March 13, 2013

Downton Abbey, Season Two

I apologize in advance for this post. All I ever talk about lately is Downton Abbey and the weather. Obviously, I need to find something new to talk about, or a new book. While I've sworn off talking about the weather, I will share my feelings on Downton Abbey as JD and I power through the seasons.

Thoughts on season two - Possible spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Something I like about Downton Abbey is that the characters are constantly changing as they develop further. In season one all I wanted to do was jump through the screen and smack Edith, O'Brien, and Thomas. Edith for being a whiny little brat suffering from middle child syndrome. O'Brien for all of her scheming, especially the soap incident. And Thomas for being the insufferable prick that he is. But season two holds a different cast. The war has changed everyone, everyone except Thomas. 

At the end of season one, Thomas left Downton to train as a nurse in order to avoid being sent to the front when the war broke out.  He ended up getting sent anyway. Season two finds him sniveling in the trenches, too cowardly to move. After having Matthew over to his tent for tea, he gets the grand idea to have himself maimed for the sake of being sent home. The bastard decides to hold a lighter up above the trench at night and gets his hand shot off as he wished. What he thought he might do in the medical field with only one hand is beyond me. He ends up the manager of the recovery center at Downton thanks to O'Brien's encouraging Lady Grantham, who was naive to his thefts while working as a footman. 

I really feel sad for Lady Grantham these days. She keeps unknowingly helping the worst people.

O'Brien has started to change her tune. She decided to be kind to the disturbed man who reminded her of her brother and stood up for him to the other servants. Since the soap incident, she has become extremely protective of Lady Grantham and by that I mean she is now manipulating people in order to help Lady Grantham instead of hurt her. I think that is about as much compassion as O'Brien is capable of showing. Her concern when Lady Grantham comes down with the Spanish Flu is mostly based on clearing her conscience. She has become easier to tolerate this season, but not enough to redeem her character, even when she seemed like she was actually sorry for Mr. Bates after the trial.

Edith, has become much easier to tolerate as well. Before the recovery center started at Downton, she took a job on a nearby farm as tractor driver and was promptly fired after the farmer's wife caught her and the farmer kissing in the barn after finishing up for the day. You know Edith, she craves attention more than Mary. She then starts tending to the soldiers in the recovery center once it's open and receives praise for her efforts. No longer feeling like the neglected middle child, she stops causing trouble for Mary (not that Mary doesn't do a fine job at digging her own holes). When she told Mary that Matthew was missing, she did it out of concern and not to send her sister into a tailspin. Dare I say, I could possibly like an occupied Edith. 

Loose ends...
Patrick/Pete Gordon - I feel that they wouldn't introduce such a character to the story if they weren't going to elaborate on it in the future. I suspect we will be seeing him again in season three. If this young man truly was Patrick I would expect him to reappear with more proof of his identity. If he was a con artist after all, I wouldn't think he would give up so easily. He knew enough information to float his story, but the whole situation reminded me of a fortune teller. Patrick/Pete stuck with very basic, vague stories of his time with the family and let Edith fill in the gaps. Either way, I didn't trust him.

Mr. Bates - Now that Lady Mary's story is no longer a secret, Sir Richard could testify in court that the late Mrs. Bates had made threats against revealing the scandal in order to incriminate Anna and make Mr. Bates miserable. She had told him specifically that she would "take him down with her". I do think that there is something that Mr. Bates is not saying. He has always been a very private and reserved character and I do not think that he necessarily killed his wife, but that one scene where he returns from seeing the late Mrs. Bates and tells Anna that it had gone "much worse than she could ever imagine" was never elaborated on it. It only came up in the trial except when O'Brien was called for the prosecution since she had overheard it. And why didn't the defense say how Mr. Bates had acquired that cut by his eye? He's hiding something, but at this point, what (or who - aside from Anna) could he possibly be protecting?

Other thoughts.
How creepy was the Ouija Board message from Lavinia?

I knew Sybil would marry Branson!

Thanks to Yahoo, I have sadly discovered the two characters that don't make it through the third season. I have my suspicions of how they may die, but I will not say and spoil it for JD. As a writer (yes, I'm going there), and serious history nerd, I am pretty certain that one of the characters will be written out of the show in a very common and predictable way. 

PS. We have been watching here

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