Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, S5:E8 (or We're On the Home Stretch)

Hello dear friends and faithful readers. We’re on the home stretch—next week is our last Downton Abbey episode of the season. I have to say that I look forward to Downton Abbey each January, partly because it makes the winter go a little faster. By the time eight episodes have aired we’re into March and I feel like spring will be just around the corner.

One can hope, can’t she?

For that and for so many other reasons (fun and hilarity being chief among them), I have to thank all those who have worked so hard to bring us Downton Abbey each week. In case you haven’t heard the news yet, next season will be the final season of DA. I guess there just aren’t enough country fairs or cricket matches left to keep the Grantham-Crawley clan busy. And Mary has dated pretty much every single male within a twenty-mile radius of the big house, so she’s done. Plus, Violet has drunk all the tea left in the county, so what else could be covered?

I guess we’ll find out during Season Six.

But for now, let’s talk about Season Five, Episode 7, which I loved this week because it tied up some loose strings (Hello, Susan and Shrimpy) and brought some other story lines together.

Except, wait. One measly little line about the prettiest dog on television who looks almost exactly like my dog? Seriously, I thought Isis deserved a fonder farewell than she was given.

But aside from the Isis snub, there really was a lot of good stuff going on this week. Wasn’t Rose such a beautiful, sweet bride?

On with my Top Five.

1. Have you noticed that every. single. week. someone says something about time marching on or the-times-they-are-a-changing or something like that? It’s like the writers want us to pick up some kind of theme or something.

This week was no exception with Mrs. Patmore’s glaringly obvious commentary on the shocking news that Grantham House in London wouldn’t be keeping full-time staff any longer. “Another clang in the march of time,” she muttered.

But I did like Mrs. Hughes’ reference, as she was trying to bring Carson, yet again, into the 20th Century, telling him to just get over the fact that they will have to hire temporary staff to cover the big event in London: 

“The big parade’s passed by, Mr. Carson. We’re just trying to keep up as best we can.”

2. Speaking of Carson and Mrs. Hughes (will he still call her Mrs. Hughes after they’re married next season?) . . .  This week seemed to be all about coming to terms with the Jewish-ness of the Sinderby clan. Or is it Aldridge? Atticus’s last name was Aldridge, but his father is called Lord Sinderby, just like the Grantham-Crawley thing. It’s all so confusing.

Anyway, Carson and Mrs. H. are talking about wedding preparations, and Mrs. Hughes mentions that it “feels quite foreign” (hint, hint) to have the bridegroom’s parents entertain just before a marriage. (Why this would seem strange, I’m just not sure.) To which Carson replies that maybe “that sort” do things differently.

Cue eye roll here.

Mrs. H. gives him a hard time for that comment to which Carson replies, “I’m not prejudiced, Mrs. Hughes. There are many things you could accuse me of, but not that.”

After a poignant pause, Mrs. Hughes dishes it right back:

“How about . . . lack of self-knowledge?”

3. Oh that nasty Susan Flincher! I kind of think she’s a good villain, but she is totally nasty. She tried everything to break up her daughter’s marriage this week, although since she hadn’t even seen her daughter for at least a year and hadn’t kept up with her daughter’s life, and since she obviously doesn’t care about anyone but herself, I don’t know why she cared enough to go to the lengths she did. But nevertheless . . .

At one point during dinner, Susan asked her future in-law, Lady Sinderby, “Tell me, do you find it difficult these days to get staff?” Implying, of course, that Lady Sinderby’s lineage might make it difficult to find people to clean up after her, thereby lowering her rank in Susan’s pecking order.

I think, however, that Lady Sinderby can handle the new in-laws just fine, thankyouverymuch, because her retort was classic:

“Not really. But then, we’re Jewish so we pay well.”

4. You know I couldn’t let this episode go by without a delicious quote from Daisy. They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and Daisy has gained just a little new knowledge, but the idea that she can learn new things has been freeing for Daisy, opening up a whole new world. 

She explained her feelings to Molesley and Miss Baxter as they walked back from an art museum.

“I feel as if I’ve been down a coal hole and someone’s opened the lid and brought me into the sunlight.”

Isn’t that just a perfect description? I still love you, Daisy!

5. Wasn’t it nice to see Robert and Cora getting along and having an actual connection this week? I was pleased to see it and wonder if the writers were trying to contrast their relationship with Susan and Shrimpy’s. Whatever the case, it was nice to see them not just getting along, but acting like they loved each other again.

My favorite scene between them (and, yes, I liked the scene at the end when Robert figures out that he has another granddaughter, but I liked this one better) was when Robert announces that he’s selling the Piero della Francesca painting. You know, the one Simon Bricker was supposedly ga-ga over and had to keep coming out to Downton to ogle.

Cora gets a little misty-eyed and asks Robert if he’s selling the painting because it reminds him too much of that nasty little episode with Mr. Bricker.

“Yes,” Robert admits. 

“But not in the way you think. Every time I look at it I am reminded that I didn’t trust you, and I feel so angry with myself that I want to be rid of it.”

Is that a spine you’re growing there, Robert?

Bonus: Toward the very end of the episode we get a brief glimpse into the relationship between Carson and Lady Mary, which we haven’t seen much of this season. We know from past seasons that the two have a deep affection for each other, kind of like an uncle/niece relationship. Mary confides in Carson that her love life is once again going nowhere fast and that she’s not sure she will ever find a man. Carson, possibly the only person in the house who actually thinks highly of Mary, reassures her:

“I am confident that you will triumph in the end.”

A bit of foreshadowing of next season, perhaps?

So we have one more week to go and my recaps will end for another year. Tell me, what has been the most memorable scene or storyline for you this season?

1 comment:

  1. Spot on commentary and highly entertaining read, as always Shelly!