Monday, February 20, 2012

Top 10 lines from Downton Abbey’s Christmas Episode or “Earl’s Valet to Swing”

Well, my friends, our guilty pleasure has come to an end, and I have to say I’m a little sad. To put M&M, Lord G, and Grandma to rest for a year just seems cruel to those of us who have come to rely on them for Sunday evening entertainment.

I may have to resort to creamy dips as my next guilty pleasure. Or maybe trashy romance novels, but (imagine Violet saying this) that one I highly doubt.

Anyway, I savored every moment of the Christmas episode because who can’t get excited about scenery like that? It’s like my perfect storm. English manor home? Check. Humongous Christmas tree? Check. Perfectly aligned pastries on a silver platter? Check. Falling snow and a romantic . . . 

Well now, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just say check, check, CHECK.

This episode had it all. Mystery (missing dog, anyone?), intrigue (even though I hated the scenes with the Ouija board, they kinda made me laugh), and suspense (Mr. Bates in jail—how long?). Even romance. Oh boy, was there romance.

And romance is what leads me to my number 10 pick. Before I reveal number 10, I have to say that I’m so sorry to place Bates and Anna so far down the list, but seriously, this line, although romantic, was also just a tad bit cheesy for my liking. Which is why it had to land here. I couldn’t leave it out, but I couldn’t very well make it one of my further favorites.

Number 10. Mr. Bates, having just been reprimanded by the prison guard, “NO TOUCHING!”, leans across the table to Anna and declares his undying love for her by saying, “No man can regret loving as I’ve loved you.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the cheese factor.

Still, who doesn’t love Bates and Anna?

Number 9. So there’s this big hunting scene—a pivotal scene in the episode, you have to admit. And the big galoop, Sir Anthony, grinning ear-to-ear or whatever you call it that he does, standing with Edith and Violet, asks after Sybil and her baby daddy, Branson.

Sir Anthony (about Branson): Does he shoot?
Edith: I’m sure he does.
Violet: Only, I don’t think pheasants.

Number 8. Again, at the shooting scene after Matthew not-so-subtly rescues Mary from the clutches of Sir Richard the Goon, M&M are enjoying a few minutes of levity in their otherwise serious lives, laughing about Matthew’s inability to shoot. (Side note: since Matthew was practically incapacitated in a wheelchair at the beginning of the previous episode, I’d say he should be laughing it up. Life’s never been better for Matthew!)

Anyway, I loved this line during their “moment” together.

Mary: I never know which is worse—the sorrow when you hit the bird or the shame when you miss it.

You hunters out there will get it.

Number 7. I just knew Downton Abbey was educational programming, and this episode proved it. After Cora tells Robert the joyous news that he is about to be a grandfather, I learned a brand new idiom.

See if you can catch it.

Cora: Sybil’s pregnant!
Robert: I see. So that’s it then. She’s crossed the Rubicon.

Being the researcher that I am, I learned that crossing the Rubicon is a reference to Julius Caesar’s army crossing the Rubicon River in 49 BC during an insurrection. It basically means coming to a point of no return.

Don’t ever say you don’t learn anything here.

Number 6. O.K. so who likes Edith? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, even so, I felt like I owed her a line this time because she’s just. so. desperate. And she really likes that Sir Anthony guy. So much so that she get’s number 6 this week.

Edith to Sir Anthony after he tells her he's too old for her (which, I have to add, he is): If you think I’m going to give up on someone who calls me lovely . . .

Awwwww, Edith. Maybe you’ll get a real storyline next season instead of some silly dalliance with an ugly farmer.

Alright, now we get to the good stuff. My top five lines from the Christmas episode.

Number 5. This one just cracked me up. Even during a crucial turning point in the story, the writers manage to make us laugh.

Cora: Do you remember a Turkish diplomat who stayed here before the war?
Robert: I think I can be relied upon to recall any guest who was found dead in his bed next morning.
Cora: Well, that’s the thing . . .

Number 4. And then came the touching scene between father and daughter. Although, I gotta say, that if something like what Robert found out about Mary ever happened in my house, I have a feeling it might have gone down just a little bit differently.

Nevertheless, I think I may have shed a tear or two here.

And quite possibly shouted a hearty “AMEN!” to the television screen.

Lord G: I don’t want my daughter to be married to a man who threatens her with ruin. I want a good man for you. A brave man. Find a cowboy in the Middle West and bring him back to shake us up a bit.

Yeah! That’s the way to stand up for your girl, Lord G.

Number 3. O.K., I just might have shed a tear or two during the scene between William’s father and Daisy. I know, I know, some of you find Daisy completely annoying what with her indecisiveness and her weak spine and all, but I find her completely endearing. I think it’s her North Yorkshire accent.

Anyway, the scene. Between William’s father and Daisy. Was that not like the sweetest thing ever (to quote my daughter, Julia) when he says to Daisy, “Without you, I’d have no one to pray for. William knew that. So will you be my daughter?”

Yes, William’s father, I’ll be your daughter!

And while we’re on the subject of Daisy, how about the tender moment between Violet and Daisy in the library? Daisy kind of pours out her heart to Violet about how she married William out of pity rather than love, and Violet, in a rare moment of empathy says, “Well to me that doesn’t sound unloving. It sounds like you loved him a great deal.”

Seriously, Violet, I truly will love you till the day I die.

Number 2. You knew it was coming.

Sir Richard: I’m leaving in the morning, Lady Grantham. I doubt we shall meet again.
Violet: Do you promise?

Don’t you wish you could deliver a smack-down the way Grandma does? She’s a gem.

Number 1.  I’m afraid number 1 is a tie this week, and the Crawleys get them both. Matthew and Isobel both delivered such great lines in this episode that I couldn’t decide which I liked better.

So, if you’re a romantic and wanted the episode to end in just exactly the way it did, here’s my first Number 1 line:

Matthew: “Lady Mary Crawley, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”


And yes, some further tears may have just fallen for the third time in this episode.

But hold on. If you think the romantic line was just a little too over the top, maybe you’d prefer something a little more tongue-in-cheek. So for you (and for me), I have just the line. Maybe the best-delivered, best subtle jab in the entire series.

Isobel has just given Violet her Christmas gift but Violet is being snide, asking what on earth it is. And . . . wait for it . . . here it comes . . . Isobel says, “It’s a nutcracker . . . to crack your nuts.”

Oh those two. Maybe in Season 3 we’ll get to see them sharing a room in an Edwardian nursing home, growing old together, and verbally abusing one another like old couples do.

And with that, I bid you adieu for now, Downton Abbey. Promise me you’ll be back next year with more great lines and more wonderful characters. But especially promise me that M&M will indeed tie the knot.

Who knows? Maybe Sir Richard will send them a nutcracker.

Just in case you want to read the rest of my DA recaps, here are the links to posts I've done:
Episode 6
Episode 5
Episode 4
Episode 3



  1. Well done and I'm going to just re-watch all 14 episodes to drown my sorrows.

  2. I think I'll do the same soon too, Stacey. Thanks for reading all the way through!

  3. We just finished watching a few minutes ago. I just knew you would include Violet's, "Do you promise?"

    We got several laughs out of the Ouiji board, too. I'm glad Daisy finally seems to accept her marriage to William as more than just a lie. She needed to go see his father.

    All along I've been telling my husband, "Mary CAN'T marry that guy. She just CAN'T. He's awful!" I'm glad that finally came to an end, regardless of what he's going to put in the papers.

  4. As always Shelly...right on. We'll have to find some other BBC or PBS series to entertain us now...

  5. I'm with you, Jeni. Sir Richard was just awful. Hope he's gone for good.

    Lisa, I agree. I've never seen Dr. Who, but that's supposed to be good. Hmmmm.

  6. Oh that cowboy line was my favorite - in fact I think I said essentially the same think to my daughter last week.

  7. A good man and brave. Yes, Sheroll, she could do worse.

  8. Love the lines shelly!! So sad we have to wait so long for more!! One of my favorites of the night that I totally thought you would write, was at the beginning when they are playing charades and sir richard is complaining about having to play a game where the players look so ridiculous, and violet responds, "isn't life a game where the players look ridiculous." I LOVED that one!! And all of violets lines!

  9. I think I wrote that one down, Megan, but it just didn't make the cut. We'll make that #11, shall we? :)

  10. So many wonderful lines. I am looking forward to Season Three. It has not played in England yet ... so, it will be awhile.


  11. Oh my goodness,
    I loved EVERY morsel
    of this great post!!!
    I wouldn't let myself
    peek until I'd finished
    and published my
    current post ~ and I
    must say, it was WELL
    worth waiting for!

    Here's another great
    line.....Matthew asks
    Mary {regarding Parmuk},
    "Did you love him?" To
    which she replies, "It
    was LUST Matthew, plain
    and simple!" {or something
    like that}. She put all
    the cards out on the table,
    for sure!

    Yep, I shed some tears
    throughout. Although I
    am sad it has ended for
    this year, it was great to
    have two gorgeous hours
    to see us through!

    Did you see the ads for
    the movie that they were
    running before D.A. the
    last few weeks? Wish we
    lived closer and could go
    see it, together : )

    Thanks for the fun romp,

    xx Suzanne

  12. Fondly, Glenda!! I am SO happy to see you back!

    And Suzanne, I agree--it would be so much fun to go see that movie together. Come on down!! :)

  13. I LOVE number 5. The 'I think I can be relied upon...' What a classic!!

    Guy and I have decided to watch this after Sherlock's finished. We've only got one more episode so then I can join in properly!!


  14. Number 2 was my personal favorite. She does know how to deliver a great line!

  15. Well, if your life is going to be dominated by a TV show, it needs to be a good one, doesn't it??

    Did you know that Series II aired in the UK in September and then they had to wait until Christmastime to see the Christmas episode? Such teasers TV producers are!

    Q: Have you ever seen the Cary Grant/Robert Mitchum movie called The Stately Homes of England?

    Second Q: Does it drive you crazy that you can't properly denote a title when leaving a blog comment? I find myself sometimes wanting to put a book or movie title in quotation marks, but I simply refuse to do it. I suppose I could use all caps. But I just want to be able to type a title in italics or boldface. Maybe I could learn some HTML. Or maybe I could stop being a grammar nerd. Nah. Guess I'll just get used to being bothered!

  16. Violet has some great zingers doesn't she? I will miss Downton Abbey...not sure I can wait til November for its return.

  17. Clicked over here from BooMama's blog... LOVED this post! You are wonderful!


  18. Lisa, I agree . . . November (or January?) is a LOOOOONG way off.

    Thanks Fuzzytop! So nice to see you!