Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, S5 :: E4

Are things beginning to heat up in Granthamland? This week’s episode left me with a lot of questions, not the least among them: DID ANNA KILL MR. GREENE??!!??

It wasn’t much, just a subtle hint toward the very end of the show, but there seemed to be something there to suggest that, perhaps, Anna herself might have traveled to London to do the deed. Interesting to think about, and logistically, it would make sense.

See, there's something I've been wondering about. I’ve taken the train from London to York, and I know that it’s about a four-hour train ride even in these modern times. Back in the early 1920s, it would have taken Bates probably eight hours or more to travel to London from York. That would mean he would have to hunt down Greene somewhere randomly on the streets of a huge city (even back then the population wasn't too much different than it is today--about 8 million people), push him in front of a bus, and then travel BACK to York all in the same day. From the very beginning I wondered how it could happen, but now I’m REALLY wondering.

So it’s all starting to come together. I’m dying to see what happens with Anna. (As an aside, I’ve noticed that she hasn’t had more than a few speaking lines in the first four episodes. Have they deliberately been keeping her on the sidelines, just waiting for her next big story line? Hmmmmm.)

Alright, so let’s move ahead. I’ve got to admit, this season, so far, hasn’t been my favorite. Oh sure, there are some intriguing characters and some fascinating plot possibilities, but mostly I think this season has been a little boring.

Is it just me?

This week we found Mr. Bricker still panting like a puppy about Cora, following her around with that stupid smile on his face. From Downton to London and now look! back to Downton again.

Hasn’t he ever heard of a camera? He could take a photograph of the picture and use that for his “research.” Good grief, I’m tired of this guy.

I think Robert is getting tired of him, too, but he just doesn’t know what to do about it.

1. Which brings me to my first favorite line. It’s at the dinner party. Or should I say THE Dinner Party. The one that will go down in infamy. I’ll get to more of that later, but at first, Robert is just ticked off that Mr. Bricker keeps showing such unabashed attention to his wife.

Or maybe he’s just ticked off that Cora is loving every minute of it.

So there’s Robert, sitting, as usual, next to his mother at the dinner table (it just occurred to me that he’s still such a little boy in so many ways—still living in his boyhood home and eating dinner next to his mother), complaining about the shenanigans taking place across the table from him: “He flatters her. He asks her opinion about everything.”

But it’s Violet’s response that I absolutely loved this week:

“Well, don’t you ask her opinion?”

Right on, Vi.

2. My second pick of the week goes to Robert. It’s just a subtle dig, but one that might have been spoken in my own home from time to time. It just made me laugh.

Mary is getting ready to head to London . . . again . . . and can’t stay home to discuss the Pipp’s Corner devlopement with Robert. 

“Not me. Aunt Rosamund’s taking me to a dress show.”

To which Robert replies, “It’s good to know you’ve got your priorities straight.”

3. I am absolutely loving how they have developed the relationship between Violet and Isobel this season. So many funny situations and hilarious banter between those two. They are like long-lost sisters, constantly sniping at each other.

Early in the episode Violet is waxing poetic over her past life with the Russian Count, but Isobel won’t let her off the hook.

Violet: Hope is a tease designed to prevent us accepting reality.
Isobel: Oh, you only say that to sound clever.

My happiness, though, came from Violet’s quick response: 
“I know. You should try it.”

I only wish I could be that quick on my feet.

4. Now, about that dinner party. THE Dinner Party.

Wasn’t that fun?! It was like being a fly on the wall at the world’s most awkward, hilarious, so-many-things-going-on dinner party. One you think you might like to attend, but you’re not really quite sure you could stomach it. So the writers of Downton gave us a front row seat without our having to eat treacle . . . or having to cower at the complete horror of it all.

Thank you, Mr. Fellowes! I found this scene delightful. I’ve watched it over and over.

Two favorite lines came out of THE Dinner Party for me. Actually, more than two, but I only have two spots left, so I’ll choose my favorites.

Oh, but first let me say that I think Sarah Bunting got exactly what she deserved. The woman just does not know when to stop! Tom had better not end up with her or he’ll spend the rest of his life in misery—she’ll be pick, pick, picking at him for not being “who he really is” for the rest of his life. UGH.

Have I mentioned that I can’t stand her? And NOT for her political leanings, whatever those may be. It’s all about her rudeness. She embarrassed her hosts. She embarrassed the servants. And, worst of all, she embarrassed our beloved Tom.

The only person not embarrassed was Sarah Bunting.

So, you know what happened. Robert has finally had enough of the challenges and the ridicule and the embarrassment. He orders Miss Bunting out of his home with what may be one of my favorite lines EVER on Downton Abbey:

“There is only one thing I would like, and that I would like passionately. That is for you to leave this house and never come back!”

You go, Robert. Finally, a spine.

5. Shortly after the party when things in the house have calmed down and everyone is retreating to their bedrooms, Tom meets Robert on the staircase and tries to apologize.

Thankfully, the two have made amends and can kind of chuckle over the situation.

Tom tells Robert, “She knows how to goad you.”

To which Robert replies, “With the precision of a surgeon.”

Ah, yes. And with that, Julian Fellowes precisely lands the knife.

Hopefully that will be the last we see of Miss Bunting.

Bonus line!!

You thought I was done, didn't you? So did I, but when I went back to watch the episode for the third time, I realized that I couldn't not mention Daisy's sweet soliloquy. I almost hate to share it because it might make some of you feel warm, fuzzy feelings toward Miss Bunting, but I just have to. It was so sweet and so special, especially to those of us who try to impart knowledge for a living.

It was at the dinner party. THE Dinner Party. After Robert ordered Daisy and Miss Patmore upstairs to the dining room to ask whether Daisy's homework has gotten in the way of her "real" work. They agree that, no, Daisy is keeping up just fine, but then Daisy says this, which I loved:

"Well, I’m sorry if I’ve made trouble downstairs, but I must say this, My Lord. . . . Miss Bunting here has opened my eyes to a world of knowledge I knew nothing about. Maybe I’ll stay a cook all my life, but I have choices now, interests, facts at my fingertips, and I’d never have any of that if she hadn’t come here to teach me."

Ahhhh. I love Daisy.


Now tell me, what did you think of this episode? What do you think of this season? What do you think of Sarah Bunting? Dish it up in the comments!


  1. I think you're spot on with your analysis here. I agree that this season hasn't been the zingiest, although the possibility of a continuing plot line with Anna and the untimely (or timely?) demise of the rapist was pretty tantalizing, wasn't it?

    One of the reasons for the lack of zinginess this season is that the new characters are mostly unlikeable. Mr. Bricker? Ugh. And Miss Bunting is absolutely insufferable. To put it politely: If one needs to be appallingly rude in order to make one's point, then perhaps one should change the point.

    But Daisy's sweet words were indeed worth including. It's a tribute which shows that even that even appallingly rude persons may have some redeeming qualities, but mostly it shows that Daisy has many redeeming qualities. And though Miss Bunting might disagree, it also demonstrates the goodness and graciousness of the lords and ladies of Downton--clearly Daisy felt safe enough to speak up in their presence.

    My only complaint is when DA airs in the U.S.! This is an NFL household, so Sunday nights at this time of year are pretty booked up. Wish we got the show as the same time as the Brits!

  2. I love Daisy and love how they are developing her character. As for Miss Bunting, I have to agree with Robert. Tom has had his difference of opinions with the family but was always passionate rather than rude like Sarah Bunting. I agree that the banter between Violet and Isobel is delightful! As for Anna - I just don't know what to expect...