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Downton Abbey

Posts related to the ITV/PBS Masterpiece Classic drama

Downton Abbey 3×02



Laura Carmichael shone in the second episode (technically, episode 3!) of Downton’s third season. Alas, she has been just as neglected and underestimated by the media as her character is at Downton, so I hope this episode will garner her a bit of the attention Michelle Dockery and Joanne Froggatt have garnered here in the States! When this season aired last autumn on ITV, the jilting of Edith at the altar by the unfairly bullied and brow-beaten Sir Anthony Strallan brought out pitchforks from the legions of fans who warmed to the pairing and the prospect of Edith finally getting her Happily-Ever-After. Unfortunately, for reasons as yet unknown, Julian Fellowes decided that was not to be. and the circumstances surrounding the jilting soured me on Violet and Robert a bit. Historically speaking, Anthony was a great catch not only due to the shortage of elgible men after the Great War, but because he was well-off, in possession of his own estate, and was obviously fit enough–injured arm notwithstanding–to father children.

Violet was hesitant about the match in the Christmas special, but no one in the family presented any alternatives for Edith’s interest. Based on season 1, I can fully imagine that any of Edith’s tentative suitors were given the cold-shoulder by the family simply because–subconsciously or not–they just don’t value Edith. And if Mary so freely laughed at Edith’s attempts to catch Matthew to Matthew’s face (and he laughed too!), and wagered she could distract Sir Anthony away from Edith, I can also easily imagine her sabotaging the pursuit of any young man who ever showed interest in Edith during social events at Downton or in London. Ironically, Sir Anthony was one of the many suitors paraded through Downton for Mary’s perusal, so perhaps his jilting was a given! But at the end of the day, I want Edith to be with a man who will fight for her hand in spite of the family’s lifelong habit of dismissing, overlooking and undermining her.

Other thoughts:

  • Is Mrs. Hughes clear of breast cancer, or not? The ambiguity of her words and sending Mrs. Patmore to whisper the results of Dr. Clarkson’s tests to Carson was confusing.
  • Edith’s wedding gown was much, much, much more beautiful and flattering than Mary’s.
  • Glad to see Sybil has some spark left in her character, and that she dared to joke about sex in front of Granny!
  • I wonder why Martha packed up and left after…what…a week or a fortnight at Downton. Was Shirley MacLaine only available or willing to do two episodes?
  • Daisy must have a thing for emotionally unavailable footmen!
  • Cora’s speech to Edith post-jilting was supposed to be reassuring, but it came across as callous. What and why is she being tested? For being the “ugly duckling” middle sister whom nobody gave a fig about? And it was another blow that the family didn’t even have the same kind of conversation about the situation as the servants (go Alfred!)!! The next cut is to Robert moaning about losing Downton and Matthew offering Reggie Swire’s money to him–how rude!
  • It would have been as interesting if Mary had written that letter (just as interesting as the possibility that Bates killed Vera). She was willing to fleece her maternal grandmother of her fortune, and would do anything to save Downton…
  • Poor Molesley. He’s already ignored by Matthew and most the servants, and now he’s been pulled into the Thomas/O’Brien War!
  • Downton is saved by Daisy ex machina! How many miracles and coincidences can this show collect?
  • If Robert was hard up for cash, why couldn’t he sell their second country estate? No need to downsize when you can sell up.
  • I’m still an Anna/Bates fan, but putting Bates in gaol was a mistake, especially in light of the contrived plot Anna must unravel to prove his innocence.

Leave your ruminations and reactions in the comments below!

Downton Abbey: 3×01


Martha and Violet

Thoughts on episode 1 of Downton Abbey’s third season:

  • I love Alfred. That is all.
  • Matthew must be the luckiest man on earth–heir to an earldom and heir to a sudden (and mysterious–didn’t Lavinia rat out her uncle because her father was heavily in debt?) fortune!
  • It was a tad troubling to watch Tom rant about Irish independence–it was a serious and tragic matter, but are we supposed to want him to stop talking about it because he makes everyone uncomfortable?
  • Edith’s pursuit of Sir Anthony! You go girl, even though I want you to find someone who pursues you first, not someone you fall for because he shows an ounce of kindness.
  • MARY! Her snits were aggravating because the circumstances of Matthew’s inheritance were horrid and painful. It’s practically like dancing on poor Lavinia’s grave.
  • Cora has the heart of a Who–I would have ripped Robert a new one over his arrogant handling of her fortune.
  • When will Daisy learn to stop listening to Thomas? He loves to cause trouble, especially with Mrs. Patmore!
  • Speaking of Mrs. Patmore, is anyone else loving her friendship with Mrs. Hughes as much as I am?
  • Two things that underwhelmed me: Martha Levinson and Mary’s wedding gown.
  • Was Matthew a virgin? Twitter consensus leans towards yes ^.^
  • Thomas vs O’Brien is going to get deadly!
  • Bates in prison is like a ticking time bomb. Reminds me of when he suddenly snapped on Thomas in S1. I’m glad to see Anna fighting to get him free when it seems that everyone else has moved on.

Leave your ruminations and reactions in the comments below!

Angela Lansbury hosts Downton Abbey Revisited


The extraordinarily popular PBS series “Downton Abbey,” created by Academy Award®-winning writer Julian Fellowes, tells the story of the noble Crawley family and the staff who serve them in their sumptuous Yorkshire estate. Filled with love and intrigue, “Downton Abbey” has been embraced by viewers and critics alike, making Season 2 the most-watched MASTERPIECE drama on record. Dame Maggie Smith was recently honored with a Primetime Emmy® Award for her portrayal of Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham. So what are millions of devoted fans supposed to do while breathlessly awaiting Season 3, which premieres on MASTERPIECE, January 6, 2013, on PBS?

A solution is at hand. Join Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Siobhan Finneran and many more of the series’ most popular actors for DOWNTON ABBEY REVISITED, a fond recollection of favorite moments from Seasons 1 and 2, plus interviews with the actors and creative team and rare behind-the-scenes footage. Hosted by Angela Lansbury (an unabashed “Downton Abbey” fan), DOWNTON ABBEY REVISITED premieres Sunday, November 25, 2012, from 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET, followed by an encore performance from 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).

“As the Thanksgiving holiday winds down, PBS is excited to treat our loyal ‘Downton Abbey’ fans to a fun retrospective on Sunday, November 25,” said senior vice president and chief TV executive John F. Wilson. “We hope viewers will gather with family and friends to watch the great moments from Seasons 1 and 2, and preview a sneak peek of Season 3 to whet their appetites just six weeks before the premiere.”

Interviews with creators Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame reveal the origins of the series and how they envisioned it as a combination of Edwardian-era tradition with modern multi-character storytelling. Hugh Bonneville talks about Robert, the Earl of Grantham’s relationship with the mother of all mothers, Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith). MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton describes the interaction between Violet and new character Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine. Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna, says that watching the two legends exchange slights was “like history being made.”

In addition to Froggatt, other interviews from below the stairs include Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Sophie McShera (Daisy) and Jim Carter (Mr. Carson). Belying her onscreen reputation as the devious O’Brien, Siobhan Finneran reveals that the cast is like a family and that the production has the camaraderie of a stage company.


Fashion plays a starring role in the series, with downstairs women revealing that they have “costume envy” and that Elizabeth McGovern wages a “battle with corsets.” The romances of “Downton Abbey” provide many of the series’ favorite moments, and the relationships between Cora and Robert, Bates and Anna and, of course, the star-crossed lovers Matthew and Mary, are discussed by the actors.

DOWNTON ABBEY REVISITED also offers a tantalizing sneak peek at what’s in store for the characters as they enter the Roaring Twenties in Season 3. Will Bates be released from prison? What new mischief will Thomas, the villainous footman, and O’Brien, his scheming ally, get up to? Will wedding bells finally ring for Matthew and Lady Mary? And how will the formidable Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) handle the arrival of Lady Grantham’s American mother (Shirley MacLaine)?