Sunday, January 5, 2014

Downton Returns!


*If you are new to the afterparty, welcome!  If you’re returning, thanks for coming back!*

1811-1816 – Jane Austen writes the first feminist novels.  No one knows what feminism is at the time, so this goes largely unnoticed until the late 1900s, when a bunch of fangirls get together and toast all things Jane, using whatever liquor they have handy.

1833 – The first coeducational university opens—Oberlin College in Ohio.  Of the four women who were admitted, three graduated.  They fourth was just there to get her “MRS.” degree, and jumped on the first offer with which she was presented. (Aside: I am joking.  I do not know why the one chick quit.  Maybe she became incapacitated.)


1840s – 1850s – Women are granted a separate economy.  They are also allowed to own property, and manage it in the event of a spouses incapacity. Men are slowly becoming obsolete. (Aside: I am joking.  We still need guys to lift the heavy stuff.)
1870s – Women granted control over their own income.  Hundreds of shoe stores open across the country.
1916 – Jeanette Rankin is elected to the US House of Representatives, despite the fact that her fangirls could not vote for her.
1920 – The 19th Amendment of the US Constitution gives women the right to vote, as well as the right to complain about elected officials.
1972 – Title IX of the Educational Amendments guarantees that girls receive the same benefits as boys, both athletically and academically, in federally funded educational institutions.  Cheerleaders continue to be popular until the new century, where they are quickly replaced by Brandy Chastain wannabes, whipping off t-shirts and exposing sports bras. 

Now, for the recap:

Things start off gloomily enough, with the rooks amidst the gray pallor that encompasses both the abbey and Lady Mary, who stares a lot.  Staring into the fire, staring out the window, staring at her sister…she reminds me of Dame Judith Anderson in Rebecca.****   She also feels like she needs to wear black, probably because it enhances her wan paleness and depression.  You know what would help?  A Xanax.  And a cheeseburger.  And vodka.  After all, it’s been six months.  Isn’t it time to find another swarthy Middle Eastern dude?

****dame judith anderson 1dame judith 2

Unfortunately, the only time we see any life from Mary is when she berates Mr. Carson.  She is lucky I can’t reach through the television and slap her for talking to my man that way. Then she stares into the mirror.

On a happier note…O’Brien’s gone.  No great loss to the family, but who will instigate shenanigans now?  That remains to be seen, friends.  I feel sorry for the poor Indians.  (The India kind, not the Native American/First Nations kind.)  The little girl they hire?  She and Tom? Seems a little fishy. A replacement maid could do some damage, perhaps.  It’s been awhile since Lord Crawley’s had a little sumpin’ sumpin’ on the side.

Words between Thomas and Nanny West.  She’s like the bossy big-boned chick in elementary school who, in another life, was probably the CEO of a Fortune-500 company.  But because it’s still the early 20th century, she’s a nanny with a mouth.  And no one told her the Downton commandment: Don’t eff with Thomas.  Fortunately, we learn that the owls are not what they seem. (Aside: that’s an homage to Twin Peaks, which was a fave of mine.)  Nanny West is a tad on the schizophrenic side, so Thomas is actually doing us a favor by calling her out.

I am hoping that Bates and Anna will adopt George.  Daisy likes kids, but hopes desperately that her future children do not inherit her ears.

Lord Grantham is abandoning Matthew’s plan for the estate because they have to pony up for inheritance taxes, which the British call “death duties,” which sounds a lot more romantic.  Branson wants to wait until Mary comes back into play and Lord says she isn’t a player.  Could this be foreshadowing?  Mary as a player?  Oh, wait.  She’s already done that.  Anyway, if we learn nothing else from this, make a dang will.  And leave everything to moi.
(As an aside: Lord Grantham says that Mary hardly has the energy to lift a fork to her mouth.  This is not news, Dad.  She doesn’t weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet. Give the girl a cheeseburger!)
Tom encourages Mary to get interested in something, but Lord G. interferes whenever Tom talks about Mary getting involved in the estate.  Given Tom’s background as a rabble-rouser, perhaps he believes a coup is in order?

Carson gets a mystery letter, and Mrs. Hughes fishes it out of the trash.  When are these two going to get a room?  After all, it’s VD…I mean, Valentine’s Day.  Anna and Bates are so cute I just want to throw up, sort of.  Anna needs a cheeseburger, too.  Carson yells at Mrs. Hughes for “touching his trash” and the sexual tension is so thick and steamy you could cut it with a butter knife. Because it's just like a stick of butter. (Aside: do people actually still have butter knives?  I have a couple, but I don’t think I’ve used them in years.)

Now, we’re in the workhouse!  How cheery!  What a nice contrast to the Dickensian gloom!  (Aside: I wrote this before Mrs. Hughes called up the name of the great Charles Dickens. I love Dickens.  I would marry him if he showed up at Brandywine.  But there’s as much of a chance of that happening as Carson taking me out for tea, so DL does not have to worry.)  What’s next?  Debtor’s Prison?  Anyway, Carson’s former friend, Charlie Grigg, is there, even though he sounds like he belongs in the TB ward.

Lady Edith Fugly’s “friend” says that there are places that will allow you to divorce your spouse on grounds of insanity.  (Please do not tell DL.)  He asks if she will move to Germany with him if he becomes German so that he can divorce.  Someone please tell him that Germany is not the right place to be in the first half of the 20th century. Later, she meets him for dinner wearing a gown with what I like to call a “Holy $hit Slit.” They make-out in public, which is generally verboten.

Once again, Dame Maggie Smith gets the best line of the night when she asks if Matthew’s mom and Molesley are having a secret assignation. Turns out, Molesley’s been kicked out of the abbey now that Matthew is no longer in need of him and is moving back in with his dad and having some sort of existential crisis.  This is understandable in the case of a twenty-five-year-old, but is unattractive in a guy old enough to have a comb-over. Anyway, he is invited to show off his butling skills for the chick who played the mean girl in Sense and Sensibility, but the other butler is wreaking havoc, so things are a little cray-cray.

Mrs. Padmore is upset by the appearance of an electric mixer.  She knows it is a death-knell for all of servanthood.  Ivy gets stinking drunk and that heightens the conflict between new tall footman and newer short footman.  Mrs. Padmore tries to keep it between the ditches, but is becoming less successful.

(Aside: for some reason I am obsessed with Carson’s office in this episode.  I’m thinking of having a closet put in just to store my silver.)

Mary finally starts getting her act together, and apologizes to Carson.  She stares less and blinks more and then cries and CARSON HUGS HER!  I am so jealous, I can hardly stand it.  But I am happy that she grows some cajones!  And she wears purple! What’s next…the right to manage property in light of the incapacity of her spouse?  (Death being the great incapacitator.) Matthew writes a letter which is received “from beyond the grave” and Mary’s dad doesn’t want her to know that Matthew intended for Mary to carry on with his plans for the estate.  Dad is not pleased that Mary is interested in the estate, but Tom is cool with it.  Hmmmm….

We’re getting just a tad more information about Mr. Griggs’ relationship with Mr. Carson.  I’m hoping that theirs was long-time bromance or maybe even something more, but they don’t strike me as the type, even though they were in the theatre together.  Carson avoids discussing it with both Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Crawley, who both dispense some excellent advice.

Mr. Mosley still can’t find any work as a butler, so he’s patching holes in the road.  He’s disappointed with his lot in life, and takes some of his frustration out on Anna, who wants to give him cash.  Mr. Bates gives him money, pretending that it’s a debt he needs to be repaid. Anna loves him for it. In the meantime, I am loving Anna’s hats.

After a few days off, Rose is once again hot to trot.  She talks Anna into going to town with her, to some sort of dance hall, where she initiates a riot just by being Rose. (This used to happen to me all the time…guys beating each other up just to dance with me.  Because I was so beautiful. *snort*)  They could get into trouble when the cops show up, but she and Anna are saved by the new short valet. (Jimmy, whose name I keep forgetting.  Due to the fact that he showed up at roughly the same time as Alfred, in my mind they are ‘tall’ and ‘short.’  I apologize for this.  If I ever meet you in person, dear reader, I will attempt to learn your name, or call you something other than just a physical attribute.  After all, no one wants to be known as “elbows.”) The guy Rose danced with, Sam, comes to find her at the Abbey, and she dresses up like a maid and breaks up with him, sort of.

Edith’s love interest still talks about being German and being divorced, and I (for one) think he has something up his sleeve.  Like not buying the cow if he can get the milk for free, so to speak.

Carson is once again THE MAN and meets with Mr. Grigg right before he leaves town and Mr. Grigg tells him that Alice, the girl Carson loved and Mr. Grigg married, really loved Carson all along.  She was just afraid of his big ol’ melon head.  (Not really…Carson is my boyfriend and he likes it when I tease him.)

Thanks for visiting, and reading, and commenting, and whatnot (you whatnotters know who you are)!  Until next time! Cheerio!


Leslie Sciandra said...

Kirby, how did you know all this before the show was on??
PS I'm with you on Edith's beau, I think he's trying to seduce her. She never gets to be happy. Plus she is (more than) a bit of a twit.

Art and Sand said...

I don't have cable so we have to wait until tomorrow to watch on Apple TV, but we are going to the movies tomorrow night ($5 senior citizen night) so I have to wait to Tuesday night to watch. This was after my daughter hyped it all day that we would be watching tonight.

Serendipity Refined said...

Thomas still scares the crap out of me and I'm so glad that Mary decided to get it together...I thought that I was going to have to climb through the television and smack her (and something tells me that wouldn't be easy with a flat panel). I'm not sure what's up with Edith's guy but whatever it is, it won't be good (queue the ominous music). Can't wait for next week! It's time for some new suitors to show up and cause a little chaos. You that Mary's wearing purple...

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

Let's hope they start picking up the pace a bit. I took a bathroom break mid-show and came back and we were still in the same year. I think it may have been the same day. Not that I'm complaining ... I'm thrilled it's back on after such a long wait! And, yes, I think the entire female cast (and perhaps short valet Jimmy too) could benefit from some cheeseburgers. And maybe Daisy can mix up some shakes to go with them ....

:) Linda

P.S. Why is Lady Grantham so quick to turn on Anna who has been nothing but kind and loyal on the word of some new unknown skanky lady in waiting? She hired her without even asking her to demo her skills ....

Shannon Fox said...

Great wrap up! I really enjoyed last nights show. I think it was a super kick off to the new season and I can not wait to see what unfolds. Even though I think Lady C and Lord G are about dumb as posts 95% of the time!

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Yes, the Mary starring thing was really annoying. Yes, Edith's man is a little creepy. I can't believe you didn't mention how uninteresting the whole Rose thing is. Did they feel they had to add a chick character once middle daughter died? Now that they have cleaned up the Matthew legacy I'm ready to see how Mary will do. And I'm not anxious to see Thomas manipulate Mr and Mrs C. I don't suffer villans (or fools) well.

Deneen@dreaming-n-color said...

Staring was drab. Are they trying to put her and Branson together? I thought they would set more of the season up in this episode. Rose could be more interesting with more devilish antics. Although you reminded me of the near fight that almost broke out on the dance floor with " the umbrella men" and you, but that's your spunkiness! Ha! I guess if Carson was there he would have held you! Ready for the next episode already...

Deneen@dreaming-n-color said...

Staring was drab. Are they trying to put her and Branson together? I thought they would set more of the season up in this episode. Rose could be more interesting with more devilish antics. Although you reminded me of the near fight that almost broke out on the dance floor with " the umbrella men" and you, but that's your spunkiness! Ha! I guess if Carson was there he would have held you! Ready for the next episode already...

Heidi @ Decor & More said...

Well done!! Dragged at the beginning and I wanted to slit my wrists a little every time they showed Lady Mary staring, but it all perked up and got quite interesting at the end! Til next week!
xo Heidi

Chris K in Wisconsin said...

What a great recap!! Why would Lord & Lady be taken in by Thomas so easily? Seriously. Because he ratted on the Nanny (not even knowing she was schizo-Nanny), and Lady heard her diatribe?? And, Edith's beau,,, I can actually envision him shouting "Heil" he is a bit more than scary. She can't catch a break w/ men, can she? Glad Mary woke up and shook it off, so to speak. Wondering where the Mosely story line is headed. And, oh my, the dear Dowager had some lines last night, didn't she? So happy Sunday nights are something to look forward to again! Yay!

Tuula @ The Thrifty Rebel said...

What a great recap!! I was so happy to see Lady Mary come out of herself by the end of the show. I'm glad they let time progress off air so she could start to recover. I think Lord and Lady Grantham are quite naive as to the ways of the real world most of the time, and perhaps Lady G should have more faith in the loyal Anna. But Thomas does wreak his havoc in very cunning ways so to gain trust. I'm still not sure I like Rose. They need to give her some more dimension as a character. Perhaps she could carry a log around with her and speak in cryptic messages.

Jean @ said...

I can't believe you didn't mention the Nanny! What a wicked woman! said...

Edith's current love interest is eerily similar to her previous love interest. I love the reference to Dame what's her name from Rebecca! Love that movie!!! laura

1914house said...

An homage to Twin Peaks and a German word all in the same post? Why, this must be my favorite post ever! Is it true that David Lynch is filming another episode of Twin Peaks (a 25-years later episode)? I never know what to believe on the internet.

Kim said...

I really hope Carson and Mrs. Hughes "get it on" this season!! And Mosely is such a whiney, snivelly little man. Ughh

fiona anderson said...

Wow, so many opinions (not yours, my fellow comment leavers), I thought it was all moving along rather fast - perhaps that's a trait of the British ! And poor Mosely, Kim may change her mind after future episodes....
Btw, you have a load of rug adverts on your blog, which happens to be what I google all the time recently, so I clicked on one, and it had a rug called Downton !!

UofM Brooke said...

Yay! I had found your blog a few months ago, and added it to my reader just for this day! I love your recaps, Kirby, and your take is awesome! And Lady Fugly? Love it!

I was kind of disappointed that this season picked up 6 months after Matthew's death, but then again, who wants to watch another episode of all the ladies getting dressed in then sitting around in black? Not me!

And holy cow, Twin Peaks! I have got to see if I can find old episodes somewhere. I'd forgotten about that freak show of a show!

Erin Kaven said...

Please tell me you are going to write one about the 2014 season going into 2015. Just too funny,

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