I lost a week from the funeral, so you get a two for one special from me today on Downton. Good thing, because 6:2 left a fair bit to be desired . . .
My main beef with 6:2 was that so many of the conflicts centered around the same problem: lack of communication. I get that it’s a common occurrence, but who wants to see it portrayed fifty different ways in a single hour? So much of the time, I just wanted to reach into the screen and throttle these people until they started behaving reasonably. Let’s give it a run down:
- Edith not telling Mary about Marzipan (or whatever the kid’s name is). I get it. She’s worried Mary will laugh at her. And Mary likely will. But it’s not like Mary’s not already a beast to Edith, so why not make things easier on herself and just get it out in the open all at once? Instead, we have this big crisis that’s a plotline we beat to death last season. It’s like the writers thought, “Well, we had that one plot no one liked last year. I’ll bet if we devote another half hour to it, people will love it!” Then they slammed their heads in various doors, just for kicks. Yuck. (And on a side note, it’s even worse when you consider Edith spends a fair bit of the episode moaning about how she’s got this empty apartment in London, and she just can’t for the life of her decide if she should move there with Margarine or not. Meanwhile, the farmer’s family have lived in their house for over 100 years. They have nowhere else to go. But the “only solution” to the problem is to move. Ironic that Edith and Macarena are probably both going to be in London before the end of the season.
- Anna wants a baby. We get it. Anna and Bates can’t be happy until the very last episode of the series. And so they need to concoct something for them to be sad about still. And infertility is definitely a serious problem to have, and it’s reasonable to have them have it. But the way it’s handled? “Oh no! Bates and I have tried two or three times to have a baby, and it hasn’t worked. I’m going to give up and resign myself to a lonely life for eternity.” I have a hard time feeling sorry for her after she admits she’s tried so little to get the job done.
- Carson’s inability to talk to the Crawleys about what Mrs. Hughes wants for a wedding. Meh. I had a hard time getting into this plot as well. So much sound and fury over a whole lot of not that much, and it’s not really decided by the end. This felt like wheels spinning to me.
- The hospital. Show of hands, people. How many of you really actually care what happens in this plot line? It seems to have been concocted to have Isobel and Violet have something to argue about, but it just feels like an afterthought. An afterthought that they end up spending tons of screen time debating, with no one actually listening to anyone. Move along, please.
- Then again, sometimes you’ve got plots where people just won’t shut up. I’m looking at you, Daisy. The girl wouldn’t know a good idea if it tripped her in the street and jumped on her fifty times, and it doesn’t look like any amount of education is going to help with that.
It wasn’t a great episode, alas. 2/5 from yours truly, and a big letdown after last week. Which brings us to this week. 6:3. How did it fare? Much better.
- The wedding. After all that, it went off without a hitch. People were happy. We were happy. And to make double triple EXTRA sure everyone’s happy, we get Tom back to boot. Really, all I was waiting for was for Sybil to show up and announce she wasn’t actually really dead, and to have her bring Matthew in tow, who turns out to have faked his death as well. Followed by a gigantic musical number where Anna announces she’s pregnant with quintuplets, which segues into a follow up series focused on the “Next Generation.” But hey. A little bit of fan service now and then never hurt anyone, right? Riiiiiight.
- Cora acts like a monster to Mrs. Hughes, as does Mary. But it’s all cool, because here! Have a dress!
- Daisy continues to wave her idiot flag proudly, misinterpreting things left and right and presenting suppositions as rock solid fact. Not sure what they’re going to do with this plot line. They might make it into “A very heartbreaking episode,” or they might continue the “Everybody wins!” mentality of the season and have the old man get the house after all.
- Edith now has a love interest she can end up happily marrying. And she can be a successful editor to boot. (Seriously, though, it’s nice to see her do something other than mope. Give the girl a project. Wonderful idea. And get her away from Downton.)
- Still, it seems like the show is setting us up for some not so happy twists, as Thomas sees firsthand just where all these great houses end up. Kind of tragic, but kind of inevitable too.
- Denker vs. Spratt continues to amuse, even if it feels rather random.
- Violet is going to die. She’s going to have a heart attack over this stupid hospital plot line, which is a shame of a way for a character to go out, but it seems like the only reason I can see for having this plot at all. Please prove me wrong, Downton.
Anyway. That’s all I have time for today. This episode was much better. 4/5. Not perfect, but much improved. What did you think?