The all-caps shtick was incredibly annoying, but having made it through the critique I don't think he's saying that other discerning critics haven't already said. I thought it was interesting that he felt he could have bought Sybil marrying Branson more easily in season 1 vs season 2. That might have worked for me too. But after season 1, Sybil/Branson had a lot of potential going into season 2 - hell, even the first episode of season 2 (when Branson mockingly takes the white feather offered to him and Sybil goes off to learn to nurse) seemed promising for the characters. And then the factoid-heavy, development-light five second conversations started. Even if this was a set-up for season 3, it's not a very good one. Fellowes would have been better off making them a more central romance in season 3 and actually investing time in developing them as individuals and friends in season 2. And for what it's worth, I don't see Fellowes killing off Branson. I don't think he has the guts to get rid of any of the truly main characters and in all honesty, I wouldn't want him to.
Re: his lack of a critical take on Mary/Matthew - maybe he enjoyed that dynamic (the Christmas special review links in the piece seemed to). For me, their relationship is one of the highlights of season 2 and I think this is something Fellowes got right. The train station scene in the first episode remains one of my favorite scenes of either season. We'll have to see what the consequences of the "re-set" are, but there are certainly many ways to keep Mary/Matthew interesting even while married and I hope Fellowes goes in one of those directions. I do appreciate that Fellowes realized he couldn't draw out the Mary/Matthew will they/won't they story forever.
While I would have liked Lavinia to have been a more developed character, Fellowes centers the viewer perspective around that of Mary a lot of the time so I think it makes sense that we ultimately didn't learn much more about Lavinia than what Mary found out. Lavinia wasn't just an obstacle to Mary's happiness, but also a way of tangibly demonstrating that Mary has matured. Season 1 Mary would have treated Lavinia very differently. So I think the character served an important purpose. And her death wasn't actually unrealistic so there's a detail Fellowes got right.
She was in the wrong in her conflict with Isobel over writing to the war office on behalf of William and Molesley, and I think the show endorsed that conclusion.
Did it? Moseley was grateful and stuck with the lie and William was tragically killed.
Yeah, I didn't think the show presented her decision to try to get William out of service as wrong or right. I actually thought this was an interesting subplot because I was sympathetic to both Isobel and Violet in this argument.
, you summed up the varying male perspectives on participating in the war nicely. I totally agree that the contrasts were interesting - it's too bad a lot of it was squandered post episode 1 (which I too thought was very strong). But as you said, Robert is set up for the mid-life crisis/maid problem later in the season (a subplot I didn't have a problem with because I thought it made sense actually).
But agreed generally - the Dowager Countess' characterization has been very consistently awesome. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, HULK.
Edited by ScienceGirl12, Mar 15, 2012 @ 12:14 AM.