Downton Rollercoaster

This week’s episode left me with a lot of observations but not necessarily one cohesive vibe. However, I’m going to coat-check that feeling of mine because it might just be where I’m at personally, a tad preoccupied about upcoming travels and predicted SNOW while I’m gone, which has got me a tad conflicted. Snow shuts this city DOWN. We live for snow and if it comes and I’m not here I’m already feeling really…funny about that.

But then, when I was tidying some items on my dresser this morning, I found a small scripture card I had tucked into my jewelry dish.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And since I don’t really know how I would pray, necessarily (definitely won’t pray against snow, definitely don’t want my flights cancelled) I will focus on the first part of Phillipians 4:6 and just not be anxious. As best I can.

So!

Downton had us all over the place last night, didn’t it? Laughing, crying, snoozing a bit. I don’t know, I should probably get more into the land/debt/ownership part of things, because that’s the historical aspect I’ve been wanting instead of the soap opera scene.

It’s just, I feel like we’re in a class with a really, really proactive teacher who wants to be sure we understand this will BE ON THE TEST. Highlight this! Did you get that? So, to regurgitate this information: it was a tough transition, but bit by bit the large estates were whittled away and these days almost none of them resemble in scope what they once were.

I do agree it’s interesting to watch the back and forth with Mary and Tom and Lord Grantham but again, the point has been made. What are some other historic themes we might review?

Part of me thinks I’m being petty about that. I mean, it’s plot and it’s interesting and important. I just feel like, okay, moving right along. Having said that, I did enjoy discussions of an incoming refrigerator and Mrs. Patmore’s reference to her corset.

So…on the note of historic accuracy and women’s undergarments… is there a subtle flat-chestedness going on with the Women of Downton Abbey? Was this part of the fashion? Or are we just dealing with really skinny actresses? I’m curious about this because I don’t remember the fashions in seasons past being so minimizing to the bust-line.

It’s official: I’m on Team Alfred. I was rooting for him and I bet we haven’t seen the last of his drive and chutzpah. Favorite line of the night: “Is there anything I should know about London?”

Actually, a lot of great lines this episode with (as per usual) the Dowager hitting the jackpot. References to a heavy halo and not wanting a poet in the family were my faves.

Here’s another admission: I can’t really remember what the story is with Alfred and Daisy. I seem to recall that forever ago he liked her, she rebuffed, he got his eye on New Girl Cutie Pie and now Daisy is interested. Am I reading that right? Poor Daisy. She’s cute, but not terribly lucky in love.

I do appreciate the way the show delves into hopes and dreams — and how not everybody had them. I like that. I mean, I’m all for aiming high and having goals, but I like that the writers don’t falsely portray every single last servant as wanting out of that scene. I’m sure many of them were perfectly content with their station in life because that’s just how things were.

And, conversely, I enjoy watching the dynamic of those eager to branch out and take advantage of modern ways, the men and women who don’t want to be stuck in a job that doesn’t feed their creative spirit. And the fact that little by little this was a concept that society could afford to entertain. Just please, Julian, no more conniving characters (Dear Edna, there’s no beh-beh. Glad you’re gone.)

Bullet take-aways:

  • Thomas. Why? You get so close to being a human and then you get all Old School Thomas on us. In the words of my husband, “Wow. That guy’s a tool.”
  • Cora’s room color? Gorgeous! Her walls stole every scene they were in. (Too far?)
  • Oh new lady, don’t turn out to be psycho? Thanks.
  • “Sorry, I was being absent-minded.” I loved Mary’s quick recovery. I plan to use that very genteel excuse from here on out. It sounds so much nicer than admitting I’m a “zone warrior.”
  • Baby sighting! With wee lil accent. Too precious.

And finally, Hooray for Team Bates! Light and honesty wins out and once again, Mrs. Hughes to the rescue. Even if she was basically forced at gunpoint(ish). I liked how they manipulated everyone’s emotions into getting all the horrific secrets into the light. He threatens to leave; Mrs. Hughes gives in because his leaving would push Anna over the edge. Let’s hear it for situation ethics!

Of course, things didn’t exactly go as we hoped. Well, how our true moral selves had hoped. Because Bad Rachel is still rooting for a seek-find-destroy mission that involves Bates finishing off Green and no one being anyone the wiser. Oops. Did I say that outloud?

The highlight of the evening for the menfolk (who I am starting to suspect watch Downton because it’s the thing on the teevee before SHERLOCK) was how Mr. Bates paid homage to their most beloved movie ever:

Comments

  1. Betsy Childs says:

    Did you catch Edith’s mysterious trip to London to visit an office that was not Michael Gregson’s? I think she’s pregnant. Right after she signed that document without reading it. Life is not a fan of Edith Crawley.

    • Oooh. You are observant! I didn’t even take notice of those points. I was definitely aware of Michael Gregson’s silence after their evening together. And, he did make reference to a past life that was perhaps a bit shady the night that he won back the money that Lord Grantham lost. So, could he have been gaining everyone’s trust only to turn out to be a not-so reformed cad? Hmmm. Seems Edith’s story is going to move in a new direction.

      • Agreed! There was something up with that visit to the doc.

        And Michael had her sign a paper two weeks ago and she didn’t even really read it? Silly girl. I have a feeling that’s going to be a huge plot twist of some kind.

    • When I saw it, I thought it was the same place Mary and Matthew went when they were trying to get pregnant. So, I think Edith is pregnant, or wanting something to prevent pregnancy.

  2. Yes, the “flat” look was in. But some of them ARE awfully thin. Daisy’s love of Alfred, I think, has always been one sided – Maybe you are thinking of the first guy she married only because he was dying?

  3. So, not going to give anything away or be lame like that, but I gave up and watched the whole season online. I fail. Oh well. 😉

  4. Aunt Catherine says:

    Just keep blogging on it, ill never have to reach for a contoller. Haha. Still behind on my law and order as it is! Funny stuff.

  5. Agree that this episode was largely to set-up future plots more than anything.
    I’m glad that things are beginning to get better between Bates and Anna; wish Branson would consider a more moderate move like to the Agent’s house than all the way to America if he is uncomfortable living at the Abby.

  6. I remember Julie Andrews lamenting in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, also set in the Roaring 20s, lamenting that she had been cursed with a more-than-ample bust-line when all rich and chic women were totally flat-chested.

    My favorite line so far this season was from last week’s episode. When someone wondered aloud about Edith’s mysterious trip to London, Mary replied, “Edith is as mysterious as a bucket!”

    I was inspired to upgrade my repertoire of similes.

  7. I have to point out too that poor Mr. Mosley just can’t seem to catch a break. I really do feel rather sorry for him. 🙁

  8. Daisy has had an unrequited crush on Alfred (O’Brien’s nephew) the entire time, but he’s only had eyes for Ivy, who has only had eyes for Jimmy, who has only had eyes for… fun. William Mason was crazy in love with Daisy and married her right before he died, but she just wasn’t into him (surprisingly, since he looked sooooo much like Alfred, and I don’t see much difference in their personalities, with the exception of the fact that William was into Daisy and Alfred isn’t).

    Man… It’s like I’m living at Downton Abbey. What a thought! 🙂

  9. Just prior to the episode, I blogged about what seems to be a recurring theme of this season: Having secret burdens that you don’t think you can share with anyone. Anna, Tom — all these miserable people who feel like they are stuck in silence. I’m glad that the truth is out for both of them, at least in a limited way.

    That new lady’s maid has me puzzled. Are we supposed to know her relationship to Thomas? Did I miss it while I was in the kitchen getting a leftover cupcake? (can’t watch DA on an empty stomach, now can we?).

  10. The new ladies maid has me nervous, I do not like her association with Thomas, at all.
    I absolutely want happiness for Edith, but it looks like she is doomed again.
    Mary’s recognition of her father’s goodness made my heart swell, I loved her entire monologue during that scene with Tom when they found out her father had loaned the debt money to the renter.
    No, Cora’s room is a scene stealer – not too much!
    Flat chestedness was in, those drop waist dresses didn’t allow for curves – remember their comeback in the 80’s?
    I love your recaps!!

  11. Daisy loved Alfred from the minute he arrived and he ALMOST returned her affection. But just as he was about to fall for Daisy, Ivy showed up and swept him off his feet. Poor Daisy.

    Loved your recap, going to read the others!

  12. elisabeth h says:

    The 1920’s + area in London as in the rest of europe WAS like this! A bustless, waistless silhouette emerged and aggressive dressing-down was mitigated by feather boas, embroidery, and showy accessories. The flapper style (known to the French as the ‘garçonne’ look) became very popular among young women.
    I think the Downton production theme is immensely dedicated to getting all details correct, down to the shades of the wall-paper and style of carpets as well as what they are eating and how they are dressed. Notice there’s quite a lot of seafood being served at parties, as this was all the rage among the upper classes at the time…..

  13. Compare the feminine dresses from season one and season two and you’ll see such a difference with season 4 which is 10 years later. The Edwardian era is one that still accentuated the feminine form. The waist is high with seams that flattered any figure and made the boyish frame still look a bit curvy. The 1920s were all about the boyish figure. The women wore drop waists to take the curve out and often bound their chests flat to help give a more boyish frame. Think rectangle rather than hourglass. The dresses are beautiful but I dislike this style of dress. The thirties bring back the feminine form with bias cut dresses that cling to the frame but still allow movement. Fashion history is full of interesting quirks. You might enjoy looking into it.