Monday, February 23, 2015

The B**** Is Back!

         Nooo!! Just when things have become the most compelling they’ve been all season, the season is coming to an end. The penultimate episode to season 5 left us panting for the final episode which will have, no doubt, tantalizing cliff hangers.

         Episode 6 showcased Cora at her best. Episode 7 belongs to Robert. All is forgiven, Robert, you are no longer exiled to the land of the boob.  He navigated so many emotional minefields and he did so masterfully. The way he treated Mrs. Patmore’s feelings about the war memorial was touching. I would like to think all Lords appreciated their dedicated staff and treated them with such respect. Ordering a memorial for her nephew was commendable.

         Ignoring the prejudice of the day, regarding the Sindeby’s faith, Robert showed his open-mindedness. Granted Cora’s father was Jewish so his acceptance is not newly founded. He bristled at Susan Flincher’s question about the Sindeby’s British heritage, and laughed out loud at the awkward moment at Rose’s blessing ceremony when one of the guests told Robert and Cora she thought they were brave for putting a brave face on what is an unfortunate alliance. Likewise he didn’t mind putting Lord Sindeby in his place when Shrimpy (I find it odd calling a grown man “Shrimpy”) was discussing Indian politics.

         I love the way Robert is with the children. It was delightful seeing him on the floor playing a board game with Sibbie. He also figured out for himself Edith’s secret that Marigold is her daughter with Michael Gregson. Not only did he not object, he was delighted he has another granddaughter.

         Finally, selling the Della Francesca was the tell-tale sign that Robert is catching up with the modern world. The selling of the painting showed Cora that the Bricker incident taught Robert the priceless lesson that he was taking Cora for granted. It also showed that he is willing to let go of the past in order to improve matters for the future. Well done Robert!!

         Thomas is another character whose ways seem to have changed for the better. In the last two episodes, he’s been positively helpful. He’s using his powers for good rather than evil. Saving Andy the footman from Danker’s scheme was kind. Imagine saying Thomas was kind!! Hopefully this pattern will continue. He’ll always have an edge to his personality, but if he could continue to direct his talents against more worthy targets he’ll begin to acquire the friendships he’s always wanted.

         The B**** is back. That cloud that enveloped England was the shadow of Lady Flincher returning to its shores. She is appropriately named, I flinch every time she opens her mouth. How not to make a good first impression: tell the person you are meeting that their name is odd then ask your host if they have trouble finding help, Later pronouncing to all that she and Lord Flincher were getting a divorce, hoping it would be the straw to break Lord Sindeby’s back with respect to the wedding. Lady Sindeby to the rescue, saving the wedding despite Lady Flincher’s best efforts to scuttle it. Susan Flincher is so bitter, she’ll be alone for the rest of her unhappy life.

         Rose is adorable. The way she embraces life is infectious. She knows Lord Sindeby doesn’t care for her has a daughter-in-law, but she is determined to make Atticus happy. She has her priorities in the right order. She is naïve but she will be a good wife because she loves Atticus too much to let anything get in their way.

         Prince Kuragan isn’t wasting any time (probably because he has little to waste), swooping in and asking Violet to go away with him. I almost fell off the sofa when he said they could be lovers. Talk about 50 shades of grey!! Pardon my prudish ways but-ICK!! To Violet’s credit, the fact that the Princess is still alive makes a difference to her. She may not like the Princess but she respects her position enough not to go off with Kuragan like a teenager. I don’t see Violet going off with him.

         The conversation with Kuragan did have its purpose though. It reminded Violet that life is short and it should be lived to its fullest. Despite her personal objections, she is encouraging Isobel to be happy and to let Lord Merton’s sons to take a long walk off a short pier. I want Isobel to be happy and I’m not sure she will be happy knowing the sons disapprove of her. She won’t want to break up the family albeit a dysfunctional family.

         What would Mary do without Carson? Despite seeming so confident with everyone, and positively hateful to Edith (“You’d think she invented motherhood.”), she really is a bundle of insecurities. She needs reassuring that her choices are the right ones.

         Daisy has grown the most this season. Watching her develop has been like watching the birth of the middle class in England in microcosm. She’s excited by the idea that she has choices in her life and that she’s young enough to take the opportunity to explore them. Yet, she’s tied to an older generation who has shown her more love and support than she has ever known. She needs to carve out a life for herself that is fulfilling but connected to her roots. It won’t be as a cook in someone else’s kitchen. Perhaps she’ll be the first female land agent at Downton. That may be overreaching a bit.

         The more Tom talks about leaving, the more I think he’ll stay. He’s just such a snug fit at Downton now. He and Robert have reached a détente in their political sparring. Sibbie is thriving. Why move? However, Mr. Fellowes may have introduced Marigold into the nursery to make up for Sibbie’s loss. Is it possible that the relationship I never thought feasible would come to be: Could Mary and Tom be the couple for next season thus, keeping Tom at Downton? Have we seen the last of Charles Blake?

         Alas Anna and Bates, the couple gives me ulcers. All they want to do is live a happy quiet life, but it just doesn’t appear to be in the cards for them. Do we have another season of prison visits only this time with Anna behind bars? She’s the sweetest person on Earth, and so horribly treated by Mr. Green, how can this be happening to her? Will Bates take the blame, only to have Miss Baxter say she saw the unripped ticket? This is getting increasingly more complicated. Will Anna admit what Green did to her? If she does doesn’t that cement her motive? Does she have an alibi? I know one thing, England didn’t fuss too much about civil liberties back in the day. Being thrown into a line-up without any warning doesn’t seem quite cricket to me. I’m sure Anna and Bates will be our biggest cliffhanger for next season. I can’t stand it!!


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