Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2 (SPOILERS)

I believe that there is nobody left who is NOT watching this show, so let's go ahead and discuss Season 2, which concluded (save next week's Very Special Christmas Episode) last night. Spoilers ahead.

Overall: I liked Season 1 better than Season 2. Season 1 did a better job of maintaining the illusion that I was not watching a soap opera. It is true that Season 2 took the action up a notch - there were actual, literal explosions taking place on screen and some pretty horrific flu symptoms - but the plot took some ridiculous turns.

Favorite plot points: Thomas' new role at Downton, and then him re-insinuating himself into the situation when the house was short-handed. Branson's non-assassination of the general. O'Brien trying to be good but getting sucked into backstabbing plots.
Plot points I didn't care for: Lord Grantham and the maid. There was one scene last night where I said, out loud, to Jeremy, "If they kiss, I'm not sure I can keep watching this show"...right before they kissed. The episode made it up to me by the end, though, kind of. I want to like Branson and Sybil more than I actually do. How did the writers not give them something to DO? Besides sit around and mope about their love in Downton Abbey's garage, anyway.

Mary & Matthew: I love Mary more than ever. She's such a noble pragmatist this time around. But when, WHEN will this show deliver these two to us? They gave us everybody else but them. Hmph.

Predictions: I think Sir Richard is involved in the death of Vera Bates, and he's going to get found out, and then Mary can break off her engagement with him, and then she and Matthew can finally get married. At least I hope that's what happens in Season 3. If the show spins it out too much longer, she'll be 35 by the time they get together. And they WILL get together.

Links: Two different friends sent me two different links to two different articles about speech anachronisms in Downton Abbey (though the articles are written by/interview the same person - my old boss). Here is the short NPR version, and here's the more thorough reckoning. Before you break out your indignation, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Zimmer is not trying to sneer at the writers of the show. It's more of a "hey, check out these funny anachronisms of speech that crept into a period drama script. Aren't the linguistic origins and time periods of certain phrases and words fascinating?" thing. I think it's super interesting.

PS: That was the last episode, right?


Crys said...

Oh I was wrong. I thought there was one more next week, where Matthew ask why Mary has to marry Sir Richard. Anyway, I agree Last Season was better. This season I kept thinking, "WHAT?" The Sybil things was boring. The murder and the maid kissing bizarre. Definitely liking Mary and Edith better this season but thought the dying of Lavinia and the return of Matthew's ability to walk/make babies was just a little too convenient. I guess I keep watching because I have to see if Mary and Matthew get together but each episode I'm getting a little more frustrated with the craziness of the plots. I enjoyed it more when it was just snappy dialogue which if you ask me was what was missing with Branson. He seems so boring now.

Sherwood family said...

Okay, I haven't seen it. I tried when we were in the US, but all of the library copies were checked out with a 50-person waiting list. Maybe this summer...

Bridget said...

If you have a VPN, you can watch it on pbs.org for free.

Bridget said...

I know there is one more episode, but I think it's a Christmas special that does not advance the plot. But maybe it does...? I really don't know.

Jen said...

I'll admit that as long as Maggie Smith delivers her zingers, I will be a loyal fan. All of the fluff in between is the price I pay.

I absolutely, 100% agree that Sir Richard is involved with Vera's murder. He was a slime ball from the beginning. And also speaking of of Bates: Did anyone else get a little bit of an ick-factor when he and Anna were in bed on their wedding night? I love the two of them, I do, but that was, um, not my favorite scene.

I'm also curious as to what's going to happen with Edith's love life. She alluded to thinking that she was going to be the old, unmarried aunt. I hope that something materializes in season 3 (heaven forbid one of them GO TO UNIVERSITY). And speaking of love lives, I'm quite surprised that they haven't addressed Thomas' in quite some time (since the death of the convalescent officer). With the extra sudsy nature of season 2, I was actually quite surprised there wasn't more.

And can I just say how much I love Mr. Mosely? Because I do. Drunk and all. He was such a good addition. (Lord Grantham? Not so much. Though, Lady Grantham has come across as entitled and more-more-snootier-than-necessary this season...and I don't like it one bit.)

Questions I want answered in Season 3:
1. Why did Lord Grantham have to marry a rich American? (And how excited are we about Shirley MacLaine!!)
2. Will we see Jane again? (And was she REALLY a widow? Did I miss something in season 2.)
3. Will there be more with the Ethel-and-baby storyline? My thought? She's going to replace Jane.

Crys said...

You can also watch it on Netflix if you have it and I hear they added it to Amazon prime.

Jessie said...

In response to Jen - As I understand it, Lord Grantham inherited the title, but no money. He HAD to marry someone rich in order to keep Downton Abbey up. Right?

And I cannot express how angry I was over the stupid Lord Grantham and the maid thing. It was so stupid and unnecessary and out of character. There's been a lot of backlash toward this season but I was giving it the benefit of the doubt, until that happened. I miss season 1 :(

Jessie said...

Oh, and I hate that the show tried to make it look like they didn't kill off Lavinia for Mathew and Mary's convenience. "We're cursed!!"

Bugged me.

I should add that I didn't hate this season. I'm just disappointed in some of the plot elements. And some of the dialogue.

Melody said...

I'm pretty sure the next episode is the season finale. That being said, I too liked last season better. I especially disliked the plot twist with the maid! Arrggh! I also agree with Jen's assesment of "as long as Maggie Smith delivers her zingers, I will be a loyal fan. All of the fluff in between is the price I pay."

This season (especially this last episode), it seemed like the whole purpose of everything they did was to shock their audience! All of the writers were sitting in a little room discussing how best to make everyone watching on their couches shout "No! It couldn't be!"

Jill said...

I loved season 2, except the affair with the maid. So dumb. I like watching novelas, so I just think that the ridiculous plot is funny

Jeremy Palmer said...

Here are my thoughts: Where is Gwen? Adios Jane. Ethel made a very hard decision and I'm not sure what I would have done. Sir Richard = guilty of Vera's death (perhaps via a 3rd party?). Lady Grantham doesn't have to be such a snob but what.evah. Too much Branson in the garage. Too much Branson complaining. Too much Branson. Maggie Smith steals the show in every scene. Mosley can go now. Mary? I like her more this season. Matthew, temporarily lost in an alternate reality. Thomas, great acting but I'm tired of his antics! I'm so glad Carson is sticking around. He is probably my favorite male character in the series. O'Brien is so... real. Her story and character are quite unique and really portray the struggles of humanity on a deeper (darker?) scale. O'Brien's part of the series is the most interesting to me and I think it really demonstrates creativity and originality on the part of the writers.

Jeremy Palmer said...

I think Melody is right about the purpose of the last episode. It seems that they are copying the unfortunate modus operandi created by the writers of LOST, who seemed to shout episode after episode: "What is the last thing the audience will expect right now?" Ugh.

Jen said...

Agreed (well, except for Mosely).

While Thomas strikes me as one-note, O'Brien is complex, well-written, and multi-dimensional.

Bridget said...

Ick factor: yes. I like Mosely too.

I have my doubts about Jane being a war widow, too. Her situation seemed a little dodgy.

Lark said...

I agree that this season has had its annoying moments. I was watching by myself on Sunday and was gasping out loud and covering my eyes during all the Lord Grantham affair scenes. My husband was in the other room and heard me and said, "Wow, you're really getting into this show." Yes. I AM. So, yes, it was very much a soap opera this season but all in all, I was VERY entertained and have been having so much fun watching. I am not ashamed to admit that it is the highlight of my week!

Jennifer said...

I was really enjoying this season until this past episode. I really liked Lord Grantham until the stuff with Jane. Suck a disappointment. Also I thought it was a little dramatic for Lavinia to die...but I wasn't quite sure how else they would get rid of her, soo? I'm curious to see what happens next week. Based on the "Next time on Masterpiece classic" at the end of this past episode, it looks like there is a lot more to come?

Matthew said...

Ummm, presumably by this point someone has made you aware that the Christmas Special is in fact vital to advancing the plot and illuminates *many* of the issues you list here. Right? Right!?

I have a copy if you need one =)

Bridget said...

Yes, it was so exciting to find out that the Christmas special was a real episode! I thought it was a very satisfying end.


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