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Downton – kind of a whimper

Just watched the last episode – for this season – of “Downton Abbey.” Yes, a bit disappointing, as I’d heard. Poor Bates still rotting in jail, poor Anna keeping up her stiff but quivering upper lip, conniving Thomas locking up the nice doggie, horrible Sir Richard sent off at last, the servants get to dress up a bit … and finally, fina@#@ly, Matthew and Mary seal the deal. And then whammo, it’s over?

The great scene, the payoff, is telling the good news to the others, particularly the Dowager. Can you imagine what fun Maggie would have with that? The house gets to stay in the family, and the pile of dough too. And we’re assuming that more than Matthew’s legs are working now, so there’ll soon be more than just the poor Irish socialist grandbaby.
I’m sorry, but even allowing Julian Fellowes to stretch the boundaries of credibility, one moment in this one went just too far. Sir Richard the villain, taking his leave, says to the Dowager, “I doubt we’ll meet again, Lady Grantham.”
And she replies, “Do you promise?”
It’s a laugh line. But it’s a cheap laugh, which someone with her breeding would never, in a million years, say.
Otherwise, disappointing or not, it’s still luscious and a marvel. There’s a great piece about it in the NYT magazine today, entitled “Indulging in a Fantasy of a Bygone Era that We’re Actually Grateful is Gone,” pointing out just what an unreal, rosy portrait of the time it is. The excellent writer, Carina Chocano, concludes, “It’s not so much a portrait of an era as it is an advertisement for an imagined ideal of an enlightened aristocracy whose conservatism included a sense of responsibility, not disdain, toward those dependent on it. Which, at this particular political moment, makes it just about the weirdest thing on American TV.”
Take that, Republicans.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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