Beware! There are spoilers up through episode 6 of series/season 2.
Words to live by:
“As my future wife, you’re entitled to be in my debt.”
The sweetest expression of marital privilege and intimacy, as expressed to Mary by her skeezy fiancé, the newspaper baron.
“Sometimes the future needs terrible sacrifices.”
“Sometimes a hard sacrifice must be made for a future that’s worth having.”
This is what Branson (the chauffeur) says to Sybil (noble lady) in a speech in which he takes their forbidden romance and the drastic social barriers that must be broken in order to live out that love and compares it to the murder of the Russian royal family and how that sucked and all and he’s sorry about it but it was probably necessary for social progress. Yay…?
Try not to give false hope to the footman who’s been helplessly in love with you for years and especially do not allow the nosy meddling of a sympathetic cook to convince you to go into an engagement with said footman before he goes off to war just so it’ll give him something to dream of when he’s out on the front, while all the while you intend to break it off once he comes back since you don’t share his feelings, because supposing he comes back from battle mortally wounded and is sent to Downton Abbey to die without realizing he’s dying but sort of realizing he’s dying and thus wanting to expedite the marriage thing so he can die in peace knowing you’ll be provided for as a war widow, you may find it impossible to have him call your bluff and have you admit you don’t love him while he’s on his deathbed and you may also find it equally impossible to go along with the marriage and then live with yourself after the lie you’ve foisted upon the poor dying footman and now you’re his widow forever. Amen.
A better discouragement against premarital sex would be the scandal and complication that arise when the sexy Turkish diplomat dies in your bed and you can’t move the body by yourself. Horrors!
A REMINDER FROM THE DOWAGER COUNTESS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP:
“I have plenty of friends I don’t like.”
Alright, so Krista and I powered through the first season of Downton Abbey this weekend and this week I’ve watched all the rest of season two, minus the season finale/Christmas special. Here are some of my random impressions:
- This show is a lot of fun.
- The moment the series tumbled irrevocably into the canyon of unapologetic soap opera – I mean real Passions-style hokum — was in season two with the return of the supposedly dead Titanic cousin and heir to Downton. I think the technical term for that is “craze-balls.” I’m not sure if it was supposed to be obvious whether he was an imposter or not, but I’ll eat my hat if he wasn’t the full-of-shit friend of the dead cousin. Also, poor Edith.
- I dislike the faster, slightly choppier pace of season two and how some storylines are picked up and dropped almost before they begin — especially some of those aborted romances (Edith and the farmer, Robert and that maid whose name I don’t even remember).
- I find the leaps forward in time from episode to episode (and sometimes within them) a bit disorienting. This seemed to be a bigger problem in season one – I recall a few more title cards in season two with the year or number of months that have passed since the last scene. But it can still be difficult to track the interpersonal and historical changes that have taken place during these jumps.
- I find myself liking almost everyone on this show – even those I found more insufferable from season one, i.e. Thomas, O’Brien, and, yes, Mary. Let me briefly recount some of them.
- Thomas has still never done anything particularly admirable that I recall, but he did speak reason from time to time, and I actually felt for him when he purposely got his hand shot. (Although for a second I was more horrified, because I thought he was trying to attract considerably more fire to the fox hole and maybe get a bunch of other soldiers wounded or killed.)
- Mary – I think it’s Mrs. Hughes who says Mary is the author of many of her own misfortunes, or something to that effect, and she’s right on. However, she began to grow on me in season two as she seemed to tone down the tricksiness and efforts to drag everyone down into her well of misery. She even tried to act like a decent human being after Matthew and Lavinia became engaged.
- O’Brien – pettiness morphing into downright cruelty with intermittent moments of compassion. It’s been interesting to see her guilt play out over causing Cora’s miscarriage. I enjoyed her friendship with the shell-shocked Lang.
- Bates – A character I loved in season one who began to bore me a bit in season two in his role as the eternally suffering self-sacrificer with the sad twinkly eyes.
- Batesian subnote: I really enjoyed Anna and Bates’ romance in season one back when they each had their own separate storylines too, but around season two there’s only so much you can care when the totality of their screentime is devoted to the increasingly ridiculous misery Bates’ cartoonishly evil, thievin’, cheatin’, blackmailin’ wife inflicts on them.
- Matthew – What bothers me about Bates also bothers me about Matthew. “Hey Lavinia. I’m a cripple now, so no woman would ever want me. Please get lost, permanently.” What a gentleman to spare her like that.
- Man, poor Lavinia.