Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas Special

Downton Abbey goes Scottish!  Spoilery thoughts below (random things first and more overall storyline ones later, because that’s how I take my Downton):

 

1. I love everyone’s faces as the bagpiper goes around the table.  Next time I need to find out anyone’s real personality in a pinch I’m gonna get in a bagpiper.  Their face will tell me all I need to know about their gut reactions to things.

2. I really liked how Cora’s reaction to the Susan-Rose dynamic brought up Sybil so palpably.  It hit just the right balance between connecting to the past to hold the story believably together and not dwelling on the past so much it’s melodramatic and and a buzzkill.

3. I LOVE Rose’s dress that makes her look like a “slut.”  Yes, I would have loved anything that makes a Downton Abbey character call slut, but I genuinely like that color on Rose and the way the back straps fly.

4. KILTS.  That is all.

5. I really want to know how the Scottish fans felt about having Gilly (the Scottish accented servant) described as speaking with a voice from a “bygone age.”  That just seemed like an odd and badly-chosen term.

6. Seeing someone naked is TOTALLY the way to know how ‘nice’ someone is.  Let everyone who’s not been called back by someone after they had sex know-there should have been clues in their naked body that they were not nice enough to call.  That line was hilarious.

7. I know it’s taking awhile, but I’m tickled coral pink by the Edith Eyre storyline.  Plus, if the show pushed that relationship any quicker it’d seem more like a flighty, ill-considered, irresponsible gambit such as Edith’s been entangled in before, rather than the real relationship it’s evolving into now.  That being said, Gregson needs to figure out how to make his case without this incessant whining.  Rochester had cross-dressing, storming, and domination to overshadow his complaints, and no matter how you feel about that in a romantic hero, it beats the hell out of whining.  Gregson needs to get something like that soon.

8. Hurrah for the fair!  Just what we need in order to keep Carson’s range of disapproval going.  Carson’s Disapproval is like garlic-the always reliable, tasty, basic ingredient of this show.

9. They actually found a baby whose facial features reminded me of Sybil.  I am impressed.

10. I think incorporating Rose into the season is a very smart move.  They need more young blood, particularly with more mourning around, and there’s an awful lot of potential for interesting dynamics between her and both Cora and Maggie Smith.

11. Mrs. Patmore was the cutest thing all episode long.  Wearing a coat over her blouse so it doesn’t “jump” on people is exactly the sort of thing I’d say back then.  I would have liked it a little better if they’d shown the spice guy taking at least a few moments to try and distract Mrs. Patmore before flirting with other girls so she’d have at least that excuse and he’d be showing her at least that pinch of respect, but it’ll do.  Mainly because of the way Patmore SOLD IT when she was overcome with relief at finding out he wasn’t a real opportunity.

12. I really liked the Jimmy and Tom storyline.  Is it a little sad that Tom had to be physically assaulted to earn Jimmy’s acceptance?  Of course.  Is it believable?  Hell yeah, and good TV to boot.  When you’re constantly living with someone it’s really hard to do something out-of-the-ordinary enough to really change their opinion of you.  It made total sense to me that something that dramatic actually had to happen in order to alter their dynamic, so this didn’t even feel like punching it up to make drama like sometimes happens with this show.  It was really well done.  Also, I vehemently disagree with those who think friendship will be more cruel to Tom than awkwardness.  Tom feels guilt at himself, he feels disgust-whenever he encountered awkwardness from Jimmy all those internalized things from society would be emphasized and strengthened.  Tom needs Jimmy’s acceptance to feel all right about himself again, to erase the guilt, and to just feel like a proper human being with rights instead of the disgraced, shameful person he’d been before.  Also, I don’t think this is how the show will play it up, but in my head it makes total sense that once Jimmy does accept and forgive him, Tom will be able to stop obsessing about him.  Let’s face it-he didn’t know Jimmy enough to have anything like serious feelings for him, he was just a hot piece of ass who seemed to maybe actually be GAY and HERE and that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.  It’s not love-Tom is obsessed with this because of what the reaction did to him, and now that it’s FINALLY blowing over they should be able to be true friends and even the sexual tension should start getting erased.  It’ll be great.

13. It made me so happy and Christmassy to see Ivy and Daisy, and Alfred and Jimmy, being friends.  Just everything about it=merry!

14. I took a quiz during Season 1 about which Downton Abbey character I was, and got Anna.  This first time I have ever been able to see it is when she sat there saying, “I am racy.”

15. Did anyone else expect O’Brien to get hired by Susan and jaunt off to India?  She said she’d like to see a new place, she’s losing her position on the show as evil mistress due to lack of enemies now Alfred’s all settled, and she’s totally in with Susan because of the hair issue.  I’m still surprised that did not happen.

16. Perhaps it’s because I missed the episode where Sybil died, but Matthew’s death didn’t seem in any way over-the-top or too cliched to me.  Was it a cliche?  TOTALLY.  I sat there from the instant he was all joyful-looking in his car to the end of the show saying, “They’re doing it!”  However, it felt like a Niagra Falls type of cliche: Is it what you want?  No.  Does it have any bearing on real life?  Not so much anymore, but there was a time.  Is it shiny and foreseeable?  Utterly so.  Is it incredibly easy to just melt into it and let it run its course?  For me-yes.  That’s what’s going to happen, it made sense, it was there, it fit in with the time and the series’ shiny way, and it went.  (Also, it reminded me of “Lady and the Tramp.”)  I’m fine with it.

17. Well, Branson finally got a taste of his own stalkery-bullying-persistent method of courtship.  It seems fitting.

18. Everyone needs to stop predicting Branson and Mary getting together.  That is utterly absurd.  If it happens I will have to stop watching.  Even if it is going to happen, let me keep my illusions that the writers have more sense than that for as long as possible.

19. Hurrah, Downton Abbey!  This one really worked for me.  I loved it!

Downton Abbey 3×3

This episode seemed really choppy and not as well written.  The problems were pretty much all based on a lack of proper communication skills, which I have very little patience for.

 

SPOILERS

 

Well, at least we got through the wedding without Anthony dying.  It felt really abrupt, though.  Obviously the full jilted-at-altar affect was achieved for those in the series, but for me it would’ve felt more weighty if they’d let the wedding continue for a few more words.  It amused me how Sibyl and Branson were there with no fuss and suddenly people remembered Sibyl’s pregnant.  Edith’s wedding dress beat Mary’s hollow and at least we did get to see her ceremony, unsuccessful as it was.  Unfortunately, it’s painfully obvious these people have no idea how to deal with these things.  You send up alcohol and chocolate, not sandwiches.  Luckily, Edith’s a trooper and managed not to Miss Haversham herself without these basic provisions.

 

The lobster candelabra dish amused me.  I wish we’d seen someone get to enjoy that cake after it looked so lovely.

 

The Bates storyline straggles along incredibly slowly.  That mysterious paper roll better be awesome.  I think it’d have been better to drop him for a bit and actually give us a decent bit of information when he comes up-we learned nothing here, really.  If I’m going to care about these events I need more than that at a time.  Otherwise the mystery will fade no matter how good the explanation is.

 

Carson is the worst stealth-detective ever, but is very sweet about things.  O’Brien was much slower on the uptake of the next move in the servant wars than I expect of her.  Daisy’s coping with a more feminist approach to life is wonderful and much more real to me than Sibyl’s.  I do really like Alfred now, I realized.  Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore continue their good work.

 

Matthew has yet to realize how marriage works.  It may have been necessary to make pronouncements with his mom, but when the woman’s your wife, you need to discuss things and listen to feelings and agree to at least talk about things.  Mary at least is trying to discuss things.

 

So, what we’ve learned is: no one here knows how to just enjoy a wedding celebration and all the menfolk are absurdly attached to delays, stubbornness in order to get a false sense of control, and guilt trips.  Interminable guilt trips.  Hopefully things will improve now the money issue is officially eased.

 

Downton Abbey 3×1

Thoughts (and spoilers) in reaction to yon episode:

 

-When is this wedding we’ve heard so much about??  They keep talking about it and not mentioning how far into the future it is, leaving me in doubt of whether to expect it in this episode, for at least two thirds of this!  I was sitting there asking, “Tomorrow?” like three times before they actually admitted the big day was “tomorrow.”

-Why is Sybil not being more diplomatic?  As the sweet one constantly trying to reconcile her sisters, one would think she’d be more proactive in the Bronson-Downton drama.

-Edith’s obvious go-getter attitude is kindof adorable now.  Or maybe I choose to find it so as otherwise it’d be hard to take.  Her kiss was brazen!  Especially in front of her dad.

-I love the ‘too tall’ ribbing!  As the usual recipient of ‘short person’ jokes, I find it highly refreshing!

-Since when does Daisy talk like that?  I feel like she’s been using word of the day toilet paper since last season.

-Why are we right back to where we started with Matthew and Mosely?

-Way to support your man when he’s down, Cora.  ‘Wasn’t that foolish?”  Of course it was, but that’s hardly the way to go about things now.

-Bates, you have to share a room with this guy-now is when you decide to go all macho and dark?

-“I don’t approve of these costumes”?  Hush up, Branson.  It’s a wedding party-you WILL be wearing clothes chosen by others that you are not comfortable with.  Talk about wedding traditions, that certainly trumps “unlucky for the groom to see the bride.”  Plus, the costumes here are laudable, as ever.

-Maggie Smith, well played.  As always.

-Matthew, you decided to marry Mary in spite of the Lavinia affair.  This whole drama crisis is supposed to be over.  Man up and acknowledge that no matter what you’re in charge of things here and need to distribute money wisely for everyone, not just your little guilt trip.  Perhaps Daisy can remind you of all the jobs and people counting on Downton or something?  It’d be fun to see you interact with Daisy.

-Now that Robert has declared himself so happy his heart may burst through his chest, I officially call that he’ll die of a heart attack by the end of the season.

-Cora’s mom is late to the debate about Matthew inheriting Downton.  Give it a rest or be more obvious that you know it’s inevitable and just like to snark anyway.

-I feel let down by O’Brien’s simple request of Tom.  It’s the Valet Wars, here, people!  Did you just forget that?  Unworthy of you.

-Seriously, Anna, a month’s not that long and it’s not like you’re missing out on that many benefits of marriage, anyhow.  France will make for good discussion.  Besides, it’s Downton Abbey!  I have no doubt that you’ll happen to run into someone in France who can help shed light on Vera and Bates.  Or at least stand up for Bates.