Sunday, January 12, 2014

Watching Downton Abbey with Downtown Abby - Season 4, Episode 2 (US)

Before we start talking about Downton Abbey, I have to say that of course both my beloved pups, Barney Fife and Abby, watch the show each week curled up beside me.  Barney, being a wise senior dachshund, usually agrees with Carson in all things Downton.  Abby wishes to be referenced in all Downton posts here, since the title includes her name - sort of.

Also, this post contains SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! for Episode 2 of Season 4.  Do not continue reading if you have not seen the episode yet.

Sigh.  This was the episode I had heard whispers about.  I had only heard that something bad was going to happy to Anna in this episode.  I didn't have details, but figured it out early on tonight.  Sigh.  I hated this storyline.  Absolutely hated how dark and dreary it was.  Poor Anna.  She's been through enough, with Bates' jail sentence and their separation.  

Also -- I am ready for Braithwaite to leave already.  She is up to no good with Tom, who is my favorite of the Downton men.  He was already struggling tonight, feeling out of place at the formal dinner.  (But wasn't he handsome in white tie?)

On a positive note, Lord Gillingham is charming, and it was nice to see Lady Mary connect with him on the basis of a longtime friendship.  I hope, since it is so soon after Matthew's death, that this will remain just a friendship for a while.

Gregson did a good turn outsmarting the card shark to win back the money that Lord Grantham and the others lost.   I still worry, though, for Edith, especially after seeing the trailers for next week.  

As usual, the Dowager Countess had several wonderful lines.  My favorite was:  "If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper class."   I was also delighted that she quoted Christina Rosetti when talking to Mrs. Crawley:  "Better by far you should forget and smile/ Than that you should remember and be sad."

My favorite scene was at dinner, when Cora found that famed opera singer Nellie Melba would be dining alone in her room.  After Cora left to smooth things over, Lord Grantham looked at Carson and said:  "I blame you."  Absolute perfection!  They are both so enamored with the decorum of the past.

On a visual note, the glimpse of the garden was striking.  I love the greenery arches!

One question from this episode -- why was one of the footman (James?) measuring the distance from each chair to the table?  I'm sure there was some reason based on etiquette and vintage dining customs.

Overall, this wasn't my favorite episode, but of course I still like lesser Downton over anything else on television. 

What did you think of this episode?  I hope you'll leave your comments below (without any spoilers for future episodes, if you have already seen the UK edition).   What do you think of Lord Gillingham?  What will happen with Anna and Bates?  How do you think the Braithwaite storyline will resolve?


Elizabeth said...

Edna needs to go...and soon. She is the worst thing about this season. Doesn't Branson have enough to deal with without her? And poor poor Anna. I saw it coming a mile away, but it was still awful to see.

Birdhouse Books said...

I agree completely about Edna. She's absolutely awful. I thought I would never dislike another staff member more than O'Brien, and I was wrong.

Luciana said...

I agree Trish. I hated what happened to Anna. I guess in that time reporting it was unheard of, the woman took the brunt of the shame. So sad. As for your other comments, agree totally! I love this show and look forward to seeing it each week (even though I record and watch on Monday).

Luciana said...

(Excellent, wrote a whole paragraph and it's gone.......)

Birdhouse Books said...

Dianne, that same thing happened to me when I was writing the blog post; I had to start over!

I agree with you about Anna. Not reporting the rape was probably typical of the time, but it was sad and really shocking to see in the context of the show.

BTW I love your dachshunds avatar - so cute!

Birdhouse Books said...

BTW saw this by chance today. Julian Fellowes and PBS have released a short video about episode 2:

Bob Gilliland said...

Great review! I also enjoyed the turn of events with Gregson and it seems to have put him in much better standing Lord Grantham. Still worried about Edith though. Did you ever find the answer about the staff using measuring sticks for the dinner service?

Birdhouse Books said...

Thanks, Bob!

I agree about Edith! Hoping this works out for her, but not sure yet.

David said that the servants were measuring the chair to table ratio as part of a vintage upper crust dining custom. The table had to be JUST SO.