Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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

While the Carson's away, the Thomas will play butler. An old maid comes to dinner. Anna and Lady Mary run off in the dark of night to try to save the baby Bates.

Old Man Duggan: Can I just say what a delight it was to have Branson back for a full episode? It is almost as though an amputee suddenly got its leg back and started walking about normally again. Was this a vintage-quality episode? Probably not, but having Allen Leech back on the show cut the second-guessing why I was still devoting energy to this show evaporate into the ether.

Wordy Ginters: I'm still second guessing. But good to see a chubbier Branson back in the mix regardless of my Downton doubt. The burgeoning race car fixation is fun. You see Josh, he used to be the lowly car guy at Downton way back in the early days when the show was engaging rather than just a habit.

OMD: So it took five minutes for Sergeant Willis to make an appearance. The busiest cop in Yorkshire. The only cop in Yorkshire. This shitbird who screwed Baxter over must possess a silver tongue and a golden rod what with his ability to get women to do his dirty work . As his name was Mr. Coyle, we have to assume that Julian Fellowes is giving a sly nod to Brendan Coyle, don't we? What does this say about our dear Mr. Bates in real life?

WG: You know all you need to know about Brendan Coyle by the way he makes your thighs tingle when he prowls through a scene. The man exudes a powerful sexual magnetism. Fellowes saddled him with a leg brace and then a cane in a futile attempt to dampen Coyle's natural sex powers lest they distract viewers from the finer subtleties of the plot. Now in the final season, Fellowes is throwing a Hail Mary via a thinly veiled name-check. It's like trying to put a spigot on Niagara Falls.

OMD: "'All that's needed for evil men to triumph is that good men do nothing.'" Molesley's roughly quoting Irish philosopher and father of modern conservatism Edmund Burke there. It's funny that Fellowes has one of the middle-aged folks living quaintly in servant's quarters quoting a man whose ideology would want to protect the institution that has largely kept poor Molesley down.

WG: Nice legwork. I've heard that quote many times but always assumed it was a post-WWII response to Hitler, or maybe Don Wakamatsu and Pedro Grifol discussing Ned Yost's proclivity to bat Alcides Escobar in the lead-off spot. More astonishing to me is the continued hot streak that Moseley is rolling on. He hasn't fumbled anything in several episodes. Carson hasn't shamed him for months. He's tutoring Daisy and even acting as Baxter's consigliere in her dealings with the buffoon Sergeant Willis. By season's end, he'll be shirtless on horseback.

OMD: In one of the most unexpected developments ever, Molesley has become the heart of the show at this juncture.

Seriously fuck Daisy. How badly did you want her to get sacked this episode? I was hoping her head would be on a pike the next morning. A little bit of knowledge in dimwitted hands is a dangerous thing.

WG: That would have been pleasurable.

OMD: Patmore was straight bringing it this episode. "You couldn't be harder on those potatoes if you wanted them to confess to spying." "She knows the mystery of life by now. Which is more than I do." "I wonder if Karl Marx might finish the liver pate?"

WG: One of the rare times that Patmore removes her head gear too. Release the ginger Patmore. Release it!

Phone sex may have been foisted upon a minor during the making of this film
OMD: I have to say I'm looking forward to Branson being the pit crew leader to Henry Talbot. He'll be the Diane Lane to Henry's Kenny Rogers. Maybe love can turn all of them around. Of course, I can't imagine Mary will be jonesing to get in bed with a race car driver after Matthew's run-in with a lorry. Hopefully Tom and Henry's love bug will keep their fuel pumping.

WG: Downton as Kenny Rogers vanity movie project Six Pack? I love it. Jesus H. Christ I love that song. I love that movie. I love Erin Gray. I'll look forward to seeing Lil' Georgie Crawley working his magic with a wrench and a socket.

OMD: Can you imagine how great it will be when Leech's hands are at Matthew Goode's ankles ensuring the quality of his sit-ups?

How much do you think Thomas's balls shriveled when he saw Branson and Gwen supping with the aristocrats?

WG: Shriveling so severe it made an audible noise. Like when Mario dies in Donkey Kong. Why must Daisy be so damn dumb? Why must Thomas be so damn unlikable? Once upon a time, Fellowes would go out of his way to make Thomas almost sympathetic, or Daisy almost honorable. I assume he's still got those moves in his playbook, but at this point, it seems stale and steamless and all too predictable.

OMD: Gwen coming back into the picture was nice. Showing the entire family not knowing who Gwen was made me chuckle at their classist tunnel vision. Her story of Lady Sybil changing her life made me long for the days before preeclampsia (and three-year contracts) robbed us of much of the show's heart. If this reminder makes Mary look beyond herself a bit more, it can't have been a bad thing. Edith lamenting the family's not having spoken to someone who'd been in their employ for so long speaks to her own growth by leaps and bounds.

WG: The best scene of the episode. It had some emotional heft.

OMD: With as many times as Robert and Anna were doubled over with abdominal pain, I'm shocked they both made it out of the episode alive. One of them dies this season, right? With lip service being paid this episode to George being heir to Lord Grantham's title and Lady Rosamund joking about Violet being at Robert's funeral not vice versa, his number seems all but punched. Does Ryder's stitch keep Anna with child, or does another key female character die while trying to bring life into the world?

WG: I think Anna is doomed, as she has been from Isis's first ass shot. If the show had any guts, they'd all die in some wonderfully boring way.

OMD: Dysentery hits the Abbey.

Robert wondering what time Mary would get to London was hilarious in its complete missing of the point.

I wonder what sort of train station grab-and-go sandwich Branson ate. I'm sure it was as delightful as Robert suspected.

WG: A hilariously odd detail. As long as you are putting it in there, why leave the audience hanging on the exact nature of the sandwich? Melted Cheese on Toast? Ox Tongue? Sardine? Egg Salad? I want to know what the sandwich choices were in mid '20s England.

OMD: It would be considerably nicer if Mr. Mason's good fortune didn't owe at all to Daisy. Her dumbfuckery should have been his undoing.

WG: How about blithely overlooking the misfortune of the poor fucking Drewe family in the equation?

OMD: Isobel asking Violet if she had her passport to visit the kitchen was possibly the highlight of the episode.

WG: It's always jarring to see the swells hanging around the servants quarters. Just as unusual to see Isobel land a crisp jab like that. She usually works in more civil territory than the Dowager.

OMD: There was something a bit sad about Carson taking one last look at the meager accommodations in which he'd lived for somewhere north of four decades. It was sad more for his not having experienced than it was that he'd be leaving that tiny-ass room.

WG: And sad that he was going to miss it.

OMD: I do have to say this was another relatively strong episode that has me hoping that the show ends its run on a high note after a few rough seasons. What your guess on when Robert croaks? Next episode?

WG: Not soon enough. A little death is just the tonic this show needs.

Monday, January 18, 2016

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

The denizens of the Abbey prepare for the wedding of the century while Lady Edith is away becoming an editor.

Old Man Duggan: After a particularly dismal second episode to the sixth run of Downton Abbey, at least this one was better.

Wordy Ginters: This season has been across the map. A strong opener. A dud. Tonight's episode somewhere between. At this point, Downton Abbey is a yappy dinner guest who catches second wind and obliviously sails into an anecdote they have already shared twice. Are you overstaying your welcome? Hahahaha. Don't be silly Downton. I'm riveted. Still, Fellowes can occasionally bring the tingles. In his hammy hands, issues of class have the not so faint whiff of aristocratic dick waving. It was nice to peer through the fog and see the proles win a battle or two, namely Hughes at the helm of her own wedding.

OMD: Indeed. He still does succeed when it comes to delivering a small, meaningful moment for a character whose life isn't otherwise filled with meaning.

I still can't believe Fellowes wants the audience to care about this fight over the control of the hospital. Maybe there's some historical context that I'm completely missing here that makes this more meaningful, but I did cursory searches to see if there was some larger development in the practice of medicine in the UK in the mid-to-late 1920s, and there didn't seem to be. The NHS didn't launch until 1948, so it's not tying into that at all. In other words, it's just another way for Fellowes to show the tired, aged hand of privilege trying to cling to something, only here it seems only so negligibly relevant as to render the whole to-do pointless.

WG: The hospital kerfuffle is a flaccid attempt to wire up some tension for Isobel and the Dowager. They need some reason to trade bon mots. It serves the dual purpose of further emasculating Sir Dick Grey and Doc Clarkson, a trick Fellowes uses as a shield so that he doesn't end up looking like Archie Bunker. I wish they'd all just end up in the sack together already. Regardless, the faux hospital angst can't be as portentous as Lord Grantham's scene stealing indigestion?

OMD: There are at least two moments every season where Robert expresses discomfort and I become certain that he's going to croak in the next episode.

So fuck it, I don't want to wait for it. At least the Ghost of Branson looming over the first three episodes emerged from the shadows.

WG: That was fast, eh? Do you think he caught wind of the Catholic priest abuse scandal and moved back to England for Sybbie's protection? If Spotlight teaches us anything, it's that nowhere is safe from the pervy hand of the Catholic Church. Welcome back to Downton, Branson, but you can't hide. The sun never sets on the Papal empire.

OMD: If Fellowes is using this pregnancy as yet another way to pull the rug out from under Anna and Bates, I'm going to flip my shit.

WG: Prepare accordingly.

OMD: This Daisy bullshit with the farms has got to stop. Take her out back and put us out of our misery, Fellowes.

WG: Another empty-headed Fellowes prole. No amount of tutoring from Professor Molesley can compensate for that unfortunate breeding. Lack of social grace allows her to cause problems, and she doubles down on the error by wishcasting a solution that may or may not exist. Will the benevolent aristocracy bail her out?

OMD: That the goings-on downstairs at Downton have rendered the ground for story so fallow that we have to suffer through these little exchanges between Denker and Spratt speaks to the depths to which the show has fallen. Holy shit, it's like I'm having to sit through Seasons Two and Three of Game of Thrones all over again. Every moment they're on screen I keep wishing that there was something going on that I cared about at all.

WG: I bristle at all attempts to humanize Denker or Spratt. I prefer viewing them as a physical manifestation of the tradition-laden, shitty, snide, snobbish aspects of the upper class.

OMD: It is becoming abundantly clear that Thomas's skillset is one that will have been learned just a bit too late. These job interviews are not going so well for Mr. Barrow. If he wasn't such a shitheel, I'd feel bad for him.

WG: That formerly grand house was jarring. Bear skins and animal heads. I thought Downton was heading into some exciting territory. A little Killer Bob action might liven things up.

OMD: If only.

Thank Jesus Edith fired that toolbag Skinner. I couldn't tell if he was sweating out his liquid lunch or in dire need of air-conditioning. Still, while this development could have happened last episode and made me happy, at least Edith is finally getting to realize her potential outside of the stricter bounds of what's expected of women in polite society circa 1925 to make no mention of the fact that she's clearly got a mate lined up now, though I doubt she knows this quite yet.

WG: It made me nostalgic for my high school yearbook days. Who knew putting magazine layouts together would make such great TV? Like watching a documentary about Ken Burns making a documentary.

OMD: Is it just me, or is it insane that Sergeant Willis is the officer dealing with every police inquiry in the show? Is he the only cop in Yorkshire? Wasn't he also dealing with the death of the odious Mr. Green which happened in London? What the hell is his jurisdiction? Is he the only cop in the UK from 1924 on?

WG: The show badly needs a laugh track. Every time Sergeant Schultz/Willis enters a scene, he should look at the camera palms up, shrug his shoulders, cue laugh track.

OMD: Has there ever been a scene less in character in the show's run than when Cora flipped on Anna, Patmore, and Hughes? Honestly, I can't remember a single situation in which Cora reacted to anything anywhere close to that angrily and I don't recall when it was ever misdirected like that. It was so uncharacteristic that when she proffered the overcoat as a gift the gesture was lost in the ham-handed manipulation that showed a complete deafness to character.

WG: Right? Everything seems compressed. They aren't creating enough space between some events and reactions to make them seem remotely believable. Anachronistic soundtrack suggestion for the unauthorized dress up with Cora's overcoats: "Fashion" by David Bowie.

OMD: The wedding was nice. I'm sure the wedding night was debauched. I hated seeing that old shit Reverend Travis. Screw that guy.

WG: I had a bet with my wife that Hughes would utter the line "we've waited long enough Carson, get your cock out." I think you can plausibly infer that it happened off screen.

OMD: Molesley's lamentation that he'd "missed everything" was probably the saddest moment in the show's recent memory. Why he wants to help that simple fool Daisy is beyond me, but Molesley's quietly the show's hero.

WG: He's filled the yawning void left by whatever happened to the husk of Bates's character. From class clown to hero. Anachronistic soundtrack suggestion #2: "Heroes" by David Bowie, played over montage of Moseley alternately tamping tar into potholes, dropping tea service, smashing rounders on the cricket pitch, and learning Daisy her comparative history.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

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

This week, the denizens of Downton Abbey do little of interest while dealing with wedding plans, hospitals, and bastard children of nobles.

Old Man Duggan: Maybe the passability of the first episode this season did too much to cleanse my palate, but this week's episode really made me question playing out the string with this season. We're too close to the end to hang it up, though. I can say I'm looking forward to this being done, so we can hopefully tackle what we talked about via text earlier this week--a Deadwood rewatch.

The show we wish we were watching
Wordy Ginters: Contemplating the deep and abiding love between Dan Dority and Al Swearengen, the best small screen power couple since Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant, will be a welcome respite.

OMD: How many storylines this episode did you like?

WG: One. The storyline that involved Carson caking his pants at the thought of uttering the word "no" to Grantham.

OMD: I liked Carson and Hughes wedding location back and forth. That might have been it.

The first words uttered were at the dinner table about cast members who have moved on. Mentioning Tom--one of the last characters worth caring about on this show--so early really draws attention to what elements the series is missing in its sixth time out. It sort of felt like a "we're going to trick you into remembering how you used to like this show so you'll be more forgiving of the dreck that's about to come" moment.

WG: Good point. Reminiscing in a television series is probably a sign that shit has gone south in the writers room. Did you notice that Mary and Anna also tripped the wax nostalgic, callously laughing at the time they carried poor Pamuk's lifeless husk down the stairs? Cause of death? F2FA.

OMD: I guess there was also the element of Mary taking ownership of her role as agent of the estate. Full-circle feminist progress, small though it may have been.

WG: As far as Fellowes is concerned, apparently, you put a few assertive lines of dialogue in Mary's mouth, dress her in Diane Keaton's clothes from Manhattan, and you are practically setting fire to the patriarchy.

OMD: I liked Hughes giving Carson a friendly little jab about not being able to say no to Lady Mary. I do tend to think that Carson's desire to have the wedding at someplace that matters to them carries more water than Hughes having it at the schoolhouse because it's not Downton, though I understand her desire not to feel like a servant.

WG: Carson being a man who badly needs jabbing. He's honorable in a devout, straightforward, trying his best sort of stilted way. But Jesus H. Christ he needs to loosen up.

OMD: Does Lady Edith not realize that she owns the fucking magazine? Skinner's a shit? Fire his dumb ass. I get that she needs to grow into her role at the magazine, but she's the owner, and there's no reason she would put up with this piece of shit hollering at her and forcing her to make the trek into London only to get yelled at more.

WG: Is it possible she hasn't seen The Devil Loves Prada? The template for how a woman runs a magazine has been established. Alas, Lady Mary is the sister with the undeserved self-confidence.

OMD: Anna went from being this quiet but confident badass to someone who's a nervous wreck over everything. In the continuous wringer that Fellowes has put Anna and Bates through, he's basically ruined her. And her belief that despite Bates's assertions to the contrary she must provide him with a child of his own is so irritating. The shittier thing is that the way Fellowes shits on this duo--presumably because they represent the hope of the proletariat--you know that Anna's stitch will go horribly wrong, she won't tell Bates, he won't know why she's sick from infection, and she'll probably die from sepsis. I'm half kidding there, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if that happened, would it?

WG: Drastic misfortune is most certainly on the horizon for Bates and Anna. A stitch in the neck of the womb? Don't even need to come down to the doctor's office, we'll just do it in the comfort of your own room? Nah, nothing could possibly go wrong. Fellowes pissing misery on the proles is spot on. He's like Jim Nantz.

OMD: What about anything that Bates has ever done supports Anna's assertion that Bates is tribal? It's like everything that's happened before this doesn't matter.

WG: I didn't understand that shit at all. Is it related to his exploits in the Second Boer War somehow? Perhaps the gnarly jailhouse tribal tatt he scored in Season 3?

OMD: This hospital nonsense makes me wish I was watching The Force Awakens again, which I didn't even really like that much. Hell, it makes me want to watch The English Patient, which I tried to watch somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 times (no joke) and have never finished.

WG: My thoughts drifted to Chi-raq. The best political movie I've seen in a long time. Just your standard issue reboot of a Greek drama, complete with rhyming couplets, that takes dead aim on the gun culture in this country, and Chicago in particular. That old threadbare genre. Includes a heaping dose of humor, education, sex, guns, Wesley Snipes for fuck's sake, John Cusack, and Nick Cannon, and the whole glorious mess is bracketed, quite literally, as an emergency notice and a wake-up call.

OMD: The instant the shit with Mrs. Drewe came bubbling back up, it was pretty obvious that the Mr. Mason would be getting their tenancy. Still, having Margie's dumbfuckery taking up screen time was the apex of mindnumbingly melodramatic tedium.

WG: Worst telegraph since Isiah Thomas threw that inbounds pass to Larry Bird in the 1987 NBA Playoffs. Will Mason keep the pigs, or do they exit with Drewes? I've often felt the one thing Downton Abbey lacked was pig related storylines. So, understandably, I was heartened by this week's episode. I hope we see Mason researching boar bloodlines, with Daisy's new found academic prowess at his disposal, spending hour upon hour at a tastefully distressed cottage table pouring over reams of piglet birth weights, weaning weights, loin eye and back fat data, hoping to identify just the right sire. Perhaps he'll purchase a large quantity of semen straws, and they'll get mixed up with Patmore's grocery order. The possibilities are very exciting.

OMD: Or maybe the Crawleys will dispose of a slew of corpses with these pigs now being cared for by a trusted friend who owes them. First corpse? Margie.

Thomas's interview with Mr. Moore was about what you'd expect at this point. Too many responsibilities for one person? Check. Thinly veiled homophobia? Check.

WG: Who does Fellowes despise more, the proles or the gays?

OMD: Alternate answer to that question to follow shortly.

When Lady Mary told Anna that she wanted to help Anna, tell me you didn't immediately assume that she wanted to bone Mr. Bates and be their surrogate. Anna surely would have turned down the offer, but only because she knows that having sex with Mary is as likely a cause of death as simply being a tree on Long Island waiting for Billy Joel to take you out with his car. Also, they shared a hearty laugh at carry the corpse of the buttsexer Mr. Pamuk down the hall to his room. Oh, how we honor the dead!

Lady Mary as The Visitor
WG: The only way to save this season would be to turn this into a British version of Teorema with Lady Mary in the Terrence Stamp role, where she systematically seduces and screws every member of the cast. Final shot: a naked Hugh Bonneville walking a peat bog screaming primal.

OMD: I'd be much more excited to see that.

The kidnapping of Marigold was like the exact opposite of Raising Arizona. Not fun, lacking in Cage, incredibly tedious, and lacking in a cute kid who someone would miss. Apologies if I've said this before, but is it just me or does Marigold look like the titular alien in Mac and Me? Also, did Margie summon superhuman stealth and speed to abscond with Edith's hideous baby? She made off with the child in less time than it takes to slap cream cheese on a bagel. I would have given anything for Mr. Drewe to take a hammer to her head at that moment.

WG: Reversing Arizona. I thought Drewes might take a hammer to his own head. As a parent, there is nothing more irritating than when some relative gloms onto your infant/child and won't give him/her back.

OMD: One last thing before hanging it up for this week: does Fellowes insist that every single character that is going to irritate the audience endlessly be cast a redhead? It's a near certainty that every time you see a new redhead in the cast they will be the most tedious character that you could ever imagine within three episodes. If you didn't have anything against gingers before Downton Abbey, Fellowes is making damn sure you develop a Pavlovian desire to gouge your eyes out every time you see one.

WG: Cue Read Head Walking, by Beat Happening.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

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

As Downton Abbey kicks off its final season, the first episode finds Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes fretting over their approaching nuptials with Mrs. Patmore as their go-between while Lady Mary faces a ghost from her sexual past. The family Bates awaits their fate regarding the untimely but deserved demise of the odious Mr. Green. The fate of the noble class appears to be endangered as a neighboring estate is being sold to a moneyed commoner and its belongings are auctioned. 

Old Man Duggan: It's 1925, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. We open on a fox hunt, and in a sly nod to the past Lady Mary gets all muddied up whilst jumping the brook, no doubt an Interwar euphemism of some sort. Where first it both shrewdly and lewdly portended an escapade of the anal variety with the Kemal Pamuk, the circle is closed with her forays into the arena of premarital sex coming back to potentially bite her in that murderous ass. Of course, now Lady Mary can not only ride her horse astride--the sexual undertones not lost on this dirty mind--but she can vote and perform the job previously reserved for a man. While the riding astride query from Lord Grantham serves as the quick feminism status check for the show, true to form it doesn't take Robert long to move beyond his regressive inclinations and embrace the fact that his daughter is not entirely encumbered on account of her inward-oriented genitalia.

Can we presume that George begging to lick the bowl is a harbinger of what's to come for the moneyed nobility? The next generation of gentryfolk will be reduced to begging for uncooked table scraps before mistaking the devious underbutler for a horse. Of course this all occurs while the old proles slave away, still chained to the ten-square-foot patch of tiled floor in the bowels of a building from whence they're allowed to leave only long enough to get them enough vitamin D to ward off the rickets.

Wordy Ginters: I'm more comfortable with Li'l Georgie's bowl licking foreshadowing a crumbling class structure than I am in reading into what his incessant horsey back riding on Thomas might mean in Fellowes's ghoulish hands.

OMD: There's little chance Thomas isn't implicated in something untoward with those children. It's not like Fellowes hasn't taken a mostly Old World route in making the only gay character in the principle cast the underhanded villain. Fellowes surely sets head to pillow every night and with the last pre-slumber, quasi-subconscious thought slipping through being, "But Thomas is a gay. I can't let him be too human."

Where Lady Mary's concerns are turned to sex of the premarital variety, Mrs. Hughes's are turned to the marital. So late to get on the horse that she entrusts Mrs. Patmore to serve as her sexual consigliere in a sitdown with Mr. Carson. My first thought was that there may not be a person less suited for such a task amongst the servants, but the pickings are so slim as to have only Anna as a more desirable prenuptial dotter of 'i's and crosser of 't's than Patmore, and she's got her B-story plate full with the still quite dead Mr. Green and the prospect of an uncooperative womb. Clearly the poor dolt Daisy cannot be trusted to handle any situation that doesn't arise within the confines of a kitchen. That leaves Baxter, who is simply too busy planning the next time in which her foot will furtively brush against Molesley's under the table. Patmore it is.

WG: If Patmore is the right answer, what the fuck is the question?

OMD: Who best to fashion a dildo from a gourd?

WG: Both Carson and Hughes are so sexually cloistered, you know regressive kink is on the horizon once they become the least bit comfortable with the missionary position. How many episodes until Hughes is asking Patmore to ask Carson if he wants to wear a diaper and a bonnet and to drink from a bottle? I was glad Carson committed to a full red-blooded marriage and all of the carnal goodness that implies. On the same hand, exploring the sexual tension of two repressed 60-year-olds did strike me as perfect fodder for the PBS crowd.

OMD: The tote holders clutch their Mr. Selfridge bags close to their chest, upper lips trembling and dowsed with sweat.

I, for one, am shocked that Patmore's first conversation with Carson wasn't completely disastrous. Sure, it was as awkward a conversation--what the hell does "Do you expect to share your way of life?" even mean?--but there were so many different ways in which this conversation could have been singly responsible for the fall of the British Empire, that it was a relief to have come out on the other side without shrapnel embedded in every person from Ripon to Thirsk. Patmore downs Carson's proffered port and retreats with no one maimed.

WG: The idea of Patmore and Carson talking sex was so batshit crazy it made for a strangely tense scene. It wasn't Christoph Waltz turning the crank in a Tarantino movie, but I quivered like a bunny just the same. It was sweet release when the convoluted three-cushion bank shot that Patmore set up finally hit the pocket, and that flicker of understanding dawned across Carson's face.

OMD: The sheer prospect of having been indelicate would surely result in soiled drawers for our dear Mr. Carson.

"I'm completely whacked. Don't tell your mother." Can this mean Robert is unwell, or is this just an existential malaise set upon all of the marginal Lords of the Interwar Period?

WG: I think it means he's just finished masturbating.

OMD: Is Rita Bevan the most Fellowesian of all of the wretched rogues who have slithered through the halls of Downton? He barging through the halls with little concern for manners makes me long for a different time. The time I'm wishing for, of course, would have seen Bevan's head on a pike.

WG: Reminded me of a shittier Sarah Bunting. I kind of admired her ballsy contempt for normal boundaries.

OMD: That was the single quality of Miss Bevan's that was anything less than loathsome. And Mary still told her that just because the worker bees would have their day, didn't mean that she would.

With news of the killer of The Rapey Mister Green coming forward, Officer Krupke--er, Sergeant Willis stated that "she saw(r) him standing there," which hilariously repainted Tiffany's gender-reversed Beatles cover "I Saw Him Standing There" in my head. I thought of young Tiffany pushing rapists into oncoming traffic and a smile swept across my face. Of course, that led me down the path to tracking down the song, listening to something that I had remembered rather differently, vomiting, reading the lyrics to find that the link between Willis's description and the Tiffany tune ended at its title, and regretting that the connection was ever made. Then I came back to a time-traveling Tiffany shoving rapists under the wheels of trolleys and lorries across Interwar Britain and reconciled the conflicting emotions with a smile. I will not listen to that song again, though. Never again.

WG: Christ. That sounds like some kind of hellish Lakota vision quest. Or maybe the time Erlich went off to the desert with a bag of mushrooms trying to come up with a better name than Pied Piper on Silicon Valley. What other gender-reversed song covers would you like to see? How about Joanna Newsom covering the Rupert Holmes classic "Him," or more precisely "Her" for our purposes?

OMD: Maybe Linda Ronstadt doing Nick Cave's incarnation of "Stagger Lee."

While I'd be more than happy to see Hughes and Carson marry, a big part of me wants him to only call her Mrs. Hughes while engaging in sexagenarian humping. It'd be a shame for him to lose his grip on tradition while in the throes of passion.

WG: Mrs. Hughes, beg your pardon, I'm going to cum.

OMD: Carson and Patmore's second conversation was sweet. While Carson's love for Elsie--start swishing it around in your mouth for taste, Carson--was touching, the real person to feel for here was Patmore, whose closest brush with love was with that boorish milkman (or whatever the fuck he was) who was groping everyone in sight at the fair when Mrs. Patmore's attentions were turned elsewhere. To be closing in on present-day retirement age without being able to say you've loved another while giving your life to the service of a family who knows little about you past your surname and your dead nephew Archie is really quite sad.

WG: I had the same feeling. Patmore recognizing the loneliness inside herself, perhaps highlighted and revealed by Carson's earnest love for Hughes, made for a sweet and sour scene.

OMD: Since it happened, we probably have to talk about Denker's shit-stirring amongst the servant-class at Grantham House and Downton Abbey, but this should not take precedent over the fact that I just learned that Joel Murray long-lost once-identical cousin Mr. Spratt possesses the most excellent first name of all time: Septimus. Septimus Spratt. Holy shit. Judging by his name, he'd be just as likely to be a stodgy, British Transformer hellbent on invading Hogwarts to dispatch of Slytherin House.

WG: The new Defence against the Dark Arts professor is Freddy Rumsen.

OMD: As for Denker, while I expect the show's final scene to be something with Bates and Anna finally finding happiness after more than a dozen years of false hope and interminable misery because Julian Fellowes is a sadist, I'd be just as happy if it was the Dowager Countess hitting Denker over the head with a fucking shovel and gesturing to Spratt--positively beaming with a shit-eating grin--to tend to the mess. Violet turning the table on the conniving Denker was delightful. That Denker is so foul as to make one root for Spratt in every situation speaks to the malodorous air left in her wake in each scene.

WG: Denker and Spratt perfectly represent the dark side of the Dowager's remorselessly privileged soul. Spratt's lips should have their own show. I'd watch 30 minutes of him purring and saying words and phrases like "plum" and "plume" and "droll poltroon."

OMD: If the Bateses cannot, in fact, conceive, there have to be even odds that one of the Crawley girls' predilection toward sexual impropriety will yield another child, right? If not that, then surely Anna will stumble across a child in a basket floating down the very brook through which Lady Mary's sexual dalliances come to bear in a cyclical fashion. Then after raising the child as their own for years, John and Anna Bates will be charged with kidnapping, and their lives will be torn apart once more by a crime that they didn't commit because Fellowes hates when the proles get even a morsel of happiness.

WG: The celebratory champagne flowed. As soon as the needle dropped on that gramophone (admit it, just like me, you were expecting to hear "Close your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)" by Run the Jewels come blasting out of that tin ear horn), I knew that Bates and Anna would be back in the shit soon enough.

OMD: I think everyone assumed it was going to be that.

Lady Edith seems likely to butt heads with William Randolph Hearst, right? He buys a castle in the UK in 1925. I'm guessing she makes an enemy of him and eventually hires Orson Welles to take him down a peg only to have him blow up his own career and never again have final cut.

WG: If it means we see Gerald McRaney on Downton this season, I'm all for it.

OMD: Playing son to his previous father. Let's hope.

Robert's handling of the churlish Miss Bevan was nice. Handed her ass to her without dirtying his hands much.

WG: Yosting. I didn't think he had the skills to pull a move like that. And I'm a little skeptical that little bulldog Bevan would be satisfied with a paltry 50 pounds.

OMD: That or jail time? She'd never be able to handle the rigors of the laps 'round the courtyard.

With the demise of Mallerton Hall and the impending doom about to descend upon the United Kingdom on the whole, the future of Downton Abbey would certainly seem to be less than bright. Can we expect Carson to be wandering the halls in tatters, wits left a decade in the past, muttering to himself about servants long since kicked to the curb to fend for themselves as typists and sock-darners on High Street? The future sure seems like it's writ large across this episode.

WG: Fucking Nazis.

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