Harry Richardson, Carrie Coon, and Morgan Spector in 'The Gilded Age' season 2

The Return of This ‘Gilded Age’ Character Ratchets Up the Drama

She's back!

The Gilded Age is all about the problems of rich people, set against an opulent backdrop. In season 2’s second episode, a problematic character from season 1 returns to stir up even more drama.

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All through The Gilded Age, we see the dramatic troubles of the upper rungs of society during the late 1800s in New York. With the Opera Wars brewing, their troubles aren’t exactly ones that us average folks can relate to. I will never know the struggles of keeping my lady’s maid in line, but it is sure fun to watch other people deal with it.

In episode 2, “Some Sort of Trick,” everyone went to Newport for some fun out of the city. Between tennis matches and redecorating mansions, they are dealing with a lot. The Russells, everyone’s favorite new money family, hope to get some old money funding for the Metropolitan Opera House. Ward McAllister (Nathan Lane) scopes out an old money man with a new, much younger wife for Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) to hopefully entice to the new money side of the Opera Wars. When McAllister brings Mr. Winterton (Dakin Matthews) over to meet Bertha, the Russells are stunned by who is on his arm. It’s none other than Bertha’s fired maid, Miss Turner (Kelley Curran).

Turner is back!

Back in season 1, Turner caused a lot of drama in the Russell home. As Bertha’s lady’s maid, Turner was employed to help Bertha navigate the daily life of a wealthy woman running a household. However, Turner wasn’t content with staying a lady’s maid forever. Being the enterprising sort, she sought ways to raise her position in society. Turner harshly evaluated everything in the house, including how the household is run. Oscar van Rhijn (Blake Ritson) persuades Turner to be his spy in the house and help him to marry the Russells’ daughter, Gladys (Taissa Farmiga).

Turner’s biggest mistake was crossing Bertha by trying to seduce the Russell men. Turner went to Bertha’s husband George (Morgan Spector) and presented her naked body. Because he’s a good guy, George refused her and sent her on her way. She may have been spurned by one Russell, but that didn’t mean she was done. Later, Turner flirted with the younger Russell male, Larry (Harry Richardson). Bertha dismissed Turner and we don’t see her for the rest of the season. Yet there was no way someone like Turner would just quietly fade into the mist.

Turner, a smiling woman, arm and arm with an older man in 'The Gilded Age.'

The way the episode framed the reveal was absolute perfection. We saw Bertha’s face first, showing her look of shock and revulsion. Then the camera pans to the couple and Turner is absolutely beaming like the cat that got the cream. In her absence, Turner has really improved her place in the world. She went from the servant in a great house to the head lady of one. She made a point by also marrying into old money, gaining access to points in society that Bertha is clamoring for.

We don’t know how Turner managed this, but I’m sure it will be an interesting story. Does her husband know what he signed up for when he married her? The return of Turner means more drama is coming for Bertha.

(featured image: HBO)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.