Monday, February 13, 2012

Downton Abbey: Spanish Flu

I really like how Downton Abbey has used the historical timeline to their advantage to drive storytelling. Being a European history buff, I am glad to see World War I and the Spanish flu brought the homes of many Americans.  The way schools sum up the world wars is truly tragic, but that is a diatribe for another day.

Back to the task at hand, how good was this episode of Downton Abbey?  There was a lot to cover, so sorry if I missed some of the storylines.

We really get to see Sir Richard true colors when he is asking to Anne to spy on Mary.  He thinks anyone can be bought. Well these servants are loyal to Lord Grantham, and Sir Richard doesn't know how to function in this world.  As a result Carson will not go either to protect Mary, and she needs protection.

I hated seeing Lord Grantham have an indiscretion with his housemaid.  I really liked that Cora and he loved each other and still slept together all these years. I just thought he was better than that. 

Matthew standing was the best part of the episode, such a joyful surprise.  It adds another layer to the Mary Matthew love story. I also loved their kiss, sorry that Lavinia has to suffer in all of this.  But Mary and Matthew really should have gotten their act together long before it went this far. Lavinia said it best as she was dying.

It was kind of nice to see Thomas get his comeuppance, he deserved to be screwed over for his actions.  It was definitely just retribution.

I loved Branson and Sybil.  I would marry that sexy Irishman.  I love that it was Mary who was the voice of reason who talked Branson and Sybil into coming back to the house.  I don't think Lord Grantham will ever like his daughter's choice but he'll let her live her life. 

The Spanish flu looked so painful and distressing.  I couldn't imagine living through it.  Even seeing Cora like that I wonder if death was easier.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about Downton Abbey visually, and I have come up with another observation.  Lavinia has become the angelic light haired innocent to contrast to Mary's dark haired self serving immoral character.  Lavinia is ready to accept Matthew in any shape even if he is impotent, where Mary would not accept him even though he is her true love.  Mary instead has chosen the repulsive Sir Richard.  But I guess that's why even in death Lavinia is not thinking of herself; thus fulfilling her role as the ever selfless innocent.

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