A lack of compassion can be as much a curse as an excess of tears.
Despite quite a lot of running around, a fake kiss, a real proposal, and a diagnosis of cancer for poor Isis, it seemed like not a lot happened in Downton Abbey episode 5.07. I mean, this season has been a masterwork of non-stop action, as people run from room to room, delivering exposition at a breakneck pace. Comparatively, this episode was somewhat leisurely. With the exceptions I’ve already outlined, mostly there was wheel-spinning. Daisy decided to give up the studies she was passionate about, and then un-decided. Anna and Bates, who had a big fight last week, un-fought, having made up off-camera. Edith, who had run off last week, un-ran off. Mary, who was briefly engaged, is unengaged, and was involved with a second man, and is un-involved. Baxter apologized a lot. Baxter spends an inordinate amount of time telling everyone how deeply sorry she is.
He’s a man. Men don’t have rights.
Are we going to laugh a lot at the fact that it took an outsider, Atticus, to understand that if Edith inherited a magazine business, one she’d already been involved with, that she might, y’know, go there? It’s hilarious but also sad, because clearly no one in her own family has any idea what Edith wants, where she goes, what she cares about, or what motivates her. Why should they, then, anticipate that she might go someplace important to her? It’s obvious to Atticus because he makes this crazy assumption that Edith is a human being.
How can you imagine I’ll ever trust you again?
So, they all did a lot of running around in order to preserve Edith’s secret, meanwhile telling everyone her secret, and everything ends back at status quo. Once again, the family comes up with a solution that further torments Mrs. Drewe and, not for nothing, Marigold. They all care so much about Edith’s reputation, and the family’s reputation, and whether anyone knows that Edith had the nasty sex, but they don’t care about dragging a child all over, tearing her from people who love her, then sending her back, then ripping her away again. They don’t care about how that affects the child, or the foster parents, or the other kids. They don’t care how Edith feels. They care only about “their” child/grandchild/reputation. I’m tired of being disgusted at this plotline.
I mean, the kids on this show are props. They’re not cute, or clever, or engaged with their family. Sibby saying “why” over and over is as much as we’ve ever seen a child having a personality. They are pointers—to dead parents, to extramarital sex, to machinations. They aren’t individuals. Why should I care where Marigold ends up when I have no sense of this child at all?
Lord Merton: We’ll laugh about this one day.
The Dowager Countess: Yes, the sooner the better.
Mary is topping off cold bitch this week, with her “so what?” about Edith, and her lecture about the classes to her Granny. After all the drama about how she’ll get rid of Tony, it ended up simple, and non-eventful, and rather anti-climatic. Especially since all of this was engineered to get her with Charles, and now we find she won’t be with Charles at all, something she tells her father; another thing that happened off-camera. Geez Pete. I guess we need another season of Mary Romance Drama.
We never changed our name.
The centerpiece of the episode, of course, was the dinner party with the
Jewdridges Aldridges and Lord Merton’s sons, Evil and Eviler. Did we know Cora’s father was Jewish? You’d think that would have come up at some point. It certainly would have taken the edge off the (not very) dramatic anti-Semitism we anticipated towards Atticus.
Isobel’s engagement announcement was lovely, and touching, and the vitriol directed at her by these nasty young men was sad. The look on her face, starkly alone as Rose and Atticus snuggled behind her, was striking, and probably the best moment of the episode. Violet’s sorrow at losing her friend was also quite touching, although Lady Mary did her best to ruin it.
In terms of other events, after Lord Grantham going on and on about how his granddaughter WILL! NOT! be taken from him, he certainly took Tom’s decision to move to Boston calmly. I guess now that Allen Leech has been in The Imitation Game, he feels secure about his future and is moving on. Therefore Grantham must accept the inevitable.
Finally, Isis. Her illness and eventual death has been broadcast so much all season that it’s hard to come up with the requisite gasp when we finally hear she’s sick. Grantham managed to be both an asshole (of course) and quite moving, and bringing the dog to bed was sweet.
So, Basketcases, weigh in. Do you care who Mary ends up sleeping with next?