Monday, January 06, 2014

Downton Abbey 4.1 (SPOILERS)

Would you mind very much if I posted about Downton Abbey Season 4 after each episode? Jeremy and I (assuming he deigns to watch this season) don't have anyone else to discuss this show with. These won't be recaps, just points of discussion or interest or rage for each episode. Chime in with your favorites or rants.

Ah, it is so good to be back and hanging out with these people! We've known them for three years now (I think more like 10 years in the actual show). On to particulars of Episode 1.

I just want to say that seeing Mary almost catatonic with grief was devastating. Mary can cut you down with a glance even when she's feeling chipper, so I don't blame those around her for pretty much avoiding eye contact (that scene on the stairs with Edith was especially affecting). It was so sad to see acerbic, witty Mary turned into acerbic, sad/angry Mary.

So then oh, what a payoff when she snapped out of it in the end! Did anyone else tear up when Carson gave her a hug at the end of the episode? Or was that just this hormone-riddled, sleep-deprived new mother?

It was almost as devastating to see our favorite busybody, Mrs. Crawley, so inert and deflated. I hope taking in the man from the workhouse ends up being a project she can really sink her teeth into.

Edith has really come into her own and is currently the best-dressed woman on this show. That red outfit - to die for! But then that outfit with the v-neck necklace thing that draped down the back! So pretty! Not sure about Mr. Rochester and his ambitions to become German. Seems legit...NOT.

I hope O'Brien doesn't stay away for long. I do love seeing what schemes that woman is up to.

The kitchen maids/footmen are all still in love with the wrong people, as per Mrs. Patmore last season. And why, WHY is Edna back? Did I not make it clear last season how much I disliked her? On the other hand, Rose is growing on me. Good for her.

I wonder if Jos Sedley from Vanity Fair is mad that Hugh Bonneville got a huge upgrade from being Mr. Rushworth in Mansfield Park to being Lord Grantham, and he's still playing an oddball. I did enjoy the butler wars, though. Also, is Downton Abbey going to be like the Harry Potter movies - a place for every British actor who's anybody to show up for a scene or two? Not that I'd mind.

As far as soap opera factor goes, this first episode was pretty tame - no jilted brides or secret pregnancies or long-lost cousins back from the dead. I wonder what they will spring on us later this season!

Finally, I enjoyed the re-working of the soundtrack. It's still recognizable, but there are some new things going on with the main themes. I loved the use of the Matthew & Mary theme music (I think the track is titled Such Good Luck), though now it's just...Mary. Sniff.


Crys said...

So right now I just don't feel like watching the show at all. I might change my mind but maybe not. Sometimes I just drop shows and can't got back. I guess I liked Matthew a lot more than I original realized. Maybe I'll just use your post as a happy middle ground, see what people are doing but don't have the watch the agony of it.

elliespen said...

I think they want Edna to be the new O'Brien which I guess is the only okay thing about her being back but she needs to BACK OFF OF ANNA.

And if they're bringing back random characters from past seasons, why oh why couldn't we have actually SEEN Gwen instead of just hearing about her? I would much rather have her back than be saddled with Edna the tart.

And seriously, is there anything sweeter than Bates and Anna? I submit that there is not.

Señora H-B said...

Oh man, I cannot abide Edna.

I also found myself EXTREMELY irritated with Lord Grantham. UGH. He makes me so angry! (This should be tempered withe the knowledge that I am on day 3 of snow/cold weather/weekend confinement and have a raging case of cabin fever.)

I was so happy to see Mary buck up and take her proper place. I also sobbed a little at the letter from Matthew.

And I agree. Bates and Anna are the best and Edna best step off.

Jen said...

So.....what's with suddenly calling Tom "Barrow" instead of calling Tom "Tom".....? Did I miss something? I feel like Lady Grantham always called him Tom or this new?

I thought the Valentine card scene was very sweet....and LOVED having the Dowager Countess try to explain to Tom Branson and Mary all of the things that Tom should teach her. SERIOUSLY. Having Maggie Smith utter the word "livestock" was a highlight of my day.

I'm going to need some more convincing about the value of Rose...She doesn't bother me, but so far I really have no need for her at this point.

And I will never, EVER tire of hearing the British pronunciation of the word "valet."

P.S. Does it ever bother you how many not-period-appropriate idioms that are written into the script?

Bridget said...

Maybe wait for a few episodes to build up, and then watch them all at once. That's what Jeremy usually ends up doing when he says he's "not going to watch this season."

Bridget said...

I know, I was hoping for a glimpse of our favorite SECK-retry!

Bridget said...

I think it's because Tom is an under-butler (?) now, not a valet. So it's last name instead of first name, like Carson.

Sometimes I wonder about the idioms they use. But I also really feel for the writers (and actors). Maybe it's better that it at least comes off natural, if period-incorrect.

Bridget said...

Some of your comments make me think that PBS pulled another switcheroo and combined parts of UK episodes into one US episode. I can't find an equivalency chart anywhere (why does one not exist??) but I might have to post more from this episode after next week's episode.

Andrew said...

O'Brien is officially gone for good, unfortunately:

Netpique said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Familia said...

I think the German citizenship scheme is brilliant. Why did nobody think of that in Jane Eyre, or any other English novel with a crazy spouse and no divorce laws?

Lord Grantham makes me roll my eyes all the time now. It's just too hard to take him seriously, and yet he takes himself so infuriatingly seriously. And I love how Lady Grantham is so gullible. Thomas can play her all he wants, although he actually did accidentally make a good call with the nanny. I confess that I am happy that O'Brien is gone. I just didn't like her at all.

Also, I can't BELIEVE that responsible Anna dressed Rose up as a maid for her accidental assignation.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I felt so sad for Mary seeing that after 6 months she was still non-functional. Everyone needs time after a devastating event, but her aristocratic life works against her because nothing is required of her, not even to take care of her own baby. And so, when Lord Grantham thought he was protecting her, he was crippling her. He was the only one who couldn't see that.


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