Tag Archives: Dowager

Downton’s Slow and Steady Demise?

steeplechaseIt took about 6 episodes of the 5th season to get Downton moving out of its comatose state. I don’t know if it’s me or my expectations of Downton, but this show just hasn’t picked up. I am waiting for some drama, some monumental shake up since Lady Mary was found in bed with a dead Turkish Pamuk. Couldn’t we have some more of that type of stir ups and shake ups? Would it hurt Fellowes to be a bit more adventurous with his story lines?

What about the men of Downton? Is it my imagination or are all of them dull, dull, dull! I am just counting on Atticus to sweep away some ratings, because all the others certainly aren’t doing their share. It seems like Fellowes is confused about what to do with Branson. Should he go? Should he stay? Should he become an aristocrat or go back to his roots? We are confused too. We have no idea where Branson is headed. Also, I used to be an avid fan of Bates, but has anyone noticed how small a part he has in this season? They show him for a few seconds and before  you can say Mr. Bates he is gone! I used to look forward to what sort of trouble Mr. Bates got into, but now they aren’t even showing him enough for him to get into trouble. The chemistry also between Bates and Anna has become very dry. Only this last episode showed some tender moments between Anna and Bates, but after Anna’s rape we thought we would see some dramatic and teary eyed moments between Bates and Anna’s tragedy. Julian Fellowes has lost his ability to draw the emotions from his audience. Please Julian Fellowes don’t let Anna get blamed and pay for someone else’s crime. I love sweet, dear, loyal Anna and she should have her romance with Bates revived.

We are forever tired of the woebegone sad-puppy looking Robert. Please, Cora, have that affair and stir up some of that dead, passionless soul in Robert and put us all out of our misery. I think Robert is more in love with his dog than Cora. As for Edith, I am so tired of seeing her sad face. Fellowes, put her out of her misery and give her a love that lasts. Why must he continuously make her suffer? Maybe he’s waiting till the last season for her to be happy. My God, poor girl, it’s too long for the audience and Edith to wait for happiness. At least she had the courage to run off with her own daughter. I applaud her for that action in those times. It was a most poignant moment of the episode, maybe the whole season when you felt a mother’s pain at having her daughter taken from her. Even though Edith is the true mother, you can’t help but feel sad for Mrs. Drewe who had looked after the child all this time. It was all around bittersweet.

Let’s not talk about Lady Mary. One of my least favorite characters. Spoiled, rich girl who acts as if she can take any man and throw him away at her whim. I am glad Lord Gillingham finally had the bravado to tell her that she couldn’t dump him that swiftly and easily. I respect him for that. Lady Mary’s constant high and mighty attitude is distasteful and I hate the way she belittles Edith at every moment she gets. There’s very little feeling in her. Did I say how much I hate Lady Mary?

Oh the other character I hate is Thomas Barrow. I know he’s sick, I know he’s got issues, but he’s just downright spiteful and he finds ways to make others miserable. I can’t feel any empathy for him.

Another sweet moment was between Mrs. Huges and Carson. Carson sneakily mentioned investing in a cottage so that they would have some place for retirement. Mrs. Hughes turns around with a small, victorious smile as if she knows exactly how to get her man. I can’t wait to see them end up together.

My favorite is Lady Rose. She is sweet, but not sappy. Fun but not too outrageous. She seems to be growing up and her romance that is blooming with Atticus is truly wonderful to see. So, there is some beautiful light at the dreary dark tunnel of Downton. Let’s hope the last few episodes don’t disappoint. Fellowes, if you are listening, don’t be afraid to get dangerous and adventurous. Make us laugh, make us cry and definitely make the men of Downton perk up a bit more. They are just plain wilting from the dryness of the writing.

The high point of this episode I think was the steeplechase. That was indeed fun and I did like Mary’s new “do” even though I don’t like Mary. She has the pomp and “I don’t give a &$%*” attitude to carry it off in those times. When Lady Mary asks the Dowager about her new hairstyle “Granny, what do you think?” The Dowager’s reply is : “Oh it is you? It thought it was a man wearing your clothes.” I can’t help but love the Dowager and her witticisms. Let’s hope she doesn’t have to single handedly keep the show afloat.

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Downton Abbey – End of Season 4, Pt. 1

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All I can say about the finale of Season 4 is that it ran about as lack lustre as the first 6 episodes did. Are you listening to me Julian Fellowes ? I know we were all shocked by Matthew’s death, but not all of us intend to remain in mourning for as long as Lady Mary does. After all , it’s the roaring 20s so let it roar and reign and let the party begin.

Unfortunately, the party in season 4 never started. With nothing but a doleful countenance after fast forwarding 6 months past Matthew’s death, we were left to wonder when we might be getting into the mood of the roaring twenties. Fellowes introduced several men in Mary’s life in season 4, but it got to be too much of a good thing. Too many raining men became just too confusing for all of us simple souls that could only deal with one heart wrenching romance at a time. After all, Mary, at the end of Season 4 is weighing in who has the most financial bank for the buck and who would make her future look more green. I do not like Mary. Did anyone catch that in my snarky, sarcastic comment from the previous sentences? I always feel as if she is opportunistic and is dangling men all over the place, just to see which horse wins the race and brings in the most money. Does one predict Lord Gillingham ( can anyone ever figure out his name – is it Gilligan, Gillian, Gillingham or some form of all of the above? ), Mr. Blake, or even Branson who might sneak in from behind to win the race for Mary’s cold hand?

Edith, on the other hand is a sweet and warm soul who deserves far better than what life has dealt her. The Fates always seem to deal dear Edith harsh blow after blow. Poor Edith can never get a break. Edith, sweet Edith, is forever hunting for the perfect man. She even had a baby with the love of her life, but had to give up that baby. Not only that, she’s lost the love of her life, Michael in Germany or wherever he may be at this point. Where is the baby now?  Julian Fellows, are you listening? This was by far the most confusing part of the plot. We fast forwarded through all of Edith’s pregnancy to find her saying “please call it a she”. I thought, how does she know the baby’s a “SHE” ? They did not have ultrasounds back then, did they? But lo and behold, Fellowes decided to be cheeky and fast forward again to 1923 when Edith has had her baby already. Now, “where is Edith’s baby?” is like asking “Where’s Waldo” except we don’t have a name for Edith’s baby. Is Edith’s baby in Switzerland or is she being raised by the farmer and his wife close to Downton Abbey? And come on, Lady Cora, you are about as bright as a waning light bulb sputtering an early death from an electric fuse. The mother does not even sense that her daughter may be pregnant, whereas the Dowager and Lady Rosamund (who doesn’t even live with them) has figured it out? Lady Edith is going to Switzerland to learn French. Ha! That is about as suspicious as telling parents that senior week is just to go and enjoy the beaches of the Jersey Shore!

Ok, now for the humor and the wit! Dowager and Martha Levinson are always entertaining with their war of words. It’s always fun to see what they will come up with next. We have now added Harold, Cora’s brother to the mix for no apparent reason except to add some more complexity? We had gems from Martha Levinson last night such as “My world is coming nearer, and your world is slipping further and further away.” And the Dowager’s claiming “I feel as though I spent the whole evening trapped in the cast of a whodunit”. Carson never fails to make me chuckle with his lines and expressions. I love his horror and reaction at the American valet’s lingo when he said in his very American way “I wonder if there’s anything going on between Daisy and that other fellow”. Or when Carson raises his pant legs before going into the sea and remarks that Mrs. Hughes managed to sound risque when she told Mr. Carson to hold her hand, “You can always hold my hand if it makes you feel steady”. You little temptress, you , Mrs. Hughes! We expect a full fledged seduction in season 5 with Mr. Carson !

The Scandal of Season 4: We expected something to top the scandal of Pamuk in season 1, but seriously can anything ever top that one ? The London season was highlighted as usual by some scrape that Lady Rose was in the midst of. Needless to say Lady Rose’s own indiscretion with the African American band leader was forgotten quite fast (what was his name?) in the last episode of season 4. She basically just caused an uproar to perhaps ruffle Mama’s feathers. I don’t think Lady Rose really was in love with Jack Ross; it was just a momentary diversion until she found something else to take up her interest as in the scandal of “the letter”. Lady Rose, Lady Mary and Lord Grantham were trying to retrieve a letter written by a married Mrs. Freda Dudley Ward romancing Prince Edward which ended up in the conniving Mr. Samson’s hands. The Crawleys were frantically trying to save their honor. Alas, Mr. Bates came to the rescue of the Crawleys once again with his forgery skills ! Mr. Bates is quite talented isn’t he especially when it comes to some illegal activity? We all seemingly wait with “BATED” breath for his next underhanded scheme. Well, the scandal may have been averted, but this was perhaps needed in order to give our dull Lord Grantham a chance to do something purposeful in his dreary existence. All that happened to no avail, since history depicts that our colorful Prince Edward became King Edward VIII who had to abdicate the throne for his darling, Ms. Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee. From the frying pan into the fire I say!

All in all, I must say more about my favorite couple, Mr. Bates and Anna. If I was the writer (are you listening Julian Fellowes?), I would have ended season 4 with the Bates’ mystery as my season 4 climax. I would have shown the bus, Mr. Bates behind it and a crowd of people around the dead valet of Mr. Gillingham. Alas, Julian Fellowes did not consult me on this one. He left us at the end of season 4 with a very sweet and tender image of a budding romance between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Huges. What a difference from the dramatic ending of last season. I was wondering if Fellowes had something else up his sleeve after that mellow beach scene, but he’s leaving a potential romance between Baxter and Mr. Molesly for season 5, a potential meeting with Daisy and Alfred perhaps, more mysterious comings and goings with Mr. Bates, the mystery of Edith’s child and love interest elaborated and the perpetual antics of Lady Rose highlighted in season 5. I can’t say I like the Branson and Bunting pairing. I hope the Brunting pairing dies a fast death. I truly hope Branson ends up with Edith (my prediction). Of course, how can we forget, Lady Mary has to make a choice : Gillingham, Blake or who knows, some incredibly rich fellow might come into the picture to sweep up Lady Mary. I think Julian Fellowes needs to make a cameo as Hitchcock used to do and try for Mary’s hand.

I can’t leave without saying more about my Mr. Bates and Anna. I will save that analysis for Part 2. Cheerios for now!

Who will Fellowes Kill Off in Downton Abbey, Season 4?

With every Downton Abbey season we wait to see not only the plot developments, but wait with bated breath for the untimely demise of one principal character or another. Last season, Julian Fellowes killed off not one, but two of my favorite cast members. Feisty, strong willed, opinionated, unconventional Sybil reminded me most of myself and I felt so despondent about her death. It was tragic and unexpected. Although, a little spoiler told me of Matthew’s death, the delivery of it was heart wrenching. Fellowes has no mercy. Matthew was truly noble, filled with ethics and truly worthy of running Downton in a progressive manner, not to mention, incredibly dashing and handsome. My heart went out to Mary and the new baby. What a way to crush a happy, blooming family. Knowing that Julian Fellowe’s spares very little mercy on the audience, who do we anticipate will get the axe in season 4? The popular belief is that Mr. Bates is next in line to die. I think he ranks number one for throwing himself into the fire from the proverbial Downton frying pan and having a penchant for attracting trouble.

More than likely, Mary, Hughes, Carson, and most of the underlings are safe. They are characters that are essential either because they are too big or too small. We need arrogant, haughty, spoiled brat of a girl like Mary to attract suitors who will come and go on the show. We need Edith to trap unwittingly old and complicated men who leave her either at the altar or somewhere in between, so that the viewers can shake their heads at all her missed opportunities. We need the underlings to keep the house going. No one will cry or shed a tear if any of the nonentities fade away like Lady Isobel, Patmore, Branson(maybe a little since he has the baby now), Daisy or Ethel. Lady Rose is too new and too cute to do away right now. I think they need Thomas Barrow to cause trouble so they will probably keep him. I think Fellowes would be ridiculously stupid to get rid of the Dowager who is absolutely crucial to the wit and humor of the show. Martha Levinson, aka Shirley MacLaine is the only match for the Dowager in a tongue to tongue battle so she’ll be there in spot cameos. So, the most likely contenders may be Lady Cora, Bates, Lord Grantham, Anna and I am  throwing in Barrow into the mix for fun. My bet is on Anna (just a gut feeling) !!! Don’t let me sway you though. Give me your opinion.

Why don’t you vote to see who is most likely to leave next in season 4. You can also leave a comment as to your reasoning for choosing that character that you think will meet an untimely death from his/her maker, Julian Fellowes.

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