Downton Abbey - Season 4 on PBS

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    I liked this episode more on further viewing even though it seemed to me solely based on downstairs. I especially like seeing them interact with tenants or villagers or what not. Mary seems to be getting the business role of Downton. I like that.

    How about that rich timbre of Mr. Drewe's voice? Did anybody notice? I am really looking forward to the next few episodes.
     
  2. zee703

    zee703 New Member

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    Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh (I could just envision this and hear a husky voiced Mary once again sticking it to poor Edith ;>)
     
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I can't understand how they WOULDN'T want that. It's not like infants and small children can talk or are even that interesting to play with for longer than a few minutes until they're older. And I can't imagine not wanting to have someone ELSE go deal with them when they start screaming at 2am. But then as a kid I generally wanted to be left alone (my mother said unlike most babies I screamed if you tried to pick me UP and wouldn't shut up until you put me down) or play unless we played exactly how I wanted so I don't really see kids as wanting that much attention, either, except for the messy bits and better someone else do that.
     
  4. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

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    Me too. Although for whatever reason her reaction to Lord Gillingham's engagement and her interaction with Napier annoyed me. Matthew who? I mean I know she's supposed to be moving on, but sigh. It just seemed to have happened so quickly. :(

    Poor Edith. This doesn't look to be heading in a good direction.
     
  5. GoldenLady

    GoldenLady Member

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    You summed up my feelings perfectly. While it was nice to see her looking happier again, it just seemed way too soon for that, and I agree - it was as if she's already forgotten about Matthew.
     
  6. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    How long has it been since Matthew's death? A year? Is there an accepted mourning period after which is it appropriate to start looking about for another suitor?

    I don't think it's precisely defined but I think a year is a reasonable amount of time vs. say, 2 weeks. Although it looks like Mary is just toying with the idea and not taking anyone seriously yet in that way.
     
  7. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    IceAlisa, I believe it is now about 7-8 months. Valentine's Day was 6 months after his death, and judging by this episode's partial blooms I would guess this episode was in March-April.

    Although I was surprised about the strength of her feelings for Tony, I think her delight at seeing Evelyn was platonic. At that fox hunt in season 1, although she liked Evelyn as a person, he seemed to be a distant 3rd choice after Mr. Pamuk and Matthew. In the wake of the resulting scandal, Evelyn was so kind to her that I think he became someone she highly trusted and respected. It may now develop into romance, but I think at this point he is just a friendly, comforting face from the past.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
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  8. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    Jenny, I've been meaning to reply about this. Yes, I was shocked at the "rape" imagery in Mrs. Hughes' dialogue with Edna.

    As for Tom, I think Mrs. Hughes' reluctance to scold him was based on a few things. First, she treats Tom as part of the "upstairs" group, so I think that had some influence. Not that she thinks the upstairs should be able to do what the downstairs group can not, but rather that she is more reluctant to speak her mind to someone from upstairs. (When Edna was let go the first time, she asked Tom for permission to give him her opinion.)

    I think she has had a long-term soft spot for Tom based on his gentle nature, his grief, and the difficulty of his in-between position. Recall that Mrs. Hughes picked up on Tom's romantic feelings for Sybil at the garden party in the season 1 finale -- a full 2 years before Tom ever got up the nerve to discuss his feelings with Sybil. I think her affection for him has continued to grow since that early time.

    So I think it is a combination of things, and surprisingly, I don't think it has to do with gender roles of the times. (Despite the fact that in the old Ethel situation Mrs. Hughes did seem to have somewhat of a double standard for men and women regarding premarital sex.) I think she thought it was inconceivable that Tom would take advantage of a servant or any woman. I think she probably read it the same as many of us 21st century viewers did: that he was a kind soul who has been in a very sad and lonely position for a long time, and was taken advantage of when he was highly vulnerable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  9. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Given that she turned Lord Gillingham down specifically because she's not over Matthew, I think "forgotten" is far too strong a word.
     
  10. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    I agree. Mikemba, that was exactly what I wanted to say as well. Napier is an old, old and dear friend. They do exchange letters and he was someone Mary could have married if not for the Pamuk incident ( see season 1). Her reaction was totally appropriate. I reacted the same way she did when I heard his name announced by Mr. Carson, complete with the 'WHAT'?? and everything.
     
  11. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    I should be embarassed to say this, but when he walked in I shouted
    "EVE-lynnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!'
     
  12. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Edna served Tom with a drink and he had already been drinking by then IIRC. And he was psychologically vulnerable. Edna's behavior was quite predatory. And while Mrs. Hughes words may offend 21st century PC sensibilities, does anyone think it would have been fair for Edna to hold the pregnancy over Tom's head without medical confirmation?
    Had this happened today, Edna would be required to confirm pregnancy and paternity if she sued for child support.
     
  13. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    There's no question in my mind that Edna was in the wrong. My issue was with the extremity of what Hughes said to her, and the violence of the threat coming right after she had found poor Anna in that very room.
     
  14. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i have no problems with mrs hughes' approach. if the problem had been allowed to escalate, edna could have ruined tom's life or forced him to leave england.
     
  15. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Mrs. Hughes had not wanted to give Edna a good letter of reference when she was dismissed from Downton the first time -- her feelings for Anna vs. her underlying feelings towards Edna were about as far from each other as possible in her basically good-hearted nature. If I had any sympathy for Edna's character, I might have reacted differently to Mrs. Hughes language/threats to Edna.
     
  16. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I agree. It would not have been appropriate for anyone else, but for Edna it was the way to go. Treating Edna with any degree of softness or subtlety hadn't worked in the past. Strong language was needed to get the message through to her -- your actions will not be tolerated, we know what you're up to, and you're not welcome here.

    I think part of the context might also have been leftover from Ethel's situation. In that case, Ethel was a willing participant, but she was still left "holding the baby" with no support and few options. And who knows how many other unfortunate maids Mrs Hughes has had to help over the course of her career. So in this case, when Edna is deliberately setting out to get pregnant for her own social-climbing purposes ... zero tolerance.
     
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Eh. Anna was an innocent victim. Edna was a scheming "witch", as Thomas put it, who was trying to violate Tom. Ethel (who was indeed in the wrong--I saw no double standard, Mrs. Hughes just had no control over the male guilty party beyond thinking he was a jerkass) at least was mostly stupid and wanton and karma bit her big time, and in no small part because Mrs Hughes went out of her way to help she grew from the experience-no, being a prostitute is not a great career choice, but she easily is the most sacrificing mother on the show. She degraded herself for her child's sake and she gave him up to people she didn't like to give him a better life, then worked her way to a better life for herself, too. Yes, she had help, but Mrs Hughes and Isobel wouldn't have been doing it if she'd treated Charlie like a pawn in a game to extort his grandparents. Edna on the other hand is out to make a baby as a bargaining chip and manipulate someone without concern for him, the child he already has, or anything but getting what she wants when she wants it. Even more than not getting the rules of life in service, she came back and skipped from seduction to getting him drunk. She's like the anti-Ethel.
     
  18. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    My gosh, I can't believe you guys can remember characters from the first season. I can barely remember people who were on two episodes ago. :lol:
     
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  19. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Well-said! :fan:
     
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Which kind of continues the tradition since Ethel was the anti-Gwen (dreaming about getting out of service into an unrealistic film-star life versus working hard to get into an entry-level professional job that wasn't glamorous, but a step up from being a housemaid.)
     
  21. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    :lol:

    Some events that happen later has their foundation set in that season. Some people ( not you) would understand events better and refrain from asking redundant questions if they refer to certain things from earlier in the series. For instance I read an article that was asking, 'who is this Napier'? and wondering if he's a new suitor?. I mean if that person can write an article, then so can I, I guess.
     
  22. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    Also, I too did not have ANY problems whatsoever with what Mrs Hughes said. She already had misgivings with how Edna wormed herself back into the house only to pull the same thing she did the last time, only to another level.
     
  23. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    Some of the acting that has really impressed me this season:

    Mary - Season premier. When she started to cry in Mr. Carson's office, her grief looked overpowering and real. I never saw an expression on her face anything close to this. It didn't occur to me at the time, but during last season's premier, I was thinking the same thing about her but for a very different reason. After Matthew and Mary backed away from that incredibly romantic closed-eyes kiss at Mary's bedroom door the night before their wedding, Mary's face showed so many wonderful emotions: happiness, peace, a thrill. What wonderful range from Michelle Dockery -- but so sad that last year's premier showed heights of happiness we never saw from Mary before, and this season opened with her depth of despair.

    Isobel -- has had a sad, teary-eyed look all season. Somehow Penelope Wilton has managed to make it ever so slightly less sad with each episode.

    Alfred -- He is humble and awkward, yet believes in himself and knows exactly what he wants (Ivy and to be a chef.) Matt Milne's face expresses this combination of feelings so well in situations where he has to stand up for himself and for what he wants.

    Ivy -- When she got drunk at Jimmy's urging, she (Cara Theobold) didn't over-play it. Rather, she just sat there with some of her hair slipping out of her hat, and this dumb, kind of numb, look on her face.

    Anna -- Powerful, convincing scenes of terror and loss from her. Especially poignant for the contrast to the sunny, outgoing Anna we've come to know.

    A few from earlier seasons:

    Mrs. Patmore on last season's fianle-- After Mrs. Hughes told her the truth about the man who had been courting her at the fair, her laugh of relief was hilarious and unique! One of the funniest moments I have ever seen on this show.

    Matthew at the snowy engagement -- When Mary insisted he kneel down and propose "properly," he at first had this amused "That's my Mary!" look on his face. As he knelt, he too showed an incredible of range of emotions: anticipation, happiness, and a bit of disbelief that this was finally, finally happening. Beautiful, nuanced, romantic acting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  24. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    I want to hug your whole post. Instead I'll just take it one by one.

    Mary - Agree 100% with this. Michelle Dockery SHOULD earn at least one Emmy for her role on this show. At first I did not get her but the acting make her fully understandable to be - note I did not say 'sympathetic' mostly because her personality in real life I suspect will go down like bile most often. But the actress plays her without going too much one way or the other. I remember that scene after the Ethel-crashing-the afternoon lunch episode, when they were discussing what to do about her. Then Mary something like, ' we all have to suffer the consequences of our actions'. She said this while sipping tea and staring straight ahead in the flattest voice she has used. Yet that moment we knew she wasn't talking about Ethel, but she betrayed her own bitterness and helplessness about her situation- all without giving away ANY emotion you can point to.

    Isobel - All the 'energy and fire' has been knocked out of her due to the death of her only son and this actress portrays this as it should be. We remember her as bossy and intrusive in Season 1 and 2. But like you said, we see her gradually coming back to her old self, as it should be. This character's grief was very well dealt with and acted.

    Alfred - Everything you said and I will add, especially in the last few episodes of season three when he was interjected unwittingly in the Jimmy/Thomas fracas.

    Ivy - What amuses me about her is that she wants to see the world and experience things yet she is ignorant and she portrays it well with her 'what are you talking about?' facial expressions.

    Anna - Nothing to add really. When you (re)watch season 1, you will see a younger and like you said sunnier/optimistic Anna. Now she looks older and beaten (I don't mean this literally). Such a contrast. Another one that deserves the Emmy.

    Mrs. Patmore - the scene you are talking about also makes me laugh ANY time I see it. Especially when Mrs. Patmore covers her face with the apron after Mrs. Hughes had told her what she observed. I thought (like Mrs. Hughes apparently judging by the expression on her face) that she was going to collapse in humiliation. Instead we hear this giggle coming from behind the apron. It was perfect.

    Matthew - EVERY romantic scene with Mary was acted with perfection. From the first dining room scene in season one, to the train station scene and the dancing in that wonderful room with his gramophone (the best shot romantic scene of all time), the proposal, the make-up through the door etc. Just perfect. Perfect posture, perfect expression, perfect hair...............need I go on. I hope the 'new guy' whoever he is can at least try to match up. No wonder Mary can't forget.
     
  25. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    Thanks, Tamuno! I enjoyed all of your added insights as well -- particularly Ivy. I never made the connection before between how much she wants to see the world, but how inexperienced she is.

    Oh, and Matthew. Yes, I thought Dan Stevens was wonderful in this role. He really found a way to portray the emotion of Matthew despite all the formality of life at Downton. Matthew Crawley is my all-time favorite male lead on TV. They were 3 thoroughly enjoyable seasons!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  26. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    that was a good episode, so much happened

    i still think it was weird that edith wasnt the slightest bit upset when she went to london for her pregnancy test, unless she thought she was going for some symptom and it turned out to be that. but she might be the greatest actress ever, i totally believed she would hurl any moment
     
  27. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    Loved, loved this episode. I'll be back after I watch it again!
     
  28. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    Wow! When Robert and Cora went to bed after his birthday party I bet they had a lot to talk about! I think it went something like this:

    Robert: What a scandalous evening!

    Cora: I know! That jazz singer was so, you know…

    Robert: Oh, I don’t mean him. He’s Rose’s friend. I’m talking about that complete stranger who wandered around our home all evening acting like she lives here.

    Cora: Oh you mean that red-headed young woman who looked so sad? Yes, I couldn’t believe she crashed the party. I think her name is Edith. I’m sure I’ve never seen her before.

    Robert: Hmmm… Edith, Edith. The name sounds familiar. I think I vaguely recall meeting her before. Ah, yes! When Anthony Strallan asked her to the opera, I criticized her for accepting before asking what they would be seeing. Oh, and when she became engaged to Anthony, I talked him out of marrying her. Then, when she wrote an article for the newspaper, I told her they’d never publish it. When they did, I asked her editor why he printed an article by an amateur. Then when she brought him to Downton, I ignored him for a whole weekend.

    Other than that, though, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to her. I hope she's not planning to sleep over. I don't want our darling daughter Mary exposed to someone from such inferior stock.
     
  29. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  30. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    A few quick thoughts...........

    Molesely has got a job! Molesely has got a job!:cheer2:

    Watching Baxter trying to get info from Cora :rofl: O'Brien can teach you how to do this properly.

    Poor Daisy...................the way she was crying into her cake mix. Her silent tears were moving. :fragile:

    Who liked Blake?? I definitely preferred him to Gillingham aka Tony Foyle.