DA S2E5: Nothing a Blow to the Head Won’t Fix

Posted on February 06, 2012

We suppose it would be a bit obnoxious to start this review off with a long, healthy round of belly laughter, wouldn’t it? Because there was quite a bit of sustained belly laughter last night when they tried to foist a blow-to-the-head-causing-amnesia plot on us. The singing was bad enough a couple episodes back, but now they’re diving confidently into a pool of 70-year-old soap opera tropes.

Or were they? We would like to say that the writing left things tantalizingly open on the question of P. Gordon’s identity, but come on. He was introduced, dropped a bomb, and then was dispensed with, all within 60 minutes’ time. We confess, we don’t understand the point of this character at all — and it left us QUITE annoyed that Julian Fellowes would try to return to the inheritance-drama well when that question consumed all of the first season and had been pretty much put to bed. But there was Matthew, bitterly informing the family that his faux-replacement was,  “not very pretty, of course. But he can walk around the estate on his own two legs and sire a string of sons to continue the line.”  And there was Mary, weepy at the thought of Matthew having to deal with this on top of everything else and viciously lashing out at Edith for wanting desperately to believe it. “What a stupid thing to say!” So what does the presence of P. Gordon and his curiously muppet-like affect do for the story? We already know Matthew is bitter about being a paralyzed, impotent Earl of Grantham. We already know that Robert is distressed that his heir will not have heirs of his own. We already know that Mary carries a torch for Matthew. And we already know that Edith is desperate for someone to love her and if she needs to imagine that an angry muppet might not only love her but can make her the future Countess of Grantham, she’ll happily throw all common sense overboard. At episode’s end, P.Gordon was gone, Edith was still hungry for love, Mary was still pining for Matthew, and Matthew was still miserable and stuck in his chair. P. Gordon’s entire existence changed the status quo not one bit and told us nothing we didn’t already know about all the people involved – except that many of them are disturbingly willing to consider a story as ridiculous as P. Gordon’s Canadian-causing blow to the head. A total narrative waste of time – and a very silly one, to boot.

But wait! Not content to throw merely one ancient soap opera cliche into the mix, Fellowes threw a second one at us as Matthew sprung a secret, surprise, Grantham-line-affirming woody. Or something. All we know is, Matthew felt a tingle somewhere down below and that means he’ll be sprinting across the grounds by the end of the next episode. We reserve the right to laugh even harder next week when that happens. Thank goodness Lavinia stumbled back into their lives. If Matthew starts getting erections and Lavinia’s not around to applaud them, the next thing you know, Mary’ll be falling into his arms and then an entire plotline will be happily wrapped up. But that’s not going to happen, of course. And to be honest, we probably wouldn’t want it to happen that way, anyway. Fulfilled, happy, requited love is narrative death in a serial drama and we should all get used to the idea that if Mary and Matthew ever get together, it’ll be after several more roadblocks and narrative right turns are put in front of them.

We didn’t actually think Cora would be one of the people putting those roadblocks up, though. Robert was livid with her for inviting Lavinia to dinner, calling her “curiously unfeeling” for it. Frankly, we thought he was being a jerk – and that seems to be his character arc this season, which can be summed up as “I’m an Earl, dammit!” He’s mopey and cranky most of the time, never seems to have anything to do except whine about social engagements his wife keeps canceling. We’re not sure where this is going either, but whatever the point of this arc, it’s making him look quite a bit less likable than he was last season. He wasn’t allowed a shot of glory on the battlefield, so he’s spent the entirety of the war sulking about it, even as everyone else in his family pitched in to help. And now he’s making eyes at a housemaid who, we suddenly realized last night, looks quite a bit like a younger version of his wife. Ooooh, you dirty dog – and we don’t mean that adorable lab.

Was Cora “curiously unfeeling” for inviting Lavinia? Maybe, but she clearly loves Matthew and he clearly loves her. If anything, we think Robert was the unfeeling one for thinking Matthew’s injury was a chance for Mary and him to reconcile, tossing his actual fiancee aside. Sure, Cora had ulterior motives, but “I want my daughter to have children and a normal life,” isn’t the worst thing in the world for a mother to feel and inviting a recuperating man’s fiancee to the house isn’t the worst thing in the world to do. The only reason her actions looked bad is because they were prodded by Sir Richard’s words. He’s made the leap from slightly threatening character to full-on villainy, coming awfully close to assaulting Mary right there in the hall. We all knew the second Mary told him about Pamuk that it would be the undoing of her. There’s no way of getting out of this engagement without a huge price to pay.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bates is, in his words, “a stupid, stupid, stupid man” and we find ourselves nodding our heads vigorously in agreement. This is ridiculous and it’s straining all credulity that:

A) A servant with as much baggage as Bates would continue to have a high-ranking position in a great house, since he constantly seems to be flirting with various forms of scandal, from jail time to a scheming wife willing to destroy the House of Grantham, and

B) That a woman with as much common sense as Anna would spend all her time and energy fussing over him.

We can’t say we’re a bit surprised by Vera Bates’ death. In retrospect, she was one of those characters created to come in, stir up the pot, and then die, leaving the pot permanently stirred in her wake. Of course we’re supposed to think Bates did it and of course the police will think the same thing, which means he gets to tell Anna about even more problems that will keep them apart. We’re kind of hoping she throws her hands in the air and says “You know what? I’m probably better off with Thomas. Or maybe I’ll just put some yarn on my head and become a bitter spinster ladies maid.”

And speaking of O’Brien, there’s something a bit odd about how she’s constantly interjecting herself into Bates’ and Anna’s conversations, listening in and asking questions about the state of their relationship. At first we thought she was going to start trouble – and maybe she still is, since she’s heard some things that could easily get Bates arrested – but we swear we’re detecting a sense of … concern? This could be totally off-base, but the second Vera’s death was announced by Anna, we checked O’Brien’s reaction because our first thought was that she’d done it. That doesn’t seem likely because how would she have gone down to London without anyone noticing? Still, we can’t shake the idea that she knows something about Vera’s death and that she’s had more contact with her than we know about.

In other news, Isobel has gone from being a somewhat likable character into something the two Countesses of Grantham have to “deal with.” “She’s such a martyr,” whines Cora. Maybe, but unlike Cora she doesn’t see the end of the war as the end of her responsibility to help out. And her line about “a life of changing clothes and shooting things” being out of fashion and useless was obnoxious, but it was also quite prophetic. That lifestyle will be largely extinct by the end of the following world war.

Carson looks to be leaving Downton, a prospect that chills us as if we lived there ourselves. It just wouldn’t seem like Downton without him. Granted, Haxby Park is an even more jaw-dropping home than Downton is, but that wouldn’t matter much to Carson, except in the sense that employment in an extravagant home gives him reason to be proud. But Downton more than gives him that and we wonder if he’ll be able to go through with it.

Come to think of it, “I wonder if he/she will go through with it” can pretty much apply to every single character and situation at this point. We’re enjoying the show – even the silly parts – but there’s a feeling of narrative wheel-spinning; the same questions being asked over and over again with little forward advancement.

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]

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  • Christine Marie

    Yawn. I’d much rather watch Revenge. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/janet.selman Janet Selman

    So, I’ve hung in & loved every episode of Downton, but this one was a bit much even for me.  My main thought the entire time was, “Aw, C’MON!”

    “Aw, C’MON!” Isobel is so dumb that she really believes the family would not want the house back at the end of the war?
    “Aw, C’MON!” Isobel is so flighty that they can distract her away like a cat with a new toy by dangling something else shiny?
    “Aw, C’MON!” Really??!? The amnesia thing?  The maybe-not-a-real cousin thing?
    “Aw, C’MON!” Did they really need to have Bates snidely comment that his life would be better if his wife was dead? Did they think we were so dumb that we wouldn’t get the point that he’ll be under suspicion otherwise?
    “Aw, C’MON!” Vanishing paralysis ploy?!

    And having watched Manor House, I’m fairly convinced now that Bates, Anna, Daisy and even William (posthumously, perhaps) would have been sacked for daring to have private feelings anyway. Not that I’m looking for period accuracy so much.

    In other news, point made about Ethel’s martyrdom vs. new maid’s heroic widowhood.  Do something different with Ethel or dump her.

    Only I something I care about deeply can make me this angry. I feel like I am chiding a much-loved child :(

    • Anonymous

      I’m finding the Ethel subplot really boring. How many times are we going to see Mrs. Hughes bring her food and lecture her about how naughty she’s been? We get it already. Maybe the plot will turn Dickensian and Ethel will do herself in, leaving Mrs. Hughes to find a home for the enormous baby orphan. (Seriously, is that baby on growth hormones?) 

      • Anonymous

         The enormous baby orphan mystified me last episode. I always have trouble figuring out how much time has passed between episodes. This week when the baby was first onscreen, my husband said, “Isn’t that kid in college yet?”

      • Anonymous

        Oh, yes, in total agreement. Ethel’s a waste of time. And I was wondering when food rationing would be brought up; all that food disappearing had to be noticed. But I’ll admit, I don’t want to stop watching! Even though I feel as though I’m sliding toward disappointment on the huge wave of soap (opera) bubbles…

        • Ledasmom

          I’m assuming either Ethel or the baby will die. It’s really the only reason for them to still be there.

          • Anonymous

            Hmmm, we do have a flu epidemic coming up . . . I didn’t have Ethel marked as its required victim, but who knows?

          • Anonymous

             Maybe Ethel gets it and Mrs. Hughes infects Cora?

          • Anonymous

            That’s true–that’s what’s wrong with Cora in the previews next week, isn’t it?  She has the flu.  Maybe it kills of Jane,  since she is in the Spinal Tap drummer second-maid position.

        • Anonymous

          Food rationing wasn’t really that much of an issue on those large estates. They were pretty self-sufficient food-wise.

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

             In regards to produce and dairy, yes they had some self-sufficiency especially being in the countryside. Meat was harder to get but available. Sugar was scarce because the war cut off supplies.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe they keep bringing up Ethel to show young girls of the current generation just how bad you can ruin your life by getting pregnant.  Ethel had such big plans.  She was going to BE somebody.  Now she’s pathetic.  I see it as Fellowes getting preachy – “Be careful not to end up this way, young girls of today!” 
        Of course, I highly doubt that many young girls are watching this show – doesn’t seem to be the target audience, heh.

        • Anonymous

          For what it’s worth, my two teenage daughters and all their friends are watching D.A.

          • Anonymous

             A million years late, but I’m 23 (female) and many of my friends are watching it. Doesn’t mean we see that so much as a “don’t you get pregnant” warning as a “stupid norms about marriage are stupid” parable, but everyone will think what they like, anyway.

      • Anonymous

        I have a thought here to wrap things up neatly. How about Ethel mysteriously dies, Matthew and Mary fling off their relative fiance/es, and they adopt the child as their own to be the male heir of Downton Abbey…

        And yes, the enormous child was perplexing. One scene Ethel is flirting in her fitted maid’s uniform, and the next she has a four-year-old on her lap.

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

          Probably could not be done. Most entailments recognized only male children born in wedlock. Adopted children or bastards had no standing in those cases.

          • Anonymous

            Even today, the best an adopted child of a nobleman can hope for is the  courtesy style of a younger son or daughter. I find that kind of amusing, really. Like anyone even cares  about titles these days, much less courtesy styles. Pippa Middleton’s dating the heir to one of the oldest dukedoms in the UK belonging to a family that has its roots dating to the 11th century but he’s still just called plain old  George Percy.

      • Anonymous

        They did waste scant time replaying the same Ethel-Mrs. Hughes scene 4-5 times during the last 2 episodes, didn’t they?

        I also thought it was absurd that no one would think that the dead major’s parents would love to know that they had a grandchild. They might try to buy off Ethel to give him up and leave, but this might be an option she would consider.

    • Anonymous

      “Only I something I care about deeply can make me this angry. I feel like I am chiding a much-loved child :(”

      Well, perhaps you want that kid to get better grades next semester.  You know he’s capable of better work.  Why is he acting so stupid?

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

      To be a true soap opera, they can either:
      - Restore cousin Patrick’s memory with a swift hit on the head with a frying pan. It always works on sitcoms!
      Or
      - Reveal “cousin Patrick” is nothing but his evil twin or scheming lookalike.

  • Anonymous

    So who will Carson be true to?  His new master or Mary?

    • Anonymous

      You have any doubts? He’s only going to smooth the way for Mary.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence. I feel like every Sunday night things happen but we don’t go anywhere. a cart stuck in the mud. The whole Mary and Matthew saga is so drained. At this point he seems like he only has eyes for Lavinia.

  • Anonymous

    Aaron Spelling must be rolling in his grave wishing he could’ve written this one.

    Last night the big bell was ringing on the Cheese-o-meter. Amnesia, plus turning Canadian, plus instant cure after another pop on the head plus English Patient burns? Come ooooooon.. Most of the time Edith was making googly eyes at Patrick-is-he-or isn’t-he-Crawley, I kept thinking Burning Man on American Horror Story. The plotline was just as loony and the character just about as appealing.

    I so dislike what they’ve done to Isobel. Sure, she was always a bit bossy, but there was a warmth and integrity to her as well. Now, she’s turned into an annoyingly self-righteous bore who is easily snowballed by the Dowager. Not cool and much less interesting.

    Lord Grantham eyeing the second parlor maid? Did we really have to add potential adultery to the cheese whiz last night? Plausibility is a problem for me here; I really fail to see any charms there other than easy availability. Is Grantham now going to turn into shallow lord-of-the-manor after they spent so much time building him up as the uber noble, good-hearted aristocrat all last year?

    I hope Bates killed the Missus because putting him on trial would certainly be more interesting than what’s going on in that quarter. But I doubt it.

    The one bright spot is that the Crawley penis may be showing signs of life? Let’s hope so, free willy! Watching various women roll Matthew around on his wheelchair as he tries to convince them how much he doesn’t want them there is going to get very tiresome, very soon. We need that penis in action.

    Thank God for Maggie Smith’s lines. It’s the only thing that kept me going last night.

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

    I’m going to bring in someone you didn’t mention. The only character with much depth (or at least much dimension) is Sir Richard. He’s slimy, calculating, and a social climber, but once in a while he shows a glimmer of actual sensibility. His “Shall we give the house a new chapter?” was the remark of a man with some feeling- even though it seems he’s thin skinned and more than a little possessive. I have my theories, but speculation is spoilerish.

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

      There’s half a paragraph on Sir Richard.

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

        Sorry- I was reading this while half asleep…but I’ll stand by my opinion. He’s a villain, but at least he has some complexity. I get the feeling that he’d be a perfectly decent husband as long as nothing ever happened to anger him.

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

          We confess, we’re a little surprised that some people think he might not be a villain. He shoved Mary up against the wall, threatened her with ruin if she didn’t do exactly as he says, and then forced a kiss on her, much against her will. Those are the actions of a classic soap opera villain.

          • Anonymous

            Psst, TLo, I don’t know how to contact you privately but want to point out that I think you wrote “yard” when you meant “yarn” above. 

          • http://twitter.com/democracydiva Democracy Diva

            not to mention a classic RAPEY SCARY FREAK.

          • Anonymous

            Yes — it felt very rapey to me.  And, from the look on Mary’s face, to her as well.

          • Anonymous

            Sir Richard may be a villain but he is a likable villain. I would take Sir Richard over Matthew any day. Part of it is the war injury but Matthew is showing too much self-pity for my taste.  Mary and Sir Richard are made for each other.  Remember that Mary threw herself at the Duke of Crowborough in the hopes of becoming a Duchess and out ranking her mother and grandmother. There is a lot of Aunt Rosamund in Lady Mary.

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

            Sir Richard would be a step down for her – and far below her mother’s station. 

            We would think a lifetime spent paralyzed, with no possibility for sexual fulfillment or having children would give most people the right of a little self-pity.

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

            I think it’s a testament to the acting skills of Iain Glen that he’s carrying off what could be a one-note villain with such nuance that everyone doesn’t hate him through and through. He’s deplorable, yet also oddly charming. I think he really does love Mary and it’s not just a ploy for her good name and rank. He understands and fears the emotional pull of Matthew, even though M is not at all a physical threat in his condition; and he’s willing to hire Mr. Carson to run his household, even though Carson is squarely on Mary’s side and would not be an ally for Sir Richard. I would have thought he’d want his own “man” in charge in order to keep an eye on things and be counted on to report back directly to him. He’s clearly always going to want his own way and will do what it takes to get it – so yes, he’s a snake – but he’s not a black hole in the way Vera was.

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

            We agree with all of that, for the most part. But you can still be in love with someone and be more or less a villain. It’s true that he’s facing real threats to his impending marriage, but throwing his fiancee up against the wall and threatening to ruin her life takes him over a line, we think. A nuanced villain, as you say, and in some ways a relatable one, but still a villain.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, didn’t he say, “Don’t ever cross me,” before he forcibly kissed her? Creepy. Run away, Mary!

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

             Oh, totally agree, he’s a villian. But at least he’s not a one-note.

          • Anonymous

            “you can still be in love with someone and be more or less a villain” — this is straight out of the Soap Opera playbook too. He reminds me of that nightmarish ginge Soames in FORSYTE SAGA.

            My hope is that next week Lavinia’s evil twin will show up.

          • Anonymous

            I think Richard is attracted to Mary for the same reason so many people have been attracted to a person who ends up being a poor choice for a relationship.  He’s attracted to what he sees as her fire and strength and independence, something he might not be able to find in another marriageable woman of her station in this time period.  But those same qualities will maker her more difficult to control, and he does want to be the one in charge.  I think the two of them could carry on a searing illicit affair for years that would keep them both happy if he would settle for marrying a mousey, complacent titled lady instead.

          • Anonymous

            Regarding Matthew, I agree if this were the Real World Motel but we are in the Dynasty, Dallas & Downton Motel.

            I think Mary, like Aunt Rosamund, sees that money is power in what will be a new World order.  Mary commented about the potential fall of great families in an earlier episode this season and stated that it would not happen to her or something like that. 

            What I am trying to say is that Mary can be just as calculating and ruthless as Sir Richard.

          • Anonymous

             Sir Richard is a classic control freak.  And it’s very telling that he is so threatened by a man in a wheelchair.  And it has nothing to do with sexual infidelity, of course.  I think he knows there is something fundamentally missing in his nature that no woman is ever going to respond to him with the kind of unforced affection and connection like he was witnessing.  He may have a fantasy about a happy home life and being a good husband and having an adoring wife, but it’s like alien territory for him, and the only way he knows to get it is through money, manipulation, and intimidation.  And make no mistake, the fantasy has nothing to do with any feelings towards Mary, at ALL.  That “I want to be a good husband, but don’t cross me” says it all.  That’s one bleak start to a relationship.

          • Anonymous

            It just goes to show that Paul McCartney was right, money can’t buy you love.

          • Anonymous

            Doesn’t Sir Richard utter the line “should I be worried?” a few times about Mary, once when he is watching Mary pushing Matthew in his wheelchair and later when P. Gordon’s claim as being Patrick comes up?  Easily threatened indeed.  

          • Anonymous

            Yes, but he also sees how different Mary’s cool affect is with Matthew – she actually laughs, not just smiles coldly.

          • Anonymous

            Yes, he’s definitely a villain. I’m just having a hard time hating him because I love Iain Glen as Ser Whatshisface on Game of Thrones (too much time has passed for my middle aged brain for any name recall).  Really, the baby dragons from 1000 year-old eggs on GoT were more believable than this entire episode of DA.

          • Anonymous

            Though to be fair, in any soap opera there’s also a 50/50 chance that half a season later he’d morph into a mad/bad/dangerous-to-know troubled love interest (assuming they’d cast a handsome actor).

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

            I was so sure there would be a servant on the other side of the doorway, eavesdropping on that threat…or Sybil or Edith or someone…

          • Anonymous

            Ironically, they’re also the actions of a classic romance novel hero. At least in the old vein,  back before beta (or at least  not so aggressively alpha) male heroes became popular (thanks, Julia Quinn :D). Shoving, forced kisses, spankings, and even rape were common.

        • Anonymous

          I think he stepped over the line into villainy last night by essentially blackmailing Mary into marrying him. I know plenty of marriages in that era were not love matches, but this is another thing altogether. It is too bad, too, because you’re right in that he could be more interesting than straight-up villain. He is a good look at where status is heading in the new post-war era.

          • Anonymous

            Except I think she knew she HAD to marry him (if he wanted her) when she asked him to help with Vera Bates. I walked away from that scene thinking she knew she was locked in & any other outcome was her indulging herself in a fantasy.

          • Anonymous

             That’s true. She sealed her fate when she told him about the Mrs. Bate blackmail scheme. I guess the scene in last night’s episode served to showcase his true nature.

        • Anonymous


          I get the feeling that he’d be a perfectly decent husband as long as nothing ever happened to anger him.” That’s hardly a glowing recommendation!

    • Anonymous

      I agree. That remark made him a little more interesting to me. Let’s hope they do not turn him into a cartoonish villain. But after last night’s episode, I have my doubts on that score.

      • Anonymous

        I think they are all being turned into cartoons.  I just couldn’t watch the Canadian-English-Patient saga.  
        I actually agree with you and Eric –I find Sir Richard to be one of the more interesting characters.  He is the only one we see who occupies an outsider’s perspective on the aristocracy, and probably is intended to embody the “strivers” who want to buy, cheat, and steal their way into the upper classes, even now. Of course, I think some would characterize Fellowes that way too.

        • Anonymous

           Especially when he started yelling, “You don’t recognize me!”  I completely get that frustration, but you look like a Muppet. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/M476USE6GD6VEE4RO6JA22VRLI Kriesa

      I don’t know that I’d say he’s the ONLY character with depth, but I’m glad to hear someone else who doesn’t think that Sir Richard is 100% villain. He seems like more of a Rhett Butler-type character to me (and Matthew is definitely falling into being a boring Ashley).

      • Anonymous

        Exactly!

      • Anonymous

        It doesn’t hurt that he’s smoking hot in that domineering “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” kind of a way.

      • Lies L.

        I don’t mind him either. He’s depicted as the villain because middle class social climbers are the villains in this show, but essentially he’s a guy who has worked for what he has and is desperate for that which he can’t buy – respectability, a link with the aristocracy, etc. I mean, I think his actions were awful and he’s not the kind of guy to marry, but I do agree he has complexity. 

      • Anonymous

        I thought of Gone With the Wind with that house-touring last night, too! Except I said that Mary is Scarlett O’Hara without the charm, which doesn’t leave much but cheekbones and brunette curls.

    • http://twitter.com/mirrormirrorxx Paola Thomas

      One of the reasons he has depth is that his character is loosely based on real-life newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook – a self-made man who rose to astonishing wealthy and political influence on the back of his newspapers. Sort of the Rupert Murdoch of his day, but with a few more scruples.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Aitken,_Lord_Beaverbrook

       

  • Anonymous

    I’ve decided that Patrick is really Anastasia….I know Downton is a step down from the Winter Palace, but one has to make sacrifices during wartime and revolution..

    • Anonymous

      Brilliant!

  • Anonymous

    LOL@ free willy!!!

  • Arin McGraw

    I totally think Thomas had something to do with Vera’s death…the way he talked about getting some money and Vera just so happened to have the money from Bates.

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

      Hmmmm, I thought it was O’Brien who had something to do with it, but it would be cool if Thomas did it (though why would he?), and O’Brien had a pang of conscience and blurted out the truth, saving Bates and dooming her buddy Thomas. 

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

       I think it was Sir Richard- Vera’s story was a major threat to Mary, and thus a threat to him.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, if she was done in I’m for Sir Richard. He’s digging the moat around the moving-up-from-”made his money in Trade” castle. He’s got the aristocratic wife and the country manor house on a string, it’s time to clean up loose ends.

        • Anonymous

          Personally, I think it was suicide made to look like murder.

          • Anonymous

            Would she have gone so far as to kill herself just to frame her husband?  There is another plot convenience waiting to happen.

          • Anonymous

            Not just to frame her husband.  But if she were otherwise at the end of her tether, she might decide to do so.  I’ve no doubt she blames him for everything wrong in her life.  Other people have done (or tried to do) it:  http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11043/1124999-56.stm  And let’s not forget the Sherlock Holmes story, The Problem of Thor Bridge, which involved a woman committing suicide but making it look like murder to frame her rival.

          • Anonymous

            Or “Leave Her to Heaven”!

          • Anonymous

            In the previews for next week there was a clip of Bates saying something about arsenic.  Could be suicide; could be murder.  Why would Vera commit suicide?  A sudden guilty conscience?  Naw.  Richard or one of his operatives confronting her and telling her to knock it off or else?  Perhaps, if she felt her life was hopeless after that.  Who would have the opportunity to slip arsenic in her food/drink?  We’ll probably come to find out that any number of people had.  At least there’s something suspenseful going on.

          • Anonymous

            If it was arsenic poisoning, I don’t see Bates as the murderer.  Hitting her with a blunt object, either in the midst of a quarrel or deliberately … maybe.  But I don’t see him slipping her poison in her tea.

          • Anonymous

            Gosford Park mined 2-3 classic Agatha Christie plots, so I look forward to seeing which one gets plundered next week on Downton Abbey.

          • Anonymous

            I hadn’t thought of that (suicide intended to frame Bates) but she’s certainly been made out to be that unhinged.

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

             Arsenic is NOT the drug of choice for suicide- it is slow acting and painful. Anyone aware of the effects would only use it if they had no other choice or if they had a desire for self punishment. Even with a heavy dose it can take days to die.

      • Anonymous

        Yes! I had not thought of that , but it is very true. Also he could frame Bates too, and not care a whit.

  • Anonymous

    I ordered S2 from the UK and have been DYING to see what you boys would say when about all of the annoying sh*t that is season 2 (in my opinion) but specifically the what-the-f*ckery that is the character of P. Gordon. HAHAHA! I KNEW you guys would think it was insane. 

    Hang in there for the Christmas episode that PBS is airing as the last episode.It is almost as if Fellowes listened to the media in the UK and “fixed” the show in two hours by not having a lot of stupid crap happen. 

    • Anonymous

       Awww, I kind of feel for Daisy. After dabbling in asshole-itude with Thomas last season, she swore to be straight arrow. Then she got railroaded into marrying William when she didn’t want to, which makes her (in her eyes) a fraud in the eyes of God and the gov’t. Not that I think the Daisy guilt thing is going anywhere, but I do feel bad for her.

      • Anonymous

        I find her annoying, but I think it’s mostly because they aren’t [yet] DOING anything with all this moral angst she’s feeling. I know the servants all work 15 hours a day, but I want to see something interesting – not just annoying – in her behavior or plot come out of her moral struggle.

        And I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone hasn’t said to her “well, if you feel like making a dying man feel like something in his life is worthwhile is so wrong, take the money and use it to help his father, or someone else who’s suffering because they lost someone in the war who’s worse off than you are. Make some good out of the situation.”

    • sweetlilvoice

      I have the DVDs too and just noticed there is a Christmas episode. I hope it’s an improvement! Thanks for the heads up.

      Daisy and Mrs. Padmore need a slap……I feel sorry for both of them.

  • Anonymous

    Last night was so soapy.  I love it!  I can’t help myself.  It had it’s problems, for sure, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying the soap high.

    I did give a side-eye to Amnesia!Not!Patrick.  His whole story was so ridiculous, it’s amazing anyone bought it.  I also didn’t care for the subplot with Isobel.  What has happened to her this season?  And how could she not tell Cora and the Dowager were pulling a fast one on her?  Didn’t make sense.

    The part that made me laugh hardest was Carson using a ruler to set the table.  HA!  Never change, Carson.  Never change.

    Glad to see Matthew’s business is back in working order (or will be soon anyway).  I figured (as did pretty much everyone else) that would be the case.

    Does Lavinia think for herself?  She left because Matthew told her to.  She came back because Richard told her to.  Me thinks this poor girl is going to be in over her head.

    • Anonymous

      And look at that red dress that Mary is wearing in the shot with Richard above? And that black lacy sleeved number she wore when she asked Carson to move to the new house? How can you not keep watching for Mary’s costumes?

      • Anonymous

        I hated that red dress! I need the costume designers to burn it so I never have to see it again! I love Mary’s clothes but that dress was awful. I hated it worse than the silly plot lines that were strewn all over the place last night.

    • Anonymous

       What, like all of you DON’T use a ruler when setting the table?!  ;)

      • Anonymous

        HA!  It just reminded me of my younger brother when we were kids.  I remember back in middle school when we had to take a home economics class as part of a rotation of electives.  We learned about how the plate is supposed to be something like an inch away from the edge of the table (I can’t really remember, and I’m too lazy to look it up).  My brother took that shit seriously back then.  He’ll still bring it up at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He remembers EVERYTHING.

      • Anonymous

        I am amazed to remember that while I never actually *used* it, as a child I was given a paper sample place setting to follow when I was learning to set the table and it had the distances between items marked off. I’d forgotten that completely.

    • http://dentsdelait.tumblr.com/ Nancy Marion

       I second your emotion about Thomas-as-Eye-Candy. RRROW! He was fun when he was pure villain, but I like him even more that he’s developing extra dimensions. Besides, HOT.

    • Anonymous

      I think the ruler made an appearance in Gosford Park, too.

      Although I think Carson has been getting awful sloppy and familiar with the Lord (Grantham) and the rest of the family, for a supposedly-perfect butler. 

  • Anonymous

    Our household is in for the whole thing, hook, line and occasional stinker. We bought and were curious about the whole P. Gordon deal. It left us wondering whether this guy was who he said he was (but will never look like), especially because he kept pushing a bit too hard on the ‘but that will knock Matthew out’ sound of desire for the title. Haven’t we learned yet with DA that plot points are not always gone in an episode? There might be more to it.

    And we loved speculating on who did evil Mrs Bates in. Sure Mr B will be implicated – O’Brien’s overhearing the conversation and that nasty mark on his face doesn’t bode well for him. BUT he did share a train with evil Sir Richard, Mrs B did have dirty business with him… isn’t there a chance that he had her done in? And isn’t it possible that that will be the scandal that will help Mary leave his clutches…

    along with him likely bribe to little Lavinia to get her to return to Matthew? Just enough to muck things up as he’s starting to feel something ‘down there’?

    And Carson’s leaving DA makes perfect sense – because of his devotion to Mary. If you’re led by the emotion behind it all, it helps if the actions don’t seem all that reasonable.

    Still though, not getting the thing about Earl of G and the new Drummer maid. We don’t see him exchanging glances that might mean trouble – rather we think there’s something there about the whole war widow with a 12 year old in her closet – tied to Ethel’s plight and Daisy’s being adamant that she doesn’t deserve William’s widow benefit.

    Admittedly Cora is still an odd mix of a character and what they are doing to Isobel is a crime (we hope it has something to do with Penelope Wilton”s schedule on other projects that makes her pop in and out). But the set ups for Dame Maggie are priceless.

    • Anonymous

      The last time Isobel ran away from Cora’s passive-aggression, her absence allowed Wounded Matthew to become close to Mary once again. If she’d been at home, she would have assumed care of her son.  

      Perhaps some plot development next week will benefit from her second absence. Although I would think that Matthew still needs her. Oh, right. We aren’t supposed to “think.”   Just look at the pretty buildings, the pretty costumes & a few good performances….

    • Marie Dees

      Ah, but Bates only shared the train TO London with Sir Richard. Sir Richard drove back and arrived late. Bates walked back and no one expected him. So, something is up there.  Of course, it won’t be him. Mrs. B will have been done in by Professor Plum in the Library with the candlestick at this point. 

    • Anonymous

       Don’t forget that Bates said something to Lord Grantham about wishing her dead. Forget the exact quote. When he said that I thought, “Oooooh, he’s gonna regret saying that out loud.”

      I don’t think Grantham is making eyes at the maid. He’s a nice guy and she is a googly eyed around him. Something is going to happen there, but I wouldn’t doubt that she’s going to make trouble and he’s innocent. He’s alone with her a little too much. Could be the upshot of the Crawleys being so kind to the help and having it come back to bite them.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, what was Cora’s comment about women and men in uniform?  That could apply to the maid and her husband.

        • Anonymous

          She said it in the context of Ethel and Major Bryant.

          • Anonymous

            I know – my point was, it could ironically lead to the same situation with the new maid and her husband in uniform.

    • Anonymous

      I’m certain that placing Carson at the other manse is a set-up for Sir Richard physically abusing Mary, and Carson rescuing her.

  • Anonymous

    The English Patient, I mean, Patrick thing irked me not because of the amnesia, but because it’s not like he would have been *that* unrecognizable.  Yeah, his face was burned–but it’s not like he had new eyes, and his profile wasn’t too messed up, and he had the same voice and build.  It’s not like they’d not met him previously.

    • Anonymous

      Also, one doesn’t acquire an accent (or lose one) in adulthood so easily. Speech gets set in childhood, so even if it really *is* cousin Patrick, he would still presumably have a British accent. (Unless the amnesia wiped that out as well? I suppose one could make a case for that, but it’s so over-the-top corny. We’re to believe he woke up in Canada with a Canadian accent?) Also, the one thing that hasn’t changed are P. Gordon’s eyes, and I don’t know about y’all, but that’s what I remember about people most — especially people I love. Truly, none of it made any sense.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed about the accent.  That’s like saying if an English speaking amnesiac woke up in Uzbekistan or some other foreign country that he would be speaking that language.

        And he had mentioned knowing things that only Patrick would have known yet only mentioned vague, obvious things like playing in the garden and a stern governess, which, as Mary said, anyone could have guessed at.  Why didn’t he speak of specific events and people and places that, even if he had been acquainted with the real Patrick, an imposter wouldn’t have known of.

        The one telling thing was while he was speaking with Robert he made a gesture across his lips that seemed to catch Robert’s eye and caused him to ask “Patrick” where he had learned to do that.  Patrick didn’t seem to know what he meant and Robert didn’t pursue it so it leads me to believe it was a gesture the real Patrick was known to have done, done unconsciously it seems since he didn’t know what Robert was referring to, and since Robert really doesn’t want this guy to be “Patrick”, he dropped the subject.  But the seed has been planted in his mind and since we’ve had many episodes building Robert up as a man who does the “right” thing I think we’ll see this subject revisited.  Since in the end I fully expect Mary and Matthew to end up together at Downton Abbey poor Patrick will probably be killed off somehow so he doesn’t inherit but the truth will come out that he was the real heir.

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

          Re: the hand gesture across the mouth – that could easily have been a gesture/tick that the late Patrick Crawley did unconsiously that “P. Gordon” noticed and copied. Am reminded of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” where Matt Damon copies everything off the man he wishes he were. However, the accent issue certainly throws things off kilter. I would have thought if anything, he’d have retained a very subtle British accent with some Canadianisms thrown in. Much like Cora’s American accent with a hint of British owning to having lived there for 25+ years. So, if “P. Gordon” were faking, I would have thought he’d fake a British accent too. On the other hand, it’s easier to obscure who he is by having a whole new voice, accent and all. And, if he is a faker, did he give it up just because he liked Edith and thought she was too sweet to swindle? But if he were real, would he have given up so easily??

      • Anonymous

        Actually, there is a very rare psychological condition where after a head injury, a patient will pick up an accent.  It’s called irregular repetitive speech syndrome.  I was reminded of this when I was listening to Car Talk the other day and they were talking about it.  (O.K., it’s really rare, only 60 people have been documented with having this and I don’t think P.Gordon or Patrick will turn out to have it, but there you go.)

    • Anonymous

      Keep wondering if the new maid and this P. Gordon are in cahoots.

  • Anonymous

    Our bet is that Richard did more than ask or tell her to. He either bribed her or blackmailed her. Something gave that girl backbone and we think it has a $$ sign on it.

    • Anonymous

      I think that Poor Lavinia still loves Matthew.  And Ser Richard just used that affection to make her do his will….

      • Anonymous

        But that’s EXACTLY why Sir Richard’s marrying Mary.  That buy – vs.- inherit -  it’s the way they thought, there, at the time & I doubt Sir Richard got anything but affirmation of his decision to acquire Mary from her remark. (Americans thought noticeably differently because of our disaffected-riff-raff-of-many-countries origins.)

        • Anonymous

          Apparently it’s still an insult among certain British toffs to call someone “The kind of man who has to buy his own furniture.”   But it was more understandable then, when families like the Granthams genuinely felt that when they had stewarded their estates for generations (think back to season 1 and all those homilies from Lord Grantham about the entail), it was crass of Sir Richard to think he could buy everything they had without assuming their responsibilities as well.

          It seems odd that Fellowes gets these details down perfectly and yet messes the burned patient/missing heir story so badly.   They could have done something with Edith getting involved with a badly-wounded or shell-shocked officer or a missing heir, but the acting, the scripting, the makeup were atrocious.  All I could think of was if the part of his face that wasn’t bandaged looked like Freddie Kreuger, what did he look like under the bandages?

      • Anonymous

        Actually, my husband and I have inherited almost all our furniture. The only things we have bought are a couch and loveseat. Well, and my desk and chair. Ooo! Does this make me part of the English aristocracy?

      • Anonymous

        Actually, my husband and I have inherited almost all our furniture. The only things we have bought are a couch and loveseat. Well, and my desk and chair. Ooo! Does this make me part of the English aristocracy?

    • Anonymous

      Naw, I think she just really does love him – and with much of her generation dead or maimed in the war it’s not like she’s bombarded with distractions. Even Mary told her not to give up.

  • Anonymous

    And re: Sir Richard.  I can’t watch him without waiting for him to start schooling everyone in the ways of the Dothrakis.

  • laura Medeiros

    I want to know when will Ethel pick herself up move to another county and present herself as a widow? I mean its put in front of her every time we see her and the baby, what’s the difference between her and the new maid? The other one was married, but we never saw any of that. All of her references were from before she got married. All we have is her word on it. Ethel was at Downton for such a short period of time why not just pick up her old references and go?

    • Anonymous

      Mrs. Hughes even told her to go someplace else and reinvent herself.  But I don’t think she would be able to claim widow’s benefits from the government unless she was able to prove her marriage.  That’s not to say she can’t present herself as such to make herself more socially acceptable, but people may question her not receiving benefits if they got to know her well.

      • Anonymous

        Daisy doesn’t want her widow’s benefits, right?  Let Ethel move to London and pretend to be Daisy.  Problem solved.

        • Anonymous

          Hmm, could that work?  I can see Daisy doing that very willingly and I know recordkeeping wasn’t what it is today back then but it still would be tricky.  At the very least Ethel would need Daisy and William’s marriage records and William’s military records, and if she was claiming benefits for her child, his birth records.  When was the child born in relation to William’s death?  Of course she could just claim the widow’s benefit and let the child out of it but that would raise questions from those who got to know her well.  With all the other wacky plotlines going on, though, I can see this happening.

  • nykaren24

    I keep wondering if Carson will somehow “rescue” Mary from Sir Richard. They’ve set it up that Carson is very close to Mary and would do anything for her. I just hope it happens before she actually marries Carlisle.

     

    • Anonymous

      I think it would be a much more interesting show if Mary married Sir Richard and they established an effective, successful and possibly even affectionate partnership – and then have events throw up something big that highlights his ruthlessness and the difference between his moral code and, say, the Earl’s.  And Mary isn’t sure which side of the fence she is on, being (in my view) much more of an ‘ends justifies the means’ kind of gal who is determined to come out well in the coming new world than is her dad. ETA: But I don’t think that’s where the show is going.

      • Anonymous

        But I don’t think that’s where the show is going.

        Right.  Because that would be thought-provoking and nuanced, two words that do not appear to be in Fellowes’ vocabulary.

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

    I posted on FB that last night Downton Abbey jumped the shark, but maybe it was always on the wrong side of the aquatic carnivore, as it were. The amnesiac Canadian burn victim was just ludicrous, but maybe if that story line had been played out to some sort of meaningful end, it wouldn’t have been so eye rollingly bad. As it was, it just showed Edith to be a pathetic, naive person who would throw anyone under the bus for the first guy who paid any attention to her, even a lying melted  imposter Muppet. It’s just another reason for Mary to have contempt for her.

    The Bates/Anna story line is almost beyond salvage IMO. Is he really, really going to go to jail for killing Mrs. Bates? Or is O’Brien, at the last minute, going to reveal some crucial piece of info that exonerates him, completing her season-long character rehabilitation?  Matthew’s fire down below was totally predictable. Nothing more to say about that. The problem of Lavinia…. he could just dump her ass. It wouldn’t be like him, but it could happen. If Mary throws over Carlyle and he “ruins” her, will it really matter if she marries Matthew? No, but of course, she’ll probably dump Carlyle only to have Matthew reject her yet again, probably due to something Lavinia-related.

    I’m buckling my seatbelt for the Earl’s upcoming tryst with the new maid. Not looking forward to it, but it’s going to happen, I feel sure of it… completing his season-long disintegration as a likeable character. However, I am looking forward to Thomas getting busted for his black market dealings. That will be fun to watch.

    Not sure where the Ethel storyline or the Daisy storyline are going, if anywhere, but they were the least annoying parts of the episode.

    • Anonymous

      I think that the Earl is not so much becoming unlikable, but more he is being shown as useless.  A dinosaur of a fading age.  His character flaws (vanity, roving eye) seem to come out of irrelevancy rather than evil.

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

        I think you’re right. He took great pride in S1 that he considered himself a steward in care of the great estate for future generations, not an owner to do with it as he pleased. It was his “life’s work” – a concept he tried to instill in Matthew. So, the more things are taken out of his hands and control, the more he feels emasculated and useless. Add to that Cora’s “rise” in management, which he has not tried to control or diminish at all.

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

        Excellent observation!

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

        I think he is becoming both useless and unlikeable, though is by no means a villain. Just, as you say, a useless person who is grumpy and about to do something rather unpleasant.

  • http://twitter.com/magdalenebloom magdalenebloom

    While the whole “maybe he’s not really paralyzed” thing is really cheesy, I can almost understand how it could happen.  From the bruises they showed that were on his back he could have had enough trauma to the spinal cord to allow for temporary paralysis but as the swelling and bruising subside, the nerves start getting their signals through to the lower part of the body again.  It didn’t look like they used any x-rays on Matthew so how could the doctor know for sure that the spinal cord was transected? 

    • Anonymous

      I don’t mind that Matthew is suddenly having sensations down there.  I don’t think it’s implausible at all given the medical knowledge available at the time.  The show clearly set it up to be reversed later.  Clarkson said that all signs pointed to the spinal cord being severed, but how can he really know that without an MRI or an X-ray?  He was making a judgment call based on what he was able to observe, which was some heavy bruising and a lack of sensation below the waist.

  • Jessica Goldstein

    Here is the question, gentlemen. Did you first suspect that the heir would be restored when he mentioned feeling something? Or did you know the minute amnesia/mistaken identity entered the plot? In our house, my husband took one look at the bandaged and odd sounding (Muppet affect is a dead-on description) Peter G., laughed out loud, and said, “Matthew’s totally going to walk and have his _____ work again, isn’t he?”

    From my perspective, I can almost handle what the writing has done to Earl Grantham. I’m chalking it up to a mid-life crisis. But Isobel? That’s just awful in my book.

    • Anonymous

      I suspected the heir would be restored as soon as they said the Crawley penis wasn’t working; it was just a matter of wringing every bit of storyline out of the non-working penis that they could.  And if it was the penis that stirred last night, I thought it was hilarious that it happened while Bates was pushing his wheelchair and not one of the women who love him.

  • Anonymous

    I think Carson will go with Mary not only out of his devotion to her but out of a sense that she may need his protection.  Carson didn’t spend all these years in close proximity with both nobility and scoundrels to not have the ability to detect something not-quite-right in the Mary/Richard partnership.

  • Lauren Milne Henderson

    “there’s a feeling of narrative wheel-spinning; the same questions being asked over and over again with little forward advancement.”

    Believe me, in the UK we’re just treating it like a daytime soap now. And laughing at it accordingly. Fellows can’t plot and no one’s brave enough to tell him so.

    • Anonymous

      I thought all the episodes in this season had already been shown in the UK last year.  Are you saying it’s still on?

      • Anonymous

        There’s a season 3 coming.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSYAJATXUH3QX7ZDDF52GXG4PU Janie R

    Oh yeah, I didn’t see the death of Mrs Bates a mile away, and amnesia victim, disappearing paralysis? Angry evil American Republican type? I still love it tho!

  • http://twitter.com/VicksieDo VicksieDo

    The Patrick story was so ridiculous, even I didn’t believe him for a second.  I’m kind of gullible unfortunately :-).  Edith is such a fool. I did love how Mary just shot the whole thing down and Edith was all like “Oh, you think??” lol.  To wrap it up in one episode was annoying too.

    The only highlight was the awakening Crawley penis, and of course The Countess Dowager!  LOVE HER.  

  • http://twitter.com/marydoesnttweet Mary D

    I find it hard to question the point of certain narratives until we’ve seen the endgame of it all – or have you and you’re not telling us??!!  Evil.  In any event, no need to keep jumping to all these conclusions.  As Lord Grantham would say, “Good God Almighty!”

    Miss O’Brien is so confounding. I love redemption stories and the character arcs of this show, and next week’s preview indicates good stuff for her, but goodness will she ever stop scheming/eavesdropping.

    HATE the Lord Grantham making googly eyes at the maid storyline.  I REALLY hope this is one narrative that goes nowhere…

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

       Next thing we know, it will come out that Cora had an affair, and the child is…Thomas!

  • http://twitter.com/aStudiobytheSea a Studio by the Sea

    I watched the original Upstairs Downstairs (and honestly, I never cared for it.  More of a Pallisers kind of gal.)  I was intrigued by Downton Abbey and was going to watch it until I started reading your posts about it.  Thanks for warning me off something dreadfully stupid.  

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

    Two questions about Not (?) Patrick:

    (1) If he were a schemer, wouldn’t he have tried harder to convince the family that he was Patrick? And if he were the real Patrick, wouldn’t he also have tried harder? In either case, the fact that he just kinda gave up and left was implausible. (OK, we’re talking about an implausible situation anyway, but I was a little insulted by this level of lameness.)

    (2) When Lord Grantham went to confront Not (?) Patrick, Patrick made some kind of gesture or movement and Lord Grantham quickly asked, “Where did you learn to do that?” I couldn’t tell what he was referring to, and it never came back up (that I caught). Did anyone get what this was about?
     

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

      1) We think he ditched town because he knew they were going to figure out that he was Patrick’s friend, Peter.

      2) Mary made this gesture (a sweep across the lips followed by a “shh” gesture) to Matthew in (we think) the second episode, along with some line that we can’t remember. They were talking at the time about Isobel and Matthew was mentioning how much she’s annoying Cora. Essentially, it seemed to be some sort of family joke about keeping one’s mouth shut.

      • Anonymous

        I think he left town mostly for that reason but also partly because he realised it was genuinely affecting Edith deeply, and although he was (probably) a conman, he had some decency in him.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, yes, I caught that too and was waiting for it to come back up.  That’s one reason I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Patrick/Peter.  It could have been something an imposter who knew Patrick well learned to do, but if it was about keeping one,s mouth shut it didn’t seem appropriate to use it during the conversation with Richard and “Patrick” didn’t seem to even realize he did it.  Could be acting on the part of an imposter, or could it be an ingrained unconscious gesture?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, it appeared unconscious to me, as well.  Hence the “do what?” response to Lord Grantham.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks TLo for the recall on the gesture. But see – there was enough to leave doubt about whether or not Muppet Patrick was the real deal. And it did seem rather incongruous that his primary motive was to claim the title and throw Matthew under the bus (notice that agitation when Edith told him what the family was doing to look into the matter)- that he’d have given up so easily. Still between the extent of his wounds and the sadness around that loss, what he seemed to know – including the gesture – and Edith’s belief and remorse at his leaving – there was the element of doubt and emotion for the guy.

        As someone in our house pointed out though – Robert’s lawyers should be staying on this if they are worth their salt. Muppet Patrick might be gone but there’s still the threat of his coming back to claim the title.

    • Marie Dees

      I caught the gesture. And the seemingly unknowing response. But it doesn’t solve the “Which P is he” problem (aka P Problem) since if Peter was Patrick’s friend, he would have seen him make that gesture. And he could be making it on purpose, then pretending to be unaware of it because it would look more innocent if he didn’t know. 

      By the end of that scene, I was waiting for the return of the strawberry birthmark on the baby’s bum. 

    • Anonymous

      See, I figure IF he’s the real Patrick, he’s being shown as too emotionally labile (plausible with PTSD) to be a good heir, so it’ll be o.k. if he somehow never gets the inheritance it’s “o.k.”

      Myself, I’m rooting for Edith to run away with him (ETA: and marry him), whether or not he’s proved the real heir. Then he dies, conveniently freeing up the inheritance either way.

      • Anonymous

        But not before he gives Edith a son.

        • Anonymous

          Ooooh delicious! And even better if, although Matthew’s penis works (whomever it’s working with) he’s not throwing any boys. If P. Gordon’s status is still ambiguous post mortem, I can see rifts in the Crawley lute all over the place as some try to conclusively prove him heir while others are holding out for Matthew’s progeny.

    • Anonymous

      Peter/Patrick wiped his lips with his fingers in a way that was very familiar to Lord Grantham.  That’s what took LG aback.  But Peter could so easily have picked up Patrick gestures from working with him. 

  • https://profiles.google.com/104791269167429064986 Judy S

    I still think O’Brien did it. There’ s always the ptsd brother in her background.
    Why Anna bothers with Bates? At the end of the episode, as Bates took over pushing Matthew and Matthew had his tingle, I was thinking that Bates is actually the only sexy character in the whole story. Maybe not good husband material, but he’s got IT in a way that the young people with their repressions and stupid fantasies & fancies don’t. Why is he kept on at Downton? I think he was the Earl’s batman in an earlier war, wasn’t he? (a la William and Matthew.) Serious loyalty there, in both directions.

    • Anonymous

      There is something about Bates, isn’t there?  I’m always seeing girls and grown women alike swoon over him. 

      From Patton Oswalt’s hilarious running Downton commentary (seriously, go read it) on Twitter:  “Dear God, Bates in [sic] onscreen and @AimeeMann and @morgan_murphy just fainted.”

      http://twitter.com/#!/pattonoswalt

      • Anonymous

        Isn’t Patton great?  “Just took a poll, @thatdanstevens — even if they put Matthew in an iron lung, every woman would still fuck you. #DowntonPBS”

        • Anonymous

          Oh, yes.  That one was probably my favorite.  I mean, how exactly does one respond to that?  HA!

          I just love his total fanboy enthusiasm for the show.  I really need him to appear on The Late Late Show and discuss it with Craig Ferguson, another known DA obsessive.

          • Anonymous

            Haha! Is he? Oh it’s just as well he’s not still in Glasgow, he’d get a hard time for that one :D
            I love Craig, always have, but I only get to see online bits and pieces. 

          • Anonymous

            I adore Craig.  He and TLLS are so underrated.  In his enthusiasm in discussing the show with an EW editor, he even accidentally ”spoiled” (well, it’s not a spoiler anymore - he speculated that Bates killed his wife, the spoiler at that point in time being that she would end up dead) a plot point on his show since he had seen all of S2 in Britain over Christmas. 
             
            http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/01/18/craig-ferguson-downton-abbey/
             
            He had Downton themed episode on his 1/17/2012 show (where the “spoiler” incident occurred) where he mentioned the show in every single segment.  It’s on YouTube and very worth your while!

          • Anonymous

            LOL! Oops indeed! I’ll have a look for that episode on youTube :)

            I was a fan way back during his Bing Hitler days. It’s good to see the boy doing good.
            Thinking back to the accent discussions, now there’s someone who hasn’t lost his. He’s tempered his accent, changed his vocabulary to suit and he has a bit of a twang now, but he still basically has his accent. It comes out in full force when he has a guest like Ewan McGregor or James McAvoy on. In fact I do wonder if his audience are sitting baffled during those interviews LOL

          • Anonymous

            I’m not going to lie, I started watching TLLS for his accent (also the reason I got the audio CDs for his memoir).  LOL.  It’s just lovely.  Then he reeled me in by being charming and hilarious.

            His best interviews tend to be with British people, especially Scots (Ewan McGregor, James McAvoy, Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly).  Throw in Kristen Bell, Jim Parsons, Betty White, and Mila Kunis and that pretty much rounds out Craig’s greatest hits.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks, I’ll look for that too. I’ve seen most of the British ones as I tend to go for the interviews with people I know, as he has quite a few people on that I haven’t a clue about. His interviews with Ewan McGregor are particularly good.

            I must admit he’s surprised me. If someone had told me way back in ’87 when I went to his stand-up show in Glasgow that he’d be a success as a US chat show host… well it wouldn’t have seemed at all likely. Of his contemporaries Alan Cumming always looked like he would spread his wings – Craig, not so much :)
            Incidentally, has he ever had Alan Cumming on? I googled a while ago but couldn’t find anything.

          • Anonymous

            Since you mentioned it, I thought it was strange that I’ve never seen Alan Cumming on Craig’s show.  I did a quick YouTube search and nothing (and most episodes are on YouTube).  Which is odd since The Good Wife and The Late Late Show are both on CBS. 

          • Anonymous

            Since you mention it, I find it strange that I’ve never seen Alan Cumming on Craig’s show.  I did a quick YouTube search and nothing.  That’s so odd since The Good Wife and The Late Late Show are both on CBS.

  • http://twitter.com/democracydiva Democracy Diva

    I cracked up as soon as the word “amnesia” entered the conversation. I don’t think there’s a 21st-century soul who can take that kind of plotline seriously. But it allowed for some good Lady Edith acting, and she doesn’t get a lot of chances to shine, so I’ll accept it.

    Does Julian Fellowes think his audience believes Isobel to be the dumbest piece of shit on earth? She knows what manipulative people Cora and Violet are; it’s unreasonable to expect us to believe that Isabel doesn’t realize they’re intentionally shipping her off so they can get their private, pre-war home back.

    But let’s be honest – any episode that ends on Matthew Crawley maybe having a boner – and that being a major plot point – is one for the ages.

    • Anonymous

      What you said!  And what TLo said too.

  • Pennymac

    The tryst with the new maid is spotted from a mile away; but I wonder why the writing seems to be making the Earl into an unsympathetic jerk?

    I was hoping for a story line reminiscent of Sommersby ala Gere and Foster, but no luck for poor Edith, alas. They wrapped that particular thread in an untypical “US Sitcom” kind of way. Problem identified, discussed, and wrapped into a forgettable package all within one episode. How disappointing.

    I do like, however, that the actress playing O’Brien is giving just enough to an edge of her performance that I’m left wanting to believe she’s had a change of heart, no wait, she’s just a cold hearted villain, no wait, she’s loyal to her lady…Excellent! 

  • Anonymous

    oh my i did some eye rolling last night…as a Canadian the entire “guess you dont recognize me now that i have started to speak like Johnny Canuk” schtick totally laughable, i was waiting for him to drop an “eh and aboot” for good measure…speaking of Canadian plot lines, the first thing i thought of when i saw we were going the burned and non-identifiable “who is he” soldier route, was The English Patient, will be sorely disappointed when Ralph Fiennes does not turn up under the bandages….

    • Anonymous

      good point about the new accent. As much as I want to go with these plot lines, that was a bit much.

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

    It definitely did seem more like an episode racked with set-ups but it looks from the PBS ‘scenes from next week’ that there is a little more action in our sites for next week.

    However, I did want to note that there was a definite theme to this week: war profiteering.  The ‘we’re all in this together’ attitude of the war years is giving way to the ‘what’s in it for me?’ attitude of a recovering country that has been turned upside down. After several episodes chock full of scenes of everyone pitching in – ladies becoming nurses and singing for the soldiers, grand houses being used for hospitals, marrying a dying man to grant his final wish, sacrifices and martyrs – we now saw and heard some much more unsavory ideas. The cook talking to the evil footman about the black market; suspicious and potentially self-created ‘war widows’ in various incarnations; a burn victim turned con-man; a newly monied scoundrel buying up the estate of a broken family. The opportunists are moving in and fast.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you!  Well said.

  • Anonymous

    I’m enjoying the addition of Sir Richard; he’s kind of deliciously evil, but under a refined surface.  Though, one thing bothers me – as a self-made, rich, handsome Englishman he could probably have his pick of the lot where females are concerned.  If what he’s after is a quiet wife who’ll do his bidding and not “cross him”, I feel as though he should have looked somewhere other than the Lady Mary Crawley.  Not exactly a little mouse ya picked there, Rick. 

    • Anonymous

      He wants Lady Mary because a) she’s got the social status he needs, and b) they are two of a kind.  Neither cares who they hurt on the way to what they want.  As he said in an earlier episode, they make a good team.  He’s not looking for a mouse.

      Adding: no, he wouldn’t necessarily have his “pick of the lot”. Even at this time, when society was changing, a lot of the “best families” wouldn’t want a self-made man, however handsome and rich, to marry their aristocratic daughter.

      • Anonymous

        Agree 100%

        The fact that Mary ever seriously considered him as a husband indicates to me that, on some level, she knows they could be a working team.

        And I kind of respect him for laying it on the line with Mary, albeit threateningly. She shouldn’t have needed him to do it to be crystal clear about her situation, but the way she’s been acting apparently she did.

    • Anonymous

      Doesn’t it have something to do with her being titled and his being well, just rich? They even pointed this out last night when she had a line about ‘my people inherit it’ and his people buy it. So she’s titled, hot and in early childbearing years. Good pick I’d say (for him, not for her).

    • http://twitter.com/_KarenX Karen Miller

      Also, Mary considers herself “damaged goods” and figures she’ll never have/deserve Matthew with a little of Why Not At Least It’s a House Bigger than What Edith Will Ever Get thrown in. Other daughters of earls from families maybe willing to mingle with industry for the money probably aren’t being so hard on themselves.

    • Anonymous

      Sir Richarad is actually a Scotsman because the engagement announcement in his paper says his parents are from Edinburgh.  I’m assuming this would also cause him to be a step down for a noble Englishwoman, but others may know more than I do about whether there was still prejudice against the Scots in the WWI era. 

      • Tally Ho

        His Scottish background would have made no difference whatsoever. Intermarriages among aristocratic and upper class English/Scots was commonplace to the point there was no difference between an English gentleman or a Scottish gentleman. If anything people would have romanticised a Scottish marriage especially to a Scottish aristocrat who presumably had a castle and thousands of acres of Scottish highlands. Even among the regular people the notion of anti-Scots prejudice is quite overblown and due more to the current rise of Scottish nationalism.

        You may not know this but in the announcement it’s mentioned that Sir Richard’s father lived in Morningside, Edinburgh. That’s one of the poshest parts of Edinburgh. Not aristocratic, but still very posh.

        • Anonymous

          In that context and class I don’t think it would make much difference. The Aristocracy often had land in both countries, took shooting trips etc, and it isn’t so long before that Victoria’s love for Scotland created a bit of a craze. And yes, Morningside is one of the more affluent middle-class suburbs. We’re veering back into Miss Jean Brodie land :) 
          Among the general public there was a lot of respect for the Scottish soldiers, and sentimental ‘folk’ songs were at their height. Harry Lauder was a huge star, and toured all over the world.
          But, I’m not convinced about anti-Scots prejudice being overblown generally. It was subtle for years, just the usual old patronising stereotyping that would be deemed totally unacceptable if it was directed at other groups but which slips by largely unnoticed. However independence being on the table has really brought some stuff out of the woodwork! I’ve been stunned by some of the things I’ve read and heard recently!

    • Anonymous

      thanks guys, all good ideas.  rainwood – I must have missed that bit about his parents being from Scotland.  Just, I feel like if he expects Mary Crawley to shut up and do what she’s told, he’s going to be sorely disappointed.  Perhaps he would have preferred Edith?  Less hot maybe, but ten times more likely to submit to her husband!  :)  Lilithcat, I disagree on them being two of a kind.  Mary has some selfish qualities, to be sure, but I see her growing as a character and I don’t see her hurting others to get her way (well, except for Edith, haha, but certainly not her parents, or Matthew, or even Sybil).

  • Reneesance

    All I could think about Matthew’s suprise tingle was that it was the proximity of Lavinia’s “magical va-jay-jay”*  that is prodding him back to health and potency. *Facepalm*

    Credit for “magical va-jay-jay” to another awesome blog I read “Smart Bitches Trashy Books”

    • Marie Dees

      I read the Smart Bitches. Waves

  • Anonymous

    Looks to me like Sir Richard is the puppet master now. He is the one to get Lavinia back in the picture  , not Cora. And now he has revealed his true colors to Mary as well. That could not have been too much of a surprise to her, I don’t know why she told him about her “past” anyway. It didn’t help Bates at all . I guess they just needed her to be nobel.
    And then there is poor disfigured Patrick and long suffering Edith.  I think the lack of the accent is the dead give away. If you wake up and can still speak English wouldn’t you still speak it the same way? You can hardly blame poor Edith for believing him, especially when he tells her that he really did love HER, and not Mary. I was thinking why doesn’t the family just get Sir Dick , with all his muck rakers to investigate this very unlikely story ? But then it struck me that Sir Dick is a major beneficiary of the story. It takes Matthew out of the picture  (Mary threw him over once before when he would n’t inherit) and Sir Dick would have a lot of details from the childhood of the girls and the previous engagement by way of Mary. Major villain stuff too.
    I thought the old maid Ethel was going to kill herself leaving a health baby boy up for grabs , to a childless couple perhaps. Maybe Thomas and O’Brian will marry and adopt, or Mrs. Hughes and Carson? Or (3rd choice) Matthew and Lavinia.
    Lastly, Dear God somebody finally killed Vera Bates, I was thinking I was going to have to fly to England  to do it myself!

  • Anonymous

    Sir Richard wants to marry a member of the titled aristocracy.  He would be hard put to do better than Lady Mary with regards to the social latter.

    • Tally Ho

      Not at all. Sir Richard is rich. There were plenty of broke aristocratic girls who would have leaped at the opportunity of marrying him (and his wealth). He would have had his pick and that he chose Mary indicates he did feel something for her.

  • http://twitter.com/marieldrucker Marie Drucker

    this — “Fulfilled, happy, requited love is narrative death in a serial drama and
    we should all get used to the idea that if Mary and Matthew ever get
    together, it’ll be after several more roadblocks and narrative right
    turns are put in front of them” — may be true, but I’m going to have to stamp my feet like Veruca and say I want them back together now.

    OK. I feel better.

  • Anonymous

    The triteness!  Was there any soap opera trope that didn’t show up in this episode?  (Okay, we haven’t seen Dissociative Identity Disorder yet.)  It’s so annoying when you can predict every detail just from the previous week’s “on the next episode” clip.

    And so stupid!  Does anyone really think that Cora and the Dowager Countess had to go through all those machinations (which, of course, Isobel would have seen right through if her character were written consistently).  The DC, in particular, has the cojones to just say “No.” 

    And speaking of cojones, I really just had to roll my eyes at Matthew’s “something moved”.

    I fully expect Peter/Patrick to be back.  If not, the writing is worse than I thought.  To have him make an unconscious gesture that the Earl recognized, and then just drop it, is nonsense.  If the guy was a fraud, then he would have carried the charade through, especially with such a strong ally as Edith. And Mary!  Back in bitch mode.  Her reaction to the possible resurrection of the man who, after all, was her fiancé, says a lot about her character – and none of it good.  Sorry, but she deserves Sir Richard.  Those two were made for each other; they’re trading her social status for his money.   He’s just making sure she holds to her end of the bargain.  It’s a matter of business for both of them, and it’s Mary’s tough luck that he’s better at business than she is.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you completely about Mary. She dismissed  Patrick without seeing or speaking to him. She wants her boyfriend to inherit , that’s all.

    • Anonymous

      just like star crossed lovers that don’t hook up, the series is also better when the Crawley girls are on not buddy-buddy.

    • Anonymous

      Was there any soap opera trope that didn’t show up in this episode?

      Well, we’ve haven’t gotten an evil twin or a brain tumor that is miraculously cured. We can always look forward to those.

      • Anonymous

        Well, we’ve haven’t gotten .  .  .   a brain tumor that is miraculously cured.

        No, just paralysis!

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t mind the triteness, but you’re spot on about Mary. And I too expect to see P. Gordon again.

    • Anonymous

      “Okay, we haven’t seen Dissociative Identity Disorder yet.”

      Well, when Bates and Anna finally get around to opening the Bates Motel…

      • Anonymous

        OMG!  Falling off my chair!  

    • http://www.facebook.com/janet.selman Janet Selman

      We haven’t yet had the previously-unknown-evil-twin theme.  Nobody mention it around the writers, k?

      • Anonymous

        Let’s hope Baron Fellowes doesn’t read this blog!

  • Anonymous

     I paused the tivo and belly laughed more than a few times last night. The amnesia and the mysterious “stirrings” as Matthew watched Lavinia walk away were really funny. The Carson story line could prove interesting in that he’s going to be in a nouveau riche home, rather than in an established home with a lineage. Mary’s line about how they inherit their stuff rather than buying it was telling. Carson won’t know what the hell to do with Sir Richard, and he may be privy to some real shenanigans going down over in the new house.

    I got the concerned vibe from O’Brien, too. She’s been working hard to deal with the guilt from causing Cora’s miscarriage. She doesn’t want anything in the house to upset Cora.

    So, why on earth did the maybe long-lost Patrick have a Canadian accent? I think he explained it but it made no sense to me.

    • Anonymous

      because according to him he was misidentified as a Canadian after the Titantic sunk.. and shipped off to Montreal i believe, and magically started to speak like a Canadian!!…*face palms*

      • Anonymous

        And if he was shipped off to Montreal, shouldn’t he have had a French-Canadian accent?

        • Anonymous

          ha, yes i thought of that too, tho in fairness at that time period very likely just as many English speaking Canadians in Montreal as French, i do think a”formerly amnesiac aristocratic Brit mistakenly displaced to Canada after surviving the Titanic then coming back from the trenches with severe disfiguring burns AND a French Canadian accent” would have even been too much silliness for these writers to contemplate…. :)

    • Anonymous

      “So, why on earth did the maybe long-lost Patrick have a Canadian accent?
      I think he explained it but it made no sense to me.”

      He probably doesn’t really know.  If it is Patrick, he may have a rare disorder called “foreign-accent syndrome”, which is sometimes caused by a traumatic brain injury: http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2006/060815/f060815c/

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

         I’m a little disturbed at the thought of how- with memory gaps- he got into the army and became an officer.

        • Anonymous

          Psych evals weren’t what they are now!

  • Lattis

    Maybe P. Gordon didn’t leave the grounds but is lurking in the bowels of Downton Abbey with a half mask on his face. . . . the Phaaaantom of the Opera is here . . .

    • Anonymous

      Does anyone else think of Peter & Gordon, the pop duo from the ’60s British Invasion, whenever Peter Gordon is mentioned?

      • Anonymous

         I keep thinking P. Gordon Liddy. Him and his future son G.

  • Toto Maya

    I actually hope Bates killed Vera. I’m sick of his goody two-shoes, always being right and just and never evil and always sacrificing himself for the greater good. I hope he just snapped and killed her. And I hope Anna becomes complicit in the cover-up, it will make them both so much more interesting.

    The Patrick thing was painful. The most annoying thing to me was his voice. It was obvious that the actor couldn’t really talk under all that muppet makeup, so they were dubbing his lines, which made them come out louder and clearer than anyone else’s and sounded out of place and ridiculous.

    I was surprised that Isobel fell for Violet’s tricks to get her out of Downton. I felt sure that she had caught on and would do something to get Violet back. No way she’s that dumb.

    I actually don’t mine Matthew getting feeling back in his legs. It’s the least stupid thing about this episode. Whatever, go for it.

    • Anonymous

       When he came back to Downton all beat up around the eye, I thought for sure she decked him. 

  • Anonymous

    The Amnesia plot was insulting. Doesn’t P. Gordon have some parents or siblings somewhere? Were they all on the Titanic? They only mentioned 2. Just seemed sort of lazy to me.

  • Anonymous

    Oh! I forgot. Mrs. Padmore and Thomas in a black-market scheme? Do we think this will happen, or did she just provide the catalyst for Thomas to do his own thing? I love the idea of them working together.

  • sweetlilvoice

    This is my second time watching this episode and my feelings are pretty much the same-what a waste! I agree that the muppet heir (love you both for this) was a huge waste of time and plot. Was he the right guy or not? Why can’t Edith find a man who loves her? Why is Lord Grantham such a pain? Why is Violet such a badass? I think this is one of the weakest episodes overall. I’ve already seen the whole season (both online and now on DVD), so I still believe this to be true.

    I also totally forgot about Ethel. I feel for her but seriously-what did she think would happen? Did she think he would marry her? I’m totally paranoid about getting pregnant and I take steps against it, I cannot imagine having casual sex at that time in history. What little lies did he tell her? He is a total ass. And amen to the folks who have posted about that monster baby! He’s huge (perhaps he could be a Cullen).

  • Anonymous

    Oh, this one was fun. Silly-bordering on stupid sometimes, but fun.

    P. Gordon inspired me to exclaim “AMNESIA! They’re really going there!” and laugh.  I expect to see him back though. The Earl had some doubt inspired by that [supposedly unconscious] gesture, and Edith is going to have time on her hands when the officers leave Downton.

    The only thing that I found really jarring-beyond-normal-soapy-nonsense was how Isobel was made to seem an idiotic buffoon when the Dowager was manipulating her into a postwar cause far from Downton. I completely expected that to happen – but to happen more subtly. Isobel is flush with somewhat naive enthusiasm for a remade world that the elder Downton-ites can’t be expected to embrace, but to this point she hasn’t seemed to me to be portrayed as an idiot.  I expected that scene, but I expected to enjoy it a great deal more than I did.

    I admit to being disappointed that Isobel’s postwar cause is not going to be the plight of the jobless surplus woman.

    It was well past time for Sir Richard to lay it on the line with Mary. I find him more likable for it – the ground rules for making a marriage with him work should have been crystal clear to her, but she hasn’t been acting like it. He wasn’t nice about it, but I didn’t see it as much as an assault as some did.

    Except for the ammunition she’s given him & his willingness to use it, his ground rules are not that different than for any more businesslike than affectionate marriage of her time.  One reason I think the Earl is miffed that Cora doesn’t have time for him is that the usual thing WAS for the husband to define the scope of the wife’s activities – the wife had as much independence as the husband felt appropriate or could be manipulated into giving.

    The only difference in Mary’s case is degree – Sir Richard does not just expect to be in charge, he has a vindictive nature and will not let any feelings for her – if he has any beyond pride of ownership and, perhaps, a businesslike partnership – stand in the way of destroying her if she crosses him.  (If anyone killed Vera Bates, my  money’s on him being behind it. Loose end.)

    Bates begins to weary me. But the Earl & housemaid subplot is going to weary me even more, I suspect.

    I like how Mrs. Hughes has been diverted farther and farther from her position of moral rectitude by her sympathy for Ethel, right to the point of flat out suggesting she lie about her circumstances.  Now that the war is over, communication is less disrupted & the labor shortage will ease, things are just going to get harder for women like Ethel.

    • Anonymous

      Yep, I cracked up over the amnesiac plot, too, but in a good way.  JF never met an old movie cliche he didn’t like, but I don’t know that it’s bad.  I agree that the dumbing-down of Isobel is worse  

  • MilaXX

    I really thought the wannabee heir guy would turn out to have been in the hospital with the heir who died and heard stories of his life, then got a knock on the head and assumed it was his life. Just as corny as what we saw & I can’t explain Edith’s reaction to him, but there ya go.

    Question. Will the Christmas special be shown here as part of season 2?

    • Anonymous

      I can’t explain Edith’s reaction to him

      She was in love with Patrick.

      • MilaXX

        I get but it seemed like she fell pretty hard & very fast. Almost like she was more in love with the idea of being in love & the title that came with it.

        • Anonymous

          No, she was in love with him before he went down on the Titanic (or not!), when he and Mary were engaged.

        • Anonymous

          That’s one reason why she was so pissed at Mary in the first season. She was in love with Patrick and he was going to marry Mary and then Mary didn’t even morn for him when he died.

          • MilaXX

             ah yes. Thanks for the reminder. I somehow forgot that.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I believe it’s billed as the final episode of the season. It’s supposed to be pretty good.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t they say that Pete Gordon worked with Patrick Crawley for a couple of years?  

      • MilaXX

        Ah yes, thanks for the reminder. I watched it a while back, but I recall thinking there was a way that Gordon could have gotten to know Patrick well enough to do this. I really wondered if Gordon wasn’t a bit mentally ill.

        • Anonymous

          I think you may be right and that will come into play more–he’s not just an imposter, but an imposter with a ruined face.  Little wonder he wants a new identity.  

  • Anonymous

    Anybody else think the new housemaid and the Earl might have had an affair a while’s back?  Like 12 years?  Like her son could be his?  I mean, if this show has already gotten trite, why not the pain of having a son on the wrong side of the sheet?

    • Toto Maya

      I didn’t consider that, but it would explain his interest in her son. Still, he didn’t seem to surprised when he was asked about hiring her or anything.

    • Anonymous

      If so, I’m betting he didn’t know about the kid.

      But I’d say unlikely – unless he had a period of heretofore unmentioned blackout-level drinking – because 12 years isn’t that long for grown ups and he shows nary a sign of recognizing her.

    • Anonymous

      Hey, also:  NEW HEIR!  Two silly plot devices in one!

      • Anonymous

        Pretty sure “wrong side of sheet” children cannot inherit. Or else Robert would be boffing every maid in sight in the hopes of getting a boy from one of them.

        • Anonymous

          OK… then how about: the drunken minister never filed Robert and Cora’s marriage certificate… and… Robert married the maid 12 years ago while he was having a bout of amnesia!  Oh, and she’s actually a rich heiress pretending to be a maid to see how Robert reacts to her child.  Problem solved!

          • Anonymous

             You’ve just qualified for a job on Julian Fellowes’ writing staff! Especially if it is THEN discovered that Robert has an evil twin who was raised in the stables and he’s the one who married the heiress-in-disguise. Everyone is shocked! Especially Violet, since she had no idea she’d had twins. But that gives Robert a new heir (the twin and the twin’s sons, of which he has 12 or 13) unless, of course, the twin was one minute older, in which case Robert doesn’t have the right to Downton Abbey, even as a life estate! But how will they know who was older when Violet doesn’t remember giving birth to them????? Oh, the drama!

          • Ledasmom

            Oh, I was thinking Robert is the evil twin, who’s keeping his older brother, who Violet thought died at birth, locked in the attic. He will escape, and for the rest of the season we won’t know when it’s Robert and when it’s not-Robert; not-Robert will marry the new maid, producing a male heir.
            Oh, and Robert killed Vera, ’cause he’s evil.
            Or, wait, what if Sir Richard is actually Robert’s brother, stolen at birth? Nothing like a bit of unconscious incest to spice things up.

          • Anonymous

            I immediately laughed at the child locked in the attic. Are we discussing American Horror Story or Downton Abbey!!?? Also, that dreadful book, Flowers in the Attic.

  • Anonymous

    You know, once I dropped the expectation last season that DA should have great plotting/writing and instead accepted it as an implausible period soap, I enjoyed it so much more!! Same goes for this season! I’m really enjoying it for what it is. It’s a bit daft and more than a bit implausible, but still fun. 
    Hope Lord Grantham can be less pouty!!

  • Anonymous

    I think all the plot problems we have now are due to the fact that they added the second season and now are adding the third season in response to the popularity of the show. They are faced with the need to drag it out and keep the story going. So we get amnesia man, the ongoing boredom of the romance between Sybil and Branson, an endless string of identical visits by Mrs Hughes to Ethel, and many other oddities designed to fill air time and keep the story lines open. And I, for one, am all for it. I love every cheesy minute of it and can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • Anonymous

      I think you’re absolutely right.  I also think they never expected DA to be the smash it is, and when it won a Golden Globe etc they freaked out and decided they needed to hurry up and get more episodes onto the air while the iron was still hot.  Which is why everything feels both rushed and dragged out, oddly.

      • Anonymous

        That is the perfect description of this show: both rushed and dragged out. 

  • http://twitter.com/danielleRwest Danielle West

    Last night was the first episode where I felt like things became predictable and silly and much more like a soap opera than before.  Definitely not my favorite episode.

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

    Re: The Canadian Heir

    He might have Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Foreign%20Accent%20Syndrome%22  I found a couple of articles of people with brain ingjuries who hae new accents. However, I haven’t found the link between amneisia and FAS.

    Unless, of course, he was hit in the head by some projectile, which caused both the amnesia and the FAS….

    • Anonymous

      He lost his memory (and accent) in the Icy North Atlantic.
      He got his memory (but alas not his accent) back on the battle field.

    • Anonymous

      There’s a discussion here: http://tbivoices.com/jeremiah2.php and http://tbivoices.com/jeremiah7.php about someone who suffered traumatic brain injury, which caused both amnesia and foreign accent syndrome.  FAS is pretty rare, though, so I imagine having both FAS and retrograde amnesia is even rarer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583505025 Kelley Comfort

    I actually stopped watching this episode because I was disgusted with the whole amnesia plot. I felt it showed a very low opinion of the audience if they thought we’d lap that up. I AM curious to see what will happen in the next few episodes. Hope they’re good!

  • Anonymous

    Surprise heir!  In bandages, no less!  A vengeful husband and a mysterious murder!  O’Brien overhearing every single secret in the entire house!  A crippled soldier miraculously recovers from a spine injury!

    I was rolling my eyes the entire time last night.  All the careful, deliberate soap-building has finally led to this, an episode of General Hospital.  I can’t say I believed in one character moment in the entire episode.  

    I’m kind of amazed that they manage to fit so many hoary cliches into one character.  An amnesiac, disfigured foreigner/wounded warrior (from the freaking TITANIC, for crying out loud) pining for lost love and claiming to be heir of the entire estate!   Instant drinking game (and laugh riot):  every time that putty-covered actor rolled his bugged eyes and drooling from the side of his skewed mouth as he follows someone around exclaiming, “DON’T YOU RECOGNIZE ME???!!!!”

    Funny thing is, even with all the D-list tropes I think the most annoying thing for me is Cora’s continued devolution into a gullible and completely malleable fool.  Have a dastardly deed you done in order to ruin someone else’s life?  Just whisper in Cora’s ear (regardless of who you are) and she immediately set your plan into motion as if it were her own.

    Ah well.  Maybe they’ll take the criticism to heart for Series 3.  How many episodes left again?

    • Anonymous

      I’m still actually enjoying it. Even with all the hoary soap cliches. Because it’s still better than General Hospital, and all of the canceled soaps. Lord knows, I watched enough soaps in the 70s, 80s and 90s and I do know when I’ve had my limit, as I quit every one of them, long before they were canceled. There’s soapy and there’s preposterous, and believe me, Downton has a very long way yet to go down hill.

      I do agree with you that Cora (and Robert too) have been largely written as very insular, self-centered characters, who are both gullible, and probably would rather not know the truth about many things. Is it possible this is true to many upper class, privileged people of that time period? And later time periods too, the good old USA is the country that once had a President who didn’t know the price of a loaf of bread.

      • Anonymous

        If this show went ahead and finished off EVERY SINGLE SOAP OPERA TROPE KNOWN TO MAN, it would still be better than General Hospital, which is really just a truly terrible Sopranos wannabe these days.  Sigh.  Now, I’m sad about what a great show GH used to be.

      • Anonymous

        If this show went ahead and finished off EVERY SINGLE SOAP OPERA TROPE KNOWN TO MAN, it would still be better than General Hospital, which is really just a truly terrible Sopranos wannabe these days.  Sigh.  Now, I’m sad about what a great show GH used to be.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Thomas and O’Brian will marry and adopt, or Mrs. Hughes and Carson? — Sewing Siren said

    How awesome would it be if Thomas and O’Brien hooked up? There’s such drivel going on with the various plots that the scenes between Thomas and O’Brien are my favorites. I love just the sight of them both scowling and smoking in doorways while everyone else rushes about.

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t help myself. The story is so much more enjoyable if you  just go with the prorposterous flow!

  • Lulu Yen

    DA has jumped the shark.

    • Anonymous

      Plus, let’s not forget the Chauffeur and the Earl’s Daughter: not a lick of sexual tension between them, and Fellowes has made him a hectoring lover as villain because he’s both — gasp! — a Socialist and Irish.

  • http://twitter.com/DonnaThePirana Donna

    I told my parents, who’ve never watched the show, about the amnesia plotline and the description alone was enough to give them fits of belly laughter. Completely ridiculous.

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

    Yeah, this episode was hard for me….. 

  • Anonymous

    “I’ll just put some yarn on my head and become a bitter spinster ladies maid” is my new motto in life. I’m going to run right over to Facebook and put that as The Quote That Defines My Life or whatever that is.

    Meanwhile, I can’t help but hope that the Spanish Flu pops up in time to save Mary from the Evil Sir Dick, save Carson from Haxby Park, and maybe take out Bates, too, since he is a right bore.

    I’ve read Julian Fellowes’ book SNOBS, which is set now (or maybe in the 80s or 90s, but definitely well past WWII) and has to do with a girl from down the ladder maneuvering her way to marrying an earl or a duke or something, and, unfortunately, it still has that lifestyle Isobel spoke of, the one with the changing clothes and shooting things and living in the country in some huge place with bad heating and servants carrying your every washcloth and teacup. I fear Isobel was wrong about that, given SNOBS.

  • Jessica Rowe

    It was a bit silly. I’m Patrick! With a new accent!  …Oy vey.

    And Cora was not being unfeeling. At the end of the day, it is her duty to marry off her children and to have that marriage succeed. She did it and was raised to do it.  It’s obvious that Mary carries a torch for Matthew, but she is engaged and in Cora’s eyes, must go through with that marriage.  If she does not, she will be ruined.  Cora loves her daughter but also finds it hard when her daughter refuses to do the very thing that Cora herself had to do – marry a man she did not love because she was told to.  It has always been done before.

    And Isobel has become annoying, which I hate.  She was the one that was telling Matthew how to behave in the beginning.  No consistency.

    Julian Fellowes needs to stop giving characters lines that portray the way things will happen in the future.  It annoys me.  Isobel Crawley, for all her liberal sentiments, would have been KNOWN that landed gentry have always done things a certain way and will continue to do them.  And for all her closeness with Branson, there’s no way that Sybil would truly betray her family.  I don’t sense Sybil’s love for Branson anyway.  And Mrs. Hughes giving food to Ethel?  Puhleese.  Ethel would be shipped off to relations or end up in the workhouse, same as everyone else.  Mrs. Hughes would never be stealing food – she could lose her place!  And we saw her give up marriage to keep her place!

    I think I need to be brought in as a consultant for these historical inaccuracies.  My red pen and I.  Sorry, Mr. Fellowes. Gosford Park was a triumph.  Let’s go back to that.  This “I’m dead, just kidding” stuff is like Guiding Light.  Next thing William will come back as a zombie and Elizabeth Bennett will chop off his head.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I second the motion for accuracy. It’s only because we care. 

    • Marie Dees

      Ah, I was waiting for someone to bring up Zombie William.  And Pride and Prejudice with Zombies no less. Well done! 

    • Anonymous

      Yes, more historical accuracy please.  I was wondering about all the food stealing (but for a good cause!) in this and recent episodes.  Weren’t there food shortages during the war as well? (I seem to be remembering something from Upstairs Downstairs.)  Wouldn’t missing food be more noticed?  Maybe an apple or two, but bags of groceries?  

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking of the food shortages all during this season since I remember the cook in Upstairs Downstairs complaining about trying to make a decent dinner with rationed food during WWI.  And I remember another episode where they had guests from the country at Christmastime who arrived with hampers of all sorts of food so maybe the shortages weren’t felt so much in the country, where Downton Abbey is located, as in the city where Upstairs Downstairs took place.

        • Anonymous

          maybe the shortages weren’t felt so much in the country,

          You are right about that. They’d be raising their own food, be it crops or flocks.

          • Jessica Rowe

            I love this thread and you lovely ladies.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OLSER5H3A6FPBAZOEIQIOBHAYM Elizabeth Rust

    Heh! I enjoyed the episode, but I was right there with everyone re the laughing-and-eye-rolling. Were they trying for a world record in “most cliches in an episode”? And not just cliches, but heavily foreshadowed ones; I’m not usually good at guessing twists and turns in advance, but here I got about half of them from the previews alone, and the rest well in advance of the in-story revelations. Maybe it’s an attempt to make the audience feel smart?  {wry grin}

    Loved TLo’s writeup, too, but while Patrick/whoever’s departure was a bit sudden, I rather enjoyed that little subplot – overused amnesia/questionable-identity and all. I was just hoping that somehow there’d be an unexpected twist of some kind there, and while there still could be, the episode fell rather flat in that regard.

    It would be fun if they pulled out a “Witness for the Prosecution” deal re Bates…

    GoryDetails

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HY37OQ6GEB5IMWUREVZ2KE5HYA Norita

    Somehow Daisy will assuage her conscience by having Ethel claim to be her,  fill out the forms for the Widow’s pension and then Ethel can go on as a war widow-not scarlet woman and all will be well at Downton.  If someone else wrote this I apologize for missing it.    This episode was nearly jumping the shark…..very disappointing!  

    • Anonymous

      That’s exactly what I thought – Daisy will pass the black armband over to Ethel and all will be well.  

  • Anonymous

    I agree with everything you say, T Lo.  To me, the biggest problem with DA is that Julian Fellowes has decided that every character needs a storyline and something has to happen in everybody’s storyline every week.  It would be far more enthralling if he’d concentrate on a few characters in an episode, let their stories unfold in some detail, wrap that storyline up or at least move it forward quite a bit, and let other characters have their turn in the next episode.  Nothing’s ever resolved and we keep flipping back and forth between characters at breakneck speed so the story both moves too fast and doesn’t go anywhere at the same time. 

    All I need now is for Matthew to yell “I can feel my legs!” and Fellowes will have hit every cliche possible.  He’s ruined my favorite characters.  Sybil probably will run off with the chauffeur despite the fact that it’s the most passionless romance ever.  Isobel has remained a tone deaf do-gooder instead of the very savvy woman she was.  Anna has nothing to do except hang on to Mr. Bates and look concerned.  And Mr. Pamuk JUST WON”T DIE. 

    • Anonymous

      So far, the only thing I’m really pissed about is Isobel’s character.  There was potential for interesting, semi-realistic tension between her postwar cause and the struggle the Downton-ites will be making to return to a pre-war society (one that just won’t quite gel, no matter how much they believe they’ve finally got it.)  I could have seen her trying to introduce a distressed spinster gentlewoman to Downton as Cora’s secretary or an assistant to the Earl’s estate manager, etc. ETA: Or even seen her trying to organize fundraisers at the Abbey for a rehabilitation hospital elsewhere.

      Instead, she’s got a cause that can keep her far away on the continent much of the time (or in the grimy slums of large English cities), and she got it not in the semi-believable manner she might have been guided to it (or fallen into it), but by suddenly turning up for tea as a certified idiot. They should have been checking HER for head wounds.

      • Anonymous

        Except, and I don’t think this qualifies as a spoiler, Penelope Wilton is listed as appearing in every episode of Season Two.  So she’ll be around.  I do wish they’d tone down her character so it was more in keeping with last season.

  • Anonymous

    The Saturday Night Live spoof was lol!

    • sweetlilvoice

      Thank you! I was wondering if anyone else had seen it. I loved the line there’s a MILF, an old guy, the hot sister, the even hotter sister and the other one. Poor Edith, screwed again!

      • Anonymous

        I just read a suggestion that DA fans start lobbying for Maggie Smith to host SNL like they did with Betty White.  I’d join in on that in a minute.

  • Anonymous

    This episode was more bring that it had any right to be. I agree, the P. Gordon thing was a waste of time and energy. There are so many other storylines that could have used the focus and development (Sybil is seriously considering leaving with Branson? Since when?).

  • rosiepowell2000

    I remember Iain Glen’s performance as Mr. Preston in 1999′s “WIVES AND DAUGHTERS”.  He gave a superb performance as an unlikeable man who had ended up being used by one of the major characters.  I can see that he is trying his best with the Sir Richard Carlisle character, but Fellowes had created such a one-dimensional character that I don’t think that Glen’s efforts are working.

    In the shot featuring Lady Edith brooding over Patrick/Peter, why does it look like spring, when it’s supposed to be November 1918?

    P.S. I don’t recall anyone mentioning that Cora was forced to marry Robert. I do recall Robert pointing out that he had married Cora for her money.

  • Anonymous

    full-blown penny dreadful but I love it.

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

    Are we sure Matthew was feeling his legs . . . or did he feel “lift off” . . . I doubt we’ll ever know . . . but, I had this vision of Matthew engaging himself i 
    a Greek drama (where everything happens off stage) by returning to his room to see if he could get a response

  • Anonymous

    Georgette Heyer did it better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unknown_Ajax

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone else read the rumor that Shirley Maclaine has been cast as Cora’s mother? Tawk amongst yuhselves…..

    • Anonymous

      Not a rumor.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/sns-201201301443reedbusivarietynvr1118049468jan30,0,5207042.story

      • Anonymous

        And I can hardly wait!

  • Anonymous

    Well, as I consider Downton Abbey as a soap opera with a touch of irony and self-awareness, I wasn’t that bothered by the fake-o amnesiac.  Probably because both Matthew and Mary got off a couple of good speeches.  As for Vera Bates, my husband just did a marathon of the show and said last week, “You know she’ll be killed.”  I hadn’t really thought about it ’til then, but now it looks obvious.  If it’s arsenic, yeah, I’ll go with O’Brien *and* O’Brien getting away with it.  Or O’Brien being half guilty in some weird way. 

    You know it’s not Bates because Vera has survived all this time.  A murderous Bates would have killed her ages ago.

    I know Sir Richard’s the new villain, but I sort of like him anyway–at least he doesn’t dither.  Mary *ought* to be loyal to him and, yeah, Matthew’s fiancee ought to be back.  Oops, sorry, that’s real life, not Downton Abbey.  

    And, yes, they need to redeem Isobel’s character–she’s a do-gooder, but she’s a capable one and deserves a bit more respect from Julian Fellowes, no matter how much he loves Lady Violet.  

    I assume the P. Gordon plot will return with some sort of twist for Edith.  

    And, wow, there really is no sexual tension between Sybil and Branson–pretty as she is, the actress playing Sybil isn’t much of an actress.  Real contrast to Michelle Dockery.  Maybe Sybil needs more scenes with Lady Violet so Jessica Findlay can get some lessons from Maggie Smith.

    • Anonymous

      I’m guessing that O’brien had a hand in Vera Bates death too. I think she sent Vera some of Lord Grantham’s “special blend” of tea that Vera had liked it.  Vera had remarked about how much she liked it  during her first visit to Downton.   That’s the reason we see Vera collapsed on the floor with a broken tea cup nearby.  Fellowes does a lot of foreshadowing so   the had to be a reason for  Vera mentioning that tea. Yup, she’ll probably get way with it.  Bates will take the blame because he just can’t help himself that mans just loves dragging around a ball and chain. 

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think Bates will go to prison a second time–but, yes, I think you’re on to something with O’Brien and the tea.  It makes perfect sense.  O’Brien doesn’t care about Bates, but Vera’s threatened the family and O’Brien’s not going for that.  And, yes, she’ll get away with it–it would be completely in keeping with Gosford Park.  

        The thing I can’t figure out is what they plan to do with Lavinia.  So far, she’s been very sweet, but they put that poor actress in the baggiest clothes possible to keep her unattractive looking and a distant second to Lady Mary.

        • Anonymous

          I didn’t see Gosford Park.  I may have to because so many people have remarked about it and have liked it.  I know Maggie Smith is in it so that’s a plus.

          I agree that they are dressing Lavinia in shapeless clothes which are sometimes a size too big for her. Several dresses she wore were falling off her shoulders. Perhaps they are trying to make her look asexual  and more” little girlish” innocent.  I guess compared to Mary, she is.  I know that Matthew loves her but I don’t think he has much desire or a driving passion for her the way he seemed to have for Mary in Series1.  Matthew looks at her like a brother would look at a sister. I really like her too and think that she is sweet but  I don’t see the spark.

           Anyway, I really don’t know the plans but I do think that Mary and Matthew are the eventual end game, just don’t know where the end is. It could drag out for a long while. Maybe Lavinia will sense that her fiancee’s heart is not entirely hers and eventually she’ll get tired of it and call the whole thing off. She doesn’t appear to be much of a fighter to me. I know that Richard won’t do that because I’m sure he has no desire of being on the losing end of anything.  I think he would fight it to the bitter end.  This whole thing is going to get real interesting soon.

          • Anonymous

            Gosford Park’s terrific–I’m glad I didn’t say more about it.  It’s more subversive than Downton Abbey.  

            I think Lavinia’s supposed to seem middle-class and frumpy next to Mary.  The actress is quite pretty, so costume has its work cut out for it.   But my impression of Lavinia is that she’s supposed to be Matthew’s safe choice–she won’t reject him or look down on him the way Mary semi-did.  

            And, yes, if Mary jilts Richard there will be hell to pay.  Wonder if they’ll be cruel enough to have Mary actually marry Richard and then pine for Matthew.  What is the long-term point of the current plot twists–I do believe that they exist.  

  • Anonymous

    May I also be permitted a belly laugh at the memory of all the comments saying it couldn’t possible get this over the top when all the time those of who’d seen it knew the P.Gordon storyline was coming along ;) 

    Utterly pointless silliness. To say nothing of common sense bypass that would let anyone believe a bit of amnesia would cause a sudden accent change! I’m saying nowt about the twinges.

    • Anonymous

      To say nothing of common sense bypass that would let anyone believe a bit of amnesia would cause a sudden accent change!

      Amnesia wouldn’t cause an accent change, but the same injury that caused the amnesia could cause dysprosody (foreign accent syndrome).

      • Anonymous

        I’ve just read some of the comments on that. Possible then, yes, but pretty much stretching the bounds of feasibility to breaking point. And it’s not so much the whether or not it’s possible that bothered me, more that surely that would be the first thing the whole family would question. Highly unlikely they’d know of such a syndrome (if even identified then), and they know from Cora’s presence that accents aren’t lost in a few years. So really it’s that anyone, even Edith (with her wish/need to) would let that one pass.

        • Anonymous

          pretty much stretching the bounds of feasibility to breaking point.

          Like almost everything in this entire episode!

          But I do agree it’s odd that no one (on the show) commented on the oddity of that.

          • Anonymous

            Oh totally. This episode that really annoyed me and exasperated me with the series. I can shake my head and laugh off a fairly high degree of silliness if it progresses the plot but the whole Patrick thing just seemed like futile nonsense.

          • Anonymous

            It seems to me that Mr. Fellows introduced the Patrick character for reason becuse he is too good of a writter not to have done such.  There has to be a tie in with another plot somewhere down the road IMHO.

          • Anonymous

            Yep.  JF knows his tropes–there’s a reason he’s playing with the P.Gordon character.  He doesn’t claim to have suddenly lost his accent–it would have been over a six-year period.  Hmmm, wonder if he’ll be used by Richard Carlisle as a way of shaking things up at Downton if Mary tries to break the engagement.  

            It’s not as if anyone at Downton, except Edith, seems to believe it’s Patrick and even Edith realizes she may have been had by the end.

          • Anonymous

            It’s rare to lose an accent as an adult after only a few years though.  With children yes, but even then the ability to switch back is usually there (John Barrowman for instance). Sometimes an accent can be put on a bit (Sheena Easton, Madonna), but not totally lost.

            It’ll be interesting to see if he does ever work him back into it though, and how.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t think we’re supposed to think P. Gordon is anything, but a strange fraud.  So, yes, you’re right–I’m just pointing out the *character’s* excuse–i.e. he’d spent six years in Canada.

            It’s also unclear how old Patrick was when he died–if he was college age, he might have less of an accent left than if he were older.

            So, I think we’re meant to see P. Gordon as a fraud–that most os the characters know he’s a fraud–but the question is why is he there?  Just to shake up the episode or is there something more involved.  I assume, though maybe I shouldn’t, that it’s the latter.  Most of the plot longs seem to be pretty long on DA.  Mary’s fling with Pamuk still has all sorts of ramifications.  Just hope it was good while it lasted.

          • Anonymous

            I spent about half my life in British schools and can switch back to a British accent. I can do Canadian, too (mum was Canadian), or Scottish. You just need a good ear and some immersion. 

          • Anonymous

            I once went to a conference in England, and spent a fair bit of time hanging out with a woman from Edinburgh.  By the end of the conference, I had picked up her accent!

          • Anonymous

            Maybe, nothing is impossible or even unlikely in DA. But I can’t see how. My feeling is that was him done with him. Although I’m sure he’s left it open just in case.

  • Anonymous

    Fine with me if Matthew is no longer impotent, though of course unrealistic, but as a person with a spinal cord injury, there is nothing I hate more than the soap opera trope of paralyzing someone (usually, though not always a man), and then having him miraculously walk again and all return to normal. It’s not just that it’s unrealistic in medical terms; one expects that on television. But it’s the way it promotes the attitude that it just spells the end of a fulfilling life and all that tosh. Of course it’s depressing and difficult to become paralyzed – and granted, was much more so when DA takes place – but all the “I’m half a man!” “There, there” “It’s a miracle! I’ll be loved again!” business that invariably takes place is beyond tiresome, and it’s insulting. I wish that if they want to go the miraculous-recovery route, they’d choose a diagnosis where it makes more sense. Hell, people actually do wake from months-long comas and fully recover.

    /Off soapbox.

  • Anonymous

    I think what bothers me most about what they’ve done to Anna is that she was such a useful character in the first season.  She could play the foil to O’Brien.  She could be the daughters’ confidant.  She could be an ally to Bates against Thomas.  She gave Gwen someone to talk to.  Now she’s really only relevant to the extent that she pines for Bates.  It’s disappointing.

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

      That is an excellent point.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, this. They’ve really narrowed her character. So disappointing, and similar to what they did to Isobel. 

  • Anonymous

    In the scene with Cora, Violet and Isobel, did I actually hear Cora call Violet “Mama” or some other maternal term?  If I wasn’t having an auditory hallucination, that was actually the most jarring thing in the episode, an episode with (mind you) a burn-victim accent-switching maybe amnesiac.

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

      You heard it correctly! I was shocked also.

    • Tally Ho

      It was quite normal in those days to refer to your in-laws as mama and papa.

      • Anonymous

        No doubt, but it’s not as if Cora and Violet have been depicted as close historically: in the very first episode of season one Cora asks, “So are we to be friends then?” when she and Violet finally agree on a course of action about Mary, and there was absolutely no indication of her addressing Violet that way at all until now.  They have no doubt become closer since season one, but the writers just threw that in without establishing the term either as a custom of the time or as a sign of new intimacy between the two of them.  That’s why it felt jarring.

  • Anonymous

    In the spirit of the soap ‘Another Downton’, I have to say that Carson is the BEATING HEART of Downton Abbey and if he departs, then the great house and it’s inhabitants will go into organ failure, then cardiac arrest, and even a thousand shocks will not resuscitate the GRAND GREY PATIENT!

    • rosiepowell2000

      I don’t really like Carson.  I find him to be a bit too snobbish and servile for my tastes.

  • Anonymous

    This episode was parts sheer buffoonery and sketchy character development.  Filler.  Seriously, did anything happen that we need to know about besides Vera face down in the last few seconds?

    Daisy, continuing to moan and groan ad nauseum about marrying William when she didn’t love him….stuff it already!

    Mrs. Hughes continuing to help Ethel by stealing food, even going to Cora about intervening with the Major….completely out of character.

    When did Sybil change her mind about Branson?  Plueeease.
     
    And the Muppet.  From his horrible acting (which compared to most of the other actors on this show was PAINFUL – yes, you have a full face of makeup, but that doesn’t give you license to overact every single friggin’ line with your voice being so melodramic!), to the horrible plot to the horrible conclusion, Jesus wept.  If the purpose of this character was to give Edith a storyline, it failed spectacularly.

    And Matthew feeling twinges in the Crawley penis? Good god.  Why make him paralyzed to begin with?  They could have disfigured him or chopped off a limb or something for a better storyline with him being so self-pitying that he rejects Lavinia.  Or just be psychologically effed up about his battle experience so he can’t get it up, a la William Hurt in The Big Chill (which I also watched yesterday – awesome film!).

    Anyway, I am hoping this episode is just a poor blip on the radar.  I can deal with some soapiness, but this is venturing into Dallas territory.

    And my money is on O’Brien knowing how Vera Bates’ died, if even having something to do with it…..  There’s a stiletto hidden in that knitting hair….

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FJHL7UEEB4MA7MIIO5JJC7V55I Anonymous

    I wonder if the P. Gordon story line was inspired by the famous 19th-c. case of the “Tichborne Claimant.” In 1854 the heir to the Tichborne baronetcy was lost at sea and then 12 years later someone came forward claiming to be him. He was unrecognizable but that was explained by the fact that he had gained so much weight, he had a story about living in Australia after being shipwrecked, and somehow he could no longer speak a word of french, in which he had previously been fluent. The claimant had probably met the real heir at sea, so he knew some facts about him. And the mother of the real heir claimed that she recongnized the imposter, while the rest of the family rejected him. It was a long legal case and the imposter continued to claim to be the rightful heir for the rest of his life.

    Anyway, it may not be the last we hear from P. Gordon. Otherwise, I agree, it was pointless.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FJHL7UEEB4MA7MIIO5JJC7V55I Anonymous

    I wonder if the P. Gordon story line was inspired by the famous 19th-c. case of the “Tichborne Claimant.” In 1854 the heir to the Tichborne baronetcy was lost at sea and then 12 years later someone came forward claiming to be him. He was unrecognizable but that was explained by the fact that he had gained so much weight, he had a story about living in Australia after being shipwrecked, and somehow he could no longer speak a word of french, in which he had previously been fluent. The claimant had probably met the real heir at sea, so he knew some facts about him. And the mother of the real heir claimed that she recongnized the imposter, while the rest of the family rejected him. It was a long legal case and the imposter continued to claim to be the rightful heir for the rest of his life.
    Anyway, it may not be the last we hear from P. Gordon. Otherwise, I agree, it was pointless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ehormell Eric Hormell

    I wonder if the P. Gordon story line was inspired by the famous 19th-c. case of the “Tichborne Claimant.” In 1854 the heir to the Tichborne baronetcy was lost at sea and then 12 years later someone came forward claiming to be him. He was unrecognizable but that was explained by the fact that he had gained so much weight, he had a story about living in Australia after being shipwrecked, and somehow he could no longer speak a word of french, in which he had previously been fluent. The claimant had probably met the real heir at sea, so he knew some facts about him. And the mother of the real heir claimed that she recongnized the imposter, while the rest of the family rejected him. It was a long legal case and the imposter continued to claim to be the rightful heir for the rest of his life. Probably not the only story of this kind, but I was just reading about it last week so I was reminded of it.

    Anyway, it may not be the last we hear from P. Gordon. Otherwise, I agree, it was pointless.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ehormell Eric Hormell

      Sorry this posted three times!

  • Anonymous

    Funny how a bump on the head can make you lose all memory — and your accent.  And then how another bump on the head restores the memory, but not the accent.  As if Gordon’s story didn’t strain credibility enough.

  • Anonymous

    Loved the Earl’s excitement about daring to wear a tux with black tie instead of white tie and tails for dinner with the family.  A new era dawns!

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

    I loved Mary’s “Well, we have to live somewhere.” Like, “I guess this will do (even though I have to buy bloody furniture and all).”

    Compare that to Ethel’s hovel and the giant baby. When she kissed him on the head I was sure that foretold she was going to leave him on a doorstep somewhere and get on with her life. You watch.Isobel is no dummy, and I can’t believe she didn’t see right through Cora and Violet’s plotting to get her to go away. Maybe she has something up her sleeve and will get them back at some point.The whole burned muppet thing was so absurd, on more than one level, and I felt kind of insulted. Really? We’re supposed to buy this, or even be entertained by it? It was ghastly (make up, acting, plot device, all of it.)Who will replace Carson if he goes?I did love Cora’s dress in one scene – she was with Robert (in the dining room? drawing room?) and was wearing this black number with what I’ll call “fishnet” on the neck and sleeves.I’ve accepted that this show is not serious drama like I thought it was going to be, but instead a posh soap, and am starting to enjoy it more. I like to think that Mr.(Sir?) Fellowes intentions for the show were a little more high-minded, then when it became a smash hit and he needed to draw things out for a couple more seasons, he just went full-sail cheese ahoy. (Yes, I just made that up.)

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

      Sorry for the run-on type above. That’s not how I typed it. I tried to edit, but alas. Stupid upgraded computer finickyness, no doubt. 

  • Anonymous

    Yup, I agree Downton Abbey has jumped the soap opera shark: amnesia in unrecognizable burn victim, may be long-lost heir! Unsuitable/now suitable heir/maybe not heir may never walk again! Or get an erection! Or he may! And so on and so forth.

    Bates and Anna may finally marry! No, they can’t!The worst was the telegraphing of the end of evil-for-no-reason Mrs. Bates. When Bates wished her the “late Mrs. Bates,” I knew she was a goner. My eyes nearly rolled out of my head at the unneeded second telegram: the Earl’s ham-fisted warning to Bates, “Don’t lose your temper.”Bates will be charged with murder, and after interminable soap opera twists, will be set free. I’m bored already. 

  • http://twitter.com/Elena_TPKnits Elena Rosenberg

    If you haven’t seen the “Uptown Downstairs Abbey” spoofs yet, you’ll love ‘em ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5dMlXentLw

    • Anonymous

      Have you seen Carson’s Christmas Album spoof ad? It should be on there somewhere too :)

      • Anonymous

        Ask and ye shall receive!  Do NOT watch this while drinking a liquid.  You have been warned.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkyNUZ3S6eg

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

          Yes, it’s fun!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Krumel/774655640 Jennifer Krumel

    I just want to say, I love Allen Leech when he was Agrippa on Rome. I want to love him in this…Yet his character annoys me endlessly. But then they’ll turn the camera on him with those blue eyes and earnest looks and I just can’t help myself but to forgive him. But he and Sybil seem so illsuited and just….cliche. Is there anything more to their characters than the basic tropes that Red Nose lampooned brilliantly?

  • rosiepowell2000

    It’s odd.  There were so many Lady Sybil/Branson shippers when the first season of “DOWNTON ABBEY” aired.  But ever since Branson’s socialist views were mocked in one episode and maligned in another when the chauffeur expressed a lack of compassion toward the Russian tsar and his family, the Sybil/Branson relationship has lost many supporters.  And now many are complaining that they lack chemistry.  Personally, I was claiming this last year, when so many were supporting the idea of a romance between the two.

    • Anonymous

      It is odd and quite interesting. I sometimes go on a UK forum which has had a run of long threads on DA and the place is overrun with Sybil/Branson shippers. To an annoying degree in fact, as I’ve never been convinced by them as a couple. So reading the dislike here is quite a suprise. Initially it didn’t occur to me to link that with his politics, but I suppose it makes sense really.

    • Toto Maya

      It might have something to do with geography, too. Socialism is seen as a pretty bad thing by a lot of people in the US at the moment, which might have something to do with it. Personally, I never liked them together, and was hoping they would be just friends as Sybill staked her claim in the world, but they had to go the romance route.

      • Anonymous

        For my part, I don’t dislike Branson because he’s a Socialist, but because he’s a boring Socialist! All we get are repetitive scenes of Sybil and Branson chatting by the auto, throwing around a few mild revolutionary slogans and not advancing much in their relationship. Branson has been pretty humorless and lacking in charm and it’s difficult to believe just what the heck might attract Sybil – or for that matter, what attracts him to her, other than a pretty face. In all honesty, I feel no chemistry at all between the two actors. When there’s good chemistry, it can overcome even badly developed characters. That’s just not happening here.

        • Anonymous

          I just thought of something; Maybe Branson is set up as a “comparative” (if that is a word) to Sir Richard.  Branson is obnoxious when it comes to politics but all in all other aspects he acts more “aristocratic” in his mannerisms than Sir Richard in that he does not display his feelings.  He never pushed Sybil aganist a wall.  He clearly loves Sybil for Sybil.  I think we will see an intersting turn in Season III for Branson. I predict he will be very successful becuse he “gets along” with people from all classes of life, apperars intelligent plus somewhat educated and has an even temperment.  I think fellows know what he is doing with this character.

      • Anonymous

        Red Scare tactics have been used by the American Right for many years.  

        Lord Julian finds Socialism, Irish Nationalism & Conscientious Objection beneath him.  But they were important topics back in the day & he can’t skip them entirely.  So–why not attach them to one character, then show that character to be an ineffectual fool?   Then he can get back to the foolish Lord, so pleased he can now wear a tuxedo for more casual family dinners-& isn’t that new maid a cutie?

        Of course, making Branson a political fool has made him less of a romantic figure.  He preaches at Sybil but shows no charm at all….

        Bad writing. 

        • Jessie Bielicki

          Actually, Fellowes has a more sympathetic view than you might imagine. You should watch the video where he talks about Branson here- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/season2_characters_branson.html

          I don’t think he’s been portrayed as an ineffectual fool myself. At least not intentionally, lol. I think the only thing he’s done that can be interpreted as ineffectual is his crap soup protest fail. Because other than that, he’s preferred to wait for Sybil than to get politically involved, which I accept because that’s just the character he is. And I genuinely believe when Fellowes wrote the protest plot, he intended it to be a funny story line. Like, you spend the whole episode thinking Branson is going to try to kill this general at dinner, but no, his shifty eyes and suspicious self was just planning on the gross WWI era version of glitter bombing. Sort of like in season 1, when Mr. Carson was acting all suspicious and stealing food, and you were wondering, “What is he mixed up in?” and it turned out some crass idiot was blackmailing him about exposing his shameful past of pier-side song and dance. I just think Fellowes misread the negative impact this story line would have on a lot of viewers’ perception of Branson, and that he didn’t intend it. Like you said, bad writing.

          But you make some good points about how we haven’t seen much in the S/B relationship so far to make us like them as a couple or enjoy them. In season 1, when every scene together didn’t turn into a discussion about the state of their relationship, they were really cute. They actually talked about their common interests and got to know each other. They were playful. They were happy and impassioned. We don’t really get that at all this season. Not with any of the characters, really.

          But I will say I thought Branson was still season 1 level charming in the premiere episode, an adorable puppy when he proposed, similarly adorable, though kind of sad and lovesick, in all the scenes following that rejection (kicked puppy) but before his re-opening the debate about their relationship, when his eyes would follow Sybil all around the room if they happened to be in the same room together. I thought he was cute when he was so pleased to hear Sybil refer to them as “us”. I thought it was incredibly sweet when he said he’d wait forever in this episode.

          That being said, the arrogance of his character is not always pleasant, nor how he’s expressed frustration with Sybil’s indecision, like dismissing her work, even though I took his criticism as one of those below-the-belt insults that hurt because it has a ring of truth to it, or comparing the sacrifice of her lifestyle in choosing him to the Bolsheviks murdering the Romanov family for a brighter socialist future. Boy needs to lay off the political metaphors. But those are really my only complaints.

          As for Sybil, I thought her one charming moment up until this episode was when she kind of exasperatedly complained to Mary, in the same way a girl complains about a boyfriend “He’s frightfully full of himself.” Aside from that and this episode where she comes into the garage and starts awkwardly flirting, she really hasn’t been charming like she was in season 1 at all. It has been really difficult to figure out why this relationship is a thing at all if I’m only working with season 2.

          I tell you, my loyalty never wavered because of my holdover love of them in season 1, not because they did much to earn my desire to see them get together this season. The same holds true for Bates and Anna. Also Matthew started to piss me off. Don’t get me going on Robert. I comforted myself with the notion that at least Julian Fellowes was ruining all the ships, not just S/B.

    • Jessie Bielicki

      I’m a pretty big S/B shipper from season 1, I’ve seen all of season 2, so without giving anything away, I will say at this point of the show’s UK run, I still supported them, but I was starting to get really mad. I wanted to kick Julian Fellowes for squandering so much potential for the really awesome romance I thought he had so perfectly set up at the end of season 1. I don’t like how sexless they’ve been written this season or how repetitive the scenes featuring their relationship are, always taking place in the garage, always Branson trying to push Sybil to either admit her feelings or agree to run away with him and her either not saying anything, getting defensive, giving positive signals but no declarations or just generally being indecisive. And it’s really only been 3 episodes where this has happened, 3-5, but it feels like it’s been happening all season long.The pacing and the time jumps have really hurt them a lot, as they’ve hurt all of the characters and relationships. I also don’t like how little screen time they get, how they basically get little to no development as individual characters, and that all of these hinted at developments and conversations have seemed to take place off screen so that I have to fill in the blanks on my own.

      Despite all that though, they are still pretty popular in other parts of the internet, where I mostly stick to commenting because all the negativity about them on a lot of American media sites makes me sad. If you pick up the latest Downton issue of TV Guide, there’s a blurb about them where it becomes clear Julian Fellowes thought he was writing a very different story than a lot of the viewers felt they were watching. Someone needs to get that man some co-writers. Or better editors. I don’t know which he needs more.

      • Tally Ho

        Your comment about Julian Fellowes writing a very different story than what a lot of the veiwers thought they were watching is actually interesting. I imagine what writing something on paper to reflect what is in your mind doesn’t always translate well to the screen where the language needs to be backed up with acting. Other than the Sybil-Branson relationship where this failure comes in place is Mrs. Crawley.

        If the Sybil-Branson relationship is a failure for many of us (including me) it’s because of the following:

        1. Highly implausible – while such relationships could have happened, 9/10 they ended in disaster and tears.

        2. A logical excuse for the relationship is to use it to explore the social gulf between the two characters and upstairs/downstairs themes, and how it affects their relationship. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen so much in season 2, unlike in season 1 where Sybil once said to Branson: “I thought it was for me to give you orders!”

        3. Branson’s character as an Irish revolutionary strongly jibes with his role as a chauffer to an aristocratic English earl. Ok, he stayed in his job for Sybil, but come on, driving around the Yorkshire countryside when there’s a revolution going on in Ireland? This is one of those “puh-leeze” moments.

        4. Sybil isn’t shown as necessarily liking Branson that much. Obviously she feels something for him but she’s still keeping him at arm’s lengths – after all these years. And Branson keeps coming across as rude and boorish.

        At this point it’s hard to feel much sympathy for either character.

        • Jessie Bielicki

          I think it all comes down to different perspectives on the show and characters

          1. In reality, it’s highly implausible, and if it happened, would end in disaster and tears, but Downton Abbey is not meant to reflect reality, it’s a soapy drama, so an inter-class, inter-ethnic romance succeeding would not be outside the realm of possibility at all.

          2. I totally agree with you here. This aspect of them really intrigued me in series 1. If it’s been examined at all in series 2, it’s come in the form of Sybil’s growing dissatisfaction with her own class. And that hasn’t really been explored either, because she’s lucky if she gets a minute of screen time per episode.

          3. I think this is what separates a lot of people who support the relationship from people who don’t, how we view Branson. I don’t think he is a revolutionary. He’s said as much himself. I think he supports the Russian revolutionaries and he supports Irish independence, but I’ve never got the sense from him that he’s this radical who wants to overthrow the social order if reform can take place through protest or political means. And I don’t think he’s violent at all, if the most statement making protest that occurred to him was a frat boy prank. I’ve never got the sense from him that he hates the British empire, as he’s expressed genuine respect for Lord Grantham in the past despite his opposition to aristocracy as an institution, just that he has this abstract idealistic belief that the old ways will inevitably change for the better. 

          Also, the Irish War for Independence wasn’t going on in yet at the time this episode is taking place. It didn’t really get moving until 1920, so I don’t criticize him for hanging out in Britain while his own country is at war with the Crown, because it isn’t.

          And in any case, I can totally buy that he prioritizes Sybil over his politics because that’s one of his only consistent traits this from both seasons, so it must be part of what defines his character. I know that’s contrary to a lot of people who expected him to be totally defined by his politics, and it’s easy to understand why they’d think that, because most of the time when he’s not talking to Sybil, and even sometimes when he is, he’s basically used as a mouthpiece for political history. But Sybil is the British aristocrat he fell in love with despite his Irishness and his opposition to the aristocracy, Sybil asking him to stay is why he didn’t hand in his notice, Sybil is what stopped his protest, Sybil is why he’s staying in England, he promised Sybil he’s wait forever even after she acknowledged how much he wanted to get involved with Ireland. So yeah, adjusting my view from “Strawman Political Guy” to “Really In Love Guy who is interested in politics too”

          4. I hate to say this, but I think, besides the writing, that Jessica Brown-Findlay is a bit to blame for this perception. I’m thinking, because of the alternately playful or dramatic swell of music in the soundtrack in their scenes together, that we’re meant to see some complementary emotions coming from the actors. I think Allen Leech succeeds as well as he can playing against JBF, who does not do well conveying emotions at all. I think she’s trying for subtle, but more often than not, I get blank.

          And leaving comments like this is why I usually stick to places with like-minded people. Good lord, it’s just kind of sad. 

          • Anonymous

            I don’t favour any of the relationships over any other I must admit, but I do mostly agree with you. 

            I think a large part of the problem is Jessica Brown-Findlay. Another actress could add a lot to that relationship with just a longing look but she can’t do it. She’s nice, I don’t dislike her but Isis shows more emotion. Granted she isn’t given much to work with, but she’s not doing enough with what she does get.I also don’t see Branson as some sort of revolutionary (not that I’d have a problem with that). He’s a young Irishman with an education and an interest in politics. It might be that JF takes him into a political career in time. I agree he’s an idealist, who’s looking forward to change coming. A bit of left wing politics is no big deal anyway.

  • Presumptuous Insect

    That whole peen tingle thing was so laughable!

  • michelle shields

    NBC has blocked the SNL skit :(
    now that was some funny shit!

  • Anonymous

    OMG. This show is so much FUN! Amnesia! Inheritance issues! Impotence issues! A new world order! Mysterious deaths! I love every soap opera minute of it. Classic escapism. 

  • Anonymous

    This episode was not as enjoyable as most and the “Patrick” thing was not done well.  The only reason I think he may be back is the gesture which caught Lord Granthams attention and the further investigation which may shed some light,  I also think it is strange that a “gentleman” from the Titanic wreckage wouldn’t have been brought forward, even if he couldn;t tremember who he was.  The upper classes were so well respected. 

    I was surprised that Mary seemed so relaxed with Sir Richard after his treatment of her.  Maybe she thinks she deserves what she gets?

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

    I thought of something else. Is Thomas back to being a footman now that the war is over? He was hanging out downstairs in his uniform throughout the show. Not sure what his position will be now. Anyone?

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

      He will move to London and be the manager of a night club.

    • Toto Maya

      They’re probably going to find some way to keep him at or near Downton. He has to stand around smoking with O’Brien after all.

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

    I thought of something else. Is Thomas back to being a footman now that the war is over? He was hanging out downstairs in his uniform throughout the show. Not sure what his position will be now. Anyone?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=818790248 Andrea Grenadier

    Good grief. In reading some of these posts, I’m beginning to think this series is lost on most people. Perhaps everyone should start with “Upstairs, Downstairs,” and end with “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Forsyte Saga.” Then come back and discuss.

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

      I disagree.

    • Anonymous

      Have seen all of the above — in fact, thru multiple viewings — and go you one better with  

      The Pallisers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075557/ .

      And in my humble opinion, Downton Abbey has jumped the Masterpiece Theater British Intellectual Soap Opera shark.

      • Anonymous

        I remember the original Upstairs Downstairs with fondness; the first series is streaming on Netflix & I may have to order the DVD’s to re-watch the later series.  The simple production values are forgotten as we slowly meet the staff & the family upstairs–then see how their lives intertwine over the years.  (Although we get to see a succession of stunning frocks for Lady Margery!)  Good, smart entertainment.  

        Downton is getting more silly every episode, with Lord Julian unable to keep up with the flow of time.  And his political leanings are a bit too obvious.  Hey, look, there’s a stately home! (Looking like spring in November, but the State Family can’t be bothered to allow those peasants all year ’round.)  

        • sweetlilvoice

          I too have just finished watching the 70s Up/Down and what a series! I also enjoyed the revival series which was on last year, I hope they do a second season. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any info on that. 

          • Anonymous

            Coming very soon here (19th february) so I’m sure you won’t be far behind. Alex Kingston was talking about it last week as she has a major part in it.

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

      Like others, I’ve seen all of those, plus more. I think most of us are talking about the plot mechanics and the overuse of situational clichés, as well as some lines that fall pretty flat as well. And yes, agree with judibrowni

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=818790248 Andrea Grenadier

    Good grief. In reading some of these posts, I’m beginning to think this series is lost on most people. Perhaps everyone should start with “Upstairs, Downstairs,” and end with “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Forsyte Saga.” Then come back and discuss.

  • Anonymous

    (Apologies if some of the following has been said: I am under the weather and haven’t read all 7 pages of comments)

    I don’t think we’ve seen the last of “Patrick” The English Patient. I will bet he jumped ship when he saw how thoroughly his story was being checked out by the family. His rage at not being lovingly welcomed back into the fold showed his desperation. I think he is, indeed, an impostor — as Lady Mary hypothesized — and left either to try and derail the investigation or to find more compelling evidence to prove he is who he claims to be.

    I think Vera committed suicide and staged it to look like Bates killed her.

    I think Cora and Robert’s marriage is headed for serious trouble as she becomes more fulfilled through work and he feels more and more like an anachronism.

    I think Carson decided to leave not because he wants to be in charge of Haxby Park, but because he loves Mary and knows she is headed for a very unhappy life there. He wants to be there to shepherd and protect her.

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

    The show went for tiresome but still watchable, to ridiculous and annoying. No need in rehashing what everyone has pointed out already.
    I find Fellowes’ depiction of the Earl, a veteran, to be lacking in perspective. As someone who went through the Boer Wars, which were a nasty lot, his initial enthusiasm for service this time around was likely But as it is, Fellowes has reduced him to sitting around, tucking in, all while wearing his uniform. For what? I just think it would have been better had the Earl been given the job of running the hospital, acting as the referee between Cora and Isobel.  As for the 11 bells, done at 11 AM on Armistice Day was melodramatic and I just felt like everyone wanted to get off the set. Fellowes could have borrowed what happened to WWI Poet Wilfred Owen’s parents. They learned of his death a few days prior, on Armistice Day. Another opportunity lost.

    I feel like I’m watching a bad episode of Project Runway. Is Tim Gunn going to come on?  Should Heidi perhaps ask Mary why she’s so uptight?

    • Anonymous

      As for the 11 bells, done at 11 AM on Armistice Day, this scene was melodramatic

      But very realistic. 

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

         Yup, people don’t still reference “The 11th hour of the 11th day” for nothing.

  • Susan Crawford

    Amnesia. Oh, dear. But then it was bound to crop up somehow, wasn’t it? The heir’s body was never recovered after the Titanic catastrophe, thus leaving a sliver of the thinnest edge of a very classic melodramatic wedge in place to bring on the long-lost heir. But it was handled hamfistedly, and I was surprised that Julian Fellowes ended up inserting such a poorly conceived plotline that did nothing much to advance the tale at all. But my heart actually squeezed out a drop or two of blood at poor Edith’s situation as she is once again left all alone and lonely in the folly.

    Lady Mary made a terrible pact with the devil when she threw caution to the winds and made The Evil Press Baron her confidant in the Pamuk mess. Now she’s one more thing he has bought and paid for (in his mind, at least) and thus his to manipulate and control. Of course Carson knows this cad is up to no good, and because of the depth of his bond with Lady Mary, he will HAVE to go with her to try to keep her safe, even though he is the backbone of Downton.

    It’s quite clear the Grantham marriage is already headed for the rocks and cracks wide enough to drive a Daimler through are beginning to open. Can we avoid the storyline of the Lord of the Manor falling for the new maid and her brilliant little math genius son? Sigh. Probably not. As for O’Brien, she got a big laugh from me when she jumped up from the table to eavesdrop (yet again) on Bates and Anna, saying, “I’ll just pop out and get my button box.” Next time I plan to ruthlessly eavesdrop, I’m going to call it “getting my button box”! It seems Thomas is hatching a black marketeer scheme/scam, and will doubtless be able to worm his way back into Downton in some capacity if he wants it badly enough. But even if he doesn’t, he’ll be in the ‘hood,  smoking and leering.

    As for the late Mrs. Bates – ding-dong, I’m glad she’s dead, but at this point, I think Anna should give Bates a short sharp shock and demand that he level with her once and for all or move on down the yellow brick road. But since Anna is a saint and a paragon of patience, and this being a soap opera . . . the plot thickens to an even more gelatinous texture.

    Coming up? What will happen concerning Matthew’s little below-the-waist twinges? Have we seen the last of the long-lost heir? Will the Irish chauffeur succeed in enticing the youngest daughter to the Auld Sod? Will Isobel singlehandedly resettle all the lost and disenfranchised souls of Europe, or will she discover that Violet and Cora have played her like an old trout at the end of a wily fisherman’s line? And when will Lord Grantham remove his head from his own arse and figure out that the changes to come will involve more than ordering up one of those newfangled dinner jackets?

    Yes, it’s a soap opera . . . but the bubbles from this particular brand of soap are SO very pretty and iridescent!

  • Tally Ho

    Well….it’s the worst episode so far. Ridiculous and disappointing (while still engaging). I won’t rehash the points made by others above but perhaps the underlying problem is that what looked good in the script simply didn’t translate well to the screen. Fellowes should be taking notes from the episodes and our feedback when he writes the third season.

    I will defend Cora as I find her one of the most realistic characters on the show. As a mother she is fiercly loyal to her children – first and foremost. The cousins are secondary and the servants are almost irrelevant, which is exactly how an upper class woman of the time approached life. You’ll notice that she never quite approved of Bates and for good reasons – servants problems were their problems and not the family’s business. Servants that developed problems were more often than not “let go.” Other than her lady’s maid and the butler and housekeeper, Cora has no contact with the servants and that’s a very accurate portrayal.

    Unlike Robert and Violet, Cora wouldn’t be bothered by Sir Richard’s self-made status since she’s the daughter of a self-made millionaire. She must highly respect Sir Richard and as someone who cares deeply for her daughters she would have seen Matthew as an impediment to Mary’s happiness and prosperity as Matthew is 1) engaged and 2) cannot have children. She’s more pragmatic than Robert and as an American she doesn’t have the aristocratic paternalism that allows Robert and Violet to get involved with the servants – or other people’s – lives.  

    • Anonymous

      I always liked the Cora character too and very disappointed that Sir Fellowes has given her more this season to do and say. However, this will change in Season III when her mothee, Miss MacLaine, comes to the British Isles. I cannot wait.

  • http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/3945/ShowForum.aspx nancykelley

    Am i the only one who rails at the telly because of how utterly boring, dopey and unattractive Mr Bates is? I hope they lock him up in the slammer for the remainder of the series. On another note: you all simply must see the picture of Anna in real life ( Us Magazine, I believe. Caught it in the grocery line last night) who’d a known she be trailer trash off camera?

    • Susan Crawford

      I just saw this picture and it was a jaw-dropper, wasn’t it? Our prim little Anna in off-screen life is quite the little sexpot! Under that dowdy maid’s uni and those modest cambric knickers is a young lady who can certainly rock a frock. The US article really was fun – quite a bit of fun backstage gossip, and a fabulous little photo montage of Dame Maggie’s choice quotes. “We can’t have him assassinated . . . can we?”

    • Susan Crawford

      I just saw this picture and it was a jaw-dropper, wasn’t it? Our prim little Anna in off-screen life is quite the little sexpot! Under that dowdy maid’s uni and those modest cambric knickers is a young lady who can certainly rock a frock. The US article really was fun – quite a bit of fun backstage gossip, and a fabulous little photo montage of Dame Maggie’s choice quotes. “We can’t have him assassinated . . . can we?”

  • Anonymous

    what did Lord Grantham mean when he asked Patrick/Peter where he learned that motion (when he moved his finger across his lip and nose)

    • Jessie Bielicki

      I think because Mary made the same gesture in an earlier episode that we were meant to conclude it’s something particular about their family, so Robert was caught off guard by a stranger doing it. Which is the reason why I accept Robert’s uncertainty over all the rest of the family besides Edith thinking “con man”.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, yes. Was that the flower show episode last season when Mary and Matthew were discussing Isobel and Violet’s tiff about Mosley’s father’s roses?

        • Jessie Bielicki

          rather more recent than that! It was the episode where they were setting up the convalescent home, and Matthew made that comment about how his power-tripping mother must be driving Cora mad. Mary made that gesture in response when she said, “No names, no pack drill.”

          • Anonymous

            Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    my new fave expression is ‘aww, bloody hell!’

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what i missed?? Why is Carson so attached to Lady Mary….or hasn’t it been revealed yet?

    • Anonymous

      In Season I after the Turkish gentlemean bit the dust, he told her that she was his favorite of all the sisters.

      • Susan Crawford

        Yes . . . and that moment has always stayed in my mind. Methinks there is a tale yet to be told there. Perhaps when Lady Cora’s doughty Mama appears next season more will be revealed about the birth of Lady Mary and Carson’s reason for being so protective of her. (And I’m already imagining confrontational moments between Miz Shirley and Dame Maggie: squeee!)

  • Anonymous

    I think the whole Ethel thing is to be a tease about the new maid. She comes with a baby and a story about a dead husband. But she could be like Ethel and just made it up. Ethel is going to look into it and dig some dirt on the new maid. In the mean time The Earl of Grantham is going to find himself more and more intrigued by the new maid much to his horror.  P. Gordon is going to show up again later, with some sort of less ambiguous but not definitive proof of his claim just when Matthew is feeling enough in his nethers to start taking interest in being the Heir again. This will put Mary and Edith into a raging cat fight (in this case a tilt of the head and a smart remark from each of them, but in front of important guests).  Sir Richard had better be careful, Mary has already killed one man in her magic vagina, and he is not as young as Mr. Pamuk was.

    • Susan Crawford

      I definitely think you’re onto something here, Rzldzl122. Even the saintly housekeeper who has been spiriting food to the downtrodden Ethel said flat out, “Move away to a big city and make up a story. You wouldn’t be the first.” And historically, I believe this was a fact of life for many women following The Great War and WWII. We shall await developments, eh?

      And Sir Richard who now appears to have the upper hand may desperately wish to buy into the aristocracy, but something tells me that our Lady Mary, aided by the incredibly efficient Carson, backed by Lady Cora who orchestrated the toting of a dead body the length of Downton and with the acidic Dowager’s nice sense of entitlement and power . . . well, he may have met MORE than his match, eh?

  • butter nut

    i like that the show is trying to reference modern issues (end of a war, shifts in class/wealth, single mothers, war widows, mid-life crisis…) through the lens of a period drama.  sure it’s hokey sometimes, but it’s still nice to watch, superbly acted (except for the muppet) & stunningly designed.  the soap opera stuff just doesn’t bother me that much.  but i grew up on Dynasty & the Colbys, so i have a pretty high tolerance for silly drama.

    • Anonymous

      Those aren’t “modern issues”.  Those are issues that have been around for millennia.

    • Anonymous

      Me Too!  However, I must draw a line at alien abductions.  LOL! LOL!

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps “Patrick” will return, miraculously healed & with a small, grey valet. 

        The servants & many of the Quality do wear a lot of Black.  (I’m just sayin’.)  

  • Joe Ambroson

    I thought the amnesia story did forward the plot.  I thought it showed Richard just how into Matthew Mary was.  The scene I’m thinking about is where everyone was gathered and Mary went on about how this stranger could put Matthew through all of this.  I also think it served to separate the coziness between Mary and Edith.  
    And I thought it also was a reminder that during that time period head injuries really weren’t very well understood (and they’re not really well understood now either).  And I guess for me that allowed me to overlook the cheesiness of it.  It is a story that wouldn’t fly now, but might have worked better then when people didn’t have quite the understanding of amnesia that we do now.  Maybe I’m being a little too forgiving or condescending to medical knowledge of 100 years ago.  

  • Anonymous

    Well, I have a feeling the Spanish Flu is going to come in and take some characters with it.

  • Anonymous

    I might be a prude, but my first thought wasn’t his junk working, but his legs.  Like, he was going to leap up and run around.  I see that some people were thinking legs and others the family jewels.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19801927 Dennis Coyle

    I realize that a lot of these side plots come off as ridiculous and all, but at the same time, many of them are serving a purpose that’s related more to the genre of not the period piece with all its fluff, but the more “respected” historical drama, and Fellowes is actually doing a good job at making this more than just a soap opera in old clothes.  P. Morgan is one example.  Yes, it’s an amnesia schtick, but at the same time, it’s also about survivor guilt.  The side story evokes the desire of all the survivors of the war to see their loved ones again.  In a couple decades (from the characters perspective) the whole world will be caught up in a “recovered heir” drama that is still fascinating to us, Anastasia Romanoff.  Plus, it’s the upstairs equivalent of what Mrs. Patmoss is doing about William; the loss of her nephew is too much to take so any substitute will do, no matter how flimsy; even better if it’s heroic and romantic. 

    As for the paralyzing plot, I can’t defend it.  Ridiculous.
     
    But Lord Grantham’s whiny-ness?  Love it.  It’s another take on survivor guilt.  It’s also gets at the deep gender anxiety that is so rife in this period.  While Cora, Cousin Isobel, and the girls are finding themselves capable of more than swanning around the house and, whats more, finding purpose!, Lord Grantham is finding himself increasingly aware of how little opportunity he has for meaning in his life and that the ways that he has been useful before are no longer available.  He wants to be of use as an officer, but no, he’s really just there as a decoration.  He wants to be ensuring the future of his family and his title, but no, his daughters are all screwing up the whole popping out heirs thing on the family side and that last gasp of a chance of a son of his own body died in the womb, literally.  Meanwhile,  his heir on the title side has become useless (for the moment anyway) which means that Grantham can easily see himself as presiding over the death of his family, his estate, and his way of life.  So the cancelled social events, yeah, they hurt him.  He’s not even getting a chance to distract himself anymore.

    I also have to say, in general, that we have to remember that there is a lot of compression going on.  We have moved through a couple decades since this show started.  It’s pretty difficult to capture all that was going on without playing with some cliches.  It’s one of the things this genre actually need to do in order to allow the audience a sense of access and understanding.  Especially for Americans, who–though we love the ’20s–are horrible at remembering that there was first war that allowed for one to be called the second…

    • Anonymous

      Actually, we’ve moved from 1912 to 1918–skipping the first two years of the War.  Although, according to this SPOILER FILLED episode guide, one 1919 event (from the UK version) was moved to the episode PBS showed last Sunday:   
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Downton_Abbey_episodes

      I refuse to believe that most PBS viewers are ignorant of The Great War.  The flow of time has been weird through this whole series. The historical background has been shortchanged.  And some subplots (“Patrick” & Ethel) have taken time that might have been better devoted to character growth & seeing relationships unfold.  

      Oh, well, it will be fun seeing if Lord Julian can unbotch it all…

  • OrigamiRose

    Very late to your DA recaps but I just completely immersed myself in the show and love reading your thoughts on it as well.

    “A) A servant with as much baggage as Bates would continue to have a high-ranking position in a great house, since he constantly seems to be flirting with various forms of scandal, from jail time to a scheming wife willing to destroy the House of Grantham, and

    “B) That a woman with as much common sense as Anna would spend all her time and energy fussing over him.”

    You guys are the only recappers I have found who have made these excellent points about Bates (and fairly early in the show’s run, to boot). I’ve expressed similar sentiments on some DA forums and been practically chased off the sites for it. He wasn’t particularly interesting to begin with, and piling on the melodrama and misfortune (which almost always are of Bates’ own making) does nothing to change that. I’m at a loss for why he’s become a fan favorite, other than it being that Anna likes (loves, ugh) him.

    Looking forward to your series four posts :)