Jan 282015

Downton Abbey: Thomas looking peaked

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.


  8 Responses to “Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 4: The Gay Conversion Marriage Proposal Fashion Show Extravaganza!”

  1. Yesterday, 27 January, my pre-ordered DA Season 5 DVD set arrived. I am resolved to not look at upcoming episodes. But I have looked at the episodes already shown. They look even better on the DVD.

    This set has three extras: A doc about filming the 100th day of Season 5 out of a scheduled 142 days. By Hollywood budgets, that is a lot of time to make 9 episodes, but things go slower on set in the UK. Another extra is all about how DA shows The Roaring Twenties. Still another extra is a Day with Lady Rose, which is fascinating.

  2. Look on the bright side, Thomas; at least you’re not in “American Horror Story: Asylum” being forced to undergo the kind of “gay conversion therapy” that Dr. Bloodyface inflicted on poor Lana.

  3. I do love the way the Dowager and Isobel are interacting this season. They have the best lines of the season. I remember in season one when they first met and Isobel says brightly “and what shall we call each other? “. And the Dowager says “Countess of Grantham and Mrs. Crawley”. They have come a long ways in 12 years, for them. BTW, in the south it is not uncommon to have a family dog that always has the same name. Different dogs, different time frames, same name. I asked why one time and was told it was just rude to call the dog “dog”, they had to have a name. Why the same one? Because it was just easier that way. In defense of that custom, the new dog is usually a puppy from the previous dogs.

    • I’ve been reminded on another blog that in season 1, they had a male dog called Pharaoh that died. Isis has been around since season 2. (1913? 14?) That would make her 12 years old or so. But the dog on screen looks about 3. There hasn’t been any explanation about replacement puppies. (And we haven’t seen any puppy, only grown dog(s).) One of those things they didn’t care to work into the plot. Just a magical eternally youthful dog. Lucky them.

      • I have read that the dog in the first season had a run in with the actual family, the ones who really live there, dog and was killed. Hard to believe, where were the trainers, but it haven’t seen it in the major reports on this series.

  4. I’d like to see them have the guts to play out the possibility of a Tom and Mary relationship. We’re maybe getting to that, but I’m getting impatient with many things with this show.

  5. Lady Mary does have a thing for men outside her class, Mathew was the perfect person for her. Had the title but not the attitude. Maybe she likes the freedom of breaking the rules which the NOKD don’t even know, thus no judgement on their part. Contrast that with Tony telling her a woman like her, i.e. the daughter of an Earl would not act as she did without a marriage plan. I don’t get the feeling that Tom is a love interest at all, more of a buddy who respects her mind and determination to run the estate. Somewhat like our current concept of a work husband. That doesn’t explain her unhappiness with the newspaper dude, maybe he just didn’t respect her or really even like her. And poor Edith, she is becoming a rather desperate person. She is going to be the kind of person everyone avoids because they are afraid she is going to pull them down to her level of sadness. I am amazed at Rose too. Where did the daring and rather crazy risk taking person go to? Another thing I realized while reading a book on WWI was that Mary’s son was born at the perfect time to go to war in 1939. He will be 19, and Sybil’s daughter will be the right age to serve in the nurse corps, what a mirror effect of parents and children.

  6. I fell in love with Lord Merton, when he articulated his love for Isobel, through that gorgeous proposal. I’ve watched that section twice on my DVR- the sincerity of both actors is enrapturing.

    Nice bit of acting, Douglas Reith & Penelope Wilton!!!

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