And we’ve come to the last episode of season two! Though it seems weird to watch a Christmas episode in February, I think the Christmas special redeemed many of the issues viewers and critics alike had with season two (I had my ups and downs, but overall, I enjoyed it.). Now we have Tasha giving her last recap of the season. Thank you so much to her, and to Lynn, for providing the excellent and funny recaps! Once again, the screencaps are courtesy of Downton Online.
Last week, you might remember, I was less than thrilled with how certain storylines were played out in Downton Abbey. But Evangeline assures me that I will enjoy the Christmas special. So here we go! Will Bates wind up in the hoosegow? Probably. I’m also looking forward to seeing Matthew punch Sir Richard in the face. It will likely be for naught, but still…
Someone’s fetching a Christmas tree. Not Branson, obvs. It’s Thomas! The whole house is being decorated for Xmas. That’s a big-ass tree. And electric lights? I didn’t know they had those back then.
Anna’s still around. The staff is getting Christmas presents from the family. They’re not lame gift cards or fruit baskets, either, it’s stuff they might actually want. That’s sweet.
Something is up with a guy named Mr. Swire. Why do I care? Oh, it’s Lavinia’s father. Matthew says, “Forgive me if I’m casting a gloom.” YOU’RE ALWAYS DOING THAT, Matthew, do you expect us to kick you off the show? Oh, and Bates’ trial is fast approaching. Everyone but Sir Richard thinks he’s innocent. Sir Richard totally killed Vera.
Meanwhile, the servants are playing with the Ouija board. I wouldn’t find it surprising if O’Brien COULD summon the dead. Maybe they could summon Vera and ask who killed her. The Granthams, meanwhile, are playing charades, except Lady V doesn’t call it charades, she calls it The Game. Sir Richard isn’t keen isn’t keen on playing silly games. “Sir Richard, Life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.” Thank you, Yoda Violet.
But Bates can’t play games, because he’s in a cartoonishly hellish prison. I felt suddenly transported to a French Revolution movie there for a second. He does look good in a prison uniform, though. Haha! He’s trying to get Anna to prepare for his murder conviction. Does he know about some evidence he’s not saying? Because buying poison seems really circumstantial.
Letter from Sybil! She’s in the show more now than she was before she left. She’s preggars, SHOCKING. Seriously, I’m amazed those two figured it out. Lord Grantham is distinctly disappointed. Apparently he was holding out hope she would change her mind and divorce Branson. Cora’s telling him he’s an idiot with her eyes. L’amour!
Suddenly it’s New Year’s Eve, and Sir Richard is upset he has to serve his own wine. It is difficult. The Granthams celebrate 1920 and Lady Violet predicts the worst is yet to come.
Annnnnd the fight for Lady Mary has begun. *rings fighting bell* Sir Richard starts bossing her around on the hunting trip, but Matthew intervenes. I guess Mary just stands around watching the guys shoot? Sounds fun. Matthew, of course, keeps missing whatever he’s shooting at. HAHA, ohhhhh sexual metaphors. Back to Mary… first she stands around Matthew, then Richard is angry she was laughing with him. Matthew overhears him shouting at her and wanders over to be like, “Oh, I say, is everything all right? Anything I can do? Diddly dum de dum.” This relationship is unraveling rather quickly. Then Mary and Matthew TALK DURING LUNCH! Whaaaaat. It sounds like they’re saying, “What will you be doing in London?” “Picking up Mr. Swire’s ashes.” and other such trivialities, but in fact they’re making hot passionate love with their naked toes under the table. Ohhhhh yeahhhhhh. No wonder Sir Richard looks so annoyed.
Meanwhile, at the house of that old bugged-eyed guy (Ed: LOL, Sir Anthony Strallan!) from season one whose name I can’t remember, he and Edith already dressing alike: dismally, like something out of the Great Depression. Before she can even start to work her wiles, he puts Edith off–dude, Lady Edith’s the best you can do. Then he calls her lovely! He’s never getting rid of her now. She disappears into his house for the rest of the episode. What are they getting up to in there for weeks and weeks? And will anyone notice she’s missing?
Back at Downton Abbey, after the hunting party lunch and naked toe sexxxoring, Sir Richard wants to set a date for the wedding. Mary’s like, “Mehhhh…” I like how every shot of her and Sir Richard somehow includes Matthew. Sir Richard gets a bit shouty and Mary storms off. Then Matthew chases after her and offers to help, adding, “You don’t have to marry him, you know.” Wait, flashback, weren’t “You have to marry him” your EXACT WORDS two episodes ago? Lord Grantham wonders why the hell Mary’s marrying Sir Richard, and Cora finally clues him in about the Turkish Diplomat Incident. I can’t believe he’s been in the dark this long! I honestly thought he knew but just wasn’t saying anything.
A bunch of the servants are being called to testify in Bates’ trial, but they don’t know what about. Is this really the proper way to go about a trial? Shouldn’t you know what people are going to say before you call them to testify for or against you? Somehow the prosecution knows all the bad things Bates has done all through the season and exactly who to ask about it, including the fact that he called his wife a… *whispers* bitch and said he wished she was “the former, or better yet, the late” Mrs. Bates. Quelle horreur. That’s what we here in Gun Country call totally not evidence of anything. Don’t worry, though, Lord Grantham shall declare him innocent, and that will settle the matter. HOLD UP, did they get all this evidence against Bates from Bates himself? Holy wiener dog in a handbasket, self-destruct much, Bates?
Bates is declared guilty. And he’s going to be hanged? Like, right that second? The British legal system sucks. YOU BASTARDS KILLED BATES! Oh, wait, Matthew and this other lawyer guy are explaining the death sentence is just routine. Wow, harsh. Good way to psych people out though. *glare*
Isobel on Bates: “He’s a decent man.” LOL Never read a murder mystery, eh, Isobel? It’s always the decent ones. Meanwhile, the servants’ hall is all a flutter. Just imagine the awkwardness when Anna comes back! Even O’Brien’s put out.
Mary goes up to her dad’s library and Lord Grantham’s like, “Hey, while we’re here, what happened to that Turkish diplomat?” Mary confesses she’s “damaged goods” (though not as damaged as Pamuk), so you see, she has to marry Sir Richard. Lord Grantham’s like, WHO CARES, Carlisle’s a dick. Go to America and have adventures! Lord G’s an awesome dad. I’m glad they had this talk. Hugs all around you guyyyys. ::sniffle:: I officially forgive you for that maid incident, Lord G. Come to think of it, what maid?
Thomas is sad that Lord G won’t promote him. “He doesn’t trust me, does he, because of the stealing.” That does tend to put people off trusting one, yeah. So he follows O’Brien’s advice by stealing Isis and hiding her in a shed in the woods. Then he’s going to “find” her and Lord G will be grateful. It’s the perfect plan for idiots. Predictably, everything goes wrong. Isis disappears from the shed and Thomas can’t find her. Don’t worry, though, some village children found her and brought her back. But Lord G is touched by Thomas’ out-of-character concern and decides he’d make a great valet. Good gravy, how do these people survive?
Matthew is back from London with Lavinia’s dad’s ashes. Mary tells Matthew she’s moving away but not where or why. Even Isobel is telling him Mary is still in love with him, now! I didn’t think she’d even noticed. But Matthew says it HAS to be like this and he can’t say why, probably because it will sound stupid. Okay, here it is: he deserves to be unhappy, “and so does Mary.” HOLY CRAP WHAT AN ASSHOLE. You think Mary’s happiness hinges on you, Matthew? It does–getting AWAY from you, that is. Have fun being miserable ALONE. You’ll be the old cat lady of earls.
Anna goes to visit Bates in prison. He’s talking like someone who’s about to die. Oh Bates, so self-sacrificing. And for what? Anna’s going to quit OR go to America to escape the notoriety of being the wife of a murderer. Not only that, but the servants’ ball is being canceled. You’re destroying lives here, Bates!
Oh, I forgot Matthew also hasn’t heard about the Turkish Diplomat Incident. Mary finally spills the beans and he seems rather shocked. She compares herself to Tess of the d’Urbervilles. EYE ROLL (although Michelle Dockery would make a good Tess). Still, Matthew’s like, “WHO CARES, Sir’s Richard’s a dick.” That should be the title of this episode. Downton Abbey: Christmas Special, Who Cares Sir Richard’s a Dick. I don’t get Matthew. One minute he’s like, “We deserve our existential misery!” and the next he’s like, “Don’t marry Sir Richard, it will make you unhappy.” See what I mean? They need to be unhappy together.
It’s the night Mary breaks up with Sir Richard! It’s like the big dance of high school movies, but at Downton Abbey. Mary’s dress is awesome. She tells Sir Richard he must see that they’re not suited, but I don’t think Sir Richard does see that. He starts getting shouty again and in swoops Matthew. Things quickly devolve into the two men arguing about LAVINIA, though, which is like way beyond the point. Sir Richard knows exactly what buttons to push with Matthew. FACEPUNCH! Matthew’s moment of glory is short-lived; Sir Richard shoves him into a vase. Then Lord Grantham’s like, “What’s going on here? *grumble grumble grumble*” Everyone agrees there are too many people in the room to fight anymore, and Sir Richard should leave. Lady Violet is thrilled because she doesn’t have to see Carlisle again, AND her least-favorite vase was broken. Hugs all around, you guyyyys.
The next morning. Mary wants her and Richard to part on good-ish terms. Just be happy he can’t stalk you on FaceBook, Mary (you know he’d be one of those exes.) “I loved you, you know. More than you knew.” I think you’re confusing love with obsession, there, Sir Richard. Aw, it’s still sad to see him go, though.
Bates is reprieved; now he’ll only be spending LIFE in prison. Yay? Oh, but the servants ball is back on, that’s exciting! Matthew is going to dance with O’Brien, THIS I MUST SEE. Oh, no, he’s dancing with Mrs. Patmore, dang it. I knew he didn’t have the balls to dance with O’Brien. And Thomas is dancing with Lady V. It’s sooo sweet.
More talk about Sybil in the library. Babies bring people together; Cora wants to visit her grandbaby and vice versa, which means Lord G has to put up with “The Chauffeur.” THE CHAUFFEUR HAS A NAME. But anyway. I’m sure Grantham will figure out what his name is eventually.
Daisy and Anna are playing with the Ouija board, and receive an actual message from the dead: “May they be happy with my love.” Obviously that message is from Lavinia. Does she know something we don’t? Meanwhile, Mary’s standing in the cold and observing the snow. Her life is full of such entertainments. Matthew wanders out and tells her he doesn’t want her to goooo to America and marry a cowboy. He wants her to stay in England with him! Aw! Mary’s, like, actually making an expression. It looks like… she’s smiling! And Matthew proposes! Properly, on his knees and everything, because Mary orders it. Warm fuzziness. This is all so sudden, and I’m not entirely sure why Matthew changed his mind, but I DON’T CAAAAARE.
Awwww, that was such a great episode! I take back all those nasty things I said about the males characters’ masculinity. Well, not Bates’ and Matthew’s, but definitely Branson’s and Lord G’s. Can’t wait to find out what will happen in season three. Will we ever find out who murdered Vera? Will Bates start his own prison gang? (Can’t you just picture them as something out of West Side Story? That’d be awesome!) And will Mary and Matthew’s wedding will be as romantic as Bella and Edward’s in Breaking Dawn Part I? Is Matthew a virgin hero? Will Sybil and Tom attend the wedding with a bunch of radical flapper friends who INSIST on doing the Charleston???? I hope so!
Good lord, what am I going to do with all my free time now that Downton Abbey’s over? Hopefully the next season of Sherlock comes quickly…