Meanwhile, upstairs in his aunts’ house, Oscar is plotting to invite Gladys Russell to lunch. Agnes isn’t too happy because he’s clearly trying to contaminate the nuances of the building by playing jubilantly. He’s not the only one interested in matchmaking. Marian’s lawyer friend is going to town for a job interview and Ada believes it would be a good thing if they became friends. On the other hand, Agnes disagrees because Marian has no money and needs to get married to be safe. It’s also unclear if he’s actually more interested in being friends.
Peggy is in a tight link between the two worlds and has to face prejudice from both sides. On the one hand, she was pleased to hear that Mr. Brook was visiting because she had a confidential legal matter to discuss with him that occurred in Pennsylvania. Marian agrees to tell him about it but in an unusual tone for her tells Mr. Brook Peggy is “skin color.” Thankfully, Mr. Brook said he agreed to meet with Peggy to find out if he could represent her case. Some may believe this line is offensive, but it could also be argued that Marian knows not all white people approve of her acquaintance with Peggy.
On the other hand, Peggy becomes embroiled in Mrs. Bowers’ gambling play as witnesses a second attempt by the enforcers to get paid. It was an interesting choice to set up Peggy as the original mid-roller and non-Marian, given how openly racist some of the staff members were in the final episode and so on. Some still openly resent that being a secretary puts her above all else. For Peggy, this is a good move but will she be rewarded later? Both of these examples demonstrate that Gilded Age script has been viewed by experts who were well aware of the racial dynamics of the times.
Marian agrees to meet Mr. Brook at the Bethesda Fountain with Peggy, under the pretext of going for a walk to shelter the aunts. Brook and Peggy whisper about this unknown legal controversy, and he agrees to join the mystery case and ask Marian if they can spend time together before he has to go home. Gladys also tries to hide from her parents so she can quickly chat with Marian at the fountain. She was curious as to why Oscar was avoiding a dinner invitation from Larry, who became an acquaintance after Newport. This happened because Oscar’s condition to help clear Mrs. Bauer’s gambling debts was to invite Gladys to the house. It remains to be seen what his intentions are other than to annoy Agnes. Aunt Ada finished hearing about the debt and offered to pay it directly.
Younger characters will likely be on a collision course with their families, separate from the status war. Ada is being seen as the “nice” face of the old money crowd, and there may come a time in future episodes when she will break with Agnes when it comes to Marian, Peggy, or the staff downstairs.
At dinner with Alderman Morris and Mrs. Morris, George got the chance to convince Alderman to pass a bill to build a new railway station. Those familiar with New York history may recognize this as a loose version of history behind the building of the original Penn Station. He advises politicians to buy stocks on margin and then sell them after the announcement. There are laws against this today, but the real Georges of history caused federal and state antitrust and anti-corruption laws to be established.
https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-gilded-age-episode-2-review-money-isnt-everything/ The Gilded Age episode 2: Money isn’t everything