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TWoP Howard

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Posted Mar 12, 2014 @ 12:15 AM

This thread is for the discussion of Downton Abbey as it airs in the UK.  If you want to discuss the show on the US timetable and without the risk of seeing untagged spoilers, please head to the Downton Abbey expanded forum

 

There seems to be some confusion about what constitutes a spoiler in here. Any major media article or interview about the show in Britain is not a spoiler by TWoP rules. Neither are sneak peeks, promos, episode synopses, or press releases. Casting news is not a spoiler. Spoilers are leaked plot details, and not given out in interviews. You can find our spoiler rules in the Spoiler section of the FAQ. PM me if you have questions beyond that.

 

Finally, if you want to discuss Mary and Pamuk, you have missed your chance. Don't bring it up at all, please. Sorry you missed out, but the reasons are here. Thanks.



#1

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 21, 2010 @ 6:55 PM

New Upstairs/Downstairs style drama from Gosford Park scribe Julian Fellowes set in the Edwardian/pre-war years. It has its flaws, but I am enjoying the mix of soap and history and vintage fashion thus far. It has quite a cast - Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Dan Stevens, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton and Liam from Corrie.

I came because of Michelle Dockery, who was a fantastic Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion a few years back, but am staying because of my brand new crush on lovely Brendan Coyle who plays Bates, the Lord's new valet with a bum leg and possessor of a gorgeous speaking voice.

Edited by TWoP Howard, Oct 23, 2010 @ 2:06 PM.
Fixed tags

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#2

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Posted Oct 21, 2010 @ 9:06 PM

I've been dying to find another soul to discuss this show with! The belowstairs drama is so far the bigger draw for me...the abovestairs stuff is a bit dull, except for the grandmother and the new heir and his mother. The 'marry Mary off' stuff especially isn't very exciting. But I am totally sucked in by Bates and his chemistry with Anna, the poisonous Thomas and O'Brien and the friendship between Carson and the housekeeper, whose name I can't remember at the moment.
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#3

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:48 PM

Likewise, shortie!

I dearly want Mary to stop moaning about the lack of an entailment. And to stop the nasty comments to her mother about her Americanism. I can't quite believe this self-pitying creature was, as a child, Carson's favourite. There are many hints that her character has a certain undeveloped richness so hopefully she'll do something proactive after she hears the gossip from London in the upcoming episode.

Definitely prefering downstairs. Hugh Bonneville is almost impossibly noble. However, he Smith/Wilton wars are fun (And you can just picture Fellowes dreaming up those lines about weekends and swivel chairs for Maggie Smith to tear up!).

I very much enjoy Evil Thomas and his hag O'Brien. I was trying to figure their relationship and theorised that she was his mother, but during one of their scheming sessions he told her that his father was a clock-maker, so perhaps not. The gun introduced in the first act/episode was the poison in the kitchen. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Evil Thomas had something to do with the Turk's petit mort. <chortle>

I went all swoony when Bates brought Anna the tray with flowers. Love them.
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#4

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 6:44 AM

brand new crush on lovely Brendan Coyle [...] possessor of a gorgeous speaking voice.

What an instrument. You can practically see the perfect sound waves vibrating from his throat. It's uncanny.

He wasn't always quite this jowly, but that voice has safeguarded his sex appeal against the years.
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#5

Katkim

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 8:06 AM

I'm not so happy with the soapy storylines and the black and white characters (does Earl of Grantham have to be so nobel? Does Mary Crawley have to be such a ravishing independant beauty? Does Thomas have to be such an utter slime? Does the Butler and Housekeeper have to be so dutiful but unfufilled because of it a la Remains of the Day?) I expected something more clever and subtle. However, saying that, although the plot and characters are predictable, it is enjoyable. And the acting, the photography, the costumes and the scale of it does elevate the show. I think this is such a beautiful series to look at - the house and furniture is GORGEOUS, and I love that there's a real sense of it being a home.

Edited by Katkim, Oct 22, 2010 @ 8:08 AM.

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#6

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 8:58 AM

For anyone who's interested here's the website for Highclere Castle where the series is filmed : http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/
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#7

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 10:44 AM

Look at the size of that place. No wonder the Earl was in hot pursuit of an American heiress. Just imagine the cost of modernising it.

One thing the writers have been very careless with is the dialogue that verges on therapy speak. It doesn't actually bother me, as I am no stickler for exact period details, and I imagine ITV deliberately want to make a show that seems very now and unstuffy, but I couldn't help but raise my brows when Anna approached Mary (in public, no less, before they stroll home together!) and asked if her mother will "get past it". And Mrs Hughes with the Scottish accent eulogising Bate's leg brace was a little West Coast.

Does the Butler and Housekeeper have to be so dutiful but unfufilled because of it a la Remains of the Day?

The date at the carnival is pretty much a replica of the scene when Emma Thompson goes to meet Tim Pigott-Smith at the local boozer. Neither Carson nor Hughes have had a lot to do.

I do hope Daisy is turned to to the dark side. Muahaha. She doesn't deserve the sensitive musical footman in any case.
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#8

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 11:30 AM

I am really enjoying this series as well. The storylines are rather soapy but the cast is wonderful. I think Maggie Smith steals all her scenes, and her "What is a....weekend?" just slayed me.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Evil Thomas had something to do with the Turk's petit mort.

I hope so, so that when that viper O'Brien manages to uncover what really happened, she inadvertently outs him as the murderer.

It is so obvious that Mary and the heir will end up together, but something about her bratty, entitled self really irritates me. Also, the way she completely threw over Eugene Napier once she got a look at the handsome Turk. I prefer the pro-suffragette sister who is helping the one maid to find an office job, and they seem to be hinting at a bond between her and the driver but surely, it would be very unrealistic for that to actually go anywhere.
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#9

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 12:59 PM

I think Maggie Smith steals all her scenes

I'm still laughing about "I'm a good sailor." Her timing is peerless.

It is so obvious that Mary and the heir will end up together, but something about her bratty, entitled self really irritates me.

Contrasted with the good heart she keeps well hidden (though not from us, or from Anna), this makes her the show's most complicated character, though in a way that's just as schematic as the straightforward character of everyone else.

But I'll admit I'm not watching this for dramatic complexities. It's all about the eye and ear candy.

Edited by noisack, Oct 22, 2010 @ 12:59 PM.

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#10

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 22, 2010 @ 4:32 PM

But I'll admit I'm not watching this for dramatic complexities. It's all about the eye and ear candy.

It's a bit more The House of Eliott than Brideshead, but all the more fun because of it.

I am thinking Bates' secret past, about which he told Anna would change her opinion of him, is that has a wife stashed somewhere, Rochester-style, and needs the job from Grantham to support her. Or that he exacerbated his wounded leg by falling from a great height when attempting to cat-burgle something shiny and expensive to raise money for his illegitimate child. He used quite the disappointed dad voice when he told Daisy off.

I feel sorry for Edith. She seems nice enough, but is the middle sister, comparatively plain and a ginger to boot. I hope she doesn't end up with a vicar. It would be a nice turning of the tables if Matthew ends up falling for her.

Will Sybil follow her socialist chauffer to the Emerald Isle in time for Easter 1916? Someone claimed on another forum that the series ends with the annoucement of war. If she strikes up a friendship with Mrs Crawley, perhaps she could focus her teenage-activist phase by going into nursing. Or perhaps Mary will wrangle bandages if her slutty reputation prevents her from making a good marriage.
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#11

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Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 8:10 AM

Re Filming locations: The village featured in the series is Bampton in Oxfordshire.

Reaction to complaints:

Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning creator of Downton Abbey, said: "I think the programme is pretty accurate. The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the programme to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge.
"The fact of the matter is that the really posh people are pleased to see something on television that isn't about a dead prostitute in a dustbin, and they seem to just be enjoying the programme."
An ITV spokesperson said "A great deal of consultation and painstaking research has gone into ensuring the historical accuracy of Downton Abbey. In spite of these efforts some small oversights may occasionally slip through the net.
"Many of the points raised are a matter of opinion and, as programme makers we make our decisions on the advice of the experts working with us.
"We remain committed to achieving a high standard of accuracy across the series, and what is important is that the emotional narrative of the story is intact. We believe we have achieved both."

[url="http://%20<a%20href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8082752/TV-aerials-modern-conservatories-viewers-spot-howlers-in-Downton-Abbey.html"%20target="_blank">http://www.telegraph...Abbey.html</a> "] http://www.telegraph...bey.html[/url]

Edited by McBrien76, Oct 24, 2010 @ 9:42 AM.

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#12

Katkim

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Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 2:29 PM

I think the locations and sets evoke early 20th century England wonderfully, and the production team do a smashing job. Things like TV aerials or road signs give me a chuckle when I see them, but they don't bother me too much. On the whole, I think they get more things right than they do wrong, and with so much environmental clutter these days I'm surprised it's been so few.

I do agree thought, that the servants do seem to have a lot of spare time in comparison to how it probably way (on the go from dawn to way past dusk) however, itís a drama, so there has to be some dramatic licence. I would prefer watching the servants gossiping and plotting, or flirting and fighting to watching them scrub the oven or ironing.

I'm looking forward to tonights episode.
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#13

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Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 2:56 PM

I am so glad to find a thread for this show here. I am a sucker for any costume drama, but I especially enjoy the Upstairs/Downstairs aspect to this one because most of the servants are more interesting than the aristos at this point. Brendan Coyle is great as Bates, and it's a nice change from his more stick in the mud character in Lark Rise. Thomas and O'Brien are a little too evil at the moment, but I am certain there will be a comeuppance at some point, especially for Thomas, because I can't imagine that everyone would be fine with his behaviour, and even less so being gay in that time period, which was still dangerous I would think. It looks like the cook knows, so I can imagine that Carson and Hughes have an idea as well.

Anyway, I am not sure if I am supposed to sympathize with Lady Mary or not. I find her prickly and mostly a bitch to Matthew, and yet he still seems to like her. I hope that he goes for Sybil. She seems the least crazy out of the three sisters. It's also hard for me to sympathize with Lady Mary not "getting her due" when regardless of the outcome, the other two sisters are completely out of luck.

I have been following Hugh Bonneville (hughbon) and Dan Stevens (thatdanstevens)on Twitter and their comments are quite funny, even if they are not always about the show itself.
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#14

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Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 4:46 PM

I am certain there will be a comeuppance at some point, especially for Thomas, because I can't imagine that everyone would be fine with his behaviour, and even less so being gay in that time period, which was still dangerous I would think.


If the authorities found out, then he would be arrested and upon conviction face a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison with hard labour under the provisions of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Homosexuality wasn't decriminalised until the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
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#15

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Posted Oct 24, 2010 @ 10:22 PM

So, any speculation as to what Mr Bates' dark secret is? He used to be married and he's not a free man. Hmmm. Shame because I do like him and Anna together. I used to really hate that actress when she was on Robin Hood as her character was so annoying, but do like her in this role.

Did Anna and Mr Bates plant the missing snuff box in Thomas' or O'Brien rooms, or just made them think that they did? Either way, it was very satisfying to see the looks of panic on their faces. I also hate how O'Brien was manipulating Mary and Edith in order to get Mary to reveal what she knew. She is such a snake.

Bet Mrs Patmore just needs a pair of eyeglasses.

Mary is a bitch to Edith, but I didn't expect Edith to go as far as to write the Turkish ambassador to rat on Mary. Surely, if Mary becomes embroiled in a scandal, it would impact her family too, including her unmarried sisters. I dislike Mary but I really don't care for Edith either.

Still loving the battle of the battle axes! And one point to Mrs Crawley in the battle over the Flower Show top prize. Her guilt trip worked. I'm still laughing at this exchange:

Dowager Countess says something meant to be insulting to Mrs Crawley
Mrs Crawley: I'll take it as a compliment.
Dowager Countess: I must have said it wrong.
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#16

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Posted Oct 25, 2010 @ 1:42 AM

I am so glad that the actress playing Anna has redeemed herself from her role in Robin Hood. I could not stand her at all and wanted her to have perished along with all the others by the end. I guess they just gave her poor material to work with. Whatever secret Bates has, I hope it is not too serious.

I suspect Patmore has cataracts, which could be fixed with surgery. Needing glasses would just make things more fuzzy, but wouldn't remove sight altogether (based on my many years of very poor eye sight).
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#17

Katkim

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Posted Oct 25, 2010 @ 3:21 AM

Are we suppose to be rooting for Mary and Matthew? At the moment I can't stand Mary and want Matthew well away from her. I, too, am rooting for one of the other sisters, especially Sybil. Edith possibly crossed the line with the letter, but with how snotty and mean Mary has been, I don't blame her.
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#18

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Posted Oct 25, 2010 @ 7:09 AM

Are we suppose to be rooting for Mary and Matthew? At the moment I can't stand Mary and want Matthew well away from her. I, too, am rooting for one of the other sisters, especially Sybil. Edith possibly crossed the line with the letter, but with how snotty and mean Mary has been, I don't blame her.

I don't think that Sybil will remotely be interested.
I am still getting around the fact that the characters seems so black or white, and we are five episodes in. The only person who shows some greys is Mary, but I still dislike her.
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#19

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

I can't see Sybill being romantically interested in Matthew either. I could see him going after her once she is older. He seems to like a pretty face.

The only person who shows some greys is Mary, but I still dislike her.

I feel the upstairs gang lacks something. The characters are straining in their archetypes. Mary shows some signs of softness, but she remains on the whole unpleasantly proud, self-pitying and worst of all, unengaging. I find the Mary/Matthew situation to be the least interesting part of the show. Grantham's and Cora's reactions are more interesting that the actual faux-mance.


ETA: Am all excited for the Bates/Anna kiss in episode 6!

Edited by Hal9000, Oct 27, 2010 @ 12:56 AM.

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#20

davedoty

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Posted Oct 30, 2010 @ 12:55 AM

Still loving the battle of the battle axes! And one point to Mrs Crawley in the battle over the Flower Show top prize. Her guilt trip worked.


I'm not sure it *really* did. Something about the way Maggie Smith delivered the line about everything being all right when her family came up to console her left me with the impression that the reason it was all right is that she knew she'd "really" won, and that therefore she was willing to allow him to think he'd won, as long as she herself knew she was the winner. I think she was still very tied into the "noblesse oblige" mindset, and that things might have gone less in stride had the judges actually chosen him over her.
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#21

Hal9000

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Posted Oct 31, 2010 @ 1:39 PM

I am no longer in the UK so cannot catch up on iPlayer or whatev, so I hope you all can keep me up to date on the next episode!

Rewatching the cart scene, with Bates and Anna, I am starting to wonder if his leg injury is an indicator of impotence. Damn. Poor Anna. What a waste of otherwise superb example of Edwardian masculinity. I dearly hope his secret instead involves a mad wife stashed in an attic or a past life as a jewel thief.

I quite enjoy watching Thomas doing his dastardly deeds but O'Brien? Not so much. The main issue is, I think, the actress' brow-lift/Botoxing around the eyes. It makes her look even more stony and permanently sarcastic.
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#22

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Posted Oct 31, 2010 @ 8:01 PM

Rewatching the cart scene, with Bates and Anna, I am starting to wonder if his leg injury is an indicator of impotence. Damn. Poor Anna.

That was my immediate thought. Poor Bates. Killer vocal pipes, but not so killer lower pipes?

I dearly hope his secret instead involves a mad wife stashed in an attic or a past life as a jewel thief.

Wow, this is eerie. Those are the other two possibilities that crossed my mind. I was thinking more of a criminal past in general, but jewel thief sounds good.

[The part below was written after I watched the episode.]

Hal9000, I'm happy to report that the function of Mr. Bates's lower pipes is not in doubt.

But let me mention before I go any further that we were told the DVDs go on sale in the UK on November 8th and can be pre-ordered now. So no reason to spoil yourself if you have the funds (and a compatible DVD player).

If you must know what happened tonight, here's the short version:

We open in May 1914, even though it feels like only days have gone by since the last episode. So clearly the story took a leap in time or two at some point, and I never noticed. At the pace things seemed to be going, I didn't think we'd make it to the war in this series, but it looks like I was wrong.

The rest is spoilered just to give you a chance to think twice.

Edith's scurrilous (and apparently highly detailed) letter to the Turkish embassy succeeded in spreading enough gossip for word of Mary's misadventures to make its way to Carson (via butler-to-butler letter) and to the Countess Dowager (via socialite-to-socialite letter). This results in two marvelous scenes between Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith, who eventually work their way to an understanding of how to get Mary settled in spite of the rumour: If she won't have Matthew Crawley, marry her off to some willing Italian.

Romance was blooming all over in the episode. Edith manages to hook Sir Anthony by asking him questions about his dead wife. Sybil develops a crush on Matthew (after he rescues her from a political riot, don't ask), but he's still besotted with Mary who finally lets him in on the fact that she doesn't actually dislike him. They kiss. He proposes. She says she'll think about it but then tells her mum that she (Mary) must come clean first about Mr. Pamouk. Both Countesses of Grantham are suitably aghast at her naivete.

Anna and Mr. Bates don't actually kiss. I know! Some random background noise interrupted them at the crucial moment, damn it. Anna had just told Mr. Bates (again) that he's the cat's meow, even though he had just offered his resignation after confessing to Carson that he's a reformed drunkard and an ex-con! We called it. All this came about after Thomas's and O'Brien's latest attempt to railroad him, this time over the missing wine. The attempt fails -- thanks to a rare moment of clarity for Daisy -- but Mr. Bates's future at Downton is now in jeopardy, depending on how Lord Grantham takes the news of Bates's jail stint when Carson breaks it to him.


Oh, and Mrs. Patmore's affliction is indeed cataracts.

All in all, a very good episode. It really saddens me that the series ends next week.

Edited by noisack, Nov 1, 2010 @ 5:19 AM.

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#23

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Posted Oct 31, 2010 @ 9:32 PM

Excellent recap Noisack. I just hope that Sybil will snap out of her crush, pronto. I was taken aback that two years has passed since the first episode. How old Sybil is supposed to be? 18, if it's her coming out year?
However the green screen scenes were horrendous.

Edited by Lived In Inch, Oct 31, 2010 @ 9:56 PM.

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#24

Katkim

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Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 5:21 AM

The leap in time was kind of jarring for me. I guess it was my own fault since I wasn't paying complete attention at the every beginning and missed the date at the start of the episode, so when Bates said 'I've been here two year' I was all 'what?!' and it took me a while to twig there had been time jump. I'm not sure what the purpose of the time jump was, except to maybe include WW1 into the story, if the trailer is any indication? However, if WW1 is included, surely they're going to lose half their cast with the male members enlisting? I suppose we'll get to keep Bates though :)

I'll admit that I'm tired of O'Brien and Thomas now, with their lame plots to usurp Bates and their repetitive, one dimensional nastiness. I'm surprised that Thomas hasn't grown a moustache in the two years and twirling it with relish, or there hasn't been a scene with O'Brian cackling and rubbing her hands with glee. That kind of acting and direction wouldn't be out of line with their storyline, motivation or characters.

I'm kind of gutted that it looks like Matthew and Mary are set to go - I still don't like her. Her arrogance, jealously and shallowness does nothing for me, and her concern over Sybil's injury, the Chauffeur's job, and William's mother (not that I think going against a patient's wishes is a good thing as it was made out to be!) seemed shoe-horned in to redeem her character somewhat, but it feels too little to late for me. Although, maybe Matthew deserves her since as while he had promise in the earlier episodes, he seems a bit wet lately.

Still loving Bates and Anna though. I'm going to hunt down whoever made that random noise!! I'm also still watching for Carson, Sybil and the Dowager. I just love their characters. I adore Dame Maggie's scenes with Cora, plotting to take Mary to Italy if it all goes tits up and marying her to an unfussy Italian :D Their relationship is spikey but affectionate and just wonderful. I'm also pleased that Edith is getting some attention.

Edited by Katkim, Nov 1, 2010 @ 7:37 AM.

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#25

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Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 7:11 AM

and her concern over Sybil's injury, the Chauffeur's job, and William's mother (not that I think going against a patient's wishes is a good thing as it was made out to be!) seemed shoe-horned in to redeem her character somewhat


See now I love Mary. I actually find her personality quite subtle. I didn't feel that this side of her was added in but it was just revealed to a greater extent in this episode. She wears this social mask and every now and then it slips. I like her and Matthew together for the simple reason in those moments with him she seems more honest. I thought there was lovely harkening back to an earlier episode where she says to Edith that she would have ridden the horse home no matter how lame it was, yet in this episode she does the exact oppisite.She is spoilt but how could she not be. She is person who says one thing but really thinks and feels something different. I wondered if Carson didn't send Matthew into the garden on purpose. Also loved the look Mrs. Crawley gave Mary as Matthew was helping Sybil. The way cast and director are playing looks and unsaids with all the characters is fantastic.

Count me in with those who are bored to tears with Thomas and O'Brian. It feels like they have the same conversation every week but in a diiferent room.

Loved Cora and the Dowager. I think she actually pondered assassinating the Turkish ambassador for a moment. And the look on Cora's face when Mary said she would have to tell him priceless, Edwardian version of WTF face mixed with really...are you an idiot.
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#26

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Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 1:51 PM

I thought there was lovely harkening back to an earlier episode where she says to Edith that she would have ridden the horse home no matter how lame it was, yet in this episode she does the exact opposite.

Good catch. Mary is definitely a bit of a contrarian. Unlike Sybil who asserts her individuality by pursuing specific causes, or Edith who defines herself by competing with Mary, Mary herself prefers to make a point of going against whatever the expected thing would be. But that's really more of a pose. When it really counts, she listens to her heart more than her head. She even relented about Matthew, even though everyone has been consipiring to steer her towards him. Which brings us to:

I wondered if Carson didn't send Matthew into the garden on purpose.

Excellent thought that hadn't occurred to me. Carson has shown great awareness of the "situation" and knows well how many problems would be solved by that union.

I think she actually pondered assassinating the Turkish ambassador for a moment.

I would swear I could see her computing in her head just how much hiring an assassin would cost.
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#27

badlydone

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Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 4:04 PM

The worst part of a two year time lapse since the beginning of the show is that poor Gwen is still working there.
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#28

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Posted Nov 1, 2010 @ 5:15 PM

I don't think that Mary and Matthew will end up together. It is just too pat a solution for the show and if that was to happen, I could only have seen it happen in the final episode of the first series, in case the show is not renewed. I also found the "courtship" a little rushed and while I buy that Matthew still has feelings for her, since he is a sucker for punishment, I think that she is prodded a bit by seeing Sir what's his face show a serious interest in Edith. I think she likes him more than initially, but there is no love on her part.

I still hold by my theory that Matthew will marry Sybill. She is about 18 now and they have much more in common that he does with Lady Mary. It will be interesting to see what happens in the second series.

Also, is it wrong of me to want Thomas to go to war and never return. He and O'brien are just cartoon villains at this point.
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#29

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Posted Nov 2, 2010 @ 11:12 AM

Also, is it wrong of me to want Thomas to go to war and never return


No. If your wrong then so am I and after the initial guilt of wishing an awful trench death on him I got over it and remembered how much I want to punch him. Everyone else however will remain miraculously unscathed.
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#30

Katkim

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Posted Nov 2, 2010 @ 11:40 AM

Also, is it wrong of me to want Thomas to go to war and never return. He and O'brien are just cartoon villains at this point.


No, not wrong. At this stage, I just wish O'Brian could do to war too! They're terrible characters. Downton has enough story tension and drama without them, so I don't think the show will miss them. I do hope they get some edges knocked off them soon, to make them more well rounded - but I'm not holding much hope.

If series 2 takes place during WW1, I'm not sure how they're going to manage to keep half the male cast on the show...surely they'll be off? Unless they've all got flat feet?

Edited by Katkim, Nov 2, 2010 @ 11:40 AM.

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