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My dearest Kathleen,
I'm so shaken up by Sunday's episode, I jumped right online after it aired to write to you. Where I should be relieved that Bates finally knows Anna's secret, I'm entirely bothered by how he went about getting the information. All episode long, he pushed and pushed and pushed — she's still bruised a bit for crying out loud, and yet he needles away at her. Yes, I understand it must be weird for a husband to watch his wife recede emotionally, but take a hint, buddy, and give the lady some space! Even before he knew what happened to Anna, he might've sussed a little faster that she really, really needed more than a few days' worth of space. But no, he pushes, he questions, he guilts. And then he bullies Mrs. Hughes into telling him the horrible truth? Using a threat to quit his post? I'm not amused.
But what really set me over the edge is that because Bates can't be bothered to keep his violent streak in check, Anna is compelled to keep her attacker's identity a secret. That vile valet gets off scot-free, as Mrs. Hughes noted, while Anna gets to stay up nights wondering if her husband's going to pop off on ANOTHER murderous rage. Awesome. Wedded bliss, indeed.
And then Bates darkens episode's end with his creepy sign-off, "Nothing is over. And nothing is done with," to poor Mrs. Hughes. I assure you I didn't like his tone one bit. He's a bully, no matter how much lovey-dovey charm he pours on his wife. Print it.
Fetch me my smelling salts,
Try to stay in the upright position. Yes, Bates is a bully; I never got warm fuzzies from him and frankly, never quite saw what Anna saw in him. Perhaps we are seeing his true colors. What ever happened to his first wife? Maybe he did have something to do with her death. And the loyalty Lord Grantham has for Bates, who knows what he did to save Grantham's life. Dark indeed.
But I'm disappointed there wasn't more Edith. All I cared about in this episode was Edith. When she checked the post waiting for a letter from her beau, and none was there ... yikes, the old chap is up to something. And the only glimpse they showed us was Edith stopping off at a doctor's office in London. She's prego! He's gone! Now I need a swooning couch.
Whatever will she do?
Edith was awfully calm for a pregnant lady, though. I'm going to keep my head in the sand just a wee bit longer and hope she was perhaps getting a TB test or something. Too bad we can't Google the doctor's name (Dr. T. Goldman) that was on the plaque outside his office! (Well, we can, and we get very little in return. Although I do know now that the FRCS after Goldman's name stands for Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons.)
So, in my rage against the Bates, which I posted on Facebook, a friend has come to his defense. She doesn't advocate his treatment of Mrs. Hughes, but she's full-steam-ahead for Bates getting his vengeance on. Now, I understand why he'd want to do so — who wouldn't? At least castrate the rapist bastard, but Bates' constant interrogations and dark threats are stressing out his wife, who will SO pick up on his shenanigans, and poor Mrs. Hughes. I hope the evil mastermind Mrs. Hughes comes out for another visit, should Bates continue to be a dark, depressing drag. Maybe she can snoop around the cottage and find some damning evidence like she did to Edna.
It's weird, though. I got the creepies when, after Bates confronted Anna, he started extolling his wife's saintly nature and expressing his pride at her bravery. What was meant as comfort struck me as very "Sleeping with the Enemy." He loves her so much he'll kill anyone who crosses her? High stakes, man.
Now, on a lighter note, can we discuss Lord Grantham's sudden burst of altruism re: farmer Drewe? Do we think he really cares about the family and tenants' ancestral connection to the land and all that, or is he trying to defy Mary and Tom, yet again, in a way they really can't object to?
Dear Miss M,
Yes, Grantham altruistically allowed the fifth generations of serfs to continue to work land they don't own. Grantham never wanted to let the family go anyway. It was Lady Mary and Tom's idea. And what about Tom's socialism? About time that surfaced, with his poor, working-class roots and all.
And what about Mary? She is cold. She's beginning to rival Claire Underwood in "House of Cards." Brrrr. There is a chill in the air when Mary's in the room. Who is her long lost friend who showed up at the end? Were we supposed to know him?
Sorry, I just needed more Edith. There was a story in Rolling Stone last week about how Edith has become a feminine icon but in reality she's only got where she is because of her money and her station. No other women at that time would have been allowed to do what she's accomplished. She's headed for a giant fall. I want to see how she responds when Newsie dumps her. And dump he will, I predict.
And I need more Daisy. I love her story. She's so sweet. I was telling my sister how cute I thought Daisy was and the sibling, as only siblings are allowed to do, told me in no uncertain terms that yes, Daisy is sweet, but she's no looker. I was shocked. I think she's adorable. I feel felt like a mother that thinks all her children are beautiful, even strangers recoil when they look under the blanket at the baby in the pram.
Great costumes, again! Love the tunic look.
I'm so glad you raised the question of Napier: I was forced to Google him and came up with this wiki entry: "The Hon. Evelyn Napier is the son and heir of Viscount Branksome. A modest person and a keen hunter, he is friend of the Crawley family and occasionally visits Downton."
Which didn't really help. I still don't remember him at all, and I didn't like his vibe one bit. He seemed a snob's snob, and yet Mary certainly wasn't cold when HE walked in to the room. What's up with that? Is old tough super-snob Mary re-emerging as you suggest? Did Matthew's Mary die with him? How sad!
But of course, she might've used up a decent amount of coldness on Edith, yet again, when Edith expressed her certainty that Lord Gillingham was "quite keen" on Mary — to which Mary replied, "Not for the first time, you've got the wrong end of the stick." To which I replied (to no one in particular), "In more ways than one." I can't get enough of Mary's sisterly disses, so help me. Perhaps because I'm a middle child and experienced in both giving and receiving said disses?
And while I'm doling out disses, here's one more: your sister is exactly right about Daisy. Here's hoping Mrs. Patmore continues to drop much-needed knowledge on Miss Flibbertigibbet, who, I confess, has potential, but man she needs to get out more.
I thought the return of Tom's socialism and "beliefs" was a tad ham-handed. It was like, "Oh yeah, I'm a man of the people and stuff. Clearly I'm an American in the making." What? Although, somehow Cora actually managed some insight in conversation with Lord G. when she explained, "The one thing you will never understand about Tom is he's not a snob." True enough, and it's a good thing to never limit oneself or one's opportunities, but I'm not sure how I feel about him moving young Sybil away from her family — which can provide for her in ways that his cannot.
Dear Miss Snob,
Who exactly is Miss Flibbertigibbet? You better not be talking about my Daisy or I'm going to have to get all Bates on you ... nothing is over and nothing is ever done.
Yes, indeed, I mean Miss Daisy, and didn't I JUST say I think she has potential? She could make something of herself, but she needs a few laps around the block. For godssakes she didn't even know how a sewing machine works! That HAD to bug you a big, my crafty friend.
Of course, thankfully she's not as close-minded as Mrs. Patmore when it comes to technology. That hilarious Facebook version of episode 1 season 4 hit it right on the head when it cast Mrs P. as a freedom-fighting anti-machine Sarah Connor type. Ha!
Speaking of funny, I think Isobel and the Dowager need their own spin-off show; a sort of "Laverne & Shirley" to "Downton's" "Happy Days." I could listen to those two all day. Loved the conversation at the dinner table in which the family discusses Farmer Drewe's situation and this unfolds:
Lord G: Besides, he talks of the partnership between the farmers and the family, and I like that.
Isobel: Well, I think it's splendid.
Dowager: Says the queen of the rebels...
Isobel: Thank you.
Ta-dah! These gals are hilarious! That bit was only outdone by the Great Knife Theft Conversation, during which Isobel vouches for young Pegg. And this unfolds:
Dowager: As a matter of interest, do you ever doubt?
Isobel: I don't doubt the honesty of young Pegg.
Dowager: That is not at all what I asked.
Love, and steadily working on becoming as unamused as the Dowager going forward.
Ok, I've calmed down, for now. But please let poor Daisy be. Don't be too harsh on her for not knowing how a sewing machine works. I think it was the whole electric thing that left people wondering. Mrs. Patmore couldn't wrap her pudgy little fingers around the idea of an electric refrigerator.
But on to my favorite scene — the sitting-around-the-dining-room table discussion of politics and socialism and, poetry? What's happening at Downton? First an opera singer and now a discussion of Lord Byron?
Lord Grantham quips, "If we don't respect the past, it'll be hard to build our future,'' to which his mother gasps, "Where did you read that?"
Of course, the good lord rather smugly says he made it up and thought it rather clever. To which the dowager responds, "One thing we don't want is a poet in the family. The only poet I am familiar with is Lord Byron, and I presume you all know how that ended."
So being the good English major that I am, I knew Byron was a great British poet and wrote "Don Juan" and "She Walks in Beauty'' and died tragically, though, of an STD. So I quickly Wikipedia'd Lord Byron, which described his as "the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumors of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile."
But how lovely is "She walks in beauty, like the night/Of cloudless climes and starry skies."
I'm off, Love.
Let's end on a high note: how delicious did Alfred's those egg and cheese tarts look? I'm enchanted by the notion of three of my favorite things all in one place: egg, cheese, carb.
I'm so bummed he didn't make the chef-school cut, but I did love Carson's words of encouragement to him afterward: "... To fail at the first attempt does not mean that you won't succeed later."
While I couldn't find a recipe that quite looked like what Alfred was making, I'll offer the following recipe link as a possible menu item for a "Downton" inspired spread. (And double points for such a clever blog title!) Voila: http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2012/01/04/egg-and-cheese-tartlets.
Thanks to one of our readers, Deborah, I'm finally sorted out on the Great Evelyn Napier Mystery. She suggests we revisit season 1 of "Downton," and as a serial re-watcher of great things, I'm all for that plan. (I've already done it twice with "The Sopranos.")
Here's what Deborah had to tell us (edited a bit for context), pasted in below:
"Goodness, you guys need to rewatch Season 1. Evelyn Napier was a suitor of Mary’s who made the mistake of bringing Mr. Pamuk (the Turk) on a visit for the hunt, where everyone gets to wear those swell red jackets and ride horses around the farm in pursuit of the poor wee fox. We know how that worked out of course.
"And (in Season 1) poor Evelyn had a very nice long chat with Cora about how much he liked Mary but knew he was too much of a wimp for her. But she does like him and since most of the eligible men in GB of that class got whacked in WWI, it is amazing he is still alive, so of course she would be glad to see him."
I believe, dear K, this image sums up what just happened to us.
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