Monday, January 09, 2012

The Abbey Goes To War

The much anticipated return of Downton Abbey brought along the tides of war. When we last left off, Lord Grantham had announced at a family party that war had been declared. The show fast forwards 2 years. Most of the players are now immersed in helping England's cause.

As stated in last night's episode, life at Downton Abbey will never be the same again. To exemplify this, there is a mixing of the commoners with the anointed. Edith has taken to farm life. She and her sister Mary are still at odds, but Edith finally has something to occupy her time. I would not have guessed it would be riding a tractor (or the married farmer). Commandeering a tractor has not squelched her dubious side.

Matriarch Violet is still as saucy as ever. She has great banter with Sir Richard, Mary's suitor. She seems to be softening to Isobel, Matthew's mother and distant relative. Isobel is currently one of my favorite characters. You can't underestimate her. She sees a problem and knows how to fix it. She voices her opinion whether it will be popular or not. Who else could convince Lord Grantham to turn the Abbey into a convalescence home for returning soldiers?

We finally meet Mr. Bates wife. The evil looking/thinking Vera. He served time in jail for a crime she committed. He is now serving a life sentence with Vera, which leaves poor Anna without her man. Anna is strong, but unfortunately has to ward off the insipid Molesley.

I'm going out on a limb here to say that Mary and Matthew will be equally hurt by their perspective love interests. It's plain to the audience that they love each other, but Mary's stubbornness may have cost the relationship (for the time being). Both Lavinia (Matthew's fiancee) and Sir Richard have something up their sleeves. Is there no way that Sir Richard, being a shady newspaper man (think 1917's Rupert Murdoch), doesn't have knowledge of her one night with the Turk? These yet-to-be-revealed mysteries will bring Matthew and Mary together.

Have some fun and take a poll on what you think of each character. Just move the character's head to the liked or loathed position.

Here's how I voted:
Favorite dis in the show: When Carson is told they have a visitor and it's Thomas he replies "I've seen him." He doesn't even glace at Thomas and goes about his work.

Favorite Wuthering Heights-like line: Sir Richard in his reasoning as to why he is proposing to Mary, "Because I think very highly of you." Ouch.

Favorite observation on the episode: It comes from the Guardian (don't snoop too much on UK sites or it will spoil it).
The Countess of Grantham's shriek says it all: "Thomas? The footman? Managing Downton Abbey?" The family seat is turned into a convalescent home as Thomas reinvents himself as a sort of first world war male version of Kerry Weaver in ER (complete with "sexual outsider" back story and physical disability).

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