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!