‘Great Expectations’ Episode 5: Recap & Review – Estella Finally Chooses Her Partner

The fourth episode of “Great Expectations” had Estella coming to London to meet her fiancé, Mr. Drummle, and to chaperone the meeting, Mr. Jaggers arranged for Pip to be at the meeting between the two. Knowing how much it would affect Pip, Mr. Jaggers went ahead with the plan anyway. But now, Pip is getting into the good books of Mr. Drummle as per the plan executed by Jaggers. They have got a trader who seems problematic as per the information they gave Pip and Jaggers, which they chose not to share with Drummle, keeping in mind the trader might cost him a fortune. Will Drummle get to know their plan? Will Pip find more information about something he is not supposed to?


Spoilers Ahead

Pip And Jagger’s Talk At The Brothel

Pip gets himself addicted to opium, thanks to Mr. Jaggers introduced him to the vice. He encourages the boy to prefer opium over alcohol, as it lets one drift away. This would help him be in a better place. Pip follows the instructions given by Jaggers and obeys him. Since Jaggers is his guardian, Pip always trusted that no matter how evil Jaggers might come across, he wanted to do the right thing for the boy. Pip has second thoughts about the man, but Jaggers turns out to be more helpful than evil.


As Jaggers and Drummle take opium hit Pip at a brothel, Pip sees a lot of hazy stuff around him, and as an 18-year-old, he witnesses things that he is not supposed to. But Drummle and Jagger make sure to take him and make him experience something he would not have done while he was sober. As Pip goes through the room, he notices a man, who he is sure is not a figment of his imagination, but someone who exists in reality, noticing him. He believes it is Compeyson who has followed him to the place. Pip is hazed out by the opium he’s taken, but he is somewhat sure that this man is eyeing him from across the room. As Pip follows the man, his suspicion is confirmed when Compeyson attacks an unarmed Pip. Pip is not sure why this brute criminal is trying to attack him when Compeyson mentions something about Pip having something in his possession. Pip is not sure what the man is talking about and requests Jaggers to explain the Compeyson situation. Jaggers goes on to let Pip know that Compeyson and Magwitch were friends who would rob people on the highways, and during one such expedition, they came across lots of gold. But Magwitch had other plans with it and thus started their never-ending sparring, which is still going on 18 years later. Pip, though, is confused about what he has to do with it. There is something about the gold that Pip will sooner or later learn from Jagger himself.

Estella Finally Chooses Her Partner

Estella, on the other hand, is going through a crisis. She has made up her mind not to marry Mr. Drummle, for she got a peek at what the man is like and what kind of nature he carries. He was mean to Pip, and she also realized the man was obsessed with his riches and didn’t much care about understanding Estella, who would be his wife. Estella, to punish her mother, refuses to give her a date for the wedding, which frustrates Lady Havisham. She has never had trouble making her daughter understand what is right and wrong. This time, with her daughter becoming an adult, she no longer has control over her mind or body. Estella refuses to lay her guard down, and to counter her daughter, Havisham puts across a Herbert Pocket as a suitable second match for her daughter. Estella understands her mother’s game plan and agrees to marry Herbert because she believes he is her age and also has decent worldly knowledge. This is something Havisham did not expect, and now she has no idea how to pull her daughter back from this match made with the boy who was just a decoy. Estella, though, is tired of the life she has been leading in her adopted mother’s home, so much so that she is considering harming herself. Is there any way Estella can be saved from her self-sabotaging ways?


Joe In London

Joe comes to London to meet his brother-in-law Pip, hoping to find him in good condition. He had heard straight from Estella that the boy needed to be taken out of the city if he was to survive. Joe takes this seriously and visits Pip. He shows that he is excited to meet Joe, but Pip is too tense to show a side of him that he has developed quite a liking for. Joe can see the boy spiraling and becoming obsessed with becoming a rich merchant. Joe tries to advise Pip to slow down and move back to his hometown, but Pip makes it clear that he is made for life in London, and he finds it exciting. He is keen on becoming rich, and there is nothing that can stop him from marrying Estella. Joe is cautious and worried about Pip becoming a different man altogether, but he lets him be in the hope the boy will come back to him eventually.


“Great Expectations” Episode 5 began with a lot of potential, and it did get interesting halfway through, but the stretched-out nature of the screenplay keeps the episode slow-paced and not engaging enough to keep the viewer interested till the end. There is so much emphasis given to the dialogue, which is long, tedious, frustrating, and cheesy. The screenplay keeps going around in circles, with the writers including such elaborate, confusing lines that do not make any sense after a point. Instead of being on point with the scene in hand, the makers spent so much time writing uninteresting lines that it got tiresome. If the dialogues were not this long or elaborate, they could have easily been cut the episode shorter by 10 minutes, which would have made “Great Expectations” Episode 5 a lot tighter and crispier.


The ambiance of “Great Expectations” Episode 5 also does not help in creating an engaging narrative. The story was very clear to understand once the episode ended, but it is, again, the screenplay and adding of scenes that are not required and have no purpose in taking the narrative forward that slowed down the episode by many folds. The writer could have stuck to keeping the screenplay easy to understand instead of taking the metaphorical route, where after a point, it was hard to comprehend what point the character was making, and the actors felt a tad bit bored with reciting lines as complicated as the ones in Episode 5 because it seemed more like a prose reading than an actual conversation that happens between two people. With one more episode to go, the miniseries will come to an end. Hopefully, Steven Knight has found a way to salvage “Great Expectations.” Wishful thinking, yes, but hoping the climax to be a memorable one.

Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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The fifth episode began with a lot of potential, and it did get interesting halfway through, but the stretched-out nature of the screenplay keeps the episode slow-paced and not engaging enough to keep the viewer interested till the end.'Great Expectations' Episode 5: Recap & Review - Estella Finally Chooses Her Partner