Monday, February 11, 2013

Dishing on Downton, Week 6

As usual a spoiler alert: If you haven't seen this week's episode, don't read this! 

There was some real good emotion last night, wasn't there?  I mean the whole episode with Thomas, revealing him as a vulnerable person. But I thought it was all sewn up rather nicely with his lordship smoothing things over, and Carson making him under butler. In fact I felt it was a whole night of easy solutions--the writer is tiring of his subject, methinks.

The tiresomely noble Bates comes home, thank God. I couldn't have stood one more week of him in prison looking noble and woebegone. But Rats--now I'll have to discard my FREE BATES T shirt! And is given a cottage, which is really a stupid idea because a valet has to be on hand to dress and undress his master at all hours and so does Anna. Now they'll have to walk across the estate in the dark and rain at midnight after a dinner party! I grew up in England. I know how often it rains..

And Tom is made land agent, and starts to prove his worth, which we all guessed. And it seemed there was a little something wrong with Mary--a mere tweak needed--so that she can get pregnant. And Ethel is conveniently re-situated where she can see her child.

They had to introduce the really naughty Rose to bring some life into what is now, on the whole, a dreary plot. She was fun but oh so predictable. And poor Edith, now falling for a man who has a wife in an asylum. What's the betting the wife will conveniently die before too long so they can marry after all?

But nothing else matters really because there was a bloody good game of cricket and that's what counts!

So do you also feel it's losing it's sparkle, it's emotional appeal?  Of course I can't stop watching, but....


  1. I also wondered about Mr. and Mrs. Bates' cottage being inconveniently located.

    Curious about Mary's supposed operation. I can't imagine what that could be about. I've never heard of anything like that, and I'm pretty up on my ob/gyn.

    The thing that really irked me last night was how the very same men who thought it was unforgiveable that Ethel had *gasp* prostituted herself in order to feed her baby, thought Thomas being gay was ok. Come on! While progressives like Matthew and his mother would probably think like that, I think it highly unlikely that staunch conservatives like Carson and Lord Grantham would hold such "modern" views in that era. There are plenty of people today who still think that gays choose to be so and employers who would be only too happy to get rid of gay employees.

    Thank heavens for Maggie Smith's one-liners.

    And judging from the season finale previews, Mary is preggers. Watch it be a girl!! lol If it is, I might have to throw something at my tv.

    1. Did you ever read Brideshead Revisited? I thought Robert's comment that he never would have made it thru Oxford if these things bothered him, rang true to me! There used to be a casual acceptance of homosexuality.

  2. One other thing I keep forgetting to mention is how thin Mary looks this season. She keeps getting thinner and thinner. I wonder if the producers told her to lose weight. I hope not! She looked fabulous the way she was in season one.

    If anything was stopping her from conceiving, I'd guess it was being too thin. ;)

  3. Well, Lord Grantham DID say he was hit on in prep school, so maybe in a private way homosexuality was more acceptable than we'd think. And women always get judged more harshly--not surprised that poor Ethel is judged more harshly than Thomas, not to mention than her clients. I started rooting for Thomas several episodes ago; glad the writers didn't make him super sympathetic and gay. That would have seemed patronizing. It did feel a little like Lord Grantham's lines about Thomas were the writers lecturing the audience about accepting gay people. On the other hand, it's still a lecture many need to hear, so right on.

    Maggie Smith's one liners, playing off of Mrs. Crowley, are fantastic. I'm still giggling over:

    Mrs. Crowley: Oh, I guess after your children were bathed and clothed and prettied up for you, you had to spend an entire HOUR with them after tea.

    Dowager: Yes... and EVERY DAY!


    I think we got such a tidy little episode because we're being set up for tragic cliffhangers in next week's finale!

  4. You nailed it, Rhys. And I'm a little tired of the Lord being such a nincompoop about getting the estate to break even. Come on - after losing the whole caboodle on that flakey investment? Doesn't make sense.
    Starting to get kinda soapy, but I'm still addicted. Those costumes...

  5. I'm still hooked! I'm glad they tidied up so many plot lines but, like Sharon Short, I fear we are being set up for a tragic cliffhanger next week.

    Wow, the jazz dancing rivaled today's "dirty dancing," doesn't it? I had no idea it was so sexual. No wonder it was so controversial!

    Poor Edith has terrible luck with men, doesn't she? I hope she doesn't get involved with a married man under any circumstances.

    I'm just worried about the rumors I heard about Dan Stevens (Matthew) wants out. I hope not! If they kill off Matthew before Mary gets pregnant, we'd be right back to season 1. Same problem if she does get pregnant but has a girl, miscarries, etc.

    Cathy AJ

  6. I didn't mind the easy fixes; there are so many strands in this ripping yarn and the finale is nigh that it makes sense to start to bring them to a good resting place.Yes, I do think there will be a tragic sort of cliff hanger but we only need one not a dozen.

    I found Robert's attitude about Thomas spot on. I gather from my reading that in the world of all male prep schools a bit of hormone driven homosexual experimentation was not at all uncommon. And Robert has such a purty mouth...who could blame a young man for fixiating on it! But the upstairs folk would have known about such men, even if it wasn't for polite conversation. But Carson and Alfred having not going to prep school and with the rigid morality of the working class would have been sorely aghast, as they were. Imagine, if you will, Carson's face had he been the one to see Jazz-baby Rose dancing in the club!

    I was wondering how Robert, Tom, and Matthew were ever going to manage Downton together. I never understood cricket (even though I adore the 'whites') but apparently men everwhere will bond over sport dispite otherwise insurmountable differences. I have seen rabid tea-party members and left wing activists unite over a bad play in football. Silly, but it rings true for me, and gives me hope for the species.

  7. Heartily agree with it all. Give me another new "Georgie" mystery any day...! I thought I would be so sad if Dan Stevens (Matthew) gets written out, but I can't say as I would blame him!!

  8. This has been a plot driven season, rather than a character driven one. Yes, it's a soap opera, but it has done much better.
    Mary had surgery and no one knew? And she had no noticeable recovery time? Sure, that's believable.
    And Thomas NOT fired without a reference but promoted to assistant butler?! What the hell is that about? What an incredible insult to everyone else.
    And the smarmy footman gets promoted? Have they all lost their minds?
    The solution for Dan Stevens getting out is simple--After Mary's "little tweak" surgery, she gets pregnant and has a healthy boy. Or maybe twin boys so there is a spare heir. Then Matthew can die or whatever.
    Why is this so frustrating AND so addictive?

  9. My thoughts last night were that this "drama" delivers a lot of laughs! The dowager is a delight and seems to solve every problem.
    I thought that promoting Thomas was not really believable, too much of a 360 from fired with no references.
    I think one of the potential plots going forward will be Miss O'Brian getting caught out for all of her nastiness. Now more people know she was behind the James and Thomas drama. I wonder if Bates and Anna will try to figure out what the cryptic message means?

  10. Enjoying all the comments about last night's episode. I just love the show, that era, and the awesome Maggie Smith. Her timing and zingers are impeccable.

    Of possible interest is the blog post I wrote today related to the show. You can see it here:

    For the past several weeks, I have been sharing the DA book recommendations of a fellow librarian. In any event, I am counting the moments until the season finale...

  11. Did anyone else hear Lord Grantham mention a possible good investment realted to Ponzi? Just looked up Ponzi in Wilepedia and the timing seems right.

  12. Di,
    Yes..that was where the term Ponzi scheme came from. Thought that was pretty funny. Odd to promote Thomas..even if they did choose to overlook his transgression. Hello...he was a thief in season one wasn't he? Not very realistic that Bates would go out of his way to help Thomas, but hey who wants realism? Smarmy footman should come out of the closet in season four and declare his love for poor Thomas. Still addicted, but anyone remember Moonlighting? Once the main characters got together it wasn't as much fun. I predict rocky times for Matthew and Mary.

  13. Oh Ro, do you really think smarmy footman is gay? He's pretty enough but was genuinely repulsed when Thomas kissed him.
    And it was all about cricket. They promoted Thomas because he was the best cricket player.

  14. Lord Grantham doesn't learn, does he. Even thinking about investing in a scheme that will double or triple your money in a couple of months. He did have a funny line though about being hit on numerous times at Eton. Bates didn't look too surprised. I guess going to public school or being in the military could expose you to a guy crush. Jimmy thinks well of himself. I wonder who he is interested in... not Thomas, not the kitchen maid.

    1. I suspect Jimmy is the type to go over the main chance. He might have an eye on Edith and her potential money.

  15. It was an interesting, to say the least, episode...seems Lord Grantham is coming around on
    Branson...although he doesn't seem to want to admit it...and Carson is also...I think it was when
    Branson caught the final out and they won the cricket game that put Branson in solid with Carson...and I really am tired of Thomas...from the first season when he purposely got injured in the trenches in order to get sent home until now...his character has always displayed weakness...and Bates' sudden about face with him even has Anna wondering...Daisy's situation with her father-in-law didn't get a mention this week...perhaps it will get sorted out next time...

  16. I agree that there were way too many convenient and improbable plot twists.

    Gynecological surgery--most surgery, in fact--was pretty crude at that point; I find it hard to believe that Mary just zipped off and got a blocked fallopian fixed, which is my best bet, without anyone guessing.

    Thomas, promoted?? Oh, really. It looks as if the only way any character gets out of this series is to die. Wonder how they're going to do in Matthew, since the actor wants out?

    The dowager is the saving grace this season, even if she is an interfering old horror sometimes. She's so clever in her own devious way!

    I like little Rose, but she looks seriously overmatched by the older women, especially the Dowager D. Hmm, Rose could go off on her own a la Georgie!

    Maybe they should've just started this current series a bit earlier and never let it get past the Great War.

    However...I keep watching, and will probably keep on for as long as it keeps on. Part of it's eye candy, I know. If they don't do right by our Edith, though, I'll definitely have to throw things.

  17. I have to admit it's turning into a soap. I'm still hooked on it, though, which is a surprise for me. I don't like soaps and never watch them. Maybe it's the English accent and the era costumes and the whole upstairs/downstairs aspect. But, you are right. It seems the storyline is reaching its limits.