This scene in the 2009 MASTERPIECE version of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights skillfully sets up not only the plot and characters (the rugged Heathcliff and the innocent Catherine Linton), but a distinct time and place: the Yorkshire moors. Catherine is unaware of the circumstances surrounding her mother’s passionate relationship with Heathcliff and the dangers of the moors themselves. To emphasize this, she is shown in a simple white dress, skipping happily down the lane. Suddenly, as the music changes, Heathcliff looms above her on horseback. Catherine is about to be introduced to a more sinister reality—and to Wuthering Heights itself.
This scene from MASTERPIECE’S 2009 adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights reveals Heathcliff’s nature: romantic and rebellious. Mr. Earnshaw offers to buy Heathcliff—the orphan he adopted—a thoroughbred horse. (He has already given his daughter Cathy a pretty silver locket.) Instead, Heathcliff chooses a beautiful white horse, which he easily tames, much to the delight of father and daughter. Heathcliff then spontaneously and magnanimously offers the horse to Catherine—he already understands that Catherine has her own “wild” nature. The two young people ride off together, reveling in their freedom.
In this scene from the 2009 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff interrogates Cathy about how she has changed since her stay at the Linton’s Thrushcross Manor. As we glimpse Heathcliff’s darker side, we begin to question his motivation—is he driven by love or revenge? Catherine is annoyed with Heathcliff, and yet slightly guilty; she knows that Heathcliff disdains the Lintons. She tries to dismiss him, but he recognizes her shift in affections. When he promises revenge (“I shall make you suffer for this.”), we don’t take it too seriously, but it portends the tragic turn the plot is about to take.