Downton Abbey: 2.1

Downton Abbey, Season Two! Long, long, long awaited.

(Warning: Mega spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen it, I seriously want you to click the little x or the little red dot or whatever and GO AWAY. Don’t ruin it. Go away. Go! Have you gone? Get out of here! If you HAVE seen it, on the other hand, please read along and re-swoon with me as we recap. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU. Also, shouty Dooce-caps alert.)

WAR HAPPENS. Matthew AND Thomas (that scoundrel) are in the trenches, Matthew leading troops with composure and courage, and Thomas (that jerk) trying to figure out a way to fake die or something so he can get back to his pampered life as Mr. Sexypants-Head-Footman whose biggest worry is how to overdramatize the latest pseudo-scandal he’s cooked up with O’Brien.

ALSO ROMANCE HAPPENS: Bates proposes to Anna (yaaaaaaaay!) upon learning that his awful wife, for whom he went to prison, is back from outer space and at last seems amenable to granting him a divorce. And Mary is still in love with Matthew but won’t tell him so, and the idealistic chauffeur has the hots for Sibyl (who, awesomely, trains to be a nurse and relentlessly rocks it out tending to wounded soldiers at the encouragement of BOTH the show’s resident dueling Grand Dames), and Stupid Edith tries to start a seriously ridiculous affair with a farmer. I think she’s just trying to make sure nobody forgets her name like they did last season.

ALSO DRAMA HAPPENS: Mrs. Awful Bates turns up, sees our favorite loyal valet as a potential cash cow, and threatens to bring ruin on Anna and the entire family by revealing Mary’s big secret if Bates doesn’t immediately leave the house and go live with her and support her all her days (blessedly, this hideous confrontation takes place in Mrs. Hughes’s sitting room where, like any self-respecting housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes listens in through a grate, thus leaving open the possibility that Lord and Lady Grantham and/or the other members of staff will Not Be Having Any Of This Nonsense). Oh and Matthew’s Sudden and Possibly Ill-Advised Fiancee has some kind of Dangerous Past with a beau of Mary’s, who is Rupert Murdoch a scandal-rag-monger (stupid girl, if you’ve ONLY JUST managed to tamp down a potentially life-ruining scandal that includes being seduced by a Turkish diplomat who subsequently dies in your bed, MAYBE DON’T DATE A TABLOID OWNER, K?), and whose only known crime so far is being hopelessly nouveau — he doesn’t even know the difference between shooting tweeds and walking tweeds! Quelle horreur! Although this fact, following the show’s internal logic, in itself portends ill.

ALSO COSTUMES HAPPEN. OMG, do they ever happen. Swoon! Bliss! Downton is a period-costume-loving girl’s Heaven. One of my fellow watchers and I gasped SO MANY TIMES when Cora or Mary or Sibyl walked onscreen in some glorious jet-beaded confection or drapey jewel-colored velvet thing. We’re getting into a bit of an almost-20s vibe with some of the shapes as the teens come to a close — slightly lower waistlines, shorter skirts, lots more arm and shoulder, a few headbands, more pumps and fewer boots. Of course the Crawleys would be killingly fashion-forward, so I expect we’ll see even more dropped waists and calf-length skirts and feathered headbands as the season progresses.

Millions of people are now dying to find out if Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes can muster Lord Grantham’s power to twist the horrid Mrs. Bates’s arm in a divorce-ward direction, if Sibyl is going to continue disappointing that poor chauffeur and/or fall in love with a wounded soldier, if Matthew and Mary will EVER confess their undying love for one another, and what new mischief Thomas and O’Brien are going to cook up.

Can’t wait for next week!

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8 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: 2.1

  1. I just caught up on Season One with Nick’s family over Christmas. To say I loved it is an understatement. Found it very hard not to at least peek at what you’d written here. But I’ll try and save myself for the real deal. It sucks being the last people in the WORLD to see everything. Seeing as we live in tomorrow, we should be the first, right?

    • It’s showing there now, surely? Makes me hate the BBC a little bit because they decided to wait two and a half MONTHS between premiering it in Britain and premiering it here. My theory: they’re anti-American and were trying to get people arrested for torrenting the entire series.

      • It’s summer here, which means a non-rating period. They won’t start wheeling that kind of stuff out until February. It’s on the same channel as the Australian Open tennis, which means they’ll probably plug it incessantly during the tennis coverage. It’s so undignified the way that they make sports commentators slot in those TV promos! (PS I love Sybill. And Mr Bates. And Anna.)

  2. They just started airing season two on TV here last Sunday. Beautiful, beautiful ladies’ costumes! Why can’t we dress like that now? Mrs Bates SUCKS! She made me so, so angry. My other big reaction from the first episode (apart from how much Sybil rocks, and Edith sucks), is how weak and annoying Cora is as a character. She seems to be caught in the middle: not old enough to be a cantankerous grand dame, not young enough to be a young upstart. She does very little in terms of moving the plot forward; things happen TO her and AROUND her. Annoying.

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