The Pop Cult: Downton Abbey S3: E6


THE POP CULT  is a Young Mary’s Record series dedicated to observing the very best ( and worst, when bad is oh-so-good) of current and retro pop culture.  Provided from the brains of our wise and completely enigmatic Pop Cult leader Kyle Sanders, this post is dedicated to S3:E6 of the acclaimed television series, Downton Abbey.

 



Yes, the Grammys were on. Yes, I watched the first hour. Yes, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake performed. And, unfortunately yes, I tuned out after an hour of shear boredom. Music just ain’t my forte, ya see, and what musician is awarded what trophy I couldn’t care less. So after about sixty minutes, I switched to something a little more exciting: zombies. The mid-season premiere (yes, apparently mid-season premiere’s are a “thing” these days) of The Walking Dead occurred, and nothing—not even Katy Perry’s green dress—could keep me from watching this drama in all its grotesque glory. I never thought I’d prefer flesh-eating zombies to Dowager Countess’ zingers, but I had been ever so patient, surely Dame Mags can forgive me. That being said, this week’s episode was certainly more eventful and clocking in at two hours, it had a lot to throw at us, including a cricket ball! SPOILERS BE DAMNED!

“Welcome to Downton…”

Well, as last week suggested, Mr. Bates has been proven innocent and has returned to Downton Abbey! No more cell-block tangos with shifty prison mates or two-faced officers, Mr. Bates is finally home and the embrace he shares with Anna was certainly sugary sweet enough that I think I’ll be able to skip this year’s Valentine’s Day altogether. I will admit though it is a relief to have him back at Downton, but of course one’s life is never at ease when your name is John Bates. Naturally, I keep thinking something will send him back to the pokey or some long-lost lover or family member will show up at the front door step with some sort of scheming trap to blackmail the poor man. But in the meantime, it’s cute to see Anna and Bates make a life of their own fixing up an old cottage. “Stay in bed, read books!” Lord Crawley suggests (and it’s advice I wish I’d hear more often!).

When Worlds Collide

Matthew is getting rather comfortable in changing the ways in which Downton is run, much to Lord Crawley’s chagrin. Matthew’s intentions even make Downton’s current caretaker resign. This however seems to be a blessing in disguise, as when discussed with Tom (that plucky Irish widower) it is decided that Tom’s early experiences of running a farm will in fact give him the position as caretaker, keeping him at Downton along with newborn Sybil (the baby…not the deceased daughter—though I guess her spirit still resides there too). I’m glad to see Tom and Matthew working together, as Robert’s traditional old ways has had my knickers in a twist since the season premiere when we found out he had squandered his and Cora’s savings on a bad railroad investment. It’s high time he step down and let the youth of the modern world take over.

“Trust me.”

Well as much as I looked forward to Thomas and James FINALLY relieving all of that pent-up sexual tension, it in fact blew up in Thomas’ face. It couldn’t have been set up any better: the combining shots of a shirtless James getting ready for bed as Thomas is undressing in his own room was quite the salacious build-up, but of course it was doomed to end miserably. Apparently James doesn’t “swing that way,” and it didn’t help matters when Alfred walked in on Thomas kissing a sleeping James in bed. The three of them make quite an awkward trio the next day, having Carson and the rest of the downstairs staff in confusion.

What’s really interesting is everyone’s reaction to this “evil” that dare not speak its name. Alfred and James are completely disgusted with Thomas’ behavior, demanding Thomas be fired without reference and threaten to get the police involved (Alfred even calls the authorities but later recants his accusation). Carson however seems somewhat sympathetic towards Thomas, as “it’s not his fault” he was made this way and promises to write a respectful reference for the poor valet. Mrs. Hughes absolutely sympathizes with Thomas. In fact, she herself has come across other men who share Thomas’ problem (I’d like her to elaborate on that in another episode). Hell, even Mr. Bates has softened towards Thomas, and they used to be enemies (Mr. Bates WAS in prison after all…hello—I’ve seen a few episodes of HBO’s Oz and I know what goes down in the showers)! While the episode ends without certainty as to whether or not Thomas will leave Downton, he’s at least forgiven for his behavior and will perhaps survive such scandal—and this is pre-Stonewall after all!

Score 1 for Lady Edith!

 

Edith Crawley seems to be rebounding quite well from her heartbreaking embarrassment of being left at the altar. She’s decided to take the job as a journalist for a newspaper—and is even hit on by one of the editors (naturally though there’s a hang-up—perhaps more on that next week)! Seems like Edith will find her niche in the world after all, and hopefully find a damn husband before she goes spiraling into spinsterhood!

Dowager Dialogue

 

 “Since we have a country solicitor and a car mechanic, it was only a matter of time.” (In response to Edith’s announcement she’s taken the job as a journalist)

“You’ve been reading those Communist newspapers again!”

“I knew you wouldn’t agree…I know how you hate facing facts.”

“Oh, well that is an easy caveat to accept because I’m never wrong.”

“The thing is to keep smiling, and look as though you never disapprove.”

“One day you’ll be older and out of our power…but NOT YET.”

Favorite Line:

“Have you changed your pills?”

This line spoken by Isabel Crawley to Violet Crawley. Usually, Isabel is the victim to so many of the Dowager’s acid tongued put-downs, but I felt this one was worth repeating. Those two are the turn-of-the-century’s Golden Girls.

 

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The Pop Cult: Downton Abbey S3:E3

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THE POP CULT  is a Young Mary’s Record series dedicated to observing the very best ( and worst, when bad is oh-so-good) of current and retro pop culture.  Provided from the brains of our wise and completely enigmatic Pop Cult leader Kyle Sanders, this post is dedicated to S3:E3 of the acclaimed television series, Downton Abbey.


When I’m not bloggin’ about pop culture, I’m doing something completely different, which is working a part-time job at a nearby pharmacy (I know, bizarre yet true). And while I don’t have too much in common with my coworkers (other than the fact we hate this time of the year because EVERYONE in town is sick as a dawg and come to us to make them feel better), there is one pharmacist that is just as obsessed with Downton Abbey as I am. What’s funny is we both come from different upbringings, and yet we get easily distracted discussing the Crawleys and their servants from downstairs. Last week, she FINALLY caught up with the previous seasons so now we’re both on the same page and can share some water cooler chit-chat (albeit while mixing amoxicillin suspensions with purified water) where I won’t feel as though I’m spoiling any surprises. That being said, on with this week’s episode and SPOILERS BE DAMNED!

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"The times, they are a’changin’!"


What would Downton Abbey be without specific hints at a changing world? There’s scoff at the news of Tennessee accepting the Nineteenth Amendment (Women? Voting? PISH-POSH POPPYCOCK!). Even new innovations are tested: there’s a humorous scene involving Mrs. Hughes attempting to master a toaster, as the excessive smoke the invention stirs up has Mr. Carson in a panic that something has caught on fire. Downton is also changing. Now that Matthew has invested his inheritance into Downton, he now has a say in how the estate is run…and to his surprise, he finds out that Downton has in fact been pissing away a great deal of its resources and money. It appears that Lord Crawley is the “MC Hammer of 1920s England,” but hopefully Matthew can whip the place into shape.

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“Trust me.”


It’s high time for Thomas to get laid. Big time. The new season has found him irritable and fussy (he even double-crossed his BFF Mrs. O’Brien for crying out loud!). He still won’t assist Alfred in learning the ropes of being a footman, and his storyline is as stale as a Monty Python sketch involving men dressed in women’s clothing. But that seems all about to change…


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 “Welcome to Downton…”

With Matthew’s stroke of fortune (thanks to Lavinia, that dead-but-ever-so-present ex-fiancé of his), Downton can finally afford to hire some extra help. First, there’s the hire of a new footman (the dapper and drop-dead gorgeous Jimmy Kent) that all the maids—and Thomas—swoon over. And then there’s the new kitchen maid, Ivy Stewart, that Daisy’s been bitchin’ to Ms. Patmore about hiring. While Daisy can now be promoted to assistant cook, it looks as if Alfred (whom Daisy has been crushing on) has taken a shine to the new maid—but enough about that homely bitch, LET’S DISCUSS JIMMY SHALL WE?!?! His entrance into Downton takes everyone’s breath away—especially Thomas’. Why, I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen Thomas smile (perhaps never!), but Jimmy’s Adonis-like looks certainly do the trick. While it is unclear whether or not Jimmy, like Thomas, is a “troubled soul” (this IS the post-Victorian era after all, and the sin that dare not speak its name had yet to be handled by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and the cast of Glee), one thing is for certain: Thomas is horny. And that of course is a good thing in my book (until of course something goes terribly wrong).

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"Poor Mr. Bates"

Well, no visits from Anna this week. Perhaps that has something to do with the lack of letters either one has received. Neither Anna nor Bates seems to be receiving correspondence, which Bates finds out has been the doings of the prison guards. Bates can’t seem to catch a break, per usual, and this time he’s receiving the metaphorical middle finger from the prison staff. Yet Bates ain’t down for the count, and springs a trap for his cell mate. This seems to please the guards, and by episode’s end he and Anna are ecstatic at FINALLY catching up with one another via letters. It’s so damned sweet to see them both crying tears of joy at reading one another’s writings. So sweet it made me smack my email account right in the mouth!

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"Branson, you bastard!"

Sybil’s husband and former chauffeur Tom Branson arrives at Downton’s doorstep soak and wet and without his pregnant wife in order to escape controversy in Ireland. Apparently his rebellious spirit has got him in a bit of trouble with the law, throwing a wealthy Irish family out of their home and setting fire to the estate. This leads him to abandon Sybil in his homeland so he can duck out unscathed. Luckily Sybil arrives unharmed, but after the insistence that the couple stay until the baby is born, Branson is up in arms about being away from his country, what with the Irish Civil War coming to a head and all. Those fiery Irish redheads—you can’t keep them away from their homeland. I’m not too sure about Branson. In many ways I can admire his VIVA LA REVOLUTION ways, but his oh-so-scary resemblance to Emilio Estevez makes me want to spit at his Riverdancing feet.

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"Score 1 for Lady Edith!"

Last week saw Edith suffer a heartbreaking and embarrassing moment when Sir Anthony abandoned her at the altar. This week, Edith moves on with her doting spinster life finding interest in writing for a newspaper. Her first piece involves speaking out for women’s suffrage (much to Lord Crawley’s chagrin). Forget Rosie the Riveter, ALL HAIL EDITH THE EMPOWERED!

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"Dowager Dialogue"


“Edith dear, you’re a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do!”


“Tell me doctor, do you find the War has driven the people back into the churches or further away than ever?”


“No family is ever what it seems from the outside.”


“Lady Gregory. Countess Markiovitch. Why are the Irish rebels so well-born?”


“Can somebody write that down?!” (In response to Cora’s comment “I think Granny’s right.”)

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Favorite Line:

“Hard work and diligence weigh more than beauty in the real world.” This coming from Mr. Carson, who believes Jimmy’s hiring was based on his smoldering good looks and not on his skills. It’s certainly a quote that needs to be reiterated often, but as Violet Crawley retorts: If only that were true!




                             HONEST OBSERVATIONS FROM YOUNG MARY:

                                                      TORNADO DAY

1. Thank God I completed Season 2 of Downton Abbey before PBS pulled it from their website….and before the wind carried me to my death.

2. Jim Cantore was supposed to be in Bowling Green!  Who spread that rumor!?  (The same person that is claiming Robert Plant is movin’ to town…can someone confirm that?)  I’m watching Jim on The Weather Channel right now and he’s in Jeffersonville, Indiana!

3. For the love of God..whatever happens… don’t take Tidballs from us. 

4. I can:

     -decently code a website,

     -app the living hell out of my phone,

     -easily use all 3 remotes and the wii-mote flawlessly to change from all the      outputs on my hdtv, blu-ray, and nintendo.

      …but I can’t understand WTF a weather radio really is, how to work it, or why I need one.

5. And now, The Weather Channel is showing Mike Bettes (Jim Cantore’s second hand man?) in Nashville, TN.  News is like my sports.  Is it wrong that I’m feeling butthurt that the Weather Channel is ignoring our city of Bowling Green, KY?  Do they not know we’re the new Seattle?

6.  Accidentally just clicked “google+” instead of “google” when I was going to search “how do storm chasers get paid?” and as it turns out, nobody on google+ has mentioned this storm at all.  Might be because nobody is on google+.

7. “How do storm chasers gets paid” on google lets me know that …well..many of them don’t.  Tornado Tim wrote this blog: HERE — as it turns out, I think storm-chasers are like musicians — it takes a long time and alot of love to transition from part-time to full-time.

8. Chris Allen’s blog does not mince words.  (Let me clarify that I do enjoy Chris Allen and think that he is keeping it real.)

9. This tornado, the equinox, planetary gravitational forces, God, witchery, or anything else have NOTHING TO DO with you standing up your BROOMS.

10.  I can think of at least 10 weather events that absolutely ruined my day as I fought to get to WKU for class.  Frozen or sopping wet.  And today, dismissed smiling students wandered down from the hill, swinging their arms in the warm wind, hair-blowing in braids, greeting the overcast sun and waving.

Joking aside, please be careful and safe.  Don’t be idiotic.  Stock up on Lunchables, flashlights, and good attitudes.  And also, please post your “storm shelter party” pics and weather photos on my facebook page: HERE.

PS. It is sick, sad and true that if I saw a tornado in the distance, I would pray to god that my Instagram app didn’t freeze up.