Downton Abbey: High Spirits at Breakfast

Posted on January 20, 2014

Robert James-Collier as Thomas, Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes and Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey, on PBS.

 

Mrs. Hughes for the win. Mrs. Hughes for Prime Minister. Mrs. Hughes for Queen of the Bloody World.

While it might seem to others that this episode was all about Mary’s romantic adventures (to say nothing of Tom Branson’s misadventures) and the shock, pain and disarray that is the Bates marriage, for us, it was all about Mrs. Hughes, the real heroine of Downton Abbey. It felt like this episode was finally giving this character her due. We saw her kind and gentle loving side, as she gave Mr. Carson a gift that allowed him to acknowledge the existence of his own heart (while at the same time, finding a place for herself within it, that sly gal). We saw her compassionate and deeply empathetic side as she tried over and over again to comfort Anna and keep the Bates marriage from disintegrating any further. And then we saw her furious, dangerous Scottish side as she threatened to lock Edna Braithwaite up and pretty much beat her to within an inch of her life, in a scene that ranks as one of the most viscerally enjoyable in the show’s history. It’s a cliche, but in this case, it’s an apt one: she really is the heart and soul of that house.

Oh, and how DELICIOUS was that bitch-off between Thomas and Edna on the back stairs? CLAWS UNSHEATHED. Of course the bitchy gay won.

As for the ongoing drama between Bates and Anna, we find it to be fairly well done, to our surprise. Part of that comes down to Joanne Froggatt’s heartbreakingly brittle and fragile performance and part of it comes down to the fact that it plays off the characters’ histories very well (which is not always a thing in the Downton Abbey scripts), and part of it is the well-executed feeling of suspense, because you know this is going to get bigger, but you don’t quite know how. One thing’s for sure: she may be the heroine of the house, but you should never trust Mrs. Hughes with a secret. Of course, a really big part of why this storyline is working is because previous Anna/Bates plots were deadly dull by comparison. For once, you can believe their future together is truly on the line.

As for Lady Mary and Lord Poutylipzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sorry. Nodded off there. We couldn’t possibly be less interested in this pairing. It occurred to us that Tony Gillingham is, essentially, a male Mary; a very good-looking, dark-haired, foppish aristocrat. The fact that Matthew didn’t know what fork to use and had the temerity to be unembarrassed by that fact when he arrived at Downton was a huge factor in her attraction to him. And the baby-faced blue-eyed blond that is Dan Stevens made a nice visual counterpoint to Michelle Dockery’s piercing eyes and angular face. The only difference between Poutylips and Cheekbones is that he doesn’t appear to be quite the snob that she is. He makes up for that by being really creepy and pushy, though; proposing marriage out of the blue and after having only just met her as an adult. 1923 or not, that’s a red flag, girl. And would a widowed mother raising the next Earl of Grantham really be considered that hot a catch for another aristocrat? We won’t fret over it, though. It’s so lacking in fire that we doubt it’ll go anywhere in the long run.

And speaking of going nowhere, could we please wrap up this Ivy/Daisy/Alfred/Jimmy non-story? It’s the dullest thing to ever happen downstairs. Meanwhile, Isobel’s getting the attention she deserves in the story. She has a very different grief from Mary’s, and we’re happy to see such care is being taken as to its depiction and how she’s overcoming it. Penelope Wilton’s doing her best work of the series here. It makes up for the horrible way the character was written in season 2.

Meanwhile, in London, Lady Edith becomes modern and Lady Rosamund isn’t having it. We’d like to give her a “You GO, girl!” but given how shady Gregson is (not to mention SHE SIGNED SOME DOCUMENT HE ASKED HER TO WITHOUT SO MUCH AS GLANCING IT. GOD, is she ever Robert’s daughter), and the realities of 1923 and how the world felt about unmarried ladies who aren’t virgins, this all feels very ominous to us. It also feels like Edith’s first really interesting plotline. Remember when she was making out with pig farmers and begging daddy figures to marry her?

It seems to us that there’s no small amount of value for a show like Downton Abbey to acknowledge that it’s a soap opera and embrace it in its writing, which is what appears to be happening this season.The plots, soapy as they are, haven’t been as ridiculous as the “Will Matthew’s penis ever work properly again?” days of the show and to our great surprise, the shakeup in the cast (losing both its primary male hero and primary female villainess in one swoop) has really re-energized it. We didn’t realize until now how much the war years and then the subsequent two deaths in the family really weighed this show down. It’s not that things aren’t dark for some of the characters, but there’s definitely a new lightness in the air (very 1920s appropriate) that helps the show tremendously.

In other words, while Lady Sybil’s harem pants were droll and cheeky at the time, Lady Rose dancing with a black guy in front of her mortified family is kind of insanely fun.

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE]

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  • Tally Ho

    Minor note, I know, but whatever happened to Grantham House, the family’s London townhouse? They’re always staying with Aunt Rosamond (by the way the interior scenes of her house shows a house far grander and bigger than the typical Belgravia townhouse exterior briefly shown to us. I happen to know that the staircase/hall is from another country house, not a London house).

    It would be a nice touch and appropriate for the time if the family mentioned having to sell Grantham House to cut back on expenses as so many of the great London townhouses of the aristocracy were sold off and demolished in the 1920s, the most famous being Devonshire House.

    • Emily Dagger

      They used to be better at alluding to the fact that as they’re only going up to London for a day or so, there’s no point in “opening” Grantham House, so they’ll stay with Rosamund. Rest assured, they still have it (it’s the set for half the Christmas special, which Masterpiece will show as the season finale).

    • SRQkitten

      Wouldn’t the house have to be opened up with servants for them to stay there? The sense I had was that the London houses weren’t staffed beyond minimal when the family wasn’t in residence. So, it is just easier for the family to stay with Rosamund with full staffing when they’re just in town for a quick jaunt. But that’s just a guess.

      • Eric Stott

        You’re right – that is why Richard would stay at his club on trips to London. I’d like to see the London house as well.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

        It could also be that unmarried family members must always be chaperoned and so could not stay there alone.

        –GothamTomato

        • MikeW_Vegas

          But that chaperoning worked so well for Lady Edith last night.. ;)

          • Mismarker

            Leading to what was quite possibly the most fabulous “walk of shame” ever.

      • BayTampaBay

        Robert Grantham is a “Backwoodsman” (google it). O’Brien stated to that nasty ladies maid at Donegal that the family rarely went to London and when Robert went for the Lords, he took Bates and stayed at his club. The only time the family went to London was in the first season for Sybil’s first and only social “marriage market” season and Robert complained about having to open the house.

        • Eric Stott

          This is going out on a limb, but I wonder if there was some problem with the London set over Cora’s being from a Jewish family? (Anti-Semitism is one of the few subjects the show hasn’t touched.) Out in the country she’s Lady of the Manor, but in London that might not count as much.

          • Jackie4g

            No mention has ever been made of Cora’s family being Jewish, has it? The name sounds Jewish, but I don’t think the Levensons actually are Jewish. I just think Fellows liked the sound of the name.

          • Eric Stott

            According to the official material, her father was Isidore Levenson, a Cincinnati dry goods merchant. That sounds quite Jewish to me, and I think Fellows is echoing the story of Levi Leiter who’s daughter Mary married Lord Curzon. I think it’s quite possible her mother is a Gentile and that the family did not practice (maybe even converted) but to many people she’d still be ethnically Jewish and an example of an American heiress with a family in trade marrying into the nobility. Certainly this did happen (Jennie Churchill for another instance) and I would expect that Cora got a few snubs in the distant past. Still, as I said this is all beside the point and nothing has come up in the plot- except that Cora’s brother Harold Levinson is out there somewhere…

          • Jackie4g

            What is the “official material”? Where does a person find it? It is interesting to learn of the people you reference, and you seem quite knowledgeable. Was Cora snubbed for her Jewish background or her mercantile background? Which or both? What then would life have been like for the English Rothschilds? Would they have also been overtly snubbed? Or just not invited to certain places? And would they have cared?

          • Eric Stott

            As far as the basic material on Cora’s parents, try the Downton Abbey Wiki- It’s good for plot points and has what is known of the characters personal history, and it is not fan fantasy speculation. As far as the rest of what I wrote, that is my own speculation based on events- there is nothing written about Cora’s entry into British society at all, but historically a snub or two would be likely. It doesn’t specifically state her father was Jewish, but I would task you to find an Isidore in that era who was not. I could babble on at length, but on a forum like this it is a bit pointless- and I’ve already given too much thought to nonexistent speculation on a show that really doesn’t merit the effort. Thank you for bearing with me.

          • leeann

            Isadore Levinson absolutely sounds Jewish. And yet there has never been a mention of Cora being Jewish. Given that Mary snots at her for being American and Robert is an anti-Catholic bigot, her Jewishness would have surfaced at some point. I mean, come on, surely it could not have escaped Violet’s withering tongue?

            No, I just think JF didn’t do his research. It would hardly be the first time.

          • BayTampaBay

            Cora’s entry into British society is discussed in the first Downton Abbey Coffee Table book released at the same time as the first season DVD. You can buy it at PBS or Barnes & Noble.

          • BayTampaBay

            True & Correct! Cora’s father was Jewish. Martha, her mother, is an Episcopalian. Cora was raised Episcopal.

            Cora is a Christian.

            Edwina Ashley’s grandfather, Sir Edward Cassel was a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith.

          • Eric Stott

            Thank you. I’ve drawn this particular speculation out pointlessly and I’ll end it.

          • Tally Ho

            No. This has been discussed before. Cora’s father is modeled after man who made a fortune in dry goods in Chicago in the 19th century who happened to be Jewish but was not a practicing Jew. It’s mentioned somewhere by Fellowes that her mother, Martha Levinson, was Episcopalian and Cora was raised Episcopalian. Given that Judaism passes through the female, not male, Cora can’t be considered Jewish but simply someone who has Jewish ancestry. Like the Astors, a fabulously rich American family, whose founder was originally Jewish but his descendants were Episcopalians.

            There’s no disputing that the British upper classes were anti-semitic, but Jews did intermarry with aristocrats and move in the highest social circles. The Rothschilds, for example, were at the pinnacle of society and they were Jewish and their children married aristocrats. Hannah Rothschild married the Earl of Roseberry and brought a huge fortune to her husband. Even at Highclere Castle (the real Downton Abbey), the countess at the time was Almina, the illegitimate daughter of a Jewish Rothschild (after all if there’s enough money….). Disraeli was Queen Victoria’s favorite prime minister and he was of Jewish origins (although he became a practicing Anglican). By the very late 19th century a number of fantastically successful Jewish bankers and industrialists had successfully gained entry into aristocratic social sets.

            Cora’s position in British society would have been based on her title – she was the wife of an earl and thus a countess, and her position was bolstered by her wealth. That’s not to say snide comments may have been made about an upstart American nouveau riche and maybe even allusions to her Jewish ancestry, but doors certainly wouldn’t have been closed in her face. In Season 1 Violet’s dislike of Cora stemmed from her outsider status as an American, while her Jewish father isn’t mentioned at all.

          • Eric Stott

            Thanks- you’ve said pretty much what I was thinking, but much more clearly. How ever, as you write, Cora “has Jewish ancestry” – that would be quite enough for some people to consider her Jewish, no matter what her practicing faith. Still, this is all very much beside the point and after wrapping up this answer I’ll shut my mouth.

  • PlethoraofBooks

    If Joanna Froggatt isn’t nominated for something, I am going to be upset. She was phenomenal last night!

  • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

    I must admit that thus far, Fellowes has been pulling the show out of what might have been one huge mess. The characters are all deepening, and broadening, which is always to be applauded. I am particularly taken with the turn the Dowager Countess’s character is taking. She seems to be opening her heart up to compassion all over the place.

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

      I agree. The characters, for the most part, are much richer. But I also agree with T+Lo about the Daisy/Ivy/footmen-whose-names-I-can’t-remember thing. I don’t know who’s in love with whom, and I don’t care.

      • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

        honestly it seems like its there only to keep all the bits in the pot stirred up. Otherwise, whatevs.

      • BayTampaBay

        Alfred & (Jimmy) James

      • Anne

        “Sometimes you can spend too long on a one-sided love.” Truer words ne’er were spoken, Mrs. Patmore.

        • Mismarker

          Yes! And I think it’s been something like two years of one-sided love??

          • Courtney

            Perhaps this is meant to be some kind of cosmic payback for blowing off William to pant over Thomas? (This probably gives too much credit, but it is an interesting thought.)

          • Mismarker

            Oh, I just feel so badly for Daisy, though. And I hate to think of this heartache as something she’s “earned for bad behavior”. Especially since, in the end, she truly seemed to regret the way she’d treated William.

          • Little_Olive

            I’d so love to see Daisy come out of her numbness and take William’s father’s farm. I think the character has some potential and they could use it to portray social changes in the lower classes.

          • Mismarker

            Agreed. I had thought they might be going in that direction with her last season! And it would have been awesome.

          • rage_on_the_page

            YEAH. Daisy deserves better than this tired old storyline. She’s so bitter and boring now.

        • Qitkat

          I’m suspecting that she is speaking from sad experience.

      • Call me Bee

        And it looks like Alfred will be gone soon, so some of this storyline will resolve, thank goodness. Nobody cares about it, and I”m trying to figure out why. Maybe because not one of those four people are very likable, except may Alfred.

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

          Wasn’t Alfred the one that Mr. Barrow molested in his sleep? Before they send him off, they should at least let Mr. Barrow get some.

          I will say that Alfred had a really nice moment when Lady Mary was asking for tea for her and Lord Kissylips, and a looked crossed his face that let you know he knew just how remote his dreams of being a playboy really were.

          • Call me Bee

            No–that was Jimmy–and Alfred just happened to be outside in the hallway.

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

            Oh. See? That’s the problem. I can’t even tell these footmen apart.

          • Eric Stott

            Jimmy has quite plainly been a rich older woman’s Fancy Boy in the past, and he’s making no secret of looking to do it again. It would not surprise me if he made a play for Cora’s Mother in hopes of going with her to the USA.

          • Heng Ru

            Yes! He pretty much said that his career goal is to become a gigolo. Why doesn’t Ivy see that big ol’ red flag flapping right in her face?

        • Little_Olive

          Idk, I see him as one of those ever-present inane, malleable characters upon whom the entire plot may rest to be resolved or be shoved to the back into oblivion as need may be. It’s a useful pawn.

      • AZU403

        Daisy must be 25 by now, at the very least – it really is high time she got a fellow.

  • Eric Stott

    I think that Lady Rosamund will be the one who investigates Gregson and finds out the details on his wife.

    • SRQkitten

      I’m somewhat surprised that they wouldn’t have (Cora or Violet) already done an inital investigation of who this person is, showing interest in their daughter.

      • Rachel Sawyer

        I don’t think Cora takes that much of an interest in this daughter.

        • Gatto Nero

          Yes — within the family she’s always been “poor Edith.” I think they resigned themselves to her poor prospects even before Duke What’s-his-name jilted her at the altar.

          • Rachel Sawyer

            Yes, it’s always Mary, Mary, Mary. And, Mary, may still be mourning Matthew but she’s not so broken up that she can’t come up with a zing against Edith when the opportunity arises. As it did last night.

          • Anne

            Edith is about as mysterious as a bucket.

          • leeann

            She’s actually a lot more mysterious than Mary is right now. Everyone in the house knows when Mary sheds a single tear. Edith has a secret life. She wins.

      • Call me Bee

        This is the woman who re-hired her last ladies maid (Edna) without consulting Mrs. Hughes. Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, sometimes.

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

          God, I had to laugh when Lord Grantham was lecturing Bates about how it is in a marriage between two intelligent people. How would he know?

          • Saturnine

            Oh so right! I nearly fell of the couch.

          • MyFavoriteColorIsGlitter

            Had the exact same reaction. The minute those words escaped his lips I turned to my husband and said, “Two ‘intelligent’ people? What the hell would he know about that???”

    • Isabel

      Ironic – the lecture that Lady R gave to Lady E. about scandal. Remember that her last love was with the maid and wanted Lady R for the money? Doesn’t Lady R realize that men that would interest Lady E are few and far between since THE GREAT WAR?

      • Saturnine

        I must have missed this storyline entirely. Off to the Wiki. . . .

  • MilaXX

    Anna’s storyline is heartbreaking, but man those Crawley gals have the worst taste in men. I don’t see any of these potential romances ending well. Mary’s will probably just limp along to a boring conclusion, but I worry for Rose and especially Edith.

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

      If Rose hooks up with the hot black bandleader, I am pessimistic about how it will be handled. My hunch is that the realistic portrayal would reveal all of them to be patronizing and totally racist about it — and we saw some small hints of that last night — but the show wants us to like these people, and so I suspect there will be some softening of their racism, or the bandleader will turn out to be a total cad so it was never about his race or whatever… But I’m totally just speculating here.

      Edith is gonna get screwed. And not in the way Rosamund fears. Or maybe in exactly the way Rosamund fears.

      • Eric Stott

        If Rose had a serious affair with him it would be a scandal – primarily because of the racial issue but also because he’s of a much lower social situation. They would have to move to another country- probably France, and they might be socially accepted there because of novelty.

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

          That would be a very interesting spin-off, but so far Rose doesn’t interest me much as a character. The bandleader, on the other hand…

          • Eric Stott

            BTW- a little off topic, but to hear some black entertainers who became sensations in London look up “Layton and Johnston” on Youtube. They were marvelous and entertained audiences for over a decade…until Tandy Johnstone had an affair with the wife of a white bandleader and the divorce scandal made him unemployable. Turner Layton went back to NYC and became a fixture playing and singing in a fashionable cafe – sort of the Bobby Short of his era.

          • BayTampaBay

            Google Edwina Ashley, Paul Robeson and Leslie Hutchinson. Sir Julian did not pull this plot line out of thin air.

          • Eric Stott

            Very true – but he’s anticipating things a little- in spirit this show is already jumping into the 30′s

          • Elsewhere1010

            And my favorite poetess/dope fiend, Lady Nancy Cunard, not to mention Edwina Mountbatten (her husband, Lord Louis Mountbatten was Queen Elizabeth II’s 2nd cousin), as well as several other fashionable society-type women who could be put in a folder titled “And the Women Who Love Them”.

          • Toby Worthington

            There was a precedent in actual history, centering around the cabaret artiste Leslie A. Hutchinson known as Hutch–
            he can be seen/heard on You Tube–and he may indeed have conquered Lady Edwina Mountbatten, but it’s highly improbably that they’d have danced together in public as Lord Fellowes has written that scene.

          • Gatto Nero

            Rose is a spoiled, dull little girl.

          • Eric Stott

            She’s awfully close to being the Cousin Oliver of the series

          • Little_Olive

            Rose is a bore as a character. Since she came out I feel like zapping while she’s on, she is so predictable. They have failed to make her likeable as “the rebel one”, IMO (which, to a degree, was Sybil’s role).

          • Eric Stott

            I think her best moment was when Anna bundled her into a maid’s uniform to say goodbye to the under-gardener. She was adorably flustered and shy.

          • Iona Watson

            I thought she noted in this past episode that she hasn’t officially had her “coming out” yet. Then he sloppy drunk friend said something about no caring about that sort of thing anymore.

          • Little_Olive

            My mistake -I meant “come on”, as in come into the show. I don’t know which is more correct in this case, English is not my native language.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

        That bandleader is based on a real person named Leslie Hutchinson, who was a big singing star in the UK in between the wars. He was known for his voice and his sexual prowess with the society ladies. He had a long term affair with the wife of Louis Moutbatten (godfather of Prince Charles), but the King put an end to it (and the tabloid scandal). The only one who publicly paid the price was Hutchinson, who had a very big fall afterwards.

        –Gotham Tomato

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

          Awesome. #themoreyouknow

        • Judy_J

          I wish they had gotten an actor with a voice to play that part. Gary Carr is beautiful, but his singing is nothing to write home about.

          • Gatto Nero

            His singing was embarrassingly bad.

          • BayTampaBay

            Did he really sing or just Lip-sync?

          • Mismarker

            If he were lip-syncing, I gotta believe they would have found a better voice. A shame to follow Kiri Te Kanawa’s beautiful song stylings in last week’s episode with this shite.

          • Call me Bee

            Agreed. My ear was aching with all the flat notes….

    • AudreysMom

      Help, please. What was the document that Edith signed? The scene started and I was giving my husband the backstory of suspicion of Gregson being shady from last week’s TLo board and totally missed what it was she signed. Whatever it was we felt she’d get screwed, esp given Jullian Fellowes remark that in Edith there are just some characters born to be unhappy. What was it? Or what did Gregson say to her to get her to sign it? Thanks!

      • Tally Ho

        No one knows. Your guess is as good as mine.

        • Farthingale

          Including Edith.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        Before she signed it she asked Gregson about who was going to run things (at the newspaper?) after he left for Germany. I think maybe it may have been related to giving Edith some control over his affairs, but no one really knows.

        • AudreysMom

          Yep thanks. Just rewatched the scene. They’re talking about his leaving in a week, she asks who’ll watch over his business and he says he has something for her to sign ‘giving her some authority over his affairs.’ In Edith’s defense, she does give a glance to the contents and while he’s talking her eyes dart up and down over the document. Likely (sadly, very likely) not close enough.

      • MilaXX

        I dunno, but dude is coming across as real shifty. If he’s not shifty, he’s stupid. He mentions a few places he can get a divorce and he picks the one place close to being taboo? No smart.

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

          I really don’t think there was much stigma against Germany in the 20s – particularly not from the upper classes. Going to Germany to learn the language, go to the spa resorts etc was just what one did. My great-grandfather was a musician and spent quite a bit of time touring in Germany, which was quite prestigious. By the mid 30s things were changing, but at this stage if Downton does go with a sinister Nazi angle it’ll be some pretty ham-fisted foreshadowing.

          • MilaXX

            History fail for me. I thought they already had a slightly tainted rep after the first world war.

      • Lilithcat

        Sounded like a power of attorney of some sort.

        • BayTampaBay

          I think that it what it was or what existed as POA then.

          • Saturnine

            I’m sure it will confer more power/liability than your standard POA, much to Edith’s dismay, which must be the point :-)

    • Little_Olive

      I fear Edith has the classic “I like you because you noticed me” syndrome. She has no screening process whatsoever when it comes to men; I mean she could have just as easily been terribly annoyed by Gregson. But I still think they stretch that need for affection a bit much with her. Being a noble, educated woman, she should look for less obtuse men.

      • Call me Bee

        Typical middle daughter behavior.

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

        …she should look for less obtuse men.

        Like pig farmers.

      • Eric Stott

        In Gregson’s defense he gave her more respect than anyone else gave her, though dangling the possibility of a career in front of her eyes may have been more of an attraction than a necklace of diamonds for another woman.

        • Little_Olive

          True

        • leeann

          Gregson is more interesting than Tony by a mile. And only slightly more shady, if at all.

          • BayTampaBay

            I must agree. I find Gregson very interesting. I do not see the slime, shadiness and trouble that everyone else sees.

          • Saturnine

            I see the interest AND the shady :-) Good for Edith (or the actress that plays her, at any rate)

      • Heng Ru

        She is led by her low self-esteem. How many times in the past few episodes has she said to Gregson, “I can’t believe you’re doing this *for me*!”?

        • BayTampaBay

          I guess I am the only person who likes Gregson on this blog and forcast a total different story line. I think the story will go in a positive direction and Edith will be very impowered via Gregson.

          • sweetlilvoice

            I hope the story ends happily but knowing Edith it won’t. JF has it in for her character.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

    More proof that you boys and I are triplets separated at birth: I discussed a lot of this same stuff in my Downton Abbey Dish! Exempt forget about Mrs. Hughes for Prime Minister: I want her to run for President in 2016! I’d like to see her handle Congress the same way she handled Crazy Edna!

    –GothamTomato

    • Corsetmaker

      Uh uh… if we get a yes vote in September we’re keeping her here and moving her into Holyrood palace. You can have George Galloway instead, he likes pontificating to your government (and we don’t want him) ;D

  • Eric Stott

    I think that if the truth about Anna doesn’t come out Bates will jump to a conclusion – and probably about the wrong man.

  • annrr

    I am loving all the beautiful clothes and jewelry this season.

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

    Haven’t we all made out with a pig farmer or two?

    The whole time Edith was signing whatever she was signing, I was all “Take a second to read it, dear!”

    Joanne Froggett is fantastic, but there’s no escaping the fact that Anna is saddled with Bates.

    • Vanessa

      “Haven’t we all made out with a pig farmer or two?”

      Quote of the DAY!

    • Mismarker

      I not only made out with a pig farmer, I married one! ; )

    • Call me Bee

      My mom and grandparents were pig farmers….!

    • Heng Ru

      Or a pig or two! ;)

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/divine_aphasia/ Constant Cat

      Pig farmer’s do it right! No fakin’ where there’s bacon, am I right?

      Also I like Bates! I’m the only one, apparently. I didn’t like how they turned him into kind of a schlump last season, but: he’s a gentleman and has always been kind. Plus, (eye of the beholder) I like looking at his mug. So…yeah.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    I spent the entire Lady Mary/ Lord Pouty lips proposal scene. YELLING AT MY TV…1923 or not, that just came right out of left field for me…

    • BayTampaBay

      I do not find it that strange as Mary was more than willing to marry the Duke of Crowbrough in 1913 to become a Duchess after only a weekend.

  • SportifLateBoomer

    The soapy plot is really bugging me this season, but I can’t quite quit it. I’m considering watching with the sound off just so I can ogle all the clothes, and turn up the sound when Violet’s in a scene.Glad the Edna drams didn’t drag out, and yes, Mrs. Hughes for queen of everything. She may get her man just yet.

    • Little_Olive

      I’d do exactly the same. In fact I do it a bit already. Ugh, it’s like the misunderstandings and conundrums they had in The Flintstones (which as a child I couldn’t take either because they gave me so much anxiety), only with sex and pretty clothes.

      • leeann

        Or on “I Love Lucy,” with sex and slightly prettier clothes but no fun Cuban drumming.

        And damn, on “ILL” they slept in SEPARATE beds. Robert and Cora actually share one. Kind of wish they didn’t, though.

        • Munchkn

          Not by Lucy’s choice were the separate beds. She thought that was ridiculous, but standards and practices demanded it then.

      • Saturnine

        The anxiety of the Flintstones and I Love Lucy! I thought I was the only one.

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    I was actually clapping for Mrs. Hughes when she kicked Braithwaite out. I just hope she doesn’t come back claiming to be pregnant..I’m so through with her character and that storyline. Oh, Hughes and Carson would make a lovely couple, but I’m not sure if Carson would pursue a relationship (he would probably see it as not proper, etc.)

    Poor Anna! She had endured a truly horrific trauma, but I’m guessing Joanna Froggatt is happy as an actress to have something substantial to do beyond pining for an imprisoned husband all season. Her portrayal of Anna is truly heartbreaking.

    Final thing I noticed: Mary and Tom really don’t interact with their kids much (or at least they don’t show it very much). The last scene where they were leaving the estate in the car and the nannies were out with the babies kind of hit that point home for me. I know it was a different time, but I would have thought they both would have clung more to their children due to their spouses being dead.

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

      The less screen time the babies get, the easier it will be for them to be magically seven years old next season.

      • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

        At least it is plausible that 7 years will pass before next season – unlike Bold & the Beautiful whose children age 10 years between episodes.

    • Eric Stott

      I’m pretty certain that Carson would not continue in service with the Granthams if he married Mrs Hughes. In smaller establishments a married couple (usually a Butler and a Cook/Housekeeper) were common enough, but in a large establishment like Downton you sacrifice family ties to concentrate on the job. If he nears retirement age I can see them marrying.

      • siriuslover

        And wouldn’t that put a storyline in place, since isn’t Thomas the under butler right now? He’d be in charge of the house!

        • Eric Stott

          There is no guarantee he’d step directly into the position permanently, even if Carson were to leave today- Thomas is too young to be a desirable butler. Besides- in his current position he has some power but no heavy responsibilities and that will do for now.

        • RroseSelavy

          Poor Mosely, overlooked again?

          • siriuslover

            I didn’t overlook Mosely, the Crawley family did! The unfortunate fact is that his rank is low for right now. Though I am sure they would prefer Mosely over Barrow for a number of reasons (he’s not a thief being one of them), so that would be a very interesting development–and would play into Thomas’ anger issues even more. But if Bates / Anna can marry and continue their positions, I don’t see how Carson and Mrs. Hughes can’t (except for Carson’s 19th century views on it).

          • RroseSelavy

            I wasn’t accusing you of overlooking poor Mosely — just outlining the typical scenario. But since you delve further into the likelihood of this, wouldn’t Violet want to intervene on his behalf? That being said, I doubt very seriously that Carson and Mrs. Hughes will move in that direction. I see their love as one of deep friendship, not romantic. But we’ll see if Fellowes can resist the obvious temptation.

          • siriuslover

            I agree that Violet would try to help him given her other attempt this season. And I agree about Caron / Mrs. Hughes, at least insofar as their characters have been drawn up til now.

    • scoobynacks

      Back then aristocrats would’ve seen their kids about twice a day. I think Violet said saw Robert for an hour or something – “but it was a whole hour.” Tom you’d think would’ve been around Sybbie more but it’s not like he and Sybil are raising the kid sans nanny in Ireland right now. He’s a new parent and the help he has is from other parents who raised their children this way. The kids are being tended to together, I think he doesn’t know what to do with babies or toddlers exactly so he’s following their lead. It’s not like most fathers then, rich or otherwise, would’ve been pretending the spoon is an airplane and feeding the child. A governess would do teaching manners, school, etc. later. A lot of the things we associate with parenting simply aren’t on their plate. We do have to acknowledge that he’s got a job managing the estate so it’s not like he’s not gonna be doing that most of the time. Taking Sybbie around with a nanny holding her in the car would be rather awkward.

      • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

        In the words of Nancy Mitford, “I love children, especially when they cry, for then someone takes them away.”

      • Eric Stott

        The rich of that era liked to have their small children available on scheduled occasions and in measured doses.

      • marishka1

        I think they must be involved in some manner — before Mary and Tom went to London, Mary asked her mother “you will look after the children, won’t you?” But of course, that could mean “you’ll make sure the nannies are looking after the children, won’t you?”

    • Isabel

      Interaction – normal for rich people. Dinah bucked the trend by spending more time with the boys and shocked Queen Elizabeth and the gang.

      What surprises me is that Tom doesn’t spend more time with Sybbie. He was raised in a closer family atmosphere (I suppose???).

      • BayTampaBay

        His mother and/or grandmother probably raised him while his father went put to work 12 hours a day.

        Tom’s mother is alive, as she was against the Tom-Sybil wedding, so I wonder if she will show up.

        • Eric Stott

          I see him coming from the middle class, maybe trade or possibly the minor clergy. Close enough to the Irish gentry to have knowledge of them but limited interaction.

          • BayTampaBay

            Eric, the two things that make me see Tom in a higher light is that he was a chauffeur & mechanic plus worked for a newspaper as a writer.

            Chauffeurs & mechanics were considered “men of science” and only one notch down from degreed engineers & surveyors. Secondly, Tom worked for a news paper in Dublin as a reporter/writer. Hayseeds from tenant farmers or children of people in service did not get hired as reporters and/or writers.

          • Eric Stott

            Only if they worked their way up from a provincial paper- and if that was the situation I’d expect Tom to be older. He’s definitely had some form of education (reading if nothing else) and has smoothed out his accent far more than his brother

          • Tally Ho

            It’s more plausible that Tom’s family were working class, possibly modest lower middle class / corner shopkeeper type people. Given that his mother lives in Dublin this makes sense. A “middle class” person wouldn’t become a chauffeur.

          • Tally Ho

            Ireland was sharply segregated at the time. The gentry was predominately protestant Anglo-Irish and heavily resented by the Irish Catholic majority. There was little to no interaction between the gentry/aristocracy and the Irish peasantry/working classes.

            Tom’s brother is a mechanic of some type. I guess it’s plausible that Tom may come from a working class, possibly even lower middle class background, but not comfortably middle class or clergy (he’s Catholic….last I heard Catholic priests didn’t marry).

      • Little_Olive

        I’m thinking in Tom’s case it’s more of a a male thing than a rich/poor people thing. It just wasn’t the thing to do -dads were assumed to teach older children, especially boys, and to have no idea what to do with a toddler .

    • janierainie

      I thought the same thing about the last scene! I asked my sister who was watching with me, “Don’t they spend any time with those kids?” Couldn’t they at least wave goodbye? sheesh!

    • Heng Ru

      I adore Carson and Mrs. Hughes. They are the warmer, fuzzier descendants of Hudson and Mrs. Bridges.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I would love for the two sets of characters to interact. Rosamund is one of the Bellamy’s neighbors.

    • AnneElliot

      I noticed that too. They drove past without so much as a glance towards them.

    • Kit Jackson 1967

      They would not spend a great deal of time with thier children, but the children would have been presented to them once a day.

  • Introspective

    Edna really crashed and burned eh? And thank God- cause I dont want shit else to happen to Tom. Hes been thru enough.

    & Ive totally loved Mrs. Hughes the whole series, and this episode confirms why Im head over heels. We should all be lucky to have a dangerous Scottish side cause it apparently gets shit handled!!

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

    When Gillingham proposed I sputtered incoherently and amused my boyfriend. My main assumption is he’s aware she’s heiress (though I’m a little confused as to what she owns under the magic will) but doesn’t know the otherwise tenuous state of the Downton fortune.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

      Yes, by his own admission, they have to lease out his house. Considering the laws, I wonder if her married Mary, would he automatically take ownership of her half of Downton?

      –GothamTomato

      • Tally Ho

        No. Women owned their own property by then. Besides, the marriage settlement papers would have ensured that ownership of (half of) DA remained in Mary’s control then went to George.

      • Aurumgirl

        I’m not sure if Mary has a “half” of Downton. I think she is the guardian of the heir, and that Downton is her son’s property. She has rights to decide what becomes of it only until he becomes of age. And at that time, if Gillingham married her, any property she held title to would simply become his. I’m not 100% sure of this, but it seems to me that laws regarding women and property rights didn’t really change until just recently. I’m hoping someone who is an expert on this information will fill us all in.

        • Tally Ho

          Married women Act of 1882 gave married women the right to own their own property.

          Matthew left his property to Mary as we found out from the newly discovered will (that historically Matthew couldn’t have legally owned half of DA is besides the point here).

          In any event, the marriage papers (like modern day prenups) would have clearly spelled out who controlled what and in what eventuality. Any marriage Mary makes would have had marriage papers. There’s no way Downton would have been left to anyone outside the family, especially given the entail.

          • BayTampaBay

            Mathew left his money, which is tied up in the capitalization of Downton Abbey, to Mary. If Mary wants to see a return on this capitalization investment, Downton Abbey must turn a profit.

          • Aurumgirl

            Thank you for that, I was hoping someone in the know would clarify legalities like these ones.

        • Little_Olive

          Adding to @disqus_lUgucsqt6T:disqus, it also happened (to my knowledge) that some laws prevented large nobility held estates from changing hands due to marriage. In the absence of a capable heir, the estate might actually go back up to the deceased person’s family instead of being inherited by the spouse. There being George, I think the rule would mandate that the family may oversee his stepfather’s administration.

          • Tally Ho

            Correct.

            There was no legal law requiring estates to remain in the original family but families themselves created this ever so convenient thing called “entail.” Every possible step was taken to ensure that estates stayed within the original family, especially if there was a title involved.

            As we know from Season 1 DA is entailed to the next earl of Grantham (which will be George). Robert only has interest for life.

        • Lilithcat

          any property she held title to would simply become his

          Not so. The Married Women’s Property Act of 1870 gave women the right to right to own, buy and sell her separate property. From that point, women kept any money they earned or inherited. Husband and wife were no longer considered “one, and that one is the husband”.

      • Gatto Nero

        I believe Mary inherited half of Matthew’s share of the estate, whatever that is.

        • BayTampaBay

          Matthew never owned any of the Downton Abbey Estate because Downton Abbey is not Robert’s to give away or sell. He “lent” Robert a big fat pile of money and Robert cut him in for 50% of profits.

          It like working for someone who gives you a percentage of the profits of a business as part of your compensation. If you quit your job or die then you do not get any of the profits because you do not own any of the company.

    • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

      She must be due to get *something* from her mother, eventually. Wasn’t the only reason for aristocrats to marry Americans that the Americans had money?

      • Tally Ho

        Robert lost it all in Season 3, remember?

        There is still the Granny. And a rich uncle somewhere in America. So who knows. But Fellowes isn’t known for filling in the details.

      • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

        I’m pretty sure they mentioned in an earlier season that Lord Grantham had pissed Cora’s fortune all away.

        • AnneElliot

          Yes, I think it was a bad investment in a Canadian railway.

    • Lilithcat

      She inherited Matthew’s personal property, which was considerable, as Lavinia’s father left him a fortune.

      • BayTampaBay

        Which Matthew loaned a large portion to the “Downton Abbey Estate” so they would not have to sell “the Big House”.

      • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

        Ahhhh.

  • jw_ny

    We have to know that Braithwaite is not gone tho…I’m sensing a “Fatal Attraction” storyline with her.

    The Gillingham proposal….he’s got some kind of ulterior motive too…opportunist?

    I’m already bored with the Anna/Bates rape/marriage problem thing. The kids in the kitchen thing too…

  • Yolanda13

    I adore Mrs. Hughes this season! She may not be the best at keeping secrets, but like a 1920′s Olivia Pope, she’s got this handled. Edna, we’re looking at you.

    And enough with Daisy, Ivy and the tiresome footmen. Unless they are getting caught in a broom closet by Barrow and being blackmailed for upstairs secrets he can use later, this needs to end now.

  • Frank_821

    Yes so glad Edna is gone. 2nd rate villain. She’s no O’Brien.

    And good for Mrs Hughes for verbally bitchslapping the silly bitch.

    And good for Thomas for getting his claws into it at the end. He probably could have warned her how foolish her plan and her ambitions were if he knew their exact nature. As we clealry see, servants can achieve a certain degree of influence and power in the house if they play their cards right. This wasn’t the way to do it

  • DeniseSchipani

    Lady Rosamund probably will be the one to unearth the secret of Gregson, and then will probably also have to undo whatever mess Edith made by blindly signing that paper WHAT THE HELL?!. Makes one wonder, does Rosamund have anything to do BUT play host to her Yorkshire relatives? One time I’d like her to just lock the door and say, “not this week,please, I’d rather be alone for five minutes.”

    • BayTampaBay

      Roasmund needs to keep running her “hotel’ so I can keep seeing the beautiful house.

  • Paula Pertile

    I was wondering about:
    Was it Cora who referred to the band leader as “the Black band leader”? Would they have said “Black” back then? That sounded too modern to me. Didn’t they still say Negro, or something? I could very well be wrong, and someone please tell me.

    That was a mercifully short “Edna again” plot line – unless she resurfaces somehow. Let’s hope not.

    Go Mrs. Hughes!!

    Gilingham is a mealy stalker. Last week I thought he was sinister – this week I just think he’s creepy. So glad you said no, Mary.

    Oh, I know – someone finally mentioned Edith’s lady’s maid – was it Madge? I think Mary said something like “can’t take Madge from Edith”. We never see her though …

    • Mismarker

      It was Rosamund who called the bandleader black and I also thought it sounded a bit modern.

      • Anne

        Agreed, it was very jarring to my ear too.

        • Eric Stott

          They were called Blacks, but that started as an insult- in the UK Blacks were the bits of coal ash that fly out of the fireplace and leave soot stains.

          • Mismarker

            Good to know!

          • Rachel Sawyer

            They also called Indians blacks and I seem to recall reading novels of the period in which even swarthy Mediterranean peoples were called Black.

          • Munchkn

            Then there was the famous story of Little Black Sambo, written by an Englishwoman living in colonial India for her children. Little Black Sambo was not, however, set in Africa or the American South. It was set in India. The tigers ended up chasing Sambo around a tree so fast that they turned into butter and Sambo’s mother made pancakes to go with all that butter the family now had.

      • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

        Given that one of the fashionable colours in the 30s was “n***** brown”, I think some less palatable terms were also being used. Some things are worth updating even if anachronistic.

        And thank god 2014 is the year of Radiant Orchid.

        • Mismarker

          Yes, I’m certain some more unsavory terms were being used on the regular back then even by the more upper crust. Thank God JF has better sense than that. I just finally watched “Django Unchained” last week and (as great as the movie was) I genuinely never want to think about or hear the “N” word ever again.

          • Munchkn

            Then there’s the problem that Peter Jackson faces in his planned remake of the British historical drama “The Dambusters” about a bunch of British soldiers that blow up a dam deemed vital to the Nazi war machine in WWII. There is a black dog in the movie with the rather unfortunate name that Brits used to give black dogs. Calling a dog by the N word name is no longer socially acceptable, but using anything else is not historically accurate. I suppose Jackson could just leave the dog out, but that’s not historically accurate either and, from what I recall, the dog was rather important to the storyline.

      • Lilithcat

        Try Google Books, with a custom date range. That what I do when a term appears to be anachronistic. It’s surprising how often you’ll find that it’s not.

        • Mismarker

          Ooo. That’s a good idea.

    • 3hares

      Yes, on Mad Men they only started saying black in this past season, which is apparently when it started being used (1968). Of course, this is a show where last week Robert said he didn’t want to “make a thing of this” which sounds like 2013.

      • Lilithcat

        I did a Google book search of “Make a thing of this” in response to a similar comment last week, and found scads of uses of the term dating even further back than the ’20s.’

        I just did the same for the use of the term “black” to describe someone of African descent, and again found scads of such uses. (For instance: ” The war has taught the white man that he needs the black as theblack man needs the white . . . ” (1920), “In the character of the black man there is much that is admirable” (1915), “Tarzan knew well the nature of the black man. ” (1924 – Edgar Rice Burroughs), “His heart overflowed with tenderness, with comprehension, with the desire to meddle, with anxiety for the soul of that black man” (1925 – Joseph Conrad))

        So, yes, she might well have used the term.

        • Pennymac

          Thanks for the research;I wondered about this last night.

        • 3hares

          Whoa! That’s very cool–”a thing of this” especially. Thanks for doing the research!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-2/ Gotham Tomato

      I believe it was used but was, at that point, derogatory.

      –GothamTomato

    • Kit Jackson 1967

      I’m guessing, but it might be that “Black” was the term used in England, but in the U.S, he would have been called “Negro.”

  • queeniethebold

    i love this discussion. That’s all. Just wanted to say it. Thank you, TLo, and all the BKs participating.

  • crash1212

    I got a bit of chill when Thomas told Mrs. Hughes he might have somebody to take Edna’s place. Given his past, this doesn’t bode well. I’m figuring Alfred will enter the Escoffier contest, win and be gone thus ending the most tiresome love-square ever committed to the screen. Lady Edith, you in trouble girl. I was yelling at my TV when she blindly signed the document “that gives her a bit of power over his affairs”. WTF???? Mrs. Hughes is my hero.

    • Betsy

      Lady Edith, you in trouble girl.

      Yes!

      • BayTampaBay

        Don’t see where people keep seeing “Shady Editor” in Gregson as I do not see it at all.

        I think this story line will evolve and unfold into something totally unexpected with Edith ending up with control of “The Sketch” magazine.

        • Gatto Nero

          His move to Germany pre-WWII is a red flag. Something tells me he has business interests that are linked to nefarious forces there.

          • Courtney

            But consider the year. The economy was reeling from hyperinflation and the Ruhr crisis. Whatever business interests might be there would hardly be in good shape, nefarious or otherwise. Nor was there any indication that WWII was on the table at that point, since the Republic was shown to be exactly as weak as three of the Big Four wanted it to be at Versailles.

          • BayTampaBay

            Gregson said he was going to write a novel on last night’s episode. With Germany at hyper-inflation, British Pounds will go a very very long way due to the exchange rate.

          • Farthingale

            How about spying then? Would there be any reason Germany would have a spy in England at this time? Germany’s liberal divorce qualification’s seem “convenient”.

          • Courtney

            Most of what I’ve seen on the topic seems to suggest that Germany was way behind Britain when it came to espionage. MI-5 was very good at catching German spies during WWI, and after the war foreign intelligence was more interested in Russia than anything else. Being sent to work for the Abwehr in the 1920s was the German equivalent of being sent to man the coastal defense batteries in Nebraska; it was not where the ambitious and talented wanted to go, and wouldn’t become so until after 1933. And given the crap state of the economy at the time, I have a hard time imagining that spying on Britain was anywhere near the top of the list of “Important things for Germany to do.”

          • Farthingale

            AND his ability to clock the card-sharp at the house party and out-cheat him. Those are major shady skills that the gentlemen present did not have. Gregson was determined to ingratiate himself with Lord G., and he did. It’s the long con.

          • Saturnine

            The long con, indeed. I really like this story line, because I have no idea whether it will be a net positive for Edith or not :-)

    • Gatto Nero

      We can expect another O’Brien type, for sure. Thomas is all about self-interest. (He’s still one of my favorite secondary characters, though.)

    • Call me Bee

      I really think Thomas has changed a wee bit, though. He’s certainly self-serving, but I think his experience with the war and the black market, losing Lady Sybil who was kind to him, and seeing how really awful O’Brien was, has softened him just a bit. I hope so, anyway…..

      • Heng Ru

        He has some soft spots, certainly for Sybbie and perhaps for her dad too, both resulting from his affection for the late Lady Sybil. I love that he is such a three-dimensional character and can’t be typed as fully evil or good.

    • Heng Ru

      Didn’t he say something about her being a bit older? Makes me think he’s trying to get a relative a job, much as O’Brien did.

  • Kelly

    I ship Carson/Hughes like mad. And I really want Edith to ditch Shady Editor and take up with a tux-wearing butch at a night club. I’m starting to get a little twitchy with all the het. (Thomas doesn’t count, since he’s apparently decided to toe the celibate line since the Alfred debacle. Or else he’s like so many gay characters — fine as the token queer as long as it’s all kept off-screen.)
    Random thoughts — yep, the Mary plot is a total snoozer, and why did they cast suitors for her who all basically look alike? I need them to be color-coded or something so I can tell them apart. I’m impatient with Tom’s ridiculous naivete. It’s a good thing he didn’t pursue a career as a revolutionary terrorist; he’d have fallen for the line of the first undercover MI5 agent to come along. Isobel — yes! I love her, and I’m glad to see her rescued from the silliness of Season 2. But do-gooder or not, would she really have allowed a homeless stranger to live in her house? And please, please, PLEASE have Violet do something other than arch her eyebrow and deliver zingers. At least she’s been kind (for her) to Isobel.

    • Paula Pertile

      I was wondering about the propriety of Isobel taking in that guy, as well. I wouldn’t even do that NOW, in modern times. She didn’t know him, he could have been dangerous. Not to mention how tongues would wag.

      • BayTampaBay

        It was Mrs. Hughes’ idea.

        • Paula Pertile

          Right. It didn’t seem ‘off’ to me when I was watching it. I just got to thinking about it later, and wondered a bit.

  • Betsy

    I also LOVED the scene with Tom Branson, Mrs. Hughes and Braithwaite. The latter deserved a serious bitch-slap, and she GOT it. Good for you, Mrs. Hughes!, One wonders who the convenient man Braithwaite thought she had lined up, to father the child she didn’t actually conceive with Tom. Did she think she could get Thomas to do the honors? Ummm. If you hadn’t blotted your copybook in the earlier season, you’d have known that Thomas isn’t into girls. Not even on a one-shot basis, and not to get his child sitting at the dining room table “upstairs”. And I definitely agree on the Daisy/Ivy/Footmen crap. The cute ginger one (see? I can’t even be bothered with his name!) needs to get that Escoffier scholarship. And the one with the floppy blond hair (again, name? and doesn’t he even own a comb??) needs to run off and join the circus or something (still to early for Hollywood, yes?). THEN start over with two other guys for footmen. I’m also a little worried about this ladies’ maid that Thomas is happy to refer into the family. I hear the first notes of the theme from “Jaws” . . .

    • EricaVee

      I know his name is Jimmy, but I can’t bring myself to refer to him as anything but “Eragon.”

    • Leah Elzinga

      My bet for the lady’s maid? O’BRIEN!!!

  • Gatto Nero

    The introduction of an American jazz singer into the proceedings could have been great. Too bad he can’t sing.

    • amy_raks

      YES. The singing was horrid.

      • Shawn EH

        Very strange; maybe they wanted him to sound like the recording technology of the day? Tinny and monotone?

    • Saturnine

      Thank goodness he was quite charming and gallant when he finally spoke; otherwise, the singing voice did little for him.

  • CassandraMortmain

    At the end of last night’s episode I thought that Mrs. Hughes should be running MI5 (or whatever the 1920′s equivalent was) but Prime Minister or Queen of the Bloody World works too. So great to see Braithwaite get totally bitchslapped as only Mrs. Hughes can do. Tom owes her, big time.

    Except for the kitchen maids/footmen silliness, I’m really enjoying this season. Some random thoughts: maybe it was all the guyliner he was wearing and the fact that he was pretty rather than handsome, but the singer didn’t really seem like Rose would be his type. Maybe Rose will invite him to Downton and he and Thomas can hook up.

    I suspect that Lord Gillingham is moving so fast because he needs money and/or wants to live at Downton, whether he owns it or not. There’s been several references to him having to sell the family estate all while stating how wonderful it is that the Crawleys have kept Downton intact. He seems like a decent guy but maybe a little too good to be true. I’m suspicious. On the other hand, I haven’t been suspicious of Gregson until he had Edith sign that paper last night. WTF? What if she gets pregnant before Gregson’s divorce comes through? Oh Edith, you don’t have the sense God gave a goose. I’m still hoping for good things for these two crazy kids but at the very least, that German citizenship is going to be all kinds of problematic in about 10 years. I really don’t want to think about Edith ending up in a concentration camp – or becoming a Nazi sympathizer, as some of the British upper class were.

    Mary’s clothes were killer last night.

    • Tally Ho

      Gillingham’s estate wasn’t sold. The house was leased to a girls’ school. For all we know it could have been an enormous and ugly early Victorian pile in unfashionable Lancaster that no one liked rather than a historic and charming Georgian manor house in the Cotswolds. Given that a girls’ school took over the house odds are it was the former.

      In all honesty, Fellowes is overdoing the sky is falling on the aristocracy. The decline was long and gradual, not overnight. Most of the estates that broke up and were sold off in the 1920s were because heirs were killed in WWI. If anyone was to lose their estate overnight it should be the Crawleys because Robert gambled the family fortune away on a pyramid stock scheme in Season 3.

  • Valdri8

    Amended caption: …………..Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates and somebody else as no one.

  • Anne

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I feel like they’ve regained some of the sparkle of the first series. It’s funny, I don’t remember Mrs. Hughes being so major in the early episodes (she had a storyline where a man she once knew came back and proposed to her, and I remember thinking, oh, that’s nice that she gets something interesting to do), but Phyllis Logan and the writers have done a marvelous job fleshing out the character. Plus I was cheering as she kicked Edna’s butt.

    I liked Rose’s encounter with the band leader, but was it me, or was he really not a good singer at all? Mightily good looking, but not much of a voice…

    • Eric Stott

      Agreed- a thin voice, which is why he had a microphone…which I think is anachronistic in the early 20′s.

      • Lilithcat

        which is why he had a microphone…which I think is anachronistic in the early 20′s.

        Not at all anachronistic. It was invented in the mid-late-1800s and was in widespread use in nightclubs and radio by the ’20s.

    • leeann

      Not much of a voice at all. Liked him otherwise, though.

  • CeeQ

    And don’t we love Dowager Countess’ soft side! I’m enjoying seeing her interactions with Violet.
    Wow do I need gay uncles like you to tell me to get a grip cuz when Tony Dillingham proposed, I screeched. Out of delight. And gasped cuz I really didn’t think Mary should accept! Of course she didn’t.

    How much do we think Edith just signed something that binds her legally to Shady Gregson as presumptive wife??!? I think so.

    My reaction to Edna’s departure: YES. FUCK OFF YOU BITCH. YES!!

    Mrs. Hughes for President. That scene was enormously satisfying. Especially with Tom’s “WTF…who does this…I am such an idiot…” face in the background….LOL

    Lastly: Hot black bandleader is hot.

  • p_capet

    don’t be too quick to praise the lightness in the air this season! there’s still plenty of time for sturm und drang and motor vehicle accidents and the like.

  • GoBlue134

    How could you not mention the awful singing?

  • rainwood1

    “You fill my brain” is no “You pierce my soul” but then Julian Fellowes is no Jane Austen.

    Mrs. Hughes, however, is a total badass. If she and Mrs. Patmore got together, they could wreak some serious vengeance. Salt peter in the food or something.

    • Farthingale

      I thought of Captain Wentworth immediately as well. Apparently, Sea Captain’s have more natural poetry than lords.

      • Saturnine

        Jane Austen likely thought so . . . and of course Wentworth spent more than a few social hours with Anne, so “you pierce my soul” made more sense. :-)

    • Heng Ru

      I think the Mary-Gillingham scene got to me partly because it was so beautifully filmed. And yes, the romance of a man taking his shot at a woman he was actually in love with vs. settling for one he liked and could grow to love.

  • Corsetmaker

    Trying to keep quiet on the Downton threads in case anyone thinks its a spoiler (wouldn’t do that) So just going to say that there’s a painting by Frances Cadell call the Orange Blind that I’m reminded of every time I see Edith in her new togs sitting in Aunt Rosamund’s drawing room. Google it, you’ll see what I mean :)

    • Call me Bee

      Looked it up–you are so correct! And that Mr Cadell really likes his bathers… Anyway, thanks for the reference–I’d never heard of his work and I love it.

  • Lily-Rygh

    Apparently I was reading too quickly, because I thought our gay uncles were reminding us of the days when Edith was making out with “pig fuckers,” not farmers! I was all;, “wh- wh- WHAT??”

  • SapphoPoet

    I am really enjoying this season of Downton Abbey. Joanne Froggert’s performances have been heartbreaking–really wonderful acting. She’s completely turned off Anna’s inner glow and made her into a haunted woman.

    I agree that Mrs. Hughes really came into her own with this episode. So glad that Tom had the good sense to go to her with his problem, and I’m glad they got that resolved–I was afraid he was going to be a sad sack all season.

    The clothes this episode were wonderful. Did anyone else notice that when Rosamund was reading Edith the riot act, that they had on the same colors–orange and navy blue. They both looked wonderful. I couldn’t believe Edith signed that document without even looking at it! I wanted her to be smarter than that.

    • Heng Ru

      I just realized something…It was Mary’s advice that led Tom to go to Mrs. Hughes and confide his problem, and it’s Carson whom Mary goes to when she needs to confide something or unload her emotions. Downstairs Mom & Pop FTW!

    • Saturnine

      I’m really liking everyone this season, with the exception of Robert and Cora. Robert is painfully obtuse, and Cora’s taken to long meaningful glances and over-enunciating like everyone’s three years old. The house isn’t “under a curse” because it keeps losing lady’s maids, Robert, it’s struggling because you and Cora are woefully out of touch with everything going on around you.

  • decormaven

    Storyline was good, but I thoroughly enjoyed the costuming in this episode. That arm cuff Edith wore – swoon. Also Lady Mary’s black dress in the London club- very nice.

  • Deansweetie

    Rose & Jack??? Seriously? Julian Fellowes being cheeky or just a coincidence?

  • Pennymac

    Mrs. Hughes made me stand up and cheer last night. And Thomas’s bitchery on the stairs was the cherry on top. Best episode in a while!

  • Cheryl Smith

    Stupid question….The family referred to the band leader as being “black”. In that era wouldn’t they have called him a Negro? I just found it interesting and wondered if that was not well thought out in the script.

    • Lilithcat

      Not necessarily. In response to an earlier, similar post about this, I did a Google Books search and found quite a few references using “black” in this fashion, some dating quite a bit earlier than the ’20s.

  • golden_valley

    Who wants to predict? Gregson never comes back from Germany (it doesn’t matter why), Edith is pregnant with his child and battling his heirs or business partners for control of his business by virtue of that paper she signed.

    • Eric Stott

      She might end up in a position of unexpected power…but I see an end of season scandal approaching.

    • Saturnine

      I think you’re spot on. What is it with this show and random legally operative documents?

  • StillGary

    So did I hear right — Lady Edith does have a ladies’ maid? I just assumed she had to dress herself and then haul ass down to breakfast.

    • leeann

      She has a housemaid who helps her dress, just like Anna did for Mary before Mary was married. Because I guess being married means you need more help putting on your necklace.

  • leeann

    Did anyone else find Tony’s proposal bizarre: “Matthew was a splendid chap, but he’s dead and I’m alive?”

    Really? Is this the kind of shit men in the post-WWI era could get away with? Because, like, most of them were dead or disabled?

    • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

      Pretty much. There were over a million “spare” women in the UK after WW1. It was a seller’s market.

    • Saturnine

      Seemed to shock Mary a bit, too.

  • jahphotogal

    Am I the only person who found Mrs Hughes threatening to hold Edna down and tear off her clothes kind of ugly one episode after a rape?

    • BayTampaBay

      Yea, it was ugly but I think thet Bitch Edna deserved to have her knickers scarred off! LOL! LOL!

    • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

      I thought the same thing.

    • http://naturallyeducational.com/ CandaceApril

      …and examined. Yeah. Me, too.

    • The Biscuit

      I started reading the comments specifically to see what people thought about that and was almost shocked that no one brought it up. I found it deeply disturbing.

  • Munchkn

    I just noticed the “Brown Betty” Rockingham teapot there in the righthand side of the picture. I was having tea brewed in my own Brown Betty during the broadcast. Brown Bettys may be a bit below stairs, but that’s OK. Mine is covered by a tea cozy knitted by my grandmother-in-law who was herself in service in an English country house in the 30s.

  • LeelaST

    I’m sure this Q has already been asked – what is the significance of the burgundy/purple/violet/lavender color scheme among the women? I’ve read that lavender can be considered a mourning color, so are the deeper hues of that a way of transitioning from black as the mourning period progresses?

    • AZU403

      Yes, purple shades are acceptable as a milder form of mourning dress. When Princess Diana’s funeral was televised the newscasters, and most of the American ones, wore black, and Barbara Walters wore purple. In Louisa May Alcott’s novel “Eight Cousins” a woman whose fiance died wore, not black, but greys and lavenders the rest of her life.

  • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

    I love how no one is fretting over Tom moving on.