Downton Abbey - Season 4 on PBS

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

  1. Corianna

    Corianna Active Member

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    Tennyson was given a peerage for his poetry. Byron inherited his title. Guess which one would count with Violet.
  2. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Re: Bates/Anna. I don't completely get the "ignore your husband" in the most over the top way, but I do get the shame and the guilt.
    I can see Anna blaming herself partly because Bates had expressed his displeasure with her socialization with Green before that tragic night. So now she must be worried that Bates would say "I told you so", or perhaps her conscience said her husband was right after Green after all and she was wrong about him.

    I can see Bates blaming himself for not protecting Anna. During the incident, Mrs. Huges was wondering about Anna taking too long in the servants hall, and instead of checking on her, Bates just presumed Anna fell asleep. Whiile I don't agree with violence, I can see Bates trying to assuage his own guilt by taking matters into his own hands afterwards.

    In some way I like this version of Bates better than the one in Season one and two. The earlier version of Bates got bullied by his wife to an absurd degree (and I didn't get why he allowed it to happen), and this Bates, hardened by prison life, would bend rules to make things happen -- which is a more believable person. There have been early signs of this too -- Bates forged Moseley's signature to give him money, just to make Anna happy.

    Interesting that for all the angst about Mary and Pamuk during the first season or two, Mary is turning out to be the least scandalous of the three daughters. :D
  3. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm naive, but honestly, I didn't get "protect Anna's honor" out of it. Yes, I know that would have been standard for the times, and maybe there's a little of that mixed up in it, but I read it more as "make the man pay for making Anna suffer." I think it's tearing him up inside to think of what she went through -- you could see it when he left Mrs. Hughes's room and then just stood there and cried.
  4. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    I'm with you on his dominant feeling but think that honor did have something to do with it. I thought that scene rang true, anger and empathy and helplessness and leashed violence. The actor who plays Bates (whose name of course I can't remember) is very good. Besides, we are not past the time when a woman's honor is cause for violence, and not just in "backwards" societies either.
  5. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
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  6. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I must admit I didn't consider this possibility:
    :rofl: Lord Tevye
  7. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    :lol:
  8. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I am picturing Lady Mary calling Cora on the phone, using a fake voice: Hello, this is Susan from Planned Parenthood. Could you please have Lady Edith call us? It's urgent.
  9. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    if edith thought she was pregnant, i would think she would have been a little more concerned about the whole thing. she was as excited as someone getting a flu shot.

    did we ever see the wife or hear anyone else talk about her condition? maybe "my wife is nuts and i cant legally leave her" is old timey for "my wife doesnt understand me"
  10. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Centering on the Violet/Isobel and John/Anna relationships.
  11. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    I agree. But the point I was making was that Mary sent her letter to Matthew telling him that she wanted him to meet Richard after Matthew and Richard's initial meeting. My memory is alittle fuzzy, but the timeline went something like this:

    Lavinia and Matthew came to dinner where Matthew met Richard and Lavinia said she already knew him.

    Matthew returned to the war; Mary and Richard got engaged.

    Mary sent a letter telling Matthew about the engagement, and saying she wanted to introduce him to Richard.

    For all this show's strong points, it makes really fundamental errors like contradicting its own timelines.
  12. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I think that happens when different writers work on each episode. I know they'll keep track of the big stuff, but there should be someone in continuity who focuses on the details, because fans certainly notice.

    Hopefully you don't watch soap operas :lol: I watched one for decades, and it would drive me nuts when two characters would act like they didn't know each other, when every fan knew they had had conversations in the past, or had worked at the same place, or worse yet - and this happened - that one of them was married to other's sibling ten years earlier so of course they knew each other. The big soaps change writers and producers and often even the actors playing the characters, and nobody bothers to map anything out - resulting in the classic devices of DNA test results being switched and characters having surprise twins that are supposed to explain everything.
  13. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    No, we've never seen his wife. If she's not in some way mentally ill, they're apparently mutually separated as she clearly doesn't live in the same house. (We also already had a genuine "My wife doesn't understand me" BS pulled on the much more gullible Rose, which Matthew neatly told her off for.) A British TV tropes editor refers to his wife having been "sectioned", which in American English means "committed", voluntarily or not. A better question is exactly WHAT is she mentally ill with? Again I really doubt we're dealing with a Bertha Rochester situation where she's clearly had a full psychotic break and is sneaking around ripping up wedding veils and making animal sounds.
  14. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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    Thanks for your insights. No, I don't watch any soap operas (my job always prevented me from being able to watch them).
    I guess I felt that "Downton Abbey" is of such high quality in so many ways, that it is quite surprising to see such glaring errors. It's also surprising to me because, unlike a soap opera that airs 5 episodes a week, Downton has only 7-9 episodes a year. So it seems like it is a lot less understandable for Downton to make these mistakes.

    The funny thing is that I don't look for errors. I'm someone who likes to really suspend my disbelief when watching a work of fiction (but I don't expect them to contradict themselves). So if these mistakes are jumping out at me, they should be very obvious to the people creating the show.
  15. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I agree. I do wonder sometimes if there's another issue than differing writers as well - I wonder if by the time they go through several drafts of the script, then it changes while filming, then it's edited, that the people involved in the show lose track of what made it to air and how it was presented - perhaps thinking they've covered something that then never made it to air, or not realizing something changed after the script left their hands. Again, there's no excuse on a quality production - there should be someone keeping track of this stuff.

    I recall on Lost, there were a couple of people whose sole job was to review scripts and point out when something wasn't making sense or contradicted something two seasons earlier or was out of character. They pretty much had to on that show given that many fans were pretty much breaking it down frame by frame and word by word.

    Sometimes it just becomes a joke - the dog on Revenge, the SORASing on soaps, or the time they went back to the original Becky on Roseanne, but I definitely see why it bugs you because it bugs me too.
  16. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  17. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Sybbie and George are darling. I wish we could see more of them, but of course there are all the difficulties of working with child actors -- which of course fits in nicely with the old "parents see their kids just a few minutes a day" idea that we're dealing with here. (I remember this being mentioned in The King's Speech also.) I wonder how the parents could stand it! I mean, obviously it would be awesome to have lots of help with the nitty-gritty of parenting -- diapers and vomit and food-flinging and "but why?" every five seconds and all the rest -- but this just seems extreme.
  18. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  19. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Re: the "hurricane" in the nursery ... I was watching Sunday's episode with a friend, and when Mary responded with "A hurricane? In Yorkshire?" my friend and I turned to each other and said, pretty much in unison, "In 'artford, 'ereford, and 'ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly hever 'appen."

    I'd be willing to be we weren't the only ones.

    :lol:
  20. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    YES! :respec:
  21. 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.
  22. 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 ;>)
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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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.
  27. 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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  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. mikemba

    mikemba Active Member

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

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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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  39. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Well-said! :fan:
  40. 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.)