Well, Downton friends, I must confess that, as much as I love Downton Abbey, I think they are starting to jump the proverbial shark. This week was almost too much for me to bear what with not one, but TWO, awkward dinner parties, Mary acting like a spoiled tween, and Isis going to her grave. Too much, I tell you. Too much.
I did manage to pull out my Top Five lines, though, which I am going to rush through in order to put this episode behind us.
1. It seems to take an outsider to make the obvious come to light. At the First Awkward Dinner Party (heretofore referred to as the FADP)—the one in which the Sinderby’s meet the Grantham clan, the one that almost didn’t take place because, gee, a member of the family has just last night gone missing, but the one about which Rose bats her pretty lashes and begs, “Oh, please, pretty please, can we still have them come?”—that dinner party—Atticus and Rose are discussing Edith’s sudden disappearance.
Atticus (heretofore referred to as Captain Obvious) suggests that perhaps someone at the newspaper office—the newspaper that Edith had just inherited from the dead father of her child—might know something of Edith’s whereabouts.
(I’m pretty sure the servants downstairs had figured this one out ages ago, but, of course, they’re servants and nobody would bother to ask their opinion or to listen to it, even if they did have a clue where Edith went.)
Rose takes a moment for the lightbulb to click on and replies,
“Oh yes! How clever you are!”
But my favorite line in this scene is delivered next, by Atticus, who looks as if he’s not so sure he wants to tie his anchor to this family any more:
“Really? I thought it rather obvious.”
It was, Captain. It was.
2. Just so you know right up front, the rest of my favorite lines from this episode belong to Violet. Because I can’t bear to give any credit to Cora (“Cancer?! Oh, I hate that word!”) or to those horrible boys, Larry and Curly (“Dad, you’re marrying beneath you.), or even to Mary (“Edith’s gone? So what?”).
So Vi gets my pick this week because she’s just. so. good.
And speaking of Mary . . . Violet gives her a good dressing down after yet another flippant put-down of her gone-missing sister. This is a line I need to cross stitch onto a pillow:
“My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears.”
3. Now, a few of my readers (and only a few) might be offended by my next pick, but you know I had to include it because it was a line that almost made wine come flying out of my nose I laughed so hard. It happened so early in the episode you might have even missed it, but I doubt that.
Violet meets Rosamund at the train station (by the way, Vi was looking awfully spry in this episode, wasn’t she?) to discuss Edith’s whereabouts and what on earth they are going to do next. Finally they agree that they should bring Cora into their tangled web, and Rosamund naturally asks about Robert. Shouldn’t he have a right to know that he has an illegitimate granddaughter living just down the road from him but whom has now been stolen by his own daughter?
An idea which Violet quickly snubs.
“He’s a man. Man don’t have rights.”
Moving right along . . .
4. Violet certainly likes her tea, doesn’t she? Every week she’s in at least one tea scene, usually with Isobel or her Russian aristocrat (where was he this week anyway?) or with Cora. This week her tea date was with Mary who wants to know why her grandmamma is so glum. The two share a touching scene, actually, in which Violet confesses that she’s sad about losing her friend, Isobel.
So she really does have a heart!
Somewhere in the middle of this scene, however, Spratt comes in to declare that he’s had enough of the new maid, Dinker or Danker or Donker . . . whatever her name is. He can’t pronounce it either.
He’s had enough of her antics, her highbrow attitude, and her laziness, so he tells the Dowager that he can’t take it anymore. Naturally, Violet just brushes off Spratt’s concerns with a well-placed line:
“Typical Spratt. He’s as touchy as
a beauty losing her looks.”
5. Finally, we’re at the Second Awkward Dinner Party (SADP), the one at which Crazy Larry and his equally offensive brother, Curly, are invited to the Big House to meet their future mother-in-law, Isobel. Why Lord Merton would think this is a good idea after the first time Crazy Larry was invited to the house is beyond me, but they give it a go.
Crazy Larry does his thing, which is telling everyone exactly what he thinks about his father marrying a middle-class woman, oh, and about Jews in the family, and about whatever else he feels like saying and damn anyone who tries to stop him. The family is aghast, the guests (Mable Lane Fox, Tony G., and Chucky Blake) are appalled yet snickering at the end of the table, and poor Isobel is left wondering whether she could even approach the altar with Lord Merton.
Our hero, Tom, comes to the rescue when he stands and yells, “Why don’t you just get out, you bastard?”
Cut to Vi and her sardonic wit:
“And suddenly we’ve slipped
into a foreign tongue.”
With that, I will bid you adieu.
Have a happy week, dear friends! Pray for poor Isis!