Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wordy Old Men on Downton Abbey: Season Five, Episode Six

Gregson's death is official. Edith copes by absconding with Marigold. Rich people race horses. Bates confirms our worst nightmare--that he didn't avenge Anna's rape by murdering the odious Green. Molesley gives Daisy a book.

Old Man Duggan: We kick off the episode with bad news, and it's not just that Robert and Cora are separate-bedding it. Of course, Mary shows that she hasn't changed much when it comes to her sister. Unsympathetic even when it comes to official news Gregson's death in the fracas of the Beer Hall Putsch. If there's one thing that Lady Mary and Hitler have in common, it's that they give zero shits how their actions affect Lady Edith. What dicks.

Wordy Ginters: Other commonalities between Hitler and Lady Mary: stylish haircuts, a passion for sketching, and underestimating Russian winters. The hysteria over Mary's devil's haircut cracked me up. Her pernicious need to needle Gillingham by attempting to be more desirable was nefarious. She's definitely a closet Dom.

OMD: When Robert tried to cheer everyone up at brunch with drawings, my mind immediately leapt not to work-ups for the new Downton development but to untoward drawings of Isis pissing on the Brownshirts.

WG: Isis got some serious screen time this episode. I kept thinking they'd find her dead. I still maintain there is a grand thread and meaning signified by Isis appearing on the screen, I just haven't figured it out yet. I do hope they find her dead and not merely listless sooner rather than later. I like dogs, but Isis seems too cocky for her own good. The attention lavished on Isis dwarfed the concern for Edith, which is entertaining.

OMD: Of course, the finality of the news just has to send Edith off the deep end. She'll use that sweet money from The Sketch to finance the homeschooling of the sure-to-be-loneliest girl in England Marigold Cumberbatch. That will surely be the pseudonymous surname upon which Edith will land, right? Edith and Marigold's landing spot is pretty sparse. I'd imagine it's what Mitt Romney felt like when he lived in that one little basement studio apartment that one time in college.

WG: She's gotta have a decent nest egg coming her way though, right? Much like Mittens, she'll forever have a twisted ideal of what "roughing" it is really like and won't understand how those without Lords or Governors for daddies can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps like they did. Fuck Jeb Bush too. On the other hand, glad to see Edith go Amber Alert and take her baby. Good for her. Marigold Cumberbatch rolls off the tongue rather nicely.

"Please, do me a favor. Don't use that word. You may not use that word. It's off-limits to you. Only those in this house who understand it might use it. And don't use any part of it either. Don't use 'nest,' don't use 'egg.' You’re out in the forest you can point, 'The bird lives in a round stick.' And and and you have 'things' over easy with toast!"
OMD: Now that there's a trace of Gregson's body that came up found, I somehow feel like Fellowes is more likely to narratively exhume his corpse, having him turn up after being held captive for a decade by Hitler's henchmen.

WG: So eventually they find Gregson's corpse in the Fuhrerbunker as a Hitler body double? Leaving Hitler free to escape by submarine to Argentina? Where he still lives today, as a humble trainer for the River Plate football club? Plausible. Now we know how Greg McDonald came up with the plot for Fletch.

OMD: God I love Fletch. The book is better than the film, of course, though no one reads anymore. Fletch Won is also awesome. I hope they go with the more adult tone of the novels and less with the tone struck in the Chevy Chase vehicle, which I loved but is not as engaging as the book.

I'm shocked that Mrs. Denker and Spratt don't get along. Spratt not coexisting with the fellow help? Does not computer. I love that Isobel enjoyed the staff in-fighting at the Dower House, which reassured her of her choice to live a middle-class lifestyle.

WG: The spin-off series I'd love to see the most involves Spratt running a pub.

OMD: At least Bates stumbling across Anna's Interwar contraception that she was holding freed the cat from the bag on the Green front. It took, what, a year and a half? I knew the Brits kept their feelings close to the chest, but Jesus, talk a bit. It also means that the door for the second wrongful prosecution of John Bates is wide open, though I think it'll be Anna who falls if anyone does.

WG: Reviving the who killed Green story line is still goofy. The more ridiculous the perpetrator the better. I'm sticking with the adorable Marigold Cumberbatch as the most likely culprit. The Bad Seed.

OMD: Fellowes is really stepping up his septuagenarian courtship game this season. Kuragin and Violet reconnecting is nice in that it gives Maggie Smith something to do other than slinging quips and handing out her weekly morsel of sage advice. It's nice that Violet is actually going to miss her luncheon companion, Isobel.

WG: Great scene. Actually some heartfelt heat. I completely agree, it's refreshing to see the Dowager do things other than throw shade. Kuragin was making me tingle with all of his honest talk and naked longing.

OMD: I guess that's bound to happen when we're subjected to five seasons and more than a decade of repression.

I'm glad Cora laid down the law with the "out of hand" flirtation line. Eat a buffet of dicks, Robert. Stop acting like a petulant child. Sleep with your wife.

WG: No doubt. Jesus, Chubs, no one likes a whiner. The power move would have been to kick Cora out of the bedroom if you were going to make that kind of play. Slinking off to one of the guest rooms was petty. Did Cora ever know about Grantham's almost persuaded moment? I seem to recall him smooching a servant a few seasons back. Was Cora giving him the those without sin cast the firs stone ultimatum with that in mind?

OMD: I think there was a growing divide between Robert and Cora while he was lusting after the war widow, Jane, but I think she never knew fully what he'd done.

Isis seems to be ill. Isis is well over twelve years old. Somehow I doubt she pulls through. Into what kind of terrible downward spiral will Isis's death send Robert? He'll surely mourn the loss of Isis more seriously than the departure of his sad-sack daughter.

WG: The contrast between the Isis scenes and the Edith scenes is no accident. For whatever reason, they literally treat Edith worse than a dog. Is it because of her nose?

OMD: At least Mary's hair was better than that tragic do that Sybil wore in her last days. It would have looked better had she chosen to ride her steed astride rather than sidesaddle. When her horse leapt over the hedge, I assumed she was a goner, sure to fly forty yards from her untrustworthy steed.

WG: The racing scenes had me anticipating a spill as well. Riding side saddle over jumps seems batshit crazy, but we know Mary has some skills in the saddle. I loves me some female jockeys, especially in route races. Rosie Napravnik, Greta Kuntzweiler, Rose Homeister, Julie Krone. Mary would be at home in that group.

OMD: It's shitty to think that Molesley had to leave school at 12. Makes sense that he cares about Daisy's matriculation. What might Molesley have been with the benefit of a full education? Surely, man would have traveled to space decades earlier.

WG: Probably breaking codes with Alan Turing.

OMD: I love that Blake has sicced Mabel Lane Fox on Tony Gillingham's dull dick. A dog with a tired old bone if you will. That Gillingham called Mabel a "positive centaur" infers that he, not unlike Alex Rodriguez or the Priest in The Life and Times of Tim, fantasizes about being a centaur and likely has commissioned artwork to have himself depicted as one. I guess Mary has found her Matthew 2.0, though only in the sense that he challenges her.
WG: Gillingham's centaur fixation is all over the series. It's one of the great things about Downton Abbey, the inexplicable surreal/fantasy flourishes that Fellowes drops in from time to time.

OMD: Edith's parting words to Tom echo the recurrent through-line this season wherein ladies ask Branson to be true to himself. Are they calling him a sellout? They better watch out, or he'll stand by and watch the proles throw them from their castle in the uprising.

WG: "Don't let them FLATTEN you, Tom."  Ominous.

OMD: The churlish Mrs. Drewe got her comeuppance. Don't fuck with the gentry, farm lady, or they'll come back and take their dumbly named bastard children.

WG: She went from "Ah Hell No" to resigned acceptance pretty quick. Other than that, the main thing I took from that scene was admiration for Mr. Drewe's fabulous vest. Again.

OMD: "There's always something, isn't there?" Violet, Violet, Violet. I'd say join the 20th Century, but there was the whole Holocaust thing. And there's a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in France of late. Is it weird that I just do not understand anti-Semitism at all? It's just so bizarre to me for a group that's basically been shit upon for centuries to have so much hate thrust upon it still to this day. Then again, I don't really get why anyone buys into organized religion other than to try to deal with the looming specter of death, so what do I know? Back to Violet's comment, Isobel's dumbfounded glare was priceless. It was that "get with the fucking times" look that so many shoot her, but from Isobel there's the understanding that we're from the same time and still you utter such nonsense.

WG: I don't get it either. My wife and I are dabbling with the lengthy WWII documentary World at War. Excellent series. Narrated by Larry Olivier so that's a bonus. The inhumanity aimed at Jews is hard to fathom. A shitty coda new to me was that even after concentration camps were liberated, many people were still stuck there for years because other countries were not willing to allow them entry, including the U.S. Brutal.

OMD: I'm glad Fellowes saved a nice moment for the end of the show. Carson's overture to Mrs. Hughes to spend their retirement years together was nice and precisely what one would expect of him. It wasn't exactly romantic, but it spoke to the platonic love they have for one another in a touching way.

WG: A companion elderly hook-up to mirror the Dowager/Isobel flings upstairs. Good for Fellowes. Old people need to fuck just like everybody else. Shout it from the mountain tops.

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