Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E2

Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen Episode 2 of Season 4 yet, don't read on until you do. You'll be sorry. 


Oh, Downton, you just about killed me this week. I cannot believe what happened to my beloved Anna, and when I think about it now, two days later, I'm still overcome with sadness. I know you're fictional and your characters aren't real, but seriously, the way things played out, the way the scene was filmed, and the seriousness of it all--it just felt so very real.

Besides that, when I talked to one of my girls about it, she said, "I suppose stuff like that happened all the time back then." 

I know she's probably right, but we don't like to see the seedy side of life in a place that feels so utterly idyllic, do we? I mean, juxtapose the scene with Anna to the scene with Mary riding peacefully through the grounds with Lord Gillingham and you get a sense of what I mean.

Which brings me to another topic I feel I must discuss. A friend of Facebook this week mentioned that she's getting frustrated with all of the sitting-around-waiting-for-the-next-meal that goes on Upstairs. "It's like nobody does anything!" she said. Meanwhile, Downstairs is hustling and bustling to make sure Upstairs maintains a sense of calm. Anybody ever wonder what's up with that? 

I have a theory. My theory is that this is done on purpose and that Julian Fellowes, brilliant man that he is, is slowly unfolding the truth about life in post-Edwardian England. That truth? That Downstairs really runs the show. And while everyone Upstairs appears to have it all together as they wait for their next meal, it's the Downstairs folks who really run the engine. 

One more thing. Is anyone else getting sick of Robert? I mean, honestly, how has Cora put up with him all these years? I've only known him for four seasons, and I'm ready to throw him off the horse. Or a wall. Or a very tall building.

Again, though, I think Julian Fellowes is so brilliant in his development (or anti-development) of Robert through the years. In Season 1, I was so enamored by Robert--I thought he was such an honorable man. Today, however, I just see a man who is weak and pitiful. He lies to his wife about his gambling debts. He wants to keep his daughter in mourning so he won't have to share the responsibility of running the estate. And, worst of all, he is completely out of touch with the rest of the world.

Which brings me to my first quote of the night.

1. Cora has just received the news that the world-famous opera singer, Nelly Melba (don't you just love that name?!), has been relegated to eating in her bedroom. Cora, rightfully so, is outraged and confronts Robert.

Cora (whispering so that the other guests won't hear): A world famous singer is in our house, a great artist honored by the King, but you’ve held it beneath your dignity to eat. with. her?

Robert, stammering: I don’t remem . . .
Cora: Am I the only member of this family who lives in the 20th century? Now, you will have her next to you at dinner . . . and you will like it!
Robert: But what will I say to her? What does one say to a singer?

All I can say to that is OH GOOD GRIEF!!!

2. Earlier, we see that Mr. Molesley's troubles continue--so much so that he shows up in the kitchen with a delivery of groceries for Mrs. Patmore. He's embarrassed enough, but then Daisy steps right in it.

Daisy: Oh, you’re a delivery boy!
Mrs. Patmore: Now, now, Daisy. There’s no shame in hard work.

Preach it, Mrs. Patmore!

3. Meanwhile, Thomas continues to sit on his high horse, refusing to serve as footman for a night after Jimmy sprains his wrist and can't carry the trays upstairs.

Thomas: Mr. Carson, may I remind you that I am the under butler?
Carson: I don’t care if you’re the High Cockalorum, you’re a footman tonight.

Now, I'll admit that, for as hard as I laughed at that line (Carson's delivery was perfect!), I had to do a little research here to try to dig up the meaning behind Carson's words. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "high cockalorum," when applied to a person, means "little or young cock, bantam; self-important little man."

Need I say more?

4. Poor Tom. He really is such a nice man, handling his grief quietly and trying his best to work hard and fit in. But this week we start to see just how difficult life at the Abbey is for Tom. At the house party, Tom calls the old Dutchess "Your Grace," which Violet quickly moves in to correct, telling him the terms that old royalty should be called and in which venue.

Truly, I'd be scratching my head, too.

Tom: There’s no logic in it.
Violet to Tom: If I were ever to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper class.

Don't you just love it when they make fun of themselves?

5. You've got to hand it to Violet, she really was so kind to Isobel tonight. (Makes you wonder what she has planned for future episodes.) She actually had her driver stop the car in town so that she could get out to talk Isobel into attending the dinner and concert that night. So unrefined, talking out in broad daylight like that!

Anyway, at the end of the evening, Robert walked both Violet and Isobel outside to bid them adieu. 

Robert (to Isobel): I’m so pleased you came.
Isobel: So am I. I was wrong to hesitate, but then Guilt has the power to make all of us do strange things.
Violet: Oh, not all of us. Guilt has never played a major part in my life.
Robert (under his breath): Amen to that.

Ah, the mother and child reunion! Gotta love both of those lines.

Well, there we go. I have to say that I'm so curious about next week. What will happen with Anna? Will she and Bates ever have an easy time of things? 

We have some predictions around here, but I'd love to hear yours.

What do you think will happen next?


  1. Well, I think it is obvious that the Bates(es) [how do you write that?] are going to have a rocky road in their relationship. Poor Anna! I think Mrs. Hughes saw the jerk return to the concert, though, and she may know something was amiss with his behavior.

    I agree that Robert has turned out to be a cad. And I DO feel sorry for Tom but he should know better than to get involved with Edna. She's AWFUL.

  2. I think that Anna's going to find out she's pregnant from the attack, and, of course, Mr. Bates is sterile from whatever injury he incurred in the war. Then she'll have to tell him what happened. Unless Mrs. Hughes intervenes first. My two cents.

    Love reading your D.A. posts. I have no one around here to discuss important topics like these. :-)

  3. I didn't get a chance to post a comment last week about the first episode. Your comment about Mary and her 'deer in the headlights' picture just cracked me up.

    I am with Linda, Tom needs to steer clear of Edna, she gives me the creeps. And I think he needs to stop putting himself down, DA needs someone like him to keep them down to earth. As for Anna and Mr. Bates, I can understand her reason for not clueing him in to what happened. I think deep down, she knows he is capable of murder. It'll be interesting to see if Julie's prediction comes true. I had the same thought in the back of my mind.

    Next Sunday will be double exciting with both Sherlock and DA! *Dances*

  4. Linda, Edna--yuck! I hope she gets caught and isn't around much longer.

    Julie, you can call me and discuss DA anytime! Your theory was ours as well. Oh dear.

    Jennifer, I agree--we need Tom on the show. He's the only one with any sense! Thanks for commenting!

  5. I have been enjoying Downton so much and appreciate your insights. I came late to the party but started (thanks to Amazon) with episode 1 and make it through all previous seasons before this season started. I was horrified for poor Anna and wanted to give Cora a high five when she told Robert he would dine with the singer and he would enjoy it!

  6. I was so happy to see Edna
    get her comeuppance. It
    would have been terrible if
    she'd pulled off her scheme!

    A little frustrating to see Anna
    treat Bates this way, although you
    can understand why....Still, so sad.

    I actually enjoyed this episode
    way more than the season opener,
    and hope the rest of the episodes
    will be just as captivating!

    xo Suzanne