Bookish Show: Downton Abbey

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I know that Downton Abbey is not technically related to books, and I also know that it ended several weeks ago (sad). However, I think it is a show that appeals to bookish people, and because I waited to watch the season finale until I was with my mom, I just watched it this week and need to gush and analyze. In fact, this post isn't really going to have a formal format at all -- I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts about that show and to open up a discussion to any readers with some input. Be aware that there are SPOILERS for the first and second season in this post -- I am discussing what happened, not introducing the show, so if you haven't seen it and plan to watch later, you might want to steer clear.

First off, Lord Crawley, Cora, and the maid, Jane. Why do you think that whole little interval occurred? Cora seemed to be a little off in the second season, preoccupied with the war. And she has always been pretty snobby, especially concerning Bates and Matthew, even in the first season. She wasn't especially likable, so I can sort of see why Lord Crawley strayed. However, they did seem pretty in love in the first season especially, and after Cora nearly died, I am wondering if Lord Crawley is appreciating what he almost lost. I think he is going to be honorable at all costs and stay with Lady Crawley, but it seemed as if he was still missing Jane, the maid he kissed a few times and with whom he had some heart-felt musings upon the war. Does anyone think she will reappear, or that Lord Crawley will be tempted to stray again?

Secondly, Lady Mary and Matthew. I think everyone was waiting for that to finally come together, and I was happy that Matthew's declaration that their courtship was cursed was cast aside. Honestly, Lavinia gave the clearest possible blessing to both of them, and while I am sure she was crushed by the knowledge that Matthew still had feelings for Mary, she seemed very at peace with the fact. I must admit I am not overly sympathetic toward Lavinia because I was just never fully convinced that Matthew really loved her, but it was very gracious of her to give her blessing to the couple before dying suddenly of the Spanish flu (if a little too convenient). And I was exceptionally grateful to be rid of Carlyle, who grew more and more irritating with each episode.

One of the characters I am most interested in for the next season is Lady Edith. She is a conflicting character, in general very sweet and giving with enough spunk to keep her from being boring, but the perpetrator of the most problem-causing event in the whole series (well, Mary caused the problem, but Edith spilled the beans). Another thing I find interesting is that while Edith is clearly considered to be the plain sister, she has had quite an array of beaux, from the sweet farm boy to the elderly car-driving Lord something-or-other to the (real or pretended?) Patrick G. Lord Something-or-other clearly has potential, as she told him she would not listen to his demands that she stay away, but I am curious to know what role Patrick G. will play. She loved him before he supposedly drowned in the sinking of the Titanic, and I wonder if her love for him would be renewed, and if there will come any possible way of determining whether he is the real heir to Downton Abbey. There is also the fact that Edith is now the only unattached Crawley sister, meaning her life is open for more drama than anyone else's.

I just want to love on Sybil for a moment, because she is my favorite. First of all, she becomes a nurse, and we all know nursing is the noblest and best profession. ;-) Second of all, she doesn't buy in to the class tensions present at Downton Abbey. She goes into the kitchens and learns to cook. In the first season, she helps the maid Gwen find an opportunity to start a better life. Oh yeah, and she runs off with the chauffeur, Branson, who was a little pushy and annoying at first, but who won me over at last when he stood up to Lord Crawley. While it gives her a moment's consideration to give up the life she has lived, in the end she prioritizes love and happiness over comfort and money. That is an attitude I can respect.

Now on to the downstairs. One question I would like to pose is why Bates cannot bring himself to stand up for himself. I know he wants to protect the Crawley family, be honorable, etc. etc., but it is almost as if he wants to be jailed. Every trouble he has come across could have been at least partially averted by a little more self-assertion. I hope everything works out for he and Anna in the end. I am pretty sure it will, because at this point their romance has been going on the longest without any hint of resolution. Also, I am wondering why he married the first Mrs. Bates. Was this ever mentioned in the show?

The last people I want to discuss are Thomas and O'Brien. I keep thinking at the very least we are rid of Thomas, but he had to steal and re-find Isis, Lord Crawley's best four-legged friend, and now he seems to have fully ingratiated himself with Downton's ruler. And then there is O'Brien, who in the eyes of Cora can do no wrong, despite the fact that her trick with that bar of soap resulted in a miscarriage for Cora. While O'Brien seems to be changing her tune a bit, becoming less patient with Thomas's deviousness and feeling some guiltiness weighing on her conscience, she still seems to be at least partially still in Thomas's power, and I am curious to see the havoc they wreak in the next season -- as well as hopeful that they will finally be caught. I guess we will see.

Anyone else have any rants, raves, or basic thoughts? Leave them in the comments!


  1. You missed my favorite one: Maggie Smith is AWESOME. I always love her, and she is so so perfect for her role. She has some of the best lines, and she really is an impressive woman.

    Also, I know a lot of people didn't (especially at the beginning) but I love Mary. She is very much like Scarlett O'Hara to me, and I love Scarlett. (Of course, a lot of people don't love Scarlett, either.)

    1. That's true! I didn't talk about her just because there wasn't anything controversial, but she is AWESOME.

      I didn't like Mary at the beginning, but in the second season I really grew to like her. I really love that she is able to diffuse almost any situation. I remember when she was talking to Matthew about his injury and everything is so tense, and she just says, "Would you like some tea? I would." That scene made me like her forever.

  2. AHH YAYYY! I love posts about Downton Abbey! I thought the Lord Crawley and Jane thing seemed strange since he seemed so in love with his wife in the first season. And yes, she was a little preoccupied this season, but still... Let's be a little more loyal than that, Lord Grantham.

    Sybil is my favorite, too, and I really hope that she and Branson appear a lot next season. My fear is that they'll become more "guest stars" and that would make me sooo sad!

    And I kept thinking the same thing about Bates! He would have avoided so many of his problems if he'd just stuck up for himself a little. Or even talk with Lord Grantham about how to get himself out of the situation. I just didn't understand his total lack of gumption when it came to defending himself.

    I'll be interested to see if O'Brien continues to show her softer side. I thought you really started to see a different side of her this season... at least until Thomas took charge again. Ugh! He drives me crazy.

    1. It just seemed so abrupt to me. I wasn't quite sure why they had a "connection" -- they both had sad war moments, but everyone did.

      I hope they aren't just guests, and I really hope that we get to see their baby. I have heard that the next season is a few years down the road (although hopefully we still get to see Matthew and Mary's wedding!) but it would be nice if Sybil and Lord Crawley were completely reconciled by then .

      I wonder if Bates just feels bad about himself because of his leg and his mistakes and his past... although, like you said, most of his "past" wouldn't have ever happened if he had stuck up for himself.

      And I wish Thomas had gotten Spanish Flu. That is all.

  3. My mom thought I'd like this show based on being an avid reader, too... Hmmm. I'll have to check it out!

    1. You definitely should! The first season is on Netflix!

  4. My mom also suggested I'd like this show based on being an avid reader. Hmmm...I think I ought to check it out!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...