Downton Abbey S2E4: Violet, Daisy, and Sweet William

Posted on January 30, 2012

The war came to Downton.

Oh, sure; the war came to Downton back when Lord Grantham first announced the beginning of it at their garden party. The war came to Downton when the Crawley daughters all felt the call of responsibility and left behind (mostly) the trappings of the idle rich. The war came to Downton when class roles were upended and a middle class doctor’s wife and former disgraced footman found themselves wielding power in a large estate. But really, the war finally came to Downton, when two of its favored sons (upstairs and down) came home on stretchers, broken and bleeding. And as is so often the case with war, when the men come home in pieces, women who may not even have known they had the strength suddenly find themselves doing things they never thought possible, from cutting off blood-soaked clothes to marrying someone just to give them a more humane sendoff.

Mary’s role as Strong Woman in the Face of War was an obvious and fairly expected one. She’s been a brat and a bitch throughout most of the story, and her not-so-hidden love for Matthew is one of the few things that humanizes her, so a chance to fuss over him and be strong for him is also a chance to rehabilitate her character just a little bit. It’s to the credit of the writing that they managed to walk a tightrope here, allowing Mary to look strong (and deeply sad) while not making it look too much like she was horning in on Lavinia’s territory. Lavinia, for her part, is handling things equally as well as Mary (although, somewhat pointedly, you never see Lavinia tending to Matthew’s needs; just talking to him). And now Lavinia has been sent away by Matthew, in a noble attempt to spare her from a sexless, childless life with him. That’s one way to get her out of the story. We wonder how far Mary’s attraction will extend now that her paramour has been pretty much neutered in the war.

But maybe we shouldn’t be jumping the gun here, because Mary, whether she wants to or not, is proceeding with the engagement to the slimy Sir Richard. This is SO not a good idea, for so many obvious reasons. We admit to a little amazement with the plotting: somehow Bates’ issues with his ex-wife are forcing Lady Mary to marry someone she doesn’t want to. It’s implausible as hell, but it works. Once again, the story winds up pushing characters in odd directions, away from the things they truly want. One minute, she’s holding Matthew’s hand while he throws up and the next she’s begging Sir Richard for help and weakly submitting herself to the inevitability of marriage to him. But we all know the truth, don’t we? After all, Mary’ll never have a tea-cup-shattering psychic moment whenever Sir Richard’s in danger, will she?

And what of Daisy, who swears she doesn’t love William, but has an identical psychic moment when she senses he’s in trouble? And yes, the psychic moments take the prize for the lamest thing about the episode, but they did accomplish one thing: they effectively answered the question of whether or not these two ladies really love the men in their lives the way we think they do. There was never much of a question with Mary, but Daisy’s been pretty adamant about her mere fondness for William. We wanted to slap her through most of this episode but truthfully, Mrs. Patmore, and to a lesser extent, Mrs. Hughes, were making us a little uncomfortable with their emotional blackmail. “He’s DYING!!!! You won’t marry a dying man?” Sure, Daisy seemed a little cold about it, but think about her background. How good can Daisy possibly be at adult relationships? How well-developed is her empathy when she’s been scrubbing pots all day since she was a child? This is all too much for her. We couldn’t blame her for her reluctance, but we were happy to see her go through with it. There wasn’t a dry eye in our living room during that wedding scene, we’ll tell you that.

And while both Mary and Daisy got character-defining moments this episode, it was the Dowager Countess who truly had her best moment ever here. Sure, it continues the heavily-hammered theme of benevolent aristocracy. “It’s not right.” says Daisy, to the news that William won’t be allowed to come to the village hospital because he’s not an officer. “No it bloody well isn’t, says Thomas, to the surprise of everyone. “I’m a working class lad and so is he. And I get fed up seeing how our lot always gets shafted.” The show rarely is so overt about the class inequities in this world, but don’t be fooled. When a lower class person on Downton Abbey starts making noise about class issues, that’s either a way of making the lower class person look uppity and unhinged (Branson) or it’s an opportunity to make the aristocracy look even more benevolent. In this case, the writing manages to position the aristocracy as the answer to class inequalities. After all, it wasn’t Dr. Clarkson who brought William back to Downton. No, in cases like this, it’s the middle class who are the problem, according to Violet. “You give them a little bit of power and it goes to their heads like strong drink!” As an aside: it must be pointed out how ABSOLUTELY INSANE it is that Dr. Clarkson went straight to Lord Grantham to fill him in on Matthew’s sexual prospects, before talking about it to Matthew himself. That’s one doctor who knows exactly on which side his bread is buttered.

No, power is to be wielded by those who were born to wield it, according to Downton Abbey. And so Violet wields her considerable power in the village, allowing her a defining moment of glory when she openly threatened the vicar, with the vinegar-dripping lines, ”Your living is in Lord Grantham’s gift. Your house is on Lord Grantham’s land. And the very flowers in your church are from Lord Grantham’s garden. I hope it is not vulgar of me to suggest that you find some way to over come your scruples.”  A cheer-worthy bit of bitchery, but the end result once again is that the aristocracy comes through for the lower classes in ways middle class doctors and vicars can’t (or won’t).  “Sometimes, you must let the blow fall by degrees to give him time to find the strength to face it.” It’s a lovely sentiment, but it’s also a highly condescending one, as she effectively removes any agency from William’s father (who looked and sounded EXACTLY like William), deciding on her own how he will grieve.

Also, because it needs to be acknowledged, the scene with Violet on the telephone was a master class of comedic acting. Watch it again and marvel at the noises that come out of her mouth. Watch it a third time just to see Laura Carmichael (Edith) struggle mightily not to burst out laughing. She almost doesn’t make it.

But at least Violet – and Edith, for that matter – showed some humanity this episode. Lord Grantham could barely be bothered to look up from his newspaper when Carson asked him permission to attend William’s wedding. You’re so fucking bored and your wife isn’t paying any attention to you. Boo hoo. You can’t spent ten minutes attending the wedding of your dying footman IN YOUR OWN HOUSE? Asshole. And we see you looking at that housemaid, mister. What is it with the second housemaid at Downton? First Gwen, then Ethel, and now we’ve got some widow batting her eyes at the Lord of the Manor. You can bet she’ll be out of there before long, if Mrs. Hughes notices anything untoward. Second housemaid at Downton is like being the drummer in Spinal Tap. You don’t last long. Next season, the new second housemaid will walk in to Downton Abbey and promptly burst into flames.

We’re a bit surprised to see Mrs. Hughes helping Ethel so much. It was clear she couldn’t stand her when she was working there, but her plight is so dire it must be stirring the old heartstrings more than the housekeeper is willing to admit. And are there any servants left at Downton who haven’t stolen food? Major Bryant is a major douchebag, but we knew that already. Still, we’re almost envious of people who can exist in a social situation and say things like “I don’t like to be rude, but I really must be left to my own devices. Now, I’ll say goodbye.” So obnoxious that you want to never stop punching him? Of course. But don’t you wish you could get away with a line like that?

As for Bates and Anna… we can’t with these two. That “Let’s pray” scene in the church was nauseating, but the “So everything in our garden is rosy again?” line had us howling. Girl, how can you possibly be so stupid as to believe that? And what the hell is the deal with Vera Bates anyway? Carlisle asked her why she hated the Crawleys so much that she was willing to “bring down” the family with a scandal and she answered with “My husband works for them and we don’t get along.” Uh… okay? That still doesn’t make much sense. Even if the scandal got out, what possible harm could it do to her husband? And besides, it’s still just a rumor. There’s no evidence that Pamuk died in Mary’s bed and all the family would have to say in response to the story (if they even responded to it at all) is that it’s not true. It’s a pretty weak threat, all things considered. We’re tired of Vera and we’re hoping O’Brien follows through on her threat against her. We’d LOVE to see those two bitches going at it hammer and tongs.

Also, it is never not hilarious to see what O’Brien wears to bed.

In the end, Daisy seemed to feel a little love toward William, staying the night with him as he died. Maybe she wasn’t in love with him, but she did a kind thing for him as he lay dying, and that’s certainly love enough. But will love ever find the upper classes or are they doomed to follow through on their worst-laid plans? Will Mary actually marry the horrible Sir Richard? Will Lavinia be a good girl and stay away now that she’s been ordered to? Will Mary and Matthew find love despite his unworkable penis? Will we ever stop worrying about the line of heirs to the Earl of Grantham? Stay tuned.

 

As with all of these Downton Abbey posts, we ask that you refrain from any spoilers in the comments section if you’ve seen this season. That includes vague comments like “If you think things are bad for X and Y now, wait till you see what happens!” Just talk about this episode or any episodes that preceded it, thank you.

[Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE]

    • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

      Dowager Countess kicking ass and taking names this episode. Awesome.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabeau-Mochrie/1580631451 Isabeau Mochrie

        It was just announced that Shirley MacLaine has been cast for season 3.  She will play Martha Levinson, Cora’s mother . . . The verbal sparring between Shirley MacLain and Maggie Smith should be entertaining . . . to say the least!

        • Anonymous

          But every time I watch SM in a movie I am always thinking “Oh, that’s Shirley MacLaine” and not her character….not too sure about this bit of casting……would have preferred Angela Lansbury (and yes I know she is originally from the UK)

          • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

            Based on when women gave birth in those days,  Cora’s mother would likely be in her 60s-70s. Shirley M is 77, as is Dame Maggie Smith. Angela Landsbury is 86 or thereabouts. I think SM is an interesting choice and it will be interesting to see her stand up to the Dowager Countess, or not…

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabeau-Mochrie/1580631451 Isabeau Mochrie

              If 50 is the new 30 . . . then 70 must be the new bitch-slap decade.  Go Maggie!  Go Shirley!

          • Anonymous

            I’d say the same pretty much goes for Maggie Smith, these days.

        • Anonymous

          Levinson?  So Cora is Jewish?

          • Anonymous

            A bit of a coincidental name right in the middle of the Leveson inquiry into press standards! Is JF trying to make a point here ;)

    • Anonymous

      Or will Mary wake up from a dream at the end of the season and find Matthew whole and uninjured, taking a shower?

    • Anonymous

      I have to say I giggled a bit at Lord Grantham and Dr. Clarkson’s conversation about Matthew’s, um, penile function, or lack thereof.  Hilariously awkward. Also, at how many different ways using different euphemisms everyone came up with to talk about it endlessly. Poor Matthew.

      You know, I really liked Sir Richard’s comment about he and Mary going into the marriage as equals.  Then it became obvious that he will use his knowledge and powers for EEEEVIL!  Still, I enjoyed his take down of Vera.

      The Dowager Countess, obviously, is the shit.  I laughed so hard at her with the telephone.  “Is this an instrument of communication or torture!”  That telephone has provided some immense hilarity.  I chuckle just thinking about Carson practicing last season.

      I said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating:  Even with a busted face, Matthew is still hot.

    • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

      Oh man, your second housemaid : Spinal Tap drummer analogy is perfect. “A bizarre gardening accident…”
      And I loved Dowager Countess’ question about the telephone being a tool of communication or a torture device.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe because of the timing of the Lord Gratham-Spinal Tap Drummer scene, it struck me more that he was left wondering about whether she really was on the up and up, rather than some kind of potential hanky-panky. The scene seemed to fall on the heels of Mrs Hughes’ conversation with Ethel, making a big point that her story was believable, etc. And they haven’t played Lord Grantham to have a wandering eye. And when he remarked about how her husband was to be commended for service, she looked a little deer in headlights -leaving him to have a questioning look when she was moved to where she was supposed to be.

        And maybe it’s my poor emotional capacity that couldn’t take one more romantic relationship (or what this would do to Lord and Lady Grantham’s relationship) to invest in on this show.

        • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

          That’s exactly how I read the moment with the maid, as well, that maybe she is making up the widowhood, or that there is some other dark secret. I didn’t see googly eyes, at all. Time will tell, I guess.

          • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

            I agree with both of you.

            • Anonymous

              I said to my friend, “See, if they just had Google they could look this chick up and see if she’s telling the truth.”

            • Anonymous

              They have the village gossip mill–that’s just as good as Google.

            • http://www.facebook.com/dorothy.flannelly.7 Dorothy Flannelly

              too funny!!!!

        • Anonymous

          I think that whole scene with Lord Grantham and Cora and her being too busy to make a dinner engagement is a set up for his feeling unloved and unneeded and – maybe – turning his eyes elsewhere. Housemaids are always convenient when the lord of the manor develops a roving eye.

          • Anonymous

            I LOVED the way they turned around the stereotypically traditional marriage roles there–Lord Grantham as the slightly whiny, social-calendar-obsessed stay-at-home spouse, Lady Grantham as the busy one with outside concerns. “But we GAVE them the date!” “You’ll figure something out.” Very well done, that little scene.

    • Anonymous

      I’m about ready to give up on this show. If it weren’t for Maggie Smith’s performance, I’d have done so already.  You just know that, at some point, Matthew’s going to be miraculously healed. His injury seemed like little more than a plot device to get rid of Lavinia and bring Mary into the picture. 

      • Anonymous

        I’m assuming that the doctor, who’s been shown to be a bit incompetent before, is wrong.  There might be some sort of swelling that’s cutting off the nerve impulses instead of a severed spinal cord.  We haven’t seen Matthew x-rayed, so I don’t know that it would be definitive.  

        Not sure, though, how that it would get Lavinia out of the picture–not if he recovers.  He’ll have to be ailing long enough for her to get engaged to someone else.  Otherwise, she’s being portrayed as someone who will stick around.  

    • Anonymous

      No dry eyes in my house either… What an episode! Wonderful review….. and I didn’t get Lord Grantham looking at the new maid in a funny way…. so I guess I will have to pay more attention to that.  Violet and the phone: priceless! I’ll go watch it again…. 

      • Anonymous

        I read this differently than everyone else. I thought it was because he had a feeling she wasn’t a war widow and was lying…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beth-Fournier-Skelly/100001018866796 Beth Fournier Skelly

          That’s what I think, she’s faking it in stark contrast to Daisy who doesn’t want to cheat the War Dept by going on the widow’s dole…

          • Anonymous

            If the new maid is faking widowhood, she isn’t cheating anybody.  She’s just trying to live & care for her kid in a culture that reviled “bastardy.”  At least she’s got her mother to help with child care.  Too bad Mom doesn’t open a day care center for widows, “widows” & women whose husbands will return from the War too damaged to work….

            Ethel either has no family or was turned away from their in “disgrace.” 

            • Anonymous

              The only hope for someone in Ethel’s situation would be to find an older man who wanted a wife to cook and clean etc. and would accept the child. I found a couple of instances of that when I was doing my own family tree, it seemed to happen a lot more than people ever admitted to. It must’ve been horrendous to find yourself in that position without any community or extended family support.

            • Anonymous

              I think what many women did in that situation was to turn the baby over to the children’s home/orphanage and either find a position of employment or go to the workhouse/poor farm.

    • Anonymous

      Ugh, Mrs. Bates-as-villain is pretty weak IMO. The whole incident happened what, six years ago? And the war’s been going on in the interval?  Will people *really* care that much about a rumor reported by  a nobody? Move on, lady.

    • Anonymous

      My roommate: “Is this the episode where Matthew’s peen stops working?!”

    • Anonymous

      The only thing that bother me about the episode is it coming off last week’s episode where they spent the hour worrying for nothing. Now we had an episode where they were brutally injured for real. It felt odd to me at first.

      Yes The dowager countess using her formidable powers for good

      I tired of Mrs. Bates. get rid of her already or have O’Brien bitch slap her into oblivion

    • Anonymous

      Still in tears this morning over the wedding and the terrible death of William. And still laughing about the Dowager Countess on the phone. And still puking just a teensy little bit over the situation with Bates and Anna. Great episode.

    • Anonymous

      Maggie Smith is a genius. The pace of these episodes always gets me. last week’s episode was slow and thick as mud, this week 100 things happened and my brain is overwhelmed. I wanted Lavinia to go away under different circumstances…it is really obvious that both her and Matthew’s characters care deeply for each other….so we are expected to think he just stops liking her and what? Matthew has been detached from mary this entire season…only guy who is really convincing with his emotions is Branson. With only 4 more episodes left, should be interesting to see how it plays out.

      ps Team Tlo, is Sir Richard the guy from Game of Thrones?!

      • http://twitter.com/EspyRants Sonia Pao

        Yep…it’s Ser Jorah

        • Anonymous

          He’s also in The Iron Lady (film, with Meryl Streep about Margaret Thatcher. He plays Margaret’s father when she is young).

          • Anonymous

            God, I hated that wasted of film.

            • Anonymous

              Is it that bad? I’m quite interested in seeing her performance because it looks like she nails it but I can’t bring myself to go to see a film about Thatch! I’ll wait for the TV to show it I think :)

            • Anonymous

              I didn’t like it at all. No doubt about Streep’s talent but the movie was done very poorly. But that’s just my opinion. 

    • Aida Neary

      Am I the only one who thought she heard a line about Bats and Anna being married?  Something about “I wish e we had gotten a proper church wedding?” Hubby and I thought we heard something like that and since we don’t have a DVR or anything we couldn’t replay it.

      • Anonymous

        It was confusing but they haven’t married.  Because of the divorce that Bates has been so slow to obtain, they’ll probably have to settle for a civil ceremony.  

        • Anonymous

          that’s what I thought, but we need someone with a DVR to replay that scene because both of us thought ” wait did he say they are married?”

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558631967 Ivona Foster

          Bates made a comment to Anna about how he would like to give her a proper church wedding, as in the future when they would reach a point to be able to get married. Him being divorced they would not be able to marry in a church

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

            Can he get a church annulment?

            • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

              Not without a lot of money and he already gave it all to Vera.

            • Anonymous

              Unlike today, where a 20-year plus kids marriage can be annulled (well, at least for the prominent) with some theological mumbo jumbo, I’m thinking it would have been pretty rare back then.  I’m not even sure Violet could have strong-armed the church into that one.

            • http://www.facebook.com/patsy.hatt Patsy Hatt

              We should ask newt gingrich and his 3rd wife how they got their annulment.

            • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

              They didn’t, had a civil marriage, not in the church. Plus, we’re talking Church of England with DA, not Catholic

          • Anonymous

            Just dvr’d it about a dozen times and Bates says, “We should have had a church wedding.” Then Anna says a few moments later, “I know I should feel guilty in my happiness, knowing the way things are going back at home.”

      • Rebecca Wilczek

        YES! I heard this and was so confused. No one has mentioned it since then so I just figured I was hearing things.

        • Anonymous

          well then I’m hearing the same thing.

      • Anonymous

        I heard that too, and wound up concluding that maybe Bates and Anna had, in some way, consummated their relationship without the benefit of a church wedding.  One assumes that, whatever Bates’s war injury was, it has left him, ahem, capable of having a “complete” marriage.

    • Anonymous

      I hope Obrien gives Vera the ‘Bar of Soap’ treatment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabeau-Mochrie/1580631451 Isabeau Mochrie

        I would like to add Sir Richard Carlisle to the O’Brien soap treatment list . . . Perhaps Branson too.

        • Anonymous

          I would like to see Branson drop the soap.

      • Toto Maya

        Hey, maybe O’Brien can solve Ethel’s problem! She could even start her own business.

      • Anonymous

        Wow, when you say it like that it sounds like O’Brien hangs around the prison showers…

    • Anonymous

      Daisy’s very understandable reluctance kept the pathos level under control for that plotline (though I could have done without the bedecked bed; seriously, the man is dying and obviously uncomfortable and you are going to fuss around him draping garlands all over his sickbed?). Nevertheless, I bawled through the scene, garlands and all. William was a good, sweet man. I think little Daisy has grown up some with her final act of kindness.

      I cannot believe at some point that Matthew’s little willy won’t be “fixed”. You just don’t permanently neuter one of the most popular, squee-inducing characters in your series unless you are very, very bold. I don’t think Fellowes is. So I do not believe we have seen the last of the Crawley penis.

      I must agree that Bates and Anna are getting cringe-worthy. They better get it on soon, Vera or no Vera. No one but Ethel and Lord and Lady Grantham seem to be having sex in Downton Abbey (though it looks like Cora may be slacking), and that can’t go on forever.

      It is too bad O’Brien has been turned into a total schizo by the writer; one minute she loves Cora, the next she’s out to murder her unborn heir. OB tries to wreak havoc on the entire household, up and down, by getting Vera back into the picture again, the next minute she’s ready to sink her talons into Vera and rip her to shreds. O’Brien just doesn’t make sense unless she is criminally insane. I think she is just badly written. Ditto for Vera unless we get some kind of explanation. What could Bates have done to her to turn her into the wicked witch of the Abbey?

      And Branson, a word of advice: I know you are a Bolshevik, but dead Romanovs do not make for a good pick-up line when we you are talking to a daughter of the aristocracy. He needs to broaden his interests a bit; a pretty face is not enough. Really, he is such a bore I don’t know why Sybil even bothers.

      What has me very concerned was the preview for next week with the bandaged mystery character. That put me on High Cheese Alert.  He better not be a Titanic survivor or I am going to have very strong words for Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes

      • Anonymous

        Crawley Penis…LOL!

      • Anonymous

        “I cannot believe at some point that Matthew’s little willy won’t be “fixed”. You just don’t permanently neuter one of the most popular, squee-inducing characters in your series unless you are very, very bold. I don’t think Fellowes is. So I do not believe we have seen the last of the Crawley penis.”

        HAHAHA!  No, I can’t imagine that Matthew’s paralysis will be permanent, but seeing all the euphemisms around the Internet has made the entire storyline totally worth it.

        • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

          I agree. The way the doctor delivered the news to Lord G., it seemed obvious to me that they were leaving a lot of room there for ‘doctor error.’ It’s not like the guy had an MRI or anything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

        The deaths of the Romanovs hit the  English aristocracy hard- Empress Alexandra was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. The fact that various participants in the war (even enemies) were related to the Royal Family by blood made the war a much more complicated matter.

        • Anonymous

          The English king wasn’t much help to his cousin; let’s hope he had the decency to be upset after the executions. 
          “Nicholas desperately wanted to go into exile in the UK following his abdication. The British government initially offered him asylum in England, but this was overruled by King George V who, acting on the advice of his secretary Lord Stamfordham, was worried that Nicholas’ presence in the UK might provoke an uprising.”

          From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_II_of_Russia

        • Anonymous

          I do know the history; I was being facetious. On the other hand, Branson’s remark about the Romanov’s deaths amounting to unavoidable collateral damage of glorious revolution, was incredibly inappropriate just for the reasons you mentioned. For all her experimentation, Sybil is still an aristocrat through and through.

          • Anonymous

            I shouldn’t have doubted you!

            • Anonymous

              As a teenager, I remember I was completely hooked by the film Nicholas and Alexandra and then started reading everything I could get my hands on about the Romanovs. Hemophiliac son, the wicked and devious Rasputin, Nicholas and Alexandra’s intense love, pretty princesses (and the “missing” Anastasia)  plus a sad, sad ending — what’s not to like!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Did you hear William say that he had never been in such a big bedroom in his life??? Poor baby.

        I guess he only entered the large bedrooms to drop off luggage but couldn’t hang around there for long to have a look around.

        • http://twitter.com/TigerLaverada TigerLaverada

          Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought I heard him say he’d never sleptin such a large bedroom.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Re “OB tries to wreak havoc on the entire household, up and down, by getting Vera back into the picture again”.

        I thought Thomas wrote a letter to Vera telling her where Mr. Bates was. How did he ever get her address?

        • Anonymous

          O’Brien, the conniver, wrote Vera a letter telling her about Bates’ return to the Abbey. Afterwards, she confides to Thomas that she wishes she hadn’t done that because the family really doesn’t need any more drama given all they are handling. I don’t remember if it was explained how she knew where to find Vera.

      • Anonymous

        The Titanic survivor was my first thought! Although one would hope it would sorted out before 6 years lapsed. cannot think who this would be that would make a difference to the plotline other than Titanic survivor…

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

          I think it’s Pamuk’s friend, the guy who didn’t want to marry Mary once he found out about the entail.

          • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

            The man in the preview was elderly. If you mean the man who brought Pamuk to DA for the hunt, that was Evelyn Napier, who was a young man. Also, he didn’t end things with Mary because of the entail, but because he knew she wasn’t interested in him and he was looking for real attachment. He was mentioned last episode because he was wounded in the war and wanted to recoup at DA, but the Dr. said no.

            • Ledasmom

              I’m assuming it’s another male Crawley – maybe an uncle or cousin of the current Lord Grantham, maybe even an older brother (!) – I cannot remember if anything was said in the first season that would make any of these possibilities impossible, though.

    • Anonymous

      “unworkable penis” lol. just the giggle i needed this monday morning.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with some of the weak scenes and plot lines that you pointed out, but all in all, this is the best piece of television in a long time!!…I’ll take Mathew as-is and sort it out later!…Violet is my new role model!!!…..I also shed a tear when Isobel walked into the room and Mathew whispered “Mother”…..( sob, sniff)..keep up the great reviews guys!

      • http://profiles.google.com/jenlindsey Jen L.

        That’s when I started crying the most….everyone knows how it is when you’re trying SO HARD to keep your shit together, and then you see your mom, and BLEAH. Tears tears tears. One of Matthew’s defining moments, in my opinion.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, the guy who plays Matthew does a nice job with a fairly flat part. In the scene in the trenches, his delivery made it clear that it was a particularly scary day and that both he and William knew that there was a very real possibility that they could be going to their deaths that morning.  Then there was the bitterness and anger at being paralyzed and finally his breakdown at seeing his mom.  It all comes across, but not overdone.

          But, hell, that’s why this soap opera works so well–just some terrific acting–and Maggie Smith–wow.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

      Loved the episode but thought Matthew’s and William’s ‘war wound’ makeup looked more like ‘low-budget zombie flick’ makeup. As with Thomas’ injured ‘hand’, their special-effects/makeup seem a bit lacking. 

      Are the actors who play William and his dad related? Agreed that they looked and sounded exactly alike.

      LOVED Mrs. Bates – Natalie from the Commitments!

      • Anonymous

        I think “Vera” also played Queen Catherine in the Tudors…Or am I mistaken?

        • Anonymous

          Yes, Maria Doyle Kennedy played Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors.  Loved her in that role. She was also in the fifth season of Dexter as Harrison’s Irish nanny, where she did…pretty much nothing.

        • Anonymous

          You are correct.

        • Jennifer Coleman

          Oh Jeez, thanks for unraveling that little knot in my brain!

        • Anonymous

          And isn’t she one of the maids in Albert Nobbs?

          • Anonymous

            I think so…hhhmmmm

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I was also disappointed with the war wound makeup for both characters. Matthew’s was so low-budget that some of his scars looked like the makeup artist resorted to applying numbers and other random symbols to his face. It was very distracting. Despite this I’ve really grown fond of Matthew. Initially, I thought his character was a bit wooden (not happening in the foreseeable future, lol!), but I’m actually really rooting for Mary and Matthew.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, I kept seeing the number “5″ on his right cheek just below his eye. 

    • Tom Shea

      That wedding is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen on television. And I’m a Cubs fan.

    • http://smalldog.wordpress.com/ C.

      I loved Violet weeping at the wedding and brushing it off with, “I have a cold!”  This episode goes to Maggie Smith.

      • http://twitter.com/ms_smartiepants Beth M.

        EVERY episode goes to Maggie Smith! I now use “You’re a lady, not Toad of Toad Hall” almost every time I get in the car.

        • trimellone

           Oh, *there* you are.

          I’ll have to adopt the same. Maybe it’ll help my driving.

          • http://twitter.com/ms_smartiepants Beth M.

             haha, hi Mom! Yeah, if anyone drives like Toad it’s you :)

    • Anonymous

      I must have missed the psychic moments (or blocked them out). Great review.

      I got the feeling that Daisy was uneasy the whole time also because dying is really scary for one so young even in an age and class where it was confronted more often.

    • Anonymous

      Gosh, I love soapy melodrama. OF COURSE Matthew and Mary will, eventually, unite, somehow. (With or without an, erm, ‘sexual healing’).  Will she marry him while carrying Sir Richard’s baby (Sir Richard having conveniently exited, somehow or other) and her/their new Big Secret becomes the fact that Matthew is not the father of his impending heir? 

      Or shall he be healed, leaving the paternity ambiguous.

      Or will he be miraculously healed, they have sex & she has to somehow seduce her (of course!) semi-estranged husband whom she loathes to make it plausible that the baby could be his.

      I’m even considering it a long shot that Isobel comes back from France with knowledge of a Brilliant American Surgeon who [details all mumbledy mumbledy to cover unlikelihood] can get Matthew up and breeding again.

      I would pay money to see Vera & O’Brien face off.

      Oh, and FTW: “Second housemaid at Downton is like being the drummer in Spinal Tap.”

      • Anonymous

        Is it bad that I would enjoy any and all of these scenarios?  God, I love soap.  Needs more amnesia.

        • Anonymous

          “Needs more amnesia.”

          heh heh heh!

          Despite rare exceptions, once the writers start with the amnesia, the arbitrary plot twists start to get annoying. OTOH, head wounds happen.

      • Anonymous

        but does Lavinia just leave after sobbing she can’t leave without Matthew? Would have been SO much easier if they made her a slutty mcslutstine.

        • Anonymous

          I know. I thought, “Well, if he is cool with her taking lovers, we could have some really fun episodes down the line.”

          • Anonymous

            I don’t think Matthew’s quite enough of an aristocrat for that . ..

      • Anonymous

        I had to remind myself that I’m watching something set in 1918. My thought was: “Can’t they just inseminate her with Matthew’s sperm? He’s still producing that but can’t use it, right?” Followed immediately by, “You dumbshit, they wouldn’t be doing insemination back then, would they? Or maybe they would?”

        • Anonymous

          I thought the same thing! They probably didn’t have Turkey Basters back then either…

          • Anonymous

            Even if they did have artificial insemination back then (which of course they didn’t), it wouldn’t be much of a marriage for the bastee.  

            • Anonymous

              Well, see….my brother-in-law is a quadriplegic since the age of 17, and he’s the biological father of his daughters.  They were conceived in vitro (which I know didn’t existed in 1918) but my point is they got his sperm out of him even though he has no sensation down yonder.  Consider that pictures and visualization can stimulate sexual response in the absence of touch, and I’m thinking a vacuum pump and a turkey baster is not impossible even for 1918.

              And as for the bastee, Matthew’s got two hands and a tongue still.  She needn’t go entirely without. 

            • Anonymous

              I thought it was possible to get it up even if the man weren’t really in charge of matters.  So that, yes, some sort of sex was possible even if it was without sensation on the part of the guy.  So that it didn’t have to be in-vitro.

              Now, I’m wondering when all the research on this came about . . . 

              However, I just don’t see them keeping Matthew, er, down for the rest of the series.

    • Anonymous

      “Second housemaid at Downton is like being the drummer in Spinal Tap.”    …or the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor at Hogwarts…

      • Anonymous

        Or the previously-unknown officer who accompanies Captain Kirk and Commander Spock on the away mission

        • Anonymous

          That would be Ensign Redshirt.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for mentioning the class elements in the show; so many of the articles about it claim we all watch because we yearn for The Good Old Days.  I, for one, know that my own people would not have been in the Great House back then–unless they were doing hard manual labor.  I’m watching for the story (which is limping/leaping along this year at an odd pace), the lovely settings & costumes & some of the performances.

      Isobel was demonized & sent packing not just because she was Middle Class–but because her absence let Matthew fall into Mary’s hands.  (Although Michelle Dockery’s performance is one of the high points of the show.)   And the outfit she wore to see Ser Richard was stunning–scarlet for a scarlet lady?

      • Anonymous

        They put Mary in red a lot, though–it’s a great color on the actress.  

        I don’t think Isobel was that demonized–more obnoxious than evil–and now she’s back.  Besides Matthew’s from the middle classes and *he’s* a decent guy and Isobel brought him up.  While I think Julian Fellowes has way too much of a soft spot for the old ways–I don’t think the show’s as anti-middle class as all that.  

        So far, the biggest unredeemed villain is working class–Mrs. Bates.

    • Anonymous

      The romance between Sybil and Branson has become tiresome and unromantic. His urging her to run away with him is more like bullying than impetuous young love and his contempt of her class seems to be turning into personal contempt for her. Lady Sybil, ask yourself, “wait, what’s my motivation?” Also, there is zero chemistry between the two actors.

      It’ll be interesting to see how Mary gets out of marrying Sir Richard. 

      I still think Ethel’s babe is going to get adopted, only now it looks like by Matthew rather than Cora. Why else would they have that story line?I’ll be watching this episode again just to drink in Maggie Smith. Hell hath no fury like that of a Dowager Countess denied!

      • Anonymous

        Illegitimate children & adoptees cannot inherit titles….

        • Anonymous

          Oh darn it! I’ll have to come up with a new theory. Thanks for the info, though.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        I think in the last episode, Branson told Lady S that she was a free spirit. I say, “No way, Jose’ .”  The poor girl still lives at home, has to ask for money, is being watched over most of the time, hasn’t run away to London…

      • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Cassie (C.M.W.)

        Argh, Branson. I liked him better when he wasn’t that keen on the Bolsheviks. “Hey, my side just murdered a kid in order to win! Let’s run away together.” Sybil needs to run, all right, but not in that direction.

      • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

        Yeah, I tend to check my email when Sybil and Branson start talking. Bad sign.

      • Anonymous

        I think part of the problem with Branson/Lady Sybil is that while she is nobly serving as a nurse, his character has done nothing to make him admirable.  He just espouses communism (and botched his stupid dinner service plan) and keeps pressing Sybil to run away.  She never looks enticed to me–you’re right, not much chemistry.  I think her only interest is he’s handsome and she wants to have a man, but she looked more interested in Matthew when he saved her at the vote-counting than she ever has with Branson.

        • Anonymous

          “She never looks enticed to me”

          Every time she was with him in this episode her mouth was open in what appeared to me more a look of disgust than lust.  I was almost telling her out loud to please close her mouth.

      • Anonymous

        I also thought it was incredibly condescending when in the last episode, as Branson was asking Sybil to run away with him, she said “What about my work?” and he basically replied, “What work?  Bringing hot drinks to randy soldiers?”  What a dick.  At that point I was done with him. 

    • Jessica Goldstein

      Here’s my take on the Dowager Countess r.e. the doctor and the vicar: On the one hand, yes, the writing once again provides the aristocracy a chance to be noble and generous, a quality of the show I’ve complained about in the past. On the other hand, regardless of outcome, the writing last night also displays that much of that generosity and nobility derives from a sense of proprietorship. By God, Violet OWNS that vicar and OUTRANKS that doctor and, as William is HER footman, she can and will do whatever she damn well pleases. In this instance, she wields her unfair power for the good and we cheer for her. But the point remains, and this episode makes abundantly clear, she wields more power than she ought to.

      Also? Maggie Smith on the phone is the best thing since Violet had that dust-up with the swivel chair. I was waiting for another scene like that!

      And thanks for the marvelous write-up.

      • Anonymous

        Yep, she has a sense of entitlement.  And we do see it play both ways.  Since she’s Lady Violet, the implication is that she’s of noble birth herself.  

        I think the character who doesn’t get enough scrutiny that way is the earl.  He’s such a goody-two-shoes that his privilege and power gets a pass from the show.  

      • Anonymous

        The phone, the swivel chair, and the glaring electric lights that Lady V. had to use her fan to protect her from were all LOL moments for me.

    • Lattis

      There was a quiet scene in this episode that I loved between Lord Grantham and Mary. He tells her that Cora has written to Lavinia to let her know about Matthew and Mary says “quite right” etc. I love the look on Grantham’s face. Mary has her back to him so she doesn’t see what her dad is thinking. Struck me as very poignant – that moment when he realizes as a parent that Mary is a grown woman and that he’s proud of her.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        We read that scene as him realizing she’s still in love with Matthew and feeling sorry for her.

        • Lattis

          I saw that, as well. But, also the the pride in her behavior. And compassion. 

        • Anonymous

          Funny, I read it both ways: Lord Grantham realized she loved Matthew, but he was proud of her for being mature about it (tending to him but still taking Lavinia’s position and feelings into account).

          • http://twitter.com/TigerLaverada TigerLaverada

            Exactly my take, too. Really nicely acted scene by both actors.

        • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

          Parental pride, definitely. I admit I got a little misty-eyed during that scene.

        • Anonymous

          I think it was both, which is what I liked so much about it. I think he’s suspected before now that her emotional involvement goes beyond regret about the past, but this is the moment when he confirms it. But he’s known for some time, one way or the other, that the Lavinia situation must be difficult for her. To see her handling it so selflessly at the same moment that he realizes just how painful it must be clearly struck him really deeply. For all that he’s always loved Mary, he’s been far from blind to her selfishness. 

          Anyway, I loved it. Sometimes this show can tend toward smacking the audience over the head with a hammer, particularly when it comes to the romantic plotlines. Beautifully subtle and complex moments left to the skill of the actors can be few and far between, but they are lovely when they come along.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558631967 Ivona Foster

      Adored Maggie Smith this episode, I felt like she wasn’t given enough to work with this season. Sir Richard will use what he has on Mary if and when it suits him, and she knows that. But how idiotic is it that the whiff of this rumor would not reach Lord Grantham after at least 2.5 -3 years it’s been in circulation? First off, he seems extremely leisurely with the fact that neither of his daughters are married or engaged when that would have been a major thing on his mind/ to secure their future. The guy has buddies in London society, the fact that Mary’s suitor who brought Pamuk heard of the rumor AND it’s source means that it’s fairly spread and not one of Lord G’s buddies/ friends/ whatever you would call them did not pen a note to the Lord. Come on, that I find hard to believe.  That said, O’Brien’s way of dealing with Mrs. Bates would have been so much juicer and more effective than Mary’s.

      So over the whole Bates situation, if it is as easy to get a divorce based on her infidelity as he claimed to Anna- why hasn’t it been settled already?

      • Anonymous

        More to the point, how could intrepid news mogul Carlisle not have known about it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558631967 Ivona Foster

          Ah, good point! Have not thought about that

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

      Dr Zhivago and his family were also upset.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      2nd Housemaid = Professor of the Dark Arts in Harry Potter.
      Please give Vera Bates a mustache so she can twirl it.
      O’Brien’s nightcap is only slightly less wacky than Marge Simpson’s.

    • Anonymous

      Another question about Daisy – she will now receive a widow’s pension.  Will that effect her position in the kitchen?  Will it be enough to allow her to leave?  What was sweet was her integrity… Daisy may be simple but she has standards.  She was not going to marry him, simply for the money. 

      • Anonymous

        Daisy might get enough money to live very frugally–but why would she want to do that?  She’s better off learning the trade of Cook–with a financial cushion to help with whatever the future might bring.  And, yes, she was admirable in not wanting to marry for money.

        • Anonymous

          I see her helping to support William’s sweet old dad with at least part of her widow’s pension.  Now, someone tell me, if Daisy ever does remarry will she lose that pension?  Could this provide another plot point down the line (maybe in season 3) where she does fall in love with a nice young man but marrying him would mean losing that pension and thus her ability to help her dear old father-in-law?

          • Anonymous

            My father was killed in the service when I was 4. This was in the USA & the war was The Cold War.  There were monthly payments for each of us until we turned 18, along with Social Security.  Mom also got an Unremarried Widow allowance, which she would have lost if she remarried.  

            If Daisy stays at Downton, she’ll be able to save most of her pension–along with most of her probably tiny pay.  So she’ll have a nest egg that might come in handy.  Her father-in-law won’t live forever.  

      • Anonymous

        I do not think that Daisy would ever want to leave Downton Abbey.

      • Anonymous

        I liked her integrity as well.  I didn’t read her reluctance as coldness but as honesty and conscience; after she was pressured by Thomas and O’Brien into lying about seeing Bates take wine last season, she comes back around and does the right thing entirely because of her conscience.  She said at the time, “I think I’ve let myself down.”  You don’t often see a character, especially a “simple” one like her who’s not the entire focus of a story, wrestle to be her best self in this way.  I love this aspect of her and am really glad that the writers care enough about Daisy to give her such dignity and three-dimensionality.

      • Anonymous

        I have no factual basis for this assumption, but I kind of assumed that, given William’s rank and short service, his widow’s pension would probably not be enough to live on by itself.

    • Anonymous

      Regarding the telephone: “Is this a tool for communication or a tool for torture?” LOVE IT!

      • Anonymous

        I love it when the writers let the Dowager Countess run free. She was great this episode.

        • Hetha Innis

          And didn’t she win a SAG last night while this episode was airing?

      • Anonymous

        Cell phones are definitely “tools for torture”….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

      Re TLo’s “We’re a bit surprised to see Mrs. Hughes helping Ethel so much. It was clear she couldn’t stand her when she was working there, but her plight is so dire it must be stirring the old heartstrings more than the housekeeper is willing to admit.”

      Remember, in those days, there was no welfare/dole. And a maid without a reference, it would be impossible to get a job somewhere. Plus, who would take care of the baby? all maids souh be single

    • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Cassie (C.M.W.)

      Matthew, you loon, you have two working hands and a mouth. [shakes head] Lavinia doesn’t have to be totally disappointed, and y’all can adopt. It isn’t as if you’re THAT much more closely related to the current Earl than an orphan off the street. I hold out hope that Mary, at least, will not run from this challenge. If Lavinia’s not willing to fight for Matthew, she doesn’t deserve him, the spineless twit.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, good.  I thought I would be the only one whose depraved mind went there.  So selfish, Matthew! 
         
        Although I suppose it’s realistic that these characters would not be so sexually enlightened.  Lavinia is obviously a virgin.  And unless he got some side action during the war (and considering how noble he is, that’s extremely doubtful), Matthew is probably still a virgin, too.

        • Anonymous

          Well said.  I was struck when watching Ken Burns’ Prohibition when one of the interviewees quipped that men didn’t discover the clitoris until the twenties.  I think it would have taken an exceptionally intuitive and sensual person to have proposed a rich full sex life as a paraplegic in 1918.

          • Anonymous

            Men have discovered the clitoris?  I didn’t realize…

            • Anonymous

              Touché, my good woman.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

        Lavinia needs to borrow Mrs. Patmoore’s turkey baster

    • Anonymous

      I’m tired of the way the scenes between Sibyl and Branson are ALWAYS the same. I swear they just filmed a handful of them early on and drop them in whenever they need to stretch an episode. Same with Bates and Anna. I love those last two, but that story needs to move the hell forward!!

      I felt really bad for Daisy this episode. She dabbled in bitchery last season when her crush on Thomas led her to lie to Carson and set up Bates. She was so horrified at her behavior she swore she wouldn’t do anything like that again. She is also very superstitious. As such, I could really feel her torment at what to do about William. Make the sweet guy who loves her happy in final moments? But wed and basically lie to the minister and therefore to God about her intentions? Poor thing. This was the episode where she grew up a bit more. I think her character will change a little bit from here on out.

      So sad William is dead. He didn’t contribute a ton to the plot, but he was so sweet and added some very nice elements to the episodes in which he was featured.

      • Anonymous

        He played a good piano.

      • Anonymous

        “I’m tired of the way the scenes between Sibyl and Branson are ALWAYS the same. I swear they just filmed a handful of them early on and drop them in whenever they need to stretch an episode. Same with Bates and Anna. I love those last two, but that story needs to move the hell forward!!”

        Right?  Both of these couples have been having the exact same conversation for literally YEARS now.  Let’s move this shit along!

        I, too, will miss William’s piano playing.  Sniff.

        • Anonymous

          Too bad William didn’t jump in on the keys last episode when Matthew jointed Mary in song during the MGM moment. 

      • Anonymous

        Man, WIlliam was a goner from the get-go this season, wasn’t he?  I knew someone had to die–and he was the obvious choice.  Then, when he was the only one left who wanted to go to war and felt ready instead of scared–well, that was it–no way *he* was making it through the season.

        I did accidentally read a spoiler on it (It’s dangerous to do a simple Google search on any part of this show.), but it was real shoulder shrug.  I thought the only other possibility was to have poor Daisy marry him and then he would survive as, say, a brain-damaged paraplegic.  

      • Anonymous

        I was really hoping Daisy would crawl into bed and snuggle with William, on top of the covers of course, in his dying moments.  At least she gave him what appeared to be a very genuine kiss.

    • Anonymous

      William’s death wasn’t unexpected but it was heart-breaking nonetheless.  It would have been unrealistic for Downton not to lose one of their men to the war and William had martyr written all over him.  But I wish it could have been the smarmy Bolshevik or the odious Thomas.  Though I admit that I’m warming up toThomas a bit this year. 

      Of course Matthew wouldn’t be killed off – he’s the romantic lead of the show, after all.  But it was a little shocking to have him end up, as he said, impotent and a cripple.  I thought he might lose an arm or something but not suffer such a horrific injury with such profound implications for the other characters.  I can’t believe that he won’t recover at some point.  You know that Isobel will move heaven and earth to get him the newest, best treatment possible.  In a show full of tear-inducing moments, I confess to losing it when Matthew whispered “Mother” when Isobel finally returns to Downton.

      I’ve been uncomfortable with Mrs. Patmore’s bullying of Daisy for some time but I understand that she was coming from a place of hurt over her nephew’s fate and her love for William, who she clearly saw as a sort of son.  My hear was breaking for Daisy but I’m glad she found the courage to give some peace to William at the end.

      Stellar work by Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery this episode.  I do so want to be just like Violet when I grow up.

      • Anonymous

        Hey, I wonder if that’s going to be the redemption of Isobel’s character?  She saved that guy from dying of dropsy–so Isobel tends to be forward thinking and up on medical treatments–and the doctor’s not. 

        And that last moment between Matthew and his mom–his broken “Mother”–and her pained trying-to-be-optomistic smile.  I think Isobel’s supposed to be one of those busybody committee women–can drive you nuts, but gets things done.  I actually think she and Lady Violet are supposed to be a bit alike, but differ because of their backgrounds.

        • Anonymous

          I mentioned in last week’s episode that Isobel’s makeup and lighting seemed geared to making her look more unpleasant than she had in past episodes.  In last night’s episode her normal makeup and lighting seemed to be back, making her more likeable once again.

      • Anonymous

        I do believe Thomas is being made into a more sympathetic character and I’m looking for him to play a big part in Matthew’s recovery, just like he did with the blind soldier learning to walk using the cane to detect obstacles in his path.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051535546 Rebecca Jamison

      For those new to Maggie’s brilliance–I suggest checking out The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (her first Oscar nom & win)–in her early 30s, she showed such amazing comic timing in a serious story. 

      • Anonymous

        ‘Little girls! I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all my pupils are the creme de la creme. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life.’ :D Love that film, haven’t seen it in a few years either.

        • Anonymous

          Spoken in the thickest Scottish brogue.  A great movie.

          • Anonymous

            I’ve got the Scottish accent, but I can’t quite manage that refined Edinburgh one :D
            (I’ll now be going round all night saying ‘I am in my prime’ in as close to a Miss Jean Brodie voice as I can muster LOL!)

    • Anonymous

      Loved the Dowager Countess in this episode!
      Bates + Anna getting annoying.
      Mrs Bates too boring, go away.
      Richard is an interesting villain – waiting to see more.

    • Anonymous

      I had mentioned this early on, but I’ll say it again – I think Sir Richard is the perfect husband for Mary.  And on some level, she knows it.  When she told Violet last week that she was going to accept his proposal, she acknowledged that he was rich and powerful.  And that a lot of families were going to fall after the war but she wasn’t going to let that happen to her.  A man like Carlyle, who knows exactly what and who Mary is and can still accept her as his equal in marriage, would be a very strong ally/husband to have.  It will never be a love match for either of them, but I can see the two of them absolutely ruling post-war society.  Mary knows (even if she can’t articulate it yet) that the rural aristocracy represented by Downton Abbey will pretty much be gone in 30 or 40 years and the self-made men of business represent the future.

      Of course Mary and Matthew must end up together at some point but I think it would be really interesting to see her in a partnership with Sir Richard.

      • Noelle Haland

        Oh, I don’t think Carlyle sees Mary as his equal in a marriage. On the contrary, I think he knows he’s got Mary over the barrel and wields all the power there and that posting the engagement notice as he did was precisely to demonstrate to Mary that power. However, I do think he might have some sort of ‘respect’ for Mary in that he sees she’s smart and wily – just not quite as smart and wily as he sees himself to be.

        • Anonymous

          Yep, plus Julian Fellowes is just too much of a Tory and Rupert Murdoch is too loathed in Britain right now for the Carlisle/Mary match to be portrayed positively.  That said, there were some aristocratic girls who married press barons at that time.

      • Anonymous

        I agree that Sir Richard is the perfect husband for Mary and that she knows he is.  I do not find Sir Richard as “Smarmy” as other TLo precious fawn bloggers.  I see a guy using every trick he has to rise from the middle class and create a self made fortune.  Nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to buy Sir Richard’s paper, read the National Inquirer or “jack-in” to TMZ.  Starting with WWI money not land became the path to freedom and power…Warren Buffet anyone?

        If I had the choice, I would choose Sir Richard over Matthew.  Other than saving Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…I do not see the attraction in Matthew.  I am sure after WWI, Lord G will not be able to pay the taxes on Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…and Edith will be sent to the US to visit/stay with her American Grandmother (Cora’s mother) for the purpose of finding a rich American Sir Richard type….Conrad Hilton anyone!  LOL! LOL!

        • Anonymous

          Interesting Downton Abbey/Gone With the Wind comparison.  There’s definitely a bit of Rhett Butler in Carlyle and a bit of Ashley Wilkes in Matthew.  Just as Scarlett should have done, Mary should choose the ruthless, worldly scoundrel who will be able to protect her and her family in the future, rather than pining for the dreamy Ashley/Matthew.

          They would pretty much have to go with a completely new cast but I would love to see them play out the story at least through the 1960′s.  It would be very interesting indeed.

          • Anonymous

            I see the comparison, but Matthew is not the milquetoast that Ashley Wilkes is, and Carlyle is really just a scoundrel, without the charming part.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, but we’re thinking like Americans.  Self-made men are our heroes.  So far,we know that Richard Carlisle will blackmail people to get a story–not heroic.

    • Anonymous

      Nothing new to add, but thank you for:
      “Second housemaid at Downton is like being the drummer in Spinal Tap. You don’t last long. Next season, the new second housemaid will walk in to Downton Abbey and promptly burst into flames.”

      The first full-on laugh I’ve had in a week.

    • Lattis

      BTW, Didn’t you love all the hand work on the pillow case that William died on? That was pillow case to be proud to die on.

      • Anonymous

        Poor William, as he lay dying, me thinking, “Ooooh, look at that beautiful stitching!”  I also love the delicate lace coverlets for the officers’ beds in recovery.

        • Anonymous

          Yes! At some point when Mary was talking to Matthew, I couldn’t take my eyes off the design on the coverlet and how beautifully pressed it looked, and wishing I could get my hands on one….

          • Anonymous

            I, too, admired the linens. But what really made me sob was certainly the wedding, but the lovely arrangement of flowers on Williams death bed.

            • Ledasmom

              What got me was the bit right at the end of the episode – “He doesn’t need you anymore. He doesn’t need anybody anymore.”

      • Anonymous

        It was very pretty, but I kept thinking: he’s going to have marks all over his face from that!

    • lee66132000

      I’m really starting to feel a bit disturbed by the class portrayals in this series.  The aristocrats (aside from the bored Lord Grantham) are portrayed in a very positive way.  The working class characters are either one-dimensional, stupid, vicious, helpless or in need of aristocratic benevolence.  The middle-class are simply portrayed as useless or in the case of Violet Crawley, pushy.  What’s going on here?  I don’t recall Fellowes being so . . . classist (is that a word?) in “GOSFORD PARK”.

      • Anonymous

        Julian Fellowes wrote “Gosford Park.”  His name is now 
        Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, DL….

      • Anonymous

        I’ve read that Fellowes’ wife is basically in the same predicament as Lord Grantham ( sorta)….her father is an Earl and she is his only child….Fellowes has petitioned Parliament to allow her to inherit…they are still hashing it out i think..

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000020870811 Joe Murphy

        Consider that Gosford Park was much more of an American production, based on “an idea by Robert Altman and Bob Balaban.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gosford_Park#Development_and_writing

        My first impression of Downton Abbey was “Gosford Park, only this time, the aristocrats are nice”–by and large, the aristocrats in Gosford Park were not terribly likeable. Thinking back on Gosford Park, too, while every character had a bit of story, I feel the downstairs characters got the most plot and characterization. OTOH, Downton Abbey is more focused on the upstairs drama.

    • http://profiles.google.com/misslauraschultz Laura Schultz

      If they proceed with a romance between Branson and Sybil I’ll be very annoyed. There is NO chemistry there and I find her alleged attraction to him completely implausible. He is a wholly unattractive character and it seems that the only interest in him from Sybil is his zealously stated love for her. Not buying it. 

      • MilaXX

        Yeah I don’t like this romance either.

    • Anonymous

      I more or less loved this episode. I have completely given up trying to understand why that stupid and really old (at least 4 years) gossip/scandal has them all by the balls when the whole world is crashing down around their ears.
      I agree completely about the kind and generous aristocracy taking care of the simple little people who are hopeless and powerless and the bungling middle-class who just follow protocol without thought or reason. Gak. It’s still entertaining though, init?

    • Anonymous

      Oh and we also heard Sir Richard say very pointedly to Vera Bates that people who try to break contracts with him do not fair well. What of his contract with Mary? She’s headed for more trouble than the silly groundless gossip would have brought. That’s for sure.

      • Noelle Haland

        Most assuredly. What I find poor characterization is that the big fear early on in the rumor’s life (by Mary, Violet and Cora) that Mary’s reputation would be crushed (and the family’s) and that Mary would therefore have to settle for marriage with a socially poor mate if she could find any mate at all if the rumor got around. How is a marriage to a ‘nouveau riche’ crass man like Carlyle socially positive for aristocrats like the Crawleys?  Wouldn’t that have been a match they would have seen as a last resort for Mary, and only one after her reputation was beyond repair?  Now that the rumor’s supposedly been bandied about all these years at least by some on the aristocracy (as if Lord Grantham wouldn’t have heard *sigh*), what does Mary have to fear? Perhaps only her father’s rebuke of her, but is that enough motivation for her to marry scum like Carlyle to “prevent”m the rumor getting out?  The Crawleys don’t need Carlyle’s money and would only be gaining embarrassment that their eldest daughter made such a socially poor match. Plus we can’t even say they support the marriage because they’re indulging their daughter’s love for this guy – everyone knows Mary doesn’t love him!  And I know it would be considered HORRID for Mary never to marry, but I just do not believe that Carlyle would be her ONLY CHANCE AT MARRIAGE EVER and that no other man in all of aristocratic England would have her. 

        I don’t buy it at all. Earlier on before the war and before Mary was wiser and more jaded, I bought it, but now it’s just a tiresome device that’s starting to move almost every other plot point along. Not good at all.

        • Anonymous

          He’s rich and at that time more than one aristocratic girl married an older press baron.  So, no, not a match of last resort.  

          Keep in mind that a ton of young well-born men died–France and England really did lose a large chunk of their best and brightest on the front lines–this meant that a lot of women never married and a lot matches that would have been unacceptable became acceptable because of this.

          Mary’s in her late 20s–the match isn’t brilliant, but it’s not a disaster either.  Particularly for a woman who hasn’t landed someone earlier.  He’ll have the power, she’ll have the rank.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I was really struck by that as a moment of foreshadowing. Sure, he announced it without a formal agreement with her or her approval (or Lord Grantham’s, and I must say I didn’t find it to be 100% believable that without knowing about her predicament, he let that go with just that little huffy exchange at the breakfast table), but they did have a fairly clear unspoken agreement and he obviously has a big ol’ chip on his shoulder about her superior station and how the world perceives him in comparison. Public embarrassment is clearly not his thing.

    • lee66132000

      I find it interesting that Branson has become so unattractive to viewers, because of his lack of empathy toward the fate of the Russian Royal Family.  The ironic thing is that the Romanovs would have never cared one way or the other about him.  I guess he’s being brutally honest about his feelings with Sybil.

      • http://profiles.google.com/misslauraschultz Laura Schultz

        well, that’s not why. I’ve always found him pretty harsh and uninteresting

      • Anonymous

        I think he’s become boring because politics is all he talks about; he’s got no personality. He’s reminding me of Lara’s humorless Bolshevik husband in Dr. Zhivago.

        • Noelle Haland

          He’s also a very poorly fleshed out character and wholly one-dimensional because of poor writing.

      • Anonymous

        It’s funny how things trend though. On another forum I visit the Branson love is bordering on the obsessive! 

      • Toto Maya

        I don’t care about his politics, I just think he’s dull as dishwater and am wondering why he’s still around.

      • Anonymous

        My dislike for Branson has been growing all season, and not just because of his behavior this episode.  Yes, I dislike him for being a communist who thinks the Bolsheviks are the bee’s knees.
        I can’t help disliking that aspect of him because I know how the
        communist revolution in Russia turned out, how many people died under
        the banner of the “people’s” revolution because people like him were
        apologists for the awful things done in the name of communism.  The
        Russian Royal Family were just the beginning.  His justifying their
        murder tells me that he’s going to be just like all the other communists
        who justified the murder of millions of people during the great purges
        of the soviet regime. I think that’s a pretty valid reason to dislike
        him, but it’s definitely not the only reason.

        A few things that stick out to me: 1) he planned to dump shit all over a guest of his employer.  I don’t care who the guy was, dumping shit on someone is a nasty way to express your disagreement over political issues.  2) he gave Sybil crap for wanting to be a nurse and take care of people he dislikes, and he pretty much told her that if they got married he wouldn’t let her do it any more.  3) he’s generally aggressive and domineering toward Sybil.  At this point I think he sees her more as a symbol of pleasures denied to him due to his class, rather than an individual with needs and desires of her own.  The way he grabs her whenever she tells him “no” is a red flag for potential future abuse.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve decided to use the phone just like the Dowager Countess from now on.  That killed me.

      O’Brien would have an industrial strength night cap to keep those curls in check.

      There was something about the new maid that gave me a pause, but I can’t put my finger on it.  I think she resembles Cora an awful lot though.

      I loved the “Say what!” looks on Mrs. Patmore, Mrs. Hughes and Daisy with Thomas’ sentiments on William and “our lot”. 

      Loved William’s dad.

      Thanks TLo, for the insightful comments about class in DA.  I’m definitely watching with a more critical eye, in between ogling the textiles, sets, and actors.  Not necessarily in that order.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabeau-Mochrie/1580631451 Isabeau Mochrie

        I loved it when Violet gets in touch with the Marquess says “Shrimpy!  It’s Aunt Violet!”

        • Anonymous

          I also loved it when she in frustration asked the operator, “How many Marquis of Whatever can there be?”

        • Anonymous

          “Shrimpy” sounds like one of Bertie Wooster’s pals in the Drones Club.  Wasn’t Bertie over-supplied with aunts? 

          The 20′s are almost here!   

        • Anonymous

          “Shrimpy” sounds like one of Bertie Wooster’s pals in the Drones Club.  Wasn’t Bertie over-supplied with aunts? 

          The 20′s are almost here!   

        • Anonymous

          My thought when I heard that: Who’d have thought it would be Violet who delivers a Bertie Wooster moment?

      • Anonymous

        You’ll have to get a reproduction of one of those old “candlestick” phones to do it right :-)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WKSM57KFWUGRMKPDUW4SPL3GDM Kathryn

      A spinal injury?  Come on!  How cliche and unimaginative.  His dick doesn’t work so now the line is threatened.  Gimme a frickin’ break!  I just rolled my eyes!

      • Anonymous

        I’m grateful it wasn’t the hackneyed amnesia trope. Now at least we get to talk about Matthew’s dong.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WKSM57KFWUGRMKPDUW4SPL3GDM Kathryn

          Very, very good point.  Now if only LG, the chauffeur, Bates, the slimy whats-his-name, and poor William would have spinal injuries!

    • Anonymous

      Dear T and Lo, I think Lord Grantham not attending the wedding of two servants was completely in keeping with his role of lord of the manor at the time.  Neither Cora, Sybil nor Mary (no surprise there) were there either.  (Or did I miss that?)  Violet and Edith were there because they became very involved with bringing William home.  (And bravo for Edith for getting involved.  I hope she continues showing more maturity than Season 1.)  I was just thinking back to the old episodes of Upstairs Downstairs and I don’t think Upstairs ever attended any Downstairs weddings.  Thing are changing, but not that much, not yet anyway.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Cora, Sybil, and Mary could rightly claim to be quite busy. All he does is sit around in a uniform all day, acting put out and bored. Asshole.

        • Anonymous

          Add Making Eyes At The New Maid to his list of duties!

        • Anonymous

          LOL! I’m not saying he’d be working his fingers to the bone, but running a large estate does involve some work. Especially in wartime when a lot of the estate workers would be absent.

          • Anonymous

            There were food shortages during the War & keeping the estate productive would be a worthy task. But we’ve never seen Lord Grantham DO any of that work.  Which would mostly be talking to his steward….

            • Anonymous

              It’s something they never do go into, apart from him showing Mathew round. A pity really, because it does make him look like he’s sitting on his backside when everyone else is occupied. I know they like to keep a tight focus on the family and the house, but as the country and the times change it would be nice to see a tiny bit of that.

            • Anonymous

              Yes, remember in S1 when Lord G. told Matthew that running the estate would be a full-time job when Matthew told him he had found a position as a lawyer.  But we never see Lord G. doing anything other than reading the newspaper.

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            You’re confusing a review of a TV show with a historical essay.

            • Anonymous

              No, I’m really not (Downton is no documentary). Just sticking up for LG a little :)

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              You’re sticking up for him by referencing history instead of the actual story being told.

            • Anonymous

              No, just saying how I see him filling in his imaginary off-screen time, just as you are when you say ‘sitting around all day’, but in a different way. Filling in the gaps with possibilities, that’s all. Nothing serious or heavy about it :/

              Anyway, to go back to the wedding. The ‘boss’ being there might make Daisy and William self-conscious and detract from their occasion. I can imagine Daisy getting quite tongue-tied in front of LG whereas female members of the family would perhaps intimidate her less. Maybe he knew that. Or maybe the production team just couldn’t fit anymore people into that bedroom.

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              The show goes out of its way to show him sitting around, looking bored and put out by all the busy people around him. There have been several scenes to this effect – and since the war started, these are the only daytime activities of his depicted onscreen. We’re not filling in any imaginary screen time; we’re commenting on the story being told.

            • Anonymous

              Hmmm, I hope that means he’s in for a comeuppance.  I’m a little tired of how he’s always portrayed as Lord Perfect.

            • Anonymous

              I do not think he knows how to make hinself useful and NOBODY is going to tell the Earl what he should be doing or could be doing.  The women were different in that women are different in that they always know what needs to be done.  Women pitch in and supervise someone doing productive work or they roll up their sleeves and get on with it.  I think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or my own husband would be just as useless and clueless as Lord Grantham in this matter.

            • Anonymous

              Oh, I think the producers may have plans for him.  At least I hope they do.  And let’s not forget that he was a veteran and risked his life for his country in the past, although I agree with you that he is shown at the moment to be at loose ends.  I think the fact that his country thinks he’s too old to serve must be very frustrating for him. 

            • Ledasmom

              What, Lord Grantham would intimidate her more than the Dowager Countess would?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

      Oh no, Richard Carlisle is going to publish the Pamuk story when Mary breaks it off, isn’t he? Then she will have to marry Matthew because no one else with have her. Even if the Crawleys say it’s a lie, it will still be hideously embarrassing and scandalous.

      I am fully expecting Mrs. Bates to do something terrible, like frame Bates for a crime, or something. We can’t have seen the last of her, though I hope that Fellowes is saving her for a showdown with O’Brien, complete with hair pulling.

      Can people regain the ability to walk after losing use of their legs? I know that paralyzed people CAN often have sex and father child… Jason Street did it in Friday Night Lights, so it must be true.

      • Anonymous


        Can people regain the ability to walk after losing use of their legs? ”  

        Of course!  It happens all the time in soap operas!

        • Ledasmom

          They’ve left themselves a lot of wiggle room, in that the doctor has no way of knowing that the spinal cord is actually severed. Mind you, medically unlikely, I should think, if there’s no sensation or function at all.
          If I remember correctly, those with paraplegia tended to die rather quickly back then, due to urinary/kidney infections – disposable sterile catheters (along with antibacterials – sulfonamide was developed in 1932) were a huge advance in making this sort of injury survivable.

          • Anonymous

            Precisely. If he really IS paraplegic due to an traumatic spinal injury (and doesn’t just have some “inflammation” that will someday go away and allow things to work – and chronic infections were common without antibiotics or antibacterials, though also more likely to eventually be fatal) he should be pegging out, if not in the next few months, sooner rather than later.

            Which, although realism isn’t something I really expect from this show, is one reason why I’d put money on his eventual healing. If they wanted to go back to square one on the inheritance thing, they’d have killed him off.  Opening up the “secret marriage in France subplot” which doesn’t seem all that likely, for the character.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

              If they are going the route of, “Oh, he’s a paraplegic but he got better!” then what of Lavinia? Are they going to have him just segue right into the arms of Mary? Are they going to somehow kill off Lavinia? It’s extra messy that Lavinia is so nice and their love seems seems sincere. Not sure how that can get resolved. If he remains paraplegic, then I can see him with Mary. If not, Lavinia is going to have to die or something, so the Matthew will be in mourning, and won’t be able to be with Mary. Which will be sooo annoying.

            • Anonymous

              Matthew’s healing may take many months, or years, in which time Lavinia could meet and marry another man and live happily ever after.  Nothing terrible needs to happen to her.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

              I hope not. I kind of like her. How long is this season? I mean, are we going to see this recovery or what? If it’s going to be shown this season, it’s going to have to happen with soap operatic rapidity. If so, I can see Lavinia coming back to bust up a Mary/Matthew reunion, just as it’s about to get off the ground. That in fact seems more likely than some tragedy befalling Lavinia.

            • Anonymous

              Yes, I think there are complications to endure. IF Mary & Matthew ever enter legal matrimony, there are going to be troubles and travails aplenty first. I’d say more than even money that Mary actually marries Sir Richard – and if so, probably spurred by her feeling that Lavinia & Matthew deserve to be together.

              But I am 98% sure Mary & Matthew will at least have ‘real’ (that is, potentially procreative) sex at least once. Even if they are both doing so adulterously.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1129137319 Paula Pertile

      I hope you two are racking up some serious extra-credit somewhere for doing all these great write-ups!

      Everyone’s already said everything, but I’ll add: 

      I thought I heard Bates say “we should have had a proper church wedding” too. And thought “what? They’re secretly married?” then forgot all about it as the show went on. I know they can’t be because he’s not divorced, but it was confusing.

      Thomas looked softer to me this episode. I’m obsessed with how black his hair is now.

      When holding a pan while someone throws up, its very hard to not gag and throw up yourself (been there, sad to say). I was amazed at Mary’s steeliness in that bit of scene. Although we see just the back of her. No, I didn’t want to see her be sick. Just saying.

      I read the Lord G and Mary in the bedroom scene as him realizing she’s in love with him, too.

      Go Violet!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202234220 Corinna Cornejo

        Bates’ divorce may have gone through. He’s given Vera everything he had. Did you see that crazy fox stole she wore to Sir Richard’s office? Don’t think he would given her anything “in advance” given how untrustworthy she is.

    • MilaXX

      I am quickly growing tired of the Mary & Mathew saga. I was actually annoyed when Mathew sent Lavinia away.  However, Daisy & William was quite sweet. I have to admit I teared up at his dying.

    • Anonymous

      Second housemaid = drummer from Spinal Tap!  Thank you boys for a fine LOL this morning!

      The Crawley Penis must work again.  I doubt that Fellowes would neuter his main male stud for long.  Isobel has returned from France with some miracle cure to get Matthew up and “running” again.

      I kind of felt sorry for Lavinia, as weak and droopy as she is.  She really has no chance against Mary, despite Matthew thinking he loves Lavinia.  Lavinia’s face when the screen was moved and she saw Mary at Matthew’s bedside pretty much said it all.

      Violet on the telephone!  Violet with the vicar!  Violet!!  Can I please be Violet in my next life?

      William’s death had me bawling and I’m glad that Daisy came around.  She may have a strong sense of right and wrong, but she’s clueless to her feelings.  I think fear drove her to resist marrying William – she’s not exactly a worldly girl – and that turned around to her wanting to stay with William until the end.

      Bates – why isn’t he putting through the divorce?!  He gave Vera all the money.  Did he even file the papers?  If Ethel had her baby, at least 7-8 months have passed since we last got a divorce update, for crying out loud.  How long did it take to get a divorce rolling in 1918?  And wasn’t it enough for Evil Vera that Bates spent 5 years in prison covering for her ass?  And now she has all his money and gets to wear dead animals around her neck?  I’m glad Sir Richard put a muzzle on her, even though he now has a major card to play with Mary.  And he’ll play it if she even hints she wants out.  I’m rooting for O’Brien to bitch slap Vera down into the mud.

      And Branson? Fellowes has really screwed him as a character.  I really liked Branson in the first season and thought he and Sybil had chemistry between them, but that’s been completely destroyed in this season.  He’s bordering on being a complete controlling asshole.  Not attractive.  And the lack of heat between these two is getting tedious.  He should have kissed her in this last scene in the garage.  For a second she looked like she would have let him.

      I don’t see the point of Ethel.  And Jane, I think she’s going to be fresh meat for Robert.  Cora is blowing him off big time and Robert really is a big baby.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t like Ethel, but I think the purpose of her character is to show us how hopeless life would be for a person in her situation at that time.

    • http://twitter.com/ms_smartiepants Beth M.

      I actually find the reading of class differences on DA really
      interesting. Yes, the aristocrats are being shown as benevolent much of
      the time (except creepy Major Bryant, ugh), but it is precisely because
      they can afford to throw their weight around with impunity. Their
      position at the top of the food chain being an inherited one means that
      they have a lot more leeway (aside from out and out scandal, that is),
      than the middle class folks, like the doctor, who would actually have
      something to lose by making exceptions to the rules.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Sir Richard is the perfect husband for Mary and that she knows he is.  I do not find Sir Richard as “Smarmy” as other TLo precious fawn bloggers.  I see a guy using every trick he has to rise from the middle class and create a self made fortune.  Nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to buy Sir Richard’s paper, read the National Inquirer or “jack-in” to TMZ.  Starting with WWI money not land became the path to freedom and power…Warren Buffet anyone?

      If I had the choice, I would choose Sir Richard over Matthew.  Other than saving Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…I do not see the attraction in Matthew.  I am sure after WWI, Lord G will not be able to pay the taxes on Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…and Edith will be sent to the US to visit/ stay with her American Grandmother (Cora’s mother) for the purpose of finding a rich American Sir Richard type….Conrad Hilton anyone!  LOL! LOL!

    • Anonymous

      I loved Penelope Wilton in her wordless scene of a mother coming face-to-face with her injured son after probably days of travel and worry.  The tears in her eyes (but not I’m not going to cry) and the smile plastered on her face (because I am so happy to see you alive but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you see how scared I am for you) and not even being able to say his name (because I don’t trust my voice not to crack)….the picture of English stiff-upper-lip with all kinds of emotion roiling just beneath the surface.  When he said “Mother,” I thought for sure that he would finally dissolve into sobs of grief for what has happened to him, now that he’s finally safe with the one person who can offer him pure comfort and consolation.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Sir Richard is the perfect husband for Mary and that she knows he is.  I do not find Sir Richard as “Smarmy” as other TLo precious fawn bloggers.  I see a guy using every trick he has to rise from the middle class and create a self made fortune.  Nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to buy Sir Richard’s paper, read the National Inquirer or “jack-in” to TMZ.  Starting with WWI money not land became the path to freedom and power…Warren Buffet anyone?

      If I had the choice, I would choose Sir Richard over Matthew.  Other than saving Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…I do not see the attraction in Matthew.  I am sure after WWI, Lord G will not be able to pay the taxes on Tara…I mean Downton Abbey…and Edith will be sent to the US to visit/ stay with her American Grandmother (Cora’s mother) for the purpose of finding a rich American Sir Richard type….Conrad Hilton anyone!  LOL! LOL!

    • Anonymous

      Wrong Place

    • Anonymous

      Wrong Place

    • Anonymous

      Wrong Place

    • http://annequichante.wordpress.com/ Anne

      Second housemaids are like Defense Against the Dark Arts professors at Hogwarts. :)

      • Anonymous

        Nice literary cross-reference there, Anne!  And very true! :)

    • http://twitter.com/ParrotTalkBack Ana Rocadas

      I was doing well drinking and eating while reading this and then “unworkable penis.”
      Regardless of what it can’t do anymore, it can still make me choke.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

        Ha!  Unworkable penis. I can see Mary saying that. Sort of like “Properly married.”  

      • Anonymous

        Unworkable Penis would be a good name for a band.

    • Anonymous

      I really felt for poor Daisy in this episode.  Sure, it seems crass to deny a dying man his last request.  But he gets a moment’s comfort, and she goes from unspoiled young thing to war widow within a few hours.  In a society where marital status determines so much, she’s aged indefinitely for the act.  Still, I am glad she went through with it.  And they didn’t have him miraculously recover after the marriage so that hilarity could ensue.

      They teeter on the edge of Soap Trope with the spinal injury.  At least he’s not in a coma!  Surely Lavinia doesn’t just abscond and leave it at that.

      • Anonymous

        I am interrupting the Mathew scenes as Matthew really being “in Love” with Lavinia.  

        Does anyone else have a different take on his feelings through this episode? 

        • Anonymous

          I do think Matthew loves Lavinia.  I’m not very confident in my ability to explain what I’m thinking here, but I’m going to try anyway.  I think Matthew’s love for Lavinia is a different type of love than he felt (feels?) for Mary.  I get the impression that Matthew and Lavinia had a very quick courtship.  They met while he was on leave in London and he probably proposed to her after a few days, maybe a week or so.  I imagine the urgency of Matthew’s situation played a role in his proposing so quickly. Since then, they have spent the vast majority of their engagement apart.  I doubt they even know each other very well.  Lavinia seems like a nice girl, and I’m sure that’s what Matthew loves about her. But I don’t think she inspires the same spark and passion that Mary does. I know mileage varies and all, but I have never seen Matthew look at Lavinia the way he looks at Mary.

          • Anonymous

            I think Matthews “loves” Lavinia but Mary makes his non-working penis rise to the occasion.  I have felt a great deal of sexual tension in the Matthew-Mary relationship starting from the first time he saw her on his arrival at  Crawley House.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabeau-Mochrie/1580631451 Isabeau Mochrie

              I predcit in the next episode (or two) we’ll have Matthew proclaiming “We have lift off!”

            • Anonymous

              *snort*

              I just flashbacked to Trey and Charlotte from Sex and the City.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

            Sadly, one of the first things many a wounded warrior has done is try to sever relationships with the people they love the most. It’s not a matter whether or not he loves Lavinia, it’s how he’s absorbing the radical changes, and also the trauma.
            It does however, make for several convenient hooks for Mary who finds herself engaged to Branson, for the continuation of whether or not there’s going to be an end of the Grantham line, and whether or not he and Mary will eventually “get it on.” Let’s put it this way: if all of a sudden Matthew is smiling rather daffily in Season 3, we’ll know all is okay.Quite frankly, I really wish they would have put Anna and Bates on the backburner and turned up the focus on Matthew and also the drama centering around William.  

            • Anonymous

              Yes (about a little less Anna & Bates). I would have loved to see more 21st century knowledge of the psychological aftermath of war played out within the boundaries of WWI knowledge.

              But of course, there’s still time for a good bit of that. The consequences of WWI extended all the way  into the next war (WW II), since so many people lived to see both.

            • Anonymous

              Now that’s an interesting premise, and some would reject it as being historically inaccurate. However, it would work with today’s modern audience. I think in some aspects, Fellowes does weave in and out with modern sentiments. Ex: Letting Lady Sybil consider a relationship with the chauffeur.

            • Anonymous

              I agree. I saw the scene of Matthew ending it with Lavinia as his way of dealing with his physical wounds. One doesn’t have to be a warrior to react by pushing loved ones away in the aftermath of catastrophic injury. It, unfortunately, is often an initial coping response.

        • Anonymous

          Lavinia has grown on me. I think she’s meant to be an innocent with pure motives. She loves Matthew and he loves her, in whatever form love took for them in those days — it would grown and they could make a lifetime together out of that. They are both honorable people.

        • Anonymous

          Lavinia has grown on me. I think she’s meant to be an innocent with pure motives. She loves Matthew and he loves her, in whatever form love took for them in those days — it would grown and they could make a lifetime together out of that. They are both honorable people.

      • Anonymous

        I had the very same thought about Daisy maturing after having gone through with the marriage to William. I was also thinking how much she has irritated me throughout most of the series, but now I cannot look at her as a silly young thing. It would be nice to see a very subtle transition of this character from young thing to war widow.

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps someone else has already mentioned it, but I understood Vera Bates’ efforts to shame the family as aimed at Anna since she helped move the body (and is in love with Mr. Vera Bates).

      • Anonymous

        True and correct!

      • Anonymous

        “Mr. Vera Bates”
        Heh, heh, heh.

      • Anonymous

        But Daisy was the person who witnessed the moving of the body, and she only saw Mary, so no one would know about Anna and Cora being involved. They’ve written it so that Vera would know about it, but there is no way she would.

    • Anonymous

      Usually my husband would rather do chores than watch a period drama with me (unless it’s Mad Men.. he loves that show, too), but he watched last night’s episode because of all the military stuff (he was in the air force).  In the scene where Daisy told William she thought it was cheating to marry him before he died so she would get his pension, my husband got riled up and blurted out “that’s bullshit.  He went to war and is dying for his country.  If he wants to pick some hobo off the street to marry so they can have his pension then let him.. he earned it.”   I was pleasantly surprised he was so into it.  Maybe he will watch with me again next week.

      I’m glad Daisy went ahead with it, not for the money but because it meant so much to William and his father.  I was sure, though, right up until he died that he was going to make a miraculous recovery and then she would be stuck and resentful.  I’m glad they didn’t go in that direction.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for your post!  It made me realize that one of the things Daisy gets to have now is a father-in-law, who seems like a loving, sweet man.  It seems likely that Daisy is an orphan, so this may be the first real family she’s ever had.  Snif!

        • Anonymous

          Yes, I wondered where Daisy’s parents were–there’s been no mention of them, so I assumed she was an orphan. 

          • donna ayres

             The widow’s pension is about 13 shillings a month which comes out to more than Daisy’s annual salary.

            I think part of Daisy’s problem with being with William is that William was a bit out of her class. Even though they were farmers, I think William’s father owned his land.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

      TLO: Thank you for the nod to women in war time and their response. It continues to this day.

      Battle of the Somme –from what I recall 60,000 men were lost in one day. So it was fitting that at least one of the men should die, but in reality, the chances are that both of them would, along with most of the men from the estate who went to fight. William’s death scene was a rather sweet send off for someone who had been through the horrors of war –he died as WWI Alan Seeger would have preferred –”Pillowed in silk and scented down, Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,” nevertheless, like Seeger, he had a “rendezvous with death.” 

      Also, I have to hand it to Fellowes for restraining himself and not having Matthew give a rendention of a St. Crispin’s speech. They set off on their mission and that was that. 

      • Deborah Wiles

        Your mention of Alan Seeger’s poem makes me think of “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, who wrote the poem on the battlefield after the death of a fellow soldier. “… We are the Dead. Short days ago/ We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,/Loved and were loved, and now we lie/In Flanders fields….”

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017585103 Kanani Fong

          In Flanders Fields is a great poem.  Some of the best war poetry came out of WWI. Sassoon, Owen, and Kipling (who breaks your heart with My Boy Jack”). I run poetry regularly over the WarRetreat.Org Facebook page. 

          • Anonymous

            Have you seen “My Boy Jack,” starring Daniel Radcliffe?  Heartbreaking.

            • Anonymous

              Just ordered it. Can’t wait. Yes, that’s such a sad poem. I really enjoy Kipling. The stuff he wrote after the Boer War really gave heart to a lot of young men to fight in WWI. Little did they know -its was going to be a long, hard, awful slog.

    • Anonymous

      Bonus points for Spinal Tap reference! But now I may be disappointed when the next second housemaid does not spontaneously combust or choke on someone else’s vomit five seconds after she’s in the door.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Morris/1076502799 Jane Morris

      It is completely NOT INSANE that the Dr. did not tell the patient about his dire penis prognosis.  Telling the patient how sick they are is a very modern construct.  In fact, as few as 20 years ago, terminal cancer patients in Japan were not told anything but “You’ll be better soon” and everybody went along with it.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Saying that what the doctor did is insane is not saying that what the doctor did is historically inaccurate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

        What’s kind of insane is telling Lord Grantham the news about Matthew’s penis before Matthew knew. It’s very of the time period, but so wrong.

        • Anonymous

          I assumed the doctor was telling LG about this because it would be important for LG to know that the heir to Downton Abbey cannot now have an heir himself. 

          • Anonymous

            That’s the feeling I got, too.  Also, I couldn’t help notice the difference in the way LG took this reproduction discussion from when the doc was talking about Cora’s late-in-life pregnancy .

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

            That was definitely the reason, but it seems like it would be the decent thing to do to tell the penis’ owner first. But perhaps that’s just my modern sensibility talking.

        • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

          But recall, LG said that he thought of Matthew like a son at this point and he is the closest thing M has to a father. Plus, with Isobel out of the country, LG was a stand in parent anyway. It still happens that doctor’s speak with family members before the patient hears of a terrible diagnosis – it happened with my father, the doc told my mother and I first.  And the ability to produce an heir was considered family business, not just personal business, in those days.

    • Anonymous

      William’s storyline had me bawling like a baby.  It brought out both the true loss and the unfairness of the war.  People like Thomas and the Impregnator live on to be the rotters they are, and sweet William passes.  And I didn’t see the nature of Matthew’s injury coming at all.  Now there’s a plot twist.  The conversation between Lord Grantham and Clarkson did strike me as odd too, as did the emphasis on Lavinia not able to have a husband as lover.  Wouldn’t the inability of Lavinia to have children been the focus of concern at that time, at least in polite conversation?   

      Everything about Anna and Bates and the evil Mrs. Bates is just silly now.  And now Carlisle is in it too.  Please.  Mr. Pamuk and the circumstances of his death need to be given a proper burial, never to be dug up again.  

      I loved the Dowager Countess this episode, and took it more as an illustration of the power the aristocracy provides to  overcome bureaucratic red-tape than an indictment of an ineffectual middle-class.  Wealth can bring you power (Carlisle and the Dowager’s conversation with the vicar) but so can family and personal connections (Lord Flincher is related to Violet) and when you have both, you can usually find a way to get what you want.  It was true then, it’s true now. 

      I’d like Branson to disappear from view by whatever means necessary.  His character has moved into farce at this point, and taken my beloved Sybil with him.

      • Anonymous

        I wouldn’t mind Branson so much if he’d just shut his mouth and wash the car in some swimming trunks.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/737TLN7SV5ZXIHGGK4LMN5AR7Q Luna

      okay some how ethel’s baby will be brought into the household and will become the heir. (LOL) Just trying out as a writer in a soap opera!

    • Anonymous

      I hope this isn’t considered a spoiler…..but how delightful is this?  Maggie and Shirley together?….Priceless
      Downton Abbey welcomes Shirley MacLaine for series threeMacLaine, who has made more than 60 films, will play Lady Grantham’s mother in the third series of the hit ITV drama

    • Nicky Pierce

      How much time is supposed to have passed since the concert?  Ethel’s baby looked at least a few months old plus she must have had a few more months of pregnancy left when she came back to the Downton. Have they been without a second maid for over 6 months?

    • Anonymous

      Per BBC News Online:
      Oscar-winning US actress Shirley MacLaine is to join the cast of Downton Abbey for its third series as the mother of Lady Grantham. !

      What with Joan Collins coming on board in Season III to play Violet’s cousin we are in for some very soapy water!

      I CAN’T WAIT! 

      • Anonymous

        I think my brain just exploded from all the AWESOME.

      • Anonymous

        Holy Moses. Shirley facing off against the Aristocratic British Broad contingent is just beyond delicious!

    • Anonymous

      I had so much fun last night with this episode. Mrs. Bates and her ridiculous scenery-chewing, “Aunt Violet” on the phone — one of the funniest scenes ever filmed — I re-played it like 7 times, sweet little William and his bad make-up. I didn’t think Daisy was cold, I thought she was just frightened and highly principled. This was way beyond her life experience level. Being a clergyperson myself, I howled with laughter over Violet’s stunning smack down of the vicar — people still try to do that sort of thing nowadays, it never ends. I would have totally married them, of course, just for the LOVE THANG. Boy died with his beloved there beside him as his wife, and a poor girl gets a bit of a break from the guv’ment. Nothing wrong with that.  

      • Anonymous

        I too am a clergyperson and there wouldn’t have been a moment’s hesitation on my part. And before becoming a clergyperson, I had to do a similar smackdown on my pastor concerning my son’s baptism. Violet’s smackdown was marvelous.

    • http://www.facebook.com/patsy.hatt Patsy Hatt

      Something occured to me last night while I was watching Downton Abbey. The second season takes place during World War I and everyone, landed gentry & servants alike, serves in the military without hesitation. Quite a contrast to how it is in the US today. The children of the wealthy seem to feel very little obligation to serve and quite content to let the poor and working class carry the load for everyone. Very similar to their attitude about paying taxes!

    • Anonymous

      As the owner of a yellow Lab, I wanted to add how much fun it is that every episode starts with the shot of Isis’s butt sashaying across the lawn at his master’s side.

      • Anonymous

        Wouldn’t Isis be a girl?

        • http://karensbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com/ Karenlibrarian

          Isis is a girl dog; in fact, that’s why they had to write in the death of Pharaoh, the previous (male) dog.  The dog that played Pharaoh didn’t get along with the dog that actually lived in the house, so he was replaced with a female.  Knowing that sharp-eyed viewers would notice the switch, the new dog was written into the script.  

          The dogs are named Isis and Pharaoh because the actual owners of the house are descendants of Lord Carnarvon  who was one of the men who discovered King Tut.  

      • Anonymous

        Like x  1,000
        I cannot tell you how much I adore that shot. It’s absolutely adorable.

        • Anonymous

          I was just thinking the same thing last night!  Yay Lab ‘tocks!!

      • Anonymous

        Isis is a scene-stealer every time :) I love labs too. Had a pale golden one when I was a kid followed by two black ones. Gorgeous dogs :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/smpflueger Sean McArdle Pflueger

      The weird thing for Daisy is that is will be expect to bear William’s last name and be called Mrs. for the rest of her life. That is a painful reminder of dead friend for a day long marriage.

      • Anonymous

        But once the pain fades, it will also convey a status on her that, even for a working class woman, was palpably better than the status she’d have as an unmarried woman.

    • Tom Meckey

      Tom & Lorenzo – There is a good FB group called “Men Who Masterpiece” which I think you should join.  Your insights are excellent and would add to the value of the discussion.  Its an open group – anyone can join.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Harris/1358701372 Linda Harris

      I just read Shirley McLain is going to play Elizabeth Mc Govern’s mother in season 3

    • Anonymous

      What really moved me was the way the wedding/deathbed was so beautifully decorated with flowers. That attention to period detail was immensely touching.

    • Anonymous

      Damn, this really was soap opera episode, but I was totally into it.  And the soapier plot lines were the better ones–William’s deathbed marriage; Matthew’s failed willy and the women who love him.   Mary doing what needs to be done.

      I’m sure he’s a villain, but Richard Carlisle is interesting and the actor playing him is doing interesting things with him.  But then the acting’s making all this soap work–Matthew’s really grown on me because of the work the actor’s doing.  He’s better than his part demands.  

      I think busybody Isobel will be on the side of light again–and will fight for her son’s health–while that doctor will continue to be incompetent.

      The Matthew story line seems a bit of a shout-out to The Sun Also Rises where the hero has lost his potency thanks to WWI and is futilely in love with Lady Brett Ashley.  Something tells me though that Matthew won’t be watching bullfights.

      • Lattis

        You know, I have been totally into this show, too. I am fervently hoping that it doesn’t slip deeper and deeper into saccharin, sentimental melodrama. Apparently I’m fine with ‘sentimental’ and ‘melodramatic’ – but, I guess I like my sentimental melodrama a little spicy and vinegary. 

        I guess that’s an odd thing to say after last night’s episode. Because it was sweet. But, the death of William and wounding of Matthew resonates with me. The unfairness and capriciousness of death in war is something that parallels our present. For all the (understandable) humor about the Crawley Penis, those permanent injuries are really heartbreaking. Matthew can count himself lucky to be a fictional hero – because he is very likely to find a cure.

        • Anonymous

          We have Lady Violet for spicy and vinegary.  

          I also think we might see some lighter stuff once the war and, possibly, the Spanish flu end.  Given what the Great War did to Britain, DA pretty much had to kill someone off.  Someone like Matthew Crawley *would* have gone off to war because when you look at history, well-born men did do that–as officers–but trench warfare took its toll on everyone.

          It would be weird for someone like Matthew Crawley to emerge unscathed given how long he was in the trenches. My grandfather, who as an American served for a much shorter time, had his lungs permanently affected by mustard gas, for instance.  

    • http://twitter.com/TerraIncognita Terra Walker Mrkulić

      Have you seen this piece of news? Shirley MacLaine has been cast as Lady Grantham’s (Cora) mother! That should be interesting. Here’s the article on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/news/ni21954144/

      • Anonymous

        yeah..saw this on the evening news…….Dowager smackdown!!!

      • Susan Crawford

        Wow. I mean . . . wow. The Duel of the Dowager Divas! Polite conversations dripping with malice. Snubs over the tea table and hissy fits galore. Again: wow.

    • Anonymous

      Teared up three times last night:

      When Sybil is telling Mary how gruesome it might be when washing Matthew, Mary says, “How hot should the water be?”
      During Daisy and William’s wedding, Carson was crying.  No shit; that did me in.
      When Isobel shows up and Matthew says, “Mother.”

      Oh, and I’m changing my name to Shrimpie.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t cry, but it was Carson crying that got me a bit close. He’s such a great character.

        • Anonymous

          I love him too: he’s like a British Sam the Eagle!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for confirming, krelnick.  I thought that’s what the Dowager Countess called Lord Flincher when she called him on the phone. 

    • Anonymous

      So many excellent comments (and of course, TLO’s post) here today! [as there always are on DA]

      I’ve been thinking about the blackmail scheme and how we are viewing it through 2012 eyes. Six years have passed since the event with Mr. Pamuk occurred, and it still has the promise of ruining several lives. It’s hard for us to relate, truly. With the massive output of internet news, blogs, twitter, tumblr, facebook, email, IM, texting, google searches, reality TV, and 24 hour entertainment updates on the tube, some days it feels as though scandal after scandal rolls through our lives, creating a blip here, and a shocked gasp there, and then they recede, with possibly very little damage done, or even oddly giving someone an upswing in popularity, then the tide goes out, and rolls in again.

      While I claim absolutely no historical knowledge of this period, obviously, as Fellowes has written it, and I hope HE did his due diligence, it would be a considerable scandal for the Granthams were all the details to come out to the public. Gossip has always prevailed and been popular. With no other entertainment outlets even similar to ours today, except for newspapers and magazines, this might have been juicy fodder and speculation that would bring shame and embarrassment. It would take people’s minds off the war, inspire jokes at all levels of society. We’ve almost lost the concept of shame today, to our detriment. It was still a guiding factor in those days, much as the behavior we see (again, through contemporary eyes) as overly stiff and proper and stifled in the other stories of the show.

      • Anonymous

        But during a World War? It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would care (about some stale scandal).

        • Anonymous

          It’s hard for me to believe too, I was just trying to put it in context of the morals of that time.

        • Anonymous

          But sometimes in the face of great change people become even more hidebound, especially people of a class that feels it has to uphold what’s great about a nation.  Look at how the Palace reacted to Princess Margaret–not even the Crown Princess–wanting to marry a divorcé.  I have no trouble believing Mary would still be ruined in the eyes of her own people, even if to everyone else it was irrelevant nonsense.

        • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

          ESPECIALLY during a World War.  Think of how much more popular gossip columns are now than prior to 9/11.  The increase in celebrity fetishism went through the roof, probably because people can’t cope with, you know, reality such as the rest of the world deals with.  The masses need distraction from the drudgery of their lives.  Aren’t the Kardashians proof enough of that?

      • Anonymous

        I think one of the things Fellowes is doing is building up to the point where Lord Grantham FINALLY knows about the scandal. I really can’t believe he hasn’t caught wind of it yet. He must have his head waaaaay up his ass. At least I hope there will be some sizable payoff to all this. I think I said this last week or the week before: When Grantham finds out that Pamuk died in his daughter’s bed (while they were working to secure a marriage for her), and his wife, mother, and a maid all knew about it and covered it up, he’s going to lose it. I’m thinking it is going to be a bigger deal in terms of the familial relationships than  the world at large.

        • Anonymous

          If/when he faces up to the knowledge, I suspect it is going to be one of those major relationship moments that long-time couples have. When something, something Very Big changes, things are said that will not be forgotten, and the couple has to work out if they are going to go forward stronger or weaker, if things between them will openly change, and if any change is a ripple or an earthquake.

    • Toto Maya

      Did anyone else here find Bates and Anna insufferable WAY before season 2? I’ve been annoyed by those two back since almost the first episode. Anna is just too NICE. She does the right thing, always. She never screws up. She is always there for everyone. While those are great qualities to have, it makes for a boring character. I know that TLO called her the heart and soul of the show, but I never saw it. And now I just kind of roll my eyes at her drooling over Mr. Bates.

      Bates, meanwhile, has irritated me from pretty much the first episode. I wanted to like him, I really did, but his martyr complex is just far too irritating. Oh, I’m sitting in my room crying because I’ve lost my job, which I refused to defend. Oh, I’m going to lose my job again unjustly and I won’t do anything to stop it! Oh, I’ve left my job because… please. Buddy. I think Charles Darwin would have a few things to say about you. There are some sweet moments, but his character is just so exhausting to me. It’s worse in season 2, but this is nothing new.

      • Anonymous

        She goes along with Gwen in trying to hide the typewriter.  She gives Bates the idea of finding the snuff box and planting it in Thomas or O’Brian’s rooms.  She helps Mary carry a dead body the length of the house. She offers to live in sin with Bates.
         
        Too nice?  Really?

        • Toto Maya

          I don’t see those as bad things to do, personally. She’s protecting Mary’s reputation. She hides the typewriter from O’Brien because, well, it’s O’Brien, and it wasn’t against the rules for Gwen to have it. It’s just weak, to me.

    • Anonymous

      I just watched the episode once more, on line, and I totally agree with your fury that Lord Grantham didn’t attend William’s wedding…sheesh!!

    • Anonymous

      I have to admit that I “blubbed” all the way through this episode. I’m a complete sap for these kinds of storylines. I absolutely LOVE Violet–she had the best lines of anyone. 
      About how she arranged to get things done–it strikes me that Dr. Clarkson is essentially middle class, middle management and that sort never takes any risks to get things done. To use our modern vernacular, they can’t “think outside the box,” and then you have the aristocracy saying “What box?” So they get what they want. If Clarkson had wanted to, he could have gotten William transferred–even the Army is not so blind as to refuse to send a dying man home.

      I have to say that I find Bates and Anna the least interesting of all these characters. Perhaps its because they do not seem to grow within their own storylines, while everyone else is being forced to change and react to the new world order. Their characters haven’t changed any in the six years that have passed; time seems not to have touched them at all. Alternatively, I was glad to see some softening of O’Brien and Thomas. But what is with Vera? Why is she bothering with Bates?

      I hope Lord Robert goes to William’s funeral because he sure as hell should have gone to his wedding. That seemed really inconsistent; although it’s far too late to worry about consistency with this show–it reminds me of Longfellow’s little girl: When she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t blub until Matthew said “Mother” and started to cry when he saw his mom. Oh my god, that hit me so hard. The William deathbed marriage thing was so overwrought that it didn’t hit me too hard emotionally, but damn they blindsided me with Matthew and Isobel.

        • Anonymous

          Yep.  It was so simple and they just let the actors have a moment and they rose to it beautifully.

          • Anonymous

            Yes–that is real acting. They’ve had some wonderfully simple, beautiful moments in this show. Makes up for a lot. :)

            • Susan Crawford

              Absolutely! This was SUCH a moment of real connection, and when Matthew says that one word, “Mother”, so much passed  between the two that I lost it. That is what it means to be a real actor, in my book. And I am SO glad Isobel is back – gone for only one episode, but I missed her dreadfully, didn’t you?

        • Anonymous

          William was sad, but corny as hell. The Matthew “Mother” thing killed me as well.  I think poor Isobel has been given short shrift by the writers.  Is it possible she might be under a little stress given that her son is IN A WAR!  GOD. Way to sell out your characters Fellowes. 

          Sometimes you just need your Mom.  Even if you’re only middle class. 

    • http://palimpsest.typepad.com/frogsandravens Rana

      Even if the scandal got out, what possible harm could it do to her husband?

      I thought it was not just that it was threatening to the reputation of his employer and friend, but also to Anna as well.  Remember, she was an accessory to covering up the “crime” such as it was.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

        It could hurt him socially. If his wife was suspected of illicit relations with a man (and a non-anglo foreigner to boot) he might not be received in the best of houses.

    • margaret meyers

      The church was very present in England until well after WWI.  The prayer bit was pretty authentic to their time, just not ours.

    • Anonymous

      Ugh, I’m with you on Anna and Bates. I’ve typically really enjoyed these characters, especially Anna, but they’re driving me up the wall now. Oh, you gave your evil, revenge-obsessed wife all of your money based on a verbal agreement that she wouldn’t go ahead with her plan to expose and humiliate your girlfriend and employer and that somehow didn’t work out? SHOCKING. And now that she’s mad as a snake and is only being held accountable by someone who gives a shit about said employer, not you, everything is “rosy” in your “garden”? Are the both of them mentally impaired? 

      I’m over Branson. It’s the writers’ fault, not his (they could have done so much more with him and with this storyline), but if they do end up having Sybil run off with him after phoning in their whole relationship and sub plot, I’ll be pissed.

      Violet is the best, but yeah, this on-going parade of aristocratic benevolence is getting a little tired, especially now that the more historically self-involved Crawleys like Cora, Edith, and Mary who used to bring some balance are all getting their empathy make-overs.

      I will say that I kind of appreciated Daisy’s reluctance to placate William and shame at having agreed to deceive him for so long. I think that was Growing Up Moment #1 for her, #2 being when she didn’t just agree to marrying William but clearly came to her own peace about it during the ceremony. I’m actually a little excited to see where they go with her.

      Official Crawley Wang Speculation: I don’t think it’s severed. The doctor didn’t sound sure that it was, and barring a really EXTREME incident, it would be very hard for them to accurately assess that back then. Hell, it’s still hard now during initial recovery periods where swelling can create a lot of uncertainty. Anyway, I think he may stay a paraplegic (I kind of hope so, I hate cheap TV miracle cures), but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to discover that the spinal cord is seriously, permanently damaged but not 100% severed, which means that some sexual function, including orgasm, would be far more work or far more infrequent than before but totally possible.

      The whole thing was throwing major shades of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, though. 

      • http://karensbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com/ Karenlibrarian

        Lady Chatterley was my first thought also!  Time to cast the sexy game-keeper!

    • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

      Best soap opera on TV right now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

      Czar Nicholas was a decent husband and father, but he was a TERRIBLE ruler. In the great tradition of the Czars he had no concern at all for those under him. The Revolution and what followed was a bloody mess but he needed to go, and on some level his death was deserved. If it wasn’t for his looks and the way the whole family was massacred we’d have applauided it.

      • Tally Ho

        Yep. If Tsarina and the childreny had been allowed to slip away to exile in Switzerland and only the Tsar was imprisoned and killed, the Romanovs wouldn’t have turned into the saccharine teary-eyed tragic tale they are today.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

          or if they’d been a hard-eyed couple like the Kaiser and his wife, and their nonentity of a son.

    • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

      Next season, the new second housemaid will walk in to Downton Abbey and promptly burst into flames.

      Thanks for the guffaw boys.  But if we’re postulating whether or not this new maid’s tale of widowhood is true, I thought that when Lord Grantham told her her husband should be commended for what he’d done, she seemed as if she was not expecting to have to hear about him from the lord of the mannor.  Not to go full nerd on all of you, but it reminded me of when Mad Eye Moody showed Harry a picture of the original Order of the Phoenix.  It’s rather like being slapped, having to hear about your dead people from an unexpected source.  She looked like she was going to cry.

      And I really don’t give a god damn how cliche it can get or whatever, I love this show to pieces.  TO PIECES.

      • Ledasmom

        Oh, I’m assuming that she really did have a guy who was killed at the front; I’m just not sure they were actually married. They might not have had time to get a license and get married, for instance, before he had to go back.

    • lee66132000

      This was not a well written episode. One, I hated the changes Fellowes made to Branson’s character. His political beliefs have either been ridiculed in a previous episode and now, he has made Branson very unpopular with fans by his attitude toward the Romanovs. Mind you, I was never a fan of the Romanovs, due to their own actions. But look at how Branson is now detested by fans. Why did Fellowes to do this?  
      Branson is a Socialist, not a Communist. And why would the Romanovs’ death change his political views? Considering that the elite were responsible for the war and the violence in Ireland (something that is personal for Branson), I cannot see him changing his mind, due to the deaths of members of the Russian Royal Family.  This is why I refuse to dislike Branson.  I believe Fellowes made these changes, due to his own political beliefs (which I don’t share) and I feel as if I’m being manipulated.
      Why have William die at Downton Abbey? I found this plotline very illogical. If William had been injured that bad, chances are he would have died at a hospital in France. And Matthew’s condition would have been diagnosed by an Army doctor in France, not by Dr. Clarkson at Downton Abbey. The plotlines surrounding William and Matthew struck me as completely contrived.The worst moment? Both Daisy and Mary had moments of foreboding before both William and Matthew were wounded in battle. Talk about a bad cliche.How much further will the quality of “DOWNTON ABBEY” sink?

      • Anonymous

        With a bit of research, we could have heard Branson say that he had great hope when the Russian Revolution began, but when the Bolsheviks seized power & then murdered the Czar & his family, he was distressed by the unnecessary violence.  Nope, too difficult.  Branson’s purpose is to mention Socialism, Irish Nationalism & Conscientious Objection–then behave like an oaf.  Thus dismissing the topics that Lord Julian finds distasteful.  I don’t feel manipulated–but I feel that someone is trying to manipulate me.  Then again, I’ve seen better shows about the era & have even read a book or two.

        The title of the show is “Downton Abbey”–therefore, almost everything we see must happen there.  Why didn’t Edith become a Land Girl?  Why didn’t Sybil seriously pursue nursing?  Because either activity would have taken them away from Downton.  The show was forced to let us see a bit of wartime action but everything else takes place within or close by the Unnecessarily Large House.  Mary visited Ser Richard in London–but all we saw was his office.  No sight of London At War.  (Alas, I still hope to see London Bombed by Zeppelins. Just for the visuals, not for wishing harm to that great city! http://www.ww1-propaganda-cards.com/zeppelin_attacks(2).html )

        Of course William would have been made comfortable & allowed to die in France or a big hospital in England.  And Matthew would have been examined by a doctor who knew his ass from his elbow.  But it served the story for both of them to be trundled across the Channel & Up North…

        Next series Lord Julian won’t have to deal with that pesky War & he’ll have two feisty old ladies to write for.  Let’s hope he can come up with something coherent & amusing.  

    • Melissa Snyder

      “how ABSOLUTELY INSANE it is that Dr. Clarkson went straight to Lord Grantham to fill him in on Matthew’s sexual prospects, before talking about it to Matthew himself. That’s one doctor who knows exactly on which side his bread is buttered.”

      I thought it was also a neat way of highlighting Matthew’s emasculation. Doctors of that period would absolutely discuss female patients’ cases with their husband, father, or other male relative “guardian” before (or instead of) with the patient herself.

    • Susan Crawford

      My overall response to this episode was mostly positive. I liked the handling of the upstairs and downstairs wounded, Violet’s grandeur in overwhelming the vicar, Daisy’s coming-of-age as William dies, Lady Mary’s usual tightrope-walk of emotion as she welcomed Lavinia and then learned the truth about Matthew’s future, and the widening crack in Lord and Lady Grantham’s marriage as both become more and more preoccupied with their own concerns. But the writing and plotting is problematic. More hints of disasters to come, long-hidden secrets still to emerge, and power plays brewing and bubbling. Maybe too many hints that will lead to more delays and complications are the stuff of all drama, but Fellows is getting a little sloppy and a little soppy. I am in it, though, for the long haul – and for Dame Maggie, whose telephone scene was epic! Simply epic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202234220 Corinna Cornejo

      It just occurred to me: now, both Mary and Mathew are “damaged goods.” What a classically romantic-novel way of bringing them back together…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202234220 Corinna Cornejo

      It just occurred to me: now, both Mary and Mathew are “damaged goods.” What a classically romantic-novel way of bringing them back together…

    • Anonymous

      I think Lord Grantham is depressed.  Reading, reading, reading the action of the war he is not able to take action in, his house taken over by soldiers who have been brave in a war he is not allowed to be brave in, his estate yet again in danger (because, even if Matthew lives, what then?).  He perked up way too much when the new maid showed up– would have been more in character for him to ignore her.  I don’t think he was being deliberately too arrogant or whatever to attend William’s wedding;  I think it didn’t even get through the haze of sadness and hyper-thinking so that he could hear that it was happening.  And if it did, I bet it was replaced by visions of what attending Matthew’s funeral might be like. 

      And… I also heard Mr. Bates “I wish we had had a church wedding.”  Bigamy?

      • Anonymous

        I heard that too when re-watching the episode online at PBS.  I think time has passed, Bates is divorced, he married Anna, and Mrs. Vera Bates does not like it.  Hell hath no Fury.  Fellows did not make this very clear in the storyline but I do not see any bigamy just a very poor script for following the actual time line. 

        Then again, I am an American so what do I know?

        • Anonymous

          Poor writing.  Bates & Anna have not married yet.  That religious wedding they were discussing would be impossible; even with a divorce, Bates can only have a civil ceremony.  But it was a chance to show off a beautiful church & I enjoy Building Porn, even when Lord Julian shows he has a problem with verb tenses….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

      Possible overlap with Walking Dead! Yikes

      DA will be shown on the 2/12 and 2/19.

      WD starts the 2nd mini-season on 2/12.

    • lee66132000

      There were two moments when both Daisy and Mary became instinctively aware that William and Matthew had been seriously injured.  And I must admit . . . I found those moments to be incredibly wince inducing.  Really, Mr. Fellowes?  Was it really necessary to inject such infantile and cliched storytelling in your series?

    • Anonymous

      Violet has all the best one liners. What a hoot she is!Kind of tired of the Sybil and the chauffeur, same conversation, did they ever really show us that she is crazy in love with him that she would choose him over her life? It seems like it’s just him lecturing her every week. Maybe they did and I just don’t remember, but it’s not too interesting. I’m not feelin it. I also understand that they want to stop Vera from spilling the beans, but if she knows the story many others do also, so it’s probable it will come out regardless, so that needs to go forward and be finished.

    • http://twitter.com/mk_patter mkpatter

      I did a rewatch of this season and I totally agree about Lord Grantham! He is acting like such a spoiled little child. No wonder his wife and daughters don’t want to spend any time with him, they’re actually looking for ways to keep busy, and actually being useful!

    • Anonymous

      I cannot fucking BELIEVE the storyline with Daisy. Every single time it comes up it completely horrifies me. This poor, silly, relatively unintelligent girl who has spent her entire life taking orders gets bullied and shoved into going along with a romance she has no interest in–or no serious interest, no further than a sort of “this boy likes me, that’s interesting,” the kind of interest that can wane after a couple of conversations–and every time she clearly voices her desire to get out of this terrible situation no one wants to hear it. I was infuriated that they gave her the teacup moment, because what it says is that if you just bully a girl into pretending to love the guy everyone wants her to, it’ll just happen. No need to listen to what she clearly says she does and does not feel or want.

      I find it hard enough to let a guy down under the best of circumstances. I can hardly imagine being in the situation that Daisy’s in. Once she was as stuck as she was by the end of this episode, it didn’t surprise me that she went through with it, and it especially didn’t surprise me that she stayed by his bed–after all, she’d just married him, and she clearly has a strong sense of duty and loyalty. That same sense of duty was what made her keep trying to be honest with him, and we saw her loyalty to Mrs. Patmoore last season.

      But she should never have been forced into the situation to begin with. Ugh, I want to break something.

      ETA: I suppose I should say I’m generally pretty happy with where the plot seems to be going, and I thought this was a good episode in most other respects (I really need Anna to get her head together, this is just ridiculous). I don’t hate the show, I just hate THIS.

    • http://michjeff-quiltersparadise.blogspot.com/ Michelle Young

      Well, I’ve been saying for the past few episodes that it’s time for a murder, and Vera is it!

      • Anonymous

        This is a US Speed board & it’s a good idea to only post about things that have been shown over here so far….

        • Anonymous

          Jeez. The first post seemed like honest speculation, but yours reads more like it might be an actual spoiler.

    • donna ayres

       He did arrange for the flowers for Daisy.

    • Anonymous

      Matthew still hands functioning hands and a mouth, sheesh. These people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537930483 Thomas Warren Drury

      I was so pissed off when William died. He was my favorite :-( Adorable, sweet, and just the right amount of clueless to be endearing.