Downton Abbey - Season 4 on PBS

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

  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    As was they case when they went to the Highlands at the end of last season.

    It must be a factoid about life in service that Fellowes particularly likes, though, as he's used (and provided opportunity for it to be commented on by the characters) it at least twice now in Downton and also throughout Gosford Park. Whether or not it "simplified things" is debatable, though ... :D
  2. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I suspected that was the case, but I had company during the broadcast and got a tad distracted.
  3. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    I'm late discovering this thread so I'll comment on both episodes at once.

    What I liked:

    Edith's wardrobe. The writer may hate her, but she must be the stylist's favorite. I've thought since Season 1 that she has had the best wardrobe -- particularly her day dresses.

    To my surprise, I am really liking Rose! I like that her character is being given more substance, particularly that she is such a fan of music and dance. She has danced in every episode in which she has appeared. And speaking of wardrobe, I loved her PJs in the season premier.

    Another good thing about Rose that I just realized on this episode: there is finally another ("spinster") woman to join Edith at breakfast with the men.

    I'm so glad Mary apologized to Mr. Carson. She treated him terribly.

    Isobel breaks my heart and is being portrayed beautifully by Penelope Wilton. Those tear-filled eyes of hers are heartbreaking.



    Some not so good things:

    Matthew's absence is a huge gap. He was everything: the male romantic lead, the heir, the one who financially saved Downton. In fact, the mystery surrounding who he was and what he would be like was the driving force to the whole series. I realize that there was a gap to fill and it must have been difficult for the writers, but I found too many "people interfering in other people's lives" themes in the premier. I found epsiode 2 much more believable.

    If they're trying to make Edna a replacement for Miss O'Brien, they are severely missing the mark. No one can out-O'Brien Miss O'Brien. Edna is not even a shadow. She doesn't even have curly bangs.

    Even though John Bates was ultimately right in being suspicious of Mr. Green, the way he kept barking at Anna and bossing her around in front of others was terrible.

    I am tired of them making Mr. Molesley a fool. They had a beautiful scene of him and his father talking about his woes under a lovely star-lit sky. They seemed to be going in a direction of giving a sensitive treatment of the difficulties of someone like him who was suddenly unemployed.

    Yet they ruined it by making him a fool at Violet's luncheon (through the butler's sabotage.)
    They have twice made him a foolish drunk, they have made him someone who grossly overestimates his talent at cricket, and now made him a bumbling fool at serving a small luncheon. I could see giving him one flaw, but they're making him a buffoon.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  4. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    The biggest weakness for me is that they seem to be pushing Mary too quickly into a romance. I am glad to see her dealing with her grief, but I think that priority one should have been bonding with little George -- then when she was ready, get involved in the business. But it's much too early for romance.

    Even though Anthony Gillingham seemed very nice, and she did not seem to be actively looking for love, I just can't believe that Mary would be interested in any type of romance less than a year after Matthew's death. I thought that gleeful laugh at dinner was too much in the opposite extreme of her earlier grief.
  5. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I actually thought that whole interaction was one of the best parts of last Sunday's episode. I didn't detect any "pushing" -- by either the family or the writers -- into romance, just pushing Mary to continue to come out of her shell of grief. The whole thing played very realistically for me, as a "hmm, if the timing had been better this might have gone somewhere, but for now at least we'll just be friends" kind of thing.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Gillingham return in a later episode, though.

    As for bonding with little George ... I don't foresee much of that happening. The aristocracy of that era simply didn't "bond" with their young children. The scene from the previous week when the fed & dressed Sybie and George were brought by the nanny into the drawing room for a half hour of show&tell was pretty much typical of parental interactions in that time and place.
  6. zee703

    zee703 New Member

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  7. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that Lord Gillingham will be Mary's only suitor. ;)
  8. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    I did, too. I thought there was a nice ease to the interaction between Anthony and Mary, and I don't think that he pushed it at all. However, I do feel that both Cora (by inviting a few potential suitors for Mary) and the show (by having Mary at least start to show romantic interest 7 months after Matthew's death) were really rushing it. Tom lost Sybil more than a year before Mary lost Matthew. He still looks like he's about to cry whenever anyone mentions her name, and he has shown no interest in pursuing a new romance. To me, that is much more realistic.

    By bonding with George, I do mean what was normal for early 20th century aristocracy. In episode one, Mary's level of interest in George was very meager even for their standards. Even Anna gave Mary her unsolicited opinion to this effect. Mary referred to him as an orphan, declined the nanny's invitation to join them for a walk, etc. So I thought it would have been more fitting, after starting to pull out of her deep level of grief, if the first thing she did was to approach the level of interest in her baby that was normal for someone of her position. I would have liked to have seen that before -- a good deal before -- I saw her giggle at Anthony's invitation to take her out when in London.
  9. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Twitter:

    :lol:

    EDIT:

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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  11. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    The part of my post you had in bold demonstrates I am aware of the phenomenon. I was commenting, like most of us here. Same with CPR, TV successful resuscitation rates also have nothing to do with reality, unfortunately.
  12. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    ^ Yes, I fully understood that -- sorry if you thought I was implying or interpreting otherwise.
  13. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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  14. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    So finally I got to watch Episode 2.

    The Dowager Countess quoting a Rossetti poem. :kickass: And she sees and knows all. Love the Puccini and the guilt snarks.

    Loved Cora telling off Sir Robert about him being a snob and not wanting to talk to the opera singer.

    Edith continues to wear :glamor: dresses.

    Do people think Mary will go for Lord Gillingham?

    Anna :fragile:
  16. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    IceAlisa, I forgot about Cora telling off Robert. I normally like these things to be polite and private, but he had been so pompous this episode that I was glad that she delivered her message in such a scolding tone, and within earshot of Mr. Carson, no less. Well done, Cora!

    I also liked how very kind Violet was to Isobel. Almost every time Violet has ever done anything kind she reaped some benefit of her own, but this time she seemed completely selfless. She was sincerely and deeply concerned for Isobel.

    In a lighter moment, I loved how Rose repeatedly punched the man who was attacking her dance partner, Sam, at the York Dance Hall. She's a firecracker, that Rose!
  17. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Cora :kickass: in this episode.
  18. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    [QUOTE][/QUOTE]In a lighter moment, I loved how Rose repeatedly punched the man who was attacking her dance partner, Sam, at the York Dance Hall. She's a firecracker, that Rose

    Yes! I did not see this until I rewatched it. She was one step away from jumping on his back. I was happy to see her act so unladylike.


    We need to see more of him. I remember when Matthew first appeared and I really couldn't see it ( between them). Mary's personality and his were complete opposites. As she said in this episode, 'Matthew changed me'. But at first I didn't see it.
  19. Latte

    Latte Well-Known Member

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    I miss Matthew. I guess Tom will be the moral compass of the show now. And the romantic lead. I wish he could see that the new maid is setting him up for a fall.
    I hope they don't have her coming on to him every episode. It would get really tiring and boring.
    I knew what was going to happen to Anna , so, was not surprised. Glad she fought so hard but wish she would have told Sir Robert what happened. Make that told Cora.
    I wondered why he went after middle aged Anna when there were two young pretty kitchen maids there but then I knew. Anna is married and not a virgin and the girls probably were so somewhere in his sick mind, raping Anna was ok.
  20. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Anna is not middle-aged...she's meant to be in her late 20s/early 30s...like the actress who plays her [Joanne Froggatt is 33]. Mr. Bates is middle-aged, and their age difference was mentioned by Edith when she was involved with Sir Anthony Strallan. She said something like 'you [Anna] and Mr. Bates are happy, and he's older than you [Anna].'

    Also, rape is not a crime of sexual desire as much as it is a crime of violence and control. The very young and very old, the attractive and unattractive, women and men and children have all been victims of rape.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  21. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    If you really want to get a sneak peek at who is staying and going this season, check out the Downton Abbey link at IMDB. Just don't bring any spoilers back here, please!
  22. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    really, dont you get to see the series when they air it the first time? i didnt realize you had to watch it with rowdy ex colonists.
  23. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Not really so secret, as they've talked a lot about Almina, wife of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon. But still an interesting article.

    [And I think that her surname of Wombwell is just perfect...considering her biological dad was a Rothchild! :p]
  24. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    Nope...I'm watching on PBS. It's also being shown on Vision up here, which is usually a lot of religious programming, from what I know... Time shift is a wonderful thing...I can watch on Detroit PBS at 7 or Spokane at 10.
  25. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I am not reading the thread because I am still catching up. I just finished the season 3 finale. Poor Matthew and poor Mary! I always knew they were doomed but at least they had some time to be happy together and made a beautiful baby boy out of it. I was so glad he got to meet him.

    Now, does anyone else have a major problem with the actress who plays Mrs. Crowley (Cora)? I literally cringe every time she has lines. She always has this same look on her face. Her face turned down, eyes turned way up and full on pout. You can even hear it in her voice. I absolutely can't stand it. If another major character must be killed off, please let it be her!!
  26. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    "i always think there is something foreign about high spirits at breakfast"

    me too, carson, me too
  27. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    now i understand why i got mrs hughes in that quiz, she's a total badass when she isnt meddling
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  28. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    I agree. I have always felt that she was the one weak actor/actress on the show.


    Could some kind soul please explain to me what the heck Mrs. Hughes was talking about when she confronted Edna? What was Edna doing according to the book? What did the book prove? I re-watched that segment and am still clueless.
  29. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    the book, married love, was a real book and had information (i dont know if it was accurate) about ovulation and conception. so if she was trying to get pregnant and couldnt get branson to sleep w her again, she could make a play for someone else at that time. at least that is how i took it.
  30. tamuno

    tamuno Member

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    I loved this episode. Glamour is back! How graceful and poised did Mary look climbing those stairs at the club? She is not beautiful in that strict sense but her impeccable carriage and grace makes her very striking.

    As for Edna/Mrs Hughes confrontation, I think she took a stab in the back because the book talks about pregnancy and how to prevent it [among other things on intimacy]. Mrs Hughes correctly deducted that if she was reading it, she might not have been pregnant. Her walking off in a huff reminded me of O'Brien's similar exit.

    Tony is gentle yes but when Mary fully comes back to life, will she eat him up?

    Grantham still unused to women talking business.

    Jack Ross!!
  31. ssminnow

    ssminnow Member

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    So is Rosamund the only person who actually cares enough about Edith to warn her about Gregson?
  32. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    and or smart

    her parents seem a bit clueless. i still think there was *something* w her fiance that her father may have known or suspected or heard as gossip and wouldnt say out loud.
  33. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    I'm already hating the Anna/Bates storyline, and wish it would just go away. :blah:
  34. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Mrs. Hughes was giving Green the evil side-eye, so I think she suspects him for the rape of Anna. :angryfire

    Heartbreaking to see Anna so wounded, and pulling away from John; he's so hurt and confused...and so is she. :(

    I like the growing relationship between Violet and Isobel. :) And Dr. Clarkson understands how to get Isobel interested in helping others, and, therefore, getting her back to LIVING.

    I hope that Evil Edna is really gone for good...I*HATE*HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :lynch: I like how, once again, Tom reached out to Mrs. Hughes for help and advice...she's like his surrogate mum. And the way she dressed down Edna was a thing of beauty! :kickass:

    Lord Gillingham seems in a bit of a rush...makes me wonder about his true motives. :shuffle:

    Now that Edith and Michael have "done the deed", I expect her life is going to get really, REALLY complicated. ;)

    Still can't quite figure the story direction for Rose, but I guess Jack Ross will be a factor. :D
  35. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Edna got the :kickass:!! Yay! Good riddance.

    It is a good point about Lord Gillingham, what's the urgent urgency?


    I wonder if Edith will get pregnant? Someone has to get pregnant at this rate...
  36. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i'm wondering if lord gilly's financial shape isnt as good as he makes it out to be
  37. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Good point. I also think this isn't the last we have seen of his valet. :lynch:
  38. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  39. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Just watched the last two eps last night so my comments may be muddled.

    I was unspoiled, and my heart breaks for Anna. What a horrible, horrible thing. I know she's a fictional character and what happened was fiction, but it just rings too true for all the women (and men) who have been victimized like this, and who continue to be. I guess they chose Anna for this because they need another Anna/Bates tragic storyline, but I think from an issues perspective, Anna was the perfect choice because she is playing it so real and true. I can't imagine the resolution for this.

    Also, I think Mrs Hughes knows who it was. She saw him return after noting with Bates how long Anna had been gone, and she knew he had been talking to Anna quite a bit. Plus, if there was any question that it had been one of the DA servants, there's no way she'd just let it go. Because it was someone from another house she could keep Anna's secret.

    But I will say I was shocked at her treatment of Edna. Obviously Edna is a golddigger, and I guess Hughes has to take the side of a member of the household, but two things bothered me. One is that she barely scolded Tom for his part - I guess we are meant to think it's a symptom of the times and class structure that being drunk and a man makes it OK to sleep with a servant? I guess that is supposed to help us understand why Anna doesn't want anyone to know, but I think we already understand that. But then Hughes actually says to Edna, in the same room where she found poor Anna - "I will lock this door, tear off your clothes and hold you down myself"???? I thought that was really insensitive writing, and I'm surprised even the actors didn't object to those lines.

    Other thoughts - do we trust Gregson? I had the impression until now that Edith knew all about him and was making her own decisions, but what was that document that she barely looked at before signing for him? At the same time we learn that he is capable of a swindle himself at the card table? He acted like he was doing it for Edith and because it was the right thing to do, but did he really do it to ingratiate himself with her father (and have something to hold over him) and the Crawley's circle of friends?

    I bought that Gillingham was in a hurry to marry and get himself settled, but I didn't buy his undying love for Mary. She didn't seem to either, but at the same time considered the option. If this was to be an alignment as much as a marriage, shouldn't she have looked further into his finances and situation? He already said he had to sell the family home, so obviously moving into DA would be a step up for him. Is the rest of the family so impressed with his title that they are forgetting that titles are having less and less meaning as the estates they represent fall apart? I see Cora wanting Mary to be happy and move on, but she of all people should know that matches involving money, estates, inheritances and titles are very complicated - and it's often the women who end up on the short end of the stick.
  40. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting points about the Edna story line. I hate her so much, that I'd never have considered this take on it. But I'm not convinced she and Tom actually had sex. He was really drunk, and his memory seems muddled, at best. And, as Thomas said, Edna is a "manipulative little w(b)itch!" :puppet: I felt sorry for the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction...I do not feel sorry for Edna. I just hope, to paraphrase The Wizard of Oz, that she's not merely "dead"...she's really most sincerely "dead!" :mad:

    I wonder about Michael Gregson too. He's seems too good to true.... And Edith barely glanced at that document before signing it. Plus he mentioned earlier about having a "checkered past" and "misspent youth." :confused:
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014