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Analysis of Downton
Season Four, Episode Two

Is that a commoner I see?

Is that a commoner I see before me?

More thoughts and scribbles on my blackberry from last night’s show…

Mary to rule Downton?
Dowager Countess: ‘It’s up to Mary, not you…’
Lord Grantham: ‘She won’t want to get involved.’
Make up your mind Lord G. You’re either a good egg or a sexist pig – which is it?

Molesley & his Road Digging
Anna (chirpy): Hello Mr Molesley, how are things [down there with your head in the dirt]?
Molesley [wipes sweat off brow as he digs up cement: ‘Aint it obvious?!’]: ‘As you can see, not very good.’
Anna: I don’t agree! [Must stay positive in front of poor folk]. It’s skilled work…’
Molesley: ‘No it isn’t, not what I’m doing.’
Anna: ‘I’m sure if you just wait something better will come up.’
Then clearly you do agree Anna.

The Matthew Will-Letter Business
For pete’s sake, with Matthew why is nothing EVER simple?
My imagined Matthew’s pre-will-letter thought process:
‘My name is Matthew Crawley. I am a lawyer. And I own the largest house in Yorkshire. Having just impregnated my wife, I think it’s probably a good idea to write a will. But I’m not going to do that yet. I’m going to write a letter instead. Because I like letters (that one Lavinia wrote to her dear Papa which magically appeared from nowhere to secure me the entire Swire-family fortune, saving Downton from financial ruin, I particularly liked). I shall go to the trouble of having my letter witnessed by two strangers, but I shall not go to the trouble of telling anyone who knows me about it – least of all, my wife! Nor shall I put this letter in an envelope. Or keep it anywhere obviously safe. No, I shall put it in a book and hope that in 100 years time my great-great-grandchildren come across it, and that it will miraculously entitle one of them to Downton too, in a magical swoop of luck, such as that which I have enjoyed many times through similar letters myself.’

The dear old classless Mrs Crawley
Mrs Hughes to Mrs Crawley. [Chat, chat, chat, theatres, chat, chat, chat, theatres, chat, chat, chat – BOOM]: I heard about Mr Matthew’s letter. I hope it wasn’t too upsetting.’
‘No, not particularly. What’s upsetting is you thinking ‘eavesdropping’ is part of your job description,’ Old Ma C should have said.

Later…
Mrs Crawley letting herself be turfed out of Downton by Carson…
What is wrong with this woman?

The Servant Dance in York
How to get a partner with which to do the One Step:
Don’t arrive at a normal time for dancing – evening, say. Arrive in mid-afternoon
Order a cup of tea, with sommin ‘stronger’ in it [wink-wink-wink-wink-wink]
Don’t talk to anyone except your maid/chaperone
In fact, don’t even open your mouth
Simply… raise an elbow.

You’ll be fighting ’em off with sticks after that.

Bates
Bates being ‘nice’ and busying himself faking Molesley’s signature in the dark by candlelight makes him look like a murderer.

The revelation that Bates’ mystery Molesley scheme encompassed faking an IOU was about as interesting and as skillful a-plan as deciding one wants a cup of coffee and putting on the kettle.

Carson Love Triangle
Carson coming out onto the station platform though a cloud of steam – really?! Yes, really. From here on in, we shall call him: Carson Karenina.

Carson’s enemy, a man so irrelevant I’m not even sure he had a name: ‘I went to see her at St Thomas’s. Do y’a know what she said? She said ‘Charlie Carson was the better man. I could’ve loved him; I did love him really. But I was a fool.”
Carson: ‘Did she say that? Honestly?’
NO. That’s just a convenient way for Fellowes to pull the plug on this rather tiresome and tedious plotline.

Character of the episode
Runner Up: Edith. We almost liked her.
Winner: Jimmy. Don’t know why he ended up dancing with Anna nor what’s going on with Ivy but he’s nice to look at.

5/10

By Beenie Langley

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