Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2: Episode Six

Anna and Bates marry- Finally!
Well wasn't that a cracker of a season finale! I cannot believe that season 2 is over (as well as the Spanish flu pandemic). Well, we do get the encore Christmas episode next week and it's another 2 hour treat!

So Anna and Bates have finally gotten married and had their 20 minutes of happiness (in bed...pasty English body alert!) before tragedy strikes this story line again. Boy, I didn't see that one coming...again!

Matthew- We can have children now!
And just as I was getting really attached to Lavinia...the little ginger kid from the wrong side of the tiara who just couldn't believe deep down that she was good enough for Matthew. And yet you know that she would have made him happy, giving him a bunch of ginger babies with sweet faces. Ah well, this is Downton Abbey after all. Sir Julian Fellowes has the soap opera bubbles blowing again. But what will happen to the "cursed" Mary/Matthew story line now? Will it drag on for yet another season? (rhetorical question-sorry)

Look out Carson, Mary's going to blast some flapper music!
We are winging toward the 1920s with gramophones and social upheaval. I did find the Sir Richard/Anna/Carson/Mary spy storyline a bit interesting. Mary seems truly pissed off at Anna and Carson, and poor Carson finally gets a dose of nasty Mary for a change. Now he knows what Mrs. Hughs has been talking about. Mary really is "an uppity minx and the author of her own misfortune"!

Dowager Countess Violet pondering the aftermath of the Spanish Flu
Best Dowager Countess lines of the season finale:
  •  "All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite."
  •  "I was watching her the other night when you spoke of your wedding. She looked like...Juliet on awakening in the tomb."
  •  "Marriage is a long business. There’s no getting out of it for our kind of people. I mean, you may live forty...fifty years with one of these two women. Just make sure you have selected the right one."
  •  "Marry in May, rue the day."
  • "Will someone please tell me what's going on, or have we all stepped through the looking glass?"
  •   Branson thinks Violet "deserves to know" what's going on. "Why don't I find that reassuring?" says Violet.
  •  Lavinia has been given a gramophone. "I'll stand well clear when you light the blue touch paper."
  •  Lady Edith: "I've left space at the front for jewels. I know Lavinia's getting something from Papa."
    Violet: "And from me. Though she's so slight, a real necklace would flatten her."
  • "I used to think Mary's beau was a m├ęsalliance but compared to this he's practically a Hapsburg."
  • "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class."
  • "The plot thickens!" (Mainly for her little grin. Amazing.)
  • "Wasn't there a masked ball in Paris when cholera broke out? Half the guests were dead before they left the ballroom." (Made even better by the following pause and the Earl's: "Thank you, mama. That's cheered us up no end.")
  • "And while I am sure Branson has many virtues…He's a good driver."
  • "I do hope I'm interrupting something."

Ethel discovers Charlie's grandad is a real bastard!

I think I have invented a new game. Eat an Oreo cookie (or similar chocolate treat) for every time the word bastard was used in this episode with respect to Ethel's love child. I believe have a tummy ache now however. I hope Ethel doesn't live to regret her decision about little Charlie, however horrible his moustachioed grandfather.

And did anyone else shriek at the return of the beanie baby/good luck charm? What is that thing anyway? Rabbit? Dog? Well, whatever it is Matthew will never give it up.

And any of you think that O'Brien almost used the word "soap" when feeling all guilty about her nasty past?

The maid Jane and Lord Grantham storyline was a bit weird. Poor Lord Grantham is just knocking around Downton trying to find something to do. Or someone to do. Oooh sorry for that one!

Lady Sybil clearly not enjoying the dinner table chitchat
Although I haven't been a fan of the whole Irish chauffeur storyline (because there was no spark of affection between the two AT ALL) I have to admit I was highly amused when Sybil took off with him to Gretna Green  (just like Lydia and Wickham!) and then was dragged back to Downton to hash it out with Papa. The final scene between Robert and the Dowager Countess was perfect.

Robert: And perhaps we should let Lavinia's last gift to us be a reminder of what really matters. Of course, you'll think that's soft.

Violet: Well, not at all. The aristocracy has not survived by its intransigence. Oh, no, no, we must work with what we've got to minimize the scandal.

Robert: But what have we got to work with?

Violet: Well, you'd be surprised. He's political, isn't he? And a writer. Well, I could make something out of that. And there's a family called Branson with a place not far from Cork. I believe they have a connection with the Howards. Well, surely, we can hitch him onto them.

So meet me here again next week for the recap of the two hour Christmas special. I hope Isis the new bouncier Labrador Retriever gets a little doggy stocking with a bone or two from Mrs. Patmore!  I can't wait to see more of Thomas the former footman. He is sooooo smarmy!


 Help for non Brits with references from this episode:

Carson: Definition of "a guinea a minute" which Carson uses to describe Mary as a child-means a "barrel of laughs" or "a hoot".

Sybil: The phrase Uncle Tom Cobley and all is used in British English as a humorous or whimsical way of saying et al., often to express exasperation at the large number of people in a list. The phrase comes from a Devon folk song "Widecombe Fair". Its chorus ends with a long list of people: "Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all."

Violet: Light the blue touch paper was originally used as instruction for British fireworks- "Light blue touch-paper-stand well back". Became a way of suggesting someone had done something dangerous or foolhardy and needed to beware of the consequences, especially, for example, when having said something that was likely to cause someone else to respond explosively


  1. I just finished watching this -- how DO you get such a great review written so quickly? Thanks very much for the explanation at the end of the British phrases. I could guess at a couple but your explanations are much better.
    Also -- Do you take notes when you watch? Because I can't believe your memory could be so good for all of those quotes. I love Violet's sayings too, but it was great to read them because I missed a couple!
    I totally agree with you about Lord Grantham and the maid's little fling being quite strange. It seemed totally contrived although, so did quite a bit of the scenes lately. Season 1 really was a lot better.
    I did like Bates and Anna's scenes. I even appreciated the "pasty skin" as you say. Because that is how they should look. Not like Hollywood stars who tan themselves golden. I noticed it and thought it was just as it should be.
    Thanks for your great reviews. I enjoy them very much!

    1. I have to admit, PBS Masterpiece lets me see it in advance as a member of the "press". I've been a good girl however, only watching each episode a few days in advance to give me time to put the post together. Much better in HD on TV than on my little computer screen however!
      Glad you liked the review. By the way, the DVD of the second season is out now (a co-worker found it at WalMart) so if you can't wait until Sunday for the Christmas special...

  2. I always enjoy the last episode, I knew Lavinia was going to die. I thought Matthew was a bit melodramatic when he said to Mary, 'She died of a broken heart.' I'm never that fussed about Bates/Anna/Sybil/Branson. Love the kiss/dance between Mary and Matthew! I always enjoy reading your reviews about Downton Abbey. I can't wait to hear what you think of the Christmas Special as I love it and have watched four times on DVD already!

    Kate, Leeds xx

  3. Thank you for the marvelous recap (and schoolin' me on the British phrases)! I don't care how soapy and melodramatic it gets...but Lavinia dying so suddenly, and conscious enough to relay her parting thoughts to Matthew...well, the soap was positively leaving an inch-thick residue of scum in its wake.

    Matthew and Mary's dance and smooch set my heart a-flutter and showed just how much chemistry they have (and in comparison, how much Sybil and Branson lack).

    I never EVER want to see Lord Grantham kissing anybody!

    Poor Anna. I think she's the cursed one.

  4. Love the series, love the posts. Anyone question the use of the word 'pregnant?' My late grandmother - approximately lady Sybil's age, but not personality - would have died of shame to say it. She always used the term "expecting."




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