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.
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!
“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.”
“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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- February 12 2013 4 Notes