Discussion in 'Community' started by Everton, Sep 1, 2011.
Yeah, it definitely gets better.
Good. I probably won't be getting the last disc for Series 2 for a few days thanks to merry old Stormageddon, so after I watch those I'll pop on back in, give my thoughts and start looking for Series 3!
Cool. Always nice to see others getting into the show.
That picture of Tom holding the baby KILLED ME. SO cute.
I loved the Dowager Countess's few lines (mostly about the pills).
And poor Thomas. Never thought I'd say that, but poor guy.
It's a fantastic image. Probably my favourite of the third series so far.
Finished Series 2 and the Christmas episode.
BATES AND ANNA VICTORIOUS!!!! THEY'RE FINALLY MARRIED, NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY RUIN THIS MOMENTOUSLY HAPPY OCCASION!!!!
Episode is ending
NO! NO! NO! NO! **** NO! NO ******* WAY! NO! NO!
Otherwise the episode was great. And the Christmas Special was good. Though I at first liked Sir Carlisle, he became a jerk by the end, and it's good that Matthew and Lady Mary are finally engaged. And Sybil is in Ireland with Branson. And Daisy's movin' on up. And Lord Grantham doesn't have to be tempted anymore. And Thomas is a slightly less jerkish jerk.
So overall I'm quite happy and really cannot wait to start Series 3!
and it's good that Matthew and Lady Mary are finally engaged
'Good'? Understatement of the century!
Honestly, I was rather hot and cold with Matthew and Mary. She was just so wishy-washy, dropping him and picking him back up left and right that I could have seen it go either way, being a tragic they'll never ever be together even though they're meant for each other, or the much happier proposal while it's snowing on New Years.
But I will say this. Bates had better get out of jail. Soon. I don't want Anna making visits every episode and him being all self sacrificial. Bates needs to crawl off of his cross and try to be happy for once. But that is kind of dependent on his life not falling to pieces every time he does become happy, so, I don't know.
AND I WOULD HAVE THROWN A FIT IF CARSON HAD DIED OF SPANISH FLU.
I was willing to lose Lavinia, not so eager to lose Cora though it would be interesting to see how Lord Grantham reacts to that, but NOT MY CARSON.
EDIT: I have changed my icon to reflect my thoughts and expectations for Series 3.
There can't be a Downton Abbey without Carson. Fact of life.
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes: "Downton Abbey without Carson? England would fall!"
Mary's quite contrary, yes. Frustrating. Sometimes you just want to sit her down and explain what's best for her. Matthew's a stubborn ass sometimes. It was meant to be, though, which counts for a lot in my book. Despite everything I think one could always see the desire for this outcome in their eyes - so when he proposed as the snow fell I just melted.
She is a woman. She can be as contrary as she likes.
You're right (of course ). She's contrary to this day, and they're happily married now.
I'll leave it to Everton to write a proper EWOT* review tomorrow, since we agree on everything about this episode, but I'll just say this:
This was an absolutely beautiful episode. A perfect ending to Series 3. There's nothing that could make this episode even more perfect (well, almost nothing... ).
Loved the Dowager Countess, Mr. Bates (va-voom!!!!!), Matthew, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) Tom for being the voice of reason with Lord Grantham.
Mr. Fellowes, I applaud you.
* - Everton Wall Of Text
I loved last night's episode. Everything was so perfect. I really loved how everyone came together to save Thomas. Even though he's done some super shady things in the past, he didn't deserve to go like this. I also feel somewhat bad for James, because he was only being guided by O'Brien.
Lord Grantham's speech to Alfred at the end was sooo good. I've been rather annoyed at Lord Grantham lately, but he redeemed himself slightly at the end there.
I'm so glad that Mary and Matthew are able to have babies! Both Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens better be around for Season 4!!! Ahhh!
I am really liking Tom Branson these past few episodes. He is, as Lord Grantham said, eloquent and I'm glad he's decided to move in to the big house and be par of the family. Eee!
My boyfriend called everything in the cricket match...he said Moseley would strike out...and he did...then he said Tom was going to catch the ball...and he did!
I loved that last shot...
The only thing I didn't like was "Lady Rose". She seemed really superfluous to an otherwise spotless episode.
I agree with Yané on the Rose issue. She did feel superfluous and out of place. Then again, the way Matthew handled her in that bar was great, as well as the Dowager Countes final solution of the whole thing.
What's with all the annoying TV characters called Rose?
Start near the end. Robert. We went from "Robert the last time you took an interest in investment you ruined the family!"... to...
"I'm not asking you to abandon your beliefs Alfred. Just introduce a little kindness into the equation... Thomas does not choose to be the way he is. And what harm was done, really, that his life should be destroyed for it?... Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you without sin, Alfred? For I am certainly not."
At the last breath Lord Grantham regains his footing, a good deal of his dignity... and his mind. A small moment, shared only with Alfred, but it pulled the Earl back into character. I really admire the way he's been set upon in series three. His character needed to go somewhere, it really did. Send Robert down the rabbit hole so the new generation can gain a foothold. I never wanted to see him fall apart, though. That would've been horrendous. Thus, his word with Alfred was a gift from the heavens. The masterful recovery of a masterful character. He didn't need to bluster foolishly into a luncheon or shout about Matthew and Tom's plans in the library (as he did this week) - or anything so dramatic - to finally understand his new role in this new world. Tom had earlier nudged him, "...you understand the responsibilities we owe to the people 'round here. Those who work for the estate and those that don't." You could see Robert's brain ticking over as Tom spoke. He may have lost financial control of the estate, but that's nothing to be ashamed of. Things change, but he still understands the community, and the Crawley's responsibility to all those who work here (including Thomas) better than anyone. This small moment was a huge first step. He can be the quiet, but powerful voice of experience at the heart of it all.
"I'm not asking you to abandon your beliefs Alfred. Just introduce a little kindness into the equation." Likewise, Matthew and Tom are not asking Robert to abandon his beliefs; all they really ask is for him to account for progress. For change. To factor that into his equation instead of constantly placing himself on the outside looking in. As he speaks to Alfred, Robert is asking the footman to consider the feelings of a man who has "...not chosen to be the way he is", to take into account more than one way of looking at the situation... as Robert now must with his beloved Downton.
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you without sin, Alfred? For I am certainly not." Robert knows the mistakes of everyone, knows his mistakes - knows them personally and 'professionally' - and knows now that things must change for his pride and joy - Downton Abbey - to flourish. His obstinacy has been overcome by Tom's eloquent logic and Thomas' unfortunate plight. How strange fate is, that two men so reviled could between them help Robert to his epiphany. What some may choose to see as a quick get out, I see as a very believable realisation. The man still has class, and this proved it. It wasn't big, it wasn't showy, but it was kind and reasonable and full of heart. Lord Grantham back in da house.
As others have already said, this was a brilliant episode. One of the few pieces of television I consider to be beautiful. No silly cliffhangers, no unexpected developments in a (pointless, given the success of the show) attempt to carry an audience into the Christmas Special and (please God ) a fourth series. They simply wound things up in a mature, beautiful and touching way. Everyone had their chance to shine (no mean feat with such a phenomenal cast), and Carson said "What." (twice - once to Jimmy and once to Mrs. Hughes) Perfect.
Molesley's father looks like Molesley's father. I adored Molesley in this episode. On and on and on about cricket ("hammer grip. It's firm, but tender. Cherish the ball. Don't crush it."), passing on his wisdom and expertise to all those unfortunate enough to be within earshot... and then out first ball. Jenn you said Theo called it. Well so did I. Coming from a mile off to be honest. Poor Molesley, he tries so hard but doesn't have the talent or personality to make any mark on this world. After his golden duck I wonder if he'll still be so glad of Ivy's 'fan club' idea?
We didn't see much of Mrs. Patmore, Daisy or Ivy in this episode. They had their moments in earlier episodes, but it was nice to see them all getting along well. Most particularly, there seemed to be no tension between Daisy and Ivy. That's nice. Happy kitchen, yay!
Rob James-Collier's performance as Thomas was superb. Again. He's done plenty of 'nasty', but the quality of the casting once again shone as he played 'distraught' to perfection also. The actors they bring into this show really do have more to them than meets the eye. Allen Leech's Tom - a fool to a sage - and now Thomas... a bastard to a lost soul. Anyway, I started the episode firmly in the 'Thomas must be smote' camp, but it wasn't very long before I was backing him against the woman herself... Miss O'Brien. I thought I could hate Thomas even considering he'd been taken advantage of. Turns out I couldn't. O'Brien had gone too far. Even a man as nasty as Thomas is wont to be doesn't deserve O'Brien's ire. Even Carson, who cannot hide that he finds Thomas' situation "revolting" has some sympathy. "You have been twisted by nature into something foul and even I can see that you did not ask for it". Carson doesn't mince his words, but he does understand that Thomas - for once - was acting sincerely. Is acting sincerely (later, he even tells Jimmy that he thinks Thomas was genuinely mistaken over the "incident" and is sorry). I loved that at the end of the conversation with Thomas, who should we find loitering outside of Carson's office, but O'Brien, "Come along, Miss O'Brien. Time to stop eavesdropping and do some work." "I don't know what you..." comes the half-hearted response. Even she can't defend herself there. Odd that Carson knew very well that O'Brien was eavesdropping and never really worked out that she was behind it all. Indeed, Thomas would've seen her, too, and yet it took Mr. Bates to help him put two and two together. Also, when Carson and Thomas share their second scene together Thomas says that someone put Jimmy up to it, but still doesn't think it might be his great nemesis. Maybe his grief is stopping him from thinking straight.
Mrs. Hughes, ever the pragmatist (Carson likes to think he is, but he's not) shared a great scene with Thomas, too. Outside, in the rain, Mrs. Hughes persuaded Thomas to tell her everything. "Shock and disgust? My, my... I think I have to hear it now." Collier was magnificent in that scene, too (to think, this guy started out in a soap opera!). Mrs. Hughes is the ying to Carson's yang... it doesn't take a genius to know that. Even in the scene they shared a little later on - exchanging opinions on Thomas' predicament - it was clear they would be perfect together. Carson says that he "hopes" that Thomas is the first gay man Mrs. Hughes has ever come across. She assures him otherwise. It's this 'world view' that Carson - despite his awesome awesomeness - lacks almost completely. Even Lord Grantham is unsurprised about Thomas' situation when Bates tells him, delivering the following glorious line, "I mean if I'd shouted blue murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton I'd have gone hoarse in a month".* (btw, this is another example of Robert realising he possesses perspective). Carson says to Mrs. Hughes that he "can hardly believe we're having this conversation". I think batting about competing views like this is as close as the pair ever get to flirting.
*this line is spoken during a scene with Robert and Mr. Bates - Bates finally back performing his valet duties. I've missed those scenes.
So Thomas is getting the benefit of the doubt, but things are never as clear cut as we would like. Mrs. Hughes defends Thomas as being wounded in service of King and country. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
I loved Carson's line to Cora re: Tom's on/off involvement in the cricket match, "Might I point out that we're all busy but we still find time to support the honour of the house." I also loved his look of utter horror when Lord Grantham made the battlefield (well, cricket pavilion) promotion of Jimmy to first footman. Will Carson's world ever be anything less than an intolerable mixture of semi-scandal and minor outrage made into catastrophe? ... ... ... ... ... No.
Thomas and Mr. Bates shared some great scenes together. The first one (possibly the first time they'd been alone in a room together since Mr. Bates' release from prison) just after Lord Grantham wishes Thomas all the best. Robert leaves the room and the pair of them eyeball each other. It's tense. The music rises, making the most of the tangible hatred between them. The second scene as Mr. Bates is fetching some coal, "Perhaps you should try being nicer." Still, Mr. Bates cannot help but empathise with Thomas eventually... "Because I know what it is to feel powerless. To see a life slide away and there's nothing you can do to stop it." The third scene, climaxing in the off screen use of the word 'soap' is the best. Thomas, the man who always had a scheme, is finally beaten. It's almost sad, "You've heard of the phrase 'to know when you're beaten'? Well I'm beaten Mr. Bates. I'm well and truly beaten." It is sad. I am glad Mr. Bates can help him.
(Anna asks Mr. Bates if he'd thought about standing for public office. He'd have my vote (and my axe, etc, etc, ). )
Speaking of Mr. Bates. There was a moment that even made me swoon. He's with Anna as they inspect their new cottage ("You're not climbing any ladders." ). Anna says they're going to make the best of things. Mr. Bates smiles - a deeply satisfied smile - and approaches his wife. "You being in this room, is enough to make it nice... come here." They kiss, flop downwards in each others arms and laugh as they break one of the few pieces of furniture left to them. Mr. Bates - what a guy. I said this last week, but I'd forgotten just how brilliant these two are together. It doesn't matter what they have or don't have, what matters is that they are together. There's a bottom line to keep in mind. They've been apart for so long, and now they can finally be together. Long live the pair of them!
Something that doesn't get brought up often enough... the brilliance of Siobhan Finneran's performance. She plays O'Brien quietly, whilst retaining just the right levels of danger and deniability. I don't think O'Brien has ever really forgiven herself for causing Cora's miscarriage in series one, so she's not the malicious basket case we used to enjoy plotting with Thomas. She's different. It's almost as if she hates what she's doing but simply cannot help herself. So she doesn't shout about it, she just glides about on some sort of malodorous autopilot. After spending the entire episode passing on 'advice' to Jimmy, I thought it was fantastic when Mr. Bates delivered a sting in the tail perhaps eight (Downton) years in the making. Soap. The one word that can frighten O'Brien. Thomas was wise to only drop the one word in Mr. Bates' ear, though. Keep the full story to yourself, boy.
Characters always seem to be in the right place at the right time in Downton Abbey (to overhear something tasty), but this has to be the best one yet:
Boring, boring Isobel? Yes, on the whole, but this week she got to play with her bestest friend in the whole wide world... the Dowager Countess. These two are a dream team... a comedy double act. They clearly cannot stand one another, probably dream hateful dreams about one another, but in public they can only resort to barbs and put downs. It's what Downton does best. Some zingers in this episode:
"Cousin Isobel is very literal." (re: slaves)
"Cousin Violet has never let a matter of convenience stand in the way of a principle." "As the kettle said to the pot."
And this, frankly, brilliant exchange:
Isobel: "Were you a very involved mother with Robert and Rosamund?"
Violet: "Does it surprise you?"
Isobel: "A bit. I'd imagined them surrounded by nannies and governesses being starched and ironed to spend an hour with you after tea."
Violet: "Yes but it was an hour... every day."
Isobel: "I see, yes. How tiring."
Of course, the look on Violet's face sells it, but I loved it.
Mary's operation. Odd that it could be keep a secret from everyone except Cora for six weeks, but I'm not going to worry too much about such a detail. What was amusing was that the pair kept their respective visits to the doctor secret. They are meant for each other, and they are exquisite together, but communication is to them as truth is to a tabloid hack or bent politician. Still, it's fantastic news that they can have children. I'm so happy for them. They make me melt into my chair. They're the perfect couple (well, almost the perfect couple ). "You're on my team, now", croons Matthew as he moves to kiss Mary. Then, much later, at the cricket match, the pair have a moment alone. Matthew says to Mary, "I didn't think it was possible to love as much as I love you." Their theme swells and I struggle to maintain my composure.
The coat and hat Mary wears to her hospital appointment are gorgeous:
Rose. Hmmm. Maria's right, why do annoying characters tend to be called Rose? Anyway, I agree that on the surface and in isolation she seemed superfluous and out of place. Her success or failure as a Downton character depends on what is done with her next. If she becomes a regular or even semi-regular then I'm not sure I mind her being plonked into this episode. After all, she offered Matthew the opportunity to show how well he can manage people, and the Dowager Countess the opportunity to have a bit of fun. If we never see her again, then yes she would've been better off never turning up in the first place. She wasn't all that interesting (although the club she took us too looked great fun! ). So we had to make do with the Dowager Countess wrapping her finger around Rose. Although the grand old lady is always right about everything we did get to enjoy the following blissfully ignorant line (re: Rose and her youth), "My late husband was a great traveler, so I've spent many happy evenings without understanding a word. The thing is, to keep smiling and never look as if you disapprove." What a kicker! Cora and Isobel shared a little look of "lol" at that line. Only a couple of scenes later Violet is looking so disapprovingly at Ethel (with Rose in the room) it's a wonder the poor maid wasn't exterminated on the spot. Violet also got - possibly - the best moment of the episode (to set up her knowledge of Rose's misdemeanours). Don't forget, the Dowager Countess is watching you...
Cora called young Sybil "Sybie". Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. She is a gorgeous and beautiful baby, though. The shot of her right at the end of the episode was unbearably cute.
A little to say about Edith's three millionth doomed relationship. Well. The Anthony Strallen / Michael Palin / Mr. Rochester crossbreed would say anything to appeal to Edith. He'd certainly go as far as telling her an important (but out of place given what he expected) article - perhaps poorly written, too - is great and fantastic and so on. "The mature female voice in debate". Sounds good, but he doesn't mean it. He's hitting on her, and it was so obvious that he was going to have a skeleton in his closet. For it is a fact of nature, a fundamental law of the Universe, that Edith Crawley is destined to be alone. She will come close to happiness many times, and fail. Time and time again. Poor lamb. She's odd, but I'm finding it easy to feel sorry for her these days.
Tom. Despite myself (and I can't believe I'm saying this either, Maria), the man is impressing more and more and more. In the library shouting match scene (Tom, Matthew, Mary, Cora and Robert participants) Tom sees Robert falling apart in front of him and so - at breakfast - picks the right time to deliver the wisest line of the entire series, "Shall I tell you how I look at it? Every man or woman who marries into this house, every child born into it, has to put their gifts at the families disposal. I'm a hard worker, and I've some knowledge of the land. Matthew knows the law and the nature of business. You understand the responsibilities we owe to the people, those who work for the estate and those who don't. It seems to me if we could manage to pool all of that, if we each do what we can do, then Downton has a real chance." To be perfectly honest... go Tom go. Another step in the quite brilliant development of that idiot chauffeur. Except he's not that anymore. Robert pretends he's going to think about it, but the truth is he's sold. One can tell, because his condition is cricket related. A heavily disguised peace offering - as if to say you are right, so please come and be involved as you bloody well should be! For the first time, Robert truly wants Tom in his life.
So to the cricket match. Didn't everyone look lovely? Molesley, Thomas, Carson, James, Alfred, Hall Boy #1, Hall Boy #2, Lord Grantham, Matthew, Tom... Best. Fictional. Cricket. Team. Evar. The sight of Carson bowling was enough to make me go weak at the knees. Branson was always going to make that last catch... but by this point a wonderful episode had passed unashamedly into fantasy territory. Even the slightly disturbing appearance of the police couldn't put a dampener on things because... well... as I said at the start of this post... Lord Grantham has his mojo back.
Fantasy indeed. Carson bowls (expertly), Dr. Clarkson connects sending the ball towards the man who can't play cricket... and he catches it. A perfect ending to a series that, albeit uneven and lacking originality in the early episodes, has been a huge success. I'll miss every single one of these characters. I'll miss watching the episodes ( ), I'll miss wittering on about them. I don't care that the show is criticised for being outlandish, unrealistic, soapy or whatever else. I love it. It's brilliant television. This episode was beautiful, and I can't wait to see it again.
The power of three.
I'll miss Downton Abbey.
I agree with Everton on all these issues. Lovely EWOT review.
But that's the end until Christmas!
my nickname for this season is "frownton crabby"
Finished the first episode of Series 3. It was wonderful.
Bates was great, Mary and Matthew are FINALLY married (tbh, I thought it would be way longer till that happened). Carson was fantastically British.
The finale was a great episode.
I was on a heightened stage of alert waiting for SOMETHING to go horribly wrong. I'm glad nothing did!
I loved it! I find it odd that Thomas was one of my favorite parts of last night, but he was just brilliant. And yay Bates for not being a jerk!
Bates handled things magnificently, with style and dignity. If the Dowager Countess should ever become the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Bates should be her Prime Minister or something.
Crawley / Bates! What a ticket!
Shouldn't that be Grantham / Bates?
Anyway, I'd totally vote for them, of course.