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!

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Downton Abbey 3×8

See, this is the kind of thing I like-a lovely dramatic show with lessons for life!

 

Lessons (and spoilers):

1. Doing well at cricket is the solution to ALL PROBLEMS.  If you’re a man.  And probably if you’re a woman, but mainly manly men with smiley teeth to match their white uniforms-that’s the main point.

2. If only Jane Eyre had a little technology to check up on that Rochester!

3. All young girls named Rose in this era are destined to gallivant with unsuitable males.  I was disappointed when this one’s name wasn’t Jack.

4. Children who don’t grow up in large families are miserable.

5. Investments are dumb.

6. It is impossible to keep secrets from grandmothers.  Or dowager countesses.  Or Maggie Smith.

7. Lying is totally fine if it’s for a “good cause”-like helping the cricket team!  Or getting yourself a promotion.  Or to protect your own secrets.  (Yeah, the number of people actually in it for something that was actually a good cause is far exceeded by those just mucking around for their own interests.)

8. Overly tall footmen will never be happy, ever.  Even if they’re the butler’s favorite.

 

Downton Abbey 3×2

The season proceeds apace!

 

Spoilers:

1. I’m not sure about this whole Edith/Anthony thing.  I think it’s clear Edith would be happy with anything that got her attention, her own house, validity.  Does Anthony still really like her now that she’s being all brazen and managing with him instead of listening and letting her teach her stuff?  I suppose there’ s no real reason why not, but it’d have been good to.. ya know, actually see something else they get from each other.  Also, I’m worried about Anthony’s survival.  He’s always saying things about his age and survival and it feels jinxing.

-On a side note, what the hell with Crawley?  His daughter’s about to be poor and turned out of her house, he has no business turning away any suitors, let alone well off ones with titles.  It’s just silly.  Let Mrs. Bennet at him!

 

2. The Valet Wars commence!  The move with the evening shirts stepped over a line as it got the upstairs folk involved, though.  Less fun that way.

 

3. I love the hair plumes and trinkets this episode!

 

4. I love Mrs. Hughes’ views on life and stiff upper lip.  I salute her.

 

5. Bates ALWAYS chooses the worst possible, least logical times to get aggressive.  You have to live with this person, you have to fall asleep, there’s no real reason to bother in his business…just stop it.  It shows very clearly his trend of being noble when it just causes trouble and hostile when it’ll be most disastrous.  I’m kindof done with his character.  I still do approve of Anna, though.

 

6. I dearly want Carson to get accidentally picked up by the Doctor or something and find himself in Ancient Rome.  Everyone’s lounging on couches!  Punch!  Augh!  If he survives the culture shock of the first few weeks he’d fit right in and doubtless wind up in politics via attaching himself to political people.  Someone needs to write this fanfic.  Pretty please?? With an orgy on the side?

 

7.  Maggie Smith is hilarious when she’s trying to be diplomatic.

 

8. There should always be insults about clothing that affect both downstairs and upstairs!  It’s been a trend so far this season, and I’d like to see all the reasons they could come up with to continue.  Perhaps someone will attend Edith’s wedding looking as if they’re at a funeral?  Or a woman’s stocking will wind up showing inappropriately, to bring them in on this?  Ruined plumes?

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.