Really, at this point it’s beginning to feel almost too easy to point out the (many) flaws Downton is coming up with this season. It’s like they’re trying to see how little they can have happen. Like maybe the writers were sitting around the table one day, and one of them bet the other he could make the series go at least three episodes without having one single noteworthy thing happen. And then the others laughed and decided to give it a shot, and this is what we get.
Actually, as I write that, I realize I’m wrong. It’s not that nothing is happening this season. It’s that nothing I care about is happening. I mean, they introduce conflicts I find silly or trite or predictable, and then they resolve them in exactly the way I imagined they would resolve them, and so I have a hard time actually generating any real interest. It’s like watching someone solve a long addition problem. Except it’s in word problem form, and it involves characters you once cared about.
“Cora is traveling to London on a train that’s going 4mph . . .”
So is it any wonder that I’m not enthralled with what’s going on? They introduce silly plots and then solve them a few episodes later, with the characters not being changed at all by those plots. Snooze. But allow me to elucidate:
- Cora and Art Dude–In a surprising twist that everyone on the planet (other than Cora) saw coming, Art Dude tries to get a bit Gillipants with Cora himself. And who should happen to come home at the exact same time? Lord “I Kissed a Maid” Grantham himself. The problem I have with this plot isn’t just that it broadcasted itself from galaxies away. It’s that it all plays out exactly how we saw it coming, with all the suspense of two very slow moving trains colliding into each other at 1 mph. Cora is too silly to just blow her top and demand Art Dude leave. Art Dude is too full of himself. Lord Grantham punches the guy and then gets mad at Cora. Yaaaaaaawn. Denisa said she thought the plot was at least showing that these people were human and could make the same mistakes. I say Cora needs her head examined. But at least we’ve seen the last of Art Dude? (Please?) One other problem I have with this plot? It’s the second time they’ve used the “And then Lord Grantham just happens to be home early” plot device. Coincidence happens. I get that, and I accept it in a plot from time to time. Have it happen too much, and you stop giving it the benefit of the doubt.
- Speaking of “Seen the Last of,” Schoolmarm takes that golden car ride to the sky and hopefully departs from all Downton parties forever. I love how there were so many conversations around her, with everyone wondering why Branson didn’t run after her to convince her to come to a few more soirees. And she’s all confused by why he might not really be that into her. Ugh. Talk about boneheaded. She should run off with Art Dude or Gillipants. Yuck.
- Edith. Is. So. Stupid. I’m not kidding any more (because I was before.) This is the third episode in a row where all she does is go make yearning looks at her daughter. And she wonders why people are freaked out about this? She could become the villain in a horror movie at this point. Stick a hockey mask on her, and everyone would be having nightmares for weeks. Years, even. And her Aunt and Violet both try to talk her out of stupidity, and they’re surprised she doesn’t listen? Sigh.
- Meanwhile, Murder She Wrote: Downton Edition is plodding forward, with the cops now all convinced it was Anna who did it. But I’ve finally figured out what’s going on here. Why they’re wasting so much time on this. They’re setting up a Poirot crossover episode! Forget Murder She Wrote. We’re going full Agatha Christie here. Boo yah! It’s either that, or we’re just going to be tortured with stupidity for the next few weeks . . .
- Thomas is trying to drug the gay away. I suppose this is intended to make us feel somewhat bad for him as he proceeds to be a complete jerk to everyone on staff. But he was always a complete jerk, so this just is going nowhere but uncomfortable places. It’s like they made the main villain gay, and then they felt bad that they’d gone and made the main villain gay, and so now this is one long drawn out device to try and show they really have nothing against gay people, and didn’t they have it so rough back then? I’m all for exploring that. Just don’t do it in such a lame fashion.
- Speaking of prejudice, Rose already had an African American boyfriend. So now she’s branching out to other areas of the prejudice tree and getting a Jewish boyfriend. Again–I have nothing against exploring some of the views of the time, and depicting them accurately. What I detest is using lame plot conventions to do it. Poor Rose gets plunged into any “special of the week” conflict that comes down the pike. And then they have to shoehorn the Russians into the mess? Please.
- Molesley continues to be amusing. What I’d really like is a cage fight between Molesley and Violet’s butler. Sparky? Spackle? Speck? I can never remember his name. Or maybe Molesley and Carson could tag team him, since he seems like a blend of both characters.
- Violet being terrified of Isobel getting married continues to be amusing, and one of the few highlights of the season. It doesn’t take much, people.
Maybe something will start happening interesting at some point. Or maybe I’ll just continue to enjoy taking potshots at the writing as it devolves into a nonsensical puddle from week to week. Either way, I guess I win? It’s a bad sign where the main source of entertainment you’re deriving from a show is taken from the ways you can make fun of it after you’ve seen it each week . . .
Anyone enjoying anything about this season? Anything at all?