The drama “The English” was full of exciting scenes and beautiful performances. If you have watched the series, I am pretty sure you have a lot of questions in mind about the ending. Without concentrating, one can miss a lot. There are a lot of dates and events to remember, making me feel like I am watching a long history chapter on a big screen. Without digressing, I would like to point out how good the acting of each artist is in the drama, especially the leads, Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer.
Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) is out in America after the Civil War to avenge her son’s death. She is British (even in the series) and has come to America all the way from London. She knows her son’s killer is in America. On her way, she meets a member of the Pawnee community, Eli. Eli had also served as a sergeant in the American Army. Upon their first meeting, we see a bond between the two which brews into a love story near the end. However, that is not what the series is all about.
“The English” is a historical drama with depth and emotions to ponder upon. Emily Blunt’s character is a huge believer in astrology. She even talks about being a Scorpio in the beginning. In the very first episode, we hear an amazing soundtrack that blends with their bond. I, for sure, was forced to open Shazam, and the series is filled with such heartwarming tracks. Also, the opening credit scene is so well-animated it feels like the start of a big-budget Disney movie! We see brutality, love, forgiveness, cruelty, and much more in the episodes that follow the pilot.
Emily Blunt is amazing as Cornelia in “The English.” Her character is strong and warm at the same time. She talks about believing in sun signs and explains why it is important to have faith. Her character is full of optimism and shows how one can be strong-willed when the whole world is against them. During the time the show is set, women are not given enough freedom to talk. During the same era, we see strong characters like Cornelia and Mrs. Myers as the odd ones out. They are fearless and the epitome of feminism in the show. We also see a female character called Black-Eyed Mog, who kills anyone that crosses her radar. She is an evil character who is defeated by Cornelia in an epic scene. Cornelia shows extreme growth as a fearless warrior during that scene. She takes the glasses Black-Eyed Mog wore as a token/symbol of victory. There are similar scenes of small victories by Cornelia that make us fall in love with her. Talking about Mrs. Myers is an unexpectedly good side character. I, personally, found her performance tame during her introduction. However, as soon as she starts killing and showing her gory side, man, did I fall in love with the character! The female characters in “The English” are beyond words. Their performance will not disappoint you at any point, especially Emily Blunt, who has shown very powerful acting, making “The English” my favorite piece of media by her.
Speaking of the male protagonist, Chaske Spencer has given a very good but not remarkable performance. Even though a lot of people would disagree with me, I stand by my opinion. At some point, his acting fell short for me, and the long shots featuring Chaske were boring to watch (please don’t cancel me). However, there were also some points where he absolutely blew my mind with poise. He looks so graceful as an Army sergeant that it looks like he is not acting at all. With that being said, I still feel as though his actions could have been better. His character was not explored much, but again, that is just my opinion, and maybe the creators intended the series to be women-centric.
Wishing death upon her son’s killer, Cornelia comes to an unknown land with a lot of money to offer to whoever gives her information. Eli becomes her friend, and both of them build a great team of fighters together. We see the willpower of a mother and the power of a Pawnee hero. Despite his skin color, which was a huge problem for him, Eli remains confident. This is something Cornelia learns from him; even though she is white and safer, we see the fear of death in her eyes in the first few episodes. However, we see shocking character development very quickly in the series. Cornelia becomes fearless and fights off her enemies with bravery. She was not just a fighter but an empath as well. Cornelia was a mother, after all, who had come to America for her son. We see her rescuing kids, women, and even men in “The English.” The show brings important topics to light; for example, it shows how there are good and bad people in every community. How? Well, we see how Cornelia’s past lover, Thomas Trafford, who had promised her marriage, had a business partner, David Melmont. Now, unlike Thomas, David was very greedy. Thomas had the promise to go back, and we see some hope for him as a human being. However, David was the complete opposite. He is a liar, a thief, and a killer. In episode 4, we see how Cornelia and David sit together and discuss some news. Here, David lies to her about Thomas being in jail. From here, we see a game of deceit. Cornelia, who was once just a scared rich girl, develops into a great fighter near the end of the show. She becomes fierce after learning a lot from Eli Whipp. David Melmont was the killer of Cornelia’s son, and we get to know that she is on her way to killing him. After knowing the killer, I got more curious about the ending. Here, the show can get a little slow; however, the ending is worth the long, dull shots.
In my opinion, the major themes were war and greed. The creators have played with dark themes a lot in “The English,” though in balance. No scene is too gory to watch but can be triggering, so a trigger warning if you are sensitive towards blood and gore. However, I feel like, in a historical drama, the gore is important to show. It brings out the rawness of the characters and how they handle dark scenes. In “The English,” we see racial discrimination too. In the case of Eli, we see how he was judged only because his skin was darker; however, even other races were judged. The Englishmen are shown as superior, as was the case back in the days of the Civil War. The main theme that was showcased again and again was greed and shame. In the early days, any illness related to the skin or mind was considered taboo or “shame.” We see the same in the case of Cornelia when she says the symptom of the fourth stage of syphilis is “shame.” However, she finds Eli, who shares a kiss with her, despite knowing her condition. He never makes her feel like an outcast, much like others did once they got to know about her condition. It is because he says he has seen tough life being in the Army as a man of color. He was tied and sent off to places like a toy, and even though Cornelia had money, she too was treated like a toy, making both of them somewhat the same despite their color. It was not an ideal era for women or people of color, and we see this clearly in “The English.”
Another theme that was explored was religion. People were very religious back in those days and performed weird rituals in the name of God. Not like it does not still happen, just less compared to the olden days. Anyway, there are scenes where we see morality being talked about a lot. In Christianity, morality comes before anything. In one of the scenes, we see a character explaining how biology may be the sole creator, but morality must remain one’s constant guide. There are numerous beautifully written dialogues along the theme that is religion, surprisingly subtle. Another great example of the same is in episode 3, when Cornelia brings Rachel back to her family. It is a German family, and after reuniting the family, a German man tells Cornelia that it is too late for her “friend” (Eli) because everything has a price. He then looks up and prays to God. It is a beautiful visual. The series could easily be adapted as a movie, too, given the amazing cinematography it has offered.
There is also a love for family, and family values are given importance in “The English.” We see how Eli and Cornelia get emotional while talking about their children. Eli and Cornelia discuss how they do not have a home to go to because home is up there, in the stars. It is a beautiful analogy, and we also see Eli teaching Cornelia how to identify stars and constellations.
‘The English’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Cornelia Locke And Eli Whipp? Does White Moon Make It Alive?
In episodes 5 and 6, everything starts coming together. The series can be a little confusing to international audiences because the American laws during that time are kind of hard to comprehend, but a simple Google search tells us all the details. Anyway, Cornelia’s mission to take revenge is not just confined to that; she also saves a lot of lives, and we see how Eli helps her in every step she takes. Her character is much more than that of a rich lady. She shows what true feminism is by saving a lot of lives, even though she has to kill a few people. Was it moral? Yes, sometimes, to save the good, we have to defeat the bad. Life is not a fairytale, and sometimes good people have to fight back the hard way. We see Cornelia going out of her comfort zone to save children and pregnant women. Eli never leaves her side, and Cornelia, too, always comes back to him. Her mission, though successful, was met with a lot of hurdles. She had people manipulating her with “dead kid talks,” saying her mind is a whirlwind. However, she keeps her head up. Eli, too, faced similar problems, but Eli’s character is something else. He is so confident, and it is actually impressive to watch him fight; you feel like you are watching a movie sometimes in “The English.” The cinematic shots that show his posture on horseback while he fights are a treat to the eyes for sure. There are multiple scenes in “The English” that are very slow but grab your attention. The makers have done a great job with the cinematography of the show. Also, I read the series was filmed in Spain with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
Coming back to the ending, we get to know why Cornelia has syphilis. Now, how did she contract it? From David Melmont! Yes, the devil himself. We get to know he gave it to Cornelia, and the infection was passed down to her son. Her son, sadly, could only live with it for 14 years. Cornelia was his nurse until the time her son died. We get to see flashback scenes where the whole illness is explained. David had contracted the infection from a prostitute called Stella. In the final episode, we learn how David even assaulted Martha Myers. She was an unmarried pregnant woman who had no option but to marry Billy Myers. When Martha’s son learns this, he rushes to confront David. Eli and Cornelia reach David’s location, and to avenge the death of her son, she finally has her killer in front of him. But she could not shoot him. To the rescue, however, we see Martha Myers shooting David! What a scene it is! Sadly, we see Cornelia being very sick by the time her mission is complete. Now, it is time for her to go back home. She is not ready to leave Eli, who has very bravely taken responsibility for David’s death. The sheriff advises him to go into hiding, leaving Eli and Cornelia no choice but to separate.
13 Years Later, In London, we see Cornelia wearing a black veil on her face, bringing us back to the first episode. We see Cornelia suffering from stage 4 (the shame) of syphilis, and that is why she wears a veil now. At the end of the series, she goes to visit her doctor and meets White Moon, one of the kids she rescued back in America. He quickly recognizes her. White Moon tells her he has seen the world and is very happy working in a circus. She, however, does not like the idea of him working there. He lifts her veil and tells her “The Shame” (the fear of looking ugly) is not for her. We see White Moon keeping Eli’s legacy by playing First Sergeant Eli Whipp in the circus, and we see the end credits roll.
“The English” is a 2022 drama mini-series created by Hugo Blick.