A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel are currently airing the BBC’s 2016 adaptation of War and Peace. There’s some good … but there’s also some bad and some very, very ugly. We’ll be recapping each of the four parts (six episodes if you’re in the UK), focusing on the costumes, praising what needs to be praised and snarking where it’s required.
We’ve arrived at the finale, part 4 US-style, and the second half of episode 5 plus all of episode 6 UK-style! Sadly nothing will ever be as good as War & Peace Barbie, but there’s a few gems to enjoy. Sadly, we have to wade through a lot of the “war” stuff to get to it (sigh).
Nappy says “IT’S WAR-TIME BROS!”
Pierre wakes up to find out the battle has started! He gets dressed and runs outside, first thinking he’ll just be watching, but jumping in to help the cannoniers as he realizes the true chaos of battle.
Chicken hats and jaunty sailor caps abound:
The French are jealous of the Russian’s chicken hats. A PUPPY GOES RUNNING THROUGH THE BATTLE. I AM DISTRAUGHT.
Andrei is clearly in “fuck all this, I’m ready to die” mode:
And he’s seriously wounded. In the medical tent, he gets laid next to Douchebag, who is (satisfyingly) screaming while having his leg amputated. gets popcorn, runs this scene back a few times They have a moment. Clearly Andrei has made peace with the world.
Nappy ain’t happy. The Russians have taken huge losses, but so has he.
Back in Moscow, there’s a lot of this going on as everyone GTFOs of town… because the Russians have decided not to stop the French from taking the city.
Petya is out and about, and goes running home with the news that the French are here.
Inside, the family is frantically packing to leave town.
Natasha is worried about all the wounded soldiers she sees outside, so she goes out to invite them to shelter at their house.
Back inside, Natasha fights with Mom about leaving more of their stuff behind to make room for wounded soldiers, and then has a moment where she and Sonja confirm that they still love each other (post-Douchebag debacle).
And the Rostovs head out of town:
On their way, Natasha spots a not-doing-too-well Pierre.
Pierre heads home, where a French officer has taken over his house. At first he’s pissed, but the officer is very “let’s be civilized” (in an accent that is HOT) and the two end up drinking wine together late into the night.
Later/the next day, Pierre is heading through the streets when he finds a frantic mother whose daughter is stuck inside a burning building. I’m unclear whether it’s the Russians or the French who have set fire to things (much of Moscow is on fire), but the French aren’t letting anyone go into the building to save the child. Pierre does anyway, rescuing the girl, but then is arrested by the French.
Sonja spots Andrei among the wounded traveling with the Rostovs. She tells Natasha, who goes to nurse him in the middle of the night in her nightie. He is very forgiving and sweet and at one with the universe.
Nikolai goes to see Marya before heading out of whatever small town they’re all in.
At the Rostov’s temporary home, Petya has joined the army, and Mom thinks the family is screwed unless Nikolai can marry for money. She lays into Sonja, who is all, “Got it.”
Dad is increasingly out of it.
Pierre is still a prisoner of the French. He’s marched to where they’re executing Russians, but luckily doesn’t get shot himself.
Natasha heads up the Nurse Andrei brigade. The two have a lot of heart-to-hearts, where they forgive each other and apologize to each other and love each other.
Sonja writes Nikolai a letter releasing him from their engagement.
Nikolai gets the letter and is only 3 words into it when he’s says, “THANK GOD.” Whatever, Nik. Sonja has a sad.
The Russian army wants to push its success in the big battle, but General Kutuzhof won’t let them. He wants to let Napoleon & Co. starve it out.
Nappy ain’t happy. The Russians won’t come fight, and supplies are running low. I don’t know why he’s cranky when he’s in this gorgeous room.
In prison, Pierre meets a poor man who has life figured out. He’s calm, he’s kind, he’s accepting, he’s sharing. And he has a REALLY CUTE DOG.
BitchWife is Not Good. Her pregnancy is starting to show, and she doesn’t know Pierre is in prison, so keeps writing asking him to help her annul their marriage. A “doctor” visits her and gives her an abortifacient.
Marya gets the news about Andrei, and travels to the Rostovs’ temporary home to visit him.
When she gets there, Mom and Dad are all weird, pushing her to have tea, when all she wants is to see Nikolai. Luckily Natasha gets it and takes her there immediately.
Natasha tells Marya that they were hopeful about Andrei’s recovery, but he’s taken a turn for the worse and things don’t look good.
Andrei receives last rites. As he dies, he has visions of his first wife Lise and Natasha.
Nappy REALLY ain’t happy. He says it’s time to abandon Moscow. Apparently he’s spent the entire time he’s been there in this one room.
As the French march out of Moscow, they take their prisoners — including Pierre and his new friend — with them. The prisoners stand aside to let calvary through. Pierre sees the French guy who he drank with and calls out to him, but Frenchie just ignores him.
The whores go too!
In what might be the greatest pan in cinematic history, BitchWife goes to a party at Bridesmaid-of-the-Week’s in the sheerest dress you’ve ever seen. MAYBE NOT THE BEST LOOK IF YOU’RE TRYING TO HIDE A PREGNANCY?
She approaches Frodo, but he blanks her and walks away with Miss Gold Lamé 1812.
Bridesmaid-in-Waiting comes to her and says, “You have to leave. Why did you come in the first place?” So much for friends!
At home, BitchWife drinks all the abortifacient (she was supposed to take 2 drops a day), killing herself. There’s a lot of blood.
Pierre and his friend continue their forced march with the French. The friend can’t keep up, so the French shoot him, and the DOG GOES TO HIM AND LAYS DOWN AND IS NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN. I SO DEEPLY, TRULY, PASSIONATELY OBJECT.
Natasha grieves Andrei. She has a conversation with his dead spirit, essentially telling him she’ll always love him and remember him.
There’s a looooong, drawn-out, complicated series of scenes in which Denisov and Dolokhov are leading a band of Russian soldiers in anti-French guerilla warfare. Petya shows up, and Denisov takes him on. It’s far too complicated and I refuse to recap it.
The only costume thing of note is that conveniently, the French wear hat-condoms, so when Dolokhov and Petya go undercover into their camp, no one is the wiser.
At the end of this series of zzzzz, Petya is killed (Denisov and the Rostovs are distraught!) and Pierre is rescued.
Kutuzhof continues to wait out Nappy.
Dad Rostov dies. Everyone has a sad.
Pierre is back in Moscow! After sleeping for days, he shaves and cuts his hair and dresses.
Marya goes to visit the Rostovs, who are back in Moscow but living in rented rooms in (comparative) poverty.
Nikolai is mortified by this, so he’s a dick to Marya.
Natasha and Marya are happy to see each other. Marya invites the Rostovs to come live with them.
Nikolai is SO not into it, but Mom insists. Despite apparently not seeing Marya in a while, Mom Rostov is conveniently wearing the chemisette that Marya wore when her father died. HMMMM.
Sonja tells Nikolai that he shouldn’t dump Marya on her behalf. He thanks her and asks her how she got to be so self-sacrificing, and she tells him she’s had a lot of practice.
Nikolai goes to visit Marya because Mom says he has to.
Mlle. Bourienne gets the picture and skedaddles.
Nikolai is all “My family is poor and it’s my fault (YES, YOU’RE RIGHT), so I’m going to be a dick.” Marya is luckily far better than him, so basically says to stop it and she still feels for him. They kiss. It’s actually pretty sweet on her behalf — I’m glad she gets to be happy — although he doesn’t deserve her.
Pierre, heading through town, runs into Prince Kuragin who is not doing well. Kuragin confirms that both his kids (so, Douchebag and BitchWife) are dead.
Pierre goes to visit Marya.
He’s surprised to find Natasha there — apparently the Rostovs did move in.
Natasha has a feeling about things.
Pierre goes back to Marya’s. He tells Marya that he can’t stop thinking about Natasha and he loves her, and does she think she could ever love him? Marya says, “Ask her yourself!” and gets Natasha.
Pierre proposes. Natasha says yes. I’m glad for Pierre, but I think Natasha is going for “still alive” rather than “love of my life.”
Five years later (so 1817ish)… Andrei’s son is a teenager, and Natsha has multiple children.
Sonja is apparently happy to die an old maid (maybe she and Mlle Bourienne are having a secret affair?).
Nikolai and Marya have kids and are happy.
Pierre and Natasha are very happy too. And Mom Rostov is happy!
And we’re out!