You knew it was only a matter of time before perfect little Lady Mary would have her perfect little cherub child that she can order around and tell what to do and make it’s life absolute living hell. Well, she’s not officially pregnant yet, but the foreshadowing was so dark it makes the middle of the night look like a florescent light bulb show room. Matthew and Mary are going to conceive the once and future heir of Downton Abbey and the rest of us are just going to have to deal with their perfection.
But last night there were plenty of things to both love and hate, as there always are. Before Ethel gets back out there selling her body for tuppence, let’s have a look at all of them, shall we?
Lady Edith’s Wardrobe: I don’t know if she’s catching up with the times, using the money she’s making from her burgeoning journalism career on clothes, or getting rid of poor old Sir Anthony Strallan has finally made her hip and young, but Lady Edith is looking better than ever. Whether it’s her orange dresses that flatter her coloring, this demure and professional ensemble she wore to meet her editor for the first time, or the lovely lavender frock she wore to Sybil II: The Revenge’s christening, this girl is working it out.
“Stick It Up Your Jumper”: This is a phrase that Anna uses to tell someone to go shove it and I’m going to find a way to bring it back into the modern vocabulary. This is my “fetch” and I am going to make it happen. At first I thought it was “stick it up your dumper,” which would be gross and vulgar but also a great way to tell someone to shove something you don’t want up their ass. I wish I could tell Julian Fellows to stick the Bates in prison storyline up his dumper. As far as favorite expressions go, Bates telling Jimmy, “don’t be a big girl’s blouse about it,” was a very close second.
Edith Throwing Shade: Edith’s stock is certainly on the rise. Not only did Mary and Violet both ask her for mysterious favors when she went into London, but she also finally expressed to her dreamy new editor that she’s sort of sick of her sister Mary. When he said her sister looked radiant in her wedding announcement but that Edith also looked good she replies, “It’s a relief that I’m not an object of pity to the entire world.” Oh, Edith, laugh at yourself before everyone else does. But she has no reason to be sour. She was wonderful at the jazz club and investigating the man she wants to be her love. She’s going to be a modern city girl yet.
Violet’s Night with the Tradesmen: When Branson’s jerkface brother ate dinner upstairs with the fancy people, Violet told a story about taking a train home from the north of England in a blizzard when it stopped and she and some other highborn folks had to spend an evening dining with some “tradesman.” I can just imagine how awesome this was and in my mind she got totally wasted with them and traded barbs and beat them all at cards and hiccuped and drank more shots while they were all passed out in the hay as the fire roared and glared all their faces with the orange glow. If they ever make a prequel movie about Violet, I want this to be the only story in it.
Violet Has All the Answers: Speaking of Violet, what would everyone in Downton do without her (and what are they going to do in the inevitable near future when she goes up to the great drawing room in the sky?). Violet solved Ethel’s problems and got her a new job and close to her son. She figured out how to get Branson back in Downton and her great granddaughter closet to her faimly. She one-upped Isobel, which is always good for a laugh, she got Edith to do her bidding and convinced her to get a job in London, and she did all of this while still having time to change into her cricket whites and entertain everyone on the sidelines with her banter. For a woman who is retired, she sure has plenty to do.
Thomas Standing Up for Himself: When Thomas gets caught in a sticky situation (though probably not as sticky a situation as he was hoping for), everyone just expects him to roll over (but not in the way he was hoping for) and get fired and take it like a man (again, not how he was hoping for). But no, he does not. When Mr. Carson calls him disgusting he says that he is not and that he won’t hear anything like that. Thomas may be loathsome, but at least he doesn’t loathe himself. I also give Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Bates, and Lord Grantham credit for sticking up for him. No one wants to say that a homosexual is acceptable, but they all said, in their little way, that as long as what he is doesn’t have any negative effects on them, he can go on being it quietly. In those days, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was quite a victory indeed.
Bates New Ensemble: It took the man going to jail and getting a new suit to be the most dapper thing on the planet. Good for him! Speaking of which, while he looked amazing all dolled up, Anna looked great with her hair down — for a change — when they were painting their shabby little cottage. I hope to see her off-duty look more often.
Everything About Rose: We need to talk for a minute about cousin Rose, who is like the Sammy Jo character from Dynasty all over again. (PS – what do we have to do to get Heather Locklear on this show?) Rose is young, pretty, stupid, flirty, deceptive, and a whole heap of trouble. She is my favorite kind of girl. She cooks up a scheme to get out of the country and macking on her married lover in a jazz club in London so quickly that it made Bates’ stay in prison seem like it took an entire season. Oh wait, it did. Anyway, that Rose is into Le Jazz Hot and stays out all night and I just have to love her and hope that she’s going to be back at Downton ruffling feather and messing things up in the seasons to come.
Aunt Rosamond: She’s no cousin Rose, but a little dose of Aunt Rosamond is always welcome. Who doesn’t love the family gossip who is always down for a bit of intrigue?
Lord Grantham Is Like John Boenher: The master of the house (try to read that without getting the Les Mis song stuck in your head) has been an absolute devil this year. He’s just a reactionary jerk who wants everything to go back to the way it used to be even though the way things used to be is classist, wrong, awful, and is keeping everyone from being happy. That’s not really something to love, but what I love is that he feels all these things and tries to weild his considerable power, but no one listens to him and he gets nothing done. Who does that sound like? Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. They’re basically the same person, except Boehner has a fake tan and cries more. And Lord Grantham dresses more modernly.
Bye Bye Ethel: Thank god she is gone for good. Can we focus on something else for a change?
Thomas Screwed Everyone Over: Thomas sure had a rough time of it last night. O’Brien turned on him, he almost lost his job, then Jimmy went after him and he almost couldn’t get a reference, and he would have been traveling to India to lug tea with a cousin of his. But Bates, Mrs. Hughes, and Lord Gratham all stepped up for him (mostly because he’s good at cricket) and not only did he end up with a job, but with a better job. That means O’Brien will have to suffer his revenge, Carson will have to train him, the other male staff members will have to defer to him and Alfred (who tried to get him arrested) lost his gig as first footman to keep Jimmy happy now that Thomas is staying. It seemed like he was going to be the one ousted but he ended up screwing everyone in the end (not in the way he hoped).
Everyone in Purple at the Christening: Finally mourning is over and we are out of black and into matching Easter pastels. I couldn’t be happier, but I didn’t know the Catholic church allowed outfits so festive.
Violets Quip of the Week: “You can not want your only granddaughter to grow up over a ga-rage with that drunken gorilla.”
Bates Prison Story: This is my last time to bitch about how awful this story is, so I’m going to take it. It was dumb. And we still don’t even know what happened, exactly. He went to prison, people didn’t like him, so they kept him from the outside world. Then he hid some weird paper thing from the guards and then everyone liked him again and the next thing you know he’s free. It didn’t make any sense. And what was that stupid paper thing anyway? And it’s not like anything changed after his stint in prison. He’s still the same old Bates. He says that prison changed him but he’s back skulking around doorways and eavesdropping on conversations just as sure as the first day he was on the job. Why the hell did this have to take so long? Sybil can get sick and die in one episode but we have to wait an entire season for a nonsense prison plot to unravel? This was the worst.
Stupid Ivy: I thought there wasn’t a kitchen maid dumber than Daisy and then I met Ivy. Sure Jimmy is cute and all, but why would she choose him over the delightful ginger giant Aflred is beyond me, especially when Jimmy clearly isn’t into her. The only time he flirts with her is when he’s overcompensating for everyone thinkin he’s gay. Alfred is hot, he wants you, and he will be good for you. Why are you ignoring him, Ivy? I hope that next season there is a whole plot where Daisy hates him and decides to poison Ivy.
Thomas is a Rapist: I know that O’Brien pushed him to it and he really wanted to think that Jimmy loved him, but even if he thought he was going to be into some man on man action, why did he have to go and rape Jimmy in his sleep like that? I would love to make out with Thomas and I probably would have had the same reaction if I woke up with another man in my grill like that. What ever happened to lighting some candles or moonlight strolls or something romantic like that?
Cora and Robert Make Up: Again, we had to endure an entire season of Bates in prison and Cora and Robert make up over night without even a mention of it. Cora blamed her husband for killing their daughter and one little intervention from the doctor and everything is hunky dory like a David Bowie album. Oh please.
Bad Shirtlessness: We have waited all season to see Jimmy shirtless and they blow it with him bathing and running across the room holding his shirt in front of his torso. When we finally get Branson out of his bulging undershirt they better not bungle this in the same way.
Cricket: God, this whole stupid match seemed so arbitrary and tacked on. It was fun when they did things like this season one — where each episode was a bit more self contained, so some drama about the flower show was charming — but in what was the last episode of the season in Britain to interject this cooked up cricket match just seemed superfluous. And we don’t even find out who wins! The only thing we know is that Mosely loses, and that is a pretty good reason to have anything, but couldn’t they have done better than cricket? God.
Edith’s Lover Has a Crazy Wife: What the hell is this? Jane Eyre?
Matthew and Mary Go Behind Each Other’s Backs: I know that everyone is supposed to love this couple and think that they’re all great and they’re going to have a baby and blah blah blah, but isn’t their relationship kind of messed up? I mean, Mary always hectors Matthew into doing whatever she wants him to do and then, when there’s something she wants to do she goes behind his back and goes to the doctor under a fake name so he won’t know. She even has surgery on her lady parts and can’t even tell him about it. This is her husband! She’s supposed to share everything with him but something as important as them being able to have children and she can’t even bring it up? She doesn’t have to get into the gynecological details (no one wants that) but still. And he’s no better, taking off to London in secret while she has to deal with her father getting all upset that her husband wants to change the entire estate around. I give her credit for standing by him while he and Branson modernize the joint, but if these two want to last, they need to think about how their relationship works.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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