for right now is bullying people, getting into a fist fight with Gilbert, and pushing himself on Josie Pye. How does this affect Mrs. Andrews, who is a supporter of women? Will she continue to support Prissy in her future endeavors? What will her expectations of Jane be once she returns from Queen's? 

What happens to Josie Pye after Queen's?

Josie, for all her bullying, is portrayed as a character deserving of our sympathy. All her mother seems to care about is how pretty she looks so she can attract a wealthy suitor. She wraps Josie's hair every night in tight rags to curl it. She talks about the importance of beauty all the time, and doesn't care what Josie thinks if it doesn't fit into her desire to woo a proper suitor. Her parents are way more concerned about how the Andrews family will react to Anne's editorial and the resulting fall out than about the welfare of their child. Mr. Pye runs off to smooth things over with Billy's father, and her mother says they will do whatever they can to get Billy back. When Josie says he's not a nice boy, she tells her daughter that nice is irrelevant. She even blames Josie by saying she put herself in that situation. Like what!!! 

So, after the freedom of speech rally, where it appears all is forgiven between Josie and Anne, Josie joins the other girls attending Queen's. Then what? Does she go back home and reconcile herself to a life with Billy Andrews? Ugh! Does she teach? Does she leave Avonlea? 

Do Miss Stacy and Sebastian end up courting?

After the death of Mary, Sebastian (Bash) is lost. He has an infant daughter to raise by himself. His mother comes to help, because poor Marilla and Rachel Lynde have worn themselves out, but the things that drove Bash away from her still exist. By the end of Season 3, the two have mostly reconciled, but prior to that he would sneak off to do some fishing, where he stumbles upon Miss Stacy. They talk and connect on many levels while Miss Stacy is hiding from Rachel, who is determined to find her a husband to replace the one she lost. I feel the plan was for them to date if the series continued. Just imagine how the folks of Avonlea would cope with that.

Is Ka'Kwet reunited with her family?

After escaping the Indian residential school, Ka'Kwet is forced to return when the authorities visit her camp. Though her parents go to the school along with Anne and Matthew, the authorities won't release her. So Ka'Kwet's parents set up a camp right on the outskirts of the school property, hoping they will be reunited with her. The sad, and somewhat happy, part is that she can see them from the room where they have isolated her. At least she knows they love her and want to get her back. 

Anne and Matthew are so enraged over what is happening that they go back to Avonlea and plan to write a letter to let people know about the horrors at the Indian residential schools. Viewers never learn if this happened. 

Does Diana ever apologize to Jerry? 

The trajectory of this storyline bothered me, and what made it worse is that Diana apologized to Anne, but never to Jerry. As some other commentator mentioned, it appears Diana takes all the anger she feels about not being able to pursue her own life plans out on poor Jerry. All this guy ever did is like her, and she treats him like dirt. 

Maybe it was the Barrys coming to claim her when she planned to spend the night with Jerry's family the evening she "sprained" her ankle (wink, wink). Perhaps that is when she realizes a relationship with Jerry is ridiculous. She didn't mind kissing him, but she knew a relationship with Jerry could never last. It's maddening she allowed it to start in the first place, but who else was she going to go after? Tillie Boulter had two guys sweet on her. Moody Spurgeon liked Ruby Gillis and Charlie Sloane seemed to like Anne. Billy Andrews and Josie Pye were an item. So, what contemporary does that leave for Diana? 

After the girls graduate from Queen's how likely is it Diana would bother to apologize to Jerry? So, what happens once Anne and Diana return to Avonlea for good? Do Diana and Jerry just never speak to each other again? Does Anne try to play peacemaker? Is Anne and Jerry's friendship impacted by Diana's treatment of him? 

Finally, what does the future look like for the Cuthberts? 

With Anne away at Queen's, Marilla and Matthew will be terrible lonesome. Matthew admits he will miss her every day when he hands her the sock filled with money from the sale of the cow. The farm will keep them busy until she returns, but how does their health hold up? If there were additional seasons, would Matthew die like in the book and in the 1985 adaptation? Would Marilla eventually lose her eyesight? 

By bringing Anne the book her father gave to her mother, Anne finally has the missing piece to the puzzle about her identity and can move on. Is that enough for her? It seems to be at the end of the series, but what if it's not? How will the Cuthberts deal with it if Anne decides to travel to find out more? Will they eventually sell Green Gables when they can no longer keep up with it? If Matthew dies, would Marilla move in with Rachel and her husband? 

What do you think of my list? What are some loose ends you wish were tied up? What do you think the future holds for the residents of Avonlea?

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