Downton Abbey 04:07

Welcome back to the continuing saga of Uptown Downstairs Abbey…

I mean, Downton Abbey. (And as a side note, isn’t this a kick ass parody?! It was filmed as part of the Comic Relief / Red Nose Day charity event on the BBC a few years ago. As a fun game, try and spot all the British actors that you recognize; and yes, technically Miss Catrall is British.)

DA0407-01Right, on to the penultimate episode (or the season finale if you’re going by the British numbering as next week’s episode is the Christmas Special). That said there is a lot of ground to cover so hold on to something as everyone is running around.

First off, Rose is running around proclaiming that she wants to marry African (!) American (!!) jazz bandleader (!!!) Jack Ross, and of course Mary and (slightly surprisingly) Tom try and talk her out of it using less than ideal terms. Rather than come to her senses, she dashes off to London where Mr. Ross adds another adjective to go in front of his name; sensible. While I don’t cotton the idea completely that he’s in love with Rose so much that he doesn’t want to ruin her, I could get behind the idea that as an African-American jazz bandleader, he would have a better sense than anyone of the challenges that their coupling would face. Also, Mary is right; Rose is totally rebelling against her non-existent parents (a notion that will come up next week in the season finale).

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Speaking of Mary, once again she channels her inner Kelis and proves that her milkshake is bringing all the boys to the yard, whether she likes it or not. With all of the pig farming and improvements to the estate, she now has to deal with the persistent Lord Gillingham who has just broken off his engagement. But Mary is still fending him off and also Charles Blake, though we all know that Blake excites her in sort of the same way that Matthew did. But Mary did use her powers of seduction for one good purpose; after Anna finally broke down and told her what happened the night of the recital (in a short but beautifully acted scene), Mary told Lord Gillingham to fire his valet Green (a.k.a. Rapey McRaperson).

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Meanwhile, Edith just Can Not catch a break. Gregson is still missing in Germany and she’s still pregnant (and the clock is ticking before she starts to show). Of course Aunt Rosamund has a brilliant idea; why don’t they head to Switzerland and give the baby to a couple of strangers out there? Edith on the other hand, would rather give the baby to Mr. Drewe (the man tending the pigs at Downton) and his family so she can still be a small part of her child’s life. Alas, Rosamund and Edith did not count on the detective work of Violet Crawley, Dowager Detective Chief Inspector, who forces Edith to “enunciate clearly” what is going on. In a surprise move (well, not really because she has always been the more pragmatic member of the family), Violet offers money to help Edith so she doesn’t have to depend on Rosamund (which makes me wonder what baggage Rosamund has with her mother; my guess is that she can relate to Edith more than anyone else since everyone was so focused on Robert).

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Meanwhile, we saw some romances blooming (Moseley and Ms. Baxter), while some people were making new friends (Tom and that woman Sarah Bunting), and some romances were ended for good. Alfred came back to say goodbye once and for all, and Daisy finally showed some maturity and they parted as friends. And may we never hear of this overdrawn love quadrangle ever again.

But no time for that as the village bazaar is upon us. And of course it was all fun and games, until the last reveal that Lord Gillingham’s valet Green has been found dead in a bus accident. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that Bates somehow took his revenge while his wife was away with Mary in London and while he was in York. But would he actually do it? Would he actually commit murder?

Tune in next time as special guest stars Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti join in for the season finale of So I Married A Valet Murderer…

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Originally Published on 17 February 2014 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my column for l’etoile

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