I say is there no Downton thread? How awful!

(141 Posts)
Moln Wed 25-Dec-13 23:04:03

I can't have been alone in my viewing!

ophiotaurus Wed 25-Dec-13 23:10:06

I just came in here to discuss! There must be someone else who watched it as well as us?
What did you think?

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 25-Dec-13 23:10:45

It was real hammy garbage, wasn't it? I still can't help watching though. I laughed out loud at Edith's clunky account of the men who beat up Michael being "quite well-known, apparently, and they wear horrid brown shirts" grin. And it is baffling me why anybody is interested in the comatose Lady Mary.

Oblique27 Wed 25-Dec-13 23:11:42

I was just wondering the same thing! I know no one else here with me wanted to watch it but surely the country has not deserted Mr Fellowes? I thought it was fun. Perhaps over long but lots of nice happy story lines....smile

Rosa Wed 25-Dec-13 23:12:16

I was hoping for a bit more drama really a twist or something , it was a bit bland , very soft and gentle ...but you can see they have left many doors open for the next series.

KenDoddsDadsDog Wed 25-Dec-13 23:12:53

It was good but I was expecting a bit more drama! Sick of Lady Rose and the Mary suitors.

Oblique27 Wed 25-Dec-13 23:14:43

Surely Mary's story is completely true to life? wink. Don't all single mothers have a host of suitors prepared to wait forever for even a smile? And, of course they are secretly rich too.....

Moln Wed 25-Dec-13 23:15:46

Oh good I wasn't alone. I have to confess though it did occur to ne during my veiwing tonight that it's more the comic element that's keeping me interested. Sniggering alone at mad story lines and line all set in lovely surroundings and with nice clothes.

SirChenjin Wed 25-Dec-13 23:18:39

I thought it was a bit dull - kept waiting for the twist in the plot or something, but agree that it's probably setting the scenes for next series. I did laugh at "the bunch of toughies" (understatement much?!)

Moln Wed 25-Dec-13 23:19:24

Though I did edmit an 'ah' when farmer man said 'it shpuld be our secret'. Obviously that can only go disastrously wrong!

Oblique27 Wed 25-Dec-13 23:19:29

Yes, Carson and Lady Grantham must realise "here is my disapproving look scene" it's all that is needed.....but sadly, it's all getting too predictable. But then I hate an unexpected story line, like Anna's too, they can't win.

Moln Wed 25-Dec-13 23:22:08

I'm also starting to notice that there seems to be a 'theme' in each episode. Like women in the 20s, or tonight differences in America and England

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Wed 25-Dec-13 23:25:38

I missed the first 10 mins, but didn't miss much I suspect. Enjoyed it but lots still left unanswered. I hope Miss Baxter extricates herself from Thomas and his nasty ways. I thought Gillingham would have been married by now. Also missed something re Edith and the baby (DCs were distracting me) - where is the baby and who was that man at the end?

The man is a tenant farmer, the one that saved the pigs. The baby is on the continent, with people called Schroeder, but Edith is going to bring her back and pay the farmer to keep her.

I loved it. But then, I always do. I am not an overly critical person.

Moln Wed 25-Dec-13 23:31:18

She's had the baby, and it was arranged that she was left with a family in Switzerland. The baby has not been offically adopted tough. Man at end was the farmer that Edith wanted to leave the baby with originally but gotvstrong armed out of.

I've no clue who the boy who left the tea tray down was though! Probably a hall boy, seeing the rest of the staff were all being saucy at the seaside.

MorrisZapp Wed 25-Dec-13 23:32:17

I can't tell Mary's suitors apart. And are Rose's parents dead?

I had to tape the last 30 mins to let DP watch the cricket. Please tell me Isobel ended up getting a thoroughly festive seeing to from that random dapper chap who has taken a shine to her.

SirChenjin Wed 25-Dec-13 23:34:09

No - it was all very much above board between Isobel and old wotsit. Mrs Hughes, however, was rather risque at the end shock

thenightsky Wed 25-Dec-13 23:36:44

I was not pleased to see the Dowager being verbally beaten by the American MIL [shock}

Maggie Smith should have made mincemeat of her.

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 25-Dec-13 23:36:51

The first big laugh was Cora doing her patented simper and ordering a beano for the staff to compensate them for "all this kerfuffle".

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Wed 25-Dec-13 23:38:05

Thanks, I didn't recognise pig farmer and thought the baby had already been adopted by the Swiss couple.

Who's Evelyn? Did we ever see Evelyn?

ophiotaurus Wed 25-Dec-13 23:41:55

I don't like that teacher that Pickle is chums with. She seems sneaky...
I liked the whole "find the letter" bit and Samson got his comeuppance!
The Mr Bates bit was quite tame. The whole thing was really. But they couldn't really top last year's I suppose.
I so wanted Edith to just go and get her baby. But I suppose at that time it wouldn't have been realistic.
Do we really have to wait until September again? Wah!

ophiotaurus Wed 25-Dec-13 23:43:59

Was Evelyn not the chum of the chap who's bringing down all the aristos?

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 25-Dec-13 23:45:43

Yes, the teacher is rather brassy.

MissWimpyDimple Wed 25-Dec-13 23:47:16

I was rather shock when Lord G said "dodgy". Surely that's a modernism?!

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 25-Dec-13 23:54:35

I thought that, but I looked it up. Mid-nineteenth century, apparently.

Moln Thu 26-Dec-13 06:07:53

Have to confess I don't register any words or phrases used that really have no place in the era. Unless they mentioned taking selfies or twerking I'm unlikely to clock it!

ClaudiusMaximus Thu 26-Dec-13 06:27:24

Also why has the Bates did he/didn't he murder just been swept under the carpet??

lyndie Thu 26-Dec-13 07:44:54

Because he probably did murder the valet but helping steal back a letter that could embarrass the Prince of Wales was so much more important!

It was mostly ludicrous but I loved it.

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 09:14:51

Whole Prince of Wales storyline was bizarre. Given the philandering nature of his grandfather, I can't believe the Prince gave a toss about some love letter.

The Bates storyline was just a fumbled mess - surely we're not being set up for another murder trial in the next series? Or are we all going to forget about this one now?

Mary's suitors are so interchangeable I'm not surprised she can't make up her mind between them.

Just bizarre that nothing actually happened in the entire episode.

LondonMother Thu 26-Dec-13 09:20:50

It was mostly ludicrous but I loved it.


When Bates was summoned, I thought he was going to be sent off to break into the rotter's flat with a set of skeleton keys. However, good to see his other criminal talents being put to good use. Tally so far: forger, pickpocket, murderer x2 (we are quite certain that he murdered the first Mrs Bates as well as Nigel Harman).

Brillenbar Thu 26-Dec-13 09:23:56

Did anyone else think that a lot of the footage was superimposed on the background? A few of the scenes dh and I thought lighting v odd and the action looked like it had been filmed in a "blue room" then back ground slapped on afterwards.... Or was it just us?

JugglingUnwiselyWithBaubles Thu 26-Dec-13 09:33:36

Yes, I thought that when the carriages were driving past Buckingham Palace Brill - am sure there were some tricks employed?

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 26-Dec-13 09:37:34

I thought the outside Buckingham Palace shots didn't look right as well. Can you imagine how much it would cost to get those roads closed and cleared for filming though?

I kept waiting for Rose to revert to type and get up to mischief, but she seems to have grown up. For the time being anyway.

PurpleJellyDisc Thu 26-Dec-13 09:42:03

The prince is Edward isn't he? The scandal is only going to get worse.

GeorginaWorsley Thu 26-Dec-13 09:49:58

Agree no drama unlike last year but easy to watch.
Scenes being set for next series definitely.
the Edith baby thing will go tits up.
Bates making himself indispensable with his rather ill gotten accomplishments
Tension between Thomas and Branson
Branson's teacher friend will cause trouble
And of course the whole Mary's suitor storyline!

LondonMother Thu 26-Dec-13 10:01:25

I believe there was a great deal of scandal about the Prince of Wales for a long time before the Abdication. Foreign newspapers printed it, British newspapers didn't. How times have changed!

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 10:03:28

Yes, this is the future Edward VIII, Mrs Dudley Ward was his mistress.

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 26-Dec-13 10:03:40

I've got a vague idea the letter thing is very loosely based on a real story. I'm sure the Prince's affair with Mrs Dudley Ward eventually became a scandal in the foreign press.

I like the fact that Bates's talents acquired in the nick are finally getting used. He's been very dull for quite a few episodes now.

All in all highly entertaining twaddle with lots of lovely loose threads ready to be played with in September!

I thought the actor and actress playing the King and Queen were remarkably good lookalikes, the Queen in particular. I wonder if they cast purely for her appearance rather than her ability and that was why she didn't actually speak though?

At least this year I was able to watch it on Christmas night and didn't risk the fury I felt last year, when I'd saved it up for a nice comfy Boxing day sofa session and found the key twist of the plot was all over the front page of the newspaper websites. I'd planned to be careful to avoid the culture/reviews/lifestyle sections, but who'd have thought Matthew Crawley being killed off would be the headline on the main page? Bastards.

Just got watching it this morning - i loved it smile

very silly but brilliant and have forgiven Julian for the last series smile

[not that he was ever worried about me no liking the last series, but you know what i mean]

actually can't wait for the next series. does anyone know if they have filmed it already?

AndHarry Thu 26-Dec-13 10:57:36

Rose's parents are playing Viceroy in India.

I couldn't believe how rude the characters were last night. DH and I were looking at each other thinking exactly the same thing. There's funny rude and just plain rude and the dowager scene was the latter.

One thing did bug me massively though. At a Drawing Room, the debutantes got presented in order of rank. As the daughter of a Marquis, Rose would only have been outranked by the daughter of a Duke but she was kept hanging around for ages.

DontmindifIdo Thu 26-Dec-13 11:04:15

Oblique27 - I reckon a single mother who owns half an estate the size/value of Downton, with a son who'll inherit the other half (which she/any new DH would control until he's 21) would probably get a lot of male interest. wink

I did like it but it didn't feel like there were many stories on their own right, far too many things being set up for the next series.

Moln Thu 26-Dec-13 11:38:20

We did know of Bates' forgery skills didn't we? Or am I having a false memory?

polyhymnia Thu 26-Dec-13 11:42:27

I thought that, after the shock of last year'stragedy', Julian decided to write a two-hour episode in which nothing dramatic happened.

He succeeed. I was disappointed - found it very dull.

Gracelo Thu 26-Dec-13 12:33:24

I wish Maggie Smith would have pointed out to Mrs Levinson that in about 90 years those oh so modern Americans will like watching programs like this one and mostly for the toffs. That scene annoyed me.

JugglingUnwiselyWithBaubles Thu 26-Dec-13 12:35:47

I'm sure they've upped the American element as DA is such a hit over there
- in yesterday's episode it was getting a mention in every scene!

ElizabethBathory Thu 26-Dec-13 12:41:01

I loved it! Loved the silly gentleness of it. So much better than last years Christmas special.

Am a bit worried that the Schroeders are going to be very distraught when Edith comes to take away their new baby!


BitOfFunWithSanta Thu 26-Dec-13 14:04:21

Were people really such inveterate navel-gazers back then? There was barely a scene which didn't involve at least one character drearily intoning that 'times are changing and we must change with them', blah blah blah.

saintmerryweather Thu 26-Dec-13 14:36:10

I was utterly bored throughout it all

Clunch Thu 26-Dec-13 15:00:11

God, that was dire, and not even that entertainingly so- is Julian Fellowes on drugs???

He should have just jumped the shark shamelessly and got Hugh Bonneville, Bates, Rose and co to dress up in stripy burglar costumes and balaclavas with bags marked SWAG. Mind you, the rationale for why the family needed to get involved in the Incident of the Letter anyway was entertainingly tenuous. Dimwit Rose was a bystander. How useful it is to have a murderer/forger/ pickpocket valet, when one is a Peer of the Realm grin

I used to complain that all the human elements of the the kitchen maid/footman love triangle/quartet/whatever were indistinguishable, but Mary's suitors are heading the same way. And what's happened to Mary's characterisation, now she's gone through having a child, widowhood, wrestling pigs, learning estate management and getting her mojo back, all JF can think to do with her is to have her go back to sniping at Edith? And of course Nazis or proto-Nazis had to be involved in Edith's editor-man's disappearance! He will either reappear as an anti-fascist hero or as Hitler's best friend...

Poor, dreary Edith, walking into an obvious blackmail trap with Pig Saviour Tenant Farmer! Are we really to believe that she cares enough about her baby to retrieve her from Switzerland, but then to stash her locally, and plan to claim her solely in the event that Editor-man returns alive and willing to marry her? In which case, presumably they have to pretend she's their ward anyway...?

jonicomelately Thu 26-Dec-13 15:09:58

I liked Harold and Rose's friend. It was quite sweet. And it was funny how Edward Fox pursued Shirley McClaine who's now going to present him to her rich widow friends in Newport.
The Edith/pig farmer scheme was my favourite. Nice when he realized the baby was hers. I hope he doesn't blackmail her.
The Bates thing was weird. Is that it? Is he definitely a murderer shock

I've just watched it and thought it was the best so far.

I'm very keen on the settings, balls, music and frocks and there was plenty of good stuff to look at.

Thought the intrigue with the prince and bates was really well done - and the prince turning Rose into the most feted debutante was very clever. She was a lot less irritating in this one.

The Daisy/American valet bit was brilliant - she's such a dull character it was good to see her happy to be flirted with.

Wish Thomas had been put in his place by Branson.

I really liked it, very enjoyable couple of hours with no big things going wrong - just pleasant, good drama with a nice backdrop

Didn't like the shots of Buck Palace and the Albert memorial - really bad cgi/blue screening

PanicMode Thu 26-Dec-13 17:17:38

Absolutely dire waste of 2 hours - I used to love the escapism of it all but thought last night was just so dull! Not sure I shall bother watching the next series....

anonacfr Thu 26-Dec-13 17:33:52

I hate that teacher woman.
I take it she's supposed to be plucky and unconventional and a socialist but she just comes across as so rude.
When Branson was talking about Sybil's death all she could reply was 'right, so are you going to show me the house then.'

So callous. And as someone mentioned a while ago, how the hell can she afford a car in 1920?

SirChenjin Thu 26-Dec-13 17:45:41

I can't stand the teacher either. I thought she was going to be very independent and feisty, but instead she comes across as ignorant and unfeeling.

polyhymnia Thu 26-Dec-13 17:48:46

I think the teacher is supposed to be like the attractive, feisty teacher heroine of South Riding ( a book by Winifred Holtby televised a couple of years ago with Anna Maxwell Martin and David Morrissey).

Unfortunately JF isn't such a good writer and, having 'stolen' the character, isn't able to make her so attractive.

Mary is just annoying now "let battle commence!" wtaf?

Ooh and that bloody schoolteacher.

Edith is fast becoming my favourite.

Clunch Thu 26-Dec-13 18:02:39

Yes, wouldn't it be more interesting if teacher woman were combative and socialist and clever and nice, and making Tom rethink his sort-of allegiance to the Crawleys? Rather than permanently sneery and looking for a ruck?

Actually, I thought that asking to look around the house was pretty rude, anyway. Even if her intention was to embarrass Tom into admitting he's not really one of them, asking a casual acquaintance to poke around someone's house when the family aren't home is pretty outrageous, whether it's a semi-detached in Surbiton or a stately home.

It was nice to see Ivy look anything other than hangdog, and Mrs Hughes and Carson paddling...

Paul Giamatti, Shirley MacLaine and Maggie Smith do deserve better lines. Surely the two dowagers wouldn't be quite so nakedly rude? And what about some sophisticated, subtle old-money Americans who don't start slapping the Prince of Wales on the back etc etc.

Also, am I imagining that Edith had slightly nicer clothes than usual?

Moln Thu 26-Dec-13 18:13:48

Edith is definitely coming out better than previously, her clothes are nice. Didn't like Rose's dresses though. Weird puffballish thing going on.

Agree the teacher character isn't like she could be. If she is supposed to be like the character in South Riding it most certainly is way off!

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 19:23:02

I wish if they were going to do American bits - and frankly Maclaine vs Smith is reason enough to do a whole series in the US - they'd just bloody do it. Why can the action not move there for a while? Now the programme makers have turned their head to wobbly CGI they can slap in the Flatiron Building and the job's a good 'un.

Why was Bates so worried about the pockets of his coat? Bloody careless murderer (esp one who's already been on trial once) who lives a train ticket where anyone might find it. However, if he's in a murdering mood, couldn't he do in bloody Blackmailing Thomas once and for all?

Teacher did come across as rude and unfeeling. Surely after dinner is not the time to turn up at someone's house unless you believe you have wandered into a Gold Blend advert?

So Edith is apparently Wotsisname's heir? Why?!

VesuviusPoovius Thu 26-Dec-13 21:33:43

So, one of (I can't tell them apart either) suitors made a comment to the Prince's mistress about being faithful - what was that about?

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 21:49:33

Oh yes, that was odd. Btw did anyone notice that Mary's interest in the Communist Suitor (can't even remember his name .. Blake?) perked up when she found out he's a toff? Sybil must be spinning in her grave at her sister's irredeemable snobbishness.

Anyway, the random convo. It went like this (I've just played it back):

[Prince of Wales and Mrs Dudley Ward have just shown up uninvited at Rose's party]
Suitor Guy: How did you manage this?
Mrs D-W: I told him, in his whole life, he'd never owe more to anyone than he does to Rose.
SG: And did you tell him why?
Mrs D-W: Certainly not. But he trusts me. He's a faithful little chap.
SG: So am I, Freda. Annoyingly, so am I.

This is the guy here. I think it's Tony "Boss of the Rapist" Gillingham.

Did he mean that the love letter was not from HRH but would have revealed that Mrs D-W was copping off with him as well?? confused

Loopytiles Thu 26-Dec-13 22:02:46

Did Lady Mary and Dead Matthew's child appear even once?

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 22:07:40

Nope - I didn't see him or Giant Baby Sybil either, I think.

SirChenjin Thu 26-Dec-13 22:11:23

No, not one appearance. Wonder who's looking after them now - the Pig Man perhaps? He seems to look after everything else on the estate...

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 22:14:52

Did I miss what happened to:
- Rose's American singer
- SlutMaid III who was after Pickle?

NK5BM3 Thu 26-Dec-13 22:24:43

So glad I found you! Watched it last night and was kinda disappointed that there wasn't much of a story but still happy to watch it!

Hated the teacher - how rude of her to ask to go round someone's house!! At night?!! And how spineless of him to agree! Like previous posters I think she is meant to be the gutsy, new modern educated girl but she just came across as Bolshy, arrogant and disrespectful.

Clunch Thu 26-Dec-13 22:30:52

Yes, given that it's months since Bates presumably shoved the rapist under a lorry, wouldn't even the most amateurish murderer check the pockets of his coat...? Especially if we are to see him as having become highly educated in criminal stuff while in the slammer...

Clunch Thu 26-Dec-13 23:05:13

Tribpot, I think Tony Gillingham meant only that he was 'faithful' to Mary, just as the P of W was faithful to Mrs Dudley Ward as chief mistress, and it's 'annoying' because he would rather be able to find someone who actually wanted to marry him.

Mary persuaded Rose's jazz man to give her up because the world wasn't ready for their romance, and he agreed because he was noble. SlutMaid was seen off by Mrs Hughes spitting nails.

tribpot Thu 26-Dec-13 23:27:59

Clunch, I would think so - but why the hell would Mrs D-W care if he was or not?? Just seems odd.

Isn't the odd conversation man Charles Blake (Pig Man)? He seems to have gone up in Mary's estimation since she discovered that he is "one of us i.e rich and titled as opposed to just rich grin shallow

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 11:24:20

Can you imagine how much it would cost to get those roads closed and cleared for filming though?

Nerd fact alert: Westminster Council are very restrictive about filming because of disruption. You can do news footage or small scale stuff but there isn't that kind of film that's an homage to London like lots of films are to New York.

Film makers grumble and say Westminster is missing out on fabulous free tourism advertising - because so many foreigners forget to go and see Buckingham Palace because they've never seen it at the cinema wink

Those who live and work here celebrate the council's zero-tolerance policy to bossy girls with clipboards.

I don't think they go far enough. Whenever I come across one barring my way I know exactly where I want to shove her clipboard.

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 11:30:29

I thought Lady Violet would die during that icy confrontation with Cora's mum.

And I said it on another thread in chat, but I like the idea that the bolshy teacher was casing the joint for an antiques burglary to fund revolution.

And has Branston got a fat arse or is it the cut of his trousers?

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 11:37:57

How likely is it Mary wouldn't know the family tree and inside leg measurement of that bloke? Blake, is it?

Women of her class did nothing but charity work and leafing through Burke's Peerage like it was a mail order bridegroom catalogue.

LidlAngel Fri 27-Dec-13 11:40:41

I thought Branston's suit was deeply unflattering. I'll be deeply disappointed if it's due to a sizeable rear end.

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 11:47:57

what about some sophisticated, subtle old-money Americans who don't start slapping the Prince of Wales on the back etc etc

Like in Age Of Innocence - that film bored me to death but I bet it was accurate. There is no way those people would have done anything gauche.

Even Titanic made a better stab at portraying the American upper classes.

qazxc Fri 27-Dec-13 11:48:41

I was a bit perplexed at Mary, saying I don't care if the valet was a rapist, I can't possibly live with this on my conscience. Seems to me she didn't have as many qualms when she needed a dead body removing from her bedroom.
Also all the ticket stub proves is that Bates was in London, what is she going to do? Go to the police and say "i know that you are not classifying this death as murder but i just thought i'd let you know my dad's valet was in town." ? I mean London isn't exactly sparsely populated, it istn't really much proof to go on.

SirChenjin Fri 27-Dec-13 11:55:23

She burned the ticket stub at the end - so maybe she's not going to go to the police?

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Fri 27-Dec-13 12:01:00

No, but if she said "my dad's valet was in town and he knew, as did several others, that the man who died had raped his wife and he lied and said he had been in York that day, oh and he did time for murdering his previous wife but got off on a technicality" then they might be more inclined to follow it up.

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 12:04:17

It was a bit unfair of her not tell Bates she'd burned the evidence.

BitOfFunWithSanta Fri 27-Dec-13 12:14:00

I found it odd that she declared herself not averse to lying when it came to getting the Prince of Wales off the hook, and then suddenly developed a conscience about shopping a loyal below stairs type, but perhaps that's the snob in her. Still, she loves Anna, and was happy to loan her a bed for some nuptial rumpypumpy with Sweaty Bates. I'd have thought that if she could stomach that, she'd have been fine with knowing evil mini-Den had been pushed under a bus.

tribpot Fri 27-Dec-13 12:32:14

Pickle does indeed need to consult the wardrobe department for next season and see if they can't find something that flatters his form better. Either that or it's intention to show how he's gone soft since his revolutionary days in Dublin.

WhoKnows - thing is, the police know nothing about the rape. There's no evidence and the only witness would be totally invested in denying it. So now there's nothing but a ticket stub in a pocket (actually burnt) which may not even have been Bates' and a dead villain. Perhaps next series it will turn out there is a whole chain of evidence in London and Mary will end up doing time for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. That would be excellent.

MissBehiving, so you think Mrs D-W was talking to Pig Man? I think you're right - here is Charles Blake and here is Tony Gillingham. I think it is Blake. Was this to show how well-connected he is after all?

limitedperiodonly Fri 27-Dec-13 12:37:54

Mary will end up doing time for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. That would be excellent.

Brilliant idea. Given Uncle Julian's penchant for mixing fiction and fact, she could be in the dock with Rebekah Brooks in the New Year.

Innocent until proven guilty and all that, obviously.

KrabbyPatty Fri 27-Dec-13 12:48:59

It was a bit dull, I thought.

Mary's suitors all look the same to me.

The picnic scene looked ropey, the Albert Memorial looked badly superimposed.

And the Bates ticket issue was a bit far fetched. Would someone so meticulous really have left evidence in his pocket for months on end?

TheBookofRuth Fri 27-Dec-13 19:38:32

I loved it. It was exactly what I watch Downton for - pretty girls in lovely dresses, romantic entanglements, and no distressing deaths to ruin all the fun at the end.

I loved Daisy's line to the American valet:

"Aren't you excited?"
"I'm never excited."

nennypops Sat 28-Dec-13 08:39:43

I still don't get how Bates could possibly have done the murder. Trains between London and Yorkshire didn't exactly run frequently in the 1920s, and he'd also have had to get to and from York. He would then have had to bank on the valet conveniently coming out into the street just at the time he got to London ready to be pushed under a conveniently passing vehicle, with no able-bodied passers by being around to do anything about it. I suppose he might have used his forgery skills to entice evil valet out, but as soon as EV saw Bates surely he'd have walked rapidly in the opposite direction

Mind you, I don't know why I'm quibbling, this is the world in which the paralysed leap out of their wheelchairs totally cured and long-lost heirs turn up with no-one taking any interest (apart from the plain daughter) and conveniently disappear again.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 28-Dec-13 09:00:22

There's trains all the time nennypops. Every time anyone even thinks of going to London there's a very convenient train - I think at least three parties of people went to and from London yesterday.

I cant understand why anyone is interested in lady mary and drivelling on about how much they love her. Terrible character, terrible actress. The only funny and entertaining lines came from maggie Smith as usual. Bloody boring last night I won't bother with the next series. it's so far fetched.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sat 28-Dec-13 09:07:41

Yes, trains from York to London go every 5 mins and only take half an hour in Downton-land.

Steben Sat 28-Dec-13 09:21:50

Of all the ludicrousness what struck me was lady Mary's attack of conscience over what she knew of bates - given her racy Turkish past and declarations that "she doesn't mind lying" you would not expect her to take the moral high ground over a rapists murder!

limitedperiodonly Sat 28-Dec-13 09:25:15

Popping to London all the time, yes.

I can't remember whether I asked here or on the other thread, but have they ever mentioned a London house before?

When the girls went to London, they stayed with Aunt Rosamund and I seem to remember Lord 6 once staying at his club.

Now they've rustled up some lavish fully-staffed mansion somewhere like Belgravia with Mary saying: 'Oh, yes. We were going to sell it when we were a bit strapped but it really wouldn't have made a dent in it.'

Frozenatchristmas Sat 28-Dec-13 09:37:19

Was the story a bit daft? Absolutely but I enjoyed it with champagne and nibbles on the side.

I'd love an American series or a couple of episodes.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sat 28-Dec-13 09:41:09

I think they've always decamped to London with the staff for "the season" but we haven't seen the house, I assume it's shut up for the rest of the year and they stay with Aunt Rosamund / at a club for short visits rather than open up the house.

DontmindifIdo Sat 28-Dec-13 10:51:20

There's always been a london house, often people talking about not going to all the effort to open it just for a couple of nights so LordG stays at his club or the woman go to their Aunt's house. But they did disappear in the first series for the season in London to the London house.

I think on a pervious thread we found out the trains from York to London were about the same journey time as now and there were a few a day. For common people it would be a big deal to go o London, but families like the Crawleys would be popping to London regularly.

tribpot Sat 28-Dec-13 10:58:11

Yes - I think I googled and found out journey times to London from York were about 4 hours. Bates had planned the day, he didn't just rock up at the station. And for all we know he arranged to meet the rapist rather than just stalked him round the streets in search of him. Among Bates' skills is planning a decent murder, which is why him leaving the ticket behind is such a plot hole.

If Mary is so obsessed with her loss of privilege and lifestyle, why doesn't she follow in her dad's footsteps and go and find some fabulously rich American to inject some much-needed cash into the estate?

TheBookofRuth Sat 28-Dec-13 11:10:27

She doesn't need to, she's loaded now as she inherited all the cash Matthew inherited from his drippy dead fiancée's dad.

Clunch Sat 28-Dec-13 16:49:28

But is that cash entirely tied up for little George, or whatever her invisible baby is called? Rather than hers to do what she likes with/spend on Downton/make her a prey to fortune hunters..?

It does occur to me thatEdith isn't actually seeing all that much less of her baby than Mary is of hers. Which is a bit much seeing as Edith's baby is in a foreign country...

petal2008 Sat 28-Dec-13 17:16:24

When Mrs Bates "committed suicide" did she leave a note? Just wondering now that Bates seems to have become a master forger to his many talents. Cant remember anything about it although have watched it all.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sat 28-Dec-13 17:30:18

How many people know about Edith's baby? I was surprised when Violet mentioned it, don't remember her finding out. Does Cora know? I don't always give it my full attention as I tend to crochet while I watch (or MN)

petal2008 Sat 28-Dec-13 17:36:28

Violet guessed when Edith said she was going on holiday for 8 months. Cora is too dim to know what day it is. The only other person that knows is her aunt Rosamund, Rosalind ir whatever her name is.

GideonKipper Sat 28-Dec-13 18:20:33

I know the discussion has moved on a bit, but it was definitely Charles Blake who was conversing with the Prince's mistress about being 'faithful', and I also think he meant faithful to Lady Mary, as he was looking bootfaced due to her dancing with Tony Gillingham (who incidentally reminds me of Will from The Inbetweeners, minus the specs).

Mary couldn't have been more transparent, the grabby caaah: "Charles, why didn't you tell me you're filthy fucking rich about your Uncle's estate? ".

Cora's simpering is reaching Def-Con levels. And do we forsee an impending romance/companionship between Carson and Mrs. Hughes? Would they be allowed?

tribpot Sat 28-Dec-13 18:24:35

The Hughes-Carson liaison has been hinted at for the last series. Unbelievable given there was nothing at all in the first three.

I think Vera Bates is meant to be an accidental death - ingestion of arsenic.

TheBookofRuth Sat 28-Dec-13 18:39:37

Half of the money was left directly to Mary, via a letter Matthew wrote before he carked it. It pissed off Lord 6 because it gave her 50% control of Downton and meant he couldn't piss it up the wall like he did last time. Mary is trying, along with Tom, to make the estate a viable business, so it doesn't need to be reliant on any more miracle inheritances in the future.

I don't think she's meant to be more interested in Charles Blake now because he's got money - it's more that she was afraid he was a raving socialist, and is relieved to find out he's merely a champagne socialist.

tribpot Sat 28-Dec-13 19:05:30

So less concerned she'll have to start calling the estate workers Comrade and divide up the land into equal shares for everyone?! That's what Sybil would have done.

How long could this possibly run for? Will we see them giving the house up to English Heritage and living in a corner of it?

nennypops Sat 28-Dec-13 22:30:27

They probably intend to keep it going as long as they possibly can. Time in Downton world seems to be running more slowly now - having got through the whole of World War 1 in a few episodes, they've taken two series only to get as far as 1923.

Davros Sun 29-Dec-13 00:27:21

I got confused about Mrs Dudley Edwards as I thought she was one of the Debs and assumed this Wallis Simpson type was going to turn up sometime. I also thought it was ludicrous that the old Fox fellow would have been having an open conversation with Shirley Maclaine hag about potential marriage after about a week.
Pickle's arse does look fat.
Some of the dresses were fabulous, especially early on. I think Aunt Rosamund had a gorgeous one on at the beginning. I might watch again and fast forward to dresses.
Also, what about the logistics of the servants going to the seaside? Ridiculous! But I suppose it must be soooo much warmer in Brighton or wherever than what they're used to.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sun 29-Dec-13 00:32:53

I was getting Madeline (?) and Mrs Dudley Edwards mixed up as well as Charles and Gillingham.

I guess the servants all just got on a train to Margate, although I read somewhere it was filmed at West Wittering, however I've never seen West Wittering beach so empty on a beautiful day.

insomniarules Sun 29-Dec-13 05:54:17

I really wanted there to be a French and Saunders take on this episode. All of the debs and Mrs the-one-before-Wallis all looked the same to me. The mad farcical letter stealing plan was frankly convoluted and bonkers and no one realised NastyBates had done the letter?? NO one sees that he is a sneaky secretive nasty man?
And will someone tell Lady G that simpering is not appropriate at her age and position and tell Shirley Maclaine to drop her shoulders?

Davros Sun 29-Dec-13 10:01:35

And Bates sat in the Servants' Hall writing the letter in full view! Why didn't he sneak home to do it and wouldn't his imaginary contact have expected to be paid?!

LondonMother Sun 29-Dec-13 10:10:25

Couldn't sneak home as they were in London, but yes, one might have expected that money would have had to change hands.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 10:37:47

Hang on - did I miss something very obvious? Did Bates forge the letter and then present it to Lord G as the original? If so, why did Blake (or whoever it was who stole the letter) panic when he realised the letter had gone from his coat pocket? confused

I hope Mrs Hughes and Carson get together - that would be a lovely, cosy storyline.

Clunch Sun 29-Dec-13 11:01:46

No, no, Bates just forged a note in Whosit's handwriting to get the porter to let Rose and co into the apartment so they could search for the letter.

I raised my eyebrows a bit about Letter Nicker Card Cheat man actually going through women's handbags at a nightclub table - it seems a bit of a leap in terms of 'dishonourableness' from a bit of caddish card cheating to actual stealing...? I can't remember exactly, did he go through all the bags on the table or go straight to Mrs Dudley Ward's? I mean, was he specifically looking for dirt on the P of W to flog to the US press?

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 11:02:34

Ahhhhh - got it now, thanks grin

Clunch Sun 29-Dec-13 11:07:20

And no, Blake is one of Mary's tiresome suitors, along with Tony 'My valet is a Rapist' Gillingham. The man who cheated at cards at Downton and was later outfoxed by Edith's editor, and who nicked the P of W's letter, is Sampson, a minor rent-a-cad character.

It does suggest they really need to sort out their characterisation, as a bunch of dark-haired, clean-shaven male aristos in evening dress are clearly just blurring together for quite a few viewers!

Davros Sun 29-Dec-13 11:13:34

If course Bates couldn't sneak home I now realise but you'd think he'd find somewhere more private. The suitors and co all blur, the male under servants all blur and the Debs and friends all blur. Or was it the sherry wot dunnit?!

tribpot Sun 29-Dec-13 11:15:29

Nope, I can report that, even sober, the suitors particularly all look the same. Upstairs Downstairs had the same problem - all the male leads were indistinguishable.

depankrispaneven Sun 29-Dec-13 11:20:39

Must admit when the Prince of Wales turned up at the ball I thought it was Sampson.

TheBookofRuth Sun 29-Dec-13 11:23:49

See, I don't find Blake and Gillinghan hard to tell apart - mainly because I find the former quite attractive while the latter for some reason makes my skin crawl.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 11:32:15

Oh no - Gillingham is lovely shock. I'd have married him the first time he asked me. Blake is decidedly average.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 11:33:55

Btw - did we ever find out what happened to Lady Edith's man, other than he was manhandled by a "gang of toughies" (or was it "toughs") wearing brown shirts?

qazxc Sun 29-Dec-13 11:39:54

I can't believe that the toffs don't realise that Bate's is the forger. Or do they think that Bate's "friend" conveniently follows him around from downtown to London? Even dopey Rose was "already? That was quick!". Or is it a ruse so that they can turn a blind eye (like with the pickpocketting or alleged murdering).
Can't stand the teacher, she is way to smug. And was shock when pickle was opening up about losing his wife and she totally ignored that to push to be shown the house. When he was obviously uncomfortable she got all narky and childish "why are you not ALLOWED?".
Yes Mary's suitors do look too similar, I can't tell which is which, maybe they should get name tags.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 29-Dec-13 12:45:24

I agree re Mary's 2 suitors. Hard to distinguish them from each other.
I had the same problem with the 2 male servants involved in some 'love' triangle with Daisy. One went off to be a chef, the other is still at Downton. Can somebody please enlighten me. Daisy fancies the one who is gone to the Ritz. He fancies someone else working in the kitchen. But there is another blonde/ fairhaired valet who also fancies the other girl? Yes? No?. Very confusing.
Lady Mary is very cold. I think she speaks so slowly and clearly because it is not her true accent.
It's all a bit 'Mills and Boon' ish.

Clunch Sun 29-Dec-13 14:10:00

I've only been watching this season and some of last, so there may be much more backstory than I'm aware of, but I can't quite decide from meeting Cora's mother and brother in this episode what section of American society her family come from...? Clearly they have serious money, but are they part of Nancy Astor's exclusive 400, or uncouth and nouveau riche and buying acceptability in US society by Cora marrying into the British aristocracy? (Do we know how Cora met Lord G?)

Cora's brother's cack- handed approach to the Prince of Wales suggested nouveau riche and unfamiliar with the requisite etiquette, or just that he was personally gauche...?

eddiemairswife Sun 29-Dec-13 14:16:08

I think he just ticked the 'brash American' box.

limitedperiodonly Sun 29-Dec-13 14:53:12

clunch you are crediting Downton Abbey with a bit more credibility than it is due.

I read an interview with DA's hysterical [sic] advisor in the Daily Mail's Weekend TV guide, which is the series' spiritual home.

It gave me a laugh.

I still love it though.

PurpleJellyDisc Sun 29-Dec-13 16:46:30

It was definitely wet wittering. It's a private estate so they would have been able to shut part of the beach for filming.
I hope carson gets it on with Hughes.

depankrispaneven Sun 29-Dec-13 17:00:34

It certainly was wet, what with all that sea and stuff ...

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sun 29-Dec-13 17:10:22

I didn't have any trouble with telling Blake and Gillingham apart in the last series, but they were never in the same scene and always in context, it was seeing them both at the same event and dressed similarly that cause me confusion. I also get the two footmen muddled up sometimes and even Daisy and Ivy in their uniforms in the gloomy kitchen.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 18:22:13

Cora's brother's cack- handed approach to the Prince of Wales suggested nouveau riche and unfamiliar with the requisite etiquette, or just that he was personally gauche...?

Or perhaps a rather accurate observation on the ridiculousness of British etiquette and royalty...?

NorthernLebkuchen Sun 29-Dec-13 18:45:29

JF has got the pretty enormous problem that at the start of the series he had a driving narrative problem - a la Pride and Prejudice - what will become of the girls when their father dies and the new heir turns up? He nicely solved this with the Mary/Matthew story but having had it be off then on then off then paralysis and flu then on - he had nowhere to go with it at all. Added to which he had the lovely promise of the Sybil/Tom marriage and blew it totally by writing her out in what was quite simply one of the most traumatic scenes I've ever seen on TV, which tbh has rather tainted the whole thing for me. They should have recast Sybil for sure. The many suitors thing reminds me a bit of what they did in ER with Elizabeth Corday after mark died. They can't have a strong, sensible woman single so at one point she was shagging multiple blokes. Very odd.
The problem is there is nowhere for it to go. We all know that ickle George is going to have to get through WW2 in one piece and frankly we don't like his chances. Everything else is just killing time till then. It doesn't matter what happens over the next decade. Downton WILL be sold off in 1946 to pay the death duties. Edith is the only remotely interesting character. Publisher bloke will turn up btw - near the end of the next series having been in a coma for the last 18 months Yawn.

Oh and Bates did kill Mrs Bates. As I recall it was Anna finding the suicide note that exonerated him? Wonder who wrote that.......

tribpot Sun 29-Dec-13 19:40:50

I thought it was a witness statement from the neighbour? Here - although as we now know, Bates has magic powers of train travel.

But you're right about the heir problem. It removes the central dilemma of Downton. They could plunge the family into yet another financial crisis but that really is scraping the bottom of the barrel. I guess they could resurrect Patrick again (ditto) or uncover a newer will that doesn't leave Lavinia's money to Mary ...

Clunch Sun 29-Dec-13 20:09:07

Oh, I agree entirely in principle, SirChenjin, as a fervent republican. I just think that if that was the point being made, Cora's brother would have come out of the encounter looking cooler.

There wasn't (that I could see) a hint of a suggestion that the Crawleys might be putting themselves out rather a lot for an outmoded institution or an idiot playboy royal who in no way deserved their allegiance...? A lot of the peerage are rather dubious about the royal family as Johnny-come-latelys, but not those Crawleys...

tombakerscarf Sun 29-Dec-13 21:00:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirChenjin Sun 29-Dec-13 21:28:48

I suppose it depends on how you viewed it - my interpretation of the conversation was that Cora's brother was left somewhat humiliated by a ridiculous convention from a man who, despite being the P of W, showed himself to be an ignorant little oaf. As you say though - the Crawleys are very easily impressed!

hollyisalovelyname Sun 29-Dec-13 22:13:21

Didn't get the 'relationship' between Cora's brother and Rose's friend.

qazxc Mon 30-Dec-13 14:36:12

Me neither he seemed to be constantly inferring that she was some kind of prostitute.
I was also a bit surprised that they were minted as i thought that they had lost their money (didn't lord twatty bumbum go on the scrounge after the disastrous investment only to be told the well was dry?), adding to that the brother got in trouble last year i thought they were pretty broke.

Wickedgirl Mon 30-Dec-13 15:19:36

They need to do something with Thomas,he is such horrid character.

Tom needs to have a bit more backbone and needs to stick up for himself a bit more. He shouldn't let Thomas push him around or the teacher (who is incredibly rude)

tribpot Mon 30-Dec-13 20:28:17

No, he wasn't implying she was a prostitute exactly, just that she was interested in him because of his cash, and that she wouldn't give him the time of day if he wasn't rich. In other words, a standard, semi-impoverished aristo, cf Lord 6 himself.

Yes, I thought the Lord had gone over to the US because bro-in-law had got himself involved in a (or even the) Ponzi Scheme.

Thomas should have been the one to bump off the rapist, then he could have redeemed himself, and/or been hanged.

Wevet Mon 30-Dec-13 23:09:51

What are people's thoughts on what Thomas has on Baxter -what are the dark secrets he's holding over her, and how does he know about them? Surely she can't be another criminal? What with her and Bates, downstairs at Downton would be like England's Most Wanted...

tribpot Mon 30-Dec-13 23:21:53

Could be an illegitimate child, given Downton's run of luck in that department (above and below stairs). But it still seems incredible that outside the hippy commune of Downton is an entire homophobic world yet she doesn't think to counter-attack with a 'button it Thomas or I'll shop you for being gay'.

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