Monday, 21 October 2013

Downton Abbey - Episode 5 - Thankfully No Soap

Thank you, thank you, Julian Fellowes, for not taking Downton Abbey down the path of becoming a soap. He hasn't eked out the storyline of Bates discovering what really happened to Anna - nor has she become pregnant by vile Green, a well-worn  theme (will husband find out the baby isn't is?) in TV serials. What a relief it was, last night, when Mrs Hughes finally told Bates of the attack. His reaction was moving, as was Anna's when she realized her husband didn't see her as 'spoiled'. Excellent acting. We can rest easy now that one of our favourite couples is back together.

There were shades of dark and light last night - much of the latter provided by Mrs Patmore's reluctance to move with the times. The new sewing machine made her feel dizzy and she was highly suspicious of the new-fangled idea of a fridge, instead of an ice-box. Strong characterisation is one of Fellowes' strengths -  I always enjoy Mary's cutting remarks towards her sister Edith and Carson's unsympathetic attitude towards poor Molesley never fails to make me chuckle. 

So, no sooner is Lord Gillingham officially engaged, another love interest for Mary, Mr Napier, turns up. And something is going on with Michael Gregson... Will affairs of the heart ever run easily for the Crawley sisters? As usual, plenty of questions were left open for next week's episode. What is the agenda of Napier's boss, Charles Blake, did John Pegg the gardener really steal the paper knife and what exactly is the relationship between Barrow and devious Mrs Baxter?

Of course, some questions are bigger than others, but Fellowes has the knack of making us care about them all. Like I said earlier, strong characterisation is the key, with the different Downton personalities staying true to their intrinsic nature and not being twisted simply to fit in with plot.

The outfits, once again, were fabulous and Maggie Smith's cutting comments now feel as familiar as a favourite bar of chocolate. Roll on next week - but not too quickly as we are now past the half-way mark and I'm not ready to face Sunday nights without this sumptous trip back in time.


  1. Fellowes has, once again, nicked one of my character names. I mean, he nicked my idea for Downton from Maid of Oaklands (my blog can testify to this!) and the surname Carlisle too, and last night he stole the name Drewe, who's an important character in the sequel. Grrr! One of these days he's going to have to move out from under my stairs and find his own place to live.

    Anyway, I agree; dragging out that whole Bates/Anna/BastardMan story would have taken it down entirely the wrong road, but the little thing at the end where Bates makes it quite clear "nothing is over, and nothing is done with," I thought was a great touch.

    Next week's looks wonderful, as always, lots of high jinks and a bit of the dark stuff too - perfect. I forgave Fellowes his transgressions quite quickly, and provided he doesn't sneak back in and pinch anymore of my ideas, he'll stay on my good side.

    1. LOL, Terri! Honestly you'll have him in court, before long :)

      Yes, Bates was very menacing at the end wasn't he - a brilliant touch. I wonder if the series end is going to be a cliffhanger to do with this storyline. I thought, all things considered, that his reaction to the news was understated, but it's definitely a case of less is more. At the moment he is controlling his fury - it's bound to explode at some point. Just hope there aren't nasty repercussions for him and Anna...

  2. Loved the scene with Bates and Anna, but surely Bates isn't going to become a murderer after his efforts to convince people he didn't kill his wife!
    Carson was very snarky to poor old Molesworth - but Maggie Smith beats him hands down for snarky comments!

  3. I hope Bates contacts someone he got to know in prison... perhaps they can help out!
    Yes, she is the Queen of snark, isn't she, Paula!

  4. You could while away the hours between episodes with the original Upstairs, Downstairs. I think Bates meant some of that menace for Mrs. Hughes and always thought he did murder his first wife. Should be interesting. Loved the lip quiver.
    What do you think happened to Gregson and what will Edith do about the baby? Speaking of babies, loved seeing Sybie and George. Bored already with Mrs. Baxter.

  5. Yes, I loved that lip quiver too, lini! Hmm, there is a very dark side to Mr Bates, I think that's what makes him so appealing as a character - there is an air of danger and unpredictability.

    Yes, Baxter isn't doing a lot for me at the moment, either, I hope she is going to turn out to be more than just Barrow's puppet.

    Ooh, remind me, what baby, lini??