Downton’s back, and with a novel viewing experience for yours truly – I didn’t cry! I’m sure my loyal readers are probably thinking I’ve grown into a callous crone in the past year, but I beg to differ: the episode was as touching as ever, it was simply so joyous and entertaining that even Matthew and Mary’s wedding made me warm and fuzzy rather than cold and teary.
On that note, why don’t we start with the ending. Mary, I never, ever want you to be predictable, nor your marriage to be sedate and mundane. I have a caveat, however: as astutely observed by Branson (sorry, Tom) and Anna, yourself and Matthew have been through so many tribulations since you first met 8 years ago (how wonderful that you’ve both hardly aged even though Matthew’s been to war and spent a while as a cripple), if you dare threaten the stability of your relationship I may smash the TV.
Their journey down the aisle was not without event as Downton turns out to be on the verge of ruin and Matthew appears too sanctimonious to invest his second substantial inheritance into the Abbey. He’s mighty lucky with his position in wills and entails, isn’t he? Still, even if that plot turns out only to be a device to get a risqué smooch between him and Mary the night before the wedding it was well worth it.
Similarly, Matthew’s overly dutiful attitude towards Lavinia’s memory is easily set aside in my mind when seeing his rapport with Branson (sorry, Tom) develop. They’re a great double-ac t when paired against the might of the Crawley family. Although the touching gesture of naming Branson (sorry, Tom) as Best Man is perhaps a moot point – who else was Matthew to have? The Earl? Molesly? That added to the fact that the Dowager has always been far more progressive than she lets on means that really Matthew’s actions were a little obsolete. But hey, it’s Matthew: he can’t do much wrong and his foray into early 20s fashion is working very well (the double-breasted navy blazer was a total success).
I’m possibly running out of space and haven’t covered all that much ground, so here’s a power through the rest of the episode:
- Glad to see Cora and Robert back on track. Bonneville works the tears like only a real man can, and something tells me he’s going to need more of them before the series is over – was that Cora in bed with another man in the trailers?
- It’s the roaring 20s and the downfall of stately homes – great to see Fellowes handling the topic so subtly
- Will someone please find Edith a husband already? Don’t care too much whether it’s grandfather Sir Strallan or someone slightly more dashing, but it’s getting painful watching her desperation
- The Downton Abbey blog’s greatest contributor (my mum) predicted the Earl’s demise for the second series. Could his chest pains of joy at Mary’s wedding attire mean that mum was simply a series ahead of her time?
Conundrums and contrivances (this may or may not become a regular feature in the Downton Abbey blog):
- Did people really say “How’s it going?” in 1920?
- Why is it akin to a crime for a footman to be 6’1”?
- The anonymous male servant in the kitchen wearing an apron: he’s clearly not interesting enough for a storyline so let’s sack him off and get a kitchen maid
I think we’d better cover downstairs storylines next week or else this is mere ramblings rather than a blog. For now, I’ll sign off with this: for the moment it’s Downton Abbey 1, Financial Ruin 0.
Read our thoughts on Downton Abbey Series 2