Love may not conquer all, but it can conquer quite a lot.
Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 8, the official season finale—although the “Christmas Special” will serve as the season finale in the U.S.—did the usual combination of wit, and stupid, and fun, and dull. It’s the must-watch TV that we wonder why we watch. But I cannot escape the knowledge of one thing: The entire plot surrounding the death of Isis the Big Dog was a machination to introduce Lord Grantham to the stone carver, so that he could suddenly be inspired to help Mrs. Patmore.
Really? We killed a dog for this?
We open with wedding preparation, and while we may briefly imagine it is Isobel and Lord Merton, of course it is Rose and Atticus, and their love is Star Crossed, because he’s Jewish, and so everyone is talking about the scandal. He’s Jewish, her parents are divorcing, these people are filth! You can hardly even call it a marriage! My word!
Rose has few character traits besides being adorable, and kind-hearted, and just a little wild, but I think she likes to be scandalous. She likes to believe that True Love Conquers All, and she likes to prove it by choosing someone who will raise eyebrows, so that she can rise above. For Love! The black singer was a bridge too far, but an upper-crust Jew fits the bill nicely.
Hurrah for intolerance on both sides!
Upstairs, “Donk” plays Snakes and Ladders with Sibby, and considers that this is just not proper, or English, or dignified. It’s a wonder any English child ever survived her upbringing. Tom is still announcing that he’s moving to Boston as if it’s news. YOU TOLD US LAST WEEK.
Downstairs, there’s Bates, there’s Anna, there’s cops. We are meant to be shocked and horrified by the ending of this episode, but they really foreshadow the shit out of things, don’t they?
The real action is with the Dowager Countess, and I am cynically imagining that Fellowes knows his audience, because Hot Geriatric Love is very demographically slanted, isn’t it? Still, I don’t mind.
I don’t want a scandal, just love.
Prince I’ve Longed For You For Fifty Years proposes an illicit sexy relationship, and Saucy Violet is sorely tempted.
Don’t pretend your intransigence as if it were a virtue.
Meanwhile, the Spratt versus Denker war is turning out to be a whole lot of nothing. He hides a suitcase. The iniquity! The deceipt! The insidious cleverness of it all! The result? He…goes back in for it. So what? Sure, later in the episode, we find out that Denker is a mean drunken crook, but Spratt has no part in it.
Throughout the episode, and in previous episodes, we are told over and over that each Young Lover has one parent supportive of the marriage, and one against. Once Lord Sinderby denied plotting against Atticus’s marriage with the little (little) sex scandal, surely Susan the Sourpuss was the obvious suspect? Again, I have to ask, are we meant to be surprised?
Susan Flintshire: Tell me, do you find it difficult these days to get staff?
Lady Sinderby: Not very. But then we’re Jewish, so we pay well.
Ha! I died!
Downton Abbey is absolutely delicious at these barbed dinners; introducing Jews allows people to be bigots within the veneer of civility, and I snorted through my nose quite a lot. And they all look so damn good doing it.
Oh, God the clothes. Can I just say? Oh, God. I can’t even.
At first I thought Denker was involved in the sex plot against Atticus somehow, but that would have gotten her fired, and clearly we need her back next season, to torment Spratt and go to war with Thomas. Tally ho!
You’d be surprised at what people can sink to, to get their own way.
This week’s effort at historical relevance was a brief mention of Amritsar. Since it happened five years before the episode takes place, I don’t see the point of the mention, except to reinforce that Sinderby is a dick—at least, if you know your history.
Anna’s arrest was all the wrong kind of drama. Lady Mary forbids it? Really? These people really do think that nobility is next to godliness, don’t they? The memorial ceremony, on the other hand, was the right kind of drama, and very moving.
So, what did the Basketcases think? Was Archie’s memorial worth a dead dog? Is Thomas sweet on the new kid? will Daisy enter politics?