'The Durrells in Corfu' Recap: Season 4 Episode 1

Daniel Hautzinger
Gerry and Louisa Durrell with their new owl Ulysses. Photo: Sid Gentle Films 2019
While Louisa tries to take in human guests to make some money, Gerry keeps bringing new animals like an owl he names Ulysses. Photo: Sid Gentle Films 2019

The Durrells in Corfu airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream. Read our recap of the previous season finale, of the following episode, and find recaps for the rest of the series.

Although they can’t quite take care of themselves, the Durrells have decided to start taking care of other people. Having lost out on hopes of an inheritance, Louisa has decided to open her home in Corfu to paying guests as a new source of income. She immediately loses the possibility of payment from two of her first three guests, when, having renovated the “penthouse” (or attic), she tries to charge two dancers who have been staying there. Instead of paying, they ask Larry to be their boyfriend and move in with him.

That leaves one paying guest: Louisa’s second cousin Basil, the solicitor who lost their aunt’s inheritance in the first place. He’s an unpleasant boarder, requiring massive meals and expecting impeccable care. Louisa has plenty of time to look after him, however, since she and Spyros have been avoiding each other now that their romance has ended with the return of his wife and children.

Gerry, whose voice has changed along with his rapidly increasing height, has found another guest, but it too won’t be paying. It’s a white barn owl that he names Ulysses. It will be the mascot of the zoo he’s planning to open. Margo is also trying to bring in income, having decided to open a beauty and hair salon – despite a lack of experience.

Finally, an actual paying guest arrives, and he’s easy to handle, too. Lazarus Vangelatos is quiet and withdrawn, looking to rent the attic room for a week or so while he writes a book. Excited to enjoy the company of another writer, Larry tries to talk shop with Lazarus – and comes away believing that Lazarus is lying about his occupation.

Indeed he is: Theo walks past a wanted poster at the police station in town with Lazarus’s face on it.

But the Durrells haven’t been to town and seen the sign. Still, Leslie – as a former police officer – decides to investigate Lazarus, given Larry’s suspicions. Turns out that, while Lazarus isn’t a big talker, he’s an excellent listener. Leslie comes away from the encounter convinced Lazarus is a good man.

Leslie has a less enjoyable conversation when Louisa sends him into town to buy a hat rack and he runs into Daphne, the woman who let him believe she was pregnant with her baby and whom he still loves. When he expresses his regret that they broke up, she shies away.

Larry Durrell in the Durrells in Corfu. Photo: Sid Gentle Films 2019Larry thinks the Durrells' mysterious guest is lying about being a writer. Photo: Sid Gentle Films 2019

Margo also has a strained conversation, but with Lazarus. He has kindly allowed her to cut his hair – she’s following instructions in a magazine. But she accidentally cuts off a very noticeable chunk of bangs. That’s not the uncomfortable part, however – Lazarus breaks down and begins crying during the hair cut, saying that he made a mistake and did something bad.

What exactly he did is finally revealed when Theo arrives at the Durrells’ for his own hair cut. He sees Margo’s shoddy work on Lazarus and immediately cancels – but also convinces Lazarus to reveal his past, having recognized him from the wanted poster; he’ll find a friendly audience amongst the Durrells.

 Lazarus is a Communist revolutionary from Athens who became furious with a Fascist enforcer who had imprisoned many of his friends. Lazarus meant to shoot the Fascist in the leg, but he bent over at just the wrong time and Lazarus hit a more sensitive spot. He is now wanted for attempted murder.

Larry and Theo are sympathetic to the foiled revolutionary and his stance against tyranny, but Louisa is furious at him for endangering her family. She demands that Lazarus leave within a day. 

When Lazarus admits that he shot the man out of love, but then was rejected by the revolutionary woman he was trying to impress, Louisa’s own sympathy kicks in and she decides to help him escape Corfu. Unfortunately, the police superintendent has said he would stop by the Durrells’ guesthouse and make sure everything is in order. Louisa’s flirting to help save Sven from jail has piqued the superintendent’s interest.

The Durrells begin planning an escape. While one member of the family is posted as a guard for when the police come, Leslie asks Spyros to bring a boat to a bay near the Durrells’ so that Lazarus can leave the island. A xenophobic old Greek man overhears and tells the superintendent that the Durrells are housing Lazarus. So the superintendent sets off with two men to examine the guesthouse.

Trying to delay him from reaching the top floor where Lazarus is waiting for Larry and Leslie to set a ladder for him to escape down, she sits the superintendent down to tea and turns on her charm – but his men continue to move through the house. Everyone else in the house tries to distract and delay while Lazarus climbs out the window and down to the too-short ladder. Louisa can finally take no more of the superintendent’s confident leering and rejects him outright. As he searches Lazarus’s room, Lazarus, Larry, and Leslie sneak off to the bay.

Louisa follows and waits with Lazarus for Spyros to arrive with the boat, telling him about how much she misses Spyros. He tells her that she has to be honest with Spyros. Finally, the Greek arrives and Lazarus sails off to Malta. Louisa tells Spyros she doesn’t want to pretend that they’re strangers anymore, and he agrees. Good thing, too – Larry has decided to move out of the house to a quiet place farther up the coast where he can write. Louisa is losing the company of one of her beloved children, so she’ll need the companionship of Spyros again.  

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