Downton Abbey: Tiaras and Intrigue

Posted on February 24, 2014

Dowton-Abbey-Season-Four-FinalePhyllis Logan and Jim Carter in Downton Abbey, on PBS

 

We think it’s fairly safe to say our experience of last night’s episode was quite a bit odder than yours. We realized last week that we’d be in the air flying home from our book signing at the Mall of America while the episode was airing, which meant that live-tweeting it was going to be impossible. But we couldn’t accept the idea of being left out of the conversation while the Downton Abbey finale aired (especially since we’d seen it already, loved it, and knew people would be talking about it) so we got out our screener of the episode last Thursday, popped it in at exactly 9 pm, and composed several hundred tweets in real time, noting the time on each one. On the plane last night, we opened up the document and spent the entire 90 minutes cutting and pasting tweets, without actually watching the show while doing so. It was oddly technical, all the emotion or joking having taken place days before, to an audience of no one. Pre-recorded live-tweeting. Weird.

Anyway, that doesn’t matter, because the first time we watched this episode – and every time since – we were grinning from ear to ear. It couldn’t have been any lighter a confection; a perfectly pleasant hour-and-half composed of tiaras and feather fans and balls with royal attendees. Ninety minutes that were so light-hearted, they all but ended with Mary smiling and shrugging and saying, “Heavens, that murderous valet is terribly loyal. Who am I to judge his indiscretions?” A moment that pretty much tops all the other ahistorical and unlikely “aristocrats being ridiculously lenient with their servants” in the history of this show – and there are a TON of them.

But we don’t watch Downton Abbey for historical accuracy. Any show that has a Yorkshire cook in 1924 utter the line “I suspect we want different things” in order to give a guy (WHO IS ALSO THE MOST ANNOYING STEREOTYPE OF THE BUMFUCKE AMERICAN sorry) the brushoff is not putting such concerns at the very top of their to-do list. No, we watch Downton Abbey because it’s a high-gloss historical melodrama and this season saw Julian Fellowes wholeheartedly embrace that fact, by constructing it top to bottom with the most cliched soap opera tropes you could come up with: rape, scandalous pregnancy, doomed-by-the-times-they-live-in relationship, murder, a grieving beautiful widow and mother with a “desire of suitors,” a grieving, handsome widower and father, fighting off the predatory advances of women who don’t deserve him – it was all there. We kept waiting for it to cut to a laundry detergent commercial.

And believe it or not, that is not a dig; not even a little bit. We’ve said this before about this season, but there’s value in a thing knowing what it is and playing to its strengths. Maybe the audience wants more out of the show than that, but after the dreary “mutilated soldiers and one family death after another” period of the show, we think it needed to course correct. And in a way, it course-corrected right back to its first season, when the youngest daughter was running off and doing scandalous things, the middle daughter was being ignored by her family to a shocking degree, and the oldest daughter found herself embroiled in a farcical sex scandal while simultaneously fighting off the advances of, well … a different desire of suitors. Apparently, half the male aristocracy in England has been putting off marriage for the last decade in the hopes they’d get a shot at Lady Mary Crawley. We’re starting to wonder if Evelyn Napier drove the truck that ran Matthew off the road.

Oh, damn. No one tell Julian Fellowes we said that last bit, you guys. We can’t give him any ideas.

Our point is, to those who say the show got too soap opera this season, we say it’s just returning to its roots. And we’d rather see frothy melodrama from this crowd than serious attempts at historical drama, because Fellowes simply isn’t up to it or interested in it. We enjoyed pretty much every bit of it, even when it got absurd.

This isn’t to say we don’t have criticisms, though. Tom Branson’s story was annoyingly repetitive. The re-introduction of Edna Braithwaite made him look weak and stupid, while the followup Miss Bunting has turned out to be pushy and obnoxious, if not downright rude. We’re not sure what the point is supposed to be except that, Sybil notwithstanding, he seems to have horrible taste in women.

Also, Anna’s rape turned out to be All About Bates, a character who seems to fascinate Julian Fellowes and almost no one else. We can’t imagine the story of his committed murder is closed, but we also can’t imagine he’d be so foolish as to write another Bates-on-trial storyline. Then again, O’Brien managed to never have to pay for or admit to her soap shenanigans, so maybe the matter really is closed. Either way, it didn’t fascinate us as much as we suspect Fellowes intended, given how much time he spent on it. And it’s a bit disturbing how little Anna’s rape had to do with Anna in the story.

On the other hand, we couldn’t help but laugh at the Criminal-on-Tap position he holds in the Crawley household now, forging letters and picking pockets, all on behalf of the family’s good name. It’s silly, but we could see how such a development could be fun if its deployed lightly and infrequently. The little Scooby Gang escapade to save the British monarchy from another scandal was surprisingly fun to our eyes, capping off the episode with an out-of-left-field, but nonetheless very satisfying, fairy tale ending, as Cousin Rose (who, we don’t care what anyone says, has turned out to be a better character than anyone could have expected) got to dance at her coming out ball with a real live prince and heir to the throne. It doesn’t get much glossier than that.

But then there’s the whole thing Fellowes has about elevating and whitewashing the aristocracy, to the detriment of any Americans or working class people portrayed in the story, from the original Beverly Hillbillies, The Levinson family, to their clearly brain damaged valet, and even to the obnoxious Miss Bunting and weak-willed Tom, not to mention the sociopathic Barrow. “These are your people now,” Violet says to Tom at the ball, and even we have to groan and roll our eyes at that one. Forget historical accuracy; that strikes us inaccurate for the character as she’s been written up till now. She may be a kinder woman than she was a decade ago, but she’s no less imperious or in love with the class system which has shaped her whole life. Granted, he occasionally gives us a chance to see the seedier side of the British upper classes, with con men and card sharks populating the background (and in this episode, partially driving the main story), but most of the time, if there’s a crime or morally bad act being committed on this show, it’s being committed by someone much lower on the class or social scale than the beloved Crawley family, who are strangely interested in the lives of their servants.

But at this stage of the game with this show, you pretty much know these things already. They’re worth pointing out in order to put the show in perspective, but it’s not going to change. This is Fellowes’ baby and this is how he thinks.

Still, we get lovely scenes of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, gingerly wading into the ocean, holding on to each other, and almost literally testing the waters on the idea of something more than an intense working relationship. Part of us loved the idea of them having a non-romantic, non-sexual marriage in all but name. We felt it was unique and an interesting way to highlight the kinds of working relationships that occur in the community under the stairs. But a show has to move forward and as it advances into late middle age (we’re guessing) what was subtext now has to become text in order for it to feel like it’s progressing. We know that final scene made a whole lot of Carson/Hughes shippers thrilled.

As for Lady Mary, we love watching her gowns and dropping bitchy bon mots into a scene, but we’re really not all that interested in her love prospects at the moment. It feels like supremely well-tread ground and to be perfectly honest, nothing about any of her potential suitors strike us as all that distinct from each other or from Matthew, to be honest. They should bring Richard Carlisle back. He was an asshole, but they had real fire together. These pouty-lipped aristos are boring as hell.

And finally, Lady Edith really doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks anymore, she’s taking control of her own goddamn life, right under the noses of the assholes who ignore her so much. Is this a semi-happy ending for her and her baby, now being raised in secret by the hottest little farmer in Yorkshire? We don’t know, but it’s a story turn rich with possibilities. Now more than ever we think that if Fellowes ever gets tired of the current show and wants to either re-energize it or turn it over to someone else, they should skip ahead to World War II and show us the lives of George Crawley, Sybbie Branson, and Whatever-her-name-is; three cousins, wildly apart on the class scale, living in the same tiny English village during the War. How cool would that be?

But we’re fine with sticking to the “here and now” of the mid-1920s. There’s still story to be told, after all. In the end, we are going to want to know who Mary marries and if Edith finds permanent love in her life (or whether she’ll have to console herself by being a fucking fabulous London newspaper editor), and what’s going to happen next with the surprisingly tender Molesley/Baxter pairing, and the Carson/Hughes one, for that matter. We’re going to want to know if Tom ever snaps the hell out of being pushed around by others and whether Isobel is going to realize a good thing when it lands her lap. For all its frothiness, Fellowes managed to lay the groundwork for a ton of story possibilities down the road. That’s probably the show’s greatest strength. There’s still much to tell about the characters after all this time.

 

 

 

 

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

    • ScarlettHarlot

      My favorite outfits from last night:

      10. Isobel’s ball gown – she looked so modern next to Violet
      9. Rosamunde’s blue dress with coral details
      8. Everyone’ picnic outfits – so lovely in creams
      7. Miss Dudley-Ward’s blue and gold ball gown
      6. Miss Dudley-Ward’s gold flapper gown
      5. Rose’s pink drawing room dress with white beading
      4. Daisy’s seaside outfit, especially the hat
      3. Mary’s dark blue evening gown with the metallic chain detail at the neckline
      2. Edith’s heiroglyph dress
      1. Bates by the sea!

      Least favorite: Both of Rose’s formal gowns. I do not like the dropped waist with Marie Antoinette hips at all. Was this a common silhouette?

      • Chris

        I loved Rose’s presentation gown but I enjoy seeing that style used that so many period films try to ignore or skip over. It was truly a high fashion look for the time that many of the major designers of the time presented. It’s like flapper meets panniers. The 1920’s were interesting for Court Gowns because they tried to mesh the new style with all of the old requirements for the presentation gowns.

        • Tally Ho

          Speaking of the presentation, I enjoyed watching that bit because it made you realize how bizarre the whole tradition was (and my mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers were also “presented” – to their local societies in provincial American cities). But reading through the British forums apparently Fellowes made a lot of errors with the presentation scene. The bows weren’t right, they turned their backs to the monarch afterwards and even the king’s speaking to Rose was apparently a big no-no. Then again even all these historical errors only serves to emphasize the point how damn silly these presentations and debutante traditions were.

          • Chris

            I thought of that while watching when Rose turned around, that they were supposed to back away. Also wasn’t there some kind of rank about how many white feathers were worn by whom? And weren’t trains mandatory? Fellowes seems to play fast and loose with a lot of society rules.

            • Andrew Schroeder

              The debs wore two, the sponsors (and any married woman) wore three. And yes, trains were mandatory for any woman attending court, although the rules were becoming somewhat lax by this point.

            • Kathryn

              The lack of backing caught my eye too. Backing while wearing a train must have been a little tricky to say the least.

            • David Fox

              From what I read, there was a male officer who spread out the train that was previous held in the left hand when the lady entered the presentation room. There was a second officer who would gather up the train and hand to the lady prior to her backing out.

              The whisper about the chamber pot behind a screen is a somewhat famous quote describing matters in 1923. The ladies were warned on their liquid intake given the very long wait in the carriages and at the palace with its limited facilities. No outer garments could be brought into the palace and had to be left in the carriage.

          • BayTampaBay

            Very Silly! How true! But sometimes a girl just needs an excuse to buy a very expensive dress.

          • greenwich_matron

            Turning their back was so obvious that I wondered if JF was trolling me…

        • Constant Reader

          I have a family wedding photograph from the 20s where the bride is wearing a dress that shape. So apparently it was a look that tricked down to the masses for formal events — because believe me, nobody in my family was (or is) in danger of being “upper class.”:)

          • ScarlettHarlot

            Interesting! Is your family British or American?

            • Constant Reader

              My family is American. I’d have to dig the photograph out, but the bride was definitely the daughter of immigrants from Portugal, even if she was born here. Also, the young lady probably worked in a mill in Fall River, MA and didn’t have much more than a middle school education. She was certainly not of Lady Rose’s class. But the women in my family do tend toward being as stylish as their means allow!

      • Mary Stone

        Yes that was in the early 20’s actually, the style is called “Robe de Style” I believe Madeline Vionnet was one of the designers who was known for this silhouette.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Thank you all for the info! I was unfamiliar with that cut of dress. I just found it awkward and incongruous, flapper on top, French court on the bottom. That is interesting that it’s so rarely featured in period pieces set in the ’20’s.

      • Andrew Schroeder

        This style of dress was called a “robe de style” and was a popular alternative to the columnar styles which were obviously not flattering on everyone.

      • Ginger Thomas

        Love the clothing from this time period! But I was a bit surprised that Rose wore red at her coming-out ball. Don’t debs usually wear white?

        • Chris

          They certainly did in “The Reluctant Debutant!”

        • Munchkn

          According to wikipedia, they did. The article on debutante dress is an interesting read as is the corresponding article on debutantes. The young woman was presented at Court by another woman, usually her mother, who had also been presented when she was young. I don’t know if Core would have qualified although Violet might have presented Cora prior to her marriage to Lord Crawley.

          • Tally Ho

            According to Princess Margaret it was because “every tart in London was getting in.”

            I’m sure it had a lot to do with that it was very boring for the monarch and also because they were increasingly sensitive to displays of privilege in the class-conscious austerity of post-war Britain.

            • Munchkn

              That’s funny about “every tart in London getting in.”

              I just noticed on the citations list on wikipedia that Julian Fellowes actually wrote a novel about the debutante season of 1968, Past Imperfect.

          • greenwich_matron

            I saw an exhibit in 2008 at Kensington Palace about the history of debutantes. It had a lot of gowns (I vividly remember one from the 1920s). I found the most interesting thing was that they never gave any clue how the debs of 1958 must have felt. They must have had some sense that they were the edge of the old guard, but the exhibit didn’t mention it at all.

      • Qitkat

        I couldn’t even compare or keep track of all the gown changes last evening. Every one of them seemed so beautiful to me in its own way. The episode is worth re-watching just to admire the gowns more in detail.

        • Tally Ho

          It’s funny because when the show first started I thought the gowns worn circa 1912-1914 were fabulous and was dreading the 1920s and stereotypes of these plain boring dull frocks. But so far I’ve been proven wrong. It’s possibly the first production where the “modern” clothes are even more impressive than the earlier fashions.

          If you revisit the first season and then see the same characters in the 1920s it’s amazing how much styles have changed in just one decade. These women really saw a radical shift in what they wore and how they wore it. But at the same time it’s also interesting to see what’s remained consistent, at least for upper class women, for while the dresses simplified there’s still a great deal of attention to embroidery and detailed finery. It’s these small detailing that makes the 1920s dresses sparkle in a way I hadn’t expected them to.

          • Carrps

            Yes, and women’s dress was a highly political issue in the early twentieth century.

      • Lilithcat

        That’s Mrs. Dudley Ward.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          You are correct – hence the extra-scandalousness of the scandalous letter!

          • Tina Kramer

            Interesting bit of trivia: Edward Fox, the brother of the actor who played Lord Aysgarth was once married to the real Freda Dudley Ward’s granddaughter.

            • Chickadeep

              …Edward Fox also played the Prince of Wales in the ’70s miniseries “Edward and Mrs. Simpson.”

            • BayTampaBay

              Seems all of the British no matter what the profession (drama or Royalty) are quite incestuous

              .

      • Judy_S

        Wow, ScarlettHarlot, you made me actually want to watch the episode instead of just enjoy T-Lo (and others) discussing its sillinesses. This sounds really seriously worth seeing.

        • Chris

          There is some serious fashion eye candy in this episode. Everyone is in London for “the season” and they are dressed to the nines.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Thanks! There were really so many good outfits in the episode (I didn’t even scratch the surface) it’s worth a watch or two!

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I liked Rose’s blue dress that she wore early in the episode, when they went to the Jazz club.

    • Chris

      I think the reason Rose worked so well in this episode is because she was shown to her best advantage. She is an exceptionally beautiful young woman who has the perfect shape and look to show off the fashions of the period. Every dress she wore was more stunning than the last, culminating in her Court Presentation Gown. She wasn’t given much acting to do and was used to introduce other good looking, and more interesting characters into the mix so I found her far more likeable than I ever have before.

      • Shawn EH

        What she was given she was fine at, though: chatting with the rich girls, asking unusual things of the servants (something she’s practised at), being intimidated and respectful and “not a flapper.” She’s very convincing as a priveleged member of a priveleged family, distant cousin or not. And lucky daughter of everyone’s favorite Shrimpy.

      • Kathryn

        Rose did show a lot of poise in the social situations in this episode but she’s still pretty self-centered and unaware overall. I had to laugh when Mrs.Patmore was obviously restraining herself from slapping Rose’s hand when Rose started helping herself to some nibbles from the food being prepared in the kitchen.

        • Chris

          Oh definitely, she hasn’t grown as a character she just didn’t have a lot of “acting’ to do here. The light frothy plot suited her talents and she really was made to wear those 1920’s gowns. She and Mary are both stunning in them but so different. She’s all bubbles and light and Mary is like a cold but beautiful marble statue.

    • Diane

      I really enjoyed last night’s episode. I am also glad to know that I am not the only one who can’t keep track of Mary’s desire of suitors. Two of them look so much a like to me that I never know which one is which.

      • Chris

        I had to laugh out loud at the scene with Mary and “Tony” where she basically tells him she’s going to keep dangling them all on a string as long as she pleases but really he should be glad and celebrate with her because she has decided she will be happy and have a new life! Really it’s all about Lady Mary!

        • Tally Ho

          I rewatched a few episodes from Season 2.

          Damn. Carlisle was a much better character than I’d remembered. Sure, he was a creep, but he was a real match for Mary. That was an interesting dynamic and the Gillingham/Blake characters don’t really match up.

          • Chris

            Yes, he was scary, but oddly the only one who seemed like they weren’t completely railroaded by Mary. You can’t say there weren’t sparks.

          • Kathryn

            Agree that Carlisle and Mary would have been much more interesting match over the long-term – their relationship would really have given a chance to highlight the differences between old and new money. It also seems a more realistic match than all of these good-looking young aristos of this season who somehow managed to survive the war unscathed.

            I remember how on one Christmas Day, Carlisle pitched a fit that the family served themselves a cold lunch because the servants were given that time off and was all “We won’t be serving ourselves like this when we’re at my manor house!” But it was sweet how when he said goodbye to Mary after she broke off their engagement, he told her that he really had loved her a lot.

          • GillianHolroyd

            god yes, Carlisle was a brilliant missed opportunity. Instead of a cardboard villain, there was the chance to have a seriously complicated character. I’ll bet Fellowes was regretting that when his pet Matthew had to be written out at the end of Season 3.

        • Frank_821

          I actually liked that scene because if nothing else, Mary is being honest. And at least she is upfront her first consideration is her son and their legacy. Mary is savvy enough to know she’s got to move with the times but she’s going to preserve as much of her way of life as possible. Her thoughts about turning down Blake at least showed some self-awareness about her priorities, Downton comes first

      • Kate Andrews

        I know! They are about the same height, and the hair is similar. And at this stage, I couldn’t recognize Evelyn in a lineup.

        • BayTampaBay

          Evelyn Napier is the one who with the appearance and mannerisms of someone who will turn out to have Great-Great-Grandson who becomes a billionaire by being a tech geek..

        • Call me Bee

          Agreed–except I do remember he’s very tall…

        • Laughingworld

          Evelyn has lighter hair than the other two.

      • 4JJ

        I know! I have the same problem.

    • Scimommy

      I wondered how, right after “live-tweeting” the show for 90 minutes, you were all, “Hey, we just landed!” But you wouldn’t know anything was different from the tweets, which were great as usual. Nice bit of planning!

      Don’t have much to say about the ep that you didn’t say already. I can see how the Edith storyline can get extremely painful should Michael Gregson return, as I suspect he will at some point. They made a point of letting us know that the farmer’s wife dotes on children and will know nothing of this baby’s parentage. If it turns into a plot of ripping that child from the arms of the only mother she knows, the mother who loves her dearly, it will be painful as hell to watch. Of course, knowing Julian Fellowes, he’ll probably make it more about Lord Grantham’s pain or something.

      • Tally Ho

        Eh. I had to feel sorry for poor Mrs. Schroder, who no doubt eagerly waited for the baby for months and got to play mother for a few weeks till Edith changed her mind.

        • RohanMBN

          Completely agree. I understand where Edith is coming from, but at the end of the day that did not settle down well with me. I have a sneaking feeling this is going to blow up in her face. Nothing seems to go in Edith’s favor. At least not for long.

          • ScarlettHarlot

            As Edith observed, sometimes it seems that God doesn’t want her to be happy!

            • BayTampaBay

              You are correct! God does not want Edith to be happy…he wants Laura Carmichael to act her ass off and win an Emmy Award!

            • Anne

              I do hope so. She’s pretty fantastic this season.

            • Gatto Nero

              I’m hoping that next season she’ll be rewarded for taking control of her life finally.

            • Saturnine

              Those on the “outs” were poised this week to take control of their own destinies: Baxter (thanks to her chats with Molesly), Edith (thanks to her talk with Tom), and Madeline (who refused to be her Dad’s sacrificial lamb, thanks to Harold). I wonder how it will turn out for all of them.

          • GillianHolroyd

            oh yes, I have no doubt that Gregson is going to recover from his coma/secret mission/undercover reporting job in time to make an appearance on the next Christmas Special, his wife having died in the intervening months, and the tenant farmer and his wife will nobly give up the child. Yes, Fellowes is that much of a hack.

            • suzq

              Before that happens, I want to see Edith slogging through the streets of Munich or Berlin or wherever the hell he is.

        • Chris

          I do think that is sad for Mrs. Schroder, but still not as bad as Edith giving birth to her daughter, nursing her for four full months then having to give her away. I really cannot blame Edith for this decision. Once she gathered her strength and courage she knew what she had to do. I also think the possible financial independence Gregson’s legacy could offer her made her able to pull it off on her own.

          • Qitkat

            When it was mentioned about her keeping the baby til weaning, my heart really ached for her. All that bonding, which I know from personal experience, would rip most women’s hearts out to give the child away at that point. No wonder, she has been brooding over the decision ever since. But it will certainly be written to be even more heart-breaking to have her daughter just down the road, anonymously. It will become very convoluted. It’s such a sad story for everyone who is involved, all the mothers and replacement mothers. Truth will out at some point.

            • Tally Ho

              No one’s mentioned the parallels with Edna and her baby. Edith’s in a similar predicament. At least while Edna’s baby was adopted by the rich grandparents to be raised as a proper child of the upper classes, it will be extraordinarily difficult for Edith’s baby to be accepted and recognized by the upper classes.

            • Qitkat

              Thanks for the reminder of that storyline. Edith’s daughter may grow up to be bitter and resentful of being robbed of her heritage (which of course would have been difficult to secure under these circumstances), when she learns the truth someday, or times may have changed enough that by the end of WWII, she can be a strong woman in her own right (Edith can give her POA over the inherited newspaper, or at least put money aside for her to inherit in some way). But I think the truth will come out much sooner, as the children grow up and possibly get to know one another, someone will wonder why Edith is so attentive to this farmer’s daughter. It is a very tricky predicament. In my own family there are those to this day that don’t know someone was born out of wedlock, or the truth behind the loss of a child.

            • BayTampaBay

              Somethings never change. It all comes down to money. How much money did Gregson have and who did he leave it too?

              Is he divorced yet from the crazy wife?

            • Selkiechick

              With all the talk of will and legacies, I feel like everyone has forgotten her, and she’s bound to inherit….

            • scoobynacks

              I don’t think you can completely disinherit a spouse. That’s been the law for awhile, I don’t know if it was then. Gregson would be making his wife a burden on society where I would imagine he’s paying for her care in a facility right now. She may be crazy, but she’d still inherit. Now maybe Gregson can give Edith power of attorney over his wife’s affairs while he’s gone. Presumably someone would have to be guardian. Maybe we can meet Mrs. Gregson next season. What if she’s not really crazy? What if Gregson gaslighted her? She might end up having the money or something and to get it and get rid of her he had her declared crazy, then met Edith and is like ‘oh crap, I can’t divorce her now and if I say she’s not crazy it’ll bite me in the butt, but I really wanna marry Edith.’

            • Chris

              I’m thinking that Gregson will show up at some point. Maybe he’s in a hospital in Germany with amnesia? Assuming he is alive and can get divorced the best thing for Edith would be for them to marry and move to the U.S. to start a paper there with their daughter. They wouldn’t be important enough for the scandal to follow them to America.

            • Tally Ho

              We already had the Canadian with the amnesia. I’d be pissed if Fellowes tries to pull off another amnesia excuse. Oh well, it is soap opera.

            • Chris

              Fellowes loves to recycle stuff, think of all the “magic” letters, secret babies and pushy women chasing Tom we have already seen. Another amnesia case is right down his alley.

            • Qitkat

              But this would make too much sense, especially because given the brown coats beating he apparently took, amnesia would actually make sense in this case. And they could tell Americans (or any other group of folks) anything they darn well pleased.

            • Chris

              Oh don’t call them browncoats- that’s for Firefly, Lol. I didn’t do my history research on this one but I assume the guys in the brown shirts were the precursors to the Nazis?

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

              Yes – the the brown shirts were the early Nazi militia, I think.

            • suzq

              The Sturmabteilung got their start in a Munich beer hall in 1921. Munich tried to outlaw them but they rose again in 1923. By the late 20’s they were in full force, causing havoc all over the place. In 1934, Hitler grew concerned that they had the potential to overthrow him and he purged them completely (the Blood Purge.) Four years later, Kristalnacht.

            • Qitkat

              Oops. Yes I believe they were the precursors to the Nazis.

            • scoobynacks

              We know Edith loves her amnesia victims. ;)

            • 3boysful

              And there’s the irony.

            • Tina Kramer

              That was Ethel, not Edna.

        • greenwich_matron

          I felt bad for her too, but someone had to lose and I’m glad Edith finally decided that it wasn’t going to be her.

      • Tina Kramer

        My prediction is that Drew dies and his wife decides to leave Downton which will bring all sorts of complications since no one is supposed to know the baby is actually Edith’s child and exactly why would Edith care that a farmer’s widow wants to leave the area and live somewhere else?

    • Tally Ho

      I liked Martha Levinson much better this time around. Looks like Fellowes noticed the criticism from us over here.

      I must say the dialogue between Martha and Violet at the end of the episode was striking. When Martha delivered the line about Violet’s world falling behind and in that single moment the expression on Violet’s face changed to one of fear, which that tells us the dowager countess, despite all her bravado and beliefs, really knows that her world is rapidly changing and not for the better. Maggie Smith is such an amazing actress to change a scene from a comedy to tragedy with just one look on her face.

      The irony is, of course, is that Madam Levinson’s own world is also going to rapidly change within a decade. The stock market crash, the great depression and Roosevelt’s highly regressive taxation policies of the 1930s and 1940s crippled the incomes of the US rich, particularly people living off capital like Martha and Harold Levinson. All their great big barns in Newport and New York and other robber baron piles across America became white elephants overnight, unable to be sold for more than a fraction of what it cost to build them.

      • Qitkat

        Excellent points.
        Martha still felt to me about as substantial as a paper doll though. Unlike TLo, I thought the storyline, such as it was, showed greater depth to the Harold character.

        • Anne

          I agree about Harold. I thought that character was going to be some kind of useless slob, and Paul Giamatti gave him so much warmth and intelligence.

          • Tally Ho

            My only real disappointment is that given how Robert lost Cora’s entire fortune in Season 3, which her father presumably spent years building up and possibly worked himself into an early grave, surely Harold and Martha would be contemptuous to Robert, the f*cking idiot who lost half of Papa Levinsons’ fortune? I’d have liked it if Harold, the big financier, had made a few snide comments about the lost fortune…

            • suzq

              Teapot Dome, which Robert had to help him talk his way out of, knocked him down a peg or two.

      • Kathryn

        Great point about the American rich shortly facing major challenges to their way of life as well.

        But both this time and last time, the Martha Levinson character felt like nails on a chalkboard to me. “I’m so modern, you British are all fuddy duddies, etc etc”. And I don’t find her very believable as Lady Grantham’s mother – they seem nothing like each other in looks or attitude. And if you dislike the British upper class so much why would you have your daughter marry into it?

        I will give her points for smarts though, by playing Lord Aysgarth when he was trying to play her. And gotta her love her offer to set him up with some “rich, old widows who care more about a title I do” – ha!

        • Tina Kramer

          Better yet, why did you have your English peer son-in-law show up to lend support to your son when he was in trouble if you don’t care about titles and all that?

        • Ellen Findley

          That was exactly what bothered me. “Oh, you have a title? Good thing I don’t care about any of that—except when it comes to my daughter.”

      • SundayNights

        The way Maggie Smith played that final moment of dialogue from Martha
        Levinson made me wonder if it was Violet’s final scene. She’s
        definitely been played this season as more frail and elderly. She’s
        still a powerhouse, but her age was showed more this season than ever. I hope not, but it was a scalding moment.

        • Anne

          I thought that was how the episode was going to end.

        • smh4748

          I think even JF realizes that killing off Violet is show suicide. Unless Maggie Smith wants out, I think he’ll keep Violet around as long as he needs to, even if it involves the family celebrating her 110th birthday.

          • scoobynacks

            Won’t spoil it for anybody but Julian’s commented on what would happen if Maggie wanted to leave the show. Should be easy to google.

      • Mary Stone

        I confess to being disappointed in both of Shirley McClaine’s appearances as Martha Levinson, she seems awfully wooden. I did enjoy her verbal sparring with the Dowager Countess, but as always the Dowager Countess got off the best bon mots: “I see the gang’s all here”….”Is that American for Hello?”

      • David Fox

        I was hoping that the spat between Martha and Violet included a comment on the presentation at court. Martha could have commented on feathers being worn by the Native Americans.

    • BayTampaBay

      With respects to the retrieval of the stolen Edward VIII
      –Freda Dudley-Ward letter caper, Joe Heim of the Washington Post could not have
      said it better, “I sort of wished these scenes were played in fast motion and
      set to “Benny Hill” theme music because I am sure the letter is probably a
      1920s version of an Anthony Weiner tweet”.

      • John Morrissey

        That’s hilarious!!!

    • Saturnine

      I liked the little thing going on between Uncle Harold and Madeline. I was generally annoyed by the scattershot repertoire of new characters, but their little vignette seemed sweet.

      • Chris

        I liked Harold and Madeline as well. My only complaint- what casting person thought Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth McGovern look like siblings?

        • Tally Ho

          I had the same thought last night too.

          Harold as son of Martha Levinson? Believable.

          But Harold and Cora as siblings? He’s short and dumpy, she’s tall and willowy? No match whatsoever.

          • Lilithcat

            I know many siblings who are extremely different in their physical appearance. For instance, I have a friend who is dark and heavy-set, but has a sister who is slim and blond. If you didn’t know them, you’d never guess they were related, but one took after their mother, the other after their father.

        • Call me Bee

          The same casting person who thought the three Crawley girls look like siblings. Mary and Edith I can almost see, but Sibyl looked like the milkman’s daughter. Much prettier than the other two.

          • Tally Ho

            Must disagree. Mary and Sibyl totally looked like siblings and the daughters of Cora. There’s a few scenes when it’s just Cora, Mary and Sibyl and it’s so real.

            Edith was the odd one out but that could be attributed to taking after her father’s side of the family. So it worked for me.

            • Call me Bee

              Huh…OK.

            • BayTampaBay

              Edith’s red hair runs on both side of the family as Lady Rosamund has it as well as Martha Levinson,

            • honey604 MA

              Martha Levinson’s color is from a bottle, I’m sure.

            • Qitkat

              I HATE Shirley MacLaine’s makeup and hair for this character. Dreadful.

            • travelgirl28

              I so agree with you. The hairstyle is so unflattering, it makes her look like she has a moonface. Awful.

            • Mary Stone

              YES! Jack Nicholson’s “Joker” makeup was more subtle.

            • Gatto Nero

              That’s got to be a wig on Martha. No woman that age has hair like that — even dyed.
              They’re intentionally making her garish and tasteless.

            • BayTampaBay

              Not so sure…. Why would Martha (or anyone) die their hair that color if it was not that color to begin with?

            • Chris

              That’s how I saw it too. The “prettier” girls looked more like their mother and Edith’s looks and coloring came from “Dad’s” side.

            • Lilithcat

              Edith, despite what we’re being led to believe, is the pretty one. The other two, particularly Mary, have very boring faces. Nothing interesting about them.

            • Alloy Jane

              Edith, by American standards, is very beautiful. But the dark-haired sisters, I’m guessing, are beautiful by Jane Austen standards. I defer to Mansfield Park for this one, with the description of Edmund’s finding Fanny’s fairness as an acceptable substitute for Mary Crawford’s dark beauty. There’s a line in there about blue eyes being just as lovely as dark eyes, and I remember thinking how odd it was that light eyes could be considered boring. But I guess if you live in a nation filled with light eyes, dark eyes would be appealing just because they are unusual.

              But I don’t find Sybil or Mary to have boring faces. Then again, I don’t think KStew’s face is that boring either, but everyone else I know in the real world think she’s plain as wonder bread fresh from the bag.

            • AnneElliot

              It’s pretty amazing how much Lady Mary looks like Cora. I didn’t think Sybil looked that much like either one, other than the dark hair.

            • Saturnine

              So true– Cora and Mary were walking up the stairs in a recent episode, and they looked identical. The same hairstyle helped.

            • veriance

              I kept expecting Rosamund to reveal something succulent to Edith about her own life, didn’t happen. Which is probably for the best.

            • Qitkat

              Now that we’re more intrigued with her, we might be rewarded next season. Or not :(

            • Paula Pertile

              I was wondering about that too – it seemed Rosamund was just on the verge of revealing that she, too, had had a child out of wedlock, once upon a time.

            • Tally Ho

              While it was never specifically said on screen, the early promotional materials on DA mentioned that Rosamund had two children, a son and daughter, and the son was in the army. Then again it wouldn’t be the first show to conveniently ignore prior histories.

            • Paula Pertile

              OK, thanks. I didn’t remember anything about her having kids. Odd they never mention it?

            • BayTampaBay

              Sir Julian could write them in as step-children from Marmaduke’s first marriage?????

            • suzq

              Maybe…she’s Edith’s real mom!!!! Hah!

            • jeeplibby02

              Love that theory.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              Or it’s just genetic routlette. Edith’s grandmother (on her mother’s side) is a red-head, and her aunt is a red-head, so it’s in the gene pool.

        • jonnyf8

          I was apalled when I heard Giamatti had been cast as the brother/son. I’ve always found MacLaine believable as McGovern’s mother in that Elizabeth/Cora looks like she could be Warren Beatty’s daughter. Nothing about Giamatti resembles either actress. Even the way the character is written is not believable as relative of either woman.
          Of course my whole fantasy is that Cora’s brother would be a handsome “bachelor” who would hire Thomas to be his “valet” and they would sail off into the Newport sunset.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think Giamatti is a natural red headed ginger but his hair was so short last night that one could not tell.

          • veriance

            I too found Harold completely unbelievable. He was a caricature. Disappointing. Giamatti is a wonderful actor and worked with what he was given.

            • GillianHolroyd

              Yes, the part was terribly written.

          • Alloy Jane

            I have a sister that doesn’t resemble anyone in the family. Not anyone from my dad’s or mom’s side, it’s weird. Her oldest son looks exactly like her but her middle one looks similar to me (I look like my dad) and her youngest one was even more like me (but with his dad’s eyes and nose) and even had the sandy blonde hair I had when he was a baby. My people are from Central America, but my cousin is half White (maternal grandad was regular White guy, maternal grandma ethnically Jewish) and she looks EXACTLY like one of my paternal aunts. Her brother looks like a 50/50 mix of their parents. The physical manifestation of genetics is very interesting, so when people are cast not looking terribly alike, it doesn’t bother me because that’s just how it is in real life. Genetics: the ultimate lottery.

        • Lower L

          My older sister and I look nothing alike. She takes after my mother’s side, I take after my father’s side. I just presumed that Harold takes after his father.

          • Chris

            That was my theory for Cora as she really doesn’t have the height, looks or coloring of her “Mom.”

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            I know what you mean. I have an older brother, and we look nothing alike. He looks more like my mother’s side of the family, while I look more like my father’s side of the family.

    • GinnyThePainter

      I kept waiting for Anna to yell at Lady Mary, “Listen, if you don’t shut up
      about this murder thing, Bates will go back to jail. You think this show can
      survive another Bates-In-Jail subplot? Another season of watching Brendan Coyle
      walk around in circles while most of the audience slips into comas? Is that
      what you want, you meddling, pasty-faced Aristotwat?”

      • Chris

        And was anyone else rolling their eyes and groaning about the fact that Bates apparently kept the incriminating piece of evidence laying about in his coat pocket for eight full months for someone to find? When all he had to do is rip it up and throw it away on the walk home?

        • AnneElliot

          Yes, that whole thing was so contrived. That entire subplot was pretty silly though it was fun to see them figure out how to get the card shark back in the house and the Levinsons out for the evening. I seriously thought they were going to get Bates to pick the lock for them.

          • Tina Kramer

            To me, that was a sign that he probably didn’t do it.

            • Ellen Findley

              In the world of Downton, things are rarely as they seem.

        • Gatto Nero

          Yes — I thought the same thing about the train ticket and commented on it earlier. A glaring error on Fellowes’ part.

          • scoobynacks

            I dunno, he would’ve offed him when it was colder. The ball would’ve been in the summer–July I think. I could see him just not wearing the coat afterward so he doesn’t have a reason to remember to clean out the pockets, thinking nobody’s gonna know what a ticket to London would even be about if they did find it. Most of them don’t know about Anna’s rape, remember. He definitely wouldn’t expect Mrs. Hughes or Lady Mary to have seen the contents of his pockets. Thomas was gone when he did it, and I don’t think he knows about Green’s death yet, so he won’t put two and two together even if he went through Bates’ things.

        • 3boysful

          Agreed. But I think this storyline is over and done. I think there was a distinct note of finality the way Lady Mary chucked that ticket into the fire.

          • decormaven

            I sincerely hope so. It seemed oh so very convenient that the incriminating ticket stayed in Bates’ coat pocket until the fateful trip to London. That plot note fell flat for me.

        • lauraq99

          for real! If I murdered someone I would not save the train ticket I used to get there for 8 months. And how very unlikely that Mrs. Hughes would start up a used-coats-for-orphans drive, and Mr Bates would simultaneously buy his first new coat in decades?

          • Heather

            Indeed, I always dispose of the evidence after a murder. :-)

      • John Morrissey

        I was yelling ” You just told everyone you have no trouble lying and NOW you have a conscience?”

    • MilaXX

      The live tweeting was awesome. The work you guys put into this blog is amazing.

    • Frank_821

      Yes Miss Bunting is obnoxious and a working class snob. She might not be villainous like Edna, but she’s wrong for Tom

      I thought they showed the nobility in a surprising poor light. The Levinsons and their servants may have been ridiculed but Martha and her son are no fools. They the the Brits look down on them and only bother with them because of their wealth. The nobles and many of they older servants were shown for major hypocrites. They are a lot more corrupt than anything Harold did.

      The storyline with Thomas was lame. Tom Branson has been living there for over 2 years and NOW Thomas starts bitching about having to wait on him. Come JF that just didn’t ring true. If you can’t come up with better more nuanced motivations than don’t bother. If he was showing some misplaced loyalty to Sybil and seeing Miss Bunting as another Edna, THAT would make sense for him to rat Tom out.

      good lord

      • BayTampaBay

        I think the storyline of Tom Branson and Barrows and Lord Grantham is just a set up for next season….a cliffhanger to be resolved…who gets bitched out…whose side does Lord Grantham take Branson or Barrows? Upon his return from America, Lord Grantham was fed-up “to here” with Barrows and expressed his feelings/frustrations to Bates at the Garden Party

        • Chris

          I’d like to see:
          1.) Thomas have a good and interesting storyline for a change.
          2.) Tom to be interested enough to pursue a woman again, not just be the wishy-washy object of some pushy woman’s attentions and scorn.

          • Tina Kramer

            To be fair, this was really the first season he was basically a background character and without a real storyline. I was very disappointed too and I hope he gets more action in Season 5. I still think there’s a chance for him and Jimmy to get together but JF has said the idea of unrequited love is very appealing to him so maybe that stays the way it is.

        • Tina Kramer

          Actually, I think the whole storyline of Thomas trying to get Tom Branson in trouble was kind of meant to be a counterpoint to what happened in the Season 3 Christmas show with Edna Braithwaite. If you recall, Branson was terrified at the idea that anyone would think he had gotten above himself and he accepted all kinds of impertinent behavior from Edna because of that.

          This time, when Thomas pulled the “We can sit together in the back because you’re no better than I am” he was able to pull rank and not feel guilty about it.

          I think it was kind of about him finally accepting his place in the family.

          • BayTampaBay

            How times have changed…..I would not think twice about sitting in the back seat with anyone who I new for sure was not an ax murderer.

      • another_laura

        Working class snob – yes, this. A really bad plot line, to have Tom interested in such a young woman, on her way to being annoying strident.

        I think they have to get rid of Tom or Thomas because I can’t stand having multiple people with the same name. If JF would do it, I’d much rather have him get Thomas pushed off a cliff or head to the U.S. I thought Thomas ‘ratting out’ Tom to Lord G was a teeny bridge too far with the freedom of this household’s staff to speak to the family.

        • Gatto Nero

          As lord of the manor, Grantham should have put Thomas in his place about calling the behavior of a member of the family into question. His tolerance of this “ratting out” was unbelievable.

          • 3boysful

            I think Thomas was so annoyed and had been seething in his head about having to continue to call Branson “Sir,” and felt so gleeful that he “caught” him, that he couldn’t help himself. Nonetheless, am shocked Lord G didn’t rip him a new one.

            • Gatto Nero

              Yes. I’m not surprised that Thomas “ratted,” but I find Lord G’s reaction false.

            • Tina Kramer

              I was expecting him to get angry too or at least accuse him of being a tattletale. He just looked annoyed to me.

        • desertwind

          I don’t think Miss Bunting is working class. She’s working it too hard. Trying to live what she believes. Rebel-ish.

          There’s something a bit “upper” about her manor. (lol — misspelling). I’ll bet she’s the daughter of an earl and has a suffragette mother. Or maybe her mother’s a snob and that’s what she’s rebelling against.

          After all, what village school teacher owns a car?

          She’s definetly “upper-middle” at the very least. She’s been in grand manor houses before.

          • BayTampaBay

            I felt the exact same thing about Miss Bunting from the moment I saw her at the political meeting as she was one of a few women present and she looked right at home. The feeling was re-enforced during the scene with the stalled car.

      • Saturnine

        Miss Bunting looks a good deal too much like Miley Cyrus in period costume for me, so point deduction there. I keep expecting an errant tongue-slip or hip grind.

    • Call me Bee

      I enjoyed this episode as well, and as The Hubbs mentioned, it’s good for an aristocratic family to have a criminal on their side, just for these occasions–always, of course, working for good.
      What I thought odd, though, was that after all the shenanigans with the letter that the Crown Prince wrote to that Dudley-Moore person, they show up at the ball together? I didn’t get that at all. Why are they seen together if they did not want anyone to know of their affair? (Actually–I thought at first that Mrs Dudley-Moore was Mrs Wallis Simpson, but then remembered the latter was an American.)

      • Chris

        The British press agreed to basically ignore what was going on under everyone’s noses. The American press printed stories about him all the time but there was no “proof.” If the card sharp was able to sell a letter in the Prince’s own hand to the American press it would be enough hard proof that the scandal would blow back across the Atlantic. It would no longer be plausible deniability.

        • BayTampaBay

          Edward POW and Mrs. Dudley-Ward (like the 1st Edward POW and Mrs. Keppel) had an arrangement that lasted 5+ years.

    • DeniseSchipani

      I got a little jolt when Harold met the Prince of Wales, thinking of Paul Giammati’s wonderful portrayal of John Adams. I know, different period and different king, but still — I wanted him to rant about America and freedom. And also, the way all the Brits cringe at the Americans? Fellowes milks it for all it’s worth because British audiences love to have their prejudices confirmed. I lived in London in the 90s. They (by they I mean not everyone but an awful lot of Brits) still have the same love-loathe relationship with Americans. And their accents. (Funny true story: when my then-fiance’s Scottish father met my Brooklyn-born mother, he said, “I love her accent! It’s just like the movies!”)

      • sweetlilvoice

        I was in London in 2000, drunk at a club and the girls in the bathroom kept saying “It’s like watching bloody Dawson’s Creek!” I suppose I was flattered. But I adore the UK and London and never really had a problem.

      • BayTampaBay

        The way Americans introduce themselves “straight on” without waiting for a formal introduction is greatly commented on in much detail in the book “To Marry and English Lord”.

      • Constant Reader

        In the early 2000s I briefly dated a British guy who had a decidedly cockney accent, but made fun of my American accent as being low class.

        • Gatto Nero

          Please tell us you dumped him.

    • Tally Ho

      I know 99.99999% of viewers didn’t notice this but after Rose was presented, the next girl and her mother are announced as “the Countess of Derwentwater and Lady Jane Radclyffe”

      The Derwentwaters were a real earldom and Radclyffe was their last name, and they were stripped of their title in the early 18th century for treason to the crown during the Jacobite rebellions. I only know this through reading a book on the rebellions and the last earl is briefly mentioned. So Fellowes definitely knows all the extinct titles too….

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

        I get the impression JF sleeps with a copy of the Peerage under his pillow.

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

        Oh – and the Derwentwaters are characters in A Dance to the Music of Time (which I am currently rereading). I don’t think we ever meet them directly, but they are referred to as having a notorious divorce.

    • formerlyAnon

      “show us the lives of George Crawley, Sybbie Branson, and Whatever-her-name-is; three cousins, wildly apart on the class scale, living in the same tiny English village during the War. How cool would that be?”

      ENORMOUSLY cool, but unless this switches to a more emotional soap opera saga serial (or someone writes it as a novel) I think it would be disappointing. I like the show, but (and maybe it’s just me) it doesn’t have the emotional hook that some of the classic serial soapy dramas did. I can’t figure out why – too many character/plot balls up in the air, and a randomness to which are foregrounded at any time is my best guess. It’s hard to invest when a subplot disappears almost completely and may or may not ever return.

      What I really want to express is my dumbstruck awe at the work you put into the time-shifted twitter presence.

    • DeniseSchipani

      Why didn’t Rose’s parents come back from India for her presentation? Seemed to me like a glaring omission.

      • Tally Ho

        Her mother certainly should have come back to present her own daughter. I think only peeresses could present debs at court. But the real reason is because it’s fiction and who cares about accuracy.

      • Call me Bee

        I thought about that as well, and just figured they honestly don’t like Rose and could care less about whatever she’s doing. Her father writes to her, but I’ll bet her mother doesn’t…and is happy to be rid of her.

        • Chris

          Plus isn’t it said before, then implied again in this episode that they just don’t have the money to live in style in England anymore?

          • BayTampaBay

            True, but did you notice all those department boxes stacked up at the foot of the stairs at Grantham House and Cora said they belonged to Rose. Did they use Reggie Squwire’s money for all that swag. I do not think all that swag were gifts from Hello! or Ryan Seacrest.

            • Chris

              Good question. Maybe Cora bought them out of her “dress allowance?” Didn’t Martha mention maybe she could increase it for her when they were trying to save Downton before good old Reggie Swire and his will? Plus now they are living in India and not supporting two houses, they should have enough to sponsor one daughter for her coming out.

            • BayTampaBay

              Maybe they sold Donegal and have some capital to spend or invest.

          • greenwich_matron

            All you need is credit.

      • not_Bridget

        It was a rather long voyage from India & her parents have duties there. Also–plot point!

    • Bill Curtis

      The couple playing King George V and especially Mary of Teck were perfect ringers for the real thing.
      Enjoyed the episode overall but will never warm to Shirley’s portrayal of Cora’s mother. Speaking of Cora she needs something (anything!) to do story-wise. She’s been a purse-lipped, simpering simpleton for almost two whole seasons now. And Thomas needs to stop twirling his Dick Dastardly mustache. They need to throw him in bed with another man or throw him out of the house.
      Finding that I enjoy Edith, Tom, and even Rose more than others as their stories are still somewhat fresh. And Daisy is my pick of favorite character in the entire show. Is it just me, or would anyone else like to see Mary and Tom fall into each other’s arms at some point?

      • Chris

        Best line of the night: Daisy saying “I don’t get excited about anything.” Then getting to see her be girly again and gush by the end of the episode.

        • Qitkat

          Fellowes is finally writing Daisy as coming into her own. I do hope she gets more of a storyline than kitchen pseudo romance next season. Originally I was shipping her with the farmer who is adopting Edith’s daughter, til I realized he has several other children, so if his wife died, and Daisy became involved with him, she would be tasked with step-mother to a large brood, which would put her into more drudgery at such a young age. Not to mention her total lack of experience with young children.

          • Chris

            I was so happy to see Daisy in that pretty pink dress for a change! They had been making her into such a grumpy and frumpy woman it was sad to watch. It was so great to see her get a bit of her old sparkle back. I have a feeling Fellowes will bring Alfred back at some point and he and Daisy may become romantically involved and “partners” in a restaurant or something. I personally would rather have someone more interesting for Daisy as I don’t want her to be anyone’s consolation prize.

            • Saturnine

              Daisy really is so pretty when she smiles :-)

            • BayTampaBay

              I think Daisy is beginning to understand how much William really loved her.

    • BK

      It just dawned on me this morning while in the shower (and thinking about DA), Edith is Rosamond’s daughter! All the pregnant pauses (pardon the pun) and deep, meaningful looks from Rosamond, really mean something! Edith doesn’t look like her parents or her sisters, she has red hair just like her Auntie and overall, she just doesn’t fit in. You can congratulate me next season when the sh*t comes down.

      • Chris

        That’s a great theory and I wouldn’t mind at all if it were used but it would mean Cora would have had to fake a pregnancy too and the doctor would have had to be in on it as he delivered all of the girls.

        • AnneElliot

          Yes, and all the servants would have had to know about it too. It would have been pretty hard to cover up with the ladies’ maids, the laundresses, not to mention Mrs. Hughes who’s been with the family forever. And Carson!!

          • Call me Bee

            Well–Couldn’t have Cora just “gone to London” for a year and come back to the country with a baby? I seem to remember Carson mentioning that the London house had an entirely different staff than the Yorkshire house way back when–before the money troubles….so none of the servants would have been the wiser. And we certainly know that the DC is very discreet, as is Robert.

            • not_Bridget

              Cora could have “taken ill” and gone to Switzerland with her sister-in-law. After a difficult pregnancy, she returned to Downton with her daughter. Rosamund found a husband glad enough to get a blue-blooded wife that he didn’t question her “virginity.” But he had plenty of money & was a decent guy. Alas, he was sterile.

            • scoobynacks

              Nah Cora wouldn’t have done that, she’s supposed to be producing a Downton heir. Helping out Rosamund would’ve been great and all, but giving up prime childbearing time trying to have a boy would not have happened. Robert said to Matthew that he didn’t have much luck making boys, and he wouldn’t have said that after 2 biological children. It only makes sense if he’s had 3 girls straight. Also, Cora’s thick but not so thick she wouldn’t have recognized Rosamund doing something with Edith that it’s being alleged Cora would’ve done for her.

              I get the romantic nature of the idea, but I don’t think Samantha Bond’s playing it like this is her daughter Edith. I think she’s been all judgey of Matthew back in the day, stuck her nose into Mary’s love life, had a golddigger come after her, and all kinds of things, and she’s mellowing a bit about criticizing family. Violet’s not cranky with her because she had an out of wedlock child (or at least not Edith). She’s cranky with her because Rosamund did bring it on herself. Who she married (basically a manufactured family), when she’s meddled, etc. Not up to Violet’s standards at all. She saw Edith behaving that way under her roof and feels a familial responsibility in protecting her reputation. It’s not about helping dear daughter Edith.

      • Tally Ho

        Ooooh…..

        I had not thought of that…..

      • Gatto Nero

        Fascinating. That would explain Rosamund’s particular interest in Edith, her sympathy to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and Robert and Cora’s somewhat dismissive treatment of her.

        • Katesymae

          It would also provide a better explanation for why Rosamund gets dumped on by the Dowager Countess so much and why the DC wasn’t shocked and appalled about Edith’s pregnancy (been there, done that).

      • Squareface

        Ohhhhh! Jackpot!

      • Saturnine

        There was definitely a long lingering look when Edith said something to Rosamunde along the lines of “you can’t know unless you’ve been a mother . . “

        • Qitkat

          So often in soapy storylines, that is a dead giveaway. Dun…dun…dunnn…

      • Judy_J

        Good one, BK! I bet you are right! Great plot twist.

      • schadenfreudelicious

        You win the DA intrigue theory of the day!…you may just be on to something…

      • schadenfreudelicious

        This might also explain Lady Grantham’s seemingly endless forgetfullness of the fact that she has a “middle” daughter…”oh yes, you there, fair haired one…you were absent for eight months?..funny i must have been busy with a jumble sale for the needy, carry on”…

      • MyrtleUrkel

        I could see this being the case. It would also explain why the Dowager Countess always seems disappointed/annoyed with Rosamunde.

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

        I doubt Edith is Rosamond’s daughter for all the issues noted. One of my nieces looks very much like me down to the reddish hair coloring that neither of her parent’s has. What I’m assuming is that Rosamond has been in Edith’s position in her past which is why she was so quick to figure it out and handle the “situation”. Also, the comment from Edith about Rosamond not having children elicited quite a look from Rosamond.

        • smh4748

          My mom interpreted that look as meaning that Rosamund had been through something similar as well. I thought it was just because Edith was being pretty damn rude, because like many parents, she assumes that non-parents are simpletons who lack a certain depth of understanding. If Rosamund was unwillingly childless, such a remark would not only be rude, but extremely cruel.

          • BayTampaBay

            Edith and Mary both have a rude streak. They come by it honestly though thru both grandmothers.

          • Zaftiguana

            I agree that it would have been insensitive, and that in situations like that it’s always better to tread quite a bit lighter than Edith did, but really, what had Rosamund just done but tell someone who she KNOWS has gone through a certain experience how she should feel about it and what she should do and called her child “it”? I think it’s fair for Edith to stand up for herself a bit and tell people, perhaps a bit more carefully, to shut the fuck up. Because unless Rosamund has had a child, which it would have been her choice alone not to share with Edith at this point, she really doesn’t understand what Edith’s going through. Not because she’s a simpleton or because she’s shallow, but because she just doesn’t know. Just as how if she struggled with infertility, Edith wouldn’t understand that.

          • scoobynacks

            I think it really was cruel, that’s why Rosamund gave her that look. She’s like ‘oh you did not just go there.’ I mean she’s not unaware of it, I’m sure. She might’ve been in Mary’s situation and they didn’t have the medical knowledge of how to fix it back then. I assumed she was infertile or her husband was. Maybe Rosamund can leave her property to Edith. I kind of wonder if she might. Her other niece, not destined to inherit Downton, shows an independent streak now, comes to London for the paper sometimes so could use a place of her own. She probably also feels badly for Edith’s situation. This would be a real break for her. Just make the announcement to the family that she’d like Edith to get her property, etc. when she passes.

        • Zaftiguana

          I agree with this. Edith’s coloring is clearly abundantly present in her father’s family (you know, that guy who makes up half her gene pool) not to mention both Paul Giamatti and Shirley MacLaine being pasty gingers on the Levinson side. I’m with you about Rosamund having a past that’s part of what makes her so sympathetic to Edith and willing to get so deeply involved, not to mention probably part of what makes “Granny” so unfazed by the whole thing. But it would really be a bit much, even for this show, for Edith to be hers.

      • Scimommy

        Fascinating. You can be sure that I WILL congratulate you next season if you’re right.

      • Montavilla

        I’ve been suspecting that ever since Rosamund found out about Edith’d pregnancy. She seemed too knowledgeable about the situation not to have gone through it (or had a close friend do so). And it occurred to me that A: She and Edith look more alike than Cora and Edith, and B: She’s the only only person (other than Tom and Violet) not to completely dismiss Edith. My idea is that Rosamund’s child was secretly adopted by her brother and wife.

        After Edith scorned her this episode, I’m convinced of it. The irony is too much to resist.

    • jw_ny

      Fellowes has always “laid the groundwork for a ton of story possibilities”, but too often fails to fully capitalize on them. I sometimes think he’s trying to tell too many stories in the limited number of episodes, therefore we get abrupt conclusions…for one, I’m still wondering if Braithewaite is really gone.

      I was disappointed that Charles has turned out to be an aristocrat as well…so now all three of her suitors really are basically the same person, and seemingly decent men. Where’s the drama in this? In the true vain of soaps, we need good vs. evil, where Mary picks evil and gets rescued by the good guy…right?

      Loved Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother…there’s a character that has a lot of potential for development. I didn’t quite get all the new characters brought in though…his little love interest/Rose’s friend, and the woman that was hanging around with Charles at the ball…think I’m gonna have to re-watch the episode. Are these new characters for next season? Is Ivy really going to America? oh…and I liked the cliche American valet, whatever his name was…perhaps mostly because of the way he got Carson all in a huff.

      • rainwood1

        I was also disappointed that Baxter is going to be part of the landed gentry as well. And I think Ivy really is going to America because with Alfred gone, there’s no reason for her character to exist.

        • Qitkat

          Baxter? I must have missed something.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think he means Blake.

            • Qitkat

              Right. Thanks.

        • scoobynacks

          But that’s the point, it’s actually awesome. He’s part of the aristocracy but is rejecting the entitlement, looking to the future and becoming so much more than a member of the landed gentry. He told Mary he believes in the future and so could she. Matthew would’ve been someone I think Charles would’ve liked, trying to modernize and save the estate instead of letting it fade thinking he deserved it by existing. Matthew effectively turned out to be an aristocrat too. The difference is he was the newly discovered heir from the moment we meet him. Blake plays it down instead of using it to get women and he could totally do it. He may be practical but he’s actually a romantic, I say. Go toward the light, Mary. You’ll like it.

    • Squareface

      Was I the only one that for a moment thought the new Prince of Wales was the same as the Duke from season 1 whom Thomas tried to blackmail? I kept going “should I google this?” But I didn’t want any spoilers to pop up.

    • Gatto Nero

      One question about the Bates London train ticket: why didn’t he destroy it immediately upon returning home?
      Fellowes explains this away by having Bates say that people keep important papers on their person, not in their rooms — but why wouldn’t he burn the evidence that he was in London that day instead of keeping it in his coat pocket?
      This is a glaring mistake, and not one that a former felon would make.

    • raininmai

      FYI, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) is doing an AMA on Reddit right now.

    • GinnyThePainter

      The makeup people didn’t do Shirley MacLaine any favors, but was her character really even a drop more loud and obnoxious than the Countess or Isobel? You kept hearing about these loud, obnoxious Yanks, but I didn’t see much proof.

      • Tally Ho

        She was pretty good this time around. There was a lot of complaints after last year that MacLaine’s character didn’t match up to the reality of rich American women who lived in Newport. Last year she’d been shown as very boorish with bad table manners. This time we got someone who’s used to authority, giving orders, slightly vulgar and peeved that people don’t recognize who she is.

        It’s that she wouldn’t defer to the aristocracy that made her “obnoxious” in the eyes of other people. So MacLaine worked for me this time.

        • BayTampaBay

          Loved Shirley MacLaine & Paul Giammati’s and their characters. I thought Fellowes did a better job with the writing this time around but he still under utilized Ms. MacLaine IMHO. I think Paul Giammati’s will be back next season to pick up where he left off. The Harold Levinson character could be used for many plot devices.

          • Saturnine

            I really liked Paul Giamatti this episode; I hope he’ll be back a bit next season. I didn’t have high hopes after seeing the preview for this week, but I do like where Fellowes went with the story line.

        • Chris

          I agree she was more savvy this time and I enjoyed her cynical attitude at being wooed for her money. I wish they could have found a valet for Harold that actually sounded like he was from anywhere in the U.S. (I suppose this is payback for all the “Dick Van Dyke” type cockney accents the English have had to listen to over the years). Also as TLO mention above, must every American character be a boorish buffoon? I could understand if Martha and Harold were really new money, like lottery winners off the farm, but they have been mixing in high American society and business for decades. I find it doubtful Harold conducted business like that, let alone thought it was OK to meet the future King Of England by sticking out his hand with a plate of nibbles in the other.

          • Tally Ho

            Agreed. American high society could be just as fastidious, proper and insular as the English aristocracy, and the provincial high society were the worst. The rich Americans were often keen not to be mistaken for boors and there’s a reason why people like Martha Levinson modeled their “cottages” after French palaces.

            I also thought it was odd that Harold had never met his nieces before. These are the superrich. They’d be going over to England for hunting and France for fashion and to buy art every year, and Cora would be visiting her American relatives every few years.

            Most valets to the rich were actually not American born but tended to be immigrants from Europe who’d already been trained in service. Americans, as a whole, were heavily disinclined to go into service and servants were usually immigrants. Except for African Americans (as we sadly know why). Harold most likely would have had an English or Irish valet.

            • BayTampaBay

              Harold mentioned that he “did not like to leave America”. I think he only went abroad to lie low for awhile after the Teapot Dome” scandal. To accompany his mother to Europe for a round-robin World Series of Continental social seasons gave him a proper cover to save face.

            • Tally Ho

              I could be wrong but I think it was mentioned somewhere that he was also a big game hunter? If so he’d probably have to sail to Europe to catch a boat to Africa.

              Even if I’m wrong it’s also odd that the Granthams have apparently never taken their family to the US to visit American relatives. Money obviously wasn’t an issue.

              Mary has to be, what, at least 30 so would Harold, with all the money at his disposal, never bother to see his sister and her family for over 30 years? If that was the case then we’d have to have a much more realistic reunion when he and Martha arrived in London but based on the reactions we saw it was as if they’d only been apart for a few weeks.

            • Qitkat

              If LaverneShirley (sorry) were your mother, you’d probably avoid such travels too. Boorish is a kind description.

            • not_Bridget

              Money is an issue to the production company. That’s why we hadn’t seen the Crawleys’ London house before–or much of their more interesting life in London. Where they spent the “season” every year. That’s why the girls don’t have friends & why we’ve seen so little of Cora’s family–in England or back home….

            • Chris

              I wonder where he would take the “yacht” he mentioned to Madeline he owned. Maybe he just parked it at Newport?

            • greenwich_matron

              He would have kept it for racing.

            • Gatto Nero

              Yes. And their “cottage” in Newport was probably one of those mansions on the waterfront.

            • Qitkat

              Isn’t that still a common way to refer to those?

            • Gatto Nero

              Yes.

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

              Harold’s character has always been set up as one who doesn’t like to leave the US and doesn’t care for Europe or the UK. So, his not traveling there makes a bit of sense. That he never showed his face at any of the Crawley sister’s presentations to society, but did so for Rose’s makes no sense. Nor does it make much sense that they’ve never traveled to the US for a summer in Newport. As for the valet, Harold didn’t seem all that impressed with formality, so it would make sense that his servant might be American. Many servants were immigrants, but by no mean’s all. A Valet was still a great job for a working class person.

            • Tally Ho

              It’s odd because if Robert hadn’t laid eyes on his brother in law for over 30 years then why would Martha think Robert would be of use as a character reference in helping Harold escape the Teapot Dome scandal? Why would Robert even be willing to aid a man he hadn’t seen since he married Cora?

              It’s that one line of Edith commenting she and Harold had never met before that was just a silly line and makes no sense when you think about it. Completely unnecessary too. Sloppy writing.

            • BayTampaBay

              I agree about the sloppy writing.

            • BayTampaBay

              I have found that most American men treat their male “servants” or male support personnel as if they were coaching a Little League team. The employer is a coach and the “servant” is a player on the team.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              Harold went to the UK to escape all of the whispering about his role in Teapot Dome. That it coincided with Rose’s presentation just made for a handy excuse to tell people back home, but I’m sure all of his friends knew the real reason he was traveling.

            • not_Bridget

              And there would have been plenty of Irish women in his kitchen who knew how to prepare “plain” food….

          • rainwood1

            That American accent was driving me crazy. And totally agree about the heavy touch with the boorishness of Americans.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            I figured Harold was just in a bad and foul mood because of his recent troubles.

        • rainwood1

          My big disconnect on Mrs. Levinson is that she’s quite anti-British aristocracy, but her only daughter got married off to an earl she hardly knew in a “cash for title” arrangement. Someone in the family must have been infatuated with British aristocracy. It certainly wasn’t the brother, and if it wasn’t the mother, who? I doubt the dearly departed father cared as he was too busy earning his American fortune. And I can’t imagine Cora had enough gumption to push it for herself. So who exactly in the Levinson family decided that heading to England to marry Cora off was a good idea?

          • Tally Ho

            I brought up the same thing you did in last year’s comments. Someone answered that it was the father who was eager to marry off Cora to an aristocrat, but still you’re right for it was mostly the wives who were battering down the sacred doors of aristocratic households, using their husbands’ money to marry their daughters to titles, swapping cash for coronets.

            Alva Vanderbilt was one of the the worst examples of an overbearing American mother who forced her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a Duke by locking her in her room till she agreed to the marriage. And Alva would have been Martha’s neighbor in Newport. You think Alva and Martha swapped tips over tea?

            • BayTampaBay

              Tally Ho, I brought up the fact that it was Cora’s father and father-in-law that pushed the match. This is clearly spelled out by Jessica (niece of Sir J.) Fellowes in the first Downton Abbey coffee table book.

            • Qitkat

              So this is the source for many of the more in-depth remarks. Clearly I am missing out on details, I thought it was just my bad memory ;-)

            • BayTampaBay

              Qitkat, Come over to my house for tea at 2:00 pm and I will share.. I have all the books and a shit ton of research.

            • Qitkat

              Oh what fun! I’ll bring shortbread and scones, made from recipes my husband has from his Scottish ancestors.
              Do you actually live in the Tampa Bay Area? I grew up in Clearwater, graduated from Dunedin High School, went to college in St. Pete, and have a brother still in Largo.

            • SierraDelta

              Will you share the scone recipe? I have Scottish ancestors, too, but I think they may have been pirates; hence, no recipes for food eaten in genteel settings.

            • Qitkat

              Sure, we’ve shared it with many other people. Let me get back to you, or I can post it this Friday’s TLounge.

            • SierraDelta

              Thank you! I’m in the middle of a book that’s set in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1700s, and it’s making me crave hot tea and scones the more I get into it. I sometimes get fixated on the foods described in books, but it’s when I start reading about things like roasted swans and go looking for recipes that I get into trouble.

            • Chris

              That’s unusual. As Tally Ho says above it’s the mothers who usually pushed for the matches so they could use it as social currency at home. A lot of times the fathers wouldn’t even be over in England just the mothers and daughters. The Dads would be home making money.

            • GillianHolroyd

              ” I brought up the fact that it was Cora’s father and father-in-law that pushed the match. This is clearly spelled out by Jessica (niece of Sir J.) Fellowes in the first Downton Abbey coffee table book”

              A nice bit of retroconning, was it? Wonder if JF has ever heard of Chekhov’s gun.

            • greenwich_matron

              I think Alva’s enthusiastic testimony at her daughter’s annulment was a case of buyer’s remorse. It happened in the early 1920s, I never read anything about her motivations (except maybe improving relations with her daughter), but I can see a suffragist divorcee wondering what she ever saw in the money sucking entitlement machine.

          • greenwich_matron

            I think that forty years on she may have had a change of heart, especially when she considers that her grandchildren barely admit to knowing her and they are still snubbing her while scheming for her money. I think being an “ex-aristocratist” is like being a lapsed Catholic: no one is as knowledgeable or hostile.

            • BayTampaBay

              True about Mary but I would say false with regards to Edith and Sybil.

            • greenwich_matron

              Haven’t you heard? Edith is Rosamund’s daughter !!! :-)

          • Ginger Thomas

            Yes! IMO, Mrs. Levinson would TRY to be correct in British society, but would constantly make those (sometimes little, sometimes big) mistakes that would make the British despise her. Instead, she seems contemptuous.

      • Gatto Nero

        She really looked horrendous, with the garish makeup and wig. They’re really trying too hard to convey her brassy personality visually.

    • AnneElliot

      “We’re starting to wonder if Evelyn Napier drove the truck that ran Matthew off the road.” — BRILLIANT. I laughed so hard I woke up the dog.

      And I would LOVE to see a flash-forward 15 years from now to see what happens to the Crawley grandchildren. “Downton Abbey: The Next Generation.” (Maybe they could get Patrick Stewart in a cameo).

      • honey604 MA

        I keep thinking that little George will be just the right age in 1940 to serve in WW 2. Will he survive that? And he has no brother to take the title/estate if he becomes a casualty.

        • Tally Ho

          382,000 British soldiers were killed in WW2, out of a total of 3.5 million who served. So odds for his survival are quite good. Relatively speaking.

          If he dies and there are no other male grandchildren/heirs and the entail is broken thanks to the legal relaxations introduced in the 1920s, DA will probably go to Sybbie although the title is lost forever.

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            This is brilliant. Picture it: Sybbie and her father Branson are living in New York. They found out her cousin has died in battle, and now she has the estate and the house.

            • scoobynacks

              Maybe some Earl’s daughter will finally be after Tom again instead of those hussies.

            • BayTampaBay

              I like Tom much more than any of Mary’s suitors.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              That brings up an interesting point. Would Tom stay single, or would he marry someone in America?

    • RedRaven617

      I found it really disconcerting that 8 months had passed and with the exception of Edith having gone to Geneva, everything was exactly the same. No changes in anyone’s life. At this point Mary has to be in her 30s; should there be a lot more pressure to get married? Don’t any of the downstairst staff get married or have babies? It really made the whole story less believable for me.

      • DamiaRain

        Also, Bates kept an incriminating train ticket in his coat pocket for 8 months???

      • littlestars

        Mary is 32 according to the Downton Wiki. I don’t know how much pressure she would have been under to remarry. She has already produced an heir and secured her own fortune.

        • Chris

          I think there would be pressure on the men though. They all have titles (or will) so they need a woman who is “young” enough to produce an heir for them. Nowadays 32 is considered just fine, but back then I suspect that was on the wrong side of 30 for people looking to ensure the line.

          • Tally Ho

            Makes it all the odder there’s not only one but three eligible men chasing after Mary. All three would have been under enormous family pressures to marry and pop out an heir much earlier on. Once Mary married they’d have no excuse to keep waiting, if they were genuinely under her spell. Think about it, two of them have already been engaged to other women before but broke the engagement because, well, Mary’s such a damn charming witch. Poor Miss Lane Fox and Miss Semphill.

            It probably also explains why Mary never seems to have any female friends other than Anna.

          • kerryev

            32 is fine to most. After the Kate-William wedding CNN had some British jackass on who was fussing about what took them so long. He said something to the effect that Kate was getting long in the tooth, the CNN reporter said, “she’s 29,” and the neb said, “AND a half!” Man, I wanted to punch that guy inna mouth.

      • Gatto Nero

        It’s completely plausible that none of the downstairs staff have married or had children in that time. These people were lucky to get a couple of days off a month — not exactly conducive to having a social life.

    • Gatto Nero

      I wonder whether Fellowes will ever reveal what Thomas has on Baxter. It may be a non-issue now that Baxter is standing up to him.
      And Molesley has become such an endearing character.

      • greenwich_matron

        I think Thomas always imagined himself as Iago, and yet barely registers on the scale.

        • Gatto Nero

          His character has been so underwritten this season it makes me weep.

          • Qitkat

            One of the lamest undeveloped storylines of the season. Fellowes is banking on us all remembering his dastardly doings of previous seasons. Too many characters to write maybe?

            • Anne

              I’m so frustrated about what happened to Thomas this season. He was one of the most interesting characters in previous years, especially during the war season with his ill-fated romance with the blind soldier and his black market dealings. Maybe his trip to America will inspire him to get out of Downton.

            • BayTampaBay

              Fellowes made me mad when Barrows did not talk about his trip.

    • Judy_J

      I understand that it had to be written in to advance the story line, but Lady Mary’s sudden change of heart regarding Bates’ alleged murder of Green was somewhat unbelievable. 8 months later, she suddenly decides she can’t keep quiet because Mrs. Hughes showed her a ticket stub from a trip to London? And why didn’t Bates get rid of it earlier? Carrying evidence around for 8 months after the alleged crime seems somewhat foolhardy to me. But what the hey? It all worked out in the end. Case closed.

      • Saturnine

        Hey, Lady Mary disposed of Pamuk’s body within a few hours. The least Bates could do is get rid of an incriminating ticket within 8 months. I think her change of heart was because she just couldn’t stomach harboring an inept criminal under her roof (but he redeemed himself with a passable forgery).

        • MarieLD

          Bates saved the Monarchy!

        • momjamin

          I’d say, he redeemed himself with some slick pickpocketing.

          • Saturnine

            Absolutely— I’m embarrassed to say I dozed a *teeny* bit at the end of the Scooby caper, and I had to learn about the successful pickpocketing in these fine threads :-)

      • Chris

        Yes Lady Mary was all for the murder when she was in Yorkshire and it was all theoretical and unproven. Once she was somehow tangentially “involved” in it, it was a whole different ball of wax. It seemed unlikely to me Mary would be willing to start another whole scandal of having the Earl’s valet be exposed as a murderer (again) and having a hand in giving Anna a nervous breakdown over a train ticket.

      • BayTampaBay

        Maybe….Bates didn’t do it?

        • Gatto Nero

          My impression was that Fellowes wanted to keep it ambiguous — at least for now.

        • Corsetmaker

          I thought they were going to go down the route of it being Anna. Not necessarily deliberate murder, but she’d been in London at the time if I remember right and maybe a trip or a scuffle and a shove… But Bates makes it a bit dull,

      • Tina Kramer

        Actually, I think it was because of the way he looked at her when she was talking about how people must regret things they got up to in London. He gave her a kind of really cold stare which might have made her think that just maybe he did do it.

    • GinnyThePainter

      Another Fellowes trademark: hire someone to play a band singer and make sure it’s someone who can’t sing. Hire an someone to draw at the museum for a scene, and make sure he can’t draw worth a crap.

      • Lilithcat

        I see plenty of people drawing at museums who can’t.

        • Paula Pertile

          That’s because they’re students. They’re learning by copying the masters. Been there, done it. :~)

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

      I agree regarding Richard Carlisle, and was secretly hoping he was coming back all season, though I know he was terrible and practically abusive. I just really have a thing for Iain Glen – he’s SO PRETTY, and he really doesn’t get enough opportunity to be interesting on Game of Thrones (too much “Khaleesi, you musn’t blah, and you musn’t bleh”). Plus then Edith and Mary could get into newspaper sparring matches.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Check him out as the brooding lead in Jack Taylor on Netflix. It’s basically Luther set in Galway.

        • Aidan B

          Oooh, I am adding that to my queue!

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

          I might, but I really would like him to come back as Richard Carlisle. I suppose I might have a thing for bad men in period clothes – could call it the Bronte problem: “SO BROODING”.

          • BayTampaBay

            One for the weird: This James Fox person who is playing Mary’s Godfather and lusting as Isobel Crawley was in a 1960s weirdo- psychedelic-mod-druggie-gangsta thriller movie (he played the lead) with Mick Jagger & Anita Pallenberg called Performance. Can you imagine Sir Mick chasing Penelope Wilton?

            • Chris

              James Fox will forever be “Jimmy” in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” to me!

            • DeTrop

              Um, James Fox is the Lord who was trying it on with Mrs. Levinson. Trading his title for cash. She is nicely going to put him in touch with the lonely widows of Newport. The lovelies who have everything but a title. Win – Win for all.

            • BayTampaBay

              Did I get my lords mixed up??? I am such a dumb doody head! Those two lords like Blake & Gilliam are difficult to tell apart.

    • PLH

      I am sick to death of Mary’s smug little flower act while all the manly bees buzz around her, practically panting at her feet. And she is eating it up with a spoon. Oh, Mary, aren’t you SO special?? Gag me.

      • Chris

        I think that crack about sleeping on the roof rather than share a room with Edith was the “real” Lady Mary.

        • Gatto Nero

          Great moment!

        • Tally Ho

          Mary really has it for Edith, doesn’t she? It’s been 10-11 years since Pamuk, an entire war, a dead sister, a jilting at the altar and a missing and presumed dead boyfriend, and Mary still won’t forgive Edith and won’t pass up any opportunity to make a cutting remark about her? Talk about an icy bitch. What do these three men see in her?!

          • Chris

            I was thinking in the previous episode how Edith, with all she was going through, just seemed benignly amused at Mary and her suitors. If the shoe was on the other foot you know Mary would have been making all kinds of cruel remarks.

          • greenwich_matron

            Not only that, but she seems determined to grind down Edith even though Mary clearly has won the sibling rivalry wars. It seems gratuitous and pointless.

            • Chris

              Agreed- it just makes Mary seem mean and for no reason.

            • Lilithcat

              But she is mean. Always has been. This was quite in character for her.

          • Qitkat

            I don’t know what they see in her, except a beautiful future wife, with a title and supposed money and estate.
            Her personality sometimes reminds me of those uber bitchy brides on shows who seem to have an endless supply of “friends” who are really minions at her beck and call. Not that I watch those as a rule, they are just over the top with the bitchiness, even with a five minute looksee.

            • in a pickle

              I don’t think that’s the way she’d really be perceived though- at least as a potential wife. She’s knocking on her mid-thirties which could be a problem for a guy who wants kids, she’s just got the honorary ‘Lady’ title, and the estate and money will be her son’s, not hers. She’s tied to Downton through her son, so what happens with a future marriage and kids? The male aristocracy was pretty decimated in the war, the surviving men had their pick of a significant number of unmarried/widowed women and Mary is both cold and has lots and lots of unattractive baggage.

            • greenwich_matron

              I agree: she is definitely “younger son” material now.

          • John Morrissey

            There’s history there. They weren’t chummy even before the whole Pamuk thing.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Yet she has absolutely zero patience for anyone else’s frivolities. “You’re niece is a flapper, accept it!” Oh yeah, well, you had a dead man in your bedroom. Which is more scandalous?

      • Qitkat

        She believes with all her being that she is a special little snowflake, but I do hope she has the sense to realize that none of this current crop of suitors are going to bring her lasting happiness and most of all passion. Milquetoast, all of them. She really needs someone equally passionate and fiery, and inappropriate probably.

        • Gatto Nero

          I don’t know — Blake may have what it takes.

          • Qitkat

            He’s the only one of the three who has been shown to have something beyond swagger, but I don’t think any of them are written well enough to tell them apart. As someone else on this post said, they all seem so much alike that you have to really keep track to know which is which. I have that problem, they seem interchangeable.

            • Gatto Nero

              Gillingham just goes all puddly around Mary, but Blake still has a little edginess. He doesn’t treat her delicately, as Gillingham does.

            • scoobynacks

              In fairness, Mary wasn’t actually back on the market. There was a state of limbo so it’s not gonna be guns blazing with anybody really. They were hovering around. We’ve seen Blake asking for a chance. We don’t know what it looks like when he’s actually given one. When battle commences, maybe there’s some differentiation. I still think Blake stands out as the one most likely to make a difference in Downton’s and Mary’s futures. Plus he likes kids, c’mon. ;)

      • Saturnine

        Will his fortune make Mr. Blake irresistible now– in addition to the pig wrestling and the baby holding? I can’t believe Mary has yet again stumbled upon another hidden windfall.

        • lauraq99

          Isn’t it is odd that in all the time Mr Blake was hanging around Downton Abbey, nobody mentioned his giant fortune or title to Lady Mary?

          • scoobynacks

            No, they didn’t know. If you go back and watch, you see things where it looks like Napier’s trying to make peace but really he’s about to interject that Charles isn’t an outsider and Blake cuts him off. We think Blake’s being rude right back at Mary, but he’s trying to avoid letting her know. Tony said he plays it down, besides Ulster’s in Ireland. It’s not like they would’ve hung out with Sir Severus. They knew that family whose home was burned by Tom’s buddies, but that was because Mary had been presented with the daughter and they were already friends of the Granthams. I also would think they’d expect Evelyn to bring it up when talking about Blake as information they would find interesting. He’s presented to them as someone working for the government who isn’t carrying himself like an entitled aristocrat. I could see them writing him off a bit. You’re not gonna go ‘so, Mr. Blake, any peers in your family?’ It’s awkward. I think Carson is more likely to go snooping around, but he thought Mary was mad at Charles, not thinking of seeing him, so he probably hadn’t gotten in deep in that peerage book yet like he did with Matthew and Lavinia.

        • greenwich_matron

          Must revise Oprah’s quote: “… and you get an aristocrat, but Mary gets three!”

          • Saturnine

            Oh too funny!

      • littlestars

        My husband says Mary must have a magic vagina to attract all these relentless suitors.

      • Lilithcat

        Honestly, I’ve never understood what anyone sees in her. She’s a stone-cold bitch, snotty as hell, has no charisma, and is rather average-looking.

        • Qitkat

          I agree with everything you said, except I think she is quite beautiful. But inner beauty, that’s almost never seen, sometimes around Anna.

        • Saturnine

          Maybe Fellowes is working the Wallis Simpson angle, then (although I understand Mrs. Simpson had an abundance of charisma).

        • Carrps

          Agree. She’s a real dish face. From certain angles, I think she’s actively ugly.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      My hope for next season is more scenes with Branson and Edith, I think it’s an interesting dynamic that’s too-little explored. And can we PLEASE have Thomas do something other than twirl his moustache?

      Oh, and I can only assume next season will start with Isis’ funeral, because that dog is at least 12 by now, and for a dog that size, that’s getting up there in age.

      • Aidan B

        Yes! I have found myself wondering on a few occasions how old that poor dog must be by now.

        • BayTampaBay

          I thought Isis was the second dog. Was not the first dog in season/series one named Pharaoh?

          • Kit Jackson 1967

            You are correct.

      • Gatto Nero

        No! Isis and the Dowager Countess have to survive to the end of the series!
        This isn’t unreasonable in the grand scheme of otherwise unbelievable plot points.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Ok, I will grant that it is cute how much Robert dotes on her. And hey, if Matthew can walk again, why shouldn’t Isis live forever?

      • Daisy Buchanan

        There was a dog switch between the first and second seasons, so Isis isn’t that old. The original dog was a male, and one of the resident dogs at Highclere became extremely territorial towards him. It became such a disruption in production that the decision was made to switch to a female dog. Originally, they were not even going to acknowledge the dog had changed genders (apparently the owner was angling to get one of her male dogs cast on the show), even going so far as insisting to Hugh Bonneville that it was the same doggie – until Bonneville pointed out that the new dog was missing a distinct piece of anatomy that viewers would be sure to notice. So the backstory was that Pharaoh (dog one) died and Isis was the replacement.

        • Saturnine

          I find it hilarious that production “insisted” to Hugh Bonneville that it was the same dog–like he’s THAT MUCH of a method actor :-).

          • Daisy Buchanan

            I get the feeling that Lady Highclere (I can’t remember her name) is a bit of a handful, and so producers wanted to keep it very low-key in order to avoid any friction over why they didn’t simply “cast” one of her estate dogs. She also banned cast members from bringing their dogs to the castle grounds after some sort of dog riot during filming, ha ha :)

            • Saturnine

              Oh, I see now. I still like my little fiction of not upsetting Hugh Bonneville, though. :-)

            • BayTampaBay

              Lady Fiona Herbert, Countess of Carnarvon…..and yes she is a handful and piece of work from all I have read but she has to keep Highclere running financially.

    • Saturnine

      I like how Lord Merton flusters Isobel with his woo. I’m a big fan of Dr, Clarkson too, but as Mrs. Patmore would say, sometimes a lady likes to garner a little attention that’s a bit less than virtuous (not that Lord M isn’t an honorable gent . . .)

      • Qitkat

        One of my very favorite comments of the night, from Mrs. Patmore, of all people. Evidently she has a back story worth exploring too.

      • Chris

        I prefer Dr. Clarkson but I am enjoying Lord Merton’s wooing too. Isobel needs to be shaken up a bit and treated like a desirable lady. It’s good for her.

        • Gatto Nero

          I love that two men are pursuing Isobel now. She has her own desire of suitors.

      • BayTampaBay

        I’m on team Clarkson!

    • Gatto Nero

      Did anyone else think it was odd that the farmer was willing to lie to his wife to keep a secret on Edith’s behalf?
      Will Edith compound this whole subterfuge by falling for the farmer?

      • Aidan B

        I can certainly see that happening. And he was no dummy; I think he knew right off the bat that this was actually her baby he’d be taking in.

        • Gatto Nero

          He absolutely did.

          • BayTampaBay

            Great acting!

            However, Edith is going to London and will run Michael Gregson’s companies. If he is dead, Edith will end up with all. My prediction!

            • DeTrop

              What about Gregson’s wife? This is a loose thread. Edith was speaking to Rosamonde as if she were going to be left his estate and she wanted to share it with their child. We don’t know if Gregson is divorced, is alive or if his wife is still in the picture.

            • Gatto Nero

              We don’t know about the wife. But Gregson gave Edith power of attorney over his business (those documents she signed before he absconded), so it sounds as though she would have financial control if he’s dead or incapacitated.

            • greenwich_matron

              I predicted that Edith would pick up one of those stray inheritances that seem to be floating around – but I was joking!

            • desertwind

              Oh, please please please let that happen. Are her clothes an indication that she will?

              Just praying having her baby live on the Downton estate won’t muck that up.

      • DeniseSchipani

        I think that the farmer wasn’t buying her story that it was a friend’s orphan, but he was too polite to say so. Or it was something like, she knew that he knew and they both talked in code about it (you know this is my bastard child, right? And you’ll accept the story I tell you,right?). And for him, knowing that, he figures it’s best to keep the secret to the fewest people possible, for deniability.

        • Gatto Nero

          I agree that he realized it was Edith’s child. But I still find it a bit creepy that he’s willing to lie to his own wife to keep Edith’s secret to as few people as possible.

          • DeniseSchipani

            Oh, it’s definitely creepy! And I love how he dismisses his wife, like, “it’s cool, I can just give her a baby and she’ll love it like our own. She’s simple like that.I don’t have to tell her the truth.”

          • Call me Bee

            I have a feeling that if the wife knew (or suspected) that the baby was Edith’s, she’d not have it in the house. She probably figure it was a product of her husband and Edith’s affair. She thought they were a bit too close for comfort back a few seasons….

            • Gatto Nero

              I don’t think that’s the same farmer.
              And the story Edith gave, and what they would have told the wife, is that the mother is a friend of Edith’s.

            • Ginger Thomas

              It’s not. This is farmer they let take over his father’s farm — and who’s now in charge of the pigs.

            • Saturnine

              –and now Edith’s baby: automatic tenancy for life.

            • Leah Elzinga

              good call. Pretty sure that’s guaranteed favors for life.

            • momjamin

              Or it would be if Edith actually had any authority – or interest – in how things run around the estate.

            • Saturnine

              I agree that Edith has no pull, but I think a word or two in Robert’s ear would actually give him some leverage.

            • Call me Bee

              Oh ooops. Sorry about the mix-up. I thought it was the same guy.

            • Isabel

              I thought that was unrealistic also. The wife will think it’s his kid.

          • Alloy Jane

            It’s always so interesting to read people’s responses to Downton. So many perspectives that never occurred to me!

            You know, I didn’t feel wanting to keep it a secret from his wife was creepy at all. There’s a moment where the farmer slightly tears up where you can see that he realizes she is the mother, and that’s when he decides that it is best to keep the secret private. There is too much at stake to bring his wife into the equation. And lets keep in mind that this is Julian Fellows, who’s sexism has been leaking out for much of this season, primarily in the Anna/Bates storyline. The idea that he would write this child-doting farmer’s wife as simple and guileless is not all that unbelievable. Additionally, Lord Grantham loaned the farmer the money that would allow him to take over his father’s farm after neglecting it during his father’s old age. He owes the family. Then, there’s the financial compensation of doing this favour for the Earl’s daughter, plus the honour of raising her child. I can’t imagine that all people had politics so strong as to leave them feeling like peers to the aristocracy. Even now, the average person cows to celebrity.

            • Gatto Nero

              What I find creepy about this scenario is that: a) it implies that the farmer either doesn’t trust his wife or thinks she’s a simpleton; and b) it is yet another example of Fellowes’ patronizing attitude toward women and toward the working classes. Presumably the wife knows that Grantham saved the farm and would understand what is at stake here. Fellowes is trying to paint this guy as a decent man with a good heart, but the character’s willingness to lie to his own wife, who would be raising the child, undermines this image.

            • Alloy Jane

              Ooooh ok. Gotcha. I suppose I associate the word “creepy” with supernatural phenomena or psychopathic behavior more than your workaday sexism.

      • Constant Reader

        I wondered the same thing.

      • momjamin

        I figured he knew his wife wouldn’t be trustworthy with such a secret.

        • Chris

          I thought that too. All it would take would be for her to tell one friend. I haven’t decided yet if the farmer is a good guy who feels loyal to the family and bad for Edith, or an operator looking for an opportunity.

          • Wellworn

            Oh, he’s definitely a good guy, and maybe next season his wife will die under mysterious circumstances (involving Bates, perhaps?), and then he might need some help or advice raising all those children. That’s where Edith gets involved, and after a wild night in the pig barn, they elope, much to the consternation of everyone else. And that’s the way they became the Brady Bunch.

    • siriuslover

      YES! I loved your synopsis here, and I loved this finale. I am very interested in the Molesley / Baxter pairing which is a very tender love story of accepting people for who they are. I loved when he told her (last week) how they may not care for Barrow, but that doesn’t mean their feelings of dislike to him extended to her. And I love how he basically tells Barrow to F-O (as does she at the end). I love that Edith has finally come into her own. I saw the series back when it aired in Britain and have had to keep my mouth shut about the seemingly careless document signing! It turns out the document puts her in control of his business. I do like Gregson very much and hope he returns but as others have pointed out, the actor is not on the list for returning characters (at least just now).

    • melanie0866

      My least favorite part was when Shirley MacLaine got in the last word with Violet. Why didn’t Violet snap back with, “Be that as it may, when YOUR son got into trouble the first person you wanted was MY son, the English earl!” I guess she was tired.

      • Kathy

        I agree. Violet should have the last word in all things. Love me some Maggie Smith

        • Chris

          Or “Marie Antoinette’s sister”- as she is known in some circles. I loved how she immediately knew who Marie’s sister was and how she turned that little jibe of Isobel’s around. In Violet’s mind, how could being compared to an aristocrat be a bad thing?

          • Pennymac

            Their exchange in the car was priceless!

            • Chris

              Their developing relationship has been one of my favorite things about this season.

            • Qitkat

              Three of my favorite female relationships: Violet and Isobel; Mrs. Patmore and Daisy; Edith and Rosamund. Respect, tartness, humor and underlying love.

      • Gatto Nero

        Though I enjoy watching Violet get the upper hand, I thought the scene with Mrs. Levinson rang true. The era of the aristocracy is ending, and Violet knows it.

        • BayTampaBay

          I disagree! The era of the aristocracy is not ending it is changing rapidly. The aristocracy of the UK is very much alive and still kicking in 2014.

          • GillianHolroyd

            But their lifestyle was greatly altered after WWI. I was just reading how, due to new death duties, all the aristocratic London residences–and these were *massive* houses, not what we call townhouses today–were sold and demolished. Very few of the country houses have a huge staff anymore. If you read about the house used to film DA, they talk about the number of employees a hundred years ago vs what they have today. Violet is seeing the end of her way of life.

            • Tally Ho

              Grantham House is indeed doomed. It’s surprising they haven’t sold it yet given all the talk about needing to “save” Downton. These houses were hugely expensive to maintain and operate, and in the post war years the cost of coal for fuel and heat soared. Whether the house would have been demolished, who knows.

              The Dukes of Devonshires got a cool 750,000 pounds from the sale of Devonshire House in 1920 (the typical working class house was worth far less than a thousand pounds). Devonshire House did cover three full acres, but even Grantham House would have raised a substantial sum. The Dukes of Sutherland sold off Stafford House before WWI and the Sutherlands owned over a million acres in Scotland. (Stafford House was used in lieu of Buckingham Palace in this episode). Most of the rest of the grand ducal houses and aristocratic houses were steadily sold off and demolished throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

              As for staffing, the number of staff declined but people still had them in reasonably large numbers up till 1939. Instead of, say, 50 indoor staff, by the late 1930s houses might have half that amount, which was partly offset by new labor saving devices. The Devonshires at Chatsworth still had a couple dozen indoor staff plus more in the garden right up till the war. Longleat had 40 indoor staff when WWII broke out. So the aristocratic lifestyle and way of life didn’t change overnight, it was a slow and gradual “decline” and it really was WWII that ended much of it through the high taxes and death duties, which along with the disappearance of servants that made these huge houses difficult to live in. It’s very plausible that in 1939 a middling earl at Downton would still have had a butler, two footmen, a housekeeper, half a dozen maids, a cook and 2-3 kitchen maids, plus gardeners. By 1949 he’d consider himself lucky to have a butler-housekeeper couple and a few women from the village who came in daily for the heavy cleaning.

            • BayTampaBay

              Tally Ho, another reason for the sale of palatial city mansions was simply that the real estate was worth more than the house. This happened in NYC too! With the mass production of cheap quality steel for vertical building, it made total sense for Duke of Devonshire to sell and pocket 750,000 pounds from the sale of Devonshire House in 1920 so a real estate could come in and build a 10 story building with luxury flats and sell each flat for whatever one can imagine. Edwina Ashley Mountbatten sold Brook House on Park Lane in London for this very reason and then bought a luxury penthouse London flat for a city residence.

            • Tally Ho

              True. These London houses, especially in Mayfair, were sitting on a gold mine of real estate values. By the way I think the Devonshires still own the “freehold” underneath the apartment building that replaced Devonshire House. Which means eventually it’ll revert back to family ownership. A few years back the building that now sits on the site of Norfolk House was doing excavations in the basement and found some Roman antiquities (I think it was Roman) but because the land underneath the house still belonged to the Duke of Norfolk, he got ownership of the discoveries, not the company that owned the building!

            • BayTampaBay

              The Earl Spencer still own the freehold to Spencer House & the freehold to the land beneath it. It will revert back to the Spencer’s at the conclusion of the 99 year lease. What a scam…..The British Aristocracy is good……I mean really good!

    • Anglow

      I never noticed that the hottest little farmer in Yorkshire was so hot until his close ups in last night’s episode! Wowee! The way his expression changed as he realized Edith’s pain was impressive. What is the actor’s name?

    • Larry Bouchard

      What a terrific analysis of the finale, and whole season overall. I thoroughly enjoy your observations.

      • Gatto Nero

        I will miss these DA wrap-ups on Monday!

        • Saturnine

          That’s for sure.

    • Pennymac

      I loved this episode! And my ADHD theory totally played out. Fellowes introduces plot devices, gets bored with them, and resolves the issues with a frustratingly minimum of details and attention. Other things, he beats to death. All in all, though, allowing the show to be entertaining and pretty worked for me. I found Paul Giamati fascinating as Coras brother, but was horrified by the makeup/hair of Shirley McClain. Mary is a stone-cold bitch,(sleep on the roof, really?) Edith is terminally “Poor Edith” (NAZI Brown Shirts beat her beau? How awfully unlucky!), and Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes held hands! In public! LOVE!

      • SewingSiren

        Mary would rather sleep on the roof than share with anybody. More like she would have anybody sleep on the roof so she could have her own room.

        • Chris

          Easier to hide the dead bodies that way.

    • Carla_Charlton

      Edith at least gets to wear the most interesting (best) clothes!

    • shirab

      Are the Levinsons supposed to be Jewish? The name suggests as much, but in the episodes I’ve watched (I came late to the DA party) it’s never mentioned. If Martha is Jewish, then so is Cora, and so are her daughters. Wouldn’t that have been, you know, a Thing back when Cora and Robert married? And if not, shouldn’t it start to be one shortly?

      • Molly

        I was about to post the same thing! I wonder, does Julian Fellowes know that’s a Jewish sounding name (I’m Jewish and wonder these thing!)? He probably does. My guess, if anyone in the family was Jewish, it was the father or grandfather. Then Cora and Harold wouldn’t technically be Jewish.

        • Eric Stott

          While Cora’s father was of Jewish origin he was a convert. Martha is not Jewish, and the children were raised Episcopalian. Any Jewishness is only technical.

          • colorjunky

            How do you know this?

            • Tally Ho

              Because we’ve talked about this ad infinitum already. Some big “official” book on DA clarified the subject and said Martha isn’t Jewish, but Episcopalian and Cora was raised Episcopalian.

            • Eric Stott

              I was part of the infinitum & just chimed in because the issue popped up. It’s wearing thin I do admit.

          • honey604 MA

            I remember reading that somewhere too.

          • StellaTex

            A man’s conversion to Judaism wouldn’t result in his suddenly acquiring a typical Jewish surname.

            • BayTampaBay

              Cora’s Jewish father converted to Christianity not the other way around.

            • Kit Jackson 1967

              He didn’t convert to Judaism, he converted to Martha’s faith.

      • colorjunky

        I was wondering that too. Although, historically Almina, one of the real Countess’ of Highclere (where DA is filmed etc) was fathered by a Rothschild and was illegitimate, yet her wealth apparently washed away all her social and theological sins.

        • greenwich_matron

          The British aristocrats were “scrupulous” about legitimacy and anti-semitism right up to the point it became inconvenient.

        • Tally Ho

          Almina was officially the “legitimate” daughter of a socially acceptable gentleman, else even though many people knew who her real father was. That probably helped her being accepted by society (and yeah, a Rothschild fortune helped too).

        • BayTampaBay

          Her mother was not married to her biological father but Almina was born in “wedlock”.

      • Stacy Mintzer Herlihy

        Martha isn’t. Her husband was. Judaism is matriarchal. So if Martha isn’t Cora isn’t and neither are her daughters. At least according to Jewish convention. I am a little surprised it isn’t made more of on DA given the anti-Semitism of the time.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I totally agree with. Martha married someone Jewish, and he converted, which probably made this situation slightly more acceptable to Robert’s family. However, I am surprised the series doesn’t make more of an issue out of this. I would have expected a sharp comment or two from Voilet on the subject.

          • Stacy Mintzer Herlihy

            Oh I agree. Then again Edwina Mountbatten was of Jewish descent, born during that period and she married an actual English prince. So there is a precedent of a sort.

    • Mb

      Don’t know if this has been mentioned or not, but regarding the letter caper and the forgery by Bates – wasn’t he exonerated of his wife’s murder because of a suicide note that she had written? If he’s an expert forger, doesn’t this now seem rather suspicious? (Or did I remember this wrong?)

      • Gatto Nero

        I think he was exonerated because of testimony from a neighbor (who had previously given false testimony against him).

        • Chris

          I think she deliberately left or sent incriminating letters to friends saying how scared she was etc. but there was no suicide note. It was all planned to frame Bates. It was the neighbor/friend’s testimony that (unwittingly) helped freed Bates.

          • Gatto Nero

            Yes — thanks for the reminder.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I thought Bates became a forger in prison.

    • greenwich_matron

      I’ll say it: I liked Richard Carlisle!

      • Chris

        As a character he was far more realistic than all these polite, handsome and titled men fighting over Mary. Mary was “damaged goods” then (and while she would never lower herself to engage with men like Edith would choose) a somewhat vulgar but super rich and titled man would be barely acceptable to her. An ambitious, self made man like him would want to show he had “arrived” and cement his status by marrying an Earl’s daughter, particularly a very attractive one. His energy was a refreshing change from all these wishy washy aristos she has around her now. Blake is the only one with any personality.

      • not_Bridget

        He’s found himself another haughty, unavailable woman. With dragons!

      • disqus_CpJJvzDxuG

        I loved the complexity of his character — he presented a lot of opportunities for drama. I also LOOOOVED Iain Glen (sp?) in the role and thought he had incredible presence (not to mention a schmexy face & voice). But it disturbs me a little when people say they like Sir Richard or that they believe he was a good match for Mary. He was a verbally and physically abusive man. :( It would be a sad marriage.

        • Alloy Jane

          I know, right? It bothered me the way JF wrapped up that relationship, with Sir Richard’s “I’m sorry blah blah blah” speech. As if any man prone to blackmail and accustomed to domineering others would be up to any genuine apology for trying to strong-arm someone he feels is indebted to him.

          I hate that I have to wait a year for more Downton. Also, it bums me out that real life keeps me from hanging out here with all of you. I need an office job again so I can get my TLo on LOL. Damn you domesticity and your constant demands…

    • SewingSiren

      Love Isobel Crawley’s boyfriend. He is too cute.
      I don’t believe Mary would remember the date that one of her suitor’s valet died on. Much less would she care whether her lady’s maid’s husband did it. Now her lady maid is functioning to wait on Lady Mary properly, that’s what Mary likes. Valets be damned.

      • Gatto Nero

        It was the day of the big village fair on the estate.
        Gillingham went to Downtn specifically to tell Mary about Green’s death that day. So she would remember the date.

    • AvaLehra

      …skip ahead to World War II and show us the lives of George Crawley, Sybbie Branson, and Whatever-her-name-is; three cousins, wildly apart on the class scale, living in the same tiny English village during the War. How cool would that be?

      That would be amazing. *sigh*

      • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

        It would be, but at the same time, wouldn’t they all be far too young to drive a (melo)drama? It seems this series is currently at 1923; WWII began in 1939, so I don’t think the oldest of those kids would even be old enough to enlist. It’d have to be set in the last couple of years of the war for them to be old enough to even enlist, which means the show would have to move at a snail’s pace to milk every possible story line from the era. You wouldn’t even get a chance to introduce the dramatic conflict of having a surge of American soldiers suddenly swanning about the place; they’d have to already be there.

        Or to put it this way, how interesting would Downton have been during the Great War episodes if Matthew had been too young to enlist and Sybil too young to have even been out of the schoolroom? Not very, unfortunately.

        Now, George, Sybbie, and the little bastard being in the same tiny English village in the late forties/early fifties? I’d watch the hell out of that. Especially if they found some way to make Violet live forever. :D

        • Tally Ho

          Baby Sybil was born in 1921 and George in 1922. The latter would have been 18 in 1940, so he’d be very eligible to see action for most of the war. I don’t know what the official age for enlistment was but 18 makes sense given that so many boys went straight from school to the battlefield.

    • Kathryn

      Am I the only one who was icked out by brother Harold and Rose’s friend Madeleine as a possible romantic pairing? I know there were often big age gaps between husbands and wives in that milieu but considering that Madeleine was 18 or 19 and Harold was at least in his mid-40s it was just a little too big of a gap for me.

      • Chris

        It’s icky- but it rang more true than all the men chasing after widowed 32 year old Lady Mary. Their families would be pushing them at the Madeline and Rose age girls.

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

          Absolutely my thought. Lady Mary better get a move on – Rose and her gal pals are now on the market. The only thing is that it’s established that Rose’s parents have no money, so her value is significantly diminished because of that. But most of the men under 40 (and a good deal over 40) would be looking at 18 year olds as fair game. Let’s face it, many still do today.

          • Chris

            Yes, and technically Mary doesn’t have any money of her “own” it’s all tied up in the estate and for her son. Also marrying Mary would mean problems. If a man has his own estate why would he want to live at Downton? Yet Mary has said Downton is her whole life and reason d’etre now. Clearly she won’t want to leave. Better a young, “pliable” girl like Rose or Madeline if you’re looking for what is convenient. Mary isn’t bringing any money to the marriage anyway.

      • Wellworn

        It icked me out too, mostly because of the extreme difference in both age and appearance of the two actors. Also the fact that Madeleine’s persona was way beyond her years, but that was appropriate, considering the con artist nature of the family. She would be chameleon-like in her persona. Still – ick.

    • Therese Bohn

      I couldn’t help but notice how Mary seemed so incredibly bored throughout the first 1/2 of the episode!
      But I’m happy for Edith, who will at least have her baby nearby. I hope she can raise him as her own by the end of next season. And Edith had some of the best gowns in this ep, as well as the whole season whenever she was in London!
      I just want to punch Barrow, who becomes more moustache-twirling with each season. I’m just finding him a boring gossip-whore. What is he trying to achieve anyway? Just to get rid of Tom? It’s silly.
      Loved Carson and Hughes beach walk. Then need each other.

    • marlie

      The two pairings that I loved the most last night were Isobel/Violet, and Carson/Mrs. Hughes. And perhaps an honorable mention for Baxter/Molesley. And as one of my friends commented after I tweeted those thoughts last night, they’re all older characters. Perhaps we’re all growing tired of the (very tame) sexcapades of the younger characters, both above and below stairs, and are becoming more interested in watching real relationships grow and develop. At least I and my friends are. So, I look forward to more storylines in the future with these characters, rather than ANOTHER one about who Mary or Tom is fooling around with.

      • Chris

        Part of the problem is that the “older” characters you mentioned are very interesting and fully drawn. Mary’s suitors are almost interchangeable and Blake is the only one with any discernible verve. Ditto with Tom’s ladies, the schoolteacher is just another Edna.

        • RedRaven617

          I loved Isobel and Violet bickering in the back seat of the car as they left Downton.

    • Wellworn

      Everything that I thought about, or wanted to say, has been said in your wonderful review. Things that I didn’t even know I thought about or wanted to say were also said, and I agree wholeheartedly with them. You have a brilliant way of stating the big picture in every plot and subplot, analyzing, evaluating, and predicting (hopefully) what might come. Thanks so much for helping organize my thoughts each week. No one does it better, guys.

    • MarieLD

      In the Dowager’s defense, because I want Violet to be my grandmother, she has been giving Tom advice much of the season, so maybe she does want him to feel part of the family.

      • Gatto Nero

        I think she also understands that he is making a valuable contribution to the operation — and the future — of the estate.

        • BayTampaBay

          Violet knows and will recognizes ability coupled with loyalty when she sees it.

    • Paula Pertile

      I missed a few bits because the cats rang the bell* and I had to get up to let them in – twice – so will have to watch this again.
      *a cowbell on a string on the doorknob

      Anyways –
      You know what bugs me? The way the writing of the characters is so uneven. Fellowes has them go from ‘normal’, to slightly cartoon-ish, then will give them one episode where they show some depth and real meatiness as people, then they go back to being a cartoon again. Its like he can’t decide which style to draw them in – cartoon, simple rendering, or full-on oil painting. Maybe its just me, but I wish he’d stop.

      “I never get excited.” (Daisy) Loved that!

      I wish at least one of Mary’s men would get tired of waiting for her and go find someone else. Don’t they know that would make her more interested in them?

      Loved seeing Paul Giamatti. Shirley’s make up is ghastly. And that American valet, please. Seriously, does Fellowes hate Americans that much?

      How does anyone tweet and watch the show at the same time, let alone tweet it in advance and retweet it live and … I don’t know, I can barely handle a snack, kitties, and everything going on in the show at the same time, let alone anything else.

      • Wellworn

        Regarding Fellowes’ feelings towards Americans, he isn’t alone. If you watch any number of British programs, you will see Americans portrayed as overly broad, loud, uncultured, uncouth, etc., often by British actors with a generic American accent. Much as you will see the British stereotype of quiet, reserved, upper-crust Lord of the Manor (with the generic British accent), in American programs. I do notice the negative stereotypical Americans in so much of British programming, and it does bother me, but Fellowes isn’t the first, and unfortunately, won’t be the last.

        • Paula Pertile

          Good point.
          I sounded so cranky in my post. I actually really enjoyed the episode, over all.

        • greenwich_matron

          Between “Top Gear”, “QI”, and “The Graham Norton Show”, I have heard British actors go on and on about how they are always cast as villains.

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            Two words: Star Wars.

            • greenwich_matron

              Now we also have Star Trek

            • desertwind

              The British actors always make the best Nazis, don’t they?

          • Courtney

            Also the Jaguar commercial from the Super Bowl.

            • DeTrop

              Love that commercial. Classy, elegant and the car is nice too.

          • B. Garcia

            Just the uggos. The beauts like Henry Cavill get cast as superman!

      • disqus_CpJJvzDxuG

        “I wish at least one of Mary’s men would get tired of waiting for her and go find someone else. Don’t they know that would make her more interested in them?”

        Well, Evelyn Napier did go off to France, so maybe he’ll finally get some. I confess I wanted Mary to fall in love with him because he’s such a nice guy. He also had the balls and decency to dig up the truth on that Pamuk letter that was ruining Mary’s prospects (& without judgment). Among other good things. But Mary can’t see a good thing even when it hits her in the face…Evelyn better come back next season with a hot French wife who loves him madly. Go on, Fellowes. Make it happen.

    • momjamin

      I must say, that must have been some visit at ol’ Shrimpy’s house that kept the royalty talking about it so much.

    • crash1212

      Love the episode last night for SO many reasons, but one thing really bugged me and that was all this nonsense about Edith “inheriting” something from the missing-possibly-dead-newspaperman. He had a wife. That’s why he went to Germany to begin with. I know the timeline sometimes gets confuse, but he wouldn’t have had time to get a divorce, so why wouldn’t his actual wife and/or whatever family she might have get first crack at any “inheritance”? I know she’s incapacitated, but still. I was confused. Also…Clarkson with bare feet….SHOCKING I say!

      • Lilithcat

        I think people often misuse the term “inherit”, which technically means you are the person who is entitled to the estate (or part of it) by operation of law, if someone dies without a will. That’s usually the spouse and children. Edith might, however, be a legatee, which means she would be left property under Gregson’s will. I doubt very much whether he could entirely disinherit a spouse, sane or insane.

        What’s I find peculiar is all this talk of wills and inheritance when he’s been missing only, what, a year?

      • in a pickle

        He had her sign a power of attorney document which seems to have given her some control over his business. He hasn’t been declared dead and she doesn’t have control over his finances (as far as we can tell), but she’s now being asked to take a hand in the running of the business.

    • momjamin

      Bates the Innocent sure learned a lot in prison. Forgery: A+, Pickpocketing: A, Alibis: D.

      • MommyMitzi

        Funny! and true!

        One point: Bates points out that he’d keep the letter close to his body. Well, then wouldn’t the letter be in Sampson’s tux pocket and not his overcoat pocket??

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          I think he pulled it from the tux coat pocket when he walked around to Sampson’s front side and patted him down.

          • http://victoriapavlova.com Victoria Pavlova

            That’s what I thought too, the coat was a distraction

            • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

              It’s the pickpocket’s classic ruse, as so deliciously demonstrated at the beginning of the movie Casablanca.

          • MommyMitzi

            That does make more sense! Thanks for pointing that out. (I so obviously don’t have the mind of a pickpocket!)

          • momjamin

            I suspect Bates would have checked the overcoat pockets on his way from the coat room to Sampson.

    • Anne

      I thought this episode had a distinctly Gosford Park feeling about it–a group of people in on a secret that the rest of the room doesn’t know. I loved the moment when they were trying to explain the business with the card game and who was going to the theater and Maggie Smith said something like, “I feel like I’m among the cast of a whodunit!”

      And this is the first time since series 1 that I care what happens in the next series. I want to see what happens with Carson/Hughes and Baxter/Molesley (“Your strength has made me strong.” “…my what?!”), and whether Edith manages to keep her secret with her daughter running all over the place, and if Michael Gregson comes back, and whether Daisy gets herself out of service and goes to find her life doing whatever, and sure, I’m even curious as to whom Mary will end up with (even though I agree that her options aren’t that interesting). I would kind of like Tom to tell everybody to go to hell and take Sybbie off to New York.

      Also, I would watch that show about George, Sybbie and Edith’s daughter as teenagers/adults. That sounds awesome.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Since the next season is the last, there’s no reason why they can’t have Branson go to America with Sybbie as part of the series finale.

    • lauraq99

      If you were a Yorkshire pig farmer, and you showed up one day with a baby, and you only told your wife the baby belonged to a friend, no one she knew, wouldn’t your wife wonder – who’s baby it was? The farmer assured Edith, his wife would love it like it was her own, and not ask any questions. Um, really?

      • Courtney

        Methinks conflict between the wife and the farmer is going to lead to this whole situation blowing up in Edith’s face next season.

    • in a pickle

      I know this is crazy nitpicky, but Fellowes anachronisms always throw me. He’ll get a minor point which hardly anyone knows right (visiting valets called by their employer’s name for instance) and then blow something simple and fairly common knowledge. During the whole presentation scene I was urging the TV, “don’t turn your back on your king and queen, don’t do it, don’t turn around…” And of course Cora and Rose sashayed up, had their little chat, swung on their heels and walked away. Why, Julian, why? There is just no way Fellowes doesn’t know this and backing out of a conversation has lots of comic/dramatic possibilities.

      • http://surelysonsy.blogspot.com/ Jessica | Surely Sonsy

        i thought the same thing! i was at wikipedia almost immediately “researching” presentation procedures. (i’m a sucker for all things british royalty.) the other thing is who would have presented rose. i thought the whole point of presentation is that someone who has already been presented then presents the debutante. (that’s a mouthful…) “Applications for young women to be presented at court were required to be made by ladies who themselves had been presented to the Sovereign; the young woman’s mother, for example, or someone known to the family. A mother-in-law who herself had been presented might, for example, present her new daughter-in-law.” but lady grantham would not have been presented at court since she married into the title rather than inherited it, right? honest question, truly.

        • Tally Ho

          Not necessarily. She could still have been presented just prior to marrying Robert. Certain well-connected women offered “services” to rich American girls looking to break into the aristocracy and part of the services usually included a presentation at court. I think the DA official history is that Cora was brought over by her parents in the 1880s to do a London season, which presumably included a presentation, and that’s how she met Robert.

          • http://surelysonsy.blogspot.com/ Jessica | Surely Sonsy

            ooh, thanks for this information! methinks i need to get that DA coffee-table book…

            • BayTampaBay

              It is worth the price!

        • in a pickle

          I agree with Tally Ho, Cora would definitely have been presented at court either before or immediately upon her marriage. She’s the Countess of Grantham, she’s kind of a big deal, and as a relative would have been an appropriate person to present Rose. But neither of them would turn their backs :)

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I’m not an expert on this, but I do know that Americans can be presented at court. Some of John F. Kennedy’s sisters were presented when Joe was ambassador to England.

          • scoobynacks

            Not a shock. Anything Joe could do to turn the Kennedys into American royalty, he did. Talk about a man with ambition. Imagine if his other son hadn’t died.

            • Tally Ho

              Joe Kennedy wasn’t enamored of England. When his daughter married the heir to the Duke of Devonshire the parents refused to attend the wedding (Anglican) and when the daughter died in a plane crash a few years later, Rose Kennedy asked people to pray for her as if she was in purgatory (for marrying outside the faith, apparently).

    • Julia

      TEAM EVELYN NAPIER FOREVER

    • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

      I suspect this has been discussed below (although I don’t see it), but did anyone else get a faint Lucy/Ethel vibe from the Sampson Letter Theft and Recovery Caper? I think to me what was most hilarious about it is that we all know this one peccadillo of the Prince of Wales was nothing compared to what was coming.

      Also — what about Lady Mary saying in the drawing room that she will happily lie (as the plans for the Caper were being laid) and then saying in her bedroom that Mrs Hayes was asking for her to overlook murder and that was something she simply couldn’t do? I started laughing when she got all dramatic about it.

    • Emilianne Hackett

      I couldn’t stand this episode and was so disappointed that I turned it off halfway though. The whole thing with the Prince of Wales was ridiculous, I couldn’t tell any of Rose’s friends or Mary’s suitors apart, and the whole thing was disjointed and pointless. Definitely the worst Downton episode ever. The only parts I liked were Carson’s faces of shock, disgust and horror throughout the night, the American footman, and the ending with Mrs. Hughes and Carson. Oh, and Mosely. I like Mosely. And I like that no one died, although I would like to see someone (anyone) kill Thomas. Or at least knock him down a few pegs.

      • MikeW_Vegas

        and by “a few pegs” you mean a flight of 45-50 stairs, right? *G*

    • Megan Kennedy

      How do we STILL not know about Baxter’s past?!

      • desertwind

        Maybe SHE is Edith’s mother.

    • nannypoo

      I love this show so much I can hardly stand it. It certainly has its little mistakes and silliness, and there’s no point watching if you want a history lesson, but if it goes on for twenty more seasons I will be there.

      But here’s my gripe: they gave Thomas, my favorite character, nothing to do this season. He went from an evil yet complex and challenging character to an evil cardboard cutout in one short season. A great actor with the potential for real drama was turned into a cartoon. So sad.

    • MinnieO

      Did anyone get a vibe from Rosamunde that she had been in a similar situation to Edith in her earlier years…and that she might not be “Aunt” Rosamunde at all when it comes to Lady Edith?? She made some interesting remarks about next chances/children and also it would maybe explain Cora’s/Robert’s seeming disconnect with their second daughter.

      • Gatto Nero

        Yes, there’s a long discussion of this earlier in the thread.

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        I noticed the Rosamunde and Edith have similiar coloring, but I was willing to chalk it up to genetic roulette until I saw this post.

    • Megan Kennedy

      I loved Daisy in this episode, and just in general, she’s one of my favorites. She’s managed to transition from the doe-eyed, daft girl of season one to basically a mini Mrs. Patmore, tossing off droll quips left and right. I think her relationship with Mrs. Patmore is the main reason she didn’t go to America — they really do love each other like a mother and daughter, but as Daisy grows up more and more, like equals as well. It’s lovely to watch, and a credit to both actresses that they’re both still interesting to me, even though their major plotline this season was Alfred. ALFRED. So glad to see that love quadrangle gone. Good riddance, Ivy.

      • DeniseSchipani

        It struck me after the episode was over how contented and pretty Daisy looked on the beach, with actual SUN on her face. She spends too much time in the basement!

    • Stacy Mintzer Herlihy

      I now want to go to a fabulous ball and wear diamonds in my hair. I’m not overly fond of Fellowes. He comes across as an insufferable snob. But oh how I like his characters!

    • zingit

      Apologies if you already knew this or if someone already mentioned this farther down the thread, but did you know you can schedule tweets in advance? Try Hootsuite, it’s awesome. Then you wouldn’t have to cut and paste on a Sunday; writing and scheduling them on Thursday would have been enough, plus it has a bunch of other handy features. We use it at my workplace all the time. And I swear they didn’t pay me to write this! ;)

    • AnotherJulie

      I love this show despite my frustrations with some of the implausible characters and plot lines. But something has mystified me which I’ve never seen addressed. Where did all these people who worked “in service” come from, and do none of them have families? Is it simply not interesting enough to include their lives outside Downton – or did people literally give up all family connections? With the exception of Alfred’s father dying I can’t remember any other mention of parents, siblings, etc.

      Can anybody help?

      • DeniseSchipani

        When people went into service, they generally left their families — they’d travel to get a job at a place like Downtown. Housemaids were often as young as 14or 15. It was considered a better life than whatever they could do at home, but that meant they didn’t really go BACK home. Why outside families aren’t mentioned on Downton is probably because poor JF has enough story lines swirling in his head! That said, remember the footman William who died in the war, he was local.

        • BayTampaBay

          William, the footman, was at Downton because his mother wanted him to be a butler (like Carson) in a big house. This was a major step up on the ladder of life, sorta like your mother dreaming of you becoming a bank president so you go to work as bank clerk.

      • Tally Ho

        O’Brien mentioned a brother who was killed in WWI.

        We met William’s father a few times.

        Thomas had a father who was a clockmaker.

        Mrs. Hughes has an old ex who proposed to her.

        Carson was in love with another woman in his pre-service days.

        We met Bates’ lovely mother once. I’m rather glad she died before Bates turned into “is he an evil monster or not” caricature.

        There was Ethel the maid who had a baby.

        Oh, and another maid (Edna?) in Season 2 who had a son that Robert helped get into a good grammar school.

        The servants obviously came from somewhere but the standard of the time required them to work around the clock with a half day off every week. Not much time to go home to visit the family :( Or even if they wanted to go home to visit their family. Daisy is a good example, her background is that she’s the youngest of something like 15 kids in a very poor family and she made clear she never received much attention at home.

        • AnotherJulie

          Yes, thanks for the above recap. I meant family that they were involved with…. Watching the last episode it hit me that Ivy spontaneously decided to go to New York to live, with no one to ask…. and it is never mentioned that anyone goes “home” during what little time off they have.

          • BayTampaBay

            “Thomas had a father who was a clockmaker.”

            A clockmaker was not a low class occupation so it makes me wonder if Thomas’ father died when he was fairly young or his father threw him out of the family home for an “undiscussable” reason. If we go with the latter option, it would explain why Mr. Barrows is so evil on the one hand yet really touched by Sybil’s acceptance & kindness on the other hand.

          • Gatto Nero

            “Home” may be relatively far for some of these people — too far to visit on a half-day off. As an employee on an estate like this, Ivy is presumably making her own way in the world, even if she’s quite young, and doesn’t need anyone’s permission to move to a different position, or another country. She’ll just hand in her notice, and probably send a letter to whatever family she has in England.

        • Saturnine

          Mrs. Patmore had a suitor that wanted her mostly for her culinary skills, and didn’t she also have a nephew who was shot for cowardice (retreating in battle)?

      • Kit Jackson 1967

        Others have summed up the situation quite well. I would add that servants might send and recieve letters from home. However, this would not be a terribly interesting moment for the series to cover.

    • BayTampaBay

      There are three of them big books and I have them all!

    • Tally Ho

      Cora was vaguely modeled after Mary Leiter, the Episcopalian raised daughter of a Jewish born dry goods merchant from Cincinnati/Chicago, and who married the Marquess Curzon, who owned Kedleston Hall, one of the grandest (and probably uncomfortable) house in Britain.

      A number of the very rich, fashionable Americans at the time did have a few Jewish ancestors in the woodpile. The Astors are a prime example, the “founder” of the family was known to have been Jewish but his children and their descendants became firmly Episcopalians. It seemed to have no impact on their social eligibility given that the Astors ruled NYC society for a long time, before the arrival of the upstart Vanderbilts.

      • BayTampaBay

        “Kedleston Hall, one of the grandest (and probably uncomfortable) house in Britain.”

        I’d say that prize goes to Gordonstrun!

      • greenwich_matron

        I don’t think Levi Leiter was Jewish. I think he was a Mennonite.

        • BayTampaBay

          I do not know about Jewish vs Mennonite but I do know that he was THE ORIGINAL 50-50 partner of Marshall Field who took his mercantile and dry goods profits of millions and parlayed it into Chicago & NYC real estates investments worth BILLIONS in today dollars. In other words….Mr. Leiter had many many metric fuck tons of money.

          • greenwich_matron

            Wouldn’t that be imperial fuck tons?

          • greenwich_matron

            They are also in the 1840 census and there are lots of stories about them coming originally from Switzerland via Pennsylvania. Many successful families were “accused” of being Jewish at the turn of the century. It’s a little ironic that it was meant as a slur.

    • keldy

      I do love this show, and loved this episode for all the reasons stated in the recap. But I agree with many that they men falling all over themselves to be next in line to marry Lady Mary has gotten more than tiresome. Yes, she’s gorgeous, and yes, she’s smart, and yes, she’s plucky, but it doesn’t seem as if there is a shortage of gorgeous, smart and plucky women in the area. In fact, given that we are in a period following the Great War, shouldn’t there be a shortage of men?

    • Kelly

      Yep, count this Carson/Hughes shipper as thrilled. I still want Edith to find a smoky-voiced chanteuse in a tux, though. I’ve already come to terms (sort of) with the deeply-entrenched classicism of the show, but I did find the whole rape story disturbing and offensive — used merely as a plot point and then, as you say, becoming All About Bates. Although I wouldn’t mind if we never saw Mary again, I’m looking forward to next season. And Mr Fellowes, please give Violet and Isobel something real to do beyond get sick and/or insist on romanticizing the working classes.

      • BayTampaBay

        Also, Sir Julian, please get the Cora writing back on track to give Elizabeth McGovern, an Academy Award nominated actress, a story arc worthy of said Academy Award nominated talents.

        ETA: Does any think Sir Julian or one of his admin support minions actually read this blog?

      • Lisa_Co

        I read on the Downton IMDB message board that Michelle Dockery has said next season will be her last.

        • Kit Jackson 1967

          I thought next season was the final season of the show.

    • Mia Hess

      I really loved the show last night, I was so pleasantly surprised. There were some points of protocol at Rose’s presentation that were wrong. Way wrong. And George V was hardly a scintillating conversationalist at the best of time.
      Finally Mary got some nice dresses to wear! But I digress!
      So true about Anna’s rape was all about Bates. At least he was supportive of Anna; some men of that time would not have been at all.
      Somebody needs to smack that sanctimonious snot-bucket that’s going after Tom upside her head. Oh, you want to LOOK at Downton Abbey but you put down the family and people that maintain it? I wish Tom would have left her in her broken down car by the side of the road. Would have served her right. I do like that members of the family are being nice to Tom. I figured in real life they’d wish he’d take his daughter and run away.
      I hope Mosesley and Baxter throw that evil footman out with the next bunch of pig slops! I did love how that duo is coming together. And what IS his motivation for getting information on the family? That’s never really been explained. Nobody likes him. Even Lord Grantham wasn’t pleased with his services on his American trip; so fire the smarmy boy and be done with it. Give him a decent reference and tell him to hit the road, Jack.
      Yes, please, send Ivy off to the U.S. Nice actress of course but that whole Ivy-Daisy thing was getting old and weird. Ivy. Daisy. Flowers. Wow, I just got that now.
      Is it just me or is Edith that only younger woman on that show who has a bosom??? I know it’s the 1920s and the boyish silhouette was all the rage but even before than, no one has chestage!
      I actually enjoyed the scenes with Harold too. He had some good lines and it was interesting to see him react to The Season.
      And finally, I love Tom and Lorenzo, you are fabulous!