Analysis of Story Elements for HBO’s ‘Gentleman Jack’: Episode 8

As a love story, this series works very well within the parameters of Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid Processes. Here, we’ll discuss the 5 commandments of the last episode and then answer the question “Does the story work?”

5 Commandments of HBO’s ‘Gentleman Jack’: Episode 8

These are the 5 Commandments of Storytelling as outlined by Shawn Coyne in his book The Story Grid: What good Editors Know.  These commandments can be found in all stories that really work.

Inciting Incident

Lister does not receive any mail from Walker and is obviously disappointed.

Progressive Complication/ Turning Point

Walker finds out that the man who sexually assaulted her, who she is contemplating marrying, is poor and unhonorable.

Crisis

Walker must decide whether to marry the man, which she believes everyone wants her to do, or return to be with Lister.

Climax

Walker leaves her family and insists on seeing the doctor Lister recommended in order to get better from her mental problems and eventually pursues Lister.

Resolution

The two women are married in secret.

Values

-/+

Lovers start separated and end the episode/ series wedded

Notes

Obligatory Scenes:

Proof of love: Lister writes Walker a very emotional letter with feeling and advice. Walker leaves her family against their wishes (at least her male relatives) and insists on being treated by the doctor that Lister suggested originally so she can get better and be with Lister.

And, the two lovers are ultimately reunited in the end.

The Beginning Hook, Middle Build, and Ending Payoff

Beginning Hook – After suffering a heartbreak when her lover weds a man, Lister returns to her home to find her inheritance, Shipton Hall, struggling financially and seeks to seduce Walker initially for her money to help her in her business dealings, but ultimately finds herself falling in love for Walker.

Middle Build – After an initial steamy love affair between the two women, Walker begins to see and hear things because she is concerned that their relationship will cause them harm and Walker is finally forced to move away to Scotland with her family in order to rest and heal from he mental trauma.

Ending Payoff – After Walker attempts to commit suicide, she must decide whether to accept a proposal from a man who sexually assaulted her, but she decides to leave when she realizes that normally married people (men and women) aren’t always happy, so she returns to her home and confesses her love to Lister and they get secretly married.

The End? Does the story work?

In the end, this first season is very satisfying, it meets all the required obligatory scenes and conventions in unique ways (especially since it is one of the only popular shows that presents a true life lesbian affair) and reaches it’s inevitable and surprising conclusion in style and, if I do say so myself, with some excellent acting. The series was renewed for a second season.

Starting next week, I’ll start a new series, the Action Series on Amazon Prime – Jack Ryan. We’ll start with an introduction and then move to the individual series.

The Story Grid

For more information about the Story Grid, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

Read these articles for more information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.

Story Grid Editing

If you are interested in having your manuscript reviewed by me, see my Editing Services.

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