Downton Abbey: Girls of The Abbey Gone Wild

Posted on February 17, 2014

Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey, on PBS

This is the episode where we have to stop our constant ragging on Julian Fellowes and actually pay him a compliment. But don’t fret, darlings. We’re still going to complain a little so you’ll recognize us. But only a little; promise.

Here’s the thing: by the time we got to the end of this episode, we realized just how much we’ve been enjoying this season and how good a job Fellowes has done of re-aligning the show after the death of Matthew, who was never the main character of the show but who nonetheless anchored several plotlines central to the first few seasons; specifically who was going to inherit the title and estate and who was going to marry Lady Mary. With his death at the end of last season, it felt like the show had nowhere to go; no stories left to tell. And sure, you could argue that might be true, considering the stories told this season (unplanned pregnancy, lovers gone missing, interracial love affairs, a grieving woman with multiple suitors falling all over her, a brutal rape and the near-dissolution of a marriage over it, a downstairs love triangle) have been, for the most part, kept as light as possible (even Anna’s rape, since it became more about intrigue than about the actual act and its effects on her). But look at all those plotlines we just listed. They’re classic soap opera plots – if you want to be kind about it; cliched soap opera plots, if you want to be a bit more critical. It’s as if Fellowes, after hearing time and again that his baby was “only” a soap opera, decided, “Fine. I’ll give you whiners a soap opera, then. I’ll give you the glossiest soap opera you bitches have ever seen.”

Well, mission accomplished, then. Without the weight of the war, or influenza outbreaks, or killing off beloved characters whose actors want out of their contracts, the show has lightened up considerably. That may not be what you want out of your Downton Abbey, a light period drama/soap opera, but to our way of thinking, it’s just the show coming to terms with what it’s always been and embracing that. There’s value in any piece of expression that knows what it is and plays to that.

Put it this way: Anna’s, Edith’s, Mary’s, and even Rose’s storylines this season have been nothing but a string of cliches, seen plenty of times before. And yet, we’ll take any of these arcs over the utter ridiculousness of ANYTHING having to do with Lavinia Swire, from her ability to cure paralysis by tripping over footstools, to her outrageously productive death, which gave Matthew permission to love Mary AND gave her the time to write a letter to her father which later saved Downton Abbey,  and even to her post-death message by Ouija board, giving her blessing to the Crawley cousin marriage. She was, by far, the most ridiculous character the show’s ever had, and every plotline in which she was involved was utterly cringe-inducing in its silliness. The only other plot/character that came close to her was “Patrick,” the half muppet, half burn victim who almost swept poor Edith off her feet. In his attempt to elevate a simple period soap opera to something grander, Fellowes wound up lapsing into some major silliness. With this season, that ambition to make the show more than it is got swept away and he got down to the brass tacks of producing a really good period soap opera.

This is semi-long way of saying that there’s almost no point in recapping the events of the episode, because when we type them out, they sound a little dull:

Rose pursues Jack Ross, to Tom and Mary’s consternation. Mary puts the kibosh on the relationship quietly and respectfully. Anna tells Mary about Gillingham’s valet and what he’s done. Mary gets Gillingham to fire him. He dies mysteriously soon after. Edith tells her grandmother that she’s pregnant. Violet and Rosamunde conspire to whisk her off to Switzerland to give the baby up. Tom meets another really pushy woman who takes it upon herself to question his choices and values as soon as she meets him. As with the other times this has happened, she gets under his skin and a romance seems likely. Mary fends off three suitors, all of whom follow her around the estate like puppies. She pretends not to notice or care. Downstairs, Molesly and Baxter seem to be starting a romance even as the Daisy/Ivy/Alfred triangle comes to its end.

Boring, right? But a recapping doesn’t let you see Mary’s horrified reaction when she realizes what Anna’s telling her. It doesn’t give you the satisfaction of Violet taking control of a family situation (“I see I’m going to have to take the long way around”) and dealing with it in the least messy, least judgmental, most efficient way possible. It doesn’t show the sweetness of Daisy as she truly wishes Alfred well, or the loveliness and poignancy of Mrs. Patmore effectively calling Daisy her daughter. It doesn’t get across the oddly strong longing for them to succeed that wells up in you as you watch two damaged and wounded people like Molesley and Baxter slowly fumble their way toward each other in the dark. The acting and the characters have always been the strong point in Downton Abbey, but by keeping the plots relatively simple, Fellowes has allowed that fact to become more prominent. Stop making these characters jump through ridiculous hoops and they all become better for it.

Having said that, there is something just a bit annoying about how repetitive this all is. Watching Mary fend off all these men doesn’t seem remotely different from when she was doing the exact same thing ten years before, in season one. Sure, Fellowes puts a paper in her hand every now and then to let us know that she’s mature and focussed and running the estate now, but that doesn’t make any of the courting scenes interesting. Oh, you broke off your engagement? That’s very different from the times all those other characters broke off their engagements. And as much as Fellowes wanted us to be interested in it, the downstairs triangle went on way too long and wound up looping back on itself. And how many times is Bates going to take a trip for the day, only to have a dead body be the seeming result? And how many times is a member of the family going to cover for him or explain away his tendencies/history? We don’t care if he was Lord Grantham’s batman; he’s a nightmare employee for any estate to hold onto. And just what is it with Tom and incredibly pushy, incredibly judgmental women getting his motor running (pun intended), time and again? It’s fine if you want to explore the part of him that are conflicted about his status in life, but to have these pushy female characters always be the voice of that conflict, and to have him wind up attracted to them for it, is getting a little old. Go ahead and marry another aristocrat, Tom. You know you want to. Stop letting these housemaids and schoolteachers get under your skin. Nothing good can come of it. Look at Isobel. Her husband dies, her son dies, and Fellowes bestows on her the very best thing he could think of as a consolation prize: an aristocrat who’s hot for her. We suspect that the final episode of the show will have Oprah leaping up from behind a settee and shouting “YOU GET AN ARISTOCRAT! AND YOU GET AN ARISTOCRAT! EVERYBODY GETS AN ARISTOCRAT!” And all the characters, down to Daisy and Mrs. Patmore all live happily ever after wearing tiaras and living on huge estates.

Still, like we said, we’re enjoying ourselves right now – and we really can’t wait for Rose’s coming out next week, when the show ramps up the glamour and pomp to heretofore unseen levels. Gowns and diamonds, darlings. We’re all about that.

Oh, and one more thing: Cora’s an idiot if she can’t see what’s going on with Edith.

 

 

 

 

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

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

    I’m not sure Cora totally remembers that Edith is her daughter. She always seems to be all “Oh, hey there … you! E-Edith, right? Whatcha been up to since … uhm, well, you know – what’s new?”

    Still not warming to Rose.

    • greenwich_matron

      Yep. Everything is perfect in Cora’s world, therefore here “imperfect” daughter doesn’t exist.

      • Isabel

        At least Granny and Aunty R have finally stepped up and say it’s time to CHERISH Edith.

        • siriuslover

          I loved how Violet insisted on paying for Edith with the remark that R would be demanding daily tribute!

    • Carleenml

      Well that bad memory also lets Cora forget she had a daughter who died. Bless!

      • scoobynacks

        Don’t forget that son in S1. She lost a baby boy in a miscarriage.

    • ImpertinentVixen

      I can’t figure out if the character of Rose is someone I just don’t like or if the actress is terrible. Zero chemistry with the band singer, just none.

      • Chris

        The minute Rose piped up to Mary about how she was just waiting to rub her fiancé in her mother’s face cemented the fact that she wasn’t just being flighty and naive about Jack Ross but selfish and unknowingly cruel. Everyone knows he is the one who would pay the price for her rebellion and revenge against her mother.

        • Tally Ho

          Her father has all these connections in the Foreign Office and government ministries.

          Jack Ross would be deported ASAP. Wouldn’t even make 24-hours once the parents found out.

      • Yolanda13

        I think it’s a combination of both. Her character has proven to be nothing more yah an entitled brat and the actress just isn’t that good. And the band singer storyline was a dud. I want this flapper to flap away.

      • VicksieDo

        I do like Rose. She’s a spoiled girl, growing up slowly. Her mother was horrendous, and she’s just finding herself. She lights up any room she’s in most of the time.

    • 3boysful

      I feel like Elizabeth McGovern has altered the way she portrays Cora this season. She’s dizzy and clueless and somewhat crazy-looking. She had a little more take-charge-ness in Season 1.

      • BayTampaBay

        Blame it on Sir Julian as the problem is the lazy writing. Elizabeth McGovern is a great actress.

      • greenwich_matron

        Her character rings true to me. She had a convert’s zeal for the 19th century life that she bought into, and know it’s falling away and showing itself to be old fashioned and a turgid. She really doesn’t know what to do with herself.

        • Tally Ho

          Makes one wonder why she didn’t go to America with Robert? With a brother in trouble plus the opportunity to see family and friends she’d be on boat over with him.

          I can see where you’re coming from but the character still has been woefully underdeveloped this season. There’s many ways she could be shown to be increasingly out of touch but as it is we’d hardly notice if she was dropped from the show.

          • greenwich_matron

            I am beginning to buy into the method of character development on the show. Little vignettes are presented and they don’t necessarily make sense until you see the entire arc and know some factoids. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I am realizing that the more I watch, the more consistent the characters become.

          • greenwich_matron

            I will completely retract this if Bates killed Green. The line between “dark side” and “serial killer” is very thick

          • Eric Stott

            I think she should have gone too – but can you imagine the havoc if BOTH parents left Downton? It’s bad enough when they’re there.

            Another thought – after the Titanic maybe they think it isn’t safe for them to both be on the same boat.

          • cocohall

            She had to run the bazaar!

          • SapphoPoet

            Yes, she’s hardly had anything to this season. Puzzling.

        • Qitkat

          I thought she seemed quite thrilled with being in charge of the Village Carnival, and loving all the minute details that she could put her attention to. She really does have very little to do in her day-to-day life normally.

          • BayTampaBay

            Cora reminds me of a very effective muti-term Junior League President.

        • Chris

          I don’t find Cora to be any different than previous seasons either. If there is nothing important like a war going on she is just as happy having her lunches and planning picnics. She will never be an Isobel, actively looking for important things to do or working for social change. Cora just likes everything to be “pleasant” and pleasant for her is Mary with lots of suitors and Robert happy about his dogs, wine and evening attire.

          • Tally Ho

            So she’s a slightly vacuous, bored and rich housewife dressed up in a title and tiara?

          • Chris

            I think when she is pushed she can rise to the occasion at times, if it’s to do with Lady Mary or the war (certainly not Edith though). She will never push herself because she likes things just to remain calm and pleasant. Her husband and being a Countess is her world and she likes it that way. The Dowager is a sharp cookie and cannot help noticing things Cora never would.

          • Courtney

            I think you’ve got it spot on, and I think because of that nature, she doesn’t question the superficial nature of things. If nothing is obviously, aggressively, life-changingly wrong with the world, she’s perfectly happy to think that all is right with the world and carry on as usual.

          • greenwich_matron

            Got a problem with bored housewives? ;)

          • SapphoPoet

            “The Real Housewives of Downton”

      • Jackie4g

        Ah the menopause. If you get away unscathed, you’re one in a million. I don’t know if Fellowes intended it, he probably has no clue how the body chemistry changes of the menopause can change a person’s persona, as he hasn’t ever been a woman, but Cora’s haziness is just one little symptom. Menopause and the fact that Edith never really interested her. Edith was right about it being a myth that all children are loved equally. People don’t intend it that way, it just turns out that way.

      • Eric Stott

        She was also more of a Bitch in Season 1. Consistency, thy name is not Fellowes.

        • BayTampaBay

          True Eric, however I cannot complain too much about Sir Julian after the latest exploits of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.

          • PeaceBang

            God, yes. The lesser of two creative evils.

        • greenwich_matron

          Disagree about inconstancy: she has lived through a world-changing war, lost a daughter, lost a son-in-law, lost a fortune and is living of the windfall left by a random stranger, and is seeing her universe crumble around the edges. This is the type of thing that (hopefully) makes a person less of a bitch.

          • Tally Ho

            Cora was the daughter of a robber baron. Her fortune was used to marry into a titled family. The same fortune sustained the family’s lavish lifestyle. Such a woman’s identity would be closely bound to that fortune and when Robert lost it wouldn’t Cora suddenly feel adrift and purposeless? Living off of Swire’s money couldn’t have been easy for her.

          • greenwich_matron

            Her entire identity would crumble: she went from being the patroness with a large donation to preserve the institution to a small player who was in need of preserving.

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

            I agree that, in some kind of reality, these things would be true — but a point T+Lo have been making this season, with which I agree, is that these interesting character dynamics may show up on screen but they never really get explored. I have no idea what’s going on in Cora’s head — what she feels or doesn’t feel, what she wants or fears. If they allowed her to depict the feelings you describe, that would be awesome.

          • greenwich_matron

            I may be giving JF too much credit, but I think that is appropriate, Cora is not a reflective person and she is not very emotional. Any expository scene where she forlornly examines her life and decides to “get real” with another character for the sake of relevatory dialogue would not happen. Her less aggressive, adrift character is completely consistent with what has happened to her since season 1, though. I agree it has its problems, but so does the heavy-handed “we the writers are going to explain this to you now” that Mad Men took last season.

        • Chris

          But she also had more challenges in season one. The estate and her inheritance was passing to a stranger. She also had to transport a dead body from the room of her “deflowered” eldest daughter who was in great need of making a good match. Since Matthew died things have evened out for Cora and life is now “pleasant” again with suitors for Mary and carnivals to plan.

      • PeaceBang

        She also seems more vapid to me. She needs a sexy plot line before her head wobbles completely off her neck.

    • Montavilla

      I’m not sure Edith is her daughter. I’m harboring this secret plotline where Edith’s predicament happened to Rosamunde, with the result of Rosamunde’s child being secretly adopted by her brother and his wife.

      • Slanted & Enchanted

        Wait, I’m actually in love with this. It could fit seamlessly into the story and explain a lot about how Edith’s family treats her.

  • decormaven

    Cora has a blind spot the size of a continent. Bless the Dowager Countess for calling Edith’s situation on the nose.

  • Coolekat

    Mr Bates is too creepy. If I were Anna I’d be scared to death.

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

      Anna has a very high sunshine quotient. I think she is attracted to the darker qualities of Bates’ personality.

    • Chris

      They’re an odd couple for sure but Anna has never seemed afraid of him. They are both oddly alike in that they are always doing something self sacrificial for the other one. Mr. Bates has been in one mess after another ever since Anna met him and she walked right in eyes open. You can’t say she didn’t know what she was signing up for. I think Fellowes reads too many romance novels. Bates is straight out of the novels where the hero will do any kind of violence to “protect” his woman who he worships.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

    Exactamundo! I always find it amusing when people complain that Downton Abbey has become a soap opera. It always was – right from episode 1. But that term does not have the same negative connotation in England as it does here and one of the reasons is the great qualities if the British actors. They are just better and more interesting. They elevate even mundane material. Add to that the REAL locations and costumes and you’ve got the winner that is Downton Abbey.

    Where shows like this go wrong is always in the same place: Thjnking they need big things. They don’t. Where these types of shows shine is always the fly on the wall scenes between great characters, and this season brought that back to Downton.

    –GothsmTomato

    • d4divine

      I agree 100%!

    • Jackie4g

      I don’t know that the British actors are all “better and more interesting” but I do think their training is probably the best in the world. Those folks can do it all, musical comedy to tragedy, and they are not hung up about one medium being cooler than another. I have no problem with a good soap opera. I adore the minutia. Much rather that than the cold blooded murders and gratuitous sex of the 2nd season of House of Cards. It was riveting but I don’t always want to be made uncomfortable. Shows like Downton Abbey are satisfying entertainment.

      • BayTampaBay

        Are the Brits the best actors in the world because they start their acting training on the stage as compared to Americans that their acting training on TV cereal commercials or Abercrombie & Fitch print advertisements?

        • greenwich_matron

          I think versatility and longevity are rewarded there more (think about House v. Frye and Laurie). I suspect that they have fair number of talent-free faces that flit across the screen as well. I think the American audience doesn’t care for “as you’ve never seen him before” roles so we get less nuanced actors.

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

            Definitely. But most countries only export the good stuff so you get an artificially exalted view of the talent.

          • greenwich_matron

            Very true. I was so excited when I first started watching British shows on the net, but it took me a couple of years to exhaust 15 years worth of shows dry. Thank the TV gods for QI and BBC documentaries.

    • Elizabeth Moore

      “Exactamundo! I always find it amusing when people complain that Downton Abbey has become a soap opera. It always was – right from episode 1. But that term does not have the same negative connotation in England as it does here and one of the reasons is the great qualities if the British actors. They are just better and more interesting.”

      NO, they’re not. British actors are no better or worse than American actors or any other actors from other countries. When will people get over this myth about performers from the British Isles.

  • Scimommy

    Cora is clueless because she is indifferent to anything Edith. I bet once Edith leaves for the Continent, Cora will barely remember she has another daughter, what with the excitement surrounding Mary and her “desire” of suitors.

    Question: does Edith have a ladies’ maid? Because no way can she hide a pregnancy from her, right?

    • Frank_821

      she does but we never see her

    • Isabel

      I think Poor Edith shares Ann when she really needs help getting dressed. Otherwise, she does it on her own.

    • greenwich_matron

      I don’t think Edith has a lady’s maid. She is not married, so I think she is doomed to come down for breakfast and borrow other’s maids unless she sets up her own household.

      • Tally Ho

        Single women could have ladies’ maids. Edith just doesn’t have one because it’s not necessary to the storyline. Remember, the house is already woefully understaffed by historical standards.

    • Lilithcat

      No, she doesn’t have a ladies’ maid. Unmarried women didn’t.

      • Scimommy

        Did Anna become Mary’s maid when Mary got married? Seems like she’s been with her since forever…

        • Lilithcat

          Anna was head housemaid and became Mary’s lady’s maid after her (Mary’s) marriage.

      • Tally Ho

        Not quite true. Single women could have ladies’ maids. Very grand and rich women often got their own maids soon.

        • Paula Pertile

          A couple of episodes back, Mary made a comment like “we can’t take Madge from Edith”, while talking about something with maids … and I thought “OK! Edith DOES have a maid then.”

          • BayTampaBay

            I think Madge is a generic house maid.

      • Kate4queen

        Traditionally, every woman of class had a ladies maid from the moment they came out. With an average of 4-6 costume changes a day, simply getting the right outfits together would be a full time job, plus repairing them, laundering them, etc etc. So either she has a maid and we just don’t see her, (a casting decision) or Edith, being a ‘modern girl’ decided she simply didn’t need one and muddles through herself with the help of the general Downton staff

    • not_Bridget

      No, Edith does not have a ladies’ maid. I think another maid helps her on occasion.

      Not to be indelicate–but WWI nurses invented the sanitary pad. The disposable one, that is–made from wound dressing intended to soak up blood. I believe the pads took a while to become accepted by all women. Until that day, ladies wore menstrual rags. Which, at Downton, were washed by the estate’s laundresses. (We’ve never met that subgroup of the staff.)

      Those poor slaveys needed something to talk about. They would know exactly when one of the “ladies” missed a period….

      • Munchkn

        One of the people who did some of the earliest research on sanitary pads was Lilian Gilbreth of “Cheaper by the Dozen” fame. During WW II, ads for sanitary products emphasized how they would decrease absenteeism at the war plant. “The more women at work, the sooner we’ll win the war”.

        Before women wore menstrual rags, they wore nothing! I can’t imagine that.

  • hmariec19

    A lovely review as always, boys. My only quibble: You should have just said “Oh, and one more thing: Cora’s an idiot” and that’s the end of that sentence.

  • decormaven

    Cannot wait for the fab costuming next week for Rose’s coming out event. The dresses this year- even the everyday wear- worn by the Grantham ladies this season have been wonderful.

    • Carleenml

      The hats last night. Sublime!

      • ImpertinentVixen

        I LOVED Mary’s going-to-set-Jack-Ross-straight outfit.

        • Lilithcat

          That was gorgeous. And you could wear it today.

          • SapphoPoet

            I really want to figure out how I can remake my wardrobe to be more Downton. Can’t go too far because I’ve a five-year old boy (and no Nanny, of course!), but if you got the right silhouettes, it would look lovely. Blouses and skirts in light, pretty colors with some detailing.

        • Courtney

          I covet that fabric a little bit.

      • decormaven

        Especially the ensemble she wore to tea with Poutylips. That outfit, combined with the set decoration, was swoon- worthy.

        • Call me Bee

          Wasn’t it, though? That whole scene was dreamy. (And THAT’S why we watch this “soap opera!”)

        • rainwood1

          That’s the first time I’ve wanted to shout “I want that whole outfit! STAT!”

          • AnneElliot

            And that hat! To die for! Oh, I wish I’d lived in a era where women wore hats. Sigh.

        • Saturnine

          So true. Apart from the spectacular dress, I was wondering how to get my breakfast table to look like that. First up: find a giant white rose (dahlia? peony?)

  • Carleenml

    The show always was a light soap opera. I could never take any of the “serious” stuff seriously. In a good way. I think what’s changed this year is the head-turning-squirrel soap opera music. It’s just a shame they don’t have commercials to really take advantage and fade out whenever something big is supposed to happen.

    • Jackie4g

      You’ve made me LOL! Thanks!

  • Kelly

    I’ve long given up expecting complex or thoughtful or plausible plots. I’ve long since given up raging against the Downton Abbey machine of reactionary, regressive class politics. Now, I just go with the glorious flow of gorgeous costumes, the fine (for the most part) acting, the mere presence of Maggie Smith, and the super-fun chance to nit-pick it all.

    I love take-charge-yet-supportive Violet. I love older-woman-who-is-wanted-by-two-count ‘em-TWO-nice-men-who-don’t-aren’t-just-interested-in-her-money-or-meals Isobel. I love maternal Mrs Patmore and Daisy’s dear father-in-law and the oh-so-right-for-each-other-even-when-he’s-being-a-bastard-to-Molesly Carson and Mrs Hughes.

    I love my hyphen key.

    And yes, Cora is an idiot.

    • BayTampaBay

      I am an airhead. Who’s the bastard?

      • JulieTy

        Carson (to Molesly).

      • Chris

        I think they were saying Carson was for being mean to Mr. Mosely about the job before.

    • Joanne Robertson

      I love Daisy’s interaction with her father-in-law and I actually got teary eyed during her scene with Alfred and Mrs.Patmore. For something that went on too long, it certainly ended nicely.

      • Chris

        If you told me the most romantic scenes in this whole series would turn out to be between Daisy and Mrs. Patmore I might not have believed you (or maybe I would have). All I know is that for all the love talk and suitors, the only scenes about “love” that moved me this season were not “romantic” love.

        • AnotherJulie

          Agree! Also the love between Daisy and father in law. How adorable is he?

        • AnneElliot

          I got all choked up during that scene. So nice, especially since Mrs. Patmore used to be so hard on Daisy.

    • Chris

      I’m convinced this new suitor of Isobel’s is going to prove to be such a counterpoint to the good doctor it will make her look at her old suitor in a new way.

      • BayTampaBay

        Great plot point and plot device.

      • VicksieDo

        He’s such a snob!

        • Call me Bee

          But I felt for him when he spoke about his mostly love-less marriage and lack of warm memories. Very endearing.

  • greenwich_matron

    I think the only real definition of a soap opera is “a serial drama I don’t like.”

  • Isabel

    Lavinia – “Mimble, Mimble”

  • Isabel

    Masterpiece Theater hasn’t been the same since Alistair Cook stopped being the host.

    Isn’t ITV, which shows DA in the UK, considered less posh than the BBC?

    • scoobynacks

      Well ITV has commercials. You know, to make money. *faints* ;)

  • Roz

    Cora IS an idiot. I thought we all agreed on that.

  • Alyssa_T_Robot

    i’m just so happy for molesley… i never understood why this character was being punished so much?

    • Ginger Thomas

      Since Green is gone, perhaps Mosesley could be Gillingham’s new valet?

      • marlie

        Awww, but that would break him and Baxter up. Or would it?!?

    • Chris

      I agree. I think that’s the real appeal of Downton as TLO were saying above. Its charm is in those sweet moments between the servants, or the Dowager and Isobel, not in the war stories and crazy overwrought story lines. There is enough human drama without dragging in amnesia victims and Lavinia “the saint” Swire. Mosley impressing his lady’s maid was more satisfying than the melodrama.

    • Gatto Nero

      He actually laughed this week! What a lovely moment.

  • BayTampaBay

    I think Tom’s school teacher is going to be interesting. I think she will turn out to be much more than she appears to be. I think she was raised middle class growing up then some how her father made a ton of money (i.e….Joe Chamberlain, the Manchester Industrial Screw King Manufacturer) all due to the appearance of the car she was driving. I do not believe a village school teacher could afford a motor car in the early 1920s on a school teacher’s salary so either the car is daddy’s or daddy bought her that car.

    • Alyssa_T_Robot

      i just thought it was a flaw in the storyline that this school teacher somehow has her own car? it didn’t make sense to me either.

      • ImpertinentVixen

        I thought maybe the car belongs to the village school and she was borrowing it.

        • BayTampaBay

          The car is a red herring for people like me who look for things like that. It could be a good story line if Sir Julian wants it to be.

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            The red herrings I keep seeing are the electric appliances in use downstairs. I blanch every time I see an electric appliance being plugged in or turned on. I just want to shout at the screen: “DRY YOUR HANDS!!” I feel like Sir Julian knows that I’m expecting any one of those people to be electrocuted at any given moment. I just hate the thought of how little people didn’t understand electricity back in the early days.

      • Eric Stott

        An older model used car, just slightly possible – but I’d expect a bicycle. Perhaps it’s a hired car.

      • disqus_CpJJvzDxuG

        Maybe it’s not hers. She did say she was out driving with a friend who went for help when the car broke down. (The same mysterious friend who stood her up at the political meeting?)

        • Saturnine

          The friend has to show up at some point, I’m thinking.

      • Anne

        Didn’t she say something like “my friend went to get help”? It didn’t really occur to me that it was weird, but maybe it was her friend’s car.

    • 3boysful

      Might also explain her interest in politics. Perhaps her father is a politician?

    • marlie

      I thought about that too… wouldn’t it have been rather remarkable in that day and age for a single woman to have her own car anyway? Or am I making that up?

    • jw_ny

      She was with a friend, that went to get help, so perhaps the car was his/hers. There is something about this school teacher that I don’t like (which I assume we’re not supposed to like her.) I want Tom to find a nice girl and be happy…I like him. haha…I know that’s not the way soaps work tho. I’m just not interested in the forthcoming Socialist storyline.

      And, on a side note…anyone else checking Tom out as he was bending over and working on the car…looking foine in those nice tight pants. ;)

      • greenwich_matron

        I’m not worried about the socialist side. One of JF’s recurring themes is people who fall into the aristocratic way of life despite themselves.

        • Jackie4g

          Excellent point.

        • scoobynacks

          Yeah I think we’re not supposed to like her and he’ll end up with an aristocrat, esp. after fretting that he didn’t think another earl’s daughter would want to take him on–cue someone showing up at some point. Every time he messes around with someone of a lower social class it ends up backfiring. Edna tried to social climb, Sarah Bunting seems judgey of his family that he’s grown to love. All she seems to do is try to make him feel guilty. He’s not part of her world any more, so trying to pull out of the one of the Crawleys because he feels out of place could leave him without anywhere to belong. Managing the estate is fulfilling work, surely? He seems to like it. Let’s not forget going to the US would leave him with a young daughter right when the Depression hits.

      • Saturnine

        I don’t know if we’re not supposed to like her or not. There is definitely something strident about her, but then she softened up a bit after talking about Sybil.

  • Frank_821

    personally I just wish they could do a better job at keeping a balance in Thomas’ character. He reverted to too much to unlikable again. Though there have been snippets of his good side (fawning over Sybie, telling the new maid that praising Lady Sybil would not be a lie, his pep talk to Jimmy) it’s too lopsided.

    It would have been nice if Thomas had figured out what happened with Anna and that Mr Green was responsible. He than could have conveniently but intentionally mentioned to Bates how much Green loathes opera and went down to the kitchen to escape it all. That way he quietly repays his debt to Bates

    • 3boysful

      And he was sweet with the blind soldier.

    • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

      That’s what’s been bothering me the most. Thomas was portrayed as being a one-note scheming slimeball early on, and then we saw moments of depth…his struggling in the war, getting beat up for Jimmy, crying over Sybil’s death. Now he’s back to being petty. His scenes with Baxter talking out of the corners of their mouths look ridiculous after everything we’ve come to know about him.

      • PeaceBang

        Is it just me, or is Thomas’s hair getting blacker and shinier and more vampirish? I swear he’s developing a widow’s peak.

        • disqus_CpJJvzDxuG

          The actor was wearing a wig this season, apparently. He shaved his head for another project he was working on at the same time.

    • AnotherJulie

      I agree! This plotlilne (Thomas nagging Baxter for scoop, Baxter being uncomfortable) – has dragged on long enough! When is Fellowes going to flesh this one out?

    • Eric Stott

      I’m also wondering if Thomas had a little masculine company in New York. Gay society was still quite underground in the 1920′s, but it was around.

      • Gatto Nero

        I hope he did! He found New York “interesting … and modern” after all.

    • Alloy Jane

      Yes, the Mwahahaha version of Thomas so so tedious after seeing a more humane side of him. I wish JF would stop with the pointless villainy.

  • ImpertinentVixen

    I am shipping Baxter/Molesley; they are too adorable together.

  • Scrench

    the clothes…

  • AnotherJulie

    I found this episode to be baffling for lots of reasons but mainly – all the marriage proposals:
    1. Alfred: has no more encouragement than an “I missed you” from Ivy – yet plunges ahead
    2. Lord Gillingham: spends 1 weekend with Mary, who is recently widowed and aloof at best – plus already planning to become engaged to someone else – yet he proposes, then breaks his engagement, and continues to pursue Mary.
    3. Jack Ross: loves Rose too much to see her unhappy, yet after 3 dates – proposes with no apparent plan to see it through.

    • Tally Ho

      The romances on DA have always been ridiculous, except for Matthew and Mary, and it was the only one fully fleshed out.

      • BayTampaBay

        I liked Tom & Sybil too.

        • Chris

          I was going to jump in for them too. I appreciated how their story took years to play out. While Sybill was a rebel I never believed her choice of Tom was to rub it in anyone’s face. It seemed like she really didn’t want to fall in love with him at first. And no one could say it was impetuous. I found them really sweet and charming. Both knew exactly what they were getting into when they confronted the family.

      • AnotherJulie

        I agree that most have been ridiculous. But these stand above the rest. If we are to believe them, human nature has really changed in the last 100 years… then, proposing marriage could be based on superficial chatting over a few days, with no mutuality necessary. Today people are together for decades, have children, and even then – many are afraid of the idea of marriage.

        • Chris

          I know this isn’t the greatest of references but she did travel in this “set” in roughly the right time period- Barbara Cartland swore she was proposed to left and right by men who knew her for only a few days back when she was young. I don’t know if she was just drinking her own kool aid or if this sort of thing did happen but it seems really unbelievable to modern eyes.

        • greenwich_matron

          I usually don’t defend stupid romances, but:
          1. Alfred may never return and doesn’t ever have to see Ivy again. He is feeling homesick so he tries to take a little home with him.
          2. Gillingham is a creepy character. I’m not sure that he is meant to be, but that’s how he plays to me.
          3. Well, yeah.

        • omg_dora

          It’s not human nature that’s changed, it’s all the definitions and norms. E.g. if you liked someone, the “passionate” thing to do wasn’t to immediately move in together or go for a long holiday with a dude you barely know; it was to jump into marriage. The “wise” thing to do wasn’t to have a relationship a few years first; it was maybe to listen to your parents’ advice.

          Also? I’m definitely NOT an expert but I get a sense from books of the period, etc., that getting engaged to a girl would get you a lot more physical attention from her. And engagements could be broken. So there’s that, too.

          That said, DA is kinda dumb in portrayal of relationships as in everything else.

          • BayTampaBay

            Remember that Cora became engaged to Robert after her first season…we are talking the season being “June to 12th of August”. The aristocratic British and UK people did not seem to draw out engagements; They just got on with it.

          • Saturnine

            True, but if I’m not misremembering, Robert and Cora “fell in love” after the marriage. I think most of the aristocratic quick engagements were based on economic and succession issues, rather than the “I met you once (OK, and once when we were babies) and can’t live without you” proposal that Gillingham offered.

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

            They would have got married in the 1890s or thereabouts, wouldn’t they? So Cora would have been very tightly chaperoned, and since they didn’t have to negotiate to sell the photo rights to Hello, they could organise a wedding pretty damn quick and do the getting-to-know-you once they were allowed to be alone together.

          • BayTampaBay

            Which follows the back story as Robert did not “fall-in-love” with Cora until late in the first year of their marriage.

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

            Well, you could address her by her first name, which has to get you more play.

            PG Wodehouse characters get engaged (and sued for breach of promise) all over the show.

          • omg_dora

            For Wodehouse characters being engaged is sort of like “going steady,” and at least in the one slightly more realistic Jeeves book, Ring for Jeeves, engagements are definitely a euphemism for having a sexual affair. Which would explain why Bertie Wooster always has to manipulate girls into breaking their engagements with him, rather than breaking it up himself; if they’ve had sex, he’s risking being sued for breach of promise… I’ll stop now before I become a fanfic writer.

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

            That’s hilarious – I never thought of Bertie having sex! If he did, I can’t imagine he’d be very good at it. I thought the risk to him was far more a financial thing.

  • Tally Ho

    I liked how everyone made it absolutely clear that they were most definitely not racist. *Rolls eyes.* I had to wonder if Fellowes was under pressure from ITV or the other sponsors of the program to include non-white characters and knowing the difficulty of doing so without making any of his (and our) favorite characters look racist, he finally yielded and said, ok, I’ll throw in the minority quota and get it over with. Thus we have this Jack Ross figure, here today and gone tomorrow with minimal impact. Minority representation? Check. Nobody’s a racist? Check. We’re now done, let’s move on.

    Still, we ended on a light note and that isn’t a bad way to end a series.

    I’m definitely rooting for Mrs. Crawley and Lord Merton.

    • greenwich_matron

      Agree. They didn’t even try. The character revealed no backstory, he had no charisma, and he’s not even a great singer. Also, “fine, mature, rational man” is completely inconsistent with “man who proposes to effectively under-age pouty princess.”

      • Gatto Nero

        I found it hard to buy that he genuinely loved Rose. Why? She’s an empty shell.

        • Saturnine

          The actor had a hard time not rolling his own eyes at that one. I asked my TV the same thing.

    • Joan Arkham

      Mary’s “if this were a better world” speech had me rolling my eyes. “Well of course, since our family are the protagonists we aren’t racist. We’re just so concerned about all the trouble you’d get from those other people who are. But we’re not. Nope.”

      • JulieTy

        Spot. ON.

      • 3hares

        Tom too informed Mary of the pairing by telling her that he saw Rose with this guy–not that there’s anything wrong with that. Of course not!

        And Jack certainly seemed to agree with all of them. He just couldn’t crush Rose’s dreams of making her mother turn green by marrying a black man by marrying her and subjecting her to the harsh reality. She’s a treasure! They all are! Far too sensitive to live a world with all those other white people who are so terrible!

        I would have loved to have seen his own mother’s reaction that he alluded to.

      • sweetlilvoice

        I think that the lack of a “real” love between Jack and Rose is a definite miss for JF as a writer. I don’t believe there was any genuine love there (at least on her end) and as many have pointed out there was zero chemistry. It would have been nice to see Rose grow as a character instead of being a brat. Send her to India I say!

        • Gatto Nero

          She has all the depth of a vanilla wafer. I fail to see why Jack Ross (as bland as this character is) would take any interest in Rose, let alone fall in love with her. Completely incredible.
          I hope this is her last season on the show. I’ve had enough.

          • greenwich_matron

            I am inclined to defend vanilla wafers against such an attack.

      • Saturnine

        ” . . . But I am here to tell you to stop. Now. Please. Fake smile.”

    • BayTampaBay

      This show makes so much damn money-we’re talking a metric fuck ton of damn money-that I doubt anyone questions Sir Julian in fear that he will walk away and work permanently in the USA.

      • Tally Ho

        It may be the American forces that demanded the token minority representation, telling Fellowes if he wanted to work in America he needed to to be politically correct. Come to think of it that may be why he went for a black character rather than the more plausible and far more relevant Indian (South Asians are the biggest minority group in Britain by a goodly amount).

        • greenwich_matron

          On the bright side, if he writes in Hollywood he will get a team of writers so someone can do a little fact checking.

          • Montavilla

            I don’t think fact-checking is a big priority in Hollywood.

        • marlie

          Well, they did have the Turkish character in the first (?) season. Incidentally, NOT played by a Turkish/non-White actor.

          • greenwich_matron

            I know people from Turkey who would find your remark offensive…

          • marlie

            I didn’t mean any offense, and I know people who wouldn’t have been. But the character who played Mr. Pamuk is English, Scottish and Greek. At the time that his scenes took place, someone who was Turkish would have been an ethnic “other.”

          • greenwich_matron

            I’m sure you didn’t. I am going to delete my comment.

          • Anka

            As someone with Turkish (Jewish) ancestry, this part has always bothered me, mostly because ethnic Turks in the Ottoman Empire did not generally have surnames at the time, instead being addressed as “[Firstandonlyname] Hoca, -Bey, -Effendi, -Pasha, -Hanim,” etc. Jews and Christians did, but not Muslims, who were the ones in the higher government ranks. So he wouldn’t have been called “Mr. Pamuk” (“Pah-moook”), because nobody was called Pamuk back then, not even Orhan Pamuk’s ancestors (maybe where they got the inspiration). Also, that actor, while nice-looking, does not look at all Turkish.

        • 3hares

          I really can’t imagine a situation where Hollywood told anybody that if they wanted to work in America they had to write more black characters.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think an American Black Jazz singer made sense as it my understanding that people of African descent were treated better in Europe than the USA (especially after the WWII).

          • Qitkat

            Josephine Baker.

          • Tally Ho

            The number of blacks in Europe was still incredibly tiny. In England people would have been far more likely to encounter an Indian than an African, which is what my comments are based on. It seems weird to have the Ross character but make no references to South Asians in England at the time.

          • BayTampaBay

            Ms Ho, I want to make sure I have this correct: Jack Ross is an American? No?

          • Gatto Nero

            I think the point is that Fellowes is keen on showing modernity — how the jazz age is infiltrating even the English aristocracy.
            So Jack Ross makes more sense in this context than an Indian character, which is more of a colonial reference.

          • 3hares

            I agree–the jazz connection was also supposed to tie in with Rose being a jazz baby. It wasn’t just a case of which was the biggest minority group at the time.

          • Montavilla

            D’oh. I’m being redundant.

        • scoobynacks

          Jack Ross was based on a real black singer in the 1920s and 1930s (born in Grenada and basically came out of NYC) who had flings with English aristocrats–Leslie Hutchinson was the singer, Edwina Mountbatten was one of the women. Ross wasn’t a token person of color on Downton. I’m sure Fellowes knew about this guy, and it made sense to bring a character based on him for someone like Rose who was already trying to shock her mother and rebel.

          • Tally Ho

            We’ve talked about Jack Ross/Leslie Hutchinson ad infinitum ever since he first appeared on the show. It’s not so much him as a character but the implausibility of the reactions of the people around them. They would have never tolerated a young *unmarried* woman about to be presented at court having a visibly public affair with a black bandleader. There would have been hell to pay. We’re talking about locking up Rose, shouting matches, ugly racial comments, hustling Rose on the first boat to her parents in India, looking into deporting Ross. None of which happened because everyone was oh, so polite and oh, so definitely *not* racist.

            When Leslie Hutchinson was dropped by Edwina Mountbatten (under orders from the government because her husband’s rising political stature was being threatened by rumors of the affair), all of society dropped Hutchinson and he quickly passed into impoverished obscurity, unable to find properly paying positions anymore.

          • scoobynacks

            Well I know it’s come up before but not everybody knows about it. I don’t think Ross was token. Doing research about things that happened among the aristocracy at that time is gonna raise this. Should Fellowes avoid it to avoid accusations of tokenism? I could see the American folks saying to take the interracial fling out, not put it in.

          • Tally Ho

            I call it token because in, what, three or four episodes we have a black band leader introduced to an aristocratic girl, meet 3-4 times, share a quick kiss, break up, without any character development or meaningful analysis of the context and implications. That sounds like a token character to me.

            Besides, the Hutchinson/Mountbatten affair shouldn’t be taken to imply that it was commonplace or approved among the aristocracy. Mountbatten got away with it because she was so incredibly rich and already married. Rose isn’t either. And this was a time when “n***** brown” was a perfectly acceptable term for a certain shade of brown.

          • BayTampaBay

            ” If we wanted to have a serious examination of racial issues and interracial relationships, one between an Indian and a white British would have been more historically accurate and plausible for the time.”

            This was a major plot point in the movie The Making of a Lady and it was not smooth sailing for those involved.

          • greenwich_matron

            basing your one black character on the one black person who had any affect on the 1920s British aristocracy is practically the definition of tokenism.

    • Lisa_Co

      About Isobel and Lord Merton, I read on the IMDB message board that the wife of David Robb (Dr. Clarkson) committed suicide during filming S4, making the actor temporarily unavailable. David Robb will be back for S5 but I don’t know about the actor who plays Lord Merton.

  • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

    I’m not sure why it keeps happening, but this is the third week in a row where I find myself in a hotel, on a Sunday night, that either doesn’t have PBS on their TV lineup (who doesn’t show PBS?? think of the children!) or, as in the case last night, the stream of PBS that the hotel broadcasts is the “Life” version of the station (from Channel 8 in Phoenix).

    So, THANK GOODNESS for Tom & Lorenzo. I’ve never been afraid of knowing before what is going to happen. I’ve already read the Wikipedia episode page for this season. Spoilers never spoil anything for me. Like the little beasties that make a fine Gloucester the delicious thing that it is, sometimes a spoiler makes the viewing all the more delicious.

    Meanwhile, later today when I have time, I will finally see last week and this week online via the PBS website. Now that I know a bit of what is coming, I’m deliciously excited!

    • SRQkitten

      I missed part of last weeks episode and tried to watch it on my iPad, first via the PBS app and then via safari. massive fail on both counts, the PBS app went to audio only about 15 minutes before the end. Now why would I want audio only and miss the lusciousness of the costumes this season?

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

        Sad! I have a Droid pad and have no problem. But I’m watching the video in my Chrome browser via the PBS website, which I don’t think would be possible in an iOS environment but I don’t know for sure.

        • SRQkitten

          Hmmm…maybe I should give it a try with Chrome and the pbs website, I still am behind an episode of Sherlock as well. Safari does have issues at times that chrome & Firefox don’t.

        • siriuslover

          Yes, you can use a Chrome browser with an iPad! :)

      • Spicytomato1

        The same thing happened to me at about the same point but I moved the cursor ahead a little bit and the video came back after a minute or so of rebooting or buffering or whatever it’s called.

        ETA: I also use Safari.

  • Pennymac

    Agree with everything, Uncles! Last night felt like pure entertainment, with the minimum of belief suspension necessary. And the costuming; it was divine! Mary’s outfit and hat at the bazaar was phenomenal, the picture at the beginning of this post of Elizabeth McGovern’s dress made me gasp to see the detail. I’m soooo glad I skipped the bumbling horror that the Walking Dead has become! (DVR’d for later)

  • jw_ny

    Cora lives in a fantasy world…if you don’t acknowledge there’s a problem, it’ll just go away. I’d love to see Fellowes show a scene of Cora twisting open her ring and taking a quick sniff…would explain her demeanor. ;)

    I’m intrigued by Mary and her suitors. Tony is pushing hard…he’s becoming desperate to win her over and obtain her wealth. I’m sure he’s got a dark side that we haven’t been exposed to yet..we’ve only had glimpses (financial problems, willingness to marry for money and ease at breaking off the engagement, hire that scumbag Mr. Green…birds of a feather thing, ya know.) Pure speculation, but I think she’s going to succumb to his advances and probably marry him. Charles is the one that gets HER motor running tho, so what…an affair with him? He’ll save her somehow? How Evelyn fits in…idk, he’s kind of a bore. This love quadrangle has so much more potential that the silly downstairs triangle that is, thankfully, over.

    Mrs. Patmore still remains my fav character. It was a touching scene with her and Daisy…I wanted Daisy to run and hug her. Daisy needs a hug. She needs to tear down that wall of hers that seems to prevent her from caring about anyone…well, except Mr. Mason.

    • Isabel

      Mary’s suitors is unrealistic. One maybe, but not three. I am reading
      Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War
      by Virginia Nicholson.

      She states that the upper class had the worst time in finding husbands because these ladies wanted to marry men of their own class. Most of the guys were officers. Officers were killed at a higher rate than the regular soldiers.

      The Daisy-Ivy fight over one guy is more realistic.

      According to the book, many first rate guys were cripples and not considered a good catch. The second rate guys just wanted to have fun and not marry.

      • jw_ny

        This show is not realistic…I stopped looking for that in Season 1. Now I can enjoy it. :)

      • greenwich_matron

        One thing I will give JF credit for: he makes all the suitors a little pathetic.

      • sweetlilvoice

        Just put this book on hold at my library….love this blog for fellow intelligent readers and watchers of fine TV. WWI is a truly fascinating time in history for me.

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

        I really enjoyed that book – I think about it every time I read these recaps and there are whole football teams of attractive, able-bodied, untraumatised men swarming around.

      • AnneElliot

        I have that book too!! On my list of upcoming to-reads. And yes, it’s totally annoying that Mary has THREE suitors who are 1. Unmarried 2. Aristocrats and 3. Visibly unscathed by the war — either they’d have all been married by now or they’d have lost at least a limb or be shell-shocked. It would have been totally realistic for Edith to have married Anthony Strallan who was much older and had been wounded. And all three of those girls would have gotten married during the war years, anyhow, especially with all those officers convalescing at Downton. There would have been wartime marriages left and right.

        • Tally Ho

          Bingo. Even Edith should have found a nice young officer of the gentry class. That actually would have been a great story for the second season – falling in love with an officer, getting engaged and then having him blown to pieces in the trenches. Sad but very realistic for the time. And it still keeps Edith the unlucky second sister that Fellowes is determined to make her.

    • Tally Ho

      Napier is the odd man out. It’s funny because he’s the most aristocratically “correct” of the suitors. People may find him boring but he’s not only the heir to a viscount, he’s also impeccably behaved and mannered, unobtrusive, kindly and considerate, in short he’s a younger version of Lord Merton. Gillingham may have a title too but he comes across more as a spoiled rich boy used to getting his way. We know nothing about Blake’s background but it probably isn’t too shabby. I don’t know where Fellowes intends to go with the Napier character but it seems odd to resurrect him yet only boot him in the background. We have enough stories between Gillingham and Blake that Napier’s role is unnecessary.

      • greenwich_matron

        Gillingham: anyone who dumps his fiancée so he can pine after someone else is not a good catch!

        • Chris

          Yeah I really cannot stand Gillingham. I just don’t get the appeal. He seems like a dishonorable sad sack to me.

      • jw_ny

        I can never tell with Fellowes…he introduces so many characters that start a story and then disappear, die…

      • BayTampaBay

        I’d go for Napier if I was a member of the titled aristocracy.

      • scoobynacks

        He existed in S4 to bring Blake to Downton. I don’t think the Crawleys would’ve invited Blake up to stay in the house without some sort of connection. He was some guy they didn’t know and he was already gonna stay in a pub. Napier was his pass in, plus we know Napier has governmental work that he does from the Pamuk situation before. If Fellowes wants to have Blake as a suitor, it makes sense to bring Napier back to do it and use Napier’s interest in Mary to drag a guy who didn’t wanna be there to eat dinner with them. Charles wouldn’t eagerly come to the house so Napier had to, theoretically because he was still into her. He had to still be single for that to really work. Poor Evelyn, totally friend zoned and apparently his desire to marry for love probably kept him from hooking up with just anybody who was after him.

    • BayTampaBay

      If Tony was going to marry for money, he should have stuck with Mabel Lane Fox (the heiress he was engaged too) as she was described as one of the wealthiest heiresses in England.

      • not_Bridget

        And nobody will get a giant sack of money by marrying Mary. Her/Matthew’s fortune is pretty much dedicated to preserving the estate for her son. Anyone who marries her will have a nice cushy life at Downton–but won’t get the funds needed to keep his on ancestral pile going…

        • sweetlilvoice

          But he will get the pleasure of Mary’s charming company. (sarcasm)

          • BayTampaBay

            I’d rather have the giant sack of money.

    • BayTampaBay

      “I’d love to see Fellowes show a scene of Cora twisting open her ring and taking a quick sniff…would explain her demeanor. ;)”

      What I would really love to see is Cora get in a “big ol’ old fashioned mother-daughter fight” with her Martha Levinson and throw some light on her’s and Martha’s back story. Of course, the Dowager Countess would have to step in and break it up by spitting out a real zinger of a quip.

  • Tally Ho

    I will say the side story of getting Robert to America is a bit bizarre. Americans not only couldn’t care less about English aristocrats, there was a real tide of outright hostility against the notions of European aristocracy. It was only the fashionable rich who were impressed by aristocrats and titles. Robert going to America could have actually hurt his brother in law in whatever trouble he was in, especially if he was to provide a character reference in a politicized courtroom.

    Based on what we’ve seen in the last two episodes there wasn’t even a real need for Robert to leave DA.

    • BayTampaBay

      He was shooting scenes for “Monument Men”.

      • greenwich_matron

        I forgot about that! I was wondering why JF wrote him out of a couple of episodes and then “forgot” to have the contrived plot point which needed Robert gone.

      • cocohall

        Clever you. Years ago on Law and Order when Jesse L. Martin was needed to go film the Rent movie, he conveniently got himself shot and stayed in a coma for a number of episodes.

    • Call me Bee

      Well, FWIW, Robert did mention the fact that he really couldn’t do anything by being there in the USA.

  • Virginia McMurdo

    LOLOLOLOL Oprah.

  • sweetlilvoice

    The Dowager has the nose of a bloodhound, she will always sniff out what no one is talking about. Maggie Smith is amazing and all of her scenes are good. Loved her setting up Isobel and that attractive older man. When he was walking her home and she mentioned his sons and he said, oh god. don’t remind me…was one of the sons the guy who roofied Tom’s drink in an earlier season? Was this attractive older man there at the dinner party too?

    • 3boysful

      I wondered that, too, but cannot recall.

      • sweetlilvoice

        I’ve been on another blog and it was confirmed that he is Larry Grey’s father. Also, someone has coined the wonderful phrase “Bus of Justice” in regards to Greene’s death….

    • Tally Ho

      Yes. Merton junior roofed Tom’s drink and it was Lord Merton who called him out.

  • NMMagpie

    “A desire of suitors…” Nothing like classing up a marriage market reference.

  • Sassy&Kiki

    All right, Cora is, if not an idiot, at least obtuse. But Rosamond and the DC are overstepping all kinds of boundaries by managing Edith’s dilemma and not telling her mama.

    • Isabel

      Cora & Robert might toss poor Edith out, if they knew.

      Robert didn’t know about Pamuk, until many years later. He forgave Mary, because she is the favorite and she was getting married or was already married.

      • BayTampaBay

        No, he forgave her because he had put the moves on the housemaid.

        • Chris

          I think it’s a bit of both but he definitely wouldn’t have been as compassionate if he hadn’t “slipped” himself with the housemaid. It also didn’t hurt that Mary is the only child he’s ever had any interest in.

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

        You can cover up an illegitimate child, you can’t cover up the scandal of kicking out an adult daughter!

    • greenwich_matron

      If Cora hasn’t even tried to find out what’s bothering Edith, she should be left out of the loop. I suspect her main concern is the effect the pregnancy may have on Mary.

    • Chris

      Everyone has dropped enough hints for Cora and she still is blithely unaware of anything being wrong. The Dowager put it together with a couple of odd sentences. Edith flat out asked Cora if she was “bad” and then signed up for an extended trip to “the continent.” Cora reminds me of those stage mothers who put their young daughters in those pageants. All she cares about is Mary because she is “admired.” Edith is technically an adult and owes Cora nothing. It’s nice Cora could be so sympathetic to Rose and her mother and be so completely obtuse about her own.

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

      Edith’s a 30-year-old woman. It’s her place to tell her mother, if she wants to; not anyone else’s. Rosamond said as much to her.

      • Sassy&Kiki

        Good point. I can’t help but feel that this well-meant subterfuge is setting up an enormous family explosion to round out the season.

        • BayTampaBay

          What-his-name, who plays Gregson, is finishing up or is finished with his westend theatre run so I am sure he will come back and the sparks will fly.

          • Tally Ho

            I don’t know if I should mention this, but it’s not a spoiler per se as the 5th season episodes haven’t even been filmed yet but I took a look at the list of actors listed for the 5th season on the PBS website and so far neither the Gregson or Napier character actors are included, even though Blake and Gillingham are. Who knows what this really means, though.

          • scoobynacks

            Yeah I was wondering about bringing that up. I think Brendan Patricks aka Napier might be doing another show in the UK but I don’t know if it’s been officially picked up. It’s in pre-production. Of course I could see TPTB keeping something like Gregson quiet, but I don’t know. The press pack totally told us which eps the guest actors were gonna be in last year. Just keep Edith away from the married farmer. That and men old enough to be her father. Those are her two types. Not to cause trouble but she was concerned that God [i.e. Julian Fellowes] didn’t want her to be happy. Edith, there’s a point where if things keep happening to you, you gotta start thinking about the fact that you’re the common denominator.

            I did like that Richard E. Grant’s gonna be on S5. He was Sir Percy to Elizabeth McGovern’s Marguerite on The Scarlet Pimpernel. Hopefully they have a scene together. I don’t know squat about who he’s playing.

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

            He tweeted that in Gosford Park he was below stairs but now he’s allowed upstairs.

          • greenwich_matron

            I love Richard E. Grant!

          • Lisa_Co

            Actually, as per the IMDB message board for DA, filming has JUST begun for S5. People have posted shots of the characters, filming at Highclerc (the Abbey), as well as some news about which actors are back and for how long. I don’t want to reveal spoilers, but if you don’t mind knowing something about upcoming seasons, you should take a look at IMDB’s message board.

    • BayTampaBay

      I do not think that Rosamund or the DC really like Cora.

      • Shawn EH

        I really feel they’re trying to spare Edith’s feelings more than diss Cora; they know she’s come to two of them because of the completely likely embarrassment of confessing to her parents. Rosamund’s relative outsider status and the DC’s age make them much safer, more likely allies. Edith knows she’s not the favored one to be forgiven all, like Mary.

  • Anne

    I really liked the way they handled the Jack Ross/Rose situation. I think going ahead with that storyline and having them get married would have been too much like Tom/Sybil, and I thought the scene where Mary confronted Jack about it was beautifully done. I do kind of wish that Rose’s mother would make an appearance once in a while, though, so that it would be more interesting when Rose enters into an interracial romance to spite her mother.

    Overall I loved this episode. Violet and Isobel crack me up, and I love Molesley growing a backbone for Baxter. Also, that last moment when Mary goes off with Blake and Lord Gillingham and Robert says, “What kind of menage has that turned into?”, and then Rosamund, Edith, Isobel and Violet all lean forward to watch them go…beautiful final picture. There were actually a few moments like that in this episode, with a line-up of all of the characters, that reminded me of earlier seasons. Looking forward to the Christmas special!

    • Tally Ho

      Beautifully done? Sure if it was 2014. But it’s 1922. All these characters, even Isobel Crawley, would have been deeply racist by our standards. Not necessarily violently racist but still deeply racist.

      • Anne

        I understand that…I just thought the scene was surprisingly subtle and understated, and it didn’t go quite as I expected. For some reason I thought Ross was going to make a stand and protest that he would marry Rose no matter what, even though the whole relationship felt lukewarm on his part. I just thought it was an interesting moment that was well-acted on both sides.

      • in a pickle

        In America yes, in England I’m not so sure. The English took real exception to the segregation that the US Army wanted to continue in England during WWII and as far as I know did not allow it (except on the bases themselves). There are lots of stories of people in pubs, etc. standing up for the African American soldiers when white soldiers tried to get them to leave. There are tons of pictures of English girls happily dancing with, walking hand in hand with, etc. African American soldiers too. Lastly, there were quite a few biracial babies from the GIs born in and out of wedlock- it’s only 20 years down the road and I don’t think attitudes could have changed that quickly to allow for what we know was true in the 40s. Having said that, I’m not suggesting it was a race blind society and would guess that it would be worse among the upper classes. English racial attitudes were simply not analogous to American racial attitudes at the same point in history.

        • Tally Ho

          Yes and no. England didn’t have the legally institutionalized racism that the US did or the extent of the social racism. But this was a country that was also deeply divided among class lines.

          Most of the interracial relationships with black GIs were with working class white English girls, and they usually met because the girl was a waitress or some type of service position. That’s not to imply the relationships would have been accepted by the woman’s family and many of those babies were given up for adoption. Unlike the white GIs who married English girls, the black GIs couldn’t really take their loved ones to the United States either. There’s a fair amount of literature and historical research into what happened with those interracial relationships and the aftermath and it wasn’t a happy story for most of the women.

          But for the middle and upper classes the lines were drawn pretty deeply. Not only would the opportunity of meeting black GIs pretty minimal (few African Americans served in the officer corps) the class divide was also real and while people could be polite and considerate to visiting African Americans interracial relationships were heavily verboten because it was socially damaging to the family and as odd as it may be to us in 2014, a family’s reputation and social standing carried a great deal of weight in those days, even among the middle classes. People were simply very snobby and class conscious, much more so than Americans. An out of wedlock pregnancy would be bad enough but one that resulted in a mixed race child far worse. Referring once again to Edwina Mountbatten, when pictures emerged of her in India in 1947 and Nehru is shown with his hand on her shoulders, the British press went berserk and the government had to go into damage control.

          • BayTampaBay

            In Consuelo Vanderbilt’s book, “The Glitter and The Gold”, she tells a story of an inter-racial lower-middle class relationship between an English girl and and an African American WWI G.I.

        • greenwich_matron

          The British also have a long history of telling their colonialists that they shouldn’t be racist while treating certain British races very badly.

    • Saturnine

      I agree with so much of your post, but something about the Jack Ross/Mary scene seemed off to me. The most problematic part was that the Jack/Rose “love” seemed out of the blue. I could easily buy both characters being attracted to each other, but nothing indicated love. So Jack’s giving up his great love to avoid “ruining her life” was just another false note in the story line.

      Mary’s “well, if the world were different, I wouldn’t stand in your way” sounded self-congratulatory and ironic, because this episode was all about it being Mary’s world (see, e.g., Gillingham, Blake, Napier, clothes, hats, scraps of important paper, sacking other people’s employees . . .)

  • JulieTy

    It jarred me when Cora said something to Mary about “parenting” Rose. Surely that verb didn’t exist in the ’20s.

    • PeaceBang

      Yes, and when she said something about not wanting the workers to “mess up” the grounds. Anachronistic.

      • Lilithcat

        Not at all.

        Another Google Books search reveals:

        it was a mess and I had to mess up my place like the rest. (1921)

        “That won’t do, brother-’n-law, you’ll mess up your clothes. (1923)

        ee that the water-tin is secured tightly to the coop so it will not be easily upset to mess up the floor of the coop. (1916)

        this thing of moving out and tearing up generally every year or two and having the painters mess up his office. (1910)

        “I wish you wouldn’t mess up the living-room before I even get down-stairs, Hugh.” (1922)

    • Kelly

      Yeah, there are a lot of verbal (and other) anachronisms. “Parenting,” definitely. And last season (I think), Branson says something about a “learning curve” in figuring out how to run the estate. This phrase had actually been used in the ’20s in an academic way, but it wasn’t common parlance. And one of the maids says “just sayin’” to Mrs Patmore. But I think the one that made me cringe the most was Matthew saying to Mary, “let’s go make babies.” I screamed aloud and reached for the brain bleach (i.e., my Pimm’s Cup that I drink in honor of DA every week). Anachronistis *and* gross.

      • JulieTy

        Ah, well. Shakespeare used plenty of anachronisms too (as I’m sure Julian Fellowes likes to remind himself).

      • Lilithcat

        Slews of uses of “Just sayin” in the teens and ’20s if you do a Google Books search. Also see my reply to JulieTy re: “parenting” Neither is an anachronism.

    • Lilithcat

      Yes, it did. Just a few examples found using a Google Books search:

      we insist upon taking your children, at whatever age we agree upon, and parenting them during the best of their waking hours (1916)

      the steady never failing parenting that knows no limits (1919)

      she may be forgiven at times for failing to see that it is not bearing but parenting which serves the Soul (1914)

      It is enough to say here that no self-respecting man, who has the slightest interest in the well, being of his offspring should think of parenting a child while addicted to the use of narcotics. (1915)

      • JulieTy

        Wow! Thanks so much! That is fascinating. :-)

      • Call me Bee

        This is why we love you, Lilithcat!

    • Anne

      My favorite was Mary’s “It’s no big thing.”

  • Chris

    I absolutely love Mr. Mason- Daisy’s father in law. He must be the kindest and most wise person ever to live in the area around Downton. If he and Mrs. Hughes ever got together they would not only solve every problem at Downton, they could probably manage to cure cancer too.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I agree with you and it’s no wonder that William was such an adorable sweet guy. RIP William.

    • Saturnine

      Mr Mason + Mrs. Patmore.

  • Mars Tokyo

    I love Bates. Go Bates!!

    • PeaceBang

      I always want to memorize his and the DC’s zingers after each episode.

  • Qitkat

    Am I the only one who finds the chemistry between Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville to be less than ZERO? I cringe when they kiss because it is always like a brother kissing his sister, on the mouth.

    • jw_ny

      I’m just the opposite. I actually feel the love with them. Sometimes it is a bit gooey tho. ;)

      • BayTampaBay

        Agree with you jw_ny!

      • Qitkat

        I’m really only referring to the physical chemistry. I quite like many of their interactions on a regular basis. But they can’t kiss with any passion whatsover, IMO.

        • BayTampaBay

          I think their kissing, unlike other things on the show, is historically accurate.

  • Julie Parr

    I haven’t seen this episode yet, but from this recap, can I guess that my “I always thought Bates killed his wife” refrain might actually be coming true?

    • Chris

      I still don’t think he murdered the wife. Poison isn’t his style, violence is. He wanted Greene to know it was him before he died. It was a very gory, hands on kind of death which makes sense for the character.

  • Sweetvegan

    “EVERYBODY GETS AN ARISTOCRAT!” LOL!

    And when will Evelyn Napier learn to stop bringing single guys with him when he wants to court Lady Mary?

    • Chris

      I disagree about the aristocrat for Isobel. I’m still betting on the good doctor ending up with her. I think Lord “Mary’s godfather” is just an Evelyn Napier plot device. But we shall see. It was worth it just to see the dowager looking back and forth at her skimpy bouquet compared to Isobel’s.

      • Anne

        I think whether or not they pursue the “Isobel and Mary’s godfather” plotline, it was nice to see Isobel being appreciated for who she is rather than what she does for other people, and for her to start to feel worthwhile again. Actually, I loved that line right at the beginning of the episode when she came to see the Dowager Countess and said “It’s only me,” and the Dowager said something like, “Every time I hear that greeting it sounds like a lack of self-worth.” Plus it’s refreshing to see somebody who isn’t Mary have more than one suitor at a time. ;)

    • BayTampaBay

      True aristocrats do not fear anyone below themselves in the peerage.

      A Duke or a Marquess Evelyn might fear.

      • in a pickle

        Evelyn should be afearing.

        • BayTampaBay

          After WWI, I do not see Evelyn fearing anyone. Evelyn makes no bones about how he feels about Mary but he is not following her around like a love sick drooling puppy…i.e…Gilliam & Blake….Say what you want to say but Evelyn has class IMHO.

  • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

    Something about the tone of Cora’s voice made me laugh out loud this episode. It gets more and more ridiculous every time.

    • Spicytomato1

      Agreed. In an earlier episode her facial expressions were killing me, they bordered on what I called “demented.” I feel the same about how she delivers some of her lines.

  • Qitkat

    I wondered how you fellows would attack this recap because it indeed was one of the soapiest episodes to date. And the paragraph you illustrated this with was perfection. It sounded exactly like a TV guide summary, and if one did not watch, was baffling enough, to say “who are these people, and why do I care?” And then you proceeded to tell us why we care. Good stuff.

    I had the impression Mr. Green had died before Lord Gillingham was able to fire him. Poor Anna. Her suspicions, and those of several other people are high about Bates, while he is playing this as serenely as we have ever seen the character. Will Baxter eventually confide in Molesly so that together they can take Thomas down? Who will Daisy now fixate on for her new unrequited crush? Or has the character finally grown up, and will find a pig farmer to love. Will Cora remain ever clueless about Edith? Will Rose run away to join her bandleader lover, only to become pregnant and destitute? Will all these babies of the latest generation join forces to fight WWII in the most heroic ways? In theory, Downton Abbey could go on endlessly.

    • Chris

      I agree about Mr. Green. I got the impression he was killed before Gillingham could say anything because it would have been the same day he and Mary had tea. Bates was probably knocking him under the lorry while they were enjoying their tea sandwiches and scones.

      • Tally Ho

        The problem with Bates killing Green is the timing. Bates was only gone for the day. He’d have to get from DA to Ripon, then Ripon to York to catch the train. Once in London he’d have to track down Green and follow his movements, waiting for the right moment. Then catch the train, return to York, catch the second train to Ripon and finally get back to the Abbey. That’s a very, very, very long day for a crippled man, assuming he found Green….

        Anyway, I’m sure he killed Green just as he killed his wife and probably tons of people we don’t know about. Oh, and yes, stole the regimental silver too. Totally guilty in that.

        • momjamin

          Well, what Bates wasn’t busy doing was establishing an alibi.

          • Chris

            I was hoping he was going to pull out some jewelry for Anna he bought in York to “prove” he was there on a romantic errand. He’s not a very smart criminal.

        • Chris

          I still don’t think he murdered the wife. The whole character of Bates was how he kept taking the fall for the wife no matter what she did. I think Fellowes thinks of him as a guy who would never hurt a woman but has no rules when it comes to men who hurt women.

        • Qitkat

          I agree about the timing. You broke this down effectively, showing how challenging it really would have been. But that has never stopped a soap opera writer before. LOL.

          • Tally Ho

            You should read the comments on the Guardian or Daily Telegraph websites from last fall after the initial screenings of the episodes. People actually dragged out 1920s railroad schedules and calculated the plausibility of Bates making the journey to London and back in a single day.

          • Qitkat

            That’s cool.

          • BayTampaBay

            As I said before: This show has a following that is so dedicated (it researches train schedules 1920s and also 330+ comments on each TLo recap) and makes a ton of money. If Sir Julian wants to introduce a three headed martian with a cocaine/crack/Brian Atwood shoe shopping habit as a love interest for Edith, noone will even consider telling him “no” AND RALPH LAUREN WILL CONTINUE BUYING PRIMO ADVERTISING during the show. Plausibility is not and never will be a DA point let alone a strong point.

          • 3boysful

            You mean Ralph “I’ve created this fabulous world that you will never be a part of but look at how fabulous my designs for unreal women and I are” Lauren? ;)

          • Call me Bee

            Yeah but those fashions are totally dreamy….

          • BayTampaBay

            Of Course! Is there another Ralph Lauren that I am not aware of….LOL! bLOL!

          • Chris

            That’s interesting. What if he left in the middle of the night or before dawn? Anna was away with Lady Mary so he could have gotten out on the first train maybe?

          • Qitkat

            We saw him striding away from Downton in the full light of day however, although it might have been early-ish.

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

            We take trains very seriously here.

          • Qitkat

            ‘Back in the day’ when I spent a couple of summer months in England, I took the train to London from Brighton several times, where I was studying at the U of Sussex. Great way to travel.

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

            That’s a nice easy little jaunt too – usually more reliable than driving. Have you seen the pictures of Brighton after the storms recently? Crazy.

          • AnneElliot

            That’s awesome. But don’t some people completely obsess about trains? Or is that just Sheldon on Big Bang Theory?

          • 3boysful

            I’m just hoping no dinner guest shows up at Downton, runs into Bates and remarks, “Oh, yes, knew you seemed familiar–you were in the crowd with me when that poor chap got hit by the bus in London last month . . . .”

        • BayTampaBay

          I thought his evil 1st wife stole the regimental silver and he just took the blame because he had become a “drunkard”????

          • Tally Ho

            I thought so too.

            But at this point it’s a combination of “I don’t care” and “yeah, this guy’s a creepy dude who’s guilty of everything we can throw at him.”

          • BayTampaBay

            I would really love to have Bates watching out for me!

        • jw_ny

          yes…but once one is accused of a heinous crime, the next time they’re in a similar situation, they’ll be presumed to be guilty, and suspicious even when proven innocent. Bate’s will always be viewed as one of suspect character. Anna had her doubts before…I can’t imagine she’ll ever be able to quash those doubts now, no matter how plausible his claim of innocence is (if he is.) Just the doubt alone will further divide them…which is probably where the story is heading. idk.

        • marlie

          I may have missed this elsewhere in the conversation, but maybe the whole trip to York was a lie, and he went straight to London? I’m not sure if that was logistically even possible, but I thought it when I was watching the episode.

          ETA: That’s **IF** Bates had anything to do with Greene’s death.

          • Tally Ho

            To take the train to London you need to go to York. DA is outside Ripon and the comments on the Guardian website made clear that the quickest way to London was to take the regional milk train (early morning train carrying mostly foodstuff from the farms) from Ripon to York, then change to a London bound passenger train. We don’t know how far DA is from Ripon, which is part of the problem.

            It would not have been quicker to drive, by the way. No motorways crossed England’s green and pleasant lands in those days.

          • marlie

            Thanks for the clarification!

          • SapphoPoet

            Do we know about how long it would take to get from Ripon to London by train? And it would make a difference if you had an express train or one that stopped at every town along the way…

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

            According to current railway timetables, it can take between 1hr:50mins and 2hr:20mins to get from London to York.

          • in a pickle

            I looked it up. 6 hours from Downton to London would probably be a safe bet.

        • SapphoPoet

          Downton is in Yorkshire, right? How long does it take to get from Yorkshire to London by train?

          • in a pickle

            I’m a nerd, so I just looked it up. In 1922 York to London was 4 hours and Ripon to York was an additional hour. If he left at 6am he could be in London my noon (I added an hour for connection and getting to Ripon). He could spend several hours in London and get a late afternoon train back. It’s possible.

          • SapphoPoet

            Just possible. He’d have to know where to find Green, though. As for his being crippled, his limp is decidedly less pronounced this season. Have to say, though, that I like Evil Bates better than Saintly Bates.

          • BayTampaBay

            Sorta reminds one of Dexter? No?

        • Call me Bee

          How about he contacted one of his old prison buddies and had him “take care” of Green in London while Bates is in York…? I think he’s very smart–a bus accident with tons of witnesses that couldn’t tell who may have bumped him…..seems like a perfect murder.

          • Anabag

            I’m with you. Bates hired a hit man.

        • AnneElliot

          I assumed he lied about York and just went to London to kill Green.

        • http://www.bethposts.blogspot.com/ Buffy

          I kind of thought Bates had gone to York (alibi) but whilst there he talked to some of his prison buddies and one of them took care of pushing Greene into the road. Not before saying who was behind it, of course.

    • Anne

      I want Daisy to meet Mr. Drew and find true love. Somebody should, anyway, because that actor is too good-looking to be a throwaway.

      • BayTampaBay

        Mr. Drew is married with children.

    • momjamin

      BTW, anyone disappointed that Greene didn’t get offed in the Conservatory with a Candlestick?

      • Saturnine

        It could still be a Lead Pipe . . .

  • MilaXX

    Saying Cora is an idiot is kin to saying water is wet. Her bulb’s never been very bright.

  • AnotherJulie

    As much as I find alot of DA disappointing, I had a truly gasp-worthy moment at the magnificant tea-room where Mary had lunch w/Gillingham. Does anyone know if that place is real, and where it is located? I could plan a London trip around that!!

    • Qitkat

      Magnificent indeed.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t already organized a tour in the manner of the Sex and the City tours that used to be in NYC.

    • SewingSiren

      I also loved the little shop where poor Mr. Ross and cousin Rose met for the dalliance.

    • scoobynacks

      On Twitter when I saw it I said “I want to go to there.” If someone finds out where that was, spread the word.

    • disqus_CpJJvzDxuG

      It was filmed at the Great Conservatory in Syon Park, an estate near London. :)

      • AnotherJulie

        Thank you!

      • BayTampaBay

        Syon Park???? Is that not the “city home” of the Duke of Northumberland?

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

          Yup – he’s making it pay for itself.

          • BayTampaBay

            I guess the Earl & Countess of Carnarvon cannot get ALL the TV location rental money! LOL!

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

            They do weddings too.

  • AnotherJulie

    How adorable was Maggie Smith in that scene w/ Isobel when she was being a busybody re: flowers? And how hilarious that she read the card? The woman can do anything!!!

    • Shawn EH

      The way she just glanced off at her own bunch, relegated to a sideboy, and then turned Isobel’s around to present the card only after she was seated! “You do make the invitation sound so warm when put that way!”

      • http://www.bethposts.blogspot.com/ Buffy

        And she totally thought her own flowers were wanting compared to Isobel’s LOL

        • Shawn EH

          She did! I couldn’t tell whether she set Isobel up with him on purpose or was surprised at their brewing flirtation.

  • Sweetvegan

    The three ladies watching Lady Mary walk away with Gillingham and Pig Hero was soooo cheesy! Reminded me of Tom looking in the window when Sybil was showing off her new frock.

    • Qitkat

      I didn’t get the same feeling. Someone else referred to this as a lovely vignette, and I think it was four women, not three. Edith, Rose, Cora, and Rosamunde.

      • scoobynacks

        Leaning into the shot I think it was three. Cora was watching from where she was maybe, but not tilting her body in unison with the others. I didn’t have a problem with it. It amused me as did Robert calling them a menage. A “desire” of suitors. Great term. Cora’s existence has been validated just for coming up with that–and for her having helped move Pamuk’s body, but that mainly.

        • Qitkat

          Perhaps I’m thinking of an entirely different scene.

          • Shawn EH

            I think the three ladies were Isobel, Violet and Edith perhaps? The lovely vignette I think was five women, including Mary, earlier in the episode. 90 minutes of fashion plates this week!

          • Anne

            There were two–there was the lineup of five women (I think–Mary, Cora, Edith, Rose, Rosamund? then Mary went back into the house) when the three suitors got in the car to leave Downton mid-episode (the “desire of suitors” moment), and then there was the very last moment of the episode when Isobel, Edith and Rose were sitting at the bazaar watching Mary walk away with Blake and Gillingham.

          • BayTampaBay

            You are correct. I re-watched the DVD to double check.

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

    Just a couple ticks above Knots Landing. I am in agreement with T and Lo about the DA being a big soap and I love it for that reason. I am also loving following you guys on Twitter during the show. ‘This and that. You know, vengeance stuff’ had me laughing out loud. But no more time for comments because I have a book to read. My nice delivery man just dropped off a box containing my very own copy of Everyone Wants to BMODM. Squeeeee!! I’ll never get around to House of Cards now. Thank you TLo for keeping us entertained during this never ending winter of our discontent.

  • Paula Pertile

    Edith is 5 months along already? Because she said something to Rosamund about going away for 4 months, and I did the math. I can believe 2 or 3 months, but at 5 she’d be showing, yes?

    I cried a little at Daisy and Alfred’s good-bye (which surprised me!)*. And Mrs. Patmore too.
    *surprised that I cried, not that they said good-bye

    Love Molesey and Baxter. I’m still dying to know what her story is though!

    So … Bates paid the bus driver to run over Green?

    • Chris

      Well Edith is lucky drop waisted dresses are the style. It’s a lot easier hiding a pregnancy in the 1920′s than it would have been in almost any decade before or after.

      I liked that Daisy showed she wasn’t pining after Alfred anymore and that he had some regret about what he missed out on mooning over that dimwit Ivy.
      Loved Mrs. Patmore and Daisy. It seemed like she had been so hard on Daisy when she was starting out but was so forgiving of all Ivy’s foolishness. It was lovely seeing them have a Mother-daughter moment.

      I think Bates waited for an opportune time and did the pushing himself.

    • TigerLaverada

      My first pregnancy I didn’t show until I was nearly 6 months along, so it’s plausible that she wouldn’t be showing. Her chest would have gotten larger quite early on, though. The rather shapeless clothes of the era are Edith’s best friend.

      • Call me Bee

        Yes. It’s the waist that goes first–nice that dress had no waists at that time.

    • Gatto Nero

      What is the time lapse between episodes? Because last week Edith was in London contemplating an abortion, which would not have been the case if she were already five months gone.
      And the letter she received from the doctor said that she was in her first trimester.
      So I don’t know how the “four months” reference works in this time scheme.

  • Tally Ho

    By the way, did anyone notice when Edith asked Rosamond if she could afford the 4-month long trip to Switzerland? And the woman owns a huge house on Belgrave Square? *rolls eyes* Switzerland was not *that* expensive in those days.

    • BayTampaBay

      If I remember correctly, her husband,Marmaduke Painswick, was a banker from a family of new money (2-generation) manufactures who had two or three metric fuck tons of money.

      • Tally Ho

        The Painswicks were invented from scratch by their grandfather, according to Violet ;)

    • Frank_821

      I didn’t think she meant in terms of the financial expense but rather wouldn’t she get bored having to being there all that time

      • BayTampaBay

        and missing society?

  • SapphoPoet

    Ok, I missed my spin class today to watch this episode during my lunch hour and it was totally worth it. I think a lighter touch is just what this series needed to let the acting shine through. My favorite scene was the one between Mary and Jack Ross–his character is nicely drawn. And the CLOTHES! I loved what everyone was wearing. Mentally revamping my summer wardrobe to include lots of light, swingy tops and skirts in beautiful colors. I do love this time period for fashion.

    • Kit Jackson 1967

      For me, this episode was all about the hats.

  • MaggieMae

    Cora seems stoned. What Mother’s Little Helper is she taking?

    • Munchkn

      Was Laudanum out of fashion by then? Codeine? Cocaine? Heroin was not outlawed in most places until the middle of the decade.

      • BayTampaBay

        I’m sure morphine was still around too.

  • cocohall

    Let’s just give Maggie Smith the Emmy right now in perpetuity. Life is about solving problems. Now let’s have some ice cream.

    Who else thinks Bates made a friend in jail that was all to willing to give Greene a good bump so he could be squashed by a lorry? I think Bates is clever enough to keep his hands clean on this one. Although I was so rooting for death by pigs.

    • Courtney

      That should be on a bumper sticker somewhere.

      • AnneElliot

        Which one? My first thought was “I was so rooting for death by pigs.” I’d love that on a bumper sticker.

        • Courtney

          “Life is about solving problems. Now let’s have some ice cream.”

          I remember “Slings and Arrows” got quite a bit of mileage in the first season when a character was killed by a pig truck (no pun intended).

    • VicksieDo

      I think Bates did it outright, and that is fine with me!

      • Chris

        I think he did it “hands on” too and frankly I’m disappointed he turned out to be such a dimwit criminal. I thought he would be more Machiavellian and clever about it.

        • scoobynacks

          I’ve seen it suggested that he used his cane to trip Green into the road. Think about it, nobody’s gonna see Bates’ hands on Green, the first they see of anything is a guy stumble and fall, seemingly over his own two feet.

          • BayTampaBay

            Great idea!

        • VicksieDo

          Something about it thrills me. It’s so sexy and dark that he defended Anna’s honor in that way. I can see him tripping the guy into the street and walking away with a dark grin. It is clever if no one realizes the guy was in fact murdered…

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            I picture it happening on a busy street in London. Post WWI, men with canes wouldn’t attract any attention. It may just be the perfect crime.

    • BayTampaBay

      “One problem after another then you die!”

      KILLER! KILLER! KILLER!

      • Shawn EH

        When even Violet lets a phrase just trail off, you know major philosophy has been dropped!

        I loved the moment this week when all the Babes of Downton watch Mary’s suitors drive away, each so completely her own kind of glamorous diva. It might have been Krystle, Alexis and Dominique as much as Mary, Edith, Rosamund, Cora and Rose.

        • rainwood1

          It was a great way to end a lovely episode.

    • Jennifer McGuire

      My husband turned to me and said “pigs leave no evidence.” Chekhov’s pigs.

      • cocohall

        Right! I’m sure being hit by a bus or truck is unpleasant, but not nearly as horrible as being trampled and consumed by pigs. Which is so what Greene deserved. Smug little bastard.

        • Munchkn

          There’s an old Stanley Brothers song that goes “He fell asleep and the hogs ate him.” I’ve not heard that song in over 40 years,but that’s what this conversation reminds me of.

          • cocohall

            There seems to be a rich vein of death by pig references in film and song. Mr. Fellows – this is a missed opportunity to explore porcine crime!

      • Farthingale

        As I learned by watching Deadwood–Mr. Wu’s pigs were Al Swearengen’s favorite “disposal” method.

        • AnneElliot

          Also in Fried Green Tomatoes.

    • Gatto Nero

      And where was Mrs. Hughes when Green met his untimely death? Hmmm??

      • AnneElliot

        God, I’d LOVE it if it was Mrs. Hughes!! As TLo said last week, “Mrs. Hughes just opened a can of Scottish whup-ass.”

    • Gatto Nero

      Right — I don’t think even Fellowes would make Bates an outright murderer, though he’s not above making us believe Bates is capable of it.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    B-b-b-but… It’s always been one soap opera cliche after another! A huge estate hinging on The One Legitimate Heir! Presumed dead people back from the grave at just the right moment! Permanently paralyzed and unable to have children yet walking again and making a baby! Deadly illness that knocks off just the right person! Conniving poor girl tries to land a bigger fish by blackmail! Missing heirs who may or may not be phonies showing up! All we need is an evil twin, a good case of amnesia, and somebody trying his or her hand at running a huge, glitzy corporation or fashion house. Rose being plucked out of nowhere as the new Face of Enchantment/Miss Star Eyes/Hope for the Future of Forrester/Fresh Face of Jabot would also check off a box.

    • boweryboy

      I don’t think they’re denying it’s a cliched soap opera. I think they’re saying Julian Fellowes was denying it until this season.

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

      “B-b-b-but… It’s always been one soap opera cliche after another!”

      We didn’t say otherwise. We said this is when Fellowes really embraced that fact, to the show’s benefit.

      • ThaliaMenninger

        Oh, I see — I get it now. But I’m still holding out for an evil twin and Rose as a fashion model! Moldavian Massacres can stay away, however.

        • Qitkat

          HA! Moldavian Massacres! That was Capital fun! And sooo long ago, the most a soap opera ending pissed me off ever. Unless this was a Dynasty plot. Hmmm…

          • AnneElliot

            Or Matthew could show up in the shower and tell Mary that the entire season 4 was just a dream, like in Dallas when Bobby came back to life.

  • RJ Jamison

    I really think its time for Robert and/or Cora to pass on. I like Elizabeth McGovern but I see Cora in a scene and cringe. If i was her I’d be slapping Fellowes for the simpering dialog…But one of their passing would shake things up at Downton considerably and believably.

    • Tally Ho

      You may be getting your wish. There’s rumors that Elizabeth McGovern is thinking of leaving the show after the 5th season to focus on her music career.

      I have to admit that a talented woman like her must be frustrated with her limited character on DA. All she has to do is to show up, put on a pretty costume and smile.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I thought the show was ending after the 5th season.

  • GinnyThePainter

    Downton has given all of us two great new euphemisms. When you’re off to meet a lover, you’re “going to London.” And when you’re going to commit murder, you’re “going to York.”

    • 3boysful

      Here in the South we hike the Appalachian Trail as we lack a London.

      • AnneElliot

        Wasn’t that Mark Sanford’s excuse when he took off with his mistress?

        • 3boysful

          Yup. That’s the reference. Brilliant, that guy.

  • Wellworn

    Last night there was one moment, where Rose stood up and made her declaration about her mother’s face crumbling (or something) and the music dramatically swelled into a cresendo. And I thought, that is Dynasty music, or All My Children music! Is that the first time they have done the dramatic music before? Boy it sure felt like a soap opera then. I agree with TLo, it’s always had soapy plots, but are they now editing it more like a soap as well?

    • Gatto Nero

      Also the moment when Green’s death was revealed. The music was jarring. I think I laughed out loud.

    • BayTampaBay

      and I am enjoying every minute of it!

  • Megan Kennedy

    I know Fellowes tends to flub non-Downton scenes, but I really wish we could have seen what prompted Thomas to say NYC was “modern … and interesting.”

    • Gatto Nero

      I’m guessing he got a little action in New York.

      • Megan Kennedy

        Right? I would have loved to see what life was like as a closeted gay man, beyond clock-winding.

        • Lilithcat
          • Megan Kennedy

            Sweet, thanks!

        • Gatto Nero

          I would love to see better character development in general for Thomas. He’s been pretty much in the shadows this season except for his tiresome hounding of Baxter. I miss the little scenes revealing his underlying softheartedness and disappointment.

    • scoobynacks

      The problem is they can’t really afford to build the sets or go to the locations to fake NYC in 1924 or Newport or DC for Robert. It’d need to be something that would be distinctively the US rather just be London and called an American club for instance. It’s trouble just for them to shoot London as it was in that time period–the CS scenes with Rose’s coming out were shot during the Royal Bebe drama and lots of roads were blocked off. Where to park the trucks is an issue too. Dropping in too briefly still means they have to go to a lot of trouble and then it’d be for very little benefit other than us getting to see Thomas making eyes at a bellhop or something. That’d be amusing but not cost-effective and kinda random for the plot unless it advances the story. Paul Giamatti would’ve needed to be brought in for scenes with Robert but he probably couldn’t have done it and Hugh was doing Monuments Men. If they wanted to show them in the States, they’d have to use the sets enough to be worth it sans Robert and that’d be hard without going way off focus. I’d like to see The Life and Times of Thomas Barrow in America, but alas, it’s not meant to be. Spinoff, Julian Fellowes!

      • Megan Kennedy

        Sure — I didn’t say my wishes were realistic! ;)

        However, I agree with Gatto Nero’s below comment, that Thomas’ character has been really shortchanged this season. Especially since last season showed us what a fine actor Rob James-Collier really is.

    • BayTampaBay

      and when, returning from his honeymoon, Matthew said “My eyes have been opened”!

    • andi56

      Very interesting point!

  • andi56

    The show has also showcased a lot of very subtle acting, which really came to a fore with the cringe-inducing American actors. Granted, Fellowes probably wanted us to see the Americans being tacky and uncomfortable and classless, but you could plainly see they were really out of their element with the British/Irish/Scots.

    • BayTampaBay

      Fellowes always wants to portray all visiting Americans as if the were from a planet in outer space (see the Chronicles of Downton Abbey).

      Paul Giamatti and Shirley MacLaine are world class actors of the highest level. They are playing their scenes EXACTLY as written and directed by Julian Fellowes.

      • Gatto Nero

        I would agree with that. Gary Carr (Jack Ross), though, is another matter.

        • greenwich_matron

          It would have been fun to see a modern singer in that role. (I can’t think of who, but if this were 1982, I would suggest Michael Jackson or Prince.) That way we would get a modern rendition of an old song and a bad actor who would seem a little scary to the upper class.

          • Alloy Jane

            God damnit. Now I want Prince to be on Downton Abbey. He was on New Girl, why not? I still haven’t seen that ep yet but it’s Prince. Of course it’s awesome.

        • andi56

          I’m sure. But it doesn’t make them any less painful to watch. And I have to respectfully disagree with you about MacLaine. Never to my taste, I have always found her pretty dreadful. Loved Gary Carr, though!

          • andi56

            And here’s a case in point: whereas Carson merely has to lift an eyebrow, MacLaine has to flap her gums to express herself. Eh.

          • greenwich_matron

            I think that’s more the character than the actor. I am a little annoyed that Cora’s mother is not a more worthy adversary to the DC. More Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment.”

          • andi56

            Fellowes and Naeme are trying to present the new America versus Old Britain. It’s not a fair fight, to me, since I can’t think of anyone who could be any kind of adversary to the DC! I wish they had, also, given more substance to Cora. She seems to be getting ditzier.

          • BayTampaBay

            ” can’t think of anyone who could be any kind of adversary to the DC!”

            Elizabeth Taylor could have played the hell of the part is she was alive and well.

          • greenwich_matron

            Barbara Stanwyck, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Joan Crawford.

            Also Jessica Tandy, Candice Bergen, Mary Tyler Moore (thinking Ordinary People).

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

            Holland Taylor?

          • greenwich_matron

            I like her, It’s the older, living actress that makes it tough. Anne Bancroft would have been great. Olympia Dukakis, Susan Sarandon. I think Christine Baransky would be great, but she’s too young.

          • BayTampaBay

            Susan Sarandon is almost too young. The actress playing Martha need to be at least 70 years old.

          • greenwich_matron

            Susan Sarandon is 67 and Elizabeth McGovern is 52. Child bride?

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

            Isn’t Angela Lansbury English?

          • BayTampaBay

            or Postcards from The Edge!

          • BayTampaBay

            or Postcards from The Edge!

          • Gatto Nero

            I think MacLaine’s role in DA has been horribly written. Anxious to see how Giamatti fares at JF’s hands.

          • BayTampaBay

            I know this will sound strange but do you think Maratha is closest to Edith because they are both redheads?

  • shopgirl716

    Loving this season. The church bazaar was absolutely beautiful and the clothes were sumptuous. Amazing how Violet could figure out Edith’s predicament and Cora is clueless. I think Rose is a crack up. What a complete little shit she is.

  • Judy_S

    I’ve stopped watching. For me, the show jumped the shark when Mary dumped the newspaper magnate. That was a long-term yummy soap opera plot (remember Fleur and Jon Forsythe?) and Fellowes did his usual, oh well, has this plot development been going on for a whole two episodes? I suspect Edith will miscarry, with or without a handy bar of soap.
    Though sometimes I hope he is philosophical in his resolute belief that no feelings are deep enough to last longer than two weeks, and no events, historical or personal, are important enough to be remembered a month later.

    • scoobynacks

      You’re kidding right? The show jumped the shark by not getting her with the guy she hated and putting yet another obstacle between her and Matthew? They didn’t just have two episodes, it was 6 which is almost a whole season. She hooks up with him after Matthew brings in Lavinia. It may be 2 weeks to us sometimes, but it’s months and sometimes years between one episode and the next or the Christmas specials. For the characters, they didn’t just get over some plot detail. Fellowes skipped the stuff that wasn’t relevant to us or would be boring. If he’d kept on it, you’d be going ‘that was 6 months ago, and they’re STILL talking about it?’

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

        Please don’t berate other people for expressing an opinion you don’t like.

  • Call me Bee

    Ahahaha even The Hubs mentioned that Cora just flits around in her own world….
    Anyhoo–DA is certainly a soap opera, but honestly–it is so well done and well acted and (mostly) well scripted that you don’t even notice how cliche and silly it can be. There was even one of those reaction shots that are classic in soaps–where one character says something stunning, and the camera shows a close-up of another character’s face as the reaction is recorded. It’s held for an excruciatingly long time–then cuts to new scene. That happened last night after Rose told Mary she was getting married to Mr Ross. It needs to stop.

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

    Do we think there’s any chance Lord Gillingham bumped off Mr. Green – or had someone do it for him, obviously? It’s certainly set up to look like Mr. Bates, but it doesn’t mean he did it. I don’t think he’s creepy or dangerous – he didn’t kill the late, unlamented Mrs. Bates the First, and even if he did kill Green, well, would that be so bad? Street justice in a time when rapists were rarely punished. Meanwhile, Gillingham already told Mary he didn’t much care for Green, maybe he knew something and her request just gave him the impetus to do something about it. Just speculatin’ Meanwhile, I though the actor who played Jack Ross was pretty weak with a bad singing voice. But he was the adult in the relationship and Rose was the spoiled child, so he’s well rid of her, despite the painful situation it highlighted.

    • Gatto Nero

      Why would Gillingham have Green killed? He doesn’t even know why Mary wanted him fired.

      • greenwich_matron

        It would be extreme, but Gillingham does seem determined to have an Endless Love kind of tragedy.

    • Tiffany Birch

      I don’t really know why, but somehow I think Bates killed his first wife and it was left unexplained. I know there was a suicide note and all — I guess it’s just an irrational thing. Ever since she “committed suicide” I haven’t trusted Bates. We’ve seen him be shifty before with minor prison infractions, but now we’re being led to believe he’s capable of murder.

      If I were Anna I’d be scared to death right now and questioning what really happened to his first wife. Perhaps next week, to wrap up the season, he’ll show proof he really was in York.

  • AnotherJulie

    Like everyone I was frustrated w/ the whole Ivy/Alfred/ Daisy triangle and couldn’t understand why it dragged on so long. But wow – that final scene w/ Daisy and Alfred, then Mrs. Patmore? I actually cried. So well done. I really hope someone comes along for sweet little Daisy!

  • siriuslover

    The paragraph that begins with “Boring, right?” made me cry. Because that is the beauty of Downton. All those well acted moments that bring you into the struggles of these characters

  • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

    Am I ever going to find out what happened to that guy who went off to Germany? Whatshisname? The baby daddy.

    Also – how many episodes are left? Is next week the season finale?

    • Munchkn

      Yep! It’s the Christmas special.

    • Lisa_Co

      The character’s name is Michael Gregson.

  • demidaemon

    This has nothing to do with the show at all, though it is a cool tangent that is related. A My mother’s friend’s son (isn’t that soapy enough for everybody) made a complete recreation of the Downton Abbey estate as a Lego model, with all the characters represented as miniature figures, for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day, and it was showcased on our local PBS station (We’re in the Rochester NY area.) Anyways, Lego has offered to recreate the model for sale if he can get a thousand likes on Facebook. Go out and google it, loyal Downton Kittens! If I can, I’ll get more specific info and post it as a reply to this comment.

    • BayTampaBay

      That’s awesome!

      • demidaemon

        I know! And who the heck downvoted this and why? *grumbles*

        • Saturnine

          Bates. Bates did it.

          • demidaemon

            HA! But why?

          • Saturnine

            He doesn’t like his Lego. And he was in (new) YORK at the time. . . .

          • demidaemon

            PFFFFT.

          • Saturnine

            No? Well, it had to be somebody, Bates did SOMETHING mysterious this week, and who here would downvote Legos? (unless said person just stepped on one barefoot)

          • demidaemon

            That was actually me holding in a laugh because I am at work.

          • Saturnine

            Oh thank god. I couldn’t come up with any clever reason for it to be Bates. . . . :-)

    • Alloy Jane

      Amazing! I’m going to go look for this now.

  • Annette Leck

    I loved the dresses for the bazaar. They were beautiful.

  • Kelly

    why is no one asking – why not tell Cora about the pregnancy? I mean she helped cover up a dead man in Mary’s bed? And everyone except Robert knows about Pamuk. – It seems everyone forgot Cora already has dealt with a really bad situation. Seems weird that since Cora told Violet about Mary/Pamuk – that Violet wouldn’t tell Edith – let your mother know – she already has dealt with much worse. This whole episode seemed like simpering women show. And all everyone does is go oh what’s up with Mary, even Edith! urgh
    Tom’s storyline is sooooooooooooooooo boring. just go to American please.

    • BayTampaBay

      Robert does knows about Pamuk

      • Gatto Nero

        Yes. He forgave Mary (in the wake of his own indiscretion with the maid).

      • Kelly

        even more reason that Edith doesn’t need to act like she is a horrible person for getting pregnant. I mean Mary had sex with a man and he died, isn’t that more scandalous?

        • greenwich_matron

          But that was totally different: you see, it was Mary…

          • Kelly

            oh yes I forgot, Edith doesn’t matter or count

        • Gatto Nero

          But it’s more easily covered up. A child complicates things. Arrangements must be made.

          • Kelly

            corpses can be tricky too, but yes a child is more complicated

  • honey604 MA

    Re your last paragraph: Cora has shown many times that she IS an idiot!

  • Saturnine

    Late to the party because my DVR went squirrely Sunday night. TLo and the BKs covered it all, and grandly, so I’ll add in no particular order:

    1. The Clothes. My want of DA clothes and accessories is deep, acute, and abiding, especially Mary’s grey tone dress and Rosamund’s diamond earrings. Isobel was wearing a smart little suit too.

    2. Rosamund. Besides being the only one (or two) to cherish our dear Edith, Rosamund is just as beautiful to look at as the clothes and scenery. I’m not sure what Samantha Bond’s personal style is, but she kills the period costumes. She’s sleek and elegant, like a Lalique hood ornament or a Tiffany candlestick.

    3. Edith: Looking lovely even in distress, but TPTB have to stop feeding her the cattle-prod questions (DC: “Rosamund told me everything . . . Edith: “WHAT!?!” Tom: “Did you get everything done in London . . . Edith: “WHAT!?!”)

    4. Soapy goodness: Husband turned to me and said “any day now Carson is going to enter the drawing room and say ‘There’s a Count Stefano DiMera here to see Lady Mary.’ I tease because I love: keep it coming.

    5. Bates: Too dark by half this episode. When he was “baiting” Anna about whether she had gone off Greene, I shuddered. He knows it was Greene, and that was just a horrible, diabolical thing to say to your wife (anyone, really). That said, I don’t think he would have been able to kill Greene, but it sets up a heck of a red herring.

    6. Baxter: What a lovely, interesting face the actress has. She can be severe one minute and luminous the next. I’m afraid to ship her with Molesly in case she’s done something truly awful.

    • Shawn EH

      Just Molesly’s luck if so though, right? Really liking his macho side coming out in defending her from Barrow.

    • Gatto Nero

      Great points. As for Baxter, she seems not to have a bad bone in her body. I’m guessing that whatever Thomas has on her is mild by modern standards — maybe a sexual scandal or child-out-of-wedlock kind of thing. I’d love to see her and Molesley get together — and for Molesley to prove his mettle by not being put off by [whatever it is].

      • BayTampaBay

        Maybe Baxter had an affair with the husband of her former employer???

      • AnotherJulie

        The way she spoke wistfully to Moseley about being respected in one’s community makes me think she/ her family was involved in some scandal, which Thomas knows about somehow.

  • greenwich_matron

    Super-soapy scenario: Cora finds out that Edith is pregnant and accompanies her to Switzerland. Unable to bear the thought of having her third grandchild raised by the Swiss, she insists on pretending that she had a change of life baby so Edith is the baby’s sister. Mary is livid at hearing that her child is displaced by the heir apparent, and decides to do something about it. She is considering feeding the boy to the pigs when a laundress informs her that Edith’s laundry was suspiciously clean before her and Cora’s joint holiday…

  • Susan Collier

    I had to laugh at Lady Cora this week. She kept popping into scenes (fair plans in hand) completely oblivious to anything going on in her general proximity. I started the Clueless Cora drinking game and got quite tipsy.

  • malarkey

    It does bother me that they portray Cora as being so naive. Oh and omg she said ‘herding cats’ this episode. They really shouldn’t sprinkle in modern phrases like that. But WTH happened with Edith’s beau? I do think Fellowes drags on certain story lines too long. The Daisy/Ivy/Alfred thing, the Anna getting Bates out of prison thing… but I do agree, I’m enjoying this season much more than I thought I would.

  • andreawey

    this was the funnest episode I’ve seen in a looooong time!