Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2: Christmas Season Finale

Downton Christmas Episode 2011- Electric mini lights on the tree???
I adore Downton Abbey. Yes, at times this season the storyline was corny, cheesy and covered in cloying syrup, but I have loved every minute. With the Christmas episode however, Julian Fellowes has exceeded every one of my expectations. What a wonderful Christmas gift, even if it was lost in the post for a few months for those of us on this side of the pond!

Matthew and Mary were a large part of the holiday action thankfully, with Matthew's adorable face popping up whenever things between Mary and Sir Richard got heated. The fight scene between the two men was brilliant, reminiscent of Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver duking it out over Bridget Jones! (It was made even funnier at our house by The Squire shouting out "Be careful Matthew...your injured back!")

Matthew: “Sorry about the vase”
Countess Violet: “Oh don’t be, don't be. It was a wedding present from a frightful aunt. I have hated it for half a century”.

The Christmas Day shoot-where is Isis?

Julian Fellowes got in his requisite hunt scene this season. Neither Matthew nor Sir Richard looked as comfortable as Mary at the pheasant shoot. But there was sure a lot of drama and humour as well as action on Christmas day.

Anthony Strallan: “Does (Branson) shoot?”
Edith: “I’m sure he does”
Countess Violet: “But I don’t think pheasants.”

Bates on trial for the murder of his wife Vera
Things don't look good for poor Bates. How is Lord Grantham going to get him out of jail? It is a life sentence after all! Perhaps Anna will come up with something. She's pretty good at sniffing things out as Lady Rosamund and Lord Hepworth will testify.

Lady Mary: “We are all under the shadow of Bate’s trial”

Countess Violet: “Lawyers are always confident before the verdict. It’s only afterwards they share their doubts.”

Anna with her "bucking up brigade" from Downton

Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) gets best actress award for this episode. My eyes welled up every time she broke down. And she broke down a lot!

Mr. Bates: “No man can regret loving as I have loved you.”

Carson and Cora open the Servant's Ball
The Servant's Ball gave us some of the best scenes (and facial expressions of the episode).

Lord Grantham: Perhaps it would be nice if you would partner with O'Brien.
Matthew: Crikey!

Isis the bouncy Labrador puppy is now a star

Thomas was plotting/puffing cigarettes/being evil for much of the episode culminating in the Isis crisis! Glad Thomas is back at Downton as he is one of the better actors and his evil plotting is just soooo fun!

O’Brien: “Make him grateful. Do him a good turn. Hide something he loves and find it and give it back”

Lady Mary looking at her future...

Lord Grantham: “I look at Mary and all I can see is a tired woman with a tiresome husband. Not a bride on the brink of heaven. I wish I could understand why she goes on with it. Do you think there might be some element I’ve overlooked?”

Lord Grantham:“I don’t want my daughter to be married to a man who threatens her with ruin. I want a good man for you. A brave man. Find a cowboy in the middle west and bring him back to shake us up a bit.”

Mary walking out with Matthew at the shoot
Lady Mary: “I never know which is worse. The sorrow when you hit the bird. Or the shame when you miss it."

Lady Edith giving Anthony Strallen another go!
Ohhhh, Edith! What are we going to do with you? You have thrown yourself at everything in trousers (including a married farmer and Matthew if I remember correctly) and now it's Anthony Strallen again? Well, he does seem nice even if he is old enough to be your father. And his house is truly gorgeous. OK, you go for it girl!
Lady Edith: “If you think I’m going to give up on someone who calls me lovely…”

My new favourite character- The Ouija Board
The Ouija board is now my new favourite character at Downton. It does seem to have a life of it's own doesn't it? First the hilarious scene where Mrs. Patmore sits down at the board and gives it a little "help".

""  Good one Mrs. Patmore!

Then Lavinia's spirit talks through the board. "May they be happy. With my love."- frightening poor Anna and Daisy, who were using the Ouija board at the time. 

Daisy crying her eyes out at work!
I think the best part of the Christmas episode (other than the ending with M&M) was the part with Daisy. From taking bad advice from Rosamund's maid, to discussing things with the Dowager Countess to finally connecting with William's father (is he great or what?). Two lost souls, bound together by the memory of the sweetest footman in Yorkshire. Awwwwww......

Countess Violet: “But you can’t have been false to him. You were his wife for only half an hour.”

Daisy: “I’ve never been special to anyone. I were only ever special to William.”

Wuv...Twoo Wuv
Matthew and Mary gave us the best ending ever! I won't give it away if you haven't yet seen it (see it! see it!).

Lady Mary: “You know yourself we carry more luggage than the porters at Kings Cross.”

Lady Mary: “I’m Tess of the D’Urbervilles to your Angel Clare. I have fallen. I am impure.”

Matthew: “I never could despise you.”


And Mary showed she was a classy lady by how she said goodbye to Sir Richard.

Sir Richard: “I loved you you know, more than you knew. And much much more than you loved me.”
Mary: “Then I hope the next woman deserves you more than I did”


Best quotes from Dowager Countess Violet:

Countess Violet: “Sir Richard, life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous”
Sir Richard: “Not my life”
Countess Violet: “How soon your maxim will be tested

Countess Violet: “Hepworth is lonely? I find that hard to believe. Hepworth men don’t go in for loneliness much. I knew his father in the late 60s. Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan?” (Where are the snows of yesteryear?)

Countess Violet: “Perhaps he’s had enough banging for one life”

Countess Violet: “1920. Is it to be believed? I feel as old as Methuselah. When I think what the last ten years has brought. God knows what we’re in for now.”

Countess Violet: “No fortune?! He’s lucky not to be playing the violin in Leicester Square.”

Sir Richard: “I’m leaving in the morning Lady Grantham. I doubt we’ll meet again.”
Countess Violet: “Do you promise?”

Are you ready for Season Three with Shirley MacLaine as Cora's American mother? I sure am! And one more time for my sister...


  1. I have to say, season 2 disappointed me with all it's cliches and over-the-top soapy elements, but the Christmas Special made it all right again! Spot on, Fellowes. I am now officially excited for season 3.

    And I think I've replayed the ending as many times as the train station scene in North & South. That's a feat!

    1. As many times as the train station scene in North and South? High praise indeed!

  2. This was a BAD episode. I felt embarrassed just watching it. Mary and Matthew's relationship has been reduced to something from a bad Barbara Cartland novel . . . and I include that cheesy marriage proposal at the end. Poor Thomas is stuck being a servant. And he does have my sympathies. Yes, he can be an unpleasant person, but I got the feeling that Fellowes punished him for wanting something better in life . . . without seeking help from the Crawleys. Robert continues to be an asshole regarding Sybil and Branson. Mary continues to make subtle catty comments about the U.S. and her mother's ancestry. Can someone please explain how Sir Anthony Strallan managed to lose the use of his arm in combat, yet Robert wasn't even able to leave Britain, let alone serve in combat? At least Robert had combat experience. The storyline regarding Daisy nearly made me puke. She spent a good deal of the season being bullied by Mrs. Patmore into becoming involved with William against her will, and we're supposed to believe that Mrs. Patmore was right to bully her, because Daisy found a new parental figure in William's dad? Really? The whole storyline about Lady Rosamund, her maid and Lord Hepworth was a waste of my time. Sir Richard Carlisle was so ridiculously one-dimensional in his villainy that I found myself feeling very sorry for Iain Glen for being stuck in such a role.

    The only story line that did not leave me tearing my hair in frustration was Bates' murder trial.

    1. As The Squire would say, "Did you like it, or not?" :)

    2. My feelings exactly.

    3. My feelings exactly... that Iain Glen was wasted.

  3. Jenny,

    I LOVE this Christmas episode! Violet is very funny - enjoyed the line about the vase! I cheer when Matthew punched Richard, he deserves it. Love Mary's gown in the last few scenes, it's gorgeous! The proposal is so romantic and perfect! They are so happy twirling around in the snow! I really want to be in Mary's place when Matthew gets down on one knee *happy sigh*

    I also love the way that Matthew comes to Mary's aid with Richard, e.g, the shoot, the fight. Love the Servant's Ball & Matthew dancing with Mary!

    Kate, Leeds

    1. I loved it too Kate. And so did The Squire, and so did one of my co-workers, who texted me about it as soon as she had finished watching. I have got them all hooked at work!

      There is so much eye candy in this episode, I have watched it twice already and I am ready to see it again. Can't wait for the American Grandma and the Fenian Irish baby to appear next season! Woo hoo!

      It will be very hard for me to wait until next January, but I shall. Tell me what you think next fall however, without spoilers!

    2. I will do, Jenny! I've watched the Christmas Speical on DVD about 5 times since I got it for my birthday! I think I need to go to Downton Abbey rehab! I wonder if we'll see Matthew & Mary get married or have children in Series Three... We'll have to wait and see...

      I love Downton Abbey and I'm looking forward to watching Series Three in September 2012 but until then I'll watch my Downton Abbey DVDs, Series 1, 2 & the Christmas Speical over and over again.

      Kate, Leeds

  4. Good lord, we have to wait until next January?!!! Fantastic, satisfying ending to the season - watched it three times and still choke up at several scenes and laugh at others. I know it wasn't meant to be funny, but I kept replaying the scene of Carson running with the telegram that held the news of Bates' sentence. And THANK YOU so much for sharing A Carson Christmas - it's been making the rounds through all my Facebook friends.

    I recently downloaded the DA theme music as my ringtone - so strange to hear it when anyone calls me. I almost expect Isis to come bounding into the room.

    Thank you for your marvelous recaps - I will miss them!

  5. Jenny,

    I've watched this episode on DVD lots of times this week and I think it's safe to say that I'm addicted to it, I need to get romance from somewhere though don't I?

    (Leeds) x




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