Downton Abbey--Upstairs/Downstairs, Stiff Upper Lips, and Tea!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    LEGALLY? No, you just need to file the paperwork. They don't even really care about the ceremony details beyond there being an officiant and witnesses to sign the papers, and proof everyone's of legal age or has parental consent.

    I think the Anglican position, which is not that different from the Catholic, is it SHOULD be consummated and *refusal* to do so would be grounds for annulment. That's as in one partner actively refuses to have sex with their spouse. Though here, the issue is less that there was no actual sex (as clearly William couldn't provide it--heck, if Lavinia married Matthew as it currently stands, or rather he doesn't, they'd be in the same boat, just not with imminent death as an out) but that Daisy, in her own mind, entered the marriage under false pretenses. She didn't love William, she didn't want to marry him, she only went through with it under extreme duress with outside pressure. She actually only would need to say that she did not mean it, her vows weren't sincere, and it was never a true marriage in her mind. Even in Catholicism, let alone Anglicanism (where divorce is sort of permissible if strongly discouraged) that would be more than enough to declare the marriage having never existed. Basically she said there wasn't a marriage the minute she said she didn't mean it or think of it as a real marriage.

    As for Ethel and Major Mustache, whether it was once or a couple times, it was clearly casual sex on his part, no matter what she made up in her head.
     
  2. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    My impression is that Ethel always understood that their relationship was a fling. She didn't seem particularly heartbroken when she learned the major had skipped town. She wasn't expecting him to marry her; she only wanted his financial support for their child.
     
  3. Lorac

    Lorac Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree with this - Ethel has been portrayed as a woman who wanted out of the life she was leading and was actively loking for a man to 'assist' her in this process. I'm pretty sure she wanted to trap the major by getting pregnant and when he fled town she was left in a huge mess!!
     
  4. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I think Ethel was enjoying a fun break from her dull routine. She just wasn't planning on getting pregnant. She strikes me as the type who doesn't think before she acts or opens her mouth.

    As far as her talk about her future, that was just whining, she didn't have any plan for getting out.
     
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    IAWTC. I think she was a contrast to Gwen, who wanted out, saved her wages, bought a typewriter, took courses, and set goals. Ethel read magazines about movie stars and fantasized about someone taking her away from all this and making her a star. Being "romanced" by a dashing officer probably seemed like another movie-plot adventure, up until she found out that explanation of where babies come from applied to her, too.

    On another plot thread....I watched this week's again when my PBS reran it Thursday night and this time it registered, when Anna and Bates are talking "privately" about Vera's death, who's eavesdropping at the grate? O'Brien. Now, regardless of how Vera ACTUALLY died, who had motive, means, and (by virtue of having gone to town on short notice and returned unexpectedly early) opportunity to do her in? Bates. Are the police stupid and NOT going to come investigating? No. Now, has O'Brien learned her lesson about repeating half-overheard gossip and drawing conclusions from it after killing Cora's baby and almost Cora based on misheard rumor? Nope, I'm sure not.
     
  6. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    ...and since O’Brien has a bee in her bonnet about Mr. Bates...
     
  7. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i dont like this at all

    i dont like mary hurting carson's feelings
    i dont like the dad making a pass at the maid, she's really plain on top of it

    bah
     
  8. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    oh please

    this was as realistic as Captain Crewe coming out of amnesia and being able to stand all at once in the last minute of A Little Princess
     
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  9. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    does it seem like the dad has known this moussy maid longer than since when she showed up at the house?
     
  10. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    is the dad freddie's father?
     
  11. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    No.

    Really, y'all are reading WAY too much into some of these.

    Bates: SERIOUSLY YOU ARE TOO DUMB TO LIVE. (Or maybe not. Hello, spousal privilege! Anna now can't testify against him.) On the plus side, no one's going to be paying attention to the Earl's daughter marrying a chauffeur turned journalist with revolutionary ambitions now they're going to do his valet for murder. (Next season, the Duke of Denver's younger brother Lord Peter comes to visit and takes the case! Nah, probably not. CROSSOVER!)

    TV: Stop making me feel sorry for Thomas. Except I'm startling to feel for Thomas.

    Ethel: Running a VERY tight photo finish for second with Bates in the 'too stupid to live' race. When your semi-literate kid is digging ditches and doing mind-numbing factory work until he gets called up as Enlisted Cannon Fodder #1 in 1939 I'm sure he'll be so happy she passed on his being raised by people who could give him a decent start in life so he could have 'a mother's love.' I hope he didn't inherit his mother's IQ. It sounds very nice and all but she's just as unemployable and unable to plan ahead as she's been all along. If she'd had half a brain she should have given him up way back when it was clear Major Mustache wasn't helping.
     
  12. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    So the rest of you were right about Lord Grantham and the maid. :slinkaway
     
  13. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    With Ethel, it's just been one short term gain long term pain decision after another.

    Poor Lavinia. I felt most sorry for her when Matthew's response was that Mary was getting married to Richard, not, "no, you're wrong I don't feel that way about her."
     
  14. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I liked the almost-affair. It showed the hypocrisy of the aristocratic class, and I'm sure that's partly what made him give his blessing to Sybil. I felt no sympathy at all for him being "useless." Instead of finding something to make himself useful as his wife and daughters had done, he stalks a maid. :rolleyes: Even better, while his wife is potentially dying. I think this show is making a good case for why that mode of life died out as a result of the war.
     
  15. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    I'm sooooo tired of Bates and his angst-ridden story lines. I hope that next season, a giant UFO will beam him up and deposit him over the Bermuda triangle... :violin:

    Forever.
     
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  16. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Well-Known Member

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    this
     
  17. victoriajh

    victoriajh Well-Known Member

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    You re all missing the point,if Ethan and lord g hook up they will have an heir!!! ;) lol
     
  18. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I'm tired of Mary being bitchy to the help who like/love her most: Carson and Anna. When she is especially haughty I just want to smack her. But given that she might marry a man who will do just that I do hope she and Matthew somehow "find" each other before she makes a terrible mistake with her current fiance.

    Also I think because he is gay Daniel is referred to as a "lost soul." I want him to move to Hollywood, become a butler there and find other "lost souls." I read that there was a quiet but sizable group and that might be one place he might find happiness. Of course that won't happen but it was just an idea...
     
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  19. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    Thomas' problem is that he isn't very smart. He's not sharp enough to be a successful operator.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this way. I don't doubt that Ethel loves her baby but she is condemning him to a life of deprivation. The social services that make upwardly mobility possible in contemporary Britain (unemployment insurance, subsidized housing, free secondary schools) weren't in place in 1919. I don't know that adoption services as we know them existed back then. Edith's son may have wound up in an orphanage instead of being adopted into a loving family.
     
  20. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    If Ethel believed that her son would end up in an orphanage, wouldn't that put a different gloss on her decision? IIRC, in 1919, an orphan could also easily end up "digging ditches [or] doing mind-numbing factory work until he gets called up as Enlisted Cannon Fodder #1 in 1939", as another poster put it. Ethel may well have thought that, since her son's fate would likely be the same, he may as well have a mother's love.
     
  21. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    is ethel's plan to have someone from downton sneak over with leftovers every wk for the next 16 yrs?
     
  22. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    I dunno, I think that Lord Grantham was as surprised by his feelings as anyone. Of course, there certainly was a double standard there as well, but it is his daughter after all.

    As for Thomas, didn't fell sorry for him a lick. He had it all coming. I'm sure he hasn't learned much of a lesson either. I keep waiting for Richard to make him an offer of employment. They deserve each other.

    I too would like to see the whole Bates thing get resolved. It certainly looks bad. Too bad they didn't offer transportation then. He and Anna could go to Australia. That way they're gone, but he doesn't die.

    Did anyone notice the way that the photography/lighting changed after the deaths? It started with Matthew walking to the Abbey under lowering gray skies. Then in the house it was cold light, and it pretty much stayed that way to the end.
     
  23. Latte

    Latte Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, it seemed to me that Thomas gave Sir Richard a real look of hate when he came into the room to tell Mary that she was wanted.(by someone, I don't remember who).
    I'm thinking that Sir Richard might be the one who sold him the fake food.
    Seems like something Sir Richard, or as I think of him Tricky Dicky, would do.
     
  24. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    Hmmm. Thomas looks that way at everybody, so I don't think you're right about that.

    But i am surprised Richard hasn't made an offer to Thomas yet. Thomas could care less who he sells out for money, especially Lady Mary.
     
  25. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    That might have been an excuse for not just handing him over to the parish or leaving him on a doorstep. (And even there, he'll be getting food that 's not based on what his mother can beg and being taught basic maths and reading.) But the grandparents are in a vastly better position to provide him not only with basic necessities but a proper education and a hand up in the world. They're clearly nowhere near as rich as the Earl but they're comfortable and now they're without any children to leave it to. THEY have a plan. Ethel's is apparently, as my little pony puts it, have food snuck over from Downton for the next sixteen years.

    And I don't really think considering an affair for pure affection/loneliness-killing on both parts (Robert's clearly got issues with Cora, who DID deserve a bitchslap for that "Matthew was lame"--REALLY? SERIOUSLY, WOMAN? And the maid is, well, a widow) was the same as letting your daughter marry well below her social station AND to someone who has openly expressed revolutionary feelings. While the Irish absolutely DO have a VERY legitimate beef with their English overlords, we're still talking about a movement that had already shown open violence. She's not just giving up going to pretty parties and being received at court. Plus there was certainly an element of "Is he just messing with my daughter to spite me?" In which case Sibyl could wind up in REAL trouble if Branson got tired of her. I think seeing Branson turn down the money to go away was part of his relenting and realizing no, this isn't about making a statement. Watching Sibyl go back into nurse mode for the flu also probably reminded him she is capable of being a mature, responsible person dealing with very messy things. She can handle living in less-than-soft circumstances, and in the back of his mind the Earl might also be thinking that she'll be able to take it when Branson winds up in jail or worse.

    Speaking of which, Bates is still getting the gold in the Stupidity Olympics. Go ahead, hide things from the police. That ALWAYS works out well. Only not.

    And I think Mary is lashing out a bit at Carson and Anna because she doesn't have a lot of allies, she now is probably very sure she's in over her head with Sir Richard, Carson from her perspective bailed on her. Even with Lavinia gone, she and Matthew aren't really possible or so she thinks....I think at the end when she has Sir Richard walk her back, that's really her openly resigning herself to her fate--she's going to marry a blackmailing, spying, jerkass and there doesn't seem to to be any way out that wouldn't ruin her family.
     
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  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Some of you are too quick to view what happens in World War I/Post War GB with the sensibilities of 2012.
    Most of the options/opportunities/choices we now have would not have been available to, or even considered, at that time.
     
  27. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

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    I think there is more to come of Lord G almost affair with the maid. She truly seemed to be in love with Lord G. Now how could that happen with a couple of stolen kisses, does not make sense to me. Also I don't believe that she is a war widow. She never talks about her husband.

    I was Glad when the police arrested Bates and took him away, tired of this story line. I am sure it won't be the last we see of him.

    Last night 2 hour episode was marvelous. Soap Opera at its best.
     
  28. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    I'd be upset too if my servant doesn't tell me first my fiance is spying on me and I have to find out by accident. Reasonable reaction, really.

    Bates...reminds me a bit of Ethan Frome in the sense that he has bad luck with women and ends up with worse and worse problems.
     
  29. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Nah, that would be small potatos for Sir Richard. Not worth his time/effort. Besides, he would have ended up with a nasty-tasting wedding cake, and we all know how important appearances are to him! ;)
     
  30. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i dont see why she should want to put matthew's marriage before mary's

    matthew who was a stranger not that long ago will inherit all of cora's money, he can marry whenever he feels like it, mary is the one for whom marriage is a financial necessity