Rabid Downton Abbey fan: Do not continue reading this post if you have not seen the latest Downton Abbey installment (#5). In this post-traumatic stress episode, in which the viewer is still reeling from events that unfolded in Episode 4, Julian Fellowes is finally starting to concentrate on the characters again.
Daisy’s relationship with her papa-in-law is strengthening and promises to bode well for her financial future.
Isobel’s good heart is having a positive impact on Ethel.
Mrs Hughes and Mrs. Patmore are turning into the sort of servants one could easily imagine as friends.
And Maggie Smith simply shines as the grieving dowager who desperately wants to save her son’s marriage.
As for the prison story, it seems that Mr. Bates might finally frolic in some open meadow with his fair bride again.
Wonder of wonders, Matthew and Mary showed a spark of marital harmony in a very affecting bedroom scene.
There are a few problems, of course, for this season can still not compare to Season One. Those two Neanderthals – Robert and Carson – are becoming insufferable with their stubborn adherence to old customs.
And the whole Catholic issue is somewhat tedious, but not unrealistic. There was a great deal of animosity and hostility towards Catholics from British Anglicans and American Protestants in the early 20th century. All the ceremonial hoopla of this relic-loving, reliquary-prone religion gave Protestants in the US and Anglicans in the UK the heebie jeebies, and so the Robert’s distaste is not all that surprising. (My father’s side of the family were staunch, conservative, Pope-fearing Catholics, which my mother’s side definitely was NOT. My maternal uncle quipped that if all St. Servaas’s bones were put together, scientists would discover that the man had been at least 12 feet tall.)
What is unrealistic is Robert’s SURPRISE that Tom Branson would want his daughter to be baptised in his faith.
Fellowes has made our earl look stupid on too many occasions.
Where I once admired our lord of the manor, I now find him irritating. Having said that, the final scene in which he and Cora hold on to each other in mutual grief had me grabbing for my hanky.
Which brings me to one final thought: Has anyone else noticed this strange phenomenon? – Robert’s dog, Isis, doesn’t seem to age. The series began in 1912 and is now covering events in 1920-21.
Isis should have aged 8 or 9 years. She would have a gray muzzle at the very least and the slow gait of an older dog. But she is as sprightly as ever! Go figure. (Ah, a reader wrote to say that Pharaoh preceded Isis, so that would make our lovely bitch only 3-4 years old. Continuity preserved!!)
Now for my book giveaway. You all must be salivating. (Unfortunately, only U.S. Viewers are eligible.) St. Martin’s Press has kindly sent me a copy to give away of their gorgeous new Downton Abbey companion book, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era, written by Jessica Fellows and Matthew Sturgis. It is a lush volume, made of glossy paper and filled with color photographs. Included are details of all the main characters and glimpses of what went on behind the scenes from the perspective of the film’s director, executive director, and other members of the crew.
I particularly like the items that go with each character. For example, Thomas’s chapter showcases images of the accoutrements of his position, the brand of cigarettes he would have smoked, and the nature of his collars. The Earl and Countess’ possessions include images of their jewelry, picnic basket, newspapers, hat, and embroidery hoop. Mrs. Patmore’s and Daisy’s chapter includes images of various kitchen items. And so on, and so on. This book, in addition to the equally wonderful The World of Downton Abbey, given to me for Christmas by a dear friend, are the perfect coffee table adornments for those of us who are DA addicts.
Contest Rules: For a chance to win a copy of this book, all you need to do is write about some aspect of Episode 5 that you liked or didn’t like – just as if you are the reviewer! The contest is open until February 10th, midnight. PLEASE NOTE: CONTEST is Closed. Tinuviel, you are the winner, chosen by random number generator!
Images courtesy PBS PRessroom.
I look forward to reading your comments! NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!!!