Monday, February 15, 2016

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

This episode may as well just have been titled Much Ado About a Home Tour. Once again, we're a week late, all of which is my OMD's fault. Once again, we come requesting your patience, but with the promise that this week's proper entry should come soon, as it's already being worked on in earnest.

Old Man Duggan: With Violet's prodding Isobel about her resolve in regards to Lord Merton, it makes me wonder if there will be a wedding in each of the final few episodes. It'd be pretty stunty, but it seems clear both Ladies Mary and Edith will walk down the aisle before the curtain closes on Downton Abbey. Will a third be shoehorned into this cracked glass slipper?

Wordy Ginters: Since the show has gone from something truly great in Season One to a vehicle for soap opera styled melodrama and will they or won't they games, I'd say it's entirely possible. How about a marriage for grit's sake: Donk and a coffin?

OMD: Seems like that could easily happen.

Daisy's jealousy over everyone else paying Mr. Mason attention is so irritating. My initial instinct was to say it's the most irksome storyline that the show has entertained, but then I remembered Denker. And Edna. And Ethel. And Miss Bunting. And that Daisy has had plenty of other irritating as fuck character arcs. And this all makes no mention of the myriad occasions in which Julian Fellowes threw a tree branch in the front bike tire of Bates and Anna's lives because apparently that is the only place from whence drama can originate on this show. At least with Thomas and O'Brien, their transgressions were so odious as to draw the viewer's ire. This petty storyline and many others swirling around in the aforementioned characters' histories do little more than give the viewer indigestion.

WG: Spot on with the plot goofiness. As you astutely point out, the venom for O'Brien and Thomas was organic, it felt natural to the story and the way the characters had been developed. The irritating shit Daisy is doing comes out of left field, or ebbs and flows in a way that totally rings false. Her behavior doesn't really operate in service to the way her character has been portrayed.

OMD: The look of abject shock and overwhelming horror at Lord Grantham's suggestion in jest that they'd have to show Lady Mary in the bath for the visitors to get their money's worth was brilliant. That single moment made this entire episode worth watching.

WG: That was an odd moment. I'd like Grantham more if he had a stronger habit towards the provocative.

OMD: Fucking Carson's continued prodding about the shortcomings he perceives in Hughes's keeping of a house are going to get him smothered to death in his sleep. And I'd posit that Hughes would best justified. Patmore's line about how Hughes "always knew he was old to be trained as a husband" sums it all up quite succinctly.

WG: I'm not sure why Fellowes decided to turn Daisy and Carson into such dicks, but he's done a good job of it. At least it feels organic for Carson to be an oblivious douche when it comes to domesticity. I suspect it will give Hughes a chance to let him redeem himself after some gentle yet firm reproach.

OMD: Bates's insistence that the bill from Dr. Ryder--who is clearly Mitch Ryder's father--has to be a set-up for jaw-dropping sticker shock, doesn't it? Ryder's services surely cost as much as an Aston Martin, no?

WG: Bates, methinks thou dost PRIDE to much. Why are you living back at Downton Anna and Bates? Because we spent our last pound paying off the doctoring bill. It's probably Mary's fault Anna is having complications with her pregnancy anyway, on account of the gravitational waves emanating from Mary's black-hole anus. Not even light escapes.

OMD: Scientists are hard at work to try to detect a correlation between the two.

Robert inferring Cora was no spring chicken must land him in the low-stress hand-job doghouse, right?

WG: I'm guessing Robert has been on the HJ diet ever since his ulcer exploded. A little Harper's Magazine index style data for you:

  • Handjobs Robert has experienced since his ulcer exploded: 36 
  • Handjobs Robert has given himself: 35   

OMD: Brooklands has to be moving Branson closer and closer to his fate as an Interwar Brewster Baker / Stroker Ace, right? Which course do you think he takes? Does he have George, Marigold, and Sybil in his pit crew with Sybil calling everyone 'Donk,' or does he go toe-to-toe with a Baywatch cast member like David Chokachi or David Charvet?

WG: I'm all in on the Brewster Baker version. If for no other reason than how impossible it would be to fill the Stroker Ace/Jim Nabors role. I guess that would have to be Molesley.

OMD: I like that Robert and Cora see a future for Edith regardless of her prospects for a well-off mate. Their growth in regards to how they see the daughter they previously saw as an old maid destined to care for them in their old age is one of the most pleasant developments of the show.

WG: I'm happy for Edith. She's transitioned from pariah to the daughter most in touch with reality.

OMD: The family's alarming lack of knowledge about the house was outstanding. I loved that the villagers got the least informed tour ever. Molesley's attempt to step in tipped off that he clearly knew more about the house than any of its noble inhabitants.

WG: Of course he did. He's a fucking superman. Whether it's on the cricket grounds, the classroom, or a public works project, Molesley is the man with the answers.

OMD: Charles Barry, the architect mentioned, did remodel Highclere Castle from 1842-1850, though his alterations in the Elizabethan style were done to the exterior of the building. The interiors were finished in 1861 by Thomas Allom, who worked with Barry when Barry later rebuilt Westminster Palace. Barry also renovated Trafalgar Square. His mark was left all over England.

WG: Nice.

OMD: Violet's tantrum was in character, I suppose, but it did ring a bit hollow. That probably owes to the less than enthralling arc that seems finally to be drawing to a close with the hospital ruling mercifully coming down.

WG: The Dowager is such a fan of decorum, I'm not sure I believe that she'd lose her cool in front of the great unwashed. But thank god this hospital foolishness can be put to bed. Let's full steam ahead to the multi-wedding.

OMD: Miss Cruikshank cannot be on the level, can she? She must be planning to cook a stew with Lord Merton and Lady Isobel as the primary ingredients. If she is to marry that shitheel Larry Grey, she has to be a vile as he is.

WG: Cruikshank = British for "crooked as a corkscrew."

OMD: I guess a history of sowing seeds of discontent means this tutoring behind closed doors equals bone zone misunderstanding is what he inevitably must reap, but it would be so much more satisfying to see Thomas get his comeuppance for committing an actual transgression worthy of his ouster from the house. Instead, he pulls a Tim Riggins, doesn't proffer another's secret as the information that would set him free, and gives himself up to a power outside his control. Is this really the end of Thomas at Downton?

WG: I doubt that Thomas is gone just quite yet. They've been threatening to can his ass for so long that it would seem soft to ditch him for being too proud and too stubborn. Come on Thomas, after all the shit you've pulled, you can't really have your feelings hurt because everyone thinks you are trying to bone Andy? On the other hand, it illustrates how you've got to be a well-adjusted motherfucker to be gay in this world.

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