Sympathy butters no parsnips.
Action packed, my Basketcases, action packed! Every transition was practically racing from upstairs to downstairs and back again. Everyone had PLOT! Everyone had SNAPPY BANTER! Everyone had COSTUMES!
I can’t bear vulgar jokes.
…and not for nothing, but Lord Grantham remains an ass. What a snotty little temper tantrum he displayed! It’s not clear to me if Cora is simply unaware of how much Bricker is attracted to her, or if she finds it fundamentally innocent since she knows herself and knows she will do nothing more than walk and talk. I think the latter. Cora is clearly enjoying herself, and reminiscing about being beautiful and having a full dance card indicates her pleasure in the chase. But she is a grandmother and a loyal wife and she is most assuredly not doing the fucking around that the generations on either side of her indulge in. Because there’s not-vulgar Mary in her undies, and there’s the Dowager Countess, denuded in front of the entire family by a sexy encounter with a sexy Russian Prince and his sexy, sexy fan.
Granny has a past.
This is all a lot of fun. The flirting, the Romanov treasures, the shocked expressions. This is the sort of thing that makes Downton watchers swoon. Granny’s past manages to make Mary feel better about her own wanton ways, and gives Isobel ammunition in the Elderly Widows Teasing Each Other wars. I’m especially liking that this Isobel thing is turning more into an exchange of barbs rather than some commentary on the classes.
Speaking of wanton ways, Baxter did it for the sex. Of course. Cora can forgive that, since she’s slutting her way around an art museum. With a historian. Hussy.
But as I was saying, this was an incredibly busy episode. There’s plot and exposition for Daisy, Mrs. Patmore, Thomas, Baxter, Anna, Bates, Cora, Tom, Edith, Mary, and Granny. While Mrs. Hughes, Carson, Mosely, and Isobel don’t have much plot of their own, their presence is essential to furthering other plot points. I’m exhausted just typing up the whole list. Where’s my fan?
I’ve never even notice Spratt before. He’s hilarious. Those eyes!
Not all of it is equally compelling. I really don’t want to dive back into another Bates May Go To Jail plot. It feels played and tired. Let the Bateses be background characters; I don’t want to relive Anna’s rape over and over, and I certainly don’t want to see her protecting her husband from his own murderous rage, when, as a rape survivor, she should be protecting herself first and foremost. I hate the way that Anna’s rape was used as a plot point to further drama about Bates, rather than to honor Anna herself, but watching Joanne Froggatt accept her Golden Globe and speak on behalf of rape survivors, well, I was mollified.
Miss Bunting is as tone-deaf and poorly written as Tom himself once was. I guess that’s love, then. Token Radical, Stage Left.