What I love about this episode is the most amazing use of history. The old dude on the neighboring estate...he just can't handle the fact that his boys are gone and the old order is not returning. (BUT HE ENTERTAINED the PRINCESSES OF FIFE! BOTH OF THEM!) It's a sorry state for Jolly Old England, which isn't jolly, just old. Like me after my 2nd period class. The point is, England between the wars is changing (if this old guy lives long enough, he will see that after WWII, it becomes virtually unrecognizable), and one either digs in one's heels (like Carson), or one rolls with the changes (like REO Speedwagon).
|courtesy of the font of all knowledge, wikipedia|
(The two on the outside are the princesses. The one in the middle, with the impossibly teeny waist, is the mom. What I love about this is their last name is Duff, and they are Fife, which is all so Macbeth-ish.)
Do you remember the look on Carson's face as Lady Mary descended the staircase on the day she married Matthew? So this whole Mary-Carson-Mrs. Hughes wedding triangle is understandable, but one would think Lady Mary, who is not fourteen anymore, would stop ACTING LIKE IT! It's as if she is the sullen stepchild who doesn't want Mrs. Hughes to have the wedding she desires. But then I have to remember that she is like a daughter to Carson, and I can forgive her a little. Meanwhile, the dress Mrs. Hughes plans to be married in is perhaps a little unwedding-like. So Mrs. Patmore, ever the good friend, orders one from a catalog (which were, of course, all the rage). She says it "wasn't dear"--which is totally something my grandma Flossie would say--but you get what you pay for. The dress is not what it should be. (And remember, peeps...while it might be the thought that counts, it's not with a frock.)
Anyway, after a brief interlude for what I like to describe as "the coat of many conflicts," Carson and Mrs. Hughes get married in a lovely taupe-with-rose-undertones ceremony with banners and lots of taupey-rose and cream. Even the guests cooperate and wear complementary colors. (I would love to get married again, because now there's Pinterest. Back in the day? We were just guessing. How on earth did we manage to live our lives without Pinterest? asks the woman who kept yards of swatches and approximately 2,487 ripped out pages from these things we used to call 'magazines.')
|Photo courtesy of Nick Briggs, ITV|
The guy (the one I PREDICTED LAST YEAR) is back and helping Edith with her magazine! Yay! She's awesome! Easily my favorite sister! (See how she's the only one in that photo in a vibrant outfit? These costumers know what they're doing to show character through the clothing choices they make. It makes my little English teacher heart glad! And I would totally wear that cheerful coat if I didn't think I'd end up looking like someone's couch.) When Edith's editor makes her life miserable, she races "up to London in a swirling cloud of crisis and drama." Is there a psychological profile where one can be addicted to drama? Because there's so much drama with Edith. If this were a Masterpiece Mystery (and I love those, too), I would say that Edith actually causes all the drama, and then puts on the pitiful act. But it's not a mystery, it's a soap opera, and anyway I like Edith.
Spratt owes Denker. 'Nuff said. I love the Spratt-Denker-Dowager triangle, because the Dowager knows exactly what's going on and while both Spratt and Denker try to play each other, the Dowager plays them both.
The most poignant moment of the episode for me was when Mr. Molesley was talking to the schoolmaster about education. He said "...I believe that education is the gate to anything worth having," and the schoolmaster asks him if he'd missed his vocation. His response? "I've missed everything, Mr. Dawes. But Daisy doesn't have to." My grandfather would have been a schoolmaster too, in 1925, and I was raised with the same belief. *sigh* Too bad my students don't feel this way.
And then who shows up?
Stay tuned for next week's installment, and don't forget that there's a second Downton post for which to be on the lookout. Which is a terribly awkward phrase, but nevertheless grammatically correct.