All I could think of during the fashion show that Lady Mary attended with Aunt Rosamunde in Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 4, was, “Well, they sure know their audience.” We all watch for the fashion anyway, AMIRITE? It’s the clothed version of fan service.
The Dowager Countess: Hope is a tease designed to prevent us from accepting reality.
Isobel Crawley: Oh you only say that to sound clever.
T.D.C.: I know, you should try it.
I suppose this is thematic, and the episode is about hope and hopelessness. Thomas’s hopes for “normality,” Edith’s hopes for Marigold, and everyone’s hopes for love. I find that there isn’t a whole lot of oomph in discerning an episode’s themes. It’s a soap opera, and things unfold. Things! Unfold!
Thomas is doing some horrifying 1920s version of gay conversion therapy. Baxter wants to gently let him know he was born this way. Thomas somehow thinks that people don’t like him because he’s queer. Thomas, honey, people don’t like you because you’re mean. It’s amazing to me that the script wants us to suddenly have sympathy for someone who has gone out of his way to destroy as many lives as possible. Because FUN! Baxter has sympathy because of her total loveliness. She is the Patron Saint of Jewel Thieves Who Get Jilted. And also, she knows his family. But the rest of us recall that Thomas is a loathsome troll and even tragic dark circles under his eyes and a tragic syringe don’t make that go away.
Why shouldn’t Thomas want heteronormative love? Everyone else does! Lord Merton wants it from Isobel, Bricker wants it from Cora, and Tony demands it from Lady Mary. Demands. Because, he explains, Lady Mary isn’t the kind of slut who would sleep with him unless she intended to marry him. Is he being a good man through her doubts or an abuser? Time will tell. (I vote for abuser.) Of course, Mary had two suitors, and we only saw her get sexy with one of them, so clearly we’re not done. Here comes the other one! Tony’s wrong, she is a dirty girl.
Tom wants love, or at least connection, from Miss Bunting. When Lord Grantham says whatever quote I didn’t write down about Tom joining and then leaving them, it’s so narrow-minded and self-serving. Tom can only join the family by giving up his principles and opinions? And if he enjoys having someone who shares those opinions, he’s leaving them? How very restrictive. But if you’ve been following along, you all know I’ve had it just about up to here with Lord My Way or the Bucolic Highway.
Edith still holds out hope for romantic love, we learn this week: She refuses to believe her beloved Michael, the father of her child, is dead. And now I’m seeing a sort of through-story for Edith: I am desperate for love and clingy, to the point where I drive love away. This was true of the man who left her at the altar, and true of the farmer (remember him?). While it wasn’t true of Michael, it is now true of Marigold. Need need NEED to love to the point where it is awful to be around.
Lady Edith: My interest or the family’s?
The Dowager Countess: To me they are the same.
L.E.: That is where we differ.
I am loving the Dowager getting a plot of her own, and I love the incorporation of the displaced Russian royalty, which always had a romantic fascination for the public. It fits right in here. Old Granny nearly ran off with a handsome Russian prince, abandoning her husband and children. Hotcha!
Another thing I’m thoroughly enjoying is the way that the Dowager and Isobel have learned to talk with each other; to confide, to snipe, to tease. It’s so much fun!
By the way, weeks ago, my best friend said that there were too many lingering shots of Isis (the dog) and that her death was clearly being foreshadowed. Then last week, Grantham was all jealous that Bricker liked the dog. This week, she again gets focus. This dog is doomed (she’s also been around on the series since 1912, making her older than the Dowager in dog years).
I do not care about Carson and Mrs. Hughes abusing Mosely for wanting to be First Fucking Footman. Stop abusing a buffoon, it’s beneath you!
I had thought I didn’t care about Bates and Anna’s new! improved! murder plot, but if Anna is the murderer, that’s a little more interesting.