Week 20 – Enter the Manipulatrices Stage Right…

“Manipulator” in the feminine is “manipulatrix,” so it would follow that the plural is manipulatrices.  The villainesses this week use their femininity in their schemes to the point where calling them mere manipulators does not seem adequate to describe them.   

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ONCE UPON A TIME

Season 2, Episode 15 (The Queen is Dead)

Part one of two: Snow White is tempted onto a path of darkness – twice, in fact.  The first time, she is a child (although the actress has grown taller since last year, when she was playing a chronologically-older character) who desperately wants to save her mother’s life.  The second time, she has lost every connection to her mother and is facing the threat of Cora getting Rumpelstiltskin’s power.  For some reason, Cora has hated Snow White since (possibly before) she was born.  Not content with merely killing her, she wants to wreck Snow White’s soul first.  While Regina is all about fair play and tries to thus only play games that she thinks she can win, Cora will play anything and change the rules to ensure that she wins eventually.

Cora is the ultimate manipulatrix – not just of situations, but of souls.  She does not just break necks to climb to the top, but she will ensure that you break your own neck, or that you and others will think that you broke your own neck.  She even manipulates the dead to do her bidding, either by using their bodies or by disguising herself as someone else.

Hopefully, next week sees her make a mistake that has her break her own neck.

BARBARA HERSHEY

murdoch-mysteries

MURDOCH MYSTERIES

Season 6, Episode 8 (Murdoch in Ladies Wear)

Back when Eaton’s Department Store was an up and coming business and not a distant childhood memory, Det. Murdoch and company are called to the scene of a suspicious death: Mr. Monk, the floor manager of the Ladies Wear department, is lying dead at the bottom of the freight elevator shaft with a gaping wound in his head.  An accidental fall is ruled out.  Soon, the likeliest murder suspect is found equally dead, apparently of suicide, but Det. Murdoch is not easily fooled.

There are plenty of suspects, but one woman in particular seems to be at the centre of the tale.  She herself portrays herself as blameless, casting her spell on every man in the cast but failing to pull the wool over Dr. Ogden’s eyes.  The woman, auspiciously named Eva, even invades Det. Murdoch’s dreams.  Is she a mere victim, a lusty temptress, or a full-out murderess?  Even as the cause of all the mayhem, is she actually guilty of any crime?

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Det. Murdoch’s personal compass is further tested when Dr. Ogden’s husband not only refuses to sign the divorce papers, but rips them to shreds.  Dr. Ogden wants to live openly with Murdoch in defiance and revenge; Murdoch is not willing to sacrifice his morality.  If he were to do so, he would not be the Murdoch that Dr. Ogden loved, but merely looking to get into bed with her.  I admire the writers of the show for being consistent with the character.  Murdoch would not be Murdoch if he agreed to live with Dr. Ogden out of wedlock.  Det. Murdoch is always balancing his faith in religion with his faith in science and with societal morals.  It is rare for a character to be portrayed in this complex manner with religion being a positive influence despite its flaws.  Thankfully, the writers are continuing with this character development rather than simply hammering Murdoch and Ogden together quickly.  If you are going to break up your marriage, it had better be for something worthwhile for the long haul.

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