Gentleman Jack season 2 episode 5 recap — what happened in the period drama this week?

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack in a white blouse and dark waistcoat
Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) is caught up in a local election in Gentleman Jack (Image credit: Lookout Point/HBO)

Gentleman Jack saw Halifax abuzz with the fallout from a hotly contested election as the period drama continued this week.

Meanwhile, domestic matters troubled Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) when there were romantic developments for her sister Marian (DI Ray's Gemma Whelan)...

Here’s what happened in episode 5…

*WARNING - spoilers for Gentleman Jack season 2 episode 5 below*

In for the count

Anne Lister is on tenterhooks as voters in Halifax come out in force for an election and she is eager to do anything she can to secure victory for her beloved Tory party against the Whigs and the Radicals.

But Anne is concerned when she hears about rumblings of unrest in the town, where hunger and poverty is rife. While the Whigs are leading, the Tory candidate also takes one of the contested seats by a narrow margin and, as a result, fires are lit through Halifax, shop fronts are smashed and wealthy locals, including Anne’s rivals the Rawsons, have their homes and property targeted by rioters.

Thankfully for Anne, Shibden is left alone but can she rest easy?

Sister act

Gemma Whelan as Marian Lister in Gentleman Jack in a dark red dress

Marian (Gemma Whelan) is hopeful of tying the knot with Mr Abbott in Gentleman Jack. (Image credit: Lookout Point/HBO)

Marian is feeling giddy as she announces that her former suitor Mr Abbott (John Hollingworth) is coming round to see her and it looks like their romance is back on track. But Anne is put out and tells Marian that he dumped her before and rumors previously went round that he was interested in another woman, Miss Greenwood. Marian is adamant it is all lies but when Mr Abbott arrives, Anne is too busy to talk to him and rudely walks off.

Later, Marian tells Anne she has made up her mind to marry Mr Abbott and that he has good prospects in Halifax. Anne is horrified and tells her it would be a mistake and that she would be marrying beneath her as the Listers are an old established family while Mr Abbott works in the wool trade. She also says that she wouldn’t go to the wedding and that she would sever all ties with Marian if she goes ahead. Marian tries her best to plead her case and makes it clear that she would like to have children but Anne won’t listen…

Estate matters

Meanwhile, as Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) continues to try to make plans to divide up the Walker estate between her and her sister Elizabeth (Katherine Kelly), she is unsettled when land agent Washington (Joe Armstrong) tells her that Elizabeth has written to him saying that tenants who are in rent arrears will have to be evicted. Despite both her and Washington's concerns, Ann agrees for the evictions to go ahead. 

But Ann is further upset when Washington later brings a newspaper to Shibden Hall featuring a marriage announcement between ‘Tom’ Lister and Ann Walker. Both she and Anne try to laugh it off as a prank, but they are clearly rattled. Who is targeting them?

Gentleman Jack season 2 airs on Sunday evenings at 9 pm on BBC One and iPlayer. In the US the new series started on Monday, April 25 on HBO. The series is eight parts long and new episodes will premiere each week. 

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.