Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 4

It is embarrassing how invested I get in television characters sometimes.

I may slightly lose my grip on reality when it comes to my very favorite TV people and believing that Lorelai and Rory Gilmore were real people, that a Cylon invasion was possible (and then Siri came along, and I'm sorry you cannot convince me to ever have anything higher than an iPhone 4 now), that a teenage vampire slayer can manage to slay vampires at night and still get decent grades in high school, and that Dawson could ever actually get a girlfriend.

I'd say that I could avoid getting too invested in fictional characters from a time or place I couldn't possibly relate to, but hello, Battlestar, so we know that isn't entirely true. I can say that I did manage to sleep last night and there were a few episodes of the aforementioned shows that lead to a sleepless night or two. So I can cite some growth in that department, right?

If you haven't seen this episode stop reading now, but honestly, if it hasn't been spoiled for you already, you live in a hole (thanks East Coast twitterers).

THE SWEETEST SPIRIT - One critic likened last night's epic tragedy to Gone With the Wind's death of Melanie Wilkes. No other character was so universally beloved by all. Upstairs, downstairs and everyone in between, Lady Sybil was the sweet spirit that held them all together. Her sweetness was only highlighted when poor, pathetic Edith turned to Mary and said, "Do you think we can love each other now?" and Mary flatly said for the second time this season, "Doubtfully." I honestly don't know which is the bigger tragedy, the death of the sweet sister or the sisters who refuse to even try to love each other, even if only in honor of the sister they did love.

The final death scene was easily the most heartbreaking television I have ever watched, followed closely by Granny's poignant walk into the drawing room to grieve with her family. Admit it, you thought Granny was going to collapse, too.

Sybil's death scene is the stuff awards shows are made for. Seriously, if there isn't a new Golden Globe for "Best Death Scene in a Movie, Miniseries, Comedy, Musical or Drama" category where Jessica Findlay Brown is the ONLY nominee, well, there should be. At least that is something I can count on MTV to capitalize on.

BARROW VS O'BRIEN - I have a sneaky feeling whatever game she is playing at with the footman and Thomas is going to backfire on her. Thomas being nice is more smarmy than Thomas being Thomas. Though his grief over Sybil was very human of him. I have to admit, every time he cries I feel bad for the guy. (I know, I felt sympathy for Thomas before Edith, who knew?)

DON'T INTERRUPT DINNER (UNTIL IT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, OF COURSE) - So, there is a baby being born, but everyone in the house still got dressed to the nines and sat down to dinner as if a poor girl wasn't upstairs feeling like a vice grip was around her abdomen for hours on end? Sure!

While I know that was how things were done back then, it's still baffling to see. Though, I admit I would have been equally baffled if they had made it more "modern" (did you read that in an English accent? I wrote it in one) and had the dudes around. Sidenote: Fancy pants doctor managed to deliver a baby without getting his white tie tux dirty? False.

IT'S BEEN THREE MONTHS! - We needed something to laugh at, and laugh we did when poor Matthew worried about his, ahem, abilities because his wife wasn't pregnant after three months of marriage. I guess I can chalk it up to the modern age where we wait years to have our first children, but I still found it amusing that he was worried about his abilities to father little "middle-class" Earls.

FREE BATES! - Ok, this story line is becoming mildly interesting because we are beginning to get snippets of why there is a grudge with his cellmate and the guard, even if we (I) can't understand a word they are hissing back and forth. I think Vera set it all up, right down to the grumpy cellmate. Ex lover of hers or family member perhaps? She was a crafty old gal. I also think everything that has happened so far could have been cleverly summarized two episodes ago, but strangely, they didn't ask me.

I like when storylines last more than two episodes, but it is usually more entertaining when the story is compelling and makes more sense. Downton has been getting a little flack for tieing up loose ends over and episode or two, but that is largely because their tv format is so much shorter than ours - 6-8 episodes a season, tops, as compared with our 15-20 episode seasons

MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY -  Mary, you get your panties in a twist over the inheritance you want him to use to save the estate, you get your panties in a twist when Matthew balks at Lord Grantham's desire to include him in the running of said estate, you get your panties in a twist when Matthew finally agrees to help run the estate and then you get your panties in a giant twist when Matthew tries to get someone, anyone, to listen to his ideas about improving your family's estate. Girlfriend, you wear me out. No wonder your husband is "anxious".

I went on a little long this time, sorry. I was even going to talk about the Kitchen of Ill-Repute, but I have a feeling I'll get to talk about that a whole bunch next week, what with Mrs. Padmore tainting her good name by being seen leaving Isabel's house, because obviously Ethel is teaching Mrs. P her nefarious ways.

I have my theories as to what she is doing, what are yours? Do you think Jimmy, is really bothered by Thomas or....?


  1. "Girlfriend, you wear me out. No wonder your husband is "anxious"." ROFL

  2. Yes, I agree with Vintage Indie, loved that line!! Your writing on this show is so good Claire, this week I was anxiously (ha) waiting for you to post your recap. Totally thought Granny was going to collapse. Kind of glad Lady Grantham is mad at Lord Grantham. They definitely should have asked you about the Free Bates storyline :-) And yes, Mary is wearing on my nerves a bit too! My heart sank when Edith reached out and Mary knocked her back down at their sister's deathbed! UGH!

  3. Why was fancy pants doctor there? Did we ever get any insight to why he was called in?

    1. It was valid, I thought (even if the other doc was a jerk!). Lord Grantham was upset with how Dr. Clarkson misdiagnosed Matthew and didn't see Lavinia's death coming. I can't say I wouldn't have wanted to do the same...


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