Downton Abbey Season 4, Week 3: The Soaps Are On!
If you watch Downton Abbey, you expect melodrama (in fact, you love it). But this week, the goings-on at the big house felt a little more ‘As The World Turns’ schmaltz than ‘As You Like It’ quick-footed intrigue. It was almost as if the script was playing a word-association game with the audience, and like a Deco version of Family Feud, the most obvious answer always seemed to be the winner. A few examples…
The World’s Fastest Proposal Wouldn’t it be nice if Lord Gillingham, the utterly bland love interest trotted out for bereft Lady Mary last episode, didn’t fall madly, deeply, passionately in love with her (and in fact, found her conversation a bit lacking?) But of course he does, in a remarkably short space of time….like 48 hours, tops. The only startling thing about this proposal was a line about ‘you are in my brain’, which immediately made me think of Lady Mary as some sort of frontal-lobe infiltrating bacteria.
The Seduction of Tom Would it be such a shocking narrative twist if Braithwaite hadn’t lured poor Tom into bed for nefarious purposes? And would it have been too far a stretch of the imagination for the ex-chauffeur to react to the whole episode with something other than his usual puppy-in-the-gutter despair? Rhetorical questions, of course: because the lady’s maid did blackmail the single dad, and was then shamed into quitting in a way that has ample fodder for a gender-studies essay or two.
The Jazz Singer What if Rose had stood by her vomiting-into-the-potted-plants date, and not fallen into the arms of the dashing, African-American band-leader? We see where this story line goes, and frankly, are bored already.
A Prediction If Edith doesn’t get pregnant from her evening-by-the-fire with Michael Gregson, I will eat my cloche hat.
Downton Abbey Season 4, Week 2: Back To Reality