Downton Abbey 3.5 Reactions

As always, there be SPOILERS in this post, so don’t read if you haven’t seen the latest Downton.

The season continues to make me so much happier than season two did. Not in an “I’m actually happy and all these episodes are so darn cheery” sort of a way, but more of a “Yay! The episode conflicts arise from actual character developments as opposed to random problem-of-the-week silliness.” So bravo for that. Here’s a run down of my thoughts of the various plot lines so far:

  • The Times They are a’Changin–Loving the push toward new thoughts and new societal norms. The maids wanting to dance. Lord Grantham wanting to continue to control everything and insist he’s right all the time, while Matthew pushes for changes to the way things are run. Carson having a heart attack anytime anyone does anything slightly different. Some very nice conflicts here. Especially enjoy seeing the women begin to exert their own will and start making some stands.
  • Ethel the Failed Cook–Still enjoying this line. I think it really showcases the changing views of society on a person’s past. Love that Carson is so strict in his disapproval of the woman–in an “I don’t have to deal with her directly, so I can just keep this firmly planted in abstract thought” sort of way. 
  • Daisy–Denisa made a very good prediction yesterday. She suggested that all this talk of Daisy becoming an heiress might make some of the footmen begin to notice her more for her potential money than for her earnest simplemindedness. That might be intriguing. As it is, I like her conflict–and like her more now that she’s not in full on She-Harpy mode every second she’s on screen. The love hexagon the downstairs people have going on right now is quite a bit of fun to watch.
  • Thomas–Not entirely comfortable with the direction this is heading, but it makes sense that it would go that way. O’Brien is still evil evil evil, but in her own spiteful way. Prediction? Bates comes back, so Thomas tries to get his job back. Carson moves to bump Jimmy, but Jimmy plays the homosexual card, and Thomas loses his job, and we’re all happy he lost his job, but appalled at the way he lost it. I don’t like Thomas. He’s a weasel. His sexual orientation doesn’t enter into it. (Though it might have been nice if they made the token gay character an actual nice person, as opposed to an awful sack of yuck.)
  • Anna and Bates–For. The. Love. Please make this plot end already. Or else introduce a young CGI Clint Eastwood to help Bates to plan a masterful escape from Generic Prison. This is a plot that arrived worn and has only gotten shabbier since then. And then they spoil the whole resolution by showing Bates’ return to Downton in the tease for the next episode? Somebody ought to shiv whoever came up with this.
  • Catholic vs. Anglican–Some interesting conversation there. At times I watch the show and wonder just how much of it is true to the historical time period. I think I might take the series on face value a little too easily now and then. Just sayin’. (And to answer that question somewhat, read this fine article.)
  • Fall Out from Sybil’s Death–Very sad and depressing, but I do enjoy the conflicts that have come about because of it–particularly Branson vs Lord Grantham over the fate of the baby. Poor thing. And I actually feel bad for Branson, something I thought I never would. So there’s that.
Really, it’s almost great all around. My biggest recommendation would be for PBS to air Season 4 at the same time the Brits get it. Then again, I suppose a lot of Europe has to deal with old episodes of their favorite shows all the time, so turnabout it fair play. But in this day and age of the internet, sticking to old media-style approaches to television seems idiotic.
They could make a Downton episode about that . . . 

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