Let’s talk about this, shall we?
Last night I had the pleasure of watching the Downton Abbey season 2 finale a few hours before the rest of America, courtesy of JP and his Blueray collection. It’s the little things, really.
Anyway, I will admit that I was a little put off at times by season 2. I realize that Julian Fellowes has a very large cast of characters, and that he needs to advance the plot, but some of his subplots this year left me incredulously Dowager Countess-esque. A sampling:
- Lord Grantham and The Maid: No, I did not learn her name. Yes, I figured out her only purpose was to make our dear Robert seem fallible, as all heroes must appear at some point to be in their quest for honor and diginity and really fancy cufflinks. Seriously, though, made both me and JP scream at the TV in horror a few weeks back. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT WHILE LADY GRANTHAM IS NEAR DEATH? (also, so is that poor Lavinia Swire, but whatever, her death served a purpose so I am ok with it). Perhaps our mighty hero needed to fall in order to forgive Lady Cybil and The Chauffer and my homegirl Mary in the finale. Still, it felt forced and contrived cheap and made me, the viewer, feel gross and need to drink more wine. So that can’t be good.
- The Redheaded Chick, The Hot Jackass (with an awesome ‘stache) and The Baby: Our favorite replacement redheaded maid (oh, DA, please bring back Gwen, I want to see what sort of adventures she’s been up to ever since receiving the post at the telephone company) got herself into all sorts of trouble when she hooked up with Clark Gable-esque officer-man. She, of course, gets knocked up, and he, of course, denies paternity. Then we go through this whole ordeal where Mrs. Hughes brings said redhead food and whatnot when she is removed from the household for being a hussy – such hypocrisy at Downton. Mary sleeps with a guy, he dies in her bed, and she gets to stay. Pshaw. Such is the class divide. Anywho, Bastard Dad dies in the war, and Redheaded Rita makes Mrs. Hughes unite her with his parents while they are visiting DA so she can thrust her loin fruit in their faces. And in the end, once they have offered her the parental equivalent of an Indecent Proposal, she decides, “Hey, whatever, I don’t need my son to have a future other than sitting in a dark room waiting for some nice old lady to bring us bread crumbs. Thanks, but no, thanks?” This storyline frustrated me, clearly. WHAT WAS THE POINT?
- Lady Edith and The Farmer Man With A Tractor That She Drives: Enough said. Liked that Edith found herself this season, LOVED the trousers (they were Meryl Streep’s in “Out of Africa,” in case you’re curious), but was baffled a bit by that subplot.
- Are You There, Robert? It’s Me, Patrick: Somehow I feel this storyline is not dead. I find it a little proposterous for a man to be presumed dead after the sinking of the Titanic, but then magically pops up five years later, but only after he burns half of his face off in the War and magically awakes from amnesia and remembers that he is not Canadian but an heir to a magical estate in Yorkshire. Puh-lease.
But, despite the above dalliances into the surreal, I thought last night’s episode was the cherry on top of this season. Maggie Smith stole the show per usual, but kinda loved this line from Mrs. Crawley: “It’s a nut cracker. So you can crack your nuts. We thought you’d like it.” A great line, and encapsulates why the show is so good when it’s good: succinct writing and great acting are all it really takes to make me fall in love with DA over and over again.
By the way, has Thomas not learned his lesson about being a Grade A D-Bag? You’d think he’d figure it out by now, but no, he continues to cut corners. If anything had happened to Isis I personally would have started a letter writing to Mr. Fellowes to write Thomas and his way too awesome hair off the show. I am sure all of Britain was agasp over the dog last Christmas. Dogs are one of the few things British folks can express feelings to, after all.
Back to good things, though. I’m happy that Lord and Lady Grantham are back in the groove. I love them as a couple – more than Bates & Anna and Matthew & Mary, to be honest – because of the first season. And because that relationship was healed she could FINALLY reveal Mary’s Big Fat Turkish Secret to Lord Grantham. And that reveal was the impetus for the rest of the episode. Rundown:
– Lord Grantham tells Mary to break it off with Mr. Sinister Richard, even if she will be labeled a hussy. Great father daughter moment. Probably my second favorite moment from last night.
– Mary tells Matthew her secret. Can you believe that girl was holding on to that secret for 6 years? No wonder she’s so skinny, the guilt must be eating her alive.
– Matthew punches Richard. I loved that both of their hair went all out of place. Loved it even more when Matthew apologized for breaking the vase to the Dowager.
– The Dowager’s “Do you promise?” retort to Richard’s “I am leaving in the morning, Lady Grantham. I doubt we will meet again.”
– And then, finally, after 8 years, Mary and Matthew admit their feelings to one another and, to our relief, smile. Such a simple concept, smiling is. Those are pretty people. They need to smile and laugh more often. All of that brooding is not a good look on Matthew Crawley. Still, a beautiful scene, what with the snow falling and the glory of Downton behind them. And, as many people have said, if BBC/PBS/Lord Carnarvon (the dude who actually lives at the real DA) don’t make a Downton Abbey snowglobe, then they are just plain bad capitalists.
Looking forward to next season- and a Maggie Smith/Shirley Maclaine show-down. Methinks my girl Violet is in for many days filled with fights with an American.