Dowton departed and left us with a lovely sigh. Until the Christmas special that is. This reminds us of what we fell in love with in the first season, country drama, upstairs downstairs angst and meddling grandmothers. I liked it. It was all so mellow and thank heavens there were no clichés; Ivy didn’t marry Alfred in some shabby secret ceremony, which was one less thing for Daisy to get all pouty about. Rose did not run off with Jack Ross as I wholly expected her to. Lady Edith is still pregnant and Aunt Rosmund came up with a plan to help with that.
Who knows what will have changed by Christmas?
Alfred has written to Ivy; his father passed away and he is coming home for the funeral but that’s not all that’s on Young Alfred’s mind. He goes on to ask for Ivy’s hand in marriage in the letter. The brief flirtation, if we can call it that, between them when he was last at Dowton gave him hope for a lasting future between them, so he would like her to quit her cushty gig at Downton, move to London, get a job and live happily ever after…or something along those lines. Bloody hell. What an idiot. Seriously? A girl bats her eye lashes at you for five minutes and the next thing you want to do is put a ring on it? Thank God for the young and restless with their inquiring minds, because it is for this reason Ivy would rather not tie her apron strings to Alfred’s and make do. The world is a big place and she wants to see something of it before making such decisions. So, no thank you Alfred. BYE. But then Daisy got all pissy and upset about Ivy’s common sense decision because now Alfred’s heart is properly broken now. Oy vey.There is a song for this situation between Ivy and Daisy and its Kelis’ I Hate You So Much Right Now. Or something just as dramatic.
There’s more to Alfred’s stupidity though…
Daisy has been given a day off by Mrs Patmore in a bid to avoid her seeing Alfred, who is intent upon coming to Downton to convince Ivy to be his wifey after she wrote back refusing his proposal. Mrs Patmore and Mrs Hughes would really rather avoid that situation so they agree to give Daisy the day off and she decides to visit her father-in-law, William’s dad-remember him? He gives Daisy some much needed sage advice on how best to deal with her Alfred situation and keep things classy.
Alfred shows exactly how stupid he is by trying to spin Daisy some yarn about how he’s been blind to her feelings for him, yada, yada, yada…No shit Sherlock! He tries to make a play for Daisy now that Ivy has double dumped him but she is having none of that. She lets him know that she has moved on from those feelings but would like to remain friends. Forever. Talk about a classy shut down. Even if she still has feelings for him, nothing is as low as playing a man’s next best option. Daisy darling is not here for that. Nicely played Daisy.
Lord Gillingham is coming to visit and his valet Mr Green along with him. Naturally, Anna is distraught by this news. She is finally able to confide in Lady Mary that it was Mr Green, and not an unknown assailant, who raped her. Lady Mary insists on doing something about it not least because Lord Gillingham was her visitor and Mr Green by extension.
I admire the dynamic in their relationship because it’s very unlike a lady and her maid, more like a lady and her confidant-maid-friend and Mary feels the need to protect Anna and keep her confidence.
One of the key reasons why Matthew’s absence was felt even more this season is because Lady Mary reminds us of him. She shows a lot of his qualities and a certain level temperament he possessed. She’s astute and embraces the challenges of the modern world, that’s just what Matthew would have done. It is to Michelle Dockery’s credit that she can evoke such emotion and make the audience miss Matthew for her, because she keeps him in our hearts as he stays in hers. In time she’ll move on but for now we are fine with her being in love with him. In the same vein she remains a realist of the world she lives in. When Rose informs her of her engagement to Jack Ross, she goes to London to speak with him because Mary knows Rose is being impetuous and her sole intention is to punish her mother, dating a black musician would be punishment enough. Jack Ross, on the other hand, is in love with her but he too knows that this union of theirs is at best, nonsensical. Love will not be enough to when they are faced with the harsh realities. A simple stroke on his cheek from Rose over their tea date is enough to cause an uncomfortable stir from other diners. Still Mary is kind about their situation.
When it comes to Jack Ross, I am not satisfied by how his story line played out, it felt restrained when there should have been so much more done with his character, we could’ve done with some back story even, it just felt all too polite and to that end, bland.
Before Lord Gillingham is able to fire Mr Green at Lady Mary’s request he turns up dead. Oh dear.
Mr. Bates requested a day off to York on some business or other we are not privy to the same day Green dies…oh dear God.
Now this may all be coincidence that but Bates is a tragic character whose lot in life is to cause angst for the audience so who knows what Mr Fellowes has in store for us where this is concerned, but I’ll take anything not to witness another Bates trial and Anna’s anguish.
If anything happens he can count on Lady Mary as a witness for the defence because if he had anything to do with Green’s death she thinks his actions, whatever they are his, were honourable. I agree.
Over to you Mr Fellowes.
Love is clearly in the air at Downton because Isobel is getting some attention from boring old Lord Merton and Branson looks to be getting some soon with local school teacher Sarah Bunting. She is something of a rebel and doesn’t think much of families like the Crawleys because they represent the ways of old and an aristocratic status quo. I like her, I don’t know that I should love her just yet. She could be a nice addition to the family, you know, if things with her and Branson go far enough. I remain cautiously optimistic, especially where their politics is concerned. Still, Branson’s story has to get a move on in some direction and this might just be it.
Aunt Rosmund would like to learn French and wants to do so in Switzerland not Paris, because “you know what the French are like”. Edith is to be her companion during her sojourn in the Alps and thanks to the excellent healthcare system Edith will be able to have her child safely and put it up for adoption without anyone being the wiser about it. As one does.
Whilst it would’ve been easier to tell her family and get it over and done with, I like this new storyline of Edith’s it brings her more to fore and puts her in the spotlight with Lady Mary and her desire of suitors. We also want know what the hell has happened to Gregson.
All in all, this was not a bad finale at all, I would go so far as to call it the best episode for the season, it was less dramatic and more pleasant. The return of Lord Grantham to surprise his family, Lady Mary and her two suitors who are prepared to one up the other for her affection, we are all just dying to know how this ménage plays out. I’d love Lord Gillingham to win her but there’s something about that Mr Blake that says he will put up a good fight against the young Lord.
Until Christmas Day then.