Sunday, February 7, 2016

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

Work delayed this entry a full week, but it will be followed quickly with this week's entry. The episode starts with more of the same--Daisy whining about Mr. Mason (despite a favorable resolution to his situation), forboding about Donk's demise, and hospital politic tedium--but at least there's the promise of Minister of Health and future Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain coming for a visit.

Old Man Duggan: Dinner at Casa de Carson went well. Undercooked lamb and bubble and squeak--which is a shallow fried dish of leftovers from a roast consisting primarily of potatoes and cabbage that can also have carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, and other leftover vegetables tossed in--somehow doesn't seem like a dish the stodgy and particular Mr. Carson would like too much. The tamped down tension and resentment from Elsie's side of the table was a delight. Something tells me a tumble twixt the sheets is not in Carson's immediate future.

Pre-Mickey slipping
Wordy Ginters: Poor Carson. Looks like he'll be learning the hard way. From the altar to sleeping on the couch in record time. Oddly, I was a fan of his boorish stodginess. It rings true. To see Carson and Hughes glide into a Cliff and Clair Huxtable simpatico vibe would be discordant. You know Carson has to be a throbbing pain in the ass to deal with. Hughes, as per usual, is a goddamn saint.

OMD: There seems to be a lot of build-up with Patmore feeling at least a little envious of Mrs. Hughes becoming Mrs. Hughes-Carson. Something tells me that the continued presence of Sergeant Willis may be Fellowes's attempt to make a love connection for another potential old maid. I'm sure Patmore would go wild for a distinguished gentleman in uniform.

WG: Like a redheaded moth inexplicably drawn to flaming dogshit. Patmore is one of the few decent characters on the show, and apparently she's never been carnal. She deserves a good old fashioned steamrolling. I think Fellowes can really cover some new ground with the last few episodes, featuring lots and lots of lusty action between 50- and 60-year-olds. How about a sexy montage of Carson and Hughes, Patmore and Sergeant Schultz, Bates and Anna, and maybe a splash of sappho with Isobel and the Dowager all tangled up in a love knot? Underline the scene with "Every 1's A Winner" by Hot Chocolate.

OMD: I liked Branson's explanation for how the balanced personalities of Sybil and himself made for a blissful (albeit brief) union. Clearly this is laying the groundwork for Mary to evaluate Talbot with a fresh set of eyes. Let's just hope she doesn't sic her murderous asshole on poor old Hank. It's claimed one and likely two men's lives. Let us all hope the killing has stopped.

WG: That thirsty asshole isn't done yet. I fear more men will be dispatched into the yawning void via its erotic clench. Branson's ode to relationships was surprisingly solid insight. That guy should shitcan his wrenches and his car fetish and think about setting up shop as a marriage counselor or a therapist.

OMD: Why can't Fellowes just let a cancerous devil like Denker shuffle off into Interwar poverty? I was so happy when I thought she was gone. If only it wasn't for Septimus's shitbag nephew dropping by unannounced and on the lam. Would anyone have blamed Clarkson if he produced a scalpel from his bag and cut her to bits? I suspect he'd have gotten a slow-clap from the townsfolk to rival the letter jacket scene in Lucas.

WG: Corey Haim, where are you now when we need you the most? Septimus Spratt sounds like a Harry Potter character. To cute by half Fellowes.

OMD: "Shall I go back in an ask him to plead not guilty after all?" Molesley bringing the quick quips. What doesn't he bring to the show now? I can't wait to watch the Molesley and Baxter spin-off in which they start a bicycle rental business on Crete to get away from the hustle and bustle of service.

WG: The rebirth of cool for my main man Molesley continues to shock. Just like the anxiousness I feel at the inevitable doom awaiting Anna and Bates, I keep wondering when Fellowes is going to drop the hammer on Molesley. He spent too many episodes and too many scenes making him look like a dope to let him off the hook this gallantly in the final season. He'll spend the next episode with 12 yards of toilet paper trailing off his shoe, and no one will have the guts to tell him except Thomas.

OMD: And in a decidedly derisive way, I'm sure.

Branson's cutting through the veiled courtship bullshit was hilarious. "Why can't you just say, 'I'd love to spend more time with you. When can we do it?'" Mary's not getting any younger and if the battlefield's worth of down men behind her is any indication, there can't be many eligible bachelors left who've not been felled by her sword.

WG: "These dumb proles have some good qualities, although they are coarse as hell." Julian Fellowes, apparently.

OMD: Speaking of courtship, it sure looks as though Lady Edith will finally find happiness. The Beer Hall Putsch already happened, so Bertie can't be killed there. What horrible fate could befall him to rob Edith of another man?

WG: Death by a hail storm of toads a la Magnolia. Or is it a la mode? Frog a la mode.

OMD: If I had the photoshop skills and this weren't a full week late, I guarandamntee you that this would be highlighted with a picture of frog and ice cream.

So it appears as though Barrow's redemptive arc this season is in serving as Andy's tutor.

WG: I want Thomas to be the bad guy. Please Fellowes please, keep the black hat firmly on his head. Is there anything more darkly evil than a mediocre tutor?

OMD: The anti-Molesley.

So the buildup of Robert's failing health paid off big time. Even if this doesn't spell his complete demise, blood spewing volcanically from his mouth across the white linens on the table was quite the dramatic visual. I wonder how much of Donk's stomach they removed? I'm glad Molesley got one light-hearted jab in when Thomas revealed that despite his assumption that he wouldn't care, he was relieved to hear that Robert's surgery seemed a success. "Don't let the other animals find out, or they'll pounce."

WG: An impressive bit of bloodshed for Downton. Were you thinking Alien or Hateful Eight?

OMD: Oh, Alien for sure.

I really hope Mary piecing together Marigold's origins doesn't go the way that the score over that last scene indicated it would. I would suspect that her evolution as a person would have softened her feelings toward her last living sibling, but who knows with her? She certainly could backslide into her old ways, though I suspect the music and Mary's expression at episode's end were a misdirect by Fellowes, and he'll use this opportunity to show how Mary's grown.

WG: I think you've got it pegged. Unfortunately. You can't have every character work their way to some nice and tidy resolution. Thomas is humanized. Mary has grown. Edith finds success. That means there has to be some ballast on the other side of the ledger, right? Granthan dies? Anna and Bates get thrown back in the mud? Regardless, I admit I'm a sucker because the blood bath at the end of this episode has me eager to see the next episode. Something I haven't felt for awhile.

OMD: Indeed.

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