Monday, 28 October 2013

Downton Abbey - Episode 6 - It's All About Carson

For me, the Dowager Countess used to be the head honcho of peeved glances and cracking one-liners - but not any more. Carson's face last night, when band singer Mr Ross said "I'm no more African that you" was an absolute corker. Jim Carter, who plays him, expertly manages the balance between Carson's gruff exterior and soft centre. Take last night, when Molesley was reduced to serving tea to the servants - eventually Carson cracked and gave him a more suitable role. Quite often he is more of a snob than his beloved Crawleys - yet, over this series, we've seen he has real heart.

Heart also, it appears, might exist within Mrs Baxter. She's growing on me as a character and I'm keen to know exactly what hold Thomas has over her. Whereas the tough exterior of Charles Blake, with his imminent report on local stately homes due, hasn't yet cracked. I wonder if we are to see a romance between him and Mary - a tempestuous love-hate relationship! 

The real shocker last night was Edith's pregnancy and for the first time in four seasons, I felt a grain of sympathy for her - my least favourite character. Where is Michael Gregson? Will he return? How will he face the prospect of being a father? 

Shocking for Mary, was the sight of Rose kissing singer Mr Ross down in the kitchen. Since her bereavement the oldest Crawley sister appears more weighed down by the world than ever and has taken her role in the running of the estate seriously -  perhaps this will transfer to taking responsibility for carefree Rose as well.

I also empathized with poor Daisy when Alfred left. Unrequited love squeezes your insides and she showed a new maturity on managing to wish him good luck. I can clearly see her as the next Mrs Patmore.

As usual, Fellowes has left us with lots of questions unanswered, especially given the sneak-peek of next week's episode. Are we to see the arrival of Cora's brother, Harold? Will Mr Bates twig that Green attacked his wife, when the vile valet arrives next week? And as for the poorly Dowager Countess... Please don't say Maggie Smith is leaving the series? 

Roll on next Sunday which - sadly - brings us the penultimate programme of this season.


  1. I liked Edith from the moment the house was turned into a convalescent home and she hit her stride. Mary's absolutely FOUL to her (Mary's my least favourite character!) and it's about time the poor girl had some light in her life after that dreadful wedding fiasco.

    I agree about Daisy - always had a soft-spot for her, since she was the closest to my character Lizzy Parker - you remember, when JF stole my characters?! ;) She's lovely.

    Baxter - I have a sneaking suspicion she might be Thomas's mother. She does seem to have a tad more integrity about her, but he's clearly got some kind of hold over her.

    I'm getting a bit fed up with Mary's monotonous delivery now; when Matthew was there she seemed to realise her voice could go up and down a bit, but now it's back to the dead-from-the-eyes-down behaviour, and I don't see what all these men find so fascinating about her, frankly.

    I do hope they were able to get through to Branson and convince him to stay after all; I didn't like him in the first series, but he's really grown on me. Watching him struggle to fit in has been interesting and rewarding.

    Oh, and I LOVED how the Dowager came off top in the gardener-steals-or-doesn't-steal-paper-knife affair!

  2. Yes, i'd forgotten Edith and the hospital, fair point Terri - although i still prefer Mary and would trust her more.

    Mother?? I thought perhaps Baxter might be Thomas' sister... ooh, intrigued now.

    I think - SPOILER ALERT - Branson does meet another love interest and stays. Yes, i hope he stays too.

    LOL, the Dowager is brill - i do hope she doesn't leave the series, even though Carson has come to the fore for me now...

  3. Clearly a romance planned for Mary and the new fellow - all that sniping has to signify something! Possibly the one who got engaged will pop up again at some point, so there might be a little intrigue going on there for a while.

    Bates has his suspicions already (let's face it, he'd be pretty dim if he hadn't), and it won't take much for them to be confirmed - suspect this storyline will run for a little longer, so I don't expect it to be done and dusted next week.

    Think you're right about Thomas - I think she's his sister, and there's obviously something in her past which means she needed his help to get the job...some disgrace, I think. She seems like a potentially decent type, though, and as always, Thomas' plans will undoubtedly come unstuck. Clearly Downton's Dick Dastardly character! :)

  4. So much intrigue, Margaret! Yes, i agree, it must be pretty obvious to Bates, who the perpetrator is - will he have the self-constraint, though, to think through his revenge... I hope so.

    Mary badly needs a new romance! That is hard to say, as Matthew is only 6 months gone, but there is something about her grave demeanour just willing us to hope she meets someone soon...