At the beginning of the second episode, Margaret (Samantha Morton) complains to William (Danny Sapani) about Lucy being forced to lose her virginity too soon. She makes it clear she intends to seek revenge on Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville). Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) continues speaking with Daniel Marney (Rory Fleck Byrne). They speak about Daniel’s time in the Navy. Haxby watches as Charlotte arrives with her new friend. Sir George Howard (Hugh Skinner) apologizes to Charlotte and insists he spent his entire time with Lucy thinking about her. Eventually, he offers diamonds and pearls for her love. Margaret and Nancy (Kate Fleetwood) begin conjuring up ways to get back at Lydia. Emily Lacey (Holli Dempsey) gets a rude awakening from Marie-Louise (Poppy Corby-Tuech). Emily learns very quickly that Lydia has an easy way to run up her girl’s debts, so they cannot escape.
Lydia receives a visit from Justice Cunliffe (Richard McCabe). Cunliffe requests an untouched girl. At first, Lydia is hesitant, but she eventually agrees to help. Seconds later, Nancy wakes up the girls and orders them to go hunt for Lydia’s old prostitute, Mary Cooper (Amy Dawson). While they’re away, Margaret learns about Lucy’s night. Lucy also learns that her work did not secure enough money to afford a new house for the girls. Margaret reveals another arrangement has already been set up for Lucy. Fanny (Bronwyn James) arrives and gives Lucy a present. They also tell the girl that she will never forget her first time. Lucy goes for a stroll. She visits the nearby stables and watches a young boy work. Howard learns about the Irishman, who escorted Charlotte home. Once again, he becomes jealous and enraged.
Florence Scanwell (Dorothy Atikinson) and her daughter preach to the locals. During this time, Margaret learns that her friend, Nathaniel Lennox (Con O’Neill), is in town for a visit. William expresses dislike for the man, since he owns slaves in America. Margaret quickly comes up with a plan to use Nat to get the money she needs. Meanwhile, Violet (Rosalind Eleazar) and her friend find Mary Cooper. The woman is ill and a complete mess. Lydia manages to find a local woman, who has been untouched. He lies to the girl to get her to join her house. Margaret visits Nat Lennox. Nat admits he has visits for pleasure. He also reveals he wants his son, Benjamin (Timothy Innes), to see Margaret’s girls. Later Lydia confirms to the Justice that he has gotten a pure girl. Howard gives Charlotte a ring and she pledges her loyalty to him.
Howard reveals he is going out to town, since his aunt has passed away. He leaves Haxby in charge of watching Charlotte’s every move. Charles (Douggie McMeekin) enlists Emily’s help obtaining secrets from two local men. Mary Cooper is transported back to Margaret’s brothel. They quickly learn that she is suffering from French pox. Emily continues working her magic. Charles tells his mother that Grayling is borrowing from Lord Fallon (Ben Lambert). Sam Holland (Ziggy Heath) arrives at the brothel to see Emily. He is invited to see Mary, before being coerced into helping Margaret get back at Lydia. Sam and Margaret write about Lydia’s treatment of her women. They agree to tell everyone that Mary caught French pox under Lydia’s roof. Lucy asks another harlots about her first memory. The girl tells her that she was molested when young. Meanwhile, William tells Margaret that she is insane for housing Mary.
Margaret refuses to let it go. Sam’s writing is released to the locals. Mary overhears the women and insists they will not use her for free. She demands more alcohol and money. Lucy returns to the stable and offers the boy her virginity for what little money he has. Lydia visits her pure girl, who is now tied to the bed. She orders a servant to take the woman away and get her dressed. Charles catches Emily making fun of him. She uses her body to shut him up. Lydia interrupts and learns that the Prussian Embassy sent a card confirming nobody from their group is coming. Charlotte and Haxby visit the brothel. They arrive just as Lucy returns. Margaret tells her girls to do their best, since they need to impress Nat. Charlotte is ordered to keep Mary Cooper quiet. Nat and his son arrive seconds later. Florence speaks with Lydia.
Lydia reminds Florence of their arrangement. She pressure her to step up her attacks against Margaret. Meanwhile, Benjamin Lennox ridicules the girls except for Lucy. Betsey Fletcher (Alexa Davies) is offered up, but he refuses. Benjamin rushes off leaving his dad to have his pick. Nat admits he wants Margaret. Margaret speaks with William and seeks his permission. Charles visits the pub. He learns about the French pox story. Margaret gets in bed with Nat. She prepares to ask him for money just as Mary Cooper goes insane. Nat leaves without agreeing to anything. Lydia visits Justice Cunliffe and tries to get him to help her clear her good name. Haxby prays for Mary Cooper before she passes away. Violet visits Charles and gives him the news. Emily asks Charles the history with Margaret and Lydia. She finds out that he doesn’t know.
Meanwhile, Mary’s body is cleaned for the funeral. Margaret and her girls march the streets calling Mary’s name. They run into Florence and Amelia (Jordon Stevens). The harlots are cursed as sinners, but they do not care in the least. The funeral begins and the women start to celebrate and sing. Marney flirts with Charlotte at the funeral. Haxby watches from a distance. Lydia’s house is completely silent. Nat arrives at the funeral and agrees to get Margaret the money she needs. Later, Lydia tells her son that she look Margaret in as a child and then Margaret tries to get her arrested for kidnapping. Lydia complains that she was nearly executed, due to Margaret. At the end of the episode, Margaret and her girls taunt Lydia using Mary Cooper’s body.
I suppose this means war now? The second episode of Harlots was definitely a good time. The series is slowly starting to ramp up the drama. We delved a little deeper into the history surrounding Margaret and Lydia, but it seems like both women have their own unique take on the story. It is likely the truth falls somewhere in between both tales. Also, Lucy took her future into her own hands and sold her virginity. With help from Nathaniel Lennox, Margaret now has enough money to move into a better home.
And of course, Charlotte is beginning to develop a stronger relationship with Daniel. How will Howard handle it? The episode was fun and humorous. It deserves a 7.5 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Harlots now!