Another interesting week on Downton, and I actually found it more compelling than last week for reasons I really can’t explain. There were just some engaging themes, I guess, and fewer interactions shrouded in secret. This week was just…better. It might not be Grantchester, but it was good.
For starters, everyone needs a relative named Shrimpie. I mean, I do anyway. It’s just a great name. Thanks for being you, Shrimpie, and for the joy you brought me last night each time your name was mentioned.
Amazing name aside, Shrimpie’s storyline was actually very compelling. Unhappiness in marriage, divorce, changing of the times with attitudes about divorce. Or not. Maybe Shrimpie doesn’t care that he will be shunned; he’s ready to be happy, which is a new thing for him. Is it a new thing for other married folks? Why can’t he just live separately like his daughter suggested? He needs to be free. His wife must be a real jerk.
Speaking of love, I did think it was interesting that Rose articulated her feelings on love (a big theme recently in the show, I’ll take it) and how she’d rather be alone than marry the wrong person. Was that Rose, or maybe Mary? Anyway, it’s a theme that was covered last night and perhaps a trend in feelings of the time. Were people starting to examine how they felt about love, was there more freedom in that area, versus simply being told how things were going to go down.
On that note, I’m sorry but I absolutely loved Violet’s recounting of her almost-tryst (or maybe it happened?) with the Russian and how her husband gave her a framed photo of their children. Reality check. A lifetime of happiness and devotion versus chasing “in the now” feelings. It’s something every married couple needs to acknowledge, that the concept of soul mates is great until you start feeling the inevitable ennui (everyone does, many get through it) and that just because things aren’t always operating at 110 percent in the Wowzah Marriage Department doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake. It also doesn’t mean you need to wreck a family for what will ultimately be something you can get through if you set your mind to it. I just loved her practical approach to the situation and maybe the lesson was she wasn’t free to “follow her heart” but you get the impression her willingness to her commitments in the end served her (and all her loved ones) best. The Dowager Countess, For The Win!
Speaking of love, YES. I loved Lord Merton’s proposal and how he clearly explained where he was coming from. Not from a place of loneliness or desperation, but a place of love. It was a sweet little moment and I hope Isobel makes the right choice (meaning I don’t know if he’s genuine, he seems to be, but if he’s the Real Deal I hope she finds love and joy with him). What do you think?
And now let’s talk about Mary and how she just got herself in a fine fix. Okay, full disclosure: I’m all for her breaking up with Tony. Hear me out! Hear me out. If Tony is going to be a dull life partner, better to find out now than a month after the wedding. And yes Mary did a very bad thing and now Tony is going to make her pay. So she’s getting hers, for breaking the moral code. But let’s admit that the actions of their pre-honeymoon honeymoon are done and shouldn’t mean she’s locked in to anything…I feel really morally bankrupt for writing that. But it’s true.
Can we give Cora some discussion here? The thing is…last week Cora felt useful. And you saw the joy in her as she showed off the art collection and enjoyed her time with a man who (yes we see what’s coming, he’s a weasel) is giving her attention and making her feel special, wanted and necessary. I finally caught on after about the third encounter how Cora is trying to be a part of the land development decision and is continually shut out by her husband and daughter. Last week, in the scene with the gorgeous orange wrap (I was distracted by the wrap last week and had to re-watch to catch the dialogue) she was talking about how wonderful it was, during the war, when she was “running everything with Barrow” and the girls were helping in the hospital. Her life had meaning and purpose, and now it’s back to just ambling about her day. She needs to start getting involved. What should she do?
It was basically Fashion Week in Downton and In Real Life, such a fun comparison (yes, I follow Fashion Week…I need to know how to dress for my weekly outing to the local Mexican restaurant with friends). So fascinating that it’s basically the same? You are writing down what outfits you plan to wear next season. Exactly like my life. I could seriously relate. (Insert Target weekly flyer pics here).
Thoughts on Bunting (according to my handwritten notes from last night, and I quote): “Ugh.” “She is so short.” “Dang I can’t stand her.”
I thought for a brief moment Bunting had redeemed herself. Daisy’s moment of clarity was beautiful, “I have choices, interests, facts…” and I was all “Oh Miss Bunting I’ve misjudged you.” And then she just would not let it go and ruined dinner and I love that Mary kind of ganged up on her with her dad and I wish there would have been some kind of beat down.
(If these feelings are wrong I don’t want to be right.)
And of course, Mr Molesley doesn’t seem to be long for the First Footman world. Are they trying to run him off? And what is Thomas addicted to? Is it time to start feeling sad? These and other questions will (hopefully) be answered in the coming weeks.