Downton Abbey: Nasty Boys Don’t Mean a Thing

Posted on February 11, 2013

Okay, Julian Fellowes. You are back in our good graces again. If only we could rely on you to write every episode of Downton Abbey the way you write the final episodes of each season. It seems a typical Downton5Downton season can be broken down into three parts, in succession: first, table-setting; then, wheel-spinning; and finally, in the last couple of hours of the season… a story suddenly springs up. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: of all the writing problems on this show, pacing definitely leads the pack.

The Barrows-O’Brien war has been a simmering kettle all season, even if the reasons for it seemed somewhat obscure or out of left field. Bear in mind this all started because she wanted to ensure her nephew did well as a footman and got promoted to valet, something Thomas refused to help her with. Sure, he made matters MUCH worse after manipulating things to get Cora to believe she was leaving Downton, but neither Thomas nor O’Brien seemed to have a very compelling reason to want to declare war on the other. Fellowes landed on a good idea but did very little to set it up.

Still, we won’t complain about that now because this storyline turned out to be one of the best of the third season. Or at least, the culmination of it did. We had a hard time believing that a man in Thomas’ position at that time would have been so reckless, but the script did a fairly good job of showing just downton1how deviously manipulative O’Brien is and how she played on Thomas’ vanity and desperate need for connection. The famous bar of soap was the most evil thing she ever did, but this little plot of hers was the coldest.

Our only real issue with this storyline was how it ended. It strains belief that not only would everyone at Downton accept the homosexual in their midst, but that he would be promoted after attempting to molest another man. Even when Fellowes attempted to be truthful to the period by having Carson express disgust at Thomas’ “revolting” condition, he still shoved early 21st Century sentiments in his mouth by having him claim understanding that Thomas was born this way and can’t help himself. Didn’t scan, Fellowes. And these two homos got taken right out of the story by the unlikelihood of it all. Sure, it’s wonderful to see Mrs. Hughes be the loving, maternal figure, but a woman of her background would never have been so accepting of homosexuality. The only accepting comment that rang true with us was Robert’s: “If I downton2screamed blue murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton, I’d have gone hoarse in a month.” THAT’s how you deal with the topic in this setting. It felt true and it felt right for the character.

And oh yes, we’re near the end of the season, so Robert has to be pulled out of the muck of mid-season writing and elevated to heroic status again; the Lord of the Manor comes in at the last second and solves the big problem by being morally forthright. He is easily the least consistent character in the cast now.

In other Downton news:

  • Batezzzzz is free again and goes right back to being the ridiculously saintly character that always bored us. There was no good reason for him to stick his neck out like that for Thomas.
  • More credit to Fellowes: That moment when we realized that Thomas knew about the soap was electrifying. Like everyone else, our eyes got wide and we turned to each other and said “The SOAP. HE KNOWS ABOUT THE SOAP.” Only first-class soap opera writing can get an audience to do that.
  • Although it’s a bit lame that Anna and Bates have no idea what the significance of the soap is.
  • Also: Tom sure took to the Manor Life like a fish to water, didn’t he?downton3
  • We don’t care if her name’s Rose. She’ll always be Cousin Oliver to us. And she’s irritating.
  • So Edith meets an adorable man with dimples who’s obviously crazy about her and her sassy new wardrobe. Let’s all wait for Fellowes to pull the rug out from und– A CRAZY WIFE? OH, COME ON!
  • Batezzzz is out of prison so of course he suddenly needs a cane to walk again, even though he walked around that jailyard for hours in a circle without so much as a limp.
  • More credit to Fellowes: He wrung as much story as humanly possible out of a maid with an out-of-wedlock child. We’re happy for Ethel and we’re even happier to see her exit the story. Hers is played out.
  • We didn’t think we’d see the inside of a jazz club on Downton Abbey. It’s hilarious that all the characters thought it was an appalling hellhole of vice – as they would, after all. Even Edith is a bit old to be catching the Jazz Baby bug.
  • Jimmy? He ain’t ALL that. Now Mr. Pamuk, THAT we could understand, Thomas.
  • Alfred is a dim bulb.
  • “Oooooh, get back in the knife box, Miss Sharp!” O’Brien can throw shade with the best of the drag queens.

 

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  • Vera L-

    I didn’t expect the extra long episode and I really didn’t expect next week to mark the end of season three. ~sad~ 

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

       We were surprised by exactly the same two items.  Do eight episodes make a season nowadays?

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

         It does in British telly.

      • kattyatlaw

         It isn’t a season. It’s a series. British television shows come out in “series” rather than “seasons,” and don’t tend to be the 22-episode-season thing American shows do.

    • 4JJ

      I agree. I wish the two double episodes had been an hour long, and we’d have two more weeks.

    • nomoreprinces

       You have the Christmas Special still, if I’m not mistaken.

      • MsALVA

        The Xmas special IS next week’s episode. Except PBS is calling it the Season Finale.

        • nomoreprinces

          So they’re doubling up as a 2hr finale with episode 8 AND the xmas special right after? Ouch.

          • MsALVA

            No, what we saw last night was the UK’s penultimate (S3ep7) and season finale (S3ep8) mushed together (which explains the abrupt tone change and introduction of Cousin Rose and the whole cricket business mid-way through). In the UK, after ep8 aired, they waited a couple of months and aired what they call the Christmas Special on Dec 25. What PBS did was take the Christmas Special and call it our season finale. It’ll be about 90 minutes or so. 

          • nomoreprinces

             Weird. But Okay. Thanks for the clarification.  Now I know what to baw over with my PBS friends today.

        • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

          Yes, in the UK, they had to wait about 8 months between the episode we saw last night and the episode we’ll be seeing this coming Sunday on PBS.

          –GothamTomato

  • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

    The idea that they would all rally around the gay guy is far fetched even for the 21st century.

    Edith is the Job of Downton Abbey, what’s next, locusts in her bedroom?

    • Isadora Paiva

      It is far-fetched today, and not necessarily for the wrong reasons. What Thomas did WAS wrong. Today, it would (and rightly so) be called sexual harassment. 

      • http://twitter.com/NJedwina Edwina

        I know it’s just a television show but it really whitewashes what a gay person would have actually gone through in that period.

      • Sweetbetty

        Thomas made his move on the basis of the false information fed to him by O’Brien.  There was the distinct impression given that once he became aware that Jimmy wasn’t “that way” he wouldn’t have pursued him.  Sexual Harassment must be a pattern of behavior, not just one incident, so in today’s world I believe Thomas would have gotten a stern warning but I doubt charges of harassment would stick if there was no further activity of that sort.

        • BefWithAnF

          What he did would probably today actually be called sexual assault. You can’t just go into somebody’s bedroom and try to get in their bed without the other person saying beforehand that they’d like it.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

            I see your point, but as it has been said Thomas has been led on to think Jimmy was receptive. I think that under the cool exterior Thomas is very emotionally naive. He’s infatuated and might even think he’s in love. 

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      I know, right?  Edith can’t ever catch a break.

    • annieanne

      And completely inconsistent, especially Robert, with their horror over Ethel’s behaviour. You’re either a believable straightlaced early 20th century prude, or you’re a 21st century liberal but you can’t be both.

    • neofashionista

      cant agree more on your edith comment
      though through all the difficulty she has gained my sympathy

  • not_Bridget

    I agree about the “pacing” thing.  If there was a writers’ room, Fellowes could map out the season on the board–then work with his team on how to write good episodes to get everybody to their desired places by the end.  Nope, he does it all himself. So he seems to get lost; some stories get stuck in idle. Others move forward in jerks.  Then things finally come together–almost by accident.  

    I also doubt the extreme tolerance shown Thomas.  Letting him go with a good reference would have been barely believable.  Thomas’s new position is yet another example of Bates’ bad luck–out of prison & in a cute cottage, but he had to slip on the banana peel again. At least we’ll get to see what Thomas is up to next year. And hope that Ethel has a nice life far, far away….

    This episode did offer some visual treats. When did mourning end?  At the christening, the ladies were wearing lavender half-mourning. Before then, we’d seen some of them in brightish colors–but maybe trips to London don’t count.  And the black worn in the evening was glamorous–nothing reminiscent of The Old Queen.  Lady Rosamond’s London place was dramatic & a bit garish–but  suited her.  Even the downstairs HQ of the upper servants seemed rather cozy.  So I can watch again just to look at the pretty….

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      We were off to the races this week — made me think of that joke on 30 Rock about how you can let a moment land on cable.  Not on the last episodes of Downtown Abbey!

    • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

       I think the formal rules on mourning were relaxing before WWI, but I am not sure. And of course everyone was wearing white for cricket, what else would one wear?

      • not_Bridget

        I did read that the War made mourning somewhat less “special”–since so many died.  A bit later in the 20′s, Chanel invented the Little Black Dress & black became glamorous.  The Downton ladies’ versions of black evening wear forecast this trend…

        (Even if the plotting drives me nuts, there’s always plenty of stuff to look at.  Just not in prison. Glad Thomas didn’t go there, because 1) I don’t agree with those laws and 2) prison scenes are so dull.)

        • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

          Plus I suspect that when Queen Victoria died quite a bit of the fetishising of mourning probably went with her.

      • 4JJ

        I think you’re right. Though in the christening scene, the mauve would have qualified as half-mourning, which the Victorians wore after setting aside the black clothing of full mourning. I loved everyone in those white/cream clothes for the cricket match.

        • Jecca2244

           That was one of my favorite scene this season! i wanted to slip inside it. Nice to see the downstairs crew not in their usual uniforms.

    • Jecca2244

       Well I don’t know exactly what happens in the finale but have an inkling because of contract renewals and it is going to be painful for viewers that JF makes it all happen in the last episode. His pacing stinks indeed.

  • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

    The scene when Jimmy the Handsome Footman is undressing and the camera lingers on his torso was amazing, not so much because it’s a pretty good torso, but because what is being dramatized there is the male body as an object of male desire (not to get all feminist film theory up in here).  That is something one rarely sees on television.  And though I’ve previously aired my doubts about whether Thomas would really behave that way, I was on the edge of my seat during that whole sequence — wanting him to have that contact, knowing it could only end badly.

    But then, apparently not, since he got a sweet promotion out of it.  Maybe I need to start busting in on my hot male co-workers while they’re sleeping and plant a big fat wet kiss on ‘em.  What’s the worst that could happen?

    • Sobaika

      Agree about the sensuality of the scene. It’s almost de rigeur for women to be presented as such. But what’s troubling to me is that the victim of molestation was sexualized – problematic in another sense.

      • formerlyAnon

         But, again tracking with the common presentation of women.

  • Sobaika

    I couldn’t suspend reality and accept where the story went. Big Bad Lady Of The Night Ethel will reign scandal on the house, but a gay man? Downtown can handle it.

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      I fully expect the next episode to have a subplot centering on Thomas’s installation of a disco ball in the servants’ hall.  ”I feel as if I’m on the stage at the Gaiety” will take on new meaning.

    • janiemary

      I agree!  I guess the difference is that Ethel’s former occupation was public knowledge while Thomas’ situation was an internal issue… one that it seems most of the staff (except Mr. Carson) already knew or suspected!  Maybe that made it easier to keep Thomas on.  It will be interesting to see what happens… I don’t think for a minute he will retain the attitude of having been beaten!!

    • golden_valley

      Ethel apparently doesn’t play cricket as well as Thomas did.  Lord G initially wanted Thomas to stay long enough to play the game but somehow the writers decided that he should want Thomas around forever.  

  • Michelle Argento

    Maybe it’s just me, but I founds this story line absolutely horrifying. Guy molests and almost rapes other guy, but is stopped mid-try. That’s ok! As writers, we’re cool with it! Life will go on. Thomas will be rewarded. Victim will be somewhat placated by a tiny promotion. Person who saw it and reported it (even if it was under the calculating influence of O’Brien) gets shafted. Everyone (but the person in the right) wins with molestation!

    • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

      To paraphrase Lord Grantham, if we started screaming blue murder every time someone at Downton Abbey does something criminal, they’d all be incarcerated in The World’s Dreariest Prison, and nobody wants that.

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

      He didn’t “almost rape” him. He didn’t even come close to “almost” raping him. He tried to kiss him.

      • not_Bridget

        Definitely.  It was a very uncool move on Thomas’s part.  Uncharacteristically careless, I would say. But very far from rape.

        If they hadn’t been interrupted, what would have happened?  The other guy could still have rejected him–but maybe he would not have wanted to.  O’Brien’s was able to make him get tough by intimating that people would think he was “that way” himself if he didn’t ask that Thomas be ruined. 

        • siriuslover

          Yes, and Thomas was le to believe that this was something that Jimmy wanted. That he talks about Thomas all the time (we can’t forget O’Brien’s machinations here). Once Jimmy told him to get off, Thomas realized he’d been terribly had by O’Brien, knew that Jimmy didn’t like him at all. I wouldn’t qualify those actions as rape.

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

           I, for one, am not wholly convinced that something would not have happened.  Wishful thinking, perhaps…

          • 4JJ

            I wonder if that was part of Fellowes’ point in having Alfred barge in when he did — leaves the viewers wondering that same thing.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

         Thomas was led to believe that he was interested and willing. At the worst he was acting very unwisely.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/2XBD4ZG3ROZFV3QTU2MI5IUUGU JanaD

           It wasn’t “almost rape,” but nobody is willing when they’re asleep. That’s not how “willing” works.

      • StillGary

        HA! Remember Yellowbeard  (“half rape, half cuddle…”) No, Thomas was trying to get a fire started, not a rapist.

    • formerlyAnon

       If the initiator/aggressor is willing to stop when they get a negative reaction it is the antithesis of rape.

      Which doesn’t mean the object of the behavior doesn’t feel/hasn’t been assaulted.

      And yes, the final resolution was bizarre, especially for the time.

    • PeaceBang

      Oh, hush your panties. Where do you get “almost rapes” from? 

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      It is an insult to anyone who has been raped or assaulted to refer to that scene as rape. It was awkward and stupid (as you would expect from someone who has had the opportunities to express their sexuality socially) but it was not molestation. Not even close.

      That scene was actually pretty close to the scene in Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs when the Prince kisses Snow White awake.

      –GothamTomato

  • AZU403

    They can’t get rid of Thomas, he is too intriguing a character. Besides, even in those days, once you’ve known someone for 10 years it’s not so easy to cast them out like stick of furniture.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

       and he does know enough about the family to tell some racy stories.

    • Tally Ho

      Eh. There were no rights for employees in those days. An employer could and did sack you on the spot without any just cause. 

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    I don’t expect gritty realism with Downton Abbey, but the conclusion of Thomas’s story line was utterly ridiculous. Just last week Lord Grantham charged into a lady’s luncheon so that his wife and daughters wouldn’t be corrupted by being in the presence of a former prostitute..but this week he is willing to forgive the transgressions of a gay man in the house (I’m pretty sure homosexuality would have been ranked lower on the scale of acceptability than prostitution in the 1920′s). If they wanted to keep Thomas’s character around I wish they would have thought of a more reasonable way of doing so.
    I think next season we will see a battle royale between Bates and O’Brien. I don’t know why Bates would want to get on her bad side.
    Poor Edith! She goes from jilted bride to Jane Eyre!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

       I agree, but while Lord Grantham wouldn’t be personally acquainted with any prostitutes (I would hope!) he probably knows of some men in society who might be Homosexual. It was sometimes winked at as an eccentricity (especially in men with Artistic interests) if no behavior could be proved.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I think that it would have been more acceptable with people in his social circles or social standing (those boys kissing at Eaton were rich like him). A wealthy person with standing would have been seen as an eccentric, a house servant probably would have been seen more as a social pariah.

        • Sobaika

          RIGHT. This isn’t simply about homophobia, this is an intersection of class and orientation. And it’s unbelievable given the family and the time period but even more so given everyone’s pearl-clutching over Ethel. This isn’t exactly an accepting group of people by our standards.

          • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

            See also: their pearl clutching over Catholicism. 

        • MilaXX

           Exactly! I could have bought the Thomas storyline as far fetched as it was if Robert didn’t poo poo it like that. He’s painted as such a stick in the mud, I cannot imagine him not only being okay with it, but keeping him in his employ.

          • formerlyAnon

            I’d say it would depend on Robert’s personal experiences and friendships. It IS way more believable that he’d tolerate/accept homosexuality that was not public and which was found in someone of his own class than publicly acknolwedged behavior in a servant, I suspect. I was buying his urge to tolerance, as aided by his interest in a good cricket player UNTIL short-term employment and a good reference mutated into promotion. Above Bates. His old war-buddy. (To the extent allowed by class differences, that is).

            Though Robert behaving in an arbitrary and tone-deaf way isn’t surprising.

          • BayTampaBay

            That is part of the old ways vs. the new way that Sr. Julian has been exploring all through season/series e.

            However, my mother, to this day, is still very arbitrary about judgement on other people depending on her own self interest quite sub-consciously and she was born in 1937!

        • CozyCat

          I believe upper class acceptance of homosexuality in this period was a matter of private acceptance and public condemnation.  The reference to Oscar Wilde was particularly telling:  keep it private or the police are at the door.

          • Jackie4g

            Exactly.

          • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

             I think there’s room in the present day to have much more condemnatory reactions in certain circles, and room back then to be surprisingly tolerant, too. It’s not like there were fewer homosexuals, or less sexual behaviour (relatively); just that it was “the love that dare not speak its name.” Doesn’t mean people still didn’t know what to call it when they had to.

          • BayTampaBay

            And it helps if you can play cricket.  Even in 1920 excuses were still made for male athletes.

            Some things will never change.

          • MRC210

             Yes.  The difference between Ethel and Thomas was that the world (or at least the village) knew that Ethel had been a prostitute.  Therefore, scandal.  The world so far didn’t know that Thomas was gay and Lord Grantham would go to any lengths to keep it that way and avoid more scandal.  It was the appearance of things that counted. 

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

      My husband and I had exactly the same thought.  The tolerance was just too out of sync with the times, especially (as you said) given Lord Grantham’s behavior at Mrs. Crawley’s home.  He’s more believable as a judgmental prude than as a live-and-let-live sort of guy, although the part where he used his power to talk Alfred out of pressing charges was spot on.

    • siriuslover

      I’m reminded of various scenes in Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London when he has to tramp around the city. He talks about kipping in various places allotted for tramps and being hit on by guys at the shelter while sleeping.

      By the way, for the academic minded out there, there’s a great monograph by Matt Houlbrook called Queer London. It’s about queer culture from the end of WWI through the late 1950s. Very good book.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/QKTTYGCNHV7FNRUACSQY4BRC4I jen

      Actually, I can see that a woman might be judged more for her sexuality than a man would be.

    • BayTampaBay

      Guys, if you are a man having sex it is ok to do it with a goat, a prostitute, your secretary, the nanny  your sister-in-law, your mother-in-law or a same sex partner.  Men (and society they use to dominate) always finds a way to justify their sexual behavior and the sexual behavior of other men be it proper or non-proper.

      Women, on the other hand, are considered loose, amoral and wild if they have sex with with anyone other than a spouse or significant other of the same sex.

      Sir Julian brought this contrast out via Ethel and Thomas.  Everyone in that house, including Bates, wanted to help Thomas or sweep the problem under the rug.  NO ONE except Isobel and Mrs. Hughes really wanted to help Ethel.

      • Tally Ho

        It’s the good old fashioned double standard. Or the great Victorian hypocrisy that still lingers to this day. The woman  must always be chaste but a randy man gets high fives from his friends. 

        I remember reading somewhere that in late Victorian London a quarter of the female population were servants and another quarter were prostitutes.  The polite classes in the fashionable parts of town completely ignored that there were prostitutes even though quite often the husbands and sons popped down to Soho or wherever for a quickie. Many of the prostitutes were former housemaids who got knocked up by someone “upstairs” and dismissed without reference as with Ethel and being ruined they turned to the only thing they could do. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

        Mrs Patmore was helpful, but I think in part to defy Carson’s order – there’s a little power and authority thing going on. She didn’t like Ethel before (with good reason) but now that Ethel is begging for help she can be gracious.

  • http://twitter.com/bentley1530 Bentley1530

    I thought Ethel’s story was a tip of the hat to Gosford Park. Also two married men going after single girls was one too many.

    • 4JJ

      Ah, but this is Fellowesland…one married man is just a sleazy opportunist, and the other is a Good Man, tied to an insane wife.

      • Kathleen Tripodi

        Oh no!  He’s the new Bates!

      • Pam Winters

        I wonder if Rochester (sorry, don’t remember the editor’s name) is telling any kind of credible story. Does it make sense that he’d be blocked from divorcing an insane wife? Wouldn’t insanity be more likely to be grounds for divorce than a bar to it?

        Anyway, it was way too convenient. And however smart Edith can be–after all, she did tele-Google him–she’s not that smart when she’s fallen for someone, so I think she’ll fall for the madwoman story.

        • 4JJ

          Sadly, that was the reality until the 1950s or even 1960s in the UK. A person could not divorce a spouse categorized as insane. And it really was pretty unfair.

          • MRC210

             It was actually somewhat before the ’50s — the law was changed in 1937.  The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1937 allowed divorce in cases where the spouse was determined to have been insane for 5 years.  The spouse had to be continually under treatment during that time — you couldn’t just produce her from the attic where you had been keeping her. 

          • 4JJ

            Thanks for the additional info. Agatha Christie used that law as a plot point in the murderer’s motive in one of her 1920s novels. The details were changed in the US version, since the laws differed.

        • Jackie4g

          I think it would be really tough as the only reason for divorce in early 20th century in Britain seems to have been adultery by the woman. Wasn’t applicable if the man did the cheating, only the woman. What he said about the insane not being competant to make a decision, and therefore they couldn’t be divorced  was similar to the plotline in Jane Eyre as Mr. Rochester’s reason to stay married. I Googled but couldn’t find a definitive answer, but there might be something to the insane person statement.

          • 4JJ

            I researched this issue a couple of years ago for a project, and Fellowes had it right.

          • not_Bridget

            Women could divorce men for “aggravated” adultery–adultery with desertion or some other bad thing thrown in. Adultery alone was enough for a man to divorce his wife.  There were cases when both partners wanted out & the man faked it with a “rent a floozy”–but this was illegal if the court figured it out. 

            Insanity simply was not grounds for divorce. Divorce reform was a popular cause & the insane wife (or husband) was a common fictional device. 

          • Jackie4g

            Thanks.

        • MRC210

           It was the law in Britain until 1937 that you couldn’t divorce your spouse on the grounds of insanity.  The editor gave the reason himself in his confession to Edith:  divorce was fault-based, one or the other had to be the guilty party. Insanity wasn’t the spouse’s fault, therefore there was no cause to divorce him or her.

      • Diane Lynch

        I thought it was hilarious when Edith “googled” him by checking over the phone with people who could look up details on him for her.

        • BayTampaBay

          I have done this many times myself.  It helps when you are in a medium to small size town and can get all the dirt in three phone calls.

    • CozyCat

      And poor Edith’s new heart break led to one of the most hypocrital lines of the night.  When Edith is discussing how she may not want a traditional home and family life, Violet says “well, you’re not getting any younger.”  (paraphrased).
      Well, maybe she wouldn’t be TOO OLD  if you hadn’t chased off the man she was to marry for being TOO OLD!  The only thing Edith has going for her is that Mathew is on her side, and lord knows she needs some support in that family!

      • madhatteryfan

        But what of Edith’s own hypocrisy in taking offense at a married man flirting with her? A few years earlier, Edith herself did more than flirt with a married man and, in that instance, we saw his wife standing just yards away. Yet again, Fellowes conveniently ignores a previous plotline and takes me right out of the story.

        Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster, how infuriating it is to have what was once a must-watch become a hate-watch. And having already seen the culmination of this dismal season in the Christmas special, I fear that DA will go the way of Glee and Project Runway for me. Fond memories, but at this point, just not worth the DVR space.

        • BayTampaBay

          Nahhh….the clothes and antique cars and JAZZ BAND makes Downton worth the watch no matter what the story line. 

        • http://twitter.com/leasetegn Lea Setegn

          I think getting jilted at the altar (was “jilted” even a word in 1920?) may have changed Edith’s opinion on cheating with married men.

        • Tally Ho

          In Edith’s defense when she did the flirting she was a young, frustrated and repressed woman. She’s now a few years older and has learned a lot, unfortunately. It’s part of growing up. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

    Alfred may be a bit dim in some matters, but I like him – and he’s plainly not intending to remain a footman for the rest of his life, he’ll probably end up with a hotel or restaurant.

    • nannypoo

      They’ve hinted around a lot about his cooking skills. I think he’s sort of a boob, but I’m guessing he will go on to open a restaurant in Season 4. Maybe O’Brien can be the hostess. “Party of 4? Right this way. Watch out, don’t step on the soap.”

      • 4JJ

        Laughing out loud.

      • Kristinoten

        Perfect!

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      I don’t know. I thought he was alright until he let Jimmy get yelled at for dancing with Daisy (Alfred’s own machinations), and then I found him outright deplorable when he called the police on Thomas on his own. Cut from the same cloth as O’Brien, but not half as interesting or cunning. 

    • Tally Ho

      Ya know, Mrs. Patmore commented that “some say the best cooks are men,” and back in those days really grand houses tended to have male chefs, usually French or french trained, so it wouldn’t have been that unusual. So there’s a potential future him as a cook. I’m sure well see more of that in the next season. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

        I was a cook for years and not many people could fix a hollandaise after it breaks.

    • LittleKarnak

      I sort of think he may become Mrs. Patmore’s assistant if Daisy leaves to run the farm…

  • http://twitter.com/ponybaloney213 AnnieN

    That look after Batezzz told Anna about the soap….she didn’t know the significance of it at the moment, but I’d put good money on her figuring it out, and quickly.

    • stardust462

      I agree. How many years has it been since Cora fell on the soap? That’s something I can imagine Anna remembering and eventually putting two and two together.

      • momjamin

         Especially since she’s been in detective-mode for monthzzzzz.

    • Peri7473

       I thought that her expression showed that she did understand. we shall see

  • Susan Collier

    Rose is Cousin Oliver! I watched a bit later last night and thought that Cousin Oliver related to Tom’s Irish cousin.
    Rose actually reminds me of when they introduced Heather Locklear on Dallas. Wild and sexy upstart!
    I have to rewatch parts of last night’s episode; I had mentally prepared myself for a 1 hour episode and kept nodding off during the second hour.

    • 4JJ

      Or uptart.

    • Sweetbetty

      I had expected more out of Rose too.  First I thought she might seduce Matthew while they were away from the abbey at Aunt Rosemond’s house.  Then with the discussion of Tom’s brother coming, I envisioned him as good-looking and charming and thought she might start something up with him (too bad he turned out to be a slovenly lout).  So now does she just disappear?  What was the point of bringing her into the picture at all?  I’m still not sure if she’s sly and cunning or dumb as a bucket of rocks.

    • BayTampaBay

      It was Dynasty not Dallas.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LI35AZLWSZEYRDZ4PUCBHUCZUI Jonathan

    I thought the suggestion that Jimmy might have been leading Thomas on and therefore deserved what he got kind of unnerving and hard to believe. I could more readily believe it if Jimmy was a woman. Also to blame Jimmy and say that just because poor Thomas fell victim to his passions and Jimmy’s charms that he shouldn’t lose his place was hard to swallow. I think the whole dismissal with a reference would be far more believable rather than buying off Jimmy and promoting Thomas. 

    • BayTampaBay

      I think Jimmy is just as conniving as O’Brien.  Cannot wait until next season/series 4.

    • ohayayay

      “I thought the suggestion that Jimmy might have been leading Thomas on and therefore deserved what he got kind of unnerving and hard to believe. I could more readily believe it if Jimmy was a woman.”
      Yes, usually that’s the way blaming the victim works – it’s much easier to blame the person if they’re female. 

      • astoriafan

        Yes, um, what?? You could more easily believe it if Jimmy were a woman? YIKES.

  • stardust462

    Oh no, a link to TV Tropes! Now I’m stuck and can’t get out of reading article after article, lol.

    • 4JJ

      Me too. What a great site!

  • Sing4yursupper

    The cricket match showed just how much Fenian Tom has taken to manor life when he catches that fly ball. The funniest moment was Molesley’s turn to bat. My husband kept shouting “first ball,” the ultimate insult at a match. Sure enough, Molesley was out for a duck. Leave it to Thomas to whack a six, the heroic move. 

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I know nothing about cricket, so I didn’t understand those scenes very much (apart from character reactions). I was hoping that Moseley would have been good at something for once..he’s such a sad sack!

      • Sobaika

        There are exactly three people I’m rooting for in this entire show and they are Ethel, Daisy, and Molesey. Mostly because he has such a sad puppy face!

      • Sweetbetty

        Even poor Molesly’s dad looks at him as a schlump.

      • MRC210

        Moseley is one of my favorite characters, I have to admit.  I could see the punchline coming from the beginning on this one, though.

  • Mismarker

    Is it wrong that I sort of want Lord Grantham to slip on a bar of soap and die? I don’t know how many more times I can hear “Oh, so you’re against me now?”.  Hugh Bonneville has got to be sick to death of saying it, too.  

  • GrupGirl

    I don’t remember the story behind the bar of soap. Can anyone help here?

    • stardust462

      At the end of season 1 (I think) Cora was pregnant. O’Brien thought that Cora was trying to replace her (she misheard what was the Countess Dowager looking for someone), so she left a bar of soap on the floor beside Cora’s bathtub while she was bathing. Cora stepped on it, fell, and a miscarriage. I think that’s pretty much the story.

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

         And the baby was a boy. Matthew would have lost the title.

    • nannypoo

       Cora’s miscarriage.

  • $11431954

    From an EW.com commenter:
    “I wish people nowadays were as cool about homosexuality as they were back in 1920′s England.”

  • 4JJ

    There was something incredibly touching about Thomas in his first interview with Carson post-kiss. Rob James-Collier did such a fine job of the subtleties of portraying embarassment and fear for getting the situation wrong, but not shame for who he was.  I actually had tears in my eyes, and I sure never expected Thomas Barrows to evoke that reaction! Though I agree that Carson’s initial reaction and Robert’s “ho-hum, happened all the time at Eton” response were the most true to the period, and the mass acceptance robbed the situation and character of a great deal of the sense of peril and isolation he would really feel.

    And that Rose girl is certainly no substitute for dear Sybil. 

    • stardust462

      When he told Mr. Carson that he may be different, but wasn’t foul, that was an incredibly powerful moment. I instantly felt bad for Thomas, which I thought I never could. Up until last night, all I ever wanted to do was punch him in the face.

      • 3boysful

         Agree, except he was also sympathetic with the blinded soldier in hospital last season.

      • Spicytomato1

        I agree that was a powerful moment. I started softening towards Thomas when he befriended the blind soldier and again when he cried over Sybil’s death.

        However, I do think the waters are a bit muddied, so to speak, when Thomas tries to defend himself because he has behaved very badly in the past, regardless of his sexual orientation. If anything you’d think Carson and staff would tend to judge him more harshly because of his previous misdeeds, and not less so, as they seem to have done. 

    • not_Bridget

      Jimmy mentioned his father had died in the war & his mother from the influenza.  Sorry, he doesn’t look that young; he looks to have been prime cannon-fodder age during the war. 

      • momjamin

         Did he say which war? Maybe a Boer War, fighting alongside (figuratively) Lord Grantham?

        • not_Bridget

          In that case he definitely would have been able to serve in the Trenches….

    • Sobaika

      I think words like ‘rape’ are maybe getting thrown around too easily in the comments, but it was assault. While we as audience members know Thomas was under the impression his advances would be welcome, it really doesn’t change much from Jimmy’s perspective.

      • SephSki

        Agreed. If I woke up to find someone I was not in a relationship with had let themselves into my room and started kissing me while I slept, I would definitely feel assaulted, and the retaliation would be immediate and quite violent.

        • 4JJ

          It really ups the stakes, doesn’t it? The fact that it was in Jimmy’s bedroom, when servants were not supposed to go into one another’s rooms in the first place, the fact that it WAS a bedroom, and the fact that Jimmy was sleeping — and oh yeah, Alfred saw it happen. AND it was still illegal. Compare it to a footman “stealing a kiss” from even an unwilling housemaid in a corridor.

      • formerlyAnon

         Yes. Willingness to stop when you get a negative reaction is the antithesis of rape. But however plausible one’s reason for thinking one might be welcome, having been deluded doesn’t make an intrusion less of an intrusion.It might make it easier to forgive LATER. Or not.

      • Tally Ho

        It is a form of assault or uninvited sexual attention. A good comparison to the servants quarters at DA would be the dormitory of a boarding school or university. A male student who goes into another dorm room, uninvited, and kisses the sleeping inhabitant (male or female) would be considered to have committed a sexually related assault and would be expelled. 

  • Kristinoten

    I wonder if we’ll ever learn more of Lady Mary’s surgery-remedied infertility.  Her prissy inability to discuss those issues with even her husband, admittedly learned from her father, really bothered me.  I know the preview showed her pregnant, but I can’t help but feel that this is doomed … or that, shudder, she is only able to give girls.  No prince for the kingdom, yet again.  

    • not_Bridget

      The boy/girl thing is not up to the mother.  The father supplies the X or the Y chromosome–although that’s hardly under his conscious control! 

      I wondered at Matthew’s sexual ignorance. When he was paralyzed, he was impotent; that is, his parts did not work.  They definitely worked after marriage; impotence was not the problem. Of course, he could have been sterile–shooting blanks. But that would not have been a result of the injury–which hurt his back, not the family jewels.

      I’d bet that any doctors specializing in reproduction began each exam with a long interview. In which they determined whether the young couple did, actually, know what they were supposed to be doing.  Young women often went to the marriage bed quite ignorant; men who had avoided prostitutes might not know much more….

      • Sweetbetty

        “I’d bet that any doctors specializing in reproduction”
        I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up the extreme coincidence of Mary and Matthew going to the same doctor in the big city of London (nevermind the coincidence of them both being there at the very same time).  I wondered if it might be because he was a doctor specializing in reproduction, but it seems to me that at that time one doctor wouldn’t concentrate on both males and females.  I’m ready to be set straight on this matter.

        • BayTampaBay

          “I’m ready to be set straight on this matter.”

          It moved the plot along and allowed us to see a gorgeous London resterant where they had tea/lunch.

    • luciaphile

      When this came up when the show was airing in the UK and I was um watching it through slightly unethical means, it was talked about in the TWoP forums. The general consensus was that Mary’s problem might have been fibroids. Although I doubt those were being treated as outpatient surgery in 1920. Still, Fellowes has demonstrated repeatedly that they really don’t research these things at all.

      But yeah, not in her control at all about the gender of her children. That is determined by the man.

      • Kristinoten

        ha! Yes, I understand that the determination of the sex of any offspring is determined by the donation of either X or Y chromosome by the man and not by a choice made by the woman’s uterus.  Guess I should have separated my thoughts from each other.  

        Fibroids are a feasible explanation for her “procedure”.  I was mostly just curious … Fellowes has mixed success in delving into medical issues of the period (cancer, eclampsia, flu, etc) and a little clarity I feel is needed.

        My comment about whether Mary will only be able to give girls was aimed at postulating that perhaps the bad luck that gave Robert only girls will carry on to the daughter who is most like him.  Despite all of Matthew’s innovative plans for changing the way the estate is run and making it more compatible with the 20th century, without a male to inherit all of it, it’ll go to another distant male heir. 

        • not_Bridget

          Or, if there’s no other male heir, the title goes extinct. It happened back then & still happens. In that case, the estate would just stay in the family.  Even if it went to a female heir….

          • luciaphile

             The other possibility is that Cora dies and Robert remarries and has a son.

          • CozyCat

            I’m sure there’s some third cousin twice removed working as a shop assistant in Bristol who would be brought into the family, shocking everyone with his un genteel ways…

        • Lilithcat

          He would have had a son, if it weren’t for O’Brien!

          • Kristinoten

            Talk about bad luck.  I think luckily for Mary’s sake Anna seems to have much less of an evil streak in her.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          I’m not 100% sure of this, but I don’t think fibroids could be removed without a hysterectomy back in the 1920s.  There were no ultrasounds to view them.  I’m sure a doctor could suspect that they were there, but not how extensive they were.  Even if they could be removed, would Mary have been up and around without anyone knowing that she had surgery?  I’m suspecting some other ailment.

          • Sweetbetty

            I agree.  Back when I was in my 20s and 30s I was hearing about a lot of women my age having D&Cs and though some had it done in the doctor’s office some others were admitted to the hospital overnight.  It’s difficult to believe that Mary would be going to London alone, having the procedure done, then getting into one of those bouncy cars for a ride back to DA.  There would doubtless be some bleeding involved that Anna would be aware of.  We did see her haveing a little whisperfest with Cora that must have related to the subject but neither seemed very concerned.  I really hope we do hear a bit more of the details of Mary’s reproductive issues and that they weren’t just magically cured like Matthew’s paralysis.

          • SapphoPoet

            I had surgery for fibroids about ten years ago, and there was no way you’d have been up and moving around like that. I was three days in the hospital and walked bent over for several days after release. 

      • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

        “Still, Fellowes has demonstrated repeatedly that they really don’t research these things at all.” Haha, for example, breast cancer. I was looking into it at the time of those episodes and I’m half certain checking for breast lumps wasn’t a common thing until the 1950s.

  • siriuslover

    Never in a million years did I ever think I would feel for Thomas, but I was almost in tears last night seeing him at the lowest rung. I honestly covered my eyes and yelled at the TV, “don’t do it, Thomas! Don’t do it!” when he went into Jimmy’s and Alfred’s room. It is too much too hope that he will be a bit more humble with his miraculous “promotion.” 

    I took that Bates wanted to help Thomas 1. to get him gone for good (that blew up in his face, didn’t it?), and 2. because he hates O’Brien more than he hates Thomas. And now, so do I.Poor Edith, can’t one stroke of good luck come her way with men? I mean, really, crazy wife in an asylum? At least she’s not living in the attic when Edith finds out, right?I liked the Tom story to a point last night. Yay, I can play cricket I’m one of the guys! Was just a little too much. Wanting to stay near the family to keep a connection with (the dead) and for (the baby) Sybil, I get.Poor Molsley, didn’t he think he was going to have to show his so-called mad skills at cricket at some point during the game? 

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Was it Alfred’s room? I had the feeling he was coming in just to tell Jimmy about his night. Have we seen any double rooms yet, even for the staff? Anna and Gwen once shared, right?

      • siriuslover

        Good question. I thought I saw two beds in the room. I will go back and rewatch. Anna and Gwen did share, and presumably the two giggling maids share a room as well. Did Thomas share a room with William? I can’t recall.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           And then he was later glared at by Alfred from the other side of the hallway: basically, Thomas could not have had worse timing if O’brien herself had given him stage directions! Not just offending Jimmy but with an impressionable witness to his “crime!”

  • Stubenville

    Ooh, Violet was at her most Machiavellian last night. Little wild Rose gets exiled to the middle of nowhere with battleaxe Aunt Agatha. Perfect.

    • WhiteOprah

      Yes!  Watching her acting as the master puppeteer was the most fun aspect of the episode.  

  • Tally Ho

    I have to say I’m pissed at the whole Bates prison/released from prison plot line. We had to endure dreary scenes of Bates in jail and all the pointless confusion about it (what was that hidden package in the room? Drugs? Yes/no? Come on, tell us! How did the guard and other prisoner know about the woman in London? Oh, did Vera really kill herself by baking an arsenic pie? Yes/No? Just say it outright and firmly aloud. It was just one murky “detail” after another and bang bang boom Bates is suddenly free!). Still, at least it’s out of the way. 

    Poor Edith. She just can’t get a break, can she? A nice looking guy’s interested in her but oops, he has a wife and a wife who’s locked away in an insane asylum so he can’t divorce her. Good god. 

    I felt for Thomas. The way Fellowes set up the frustrated “closeted” homosexual with conflicting emotions and confusion over whether another man was possibly interested in him was enjoyable to watch as the acting was good and believable . But everything post-catalyst was too confusing and implausible. We go from a guy who’s been sacked and sent off without reference to being promoted to under butler in the next minute! Wow! I kinda wish that pace of promotion would happen to me in real life. Let me start off by molesting my secretary and hopefully my manager will promote me to senior VP! 

    The redeeming of Robert Grantham was also….hmm….nice to have happen. I appreciated that Fellowes explained the estate “mismanagement” as a result of a sense of duty to his tenants. Robert was essentially subsidizing the community of farmers and estate workers at Downton Abbey because they had worked on the land for generations and he’s no cold hearted industrialist who only cares about money. However that needed to be balanced against needing to preserve the estate for future generations. So we’re seeing this transformation of Downton Abbey from a traditional estate to something that’s going to be operated on more modern lines with large scale direct farming rather than dozens and dozens of small tenant occupied farms. Unfortunately it does mean that quite a few tenants and workers will have to be kicked off the land. Will Fellowes play more with this in the next season? 

    I’m happy to see Ethel go. I loved the dowager countess’s comment that her children had a full hour with her…. every day! What a wonderful mother she must have been. But it was silly for Isobel to judge her on that given that just about every upper middle class woman (as she is) also had nannies for their children so Matthew most likely grew up with a nanny if we’re being historically accurate. 

    • 4JJ

      Yes, there was a kinder gentler spin put on Robert’s mismanagement, wasn’t there? And we now have the chance to offload some of our scorn on the cranky departed agent, whose name I forget.

      Isobel is actually middle-class, which means she may have seen Matthew for several hours a day when raising him. :)

      • Tally Ho

        Isobel clearly mentioned in the first season (episode two in case you’re wondering) that they were “upper middle class.” Matthew keeps referring to himself as middle class but that’s only relative to the aristocrats and historically upper mid class is the better term with his boarding school and university education. But yeah, one way or another Isobel saw more of Matthew if only because the house would be smaller with closer proximity to the nursery. Between the cook and maids doing all the hard work there’s plenty of time to “see” the children as long as you didn’t have to clean up after them, wash their clothes and cook their special meals. My, she’d even have time to host teas in her drawing room in support of all her causes. 

        • http://twitter.com/cmkrcwi Tina Kramer

          Actually, I don’t believe they had a large staff.  Matthew refers to them having a cook/housekeeper before and how that is pretty much all they need when he and Isobel arrive at Crawley House. I imagine they would have had people come in from time to time such as a washerwoman, etc., but they didn’t have a big permanent staff like the Granthams do.  

        • BayTampaBay

          Matthew is an upper middle class Manchester Yuppie.  

          As a lawyer, with a father and grandfather whom were physicians, he would be an Imperial Prince if he was born in 1960+ on the Upper West or Upper East side of NYC.

    • BayTampaBay

      “We go from a guy who’s been sacked and sent off without reference to being promoted to under butler in the next minute! Wow!”
      This was all Lord Grantham’s doing.  This is only setting up downstairs conflict for next season….Round Two of Barrow vs. O’Brien saga…….what side will Bates choose….inquiring minds want to know and will go to http://www.shoppbs.com and pre-order season/series 4 as soon as one can!

  • Stubenville

    Isobel: “Cousin Violet has never let an inconvenience stand in the way of a principle.”  

     Violet: “As the kettle said to the pot.” 

    [snort]

    • 3boysful

       That was great.  My fav:  “Have you changed your pills?”

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

         That was almost a throwaway line but definitely the best zinger!

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Shades of “It’s for cracking your nuts!”

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       One of my favorite lines…
      Thank you, Violet.

  • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

    The repartee between the Dowager and Mrs. Crawley was particularly, delightfully vicious!  Many chuckles. 

    I want Lady Mary’s hat with the pierced designs on the brim.  Just smashing.  Loved the lilac/mauve colors the younger ladies allowed themselves to wear at the christening, although of course the Dowager did not bend mourning for a mere ritual in a pagan church.

    When Ethel was summoned to the Dowager’s house, I thought she was going to be told that SHE (Ethel) was the one who would be accompanying the Wild English Rose to her Scottish exile……it had been mentioned that she would be escorted by one of the Dowager’s maids.  Seeing Mrs. Charlie’s Grandmother (can’t think of her name now) was a bit of a shock.  Are we to understand that she was the “Mrs. Watson” who wrote the letter about needing household help?  Did the Dowager engineer that, too?

    As a surgical nurse, I was trying to figure out what kind of procedure Lady Mary might have undergone which would have “fixed” her infertility, and I came up blank.  I’m not up to researching what tools were available at the time, and the understanding of the minutiae of human reproduction, but if anyone has any guesses, I’d love to hear them.

    • siriuslover

      Loved Robert’s and Violet’s reactions once they were told the priest was coming to join them for the picture. Hilarious!

      • RedRaven617

        That one tickled me as well.

      • momjamin

         And Cora’s response ;-)

      • nannypoo

         Apparently the only thing worse than a prostitute or a gay footman is a priest.

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       I like your comment.  Since you’re a nurse and can’t imagine what kind of small surgical procedure Mary had to relieve her infertility, I’m not feeling so uneducated in this area. Maybe a D and C?

    • Flora O

      I recall reading somewhere that lilac is the traditional color for a widow to wear when she remarries. Perhaps the ladies followed the same thought process, for festivity during mourning?

      • CozyCat

        After a certain amount of time, upper class ladies in mourning were allowed to shift from all black to lavender.  My sense was that black would have been too grim for the christening of their dead sister’s child, so they went to the next phase.

    • JuliaInBlack

      My guess is she had the stick removed from up her ass, as it was pressing on an ovary.

  • GorgeousThings

    Other than the preachiness about homosexuality, I thought this was a decent ep. My 21st century self really wants Thomas to be okay, but I had to suspend all disbelief to buy the sentiments of late 19th century-bred characters. And, well I couldn’t suspend that much disbelief.

    I also had a hard time with believing that a cricket match could bring Tom into Robert’s fatherly arms, but hey, tidy endings, KWIM?

  • nannypoo

    Thomas just breaks my heart. Great acting, the most well-developed character on the show. No, Thomas, you definitely are not foul.

    • siriuslover

      I do agree that it is some of the best acting in the show.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       However, when he hovers over your bed in his undershirt at night … a little spooky?

      • nannypoo

        Definitely spooky. He has had a go at just about every unattached man who enters the house and it never works. So sad. Now that I think about it, so has Edith, with the same results. And she has become my other favorite character. 

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           I don’t think he would have done it without O’Brien’s goading. In the absence of Jimmy’s real responses, he had Jimmy not rebuffing him clearly and a fiction that he thought he was hot stuff. Would have been worse if he thought Jimmy was just generally gay, but O’Brien had made it seem like Jimmy was dreaming of just such nocturnal visits.

  • Frank_821

    I kind of wish the Jimmy was more visibly misleading in his manner in regards to Thomas. Mrs Huges is right. that boy is a vain little peacock who is a major attention whore. it would have made that intrusion more believable. However I liked those confrontation between Thomas and Carson. It not only made Thomas more sympathetic it showed us he genuinely cared about Jimmy

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

       Am I the only one who is reading sexual confusion into Jimmy?

      • 4JJ

        No, I had the same thought last week. I asked my husband if he thought it would turn out that Jimmy was gay but in denial.

  • StillGary

    No way O’Brian confided to Thomas about the soap … but WTH , all’s well that ends well… at least it wasn’t three hours. 

    • siriuslover

      I’m pretty sure Thomas put two and two together with that one. He knew that O’Brien believed that Cora was trying to sack her. I believe they did have a conversation about fighting back against such abuse from their employers. O’Brien is responsible for Cora in all things like that. Cora slipped on soap. How is that possible if O’Brien were watching over her? Also, wasn’t there some give away with her emotions when they though Cora was going to die of the Spanish flu?

      • StillGary

        Thanks SL, for helping me work through this (haha) — you make very good points. Thomas, as a character, would certainly be astute enough to read the writing on the bathroom floor, but more and more of this narrative is getting spoon-fed to us — It’s like Fellows doesn’t trust these awesome actors to convey their motivations, without speaking it out loud.  

  • Lilithcat

    The outcome of the Barrows story line was utterly ridiculous.  Underbutler, my sweet Fanny Adams.  He’d have been out on his sFA!

    he still shoved early 21st Century sentiments in [Carson's] mouth by having him claim understanding that Thomas was born this way and can’t help himself.

    Actually, by the twenties, there’d been a substantial shift from thinking that homosexuality was immoral to considering it an illness that the individual “couldn’t help”.    I do agree, though, that it’s unlikely that would have filtered down to Carson.  

    Once again, Maggie Smith gets all the good lines.  ”Miasma of scandal”, indeed!

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       I just can’t buy the Thomas storyline. He goes from being sacked and threatened with being reported to the police, his life falling apart, to being promoted to “under-butler”!! As “under butler” he would outrank Bates the valet!

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Loving that the Dowager actually found a way to help both Isobel (her reputation) and Ethel (her son). Pretty sneaky, sis!

      • Elizabetta1022

        LOL. Love the Connect 4 commercial reference! My brother still says that to me.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           I still say it too everybody! Also, the Dowager’s handling of the whole Rose situation: her daughter hasn’t had many scenes, but Rosamund being peeved at being “tricked” by Violet yet again (to get the whole story of the London scandal) seemed right on the mark!

          • 4JJ

            Agreed. And I love Samantha Bond (Rosamund), so it’s great fun when we see her. She’s well done as a member of that family, too, with a good helping of Robert’s traditionalism and a dash of Violet’s acid.

    • Lisa_Cop

      She has the best lines while Laura Carmichael (Edith) has the best clothes.

  • RedRaven617

    I see no comments on Thomas’ stupidity in believing a word she said. That is what I found so hard to believe. If anyone knew how evil she is, Thomas should. That said, it was still a sad relief to see Thomas at his lowest. On the other hand, “under butler”? Can someone please explain?
     

    • Frank_821

      it sounds like he’s answerable now only to Carson and possibly Mrs Huges in terms of the staff

      • 4JJ

        That’s right. In a smaller household, the first footman served as the under-butler, so there would be a real reason for footmen to compete for the designation of first footman. The under-butler would assume command in the butler’s absence or illness, and even when the butler is doing his job, the under-butler would play a  role in staff supervision, possibly assisting with wine selection etc.

    • 4JJ

      Agreed that Thomas should have discounted (or analyzed for harm) anything O’Brien said, but I think another thing that gave Thomas hope rested in Jimmy’s evident lack of interest in Ivy. She had been pursuing Jimmy since they both arrived, and he wasn’t responding to her charms, nor did he seem to have another sweetheart in the offing. Thomas alludes to the need to pick up subtle signs and signals as a gay man.

      • siriuslover

        I thought that was such a great scene where he talked about his life and how he reads signals.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      Well, I got it only because I imagine Thomas had already forgotten why O’Brien was holding a grudge in the first place – I have to admit it strained my memory and all I could remember was “Wouldn’t help her nephew…?” TLo reminded me of the “Oh she’s leaving – no she’s not!” debacle, but even that was easily solved. He probably thought they were back to being sort-of buddies again. 

    • formerlyAnon

       He SHould have been more skeptical of O’Brien, but between the fact that she was for a long time his closest ally among the staff and the fact that he was indulging in serious wishful thinking and that Jimmy wasn’t apparently interested in any of the girls – well, blind spots are legion when it comes to love/lust.

      • RedRaven617

        Yes, I turn red thinking about all my blind spots from the past. :-)

        • formerlyAnon

           Dear. lord. yes.

    • Sweetbetty

      Since it appeared that Thomas was instantly attracted to Jimmy the moment he laid eyes on him it’s not too much of a stretch to think he believed what O’Brien said just because he wanted it to be true so much.  And Jimmy never did react negatively to Thomas’ touchy-feeliness, he only complained about it to a third party, so as far as Thomas knew Jimmy didn’t mind it.

  • afabulous50

    I don’t get the obsession with this show.  I can’t get through 20 minutes of it.

  • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

    Please, Mr. Fellowes, will you give Edith a break!! Is there a plan to make a Jane Eyre of her, falling in love with the married man with the insane wife locked in the attic? If there’s a fire at the editor’s house, I’ll just give up!

    • Corsetmaker

      A fire is one of the things I’ve been waiting on. It happened a lot. I’m rather amazed they’ve not lost a wing before now.

    • formerlyAnon

       I’m waiting for her and Tom to have a short-lived and tragically-ended romance. Possibly sparked when Mary has her baby, loses interest in little Sybil, and Edith (envious of other-people-having-babies) picks up the Auntie-slack.

      At this point I see her going through one stymied attempt at romance after another, while gradually and painfully building a career – all the while uncertain if the career is really fulfilling or just a second-best.

    • BayTampaBay

      Martha Levinson seemed to be closer to Edith than her other granddaughters…..may be Edith goes to Newport and gets a job in NYC working for….The Post.

  • Kristinoten

    “Oh well that is an easy caveat to accept because I’m never wrong.”  Great Dowager line! 

  • Frank_821

    Oh I wanted to say I really smirked how bates’ nobility bit him majorly in the ass. Also how carson thought he could pawn off keeping Thomas onto Robert. That look when Robert announced Jimmy was to be 1st footman was priceless as well

  • SassieCassy

    is there one viewer who finds the batezz storyline interesting and easy to follow

    • RedRaven617

      Easy to follow? Yes. Interesting? Nope.

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

       Yes, me.  I like it.  There… I said it and I don’t care who knows!

      • 4JJ

        I do like Bates, but I didn’t like how the prison time dragged on and seemed always to be the same. I am much happier having Bates back on the estate, and Anna’s joy is utterly charming. I also didn’t find it ludicrous that Bates stood up for Thomas, despite their bad history, though I agree that it was good to see him being less noble and more human than usual when he realized his intervention would result in Thomas being kept on and even promoted. But Bates has lots of experience as an outsider who was considered unemployable and now he has prison experience. It doesn’t strain my credibility that Bates would resent and dislike Thomas without wanting to see him suffer unfairly.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       I still think he killed his wife. Watch, one day will see him making a pie after all!

  • tripletmom96

    i agree that it just didn’t seem authentic that everyone in the house seemed to know that thomas is homosexual AND that it’s just the way he’s wired – that he can’t control himself… not in the 1920s.  when one considers that just BEING homosexual could get one arrested and jailed in those days indicates that tolerance was not particularly common.   however, i think the only reason thomas was so bold towards jimmy is that o’brien led him to believe that jimmy was smitten with him.

    also the edith storyline about the editor with the insane wife is a little over the top.   i kept shouting at the tv — “have your sources check to see if she’s really crazy” — sounds like a typical “my wife doesn’t understand me” type of line….
    nevertheless, it was a pretty good episode – they certainly hooked me.  i look forward to next week’s episode.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

      Seeing as they were diagnosing (& institutionalizing) women as “hysterical” up until 1952, maybe Mrs. Editor just needed a few good orgasms.  (See the movie “Hysteria” with the delish Hugh Dancy.)

    • Sweetbetty

      Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that if people of that era were tolerant of homosexual men it was if the men were quirky or effeminate or  whatever word was used to mean “neardy” back then.  If Molesly was found to be gay I think it would be just shrugged off as long as he was discrete about it, but with a handsom, strapping young man like Thomas it would be harder to accept.

    • SapphoPoet

      Although sounds like Edith might turn into a good investigative journalist–calling to get info on the editor and all that. 

  • Judy_J

    I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s episode, but with the same minor complaints that you two pointed out.  When Mr. Editor told Edith about his crazy wife, I immediately thought Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.  And didn’t you love how spiffy Bates looked when he was released.  Clean-shaven, nifty haircut, snappy clothes—even down to the bowler hat. 

    • Sweetbetty

      And his cane; don’t forget his cane.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    Batezzzz and Anna have proved once again that they have the most cringe worthy coupling on television, let us never speak of it again please…

    • Kristinoten

      yes, the chemistry there is awful.  Never really believed them as a couple, too much father/daughter feeling. Cringe.

    • formerlyAnon

       Oh, I like them together. Not that I think their coupling is hot, but I don’t think it’s any less believable than Matthew and Mary (just because they’re more attractive doesn’t improve their chemistry) and I really like the way Anna is on his team, even if what she’s getting out of it is a little harder to see. Love knows no reason, after all.

    • Elizabetta1022

      When they fell laughing onto the sofa, it had a distinct “Apple Dumpling Gang” vibe. Disney G-rated movie from the ’70s. I would like to see Branson couple with someone, but I’m not sure who…he has the most charisma. (Yet, somehow he and Sybil did not have much chemistry.)

      • schadenfreudelicious

        agreed, i just find them so lacking in any chemistry, they dont need to be the “pretty” couple at all, just less awkward perhaps…if only Mr Pamouk could rise from the dead…..

        • Elizabetta1022

          Amen to that!

      • SapphoPoet

        Branson and Rose!

  • http://www.facebook.com/teresaec Teresa Enright Campbell

    I have some of the same issues with the Thomas story, but to me it seems somewhat inconsistent to see everybody suddenly support Thomas, who nobody liked to begin with and you think would have welcomed the chance to get rid of and then only have one person take Ethel’s side when she is clearly trying to change and be something better. You’d think somebody would have defended her instead of making sure they got rid of her.

    • Frank_821

      I think the problem ultimately is the issue of scandal and public perception. Carson summed it up best. He in no way approves of what Thomas is BUT as long as he can hush it up he’ll allow Thomas to leave with dignity. He also made sure nothing happened beyond the kiss and that Jimmy was innocent in the incident. Thomas has never been that likable and he’s done some shitty things in the past, but is he’s very good as his job and as far as anyone knows he’s never done anything until then to embarrass or scandalize the rep of DA

      Further Carsone doesn’t like Jimmy basically extorting him into destroying Thomas but he would rather avoid a scandal and he would not want Thomas to go to prison. That would be a far worse scenario.

      With Ethel, everyone knew or would know. It’s too late to keep it quiet. People today would be hard pressed to interact with a known prostitute. If it was just about her boy charlie, there would have been less of stink and they could have possibly kept that hidden.

      • formerlyAnon

         Excellent summing up.

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        Wasn’t Thomas caught stealing bottles of wine at the end of Season 1 and Lord G. was told about it by Carson.  It seems very unlikely that Thomas would still be in the house let alone promoted.

      • not_Bridget

        Ethel wasn’t just a “known prostitute.”  She had been plying her trade in the little town that’s part of Downton. (People had wondered why she didn’t just move and pass herself off as a widow; that takes money. And she had no references at that point.)  

        So every woman running a shop thought her husband might have used Ethel’s services.  Small towns….

        • Imogen_Jericho

          Thanks for pointing that out. Somehow I had assumed she’d been in some other, larger town — that Isobel’s work with “fallen women” wasn’t right there in town. That does make the scandal all the more dramatic.

    • BayTampaBay

      Maybe they like O’Brien less?????

  • Alamoguy

    What surgery could Lady Mary possibly have had?

  • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

    In case you don’t know why Rose is so annoying (Cousin Oliver aside), it’s highly probably she is coked to the tits every single day.  When she walked into Mrs. Crowley’s drawing room and was fluttering around, I instantly thought: “Bright Young Thing.” And then when she was raging about who told, I halfway expected to see her sniffle and then take a handkerchief to her nose to catch the drip…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KFD4YODYT6N2NNTE7ZAHJWQXCM Deirdre

    So, why did Thomas get the promotion? I guess I blinked at the wrong time and missed that plot development. I would have believed his story a lot more if they had decided to be nice and sent him off with a reference, but a promotion? How in the world does that make sense?

    • Kristinoten

      I’m still confused about this too.  Is it really because there was no other position left for him to take in the house so they made him “Under Butler”?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5310226 Laura Marie

         I guess they’re fully staffed again thanks to the Swire Swag. But I agree it’s ridiculous we’ve never even heard the position discussed before (“Remember when there used to be an Under Butler too? Those were the days!”).

      • momjamin

        There seemed to be some idea of keeping him around for a bit so he could have an easier time getting a new job somewhere else, and “under butler” was the only position available and would look good on his resume. Seems pretty thin rationale, but that’s all I picked up on.

      • Sweetbetty

        Words were flying fast and furious then, but I think I caught Bates saying something like, “That would outrank me as valet”, and Robert poo-pooing it by saying something like, “Oh, since the war there’s very little distinction”.  Even if that’s so, the distinction might be slight in the Upstairs people’s minds but you can bet the Downstairs people are still very aware of every little notch on the ranking scale.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           It was Carson who actually questioned the distinction.

    • Jasmaree

      The plot demanded that he stay.

      • BayTampaBay

        No Shit!!!

    • Tally Ho

      There was a moment when I genuinely thought Carson/Robert would save Thomas by arranging to send him to America to work for Martha Levinson. Someone mentioned the possibility of Thomas going to America (Mrs. Patmore?) and I thought aha! there’s a way out for him and he wouldn’t need a reference. Jimmy wouldn’t hunt him into the States. 

      But nope, we now get this weird twist. At least we have Thomas for next season. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5310226 Laura Marie

         Oh perfect! Your plot twists are usually much better than what happens on the actual show :) (And thanks for your compliment last week for my RobertDefense. Thank the Lord Fellowes he was rehab’ed a bit this week. I was getting exhausted.)

        I know it’s called “Downton Abbey” (which is why the whole “we’ll have to move out!” thing never really rang true) and do prefer when the story stays centered at the house, but it would still be nice to occasionally see things like their other homes, especially in London for the Season, and Martha’s homes.

        • Tally Ho

          No problem :) For those of us with a keen historical interest in the time it’s fascinating to see an attempt to bring it to life. And gut wrenching to see all the oh so obvious flaws and inaccuracies. I keep thinking, oh, no they wouldn’t have done this or that but this and that and one just has to roll their eyes at the sacrifices made for the sake of plotting, which is often badly done. To make it worse Fellowes knows exactly what he’s doing because his previous movie, Gosford Park, and his few books are pretty accurate and shows that he has a keen insight into all the details of the period’s mores and values. 

          What I probably find annoying more than anything else is the way he introduces characters or builds up to a scene and then drops the momentum like a hot potato. Remember the scene between Vera and Richard Carlisle when he threatens to kill her if she tried to cross him, but once she’s killed he’s no longer in the picture? That was a waste of a plot development and character building scenes. Another good example is the Evelyn Napier character from season 1. He visits Mary in the last episode because he wants her to know that he has nothing to do with the Pamuk rumors getting out in London and it was actually Edith. The way he spoke to her and that he had also just broken his engagement to another woman made it clear he was still interested in her and I thought, aha! he’ll be back in Season 2 as a rival to Matthew for Mary’s attention. But nope, dropped like a hot potato. 

          • 4JJ

            I had a similar conversation with my niece and husband (my family’s fellow DA addicts). What about Patrick/not Patrick from Season 1? And others have pointed out, the Bates situation is simply over, not really resolved.

      • not_Bridget

        The plot is secondary to the need to account for those 3-year contracts. Which some actors extended; others did not. “Sybil” wanted to move on; “Branson” didn’t. Therefore, she had to die; if Branson had wanted out, too, they could just have sent them off to Amerikay.  

        “Thomas” also wants to stay. Hey, he is good. So he gets a promotion–with possible conflicts already set up for the next series…

      • Sweetbetty

        And couldn’t you just see Martha Levinson making the handsome Thomas “serve” her in any way she desired. 

    • BayTampaBay

      Lord Grantham wants Thomas on his cricket team next year and Bates as a valet.  The actor playing Thomas is one of the best on the show……and Sir Juliana made sure he was around for next season/series IV.

  • http://twitter.com/otterbird otterbird

    I guess I can buy Carson’s grudging acceptance of Thomas- Carson was a vaudeville performer in his younger days and likely rubbed elbows with a lot of theater people.  Who, historically, have tended to be more accepting about a lot of things.

    I also wish someone would tell O’Brien that while the soap was a crappy thing to do, it’s hardly likely to have caused the miscarriage.  If a minor fall like that could trigger a miscarriage in a healthy pregnancy, women would never have had to resort to coat hangers.  That pregnancy was doomed from the start.  It’s more plausible that Cora would have broken her neck from the fall than lost a healthy fetus.  So O’Brien could feel guilty about almost murdering her mistress instead.

    • Sweetbetty

      I so agree about the fall+miscarriage trope.  Back when I used to watch soaps, in the 60s & 70s, that used to be standard; if a pregnant woman fell she automatically lost the baby.  I was having babies in those days and was terrified of falling, even though I heard of many real-life mothers-to-be falling and carrying their healthy baby to term.  That’s not to say that just the right type of fall wouldn’t harm a fetus, but it was a lot rarer than TV and movies made it out to be.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

    Dame Maggie also had a plethora of scathingly good lines last night, especially in her dealings with Mrs. Crawley.  I laughed out loud several times.

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

    My only real quibble was with them making Thomas under butler. They’ve never mentioned anyone having that position before; now, all of a sudden, they’re creating that position just for Thomas? If, like someone else pointed out, the first footman would fill that spot (when necessary) rather than having a specially designated person in that spot, then Thomas would have already been an under butler before, since wasn’t he the first footman in the past? And if so, would he have outranked Bates, as Bates pointed out last night? (“and now he’ll outrank me”). And who exactly is the first footman now – ?. Lots of talk about Alfred wanting to be, (and now he will be, thanks to that well-played stroke by Robert with the coppers at the cricket match – loved the ‘eyebrow’ to Carson). Picky details, yes, but I went to bed trying to sort that one out. 

    Otherwise, yes, it was a delicious two hours, I may have to watch it again. 

    It was a treat to see Rosamund again. Rose however has me worn out already.
    Violet was in rare form, so many good lines and little head tweaks at people.
    A crazy wife! I think I actually almost said that out loud just before he did (“but his wife is crazy! ha ha” and then boom, she really was). 

    The whole gay Thomas kiss thing – that scene would have ended the way it did even if Alfred hadn’t walked in. I felt sorry for Thomas. Jimmy was so easily manipulated into going overboard with his reaction, although its understandable that he’d be weirded-out by Thomas now and want him gone. Still. Of course I’m glad Thomas gets to stay on, but it did stretch the bounds of believability a bit the way it was all handled, and how some of the staff reacted. 

    I had a little thrill when Bates showed some verve and grabbed Anna for a kiss in the cottage, then they collapsed onto that sad sofa and laughed and it all went back to “G” rated in an instant. Too bad.

    Poor Molesley. I really wanted him to have a good go at the bat!

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       I’m puzzled by Robert creating this new role for Thomas.  Why at this point after the scandalous behavior????  Not to mention that at the end of the first season, Thomas was shown to be a thief and liar and was going to be sacked before he signed up for the military medical corps. He just keeps rising from the ashes like a phoenix.

       There has never been an Under Butler since we first became aware of this household, and if such a job is now available, why for Thomas?  And as Under Butler he would outrank Bates, a valet. As I understand this domestic help hierarchy, footmen, even a head footman, fall below valets, and the butler outranks them all (even an under butler). So indeed, Thomas now can order any of the staff around (or only the men?).

      • Jackie4g

        I think it’s all because Thomas was such a fascinating character that rather than write him out of the picture, the role received additional storylines. This has more to do with the popularity of the actor than with the original plot. Fellowes is showing some extreme flexibility in  the light of the public response. Remember, they did not even expect a second season for sure. No one had any idea what a mega hit the series would become.
        Under Butler was a contrivance, for sure.

        • Elizabetta1022

          Also, this sets him up to get his revenge on O’Brien. He is now more powerful than she is, correct? (Though I am not hip to servant hierarchy in 1920s England.) Also, 2 other people know about the soap. Mark my words, O’Brien is heading for a fall. (No pun intended.)

          • Tally Ho

            We all want to see O’Brien get her comeuppance, but it’s clear Fellowes likes her too much and she’s too valuable as a character to be written out of the show. She was modeled after a real life ladies’ maid to one of his great aunts or someone like that and the maid stayed with the employer for multiple decades. 

            As for Thomas’ new position it doesn’t make him higher up than O’Brien. Different genders so she doesn’t take orders from him. 

          • Elizabetta1022

            Interesting–thanks for the explanation. I wasn’t sure how that worked, and thought Carson was in charge of everyone. (Maybe because he acts like he is. Ha!) And I definitely don’t think O’Brien will be written out of the show. (Like Thomas, she’s too  important of a character, as you said.) I just think this sets him up nicely to get back at her. 

          • 4JJ

            Jeez, so presumably Fellowes didn’t like his great-aunt’s lady’s maid much!

  • nosniveling

    Violet was on a roll!

    • Gnulife

      Not just on a roll, but IN her role as Master Manipulator. No question who really runs the Abbey. 

      • Sweetbetty

        Yes, it’s amusing to watch her play dumb when various people come to her with their problems with others and she flutters her eyes and asks, while sipping her tea, “I don’t know how you think I can help you”.  She knows, as well as everyone else, the power she wields.

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

    I was reflecting on Sybil’s death the other day, and you know what was a missed opportunity? We never saw her trying to fit into middle class life with Tom. Obviously because the focus is on Downton, but this kind of irritated me, especially since now we’re getting all this class friction now with Tom. I know Sybil’s a saint and all, but even just a sequence where she shows up in her Downton togs and other women think she’s a huge snob and she has to change her wardrobe or something stupid like that might have been warranted. 
    I feel like Julian Fellowes drops the ball a lot. Not interested in a lot of complexity, that one. 
    Cousin Rose was insufferably annoying – and kept had me squinting at her wondering if she was the actress from Saved By the Bell who played Jessie Spano – but she’s much older now, I suppose. It would have been more interesting if she hadn’t turned out to be a whining, deluded ninny “He’s going to get a divorce!” Yeah, right. I’d have liked her more if she was just like, “Who cares? THE SEX IS GREAT” and shocked them all. Think she’ll be pregnant next season? TWO HOURS ALONE TOGETHER, TSK. 
    Edith is basically Jane Eyre. Seems fitting. 
    Can’t stand Bates – waiting for something to come out that he actually did kill his wife. 
    Also, I find it funny that Robert is more scandalized by Catholicism than by the gays. Yeah, ok. 
    And why did Alfred decide to call the police – just because Thomas is on Jimmy’s side? Or O’Brien put him up to it? It just seemed random, to force Robert’s hand then and there. 
    When the police showed up, all I could think of was Hot Fuzz – I half expected Maggie Smith to pull a gun out from under her giant dress lapels. Obviously not, but it popped into my head. 

    • Zippypie

      I read on another DA board that there was a sequence of life in Ireland with Tom and Sybil shot last year that never aired and which is not included on the dvd set.  That makes me sad because it would have added so much more to the depth of the characters instead of focusing say on the endless Batezzzzzzz prison story which went nowhere.  Evidently there is an interview with Allen Leech where he talks about the Ireland scenes.  Missed opportunity.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5310226 Laura Marie

         Oh no! Why would they *ever* leave *anything* in the vault?? They know all us crazy people will devour and dissect any and every morsel till Mr. Mason’s cows come home. Unless this is long term planning to fleece us with “Special Edition” sets down the road…

        Reminds me of how PBS is depriving us of a few extra weeks by crushing episodes together. Also, a spoiler-free viewing experience because of the ridiculous lag time. Do we know if there is any hope of that changing for next season?

        • BayTampaBay

          “Oh no! Why would they *ever* leave *anything* in the vault?? They know all us crazy people will devour and dissect any and every morsel till Mr. Mason’s cows come home. Unless this is long term planning to fleece us with “Special Edition” sets down the road…”

          Probably sooo….they know I will pay good money for the outakes….somebody has to support PBS! LOL!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5310226 Laura Marie

       All praise for a Hot Fuzz ref LOL!

    • formerlyAnon

       I have to confess I was dreading a subplot about her trying to live a middle class life. Perhaps because I was never drawn into their relationship in the first place, I viewed it as a way to get a lot of screen time of the two of them being unlikable and then reconciling in ways that rang untrue – or at least, dreadfully cliched.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

    Seeing as they were still declaring some women “hysterical” until 1952, maybe Mrs. Editor just needed a good orgasm once in a while.  (See the movie “Hysteria”, starring the delish Hugh Dancy.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

    Seeing as they were declaring (and institutionalizing) women as “hysterical” up until 1952, maybe Mrs. Editor just needed a good orgasm.  (See the movie “Hysteria”, starring the delish Hugh Dancy.)

  • decormaven

    “Batezzzz is out of prison so of course he suddenly needs a cane to walk again, even though he walked around that jailyard for hours in a circle without so much as a limp.” This. Exactly. 

  • Historiana

    Actually, I was calling Rose “Sybil 2.0,” but I think Cousin Oliver works, too. LOL

  • Tally Ho

    As a side note, when one thinks about it a pretty high percentage of male servants in those days were probably gay. Servants were explicitly discouraged from marrying and most usually left service once married as employers didn’t like having married staff unless it was a wife/husband couple who acted as butler/housekeeper. So single male servants who hung around and rose through the ranks to senior positions pretty much had to accept a life as bachelors, which would be ideal if you were gay. Plus throw in the glamour of being associated with a grand country house. Even today it’s widely known that much of the footman staff at Buckingham palace are gay. Hah, I had to think about Carson – we never see him hanging out with another female, let alone any inferences to a past romance. If someone has to be a closeted homosexual Carson fits the bill to a T. 

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       I was surprised at Robert having already “known all along” about Thomas: I expected a little gay panic there, but instead it’s like Robert’s best side of all. Must be weird having a valet you don’t much like.

    • http://twitter.com/evangelineh Evangeline Holland

      Men were just as innocent about sex as women in those days, especially the lower you went down on the social scale. And people did not stay in one house, or one position, their entire lives. Most moved around and many left service and married.

  • Zippypie

    While his acting was superb, the whole Thomas story was just too unbelievable.  I could buy the positive reference and even Robert’s intervention with the police in the end with Alfred, but to promote him to under butler (a position we’ve never heard of before, too!) – it just was contrived and that undercut the excellent acting and empathy that the situation created.  It was too modern, as many people have posted.

    Bates looked mighty good after getting out of prison.  So no complaints here.  His motives for helping Thomas didn’t phase me – one he hates O’Brien possibly more than Thomas and two, he wanted to get rid of Thomas.  Now, instead he got screwed, which was actually a fine moment, but in retrospect, Thomas is now in Bates’ debt, so that will be an interesting dynamic in the upcoming season.  O’Brien will be terrified of Bates and Thomas is in his debt.  He might not be “above” Thomas in rank, but he’ll have power over both of them.

    Anna will figure out the soap.

    Please with Edith already.  Jesus.  The poor girl is now Jane Eyre!  But damn, she looked so good!  That last outfit in the editor’s office with the teal hat? Smashing with her hair!

    LOVED the Violet/Isobel scenes – right back to the old feud of Season 1.  Loved it!  And about time!  Both had fabulous lines.

    Someone shove Rose into a shed somewhere and lock it.  What a waste of time.  What an annoying waste of time.  And feed her a sandwich while you’re at it.  She looks emaciated.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Violet was awesome last night. “And then, thank God, we can all call him Branson again.”

  • MilaXX

    Not only is Rose the cousin Oliver of this tale, it’s pretty clear to me that she is Sybil 2.0, the young pretty girl full of modern ideas.

    I’m really getting tired of the Ethel unlucky in love tale. At least let her be a successful reporter or writer.

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

      I think you mean Edith unlucky in love tale, right. Then again Ethel’s been unlucky in love too!

    • Tally Ho

      Yeah. Rose is meant to bring a different kind of modernity to the show. It’s not the modernity of Sybil’s progressive values but the modernity of rich, carefree girls shackling off the binds of social convention to do drugs, sleep around and go to jazz clubs with, gasp, black performers. 

  • Pam Winters

    And when Sybil died–his grief was very touching. I LOVE this character, because I’ve never encountered a character with this particular balance of hateability/likeability. He’s really a piece of work, in the best sense.

  • Lilak

    A teeny-tiny kvetch from the margins:

    A pity Fellowes had to pluck some downstairs names we know well from (the original, and still best beloved) “Upstairs, Downstairs” — Alfred, Thomas, Daisy — but that’s not worth fretting over.  

    It did bug me, though, that Fellowes named his Georgina-esque Bright Young Thing character “Rose.”  A choice so unnecessary It feels like he’s giving Marsh/Atkins/Shaughnessy/Hawkesworth a poke in the eye … Maybe smacking Jean Marsh a bit for her very public irritation at DA’s premiere stealing her UD sequel’s thunder?

    My own little conspiracy theory!   ;-)

    • Sweetbetty

      And why do we have to have both a Thomas and a Tom as main characters?  I know, in some families it just works out that way, but this is fiction so why confuse those of us who are easily confused.

  • Frank_821

    Thinking about it some more, O’Brien going all out to destroy Thomas for simply getting on her bad side is pretty consistent with her character. In the past, she herself admitted she’s that petty of a person. Thomas struck out against Bates more out of feeling threatened by him. By Season 2 he stopped caring since Bates really wasn’t any kind of obstacle in career trajectory anymore.

    It’s much harder to feel bad for O’Brien. She really was being unreasonable in trying to fast track her nephew to being a valet. Alfred is eager to learn and he has some potential but he’s a long way off. Plus she seems so much more full of self-loathing at time than Thomas. It’s like she has nothing left in her own life beyond her current position. The only thing to give her any fulfillment is being puppetmaster. So anyone who runs contrary to her schemes ends up on her shit list

  • Pam Winters

    I’m reading it, but I think it’s because I want to read it.

    There was definitely some gay panic going on with his sudden, very public interest in Ivy the morning after.

  • Pam Winters

    The only reason I like her at all is as a way to get Matthew, Edith, and Auntie (and us) into a jazz club. I was fascinated to see Edith in that context. I wonder if she liked the music? Perhaps she could become the paper’s pop music critic?

    • Kristinoten

      Agree, loved the glimpse into the club, especially all the fantastic flapper ware, however Rose doesn’t interest me any more than that.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Agree as well.  And, I liked Matthew dancing with Rose, because he was doing a lively 1920s dance (not sure which one) as opposed to his marching all over the estate or hanging out in the house.  True, he was dancing her out of there, but it was a nice change for the character.  And where did he learn to dance like that?

  • Gnulife

    1. Thomas is a homosexual. As Robert says, “It’s not like we didn’t all know.” Victorian mores prevail. It may be there but keep it hidden (as in putting modesty covers on piano legs), do not make a fuss and all will be well.

    2. First favorite scene: Violet and Isobel exchanging snipes about parenting, with Violet’s bulbous hat punctuating her views. Such great characterization through costuming.

    3. Thomas is baaaack, but it doesn’t matter. He’s Thomas and will live to screw up again.

    4. Edith meets another loser– but did they have to cast a man that resembles Loser Number 1 so much that they could have been separated at birth?

    5. Second favorite scene: the cricket match. All is white and idyllic until the intrusion of the bad guys (the police) dressed in black, making for wonderful visual metaphor, not to mention melodrama.

    • Stubenville

      “But it was an hour every day.

      • jw_ny

        haha…yes I’m sure Violet was an excellent mother, for that 1 hour a day.  XD

  • formerlyAnon

    Edith’s resolution strikes me as just as unlikely as Thomas’. The only reality to it was when the Dowager Countess admits that her motivations were entirely self-interested.

    I can only imagine the ongoing resentments and misuse of relative position belowstairs that Robert’s ‘solution’ to the Thomas issue would lead to if the plot proceeds realistically (Realistically. hahahaha!). (and yes, Robert’s initial comment re: Eton was the most true-to-life for me).

    I enjoyed the episode, I really DID enjoy the menacing of O’Brien immensely, I admit. “bar of soap” What a phrase to carry such dread. And I enjoy the manly bonding of Tom & Matthew more than makes any sense at all.

    But I thought Fellowes’ writing was lazy as can be, what with the whiplash-inducing changes in character and period-implausible plot points.

    But what else is new? I’ll keep tuning in. None of the previous improbabilities kept me away.

     

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       You were referring to the Ethel storyline resolution, I presume.
      The names Edith and Ethel are so easy to confuse!

      • formerlyAnon

         Yes, I was! I’ll go fix that, thanks.

      • Sweetbetty

        Yes, I have a hard time keeping them straight and I see in these discussions that others do too.  It’s right up there with Tom and Thomas.

  • Inspector_Gidget

    How many times can Thomas leave or be fired, participate in some sort of scandal, and be hired back?  At a higher position, no less!  Two seasons in a row!  It would make a little more sense if he was a beloved character, but he’s almost universally reviled.  

    It’s funny how all the characters occasionally undergo radical behavioral shifts.  The show is still fun to watch, but these crazy personality transplants keep it from being anything but soapy hilarity.

  • janierainie

    So we’re to play out some kind of Jane Eyre storyline with Ethel? Next thing you know he’ll (the editor) be thrown in prison for killing his wife. I thought the Barrow storyline was okay until they promoted him!? It really was coming apart already with Hughs and Carson mellowing out. Totally unbelievable. Did anyone else for a second think Bates was going to hit Anna right before he kissed her?

    • Sweetbetty

      Yes!  When Bates made that sudden move and grabbed the curtains (or whatever) out of Anna’s hands I thought that all the anger and rage he had been surpressing had suddenly come to the surface and he was going to take it out on her.  Who would have ever suspected any romantic passion between those two.

  • http://twitter.com/cmkrcwi Tina Kramer

    The idea of anyone believing someone is “born that way”  seems like a 21st century notion to us , but this was around the time the idea of genetics and heredity was becoming mainstream.  Eugenics, anyone?  And acceptance in those days wouldn’t have meant the same thing it means today.  It’s not like Thomas would be free to bring in boyfriends.  And I would imagine if Lord Grantham were to offer Thomas the 1920′s version of “ex-gay” therapy, everyone would be shocked if Thomas declined.  

    I’m pretty sure if anything beyond a kiss had happened, there would have been a lot less tolerance.  As for the promotion, remember the whole point was for him to get a good reference so he could leave and get a job somewere else.  It was Lord Grantham who wanted him to stay on and that was pretty much the only position available. And let’s face it, guys who are good at sports always get special treatment.  

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      I found it interesting that Carson stressed so much “but you give me your word nothing actually HAPPENED” and “spare me the details of your nether world” etc. It’s also Fellowes perpetuating a stereotype about British school boys all being a little … experimental? I found it nice that totally abject Thomas got so much forgiveness by the wiser old crew downstairs; and outrage and disgust from the immature ones.

      I agree, thank god he was good at cricket! No such luck for poor old Molesley I imagine, were he fey!

      • not_Bridget

        There was no law against “being” gay. But there was against committing sodomy.  Thus Carson’s questions…

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           Oh, I know, I was happy that the unwonted kiss didn’t qualify.

  • Gnulife

    More on names: “Edith” and “Ethel” sound so alike that commenters on the board are even confusing them. Previous posters have mentioned the unnecessary Two Thomases, but did you notice that both their last names begin with the letter “B”? Tom Branson and Thomas Barrow!

    • not_Bridget

      In Parade’s End (a series of novels by Ford Madox Ford & a show appearing on HBO later this month), there is a character named Edith Ethel.  For the show, they just use Edith–since Edith Ethel is such a silly name.  But she’s a rather silly character.

      Oh, and when we first meet her she is married to a barking mad clergyman.  The need for divorce reform was a common topic in the literature of those days; Parade’s End was written in the 20′s. Back then, adultery was the only possible grounds for divorce…

      • http://twitter.com/carelessriver Caterina Maria

         I smell a plotline for Season 4!

    • Corsetmaker

      True to the time though. Families tended to stick to fairly strict naming conventions, particularly working class ones. I did some of my family tree and got the same lists of names in every branch. Especially with the male names.

      • Tally Ho

        And servants were expected to have conventional names. Employers frequently changed the names of their servants to ordinary names like Sarah or Thomas so it’d be easy to remember (as servants came and went all the time but the names stayed in place, hah!)

        The opening scene of the original Upstairs Downstairs shows a maid being interviewed by her mistress. Her name is Clemonce Delice, and mistress tells her she’ll be known as Sarah as Clemonce isn’t a maid’s name. 

  • nobodylikesmilhouse

    I think the main reason Carson was so charitable to Thomas was because Thomas still defended Jimmy even though he was trying to destroy him. I think a very big part of Carson characterization is how much he values loyalty, for better or worse. He’s the downstairs Robert.

  • formerlyAnon

    Irony? I hope?

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

    I have to tell you boys that last night for the first time I followed your Twitter feed while I watched – what fun!  And I agree that the episode was a good one although I too found the idea of Bates giving a rats ars about Thomas to be somewhat ridiculous? 

  • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

    But don’t forget best of all: Isobel and Violet deciding Ethel’s fate between pointed barbs that all hit their marks! Their catty relationship is what we all wanted the Shirley McClaine visit to be … but maybe it couldn’t because the Dowager is so flustered by “that woman” she can’t muster a put-down fast enough to make sense, whereas with Isobel she feels quite safe on a level playing field. And Isobel does everyone the great favor of always saying exactly what she feels, which really just sets up one target after another for the archers at Downton.

  • kattyatlaw

    Edith is Jane Eyre, apparently. Too bad Dimples can’t keep his crazy wife hidden in the attic above the newspaper.

  • mrspeel2

    Well, this episode certainly blows a great big hole in my theory that Tom would seek his destiny and go back to Ireland to get killed! My bad. 

  • LuLusLemons

    Dollars to donuts TLo follows Kate Beaton. http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=347

  • http://twitter.com/jen_canary Jennifer Ford

    I always thought it was obvious that O’Brien was really hurt that Thomas wouldn’t help her out with her scheme when she was always supportive and helpful with his. They’d been partners in crime, and she’d been there when he was at his lowest (and they knew each other’s worst secrets) and then when all she wanted was a simple assist with her nephew from him, he was a complete jerk about it.

    That’s really all the motivation anyone needs to feel the friendship has died but in O’Brien’s case, it makes perfect sense that she would go into full-on revenge mode and Thomas was stupid if he didn’t realize his pettiness and then trying to ruin her with Cora was going to trigger all-out war from the Champion Grudge-Holder of Them All.

  • Lattis

    So – when Edith makes a phone call to find out if the editor is married, I missed that she was calling the “Daily Telegraph Information Desk.” Instead I had images of an early 20th century British Wikipedia. You place a phone call, state your question, instantly the pneumatic tubes hiss into action . . . 

    • Lilithcat

      Newspapers, and public libraries, used to have those sorts of information bureaus.

      • MRC210

         That was the job of Katherine Hepburn, Joan Blondell and Dina Merrill in “Desk Set”, although they were reference librarians for a boradcast network (supposedly NBC), not a newspaper.  They answered every kind of question from the names of Santa’s reindeer to “certain poisons that leave no trace”.   And the plot of the movie was that they were afraid they’d lose their jobs to Spencer Tracy’s new computer — the forerunner of Google, I guess.

        • Sweetbetty

          But they did that work for NBC; they wouldn’t give it out to any Joe (or Edith) Schmoe who called up requesting the info.

          • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

             But in England … with a posh accent …. ?

    • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

       Edith did the 1920 version of Googling the editor.

      • Sweetbetty

        Yes, and I was shocked that it was so easy for her to find out the intimate details of his personal life.  How would she like it if he would have done the same and found out the details of her being left at the alter (the gory details that she hadn’t already mentioned to him), or all the juicy details of her sisters’ escapades.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HDHI2YVYMVAWDP724SY5TXOFLY inflatablescream

    Didn’t anyone else notice that Edith’s editor is a younger copy of Sir Anthony Strallan? Same wavy blonde hair, manly jaw, and charming, rather awkward manner? But without that deer-in-the-headlights blue gaze of his. The editor’s blue eyes are smarter.

    • sunnycalif

      I thought he was more like the media baron who wanted to marry Lady Mary, holding the Pamuk scandal over her head as a threat.

      • BayTampaBay

        I miss Sir Richard Carlisle.  Great Actor!

    • Elizabetta1022

      Yes! I thought exactly the same thing. He even cocks his head to the side the same way. I guess Lady Edith has a type!

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      I thought so too and also better looking (not that there is anything wrong with Sir Anthony’s looks).

  • siriuslover

    Great last line, there. I hadn’t thought about it that way, though of course it was patently obvious.

  • CeeQ

    My thought overall was – typical Julian Fellows! All the plot lines neatly tied up by season’s end =) Which means there will be a bombshell cliff hanger just in time for the finale.

    I agree that the gay story arc were unbelievable at times: Mrs. Hughes, Robert and even Carson. Robert’s Eton comment made me laugh out loud. I went to an all-girls school. I totally got it. 

    All in all, I was happy with how things turned out. Poor Edith: she’s doomed to be attracted to damaged men. A crazy wife?!?!?! That was laugh out loud and groan inducing =) 

    So the question for me now is: will Bates and Barrow be BFF now? Will they fight crime together? 
    When I saw Bates’ cane make a return, I thought of what you guys must have been saying as you watched it….LOL

    I thought that Bates standing up for Thomas didn’t seem out of sorts. He doesn’t have much love for either Thomas or O’Brien and showed it as Thomas licked his wounds but still, it didn’t seem out of character for him to stick up for Thomas. O’Brien really was nasty – and perhaps that was the equaliser for it all. The whole “But now you’ve gone TOO FAR!!” thing =) I was surprised too that no one knew about the soap incident – it seems like everyone knows about everything else!! 

    Robert made a fairly swift turn about from stubborn aristocrat to fledgling liberal. Sort of. But he must have his cricket match though, come hell and high water. 

    The minute Rose wriggled her way into the scene, I was hard pressed not to throw things at my TV. Irritating doesn’t even come close to it. I hope she doesn’t become a fixture. 

    The lesson here is of course no sexytime shenanigans is ever a secret for long at Downton!!  

    • Lisa_Cop

      Julian Fellowes gave an interview where he said Rose will be a regular character in series 4.

      • nannypoo

         I hope he changes his mind. She was irritating and added nothing to the story. If the family has trouble accepting Ethel I can’t think why they would welcome this little trollop into the family.

        • http://twitter.com/Honey604 Marilyn Johnson

           Well they could accept Rose despite her trampy behavior because “she’s family”….something Violet had said about Mary’s situation a while back.

          I agree Rose is irritating!

          • Sweetbetty

            I hope we get to meet Rose’s father, Shrimpy, one day.  I’ve been fascinated by him ever since Violet had that conversation with him over that new-fangled telephone several years back.

          • 4JJ

            Yes, I burst out laughing when we learned that Shrimpy’s daughter was on the show — my husband was quite puzzled until I reminded him of the phone incident.

        • betorah

          Ah, but Ethel was a servant. Rose is upper class. Two different sets of standards.

      • 4JJ

        Oh, what a shame.

      • CeeQ

        Ah shit.
        I guess I’ll be rolling my eyes more often as she wriggles her way thru the scenery.

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

    The ridiculously implausible acceptance of Thomas, who even got promoted by Robert….Robert, who didn’t want his family going to the house where a reformed prostitute (who was abandoned by a high born man), who can’t hear about lady bits or child birth…along with every single person in the entire manor took me right out of this episode. I’m really surprised that Tom and Lorenzo has praised it as good writing. It was absurd. It wipes away with a big eraser the brave strides the gay community has made by pretending that it was never so bad, even in a place where it would have been the worst. That’s kinda gross to me. People were happy to put gay men in jail, not bend over backwards to be forgiving and understanding. 

    • MRC210

      This has already been discussed, but … Ethel’s life as a prostitute was known to everyone.  Lord G. didn’t want his wife and daughters to be in contact with her because it would give rise to even more scandal.   He was uncomfortable discussing the clinical details of childbirth because it wasn’t the polite thing to do in mixed company.  Thomas’s behavior was known only to the household.  if he couldn’t get rid of Thomas discreetly, and it didn’t look as though James was going to allow that, the Earl’s second option was to keep him on, not to turn him over to the police and cause more scandal.  Appearance was everything. 

      We’re not watching a show about how middle-class people reacted to the news of a gentleman being caught with a Guardsman in Hyde Park.   Look at how adultery was treated among the upper class at the time.  Everyone knew who had bedrooms next to each other on country house weekends.  No one cared, no one judged you — until you made it a public scandal by eloping with your lover.  Then you were in disgrace.  Homosexuality was the same. 

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Well put. It’s not like we just invented it in the 90s. Well, maybe the 1890s. :)

    • http://twitter.com/LazyLima Hilari

      It seemed a bit odd to me, but I chalked it up the British sensibilities of the time. They have quite a few gay monarchs in their history and Sir Robert’s comment about Eton is a fairly common joke about those prestigious schools – maybe they’re used to overlooking this sort of thing.  I understood it to mean what happened in public (Ethel’s prostitution) was far worse than what happened behind closed doors. Although this isn’t the Victorian Era, keep in mind that there was quite
      a popular trade in erotica and houses of pleasure during Queen V’s reign. Society could look over a lot as long as Thomas had 10 year of service and was fairly high up in the ranking, to turn him out without a reference would mean he could potentially spill the family secrets to strangers. I thought the above stairs reaction was more plausible than the downstairs.  Maybe Carson I could possibly understand – he seems the one who least wants any feathers ruffled, but I would think the other servants would, at the very least, gossip about it until their lips fell off.

  • http://completeflake.com/ LaVonne Ellis

    I forgot about the soap. Can someone refresh my memory?

    • jw_ny

      O’Brien put a bar of soap on the floor of Cora’s bathroom while she was in the tub, caused Cora to slip and fall…miscarry her baby. 

      I don’t recall the reason why O’Brien wanted to cause her harm tho.

      • Sweetbetty

        O’Brien had heard Cora and Violet discussing getting a new ladies maid for Violet but missed the first part of the conversation and thought Cora was replacing her.  She placed the bar of soap on the floor while Cora was in the tub and conveniently left the room for some reason.  At the last minute you could see the look of horror on her face as she realized what she had done and she turned back to presumably un-do her dastardly deed but it was too late.  Cora’s foot hit the bar of soap (of course) as she was exiting the tub and she fell and lost the baby (of course).  In addition to being bitten by a bit of conscience, O’Brien eventuallty found out that she was not being replaced so we did see a bit of humanity in her as she felt remorse again. 

        • Judy_J

          And don’t forget that the baby Cora was carrying was a boy, and so would have been Robert’s heir.

      • 3boysful

        O’Brien mistakenly thought Cora was planning to replace her because Cora was helping Violet find a new lady’s maid.

    • Lattis

      Lady Cora slips on a bar of soap getting out of her bath which causes her to fall and miscarry (a boy!). While O’Brien was attending to Cora as she bathed she saw the soap – but didn’t pick it up. O’Brien was angry at Cora because she mistakenly believed that Cora was going to replace her. 

  • Lattis

    “Oooooh, get back in the knife box, Miss Sharp!” 
    I would love to hear a pundit say that to another pundit on a Sunday morning political show. Actually, I’d like to see David Gregory say that to Lindsay Graham next time he’s on.

  • Mariah J

    I just couldn’t stand this ending. He molests another member of the staff and gets promoted…and everyone is accepting of his homosexuality?!?! Bullshit Fellowes

  • jw_ny

    I had the same reaction to “the soap”…lol!   It was delicious seeing O’Brien get got.  It’s been years since Cora had the miscarriage, so it does seem reasonable that Anna and Bates wouldn’t immediately get the association…but it’s certainly going to be made. 

    I can almost accept that Bates would come to Thomas’ aid, he’s got a good heart, but I don’t believe for a second that Robert would have reacted that way…giving Thomas a promotion?  I understand that Thomas had a good relationship with Robert as his valet, as well he served in the war, and had years of employ at DA, but no…wouldn’t have happened that way.  Maybe Robert has a history of his own dabbling with the forbidden “fruit” when he was at Eton…lol. (j/k)  Robert is traditionalist and conservative…has never exhibited any liberal values that I recall.

    The Thomas from season 1 & 2 would never have been so careless, nor would he have let this beat him like it did.

    So…now Mary’s problems getting pregnant are magically fixed.  What would be her reasoning for not sharing this with her husband when she found out or when she had the procedure?   

    I know, I know…just accept the writing for what it is….

    • lobsterlen

       Whatever the problem with Mary was it was to shameful to even fully disclose to the audience. We know she had a problem but we don’t what it was.

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Or she felt it was. I thought it was pretty convincing that, despite their intimacy, whatever it was just wasn’t something she’d ever tell any man. Nor did she tell Edith, when she could have easily, but instead they were brittle as usual.

    • Sweetbetty

      It wasn’t just “the soap”; it was “Her Ladyship’s soap”, so Anna, assuming she knew the circumstances of Cora’s fall lo those many years ago, should have made a quicker connection, but no doubt the connection will be made.

    • Judy_J

      Everyone seems to have forgotten about Thomas’ involvement in the black market, too.  I like Thomas, but it seems that he has been given a pass once too often.

  • lobsterlen

    I am beginning to wonder if Julian Fellowes wanted to be gynecologist.He does seem fascinated in women’s health issue. Many female characters have had uniquely female health issues.

    I should probably read through all the comments but I feel lazy … Any idea what Mary’s fertility problems was? What minor surgery was available in 1920s to fix that problem? I recall my mother mentioning needing a “DNC?” to become pregnant and it was procedure where your ovaries or uterus  were scraped? Sounds horrible. Was that it?

    • Lilithcat

      I recall my mother mentioning needing a “DNC?” 

      D and C.  Dilation and curettage.  Cervix is widened (dilation) and the lining of the uterus scraped (curettage).  It’s used for a variety of gynæcological conditions, as well as first trimester abortions.  ”Horrible”?  No worse than most surgeries, and probably easier than many.

  • Sweetbetty

    I’ve finished reading all the comments up to now and am surprised that none were made about Robert mentioning investing the family money with a Mr. Charles Ponzi in the US who had been getting great returns on his clients’ investments.  Fortunately, he was overruled and went off to pout.

    • jw_ny

      Yes…that gave me a chuckle.  It would have been just Robert’s “luck” to get taken in a Ponzi scheme, especially after losing Cora’s in the Canadian Railroad venture. 

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         Not just “a” scheme but “the” original! Poor Robert, keep him out of the bank!

    • Zippypie

      I happened to be drinking hot chocolate at that moment and spewed it in a fit of giggles on my cat who was on my lap.  She’ll never forgive me.

      • betorah

        Read your comment to my husband. He said, “that’s a hell of a way to warm your pussy.”
        Ba-dum-dum.

    • susu11

      Haha I did a complete face-palm the moment that he mentioned Ponzi. Robert should not be in charge of anything ever.

    • MRC210

       I know — the original Bernie Madoff! 

    • betorah

      My husband and I were in hysterics over the Ponzi scheme. Thought that was the funniest part of the evening.

    • SapphoPoet

      The Ponzi reference made me laugh.

  • ChickenBarbie

    Did anyone pick up on the anachronism of “Batting for the Other Team?”  Julian Felowes borrowed from Jerry Seinfeld! There was a whole “what team are you batting for” theme going on there that I’m surprised no one picked up.  But then again, I didn’t bother to read all the comments.  Seriously…discussing the length of the series is shamefully boring.

    Chicken Barbie rules!

    • 4JJ

      Speaking only for myself, I am never ashamed to respond to subtopics others raise. I would feel shame only if I judged what constituted a non-boring (shameful or otherwise) topic for other people. To each one’s own. 

  • LittleKarnak

    I am really enjoying how sassy Mrs. Hughes has become over the last 2-3 episodes and how befuddled Carson seems in light of that sassiness…..

  • DeTrop

    I’m thinking Batezz couldn’t have a cane in prison as it could be used as a weapon.  

    Some of the one liners were fab –  Isobel to the Dowager – Have you changed your pills?

                                                           Mary to Matthew – You’ll make me untidy.

    I agree about Alfred. He is a bit thick.  Edith and Rochester from Jane Eyre. Hmmm.
    If memory serves me, O’Brien let Thomas in on the soap trick.  They used to be co-conspirators against Bates.
    Apologies if these points have already been made, but I haven’t read the messages.  My bad.

    • Sweetbetty

      Bates wouldn’t have been permitted to have his cane in prison but in all the walking in circles in the yard we saw him do he had perhaps the slightest hint of a limp; nothing that looked like he required a cane to get around like he does when he’s not in prison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266410766 Phyllis Craine

    Lord Grantham appears to have many more issues with Catholics than he does with homosexuality

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

    My only quibble was with the photography at the christening, and the other photographers I know noticed the same thing: The photographer didn’t actually have a film holder on that camera – so there would have been no pictures!

    –GothamTomato

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    The thing is, I don’t recall O’Brien telling Thomas about the soap nor do I think she would have.  After that incident, she became very protective of Cora.  I think Thomas had something bad to say about the family upstairs or some plot, O’Brien stated something about her not letting anything hurt Cora, and Thomas replying that she was a “dark horse”.  So it didn’t seem like something she would tell him, so how would he have found out about the soap?

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

    If anyone is interested, join us tonight at 9PM EST, as PBS Thirteen is having an online rebroadcast and live chat of last night’s episode here: https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/b2zr8

    It’s a fun new site PBS is developing for this purpose. It’s fun! (and I’m co-hosting) 

    –GothamTomato

  • http://twitter.com/LazyLima Hilari

     I imagine it’s like now where all the rich people in a certain area will all go to the same plastic surgeon. It’s not like they could just look up a number in the yellow pages. If there was a reproductive specialist (ie, “doctor”) it would have to be someone who was discreet, who was accustomed to dealing with the titled, had the recommendation of peers and likely had some close connection to a titled family. That narrows down the field quite a bit. It sounds as if she may have had a D&C. She didn’t seem to have a scar, the procedure was being done at the time and is consistent with the belief that the D&C would “clean out the uterus” and create an ideal environment for a baby. She likely didn’t need one, but doctors liked to recommend surgeries quite often in the earlier part of the 20th century and the people were more likely to have them, as traditional medicine seemed backward and unreliable.

  • GTrain

    “We don’t care if her name’s Rose. She’ll always be Cousin Oliver to us. And she’s irritating.” My sentiments exactly though I couldn’t have said it as eloquently!

  • Redlanta

    Okay- I missed a lot of Season one and am as clueless as Anna and Bates about the soap incident.  Could someone fill me in?

    • Lilithcat

      O’Brien overheard the Countess and the Dowager Countess discussing hiring a ladies’ maid.  She thought she was going to be canned, not realizing that they were talking about hiring a maid for the dowager.  When the Countess was bathing, O’Brien left a piece of soap on the floor near the tub.  The Countess slipped on it, and suffered a miscarriage.  She was carrying a son. 

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

    Thank you for mentioning the arrival of Cousin Oliver!!!  My first thought when I saw her was, “isn’t it too soon for Cousin Oliver to arrive?”  Because Cousin Oliver means that this ship is sinking.  Oh well.  The comment about Eton was laugh out loud hilarious.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      I think with Sybil gone permanently, they feel like they need another young, vibrant lady that bucks convention.  We’ll see how it works out.

  • Jecca2244

    i don’t know if I can handle next Sunday’s episode. They looked so happy at the end of this past Sunday’s episode. You know that will all change because it is the Downton way.

  • Mightiadd

    Why does it come as a  surprise that Bates would help Thomas?  Bates has always been the character of moral integrity and principle.  He went to prison for a theiving wife he did not love anymore.  He’s falsely convicted of murdering her (prison again).  He knows O’Brien was out for revenge against Thomas.  With all the discussion about historical accuracy vs. contemporary  attitude in the storyline,  it’s amazing that so few  people can actually believe that any person could put their own petty self-interest aside and do the “right thing”.  It happens, even today.   And this murder/suicide story is not fully resolved.  Remember that Richard Carlisle also had firsthand knowledge of  of Mrs. Bates vengeful nature.  His parting words to Mary were (paraphrase)- “You don’t know what I have done for you…”

    • SapphoPoet

      Wow–I’d forgotten about Richard Carlisle…

  • silvertreese

    We were all yelling at the TV.  So, I think that this was a good episode…even with it’s issues.  Of course now I’m officially invested in Thomas, but I’ve always had a soft spot for him.  I also thought the way the whole thing was dealt with was pretty unrealistic, so I did a bit of googling.  Maybe it’s possible….the 20s were a very liberal decade in comparison to the ones before and after.  And while homosexuality was obviously still illegal and we certainly wouldn’t have had it easy, there was some acceptance. I think that’s why we got the glimpse inside the Jazz Club, it provided the visual for how the times were a’changing.  Although, I still think it’s a bit of a stretch. 

  • Tally Ho

    FYI 

    Some of you may be interested in reading the obituary of a former cook/kitchen maid who worked in two of England’s great country houses before WWII. She died recently: 
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9858641/Florence-Wadlow.html

    At one of the houses where she cooked every day for three years she only saw the aristocratic owner twice. 

  • Tally Ho

    FYI,

    Some of you may be interested in reading the obituary of a former cook/kitchen maid in two of England’s grandest country houses. She died recently: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9858641/Florence-Wadlow.html

    At one of the houses where she cooked every day for three years she only saw the aristocratic owner twice. 

  • SapphoPoet

    I’m commenting so late that I’m sure noone will see this, but anyhoo…

    LOVED this episode, inconsistencies and all. I thought it showed the messy, frustrating, exhilaration of belonging to a family so well: arguments about money, arguments about inappropriate boyfriends, exasperation when your relatives just don’t see things your way, and at the end, the love that keeps everyone connected. Brilliant episode. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/dmb610 Doreen Bierman

    Look at you!  Congrats! 

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      LOL, thanks! And we’ll be having another one this coming Monday night, also at 9PM, for a rebroadcast & live chat of the finale episode.

      –GothamTomato

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie
  • zingit

    Re: “HE KNOWS ABOUT THE SOAP.” This is the part I had trouble understanding; I couldn’t figure out how he could have possibly known about O’Brien’s connection to the soap. As far as I remember, O’Brien and Cora were the only ones in the bathroom when that happened, and there’s no reason for an outsider to think, “Cora slipped on a piece of soap; O’Brien must have put it there!” Or is there some scene I’m forgetting? Can someone help me out?

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      I don’t know if there was an outright confession, but O’Brien felt very remourseful after she realized her error (ultimately leading to nursing Cora through the Spanish Flu), and I’m guessing Thomas just put two and two together with his usual discernment.

  • http://profiles.google.com/h.e.waddell Heather Waddell

    They keep making a big deal of how bad Alfred is at being a valet, and how good he is at knowing what’s going on in the kitchen. I have a feeling that Ivy will disappear and Alfred will become the new “kitchen maid”. And then in a later season Mrs. Patmore will finally retire and Daisy and Alfred (who have, of course, realized that they’re in love) will run the kitchen together as a husband and wife team.

    OR Alfred is going to be the new cook at Crawley house. And then there will be the whole new scandal of Mrs. C employing a young man in her house with no one else living there. Delicious!

  • neofashionista

    I find it odd and maybe even a little creppy that edith’s newest love looks like a 40s something version of the old dude who left her at the altar

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1253616180 Catherine Carter

    Did O’Brien place the soap where she thought Lady Grantham would step on it and fall, or did she see Lady Grantham drop it and not say anything? Posters below have described both versions, and I can’t remember which is accurate. One would mean O’Brien tried to commit murder, or at least injury, and the other would mean she simply turned a blind eye to the possibility …

    • http://twitter.com/cmkrcwi Tina Kramer

      Lady Grantham dropped half a cake of soap.  O’Brien moved it to where Lady Grantham would be sure to step on it and slip.  Then she told her that she had moved the soap underneath the tub.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1253616180 Catherine Carter

         Aha! Thank you, Tina. I guess I was trying to give O’Brien the benefit of the doubt. Wrong!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marybeth.brown.3367 Mary Beth Brown

    There will be a fire at the asylum and Mr. Editor’s wife will die, leaving him free for Edith.  At least, that’s how I remember Charlotte Bronte writing the story…

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      He reminds me a bit more of M. Emaneul from Villette.

  • desertwind

    Wonder how/if the estate modernization scheme will affect Mr. Mason’s farm. When Daisy was bawled out by Mr Carson for dancing, I got impression she was thinking “Fuck this for a lark.Being my own boss sounds pretty great right now.”

  • joolyz

    Can someone please remind me what the soap incident was all about? I can’t seem to recall……

  • Cz

    Robert’s reference to the Ponzi scheme as an opportunity for investment made me laugh so hard.