'Belgravia' Episode 5: The truth is out — Charles Pope is the legitimate successor to the Earl of Brockenhurst
Spoilers for 'Belgravia' Season 1 Episode 5
The discovery hits John Bellasis (Adam James) like a truck. Now that Charles Pope (Jack Bardoe) is the legitimate heir to the Brockenhursts and the rightful successor to the Earl, all that John was waiting for with bated breath is not coming his way.
At the beginning of the episode, John was still scrambling to know more about Charles, the young man who has suddenly taken most of the royal society hostage by his charm.
What was it about him that had people lining up to invest in his business, that had Lady Brockenhurst aka Caroline (Harriet Walter) lie to her husband and make not one but multiple visits to him? What was it about that fellow that had even enraptured his own fiancee?
John, with the Trenchards staff working for him to provide him inside information — and of course his affair with their daughter-in-law Susan (Alice Eve) for more reasons than just information on Charles — keeps pushing them to dig deeper.
For tips and pennies, Turton (Paul Ritter) goes through James Trenchard's (Philip Glenister) mail, finds a letter and keeps it to forward it to John. Dated 20 years ago, the letter informs James that Charles is doing great in his bible studies. It doesn't tell any more leaving John wanting more.
The staff continues to breach the trust of the Trenchards. "I'm a poor man who must make the most of any chance he gets," Turton had told John. At one point, Ellis (Saskia Reeves) is openly questioned by Anne Trenchard (Tamsin Greig) but lies to her face.
Amid all this, Oliver (Richard Goulding) sets on a mission of his own — find out the legitimacy of Charles' business. Some digging reveals that Charles is indeed a dirty businessman functioning on threats, manipulation and bribes.
When he returns home — oblivious yet triumphant that he has dirt on his own nephew and reports it to his father James, he is shocked to know that Charles is still getting the benefit of the doubt.
Hurt, he leaves his father in the middle of their lunch. When James confronts Charles, he is simply told that he can withdraw his money as an investor. But Charles doesn't refute the allegations even once - prompting James to launch his own investigation.
As John's efforts continue, we find out that Lady Maria Grey (Ella Purnell) and Charles' feelings for each other are apparent - not just to them but to the grandmothers too, who are now rooting for the two to unite. Maria is encouraged to - against the wishes of her own mother - make secret visits to Charles.
The cat is finally out of the bag when Sophia's (Emily Reid) old maid arrives with a handful of letters that discuss the wedding she had with Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), Caroline's son.
While she calls the wedding a sham (the child is still theirs) further digging into the person who ministered the marriage proves that it was indeed official. Which makes Charles the rightful heir to the Earl of Brockenhurst.
So now it is not just Bellasis who knows the truth — Turton knows it because he made copies of the letter, Mrs Trenchard has the letters from Sophia, Caroline tells Lady Maria the truth.
She and Charles, eager and desperate to escape the clutches of the society and simply flee (well Maria more than Charles who brings her to Caroline's to feed sense into her), can no longer stay away from each other. Add to that the fact that Lady Templemore is rushing Maria's marriage to John.
How much of the royal society will know by next week? It remains hard to say. With next week being the season finale, we expect Charles identity to be made public — under what circumstances that could happen, we do not know.
'Belgravia' stays true to its pace and its purpose of delivering a story about a young chap and his legitimacy, if all that could be deemed the rationale. But in doing so, we barely get a minute or two with the characters' emotional quotient.
There is so much happening in each episode, we wish they had put in a minute or 10 with each character's arc. So far, all of them have the same purpose as they did at the beginning of the series. Except of course the mothers and grandmothers Mrs Trenchard and Caroline.
Episode 6 of 'Belgravia' will air on Sunday, May 17 at 9/8c on Epix.