Tag Archives: Michael Gregson

Thoughts On Downton Abbey

*-This post contains spoilers about Downton Abbey. If you do not like spoilers and have not caught up to the most recent episode, you are reading at your own risk.

With the final episode of Downton Abbey airing in the United States tomorrow night, I’ve been thinking about a few things.

We need to drop the #PoorEdith hashtag. What I realized is that Edith is one of those characters who despite multiple setbacks, just keeps on moving forward. Whether it was crushing on Matthew (whom she lost to Mary), getting engaged to Sir Anthony (who dumped her at the alter) or getting involved and getting pregnant by Michael Gregson, who was older, married and is no longer of this world, her barometer in choosing men is not quite working. Edith has classic middle child syndrome. She is the Mary Bennet of Downton Abbey and the Jan Brady of BPD’s (British Period Drama). She is not the beauty of the family like her elder sister, nor was she rebellious enough to choose her own path like her late youngest sister. She was simply Edith.  If I could write Edith’s story line for the sixth series, I would have her go her own way and create  her own happiness. Frankly, after all she has been through, she deserves a little happiness.

There are some among the fan base who would like to see Mary and Tom get together. I disagree.

Mary and Tom do have a lot in common. They are around the same age, they are both single parents due to the fact that they both lost their spouses early in their children’s lives and their long term goal is to ensure that their children stay in Downton Abbey for many years to come. But they are ill matched as a romantic couple.

Looking at the series from a writing perspective, a Mary/Tom romance would cheapen the story. Julian Fellows has created these wonderfully complex and highly entertaining story lines. Yes, a Mary/Tom romance would be convenient and easy to write, but it would be too convenient and too easy. It is far more interesting as a viewer to see them with other characters in a romantic relationship while balancing their responsibilities as parents and caretakers of the legacy of the Crawleys.

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Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 1 Recap: Sex, Poor Edith And A Hint Of Jane Austen

Like all recaps, these posts contain spoilers from last night’s episode. Read at your own risk if you have not see the episode.

Upstairs

Julian Fellows continues with his semi-sadistic hatred of Edith. The episode opens with Edith bicycling over to the Drewe farm to see her baby girl, who is being raised by Mr. and Mrs. Drewe. While Mrs. Drewe has swallowed the story about Marigold’s “dead” parents, Mr. Drewe knows more than he lets on.  Back at the Abbey, Mrs. Hughes finds a book with Michael Gregson’s name written in it. At the end of the episode, she nearly burns the house down, when, in grief, she throws one of the letters from Michael into the fireplace, but it misses the mark.

Robert and Cora’s 34th wedding anniversary is fast approaching, but Robert is blase about the fact. What starts as a simple anniversary dinner with the family nearly turns into a rumble when Rose invites Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis), the schoolteacher from the village, who Tom met last season. Miss Bunting is not shy about sharing her political views, especially her approval of The Labour Party and the leader, Ramsay MacDonald.

While Charles Blake has yet to appear this season, Tony Gilllingham is back and still pursuing Mary with a vengeance. His latest scheme is trying to convince her to go away with him for a few days. He even goes so far as to boldly enter her bedroom when she is only in her dressing gown. We all know what happens to single men who dare to enter Lady Mary’s room.

Tom has not yet completely warmed up to the idea that he is part of the family. The mere presence of Sarah Bunting re-awakens his old political ideas. I have a feeling that Tom will be doing a balancing act this series between his former self and his present self.

We see briefly, the youngest and cutest members of the Crawley family, Sybbie and George. Sybbie’s nickname for her grandfather is donk. All together now, awwww.

And finally, Violet is playing matchmaker, a la Mrs. Bennet. Her co-conspirator is Lady Shackelton (Harriet Walter, Fanny in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility) The person she is matching for is Isobel. The the two men are Dr. Clarkson and Lord Merton. While Isobel tried to gently turn them both down last series, I have a feeling that Dr. Clarkson may need to up his game if his competition is a peer of the realm.

Downstairs

In this week’s mid life crisis moment, Mr.  Molesley tries to impress Miss Baxter by putting dye into his hair and trying to cover his slow balding. The person who notices is not his intended target, but Robert, who asks if Mr. Molesley is Latin.

Speaking of Miss Baxter, we know something of her secret. In an effort to get the monkey known as Thomas off her back, Miss Baxter tells Cora that she stole jewelery from a previous employer and was in jail for three years. When Thomas tries to tell Cora, she reads him the riot act (Go Cora!). But then Thomas saves Edith from death by asphyxiation from the fire and is the hero once again.

Daisy is convinced that because of all of the years she has spent in the kitchen, she has missed out on years of school and has an urge to return to schoolroom. Mrs. Patmore does not agree with her.

Bates and Anna are back to their pre-rape relationship. In fact, I think, if he would have, Bates would have taken his wife home for a little private time. But it is only the first episode, so we may see another roller coaster that is the married life of John and Anna Bates soon enough.

Jimmy’s old employer and Downton’s newest cougar, Lady Anstruther (Anna Chancellor, Caroline in the 1995 miniseries and a descendant of Edward Austen, one of Jane Austen’s brother’s) has come to Downton for obvious reasons. And it’s not just for visiting Cora.

And finally, Mr. Carson is appointed to lead the committee to build a war memorial in the village. The traditional choice has always been the Earl and not his butler. The times, they are a changing.

Analysis: First episodes of any season usually require some catching up (not that we need it), but it felt like it was a little too much re-hashing of the end of last season. But it is only the first episode, so only time will tell.

Dowager Quote Of The Week

Lady Shackelton: Of course, a single peer with a good estate won’t be lonely for long if he wants to be.

Lady Grantham: You sound like Mrs. Bennet.

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Downton Abbey Series 4 Episode 3 Recap

As usual, this recap contains spoilers. Read at your own risk if you haven’t seen last night’s episode.

Upstairs

Tony Gillingham  (Tom Cullen) proposes to Mary. My initial reaction was that he is moving waaay too fast. Logically, he would be a good choice for her. He is handsome, titled, in love with her and they knew each other from when they were kids.  But she turns him down, using Matthew as her reason. Lord Gillingham also has an off screen pseudo-fiance. At the end of the episode, Mary tells her father and Tom that she may come to regret it. That may be true, but I have been spoiled enough to know that there will be another man vying for her affections in a future episode.

Edith and Tom do the walk of shame (cue the Pink song). While Edith disregards her aunt’s advice, Tom is kicking himself for letting Edna get him drunk and seducing him.

I feel bad for Tom, I can honestly understand why he is feeling lonely. He has married into this family, whose lifestyle is far different from the way he was raised. His wife is dead, he is a single parent and trying to navigate the social rules of his new lifestyle.

Dr. Clarkson is opening an outpatient clinic and bring Isobel into help. If this is his way to changing her status from widow to wife, he is persistent.

While visiting Rosamund in London, Rose insists that they all go to a nightclub, where she has a meet-cute with Jack Ross (Gary Carr), a black  musician. Mr. Ross comes in at the perfect time, rescuing Rose from her drunk and upchucking date. Of course Mary, Tony and Rosamund are horrified of this simple act of dancing together. And of course Tom to send to bring her back to the table My spoiling of this series also tells me that this is not the last we will see of Jack Ross. What else is a rebellious young lady from an aristocratic family to do than to start a relationship with a black musician?

Edith is clearly her father’s child. Michael Gregson asks her to sign a document taking over his affairs while he obtains his German citizenship. Of course she doesn’t read it before signing. Lack of business acumen seems to a family trait.

I just love that Rosamund brought up Sir Anthony while trying to convince Edith to end her relationship with Michael Gregson. Bringing up the ex-fiance who publicly embarrassed her by ending the relationship at the alter is really a good argument.

Downstairs

Anna is still raw from her ordeal. Everyone notices the change in her, even daft Robert, but only Mrs. Hughes knows and is still keeping her secret. John is trying to figure out what is going on with his wife, but she is pulling away from him, insisting on returning to the house instead of living with her husband in their cottage. Out of love for husband, she doesn’t tell him, afraid that he will go after Mr. Green and go to jail again.

We’ve become so accustomed to not just violence, but sexually  related violence that normally this type of story line would be just another story line.   For Julian Fellows to choose Anna represents so much more. The shame, the anger, the fear is universal. Joanne Froggatt is an incredible performer and deserves any Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG Award , etc for this past two episodes alone.

Raise your hand if you loved Mrs. Hughes during this episode. Elsie “Mama Bear” Hughes has a good heart and is a good person, but the claws come up when someone tries to hurt someone she cares about. Evil Edna was stupid enough to leave a book around telling her how to have sex without getting pregnant. Clearly Edna’s plan to seduce Tom, fake a pregnancy and force him to marry her was doomed to fail.

My favorite scene was the one between Thomas and Edna in the stairwell. Call it Bitchfest 1922. Thomas wins this round with his job intact while Edna is once more out a job.

Alfred sees an opportunity to train as a chef in London and leave the career doldrums of being a footman behind.

The Ivy/Jimmy/Daisy/Alfred love quandrangle is boring. Unless Fellows pulls something out of his hat, it will become my least favorite story line this series.

Analysis

My favorite character this episode was Mrs. Hughes. She is compassionate when she knows Anna’s secret and when she gives Carson a framed picture of his former sweetheart. She is instantly in charge and ferocious when she confronts Edna with her failed plan to force Tom to marry her.

Dowager Moment/Line Of The Week

“Another brick falls from the wall”.

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Choice-CONTAINS SERIES 4 SPOILERS-READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

*- These characters, with the exception of Harry Crawley, belong to Julian Fellows and Carnival Productions.

*-Based on what spoilers I know of Edith’s story line for the 4th series.  If you prefer to withhold reading until the series has ended, I understand.

Choice

“Mama, look” Harry proudly showed her the tower of blocks he had constructed.

Edith smiled approvingly on her son.

Within a moment, the tower crumbled to the floor and Harry eagerly began to rebuild.

As much as Edith loved her son, she knew of the realities of his life. It was true that he was the grandson of an earl, but he also a bastard.

While his cousin would one day become the Earl of Grantham and inherit both the land and the family fortune, Harry would have to make due with much less.  Her London flat was far from the glamour and prestige of her childhood home.

It was a simple flat, containing two bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. There were no housemaids to do the cleaning or help them dress, no nanny to take care of Harry while she worked and no Mrs. Patmore to do the cooking. Edith did it all and surprised herself how accustomed she had become to doing it without help.

Not that Edith was without support. Robert and Cora loved their grandson and were willing to support their daughter. But outside of the confines of the Abbey, she knew that they would be confronted with whispers and stares.

“There goes poor Lady Edith” they would whisper “First she is abandoned at the altar and then she finds herself pregnant by her married editor”.

“You don’t have to leave, there is room enough for the both of you” her mother pleaded when Edith announced her decision to leave Downton permanently.

“I know, Mama, but we can’t stay in Yorkshire”.

“There will be a little bit of money, your welcome to come home whenever you want to”.

“Thank, you papa”.

Edith watched her parents become smaller and smaller as the train left Downton. London was the best place for her and Harry.  She could work either from home or at the office; Aunt Rosamund was more than willing to watch Harry if she was needed.

In London, the gossips focused their attention elsewhere. She was simply Edith Crawley, journalist for the Sketch.  The fact that her father was an Earl or that her child was born out of wedlock was unimportant.

But still something was missing and that was Michael. But she knew what she was getting into when they started this relationship.  The only thing that was unexpected was their son.

“Mama sad?” Harry put down his blocks and crawled to his mother, noticing the tears beginning to dot her eyelashes.

“No, darling, mama is not sad”.

“Mama, love”.

“I love you too” it was hard to deny that Harry was Michael’s son. Harry had the same inquisitive brown eyes, the blond curls that flopped in between his eyes.  On Michael it was sexy, on Harry it was adorable.

Edith didn’t know when or if Michael would ever return. But she would carry on as she did before Michael, surviving and living her life as she knew how.

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Downton Abbey Recap- Series 4, Episode 1

I’ve decided to write recaps of the previous night’s Downton Abbey episode.  These posts contain spoilers, read at your risk if you haven’t seen the episodes.

Upstairs

The main plot point of this episode is mourning, especially for Mary and Isobel. It’s been six months since Matthew’s death and both are clinging to their grief.  Robert thinks the best way to help Mary is to wrap her in emotional bubble wrap, while Tom is eager for Mary to join him in the running of the estate.  Violet’s goal is to help Isobel return to her life, using Isobel’s causes as the method to bring her out grief.

While Mary and Isobel are lost in their grief, Edith and Rose are living it up. Edith is still with Michael Gregson, commuting between Downton and London. He proposes that they marry, but he must find another country that will allow him a divorce.  Rose is a typical teenager, complete with a bedroom strewn with magazines, music playing and a penchant for wanting a good time. She begs Anna to come with her to a local tea dance. Upon entering the establishment, Rose hides that she is a niece of the house to blend in with the rest of the working class patrons.

Downstairs

The kitchen has received a blender. Daisy and Ivy are thrilled, Mrs. Patmore is scared that her job maybe in jeopardy.

The love quadrangle of Jimmy/Ivy/Alfred/Daisy continues.

O’Brien has left for another job during the middle of the night, leaving Cora  without a ladies maid. Evil Edna, who was fired during the series 3 finale takes the position and starts trouble.

Thomas starts trouble (but what else is new)?

Caron’s former acting partner is in the workhouse. He wants nothing to do with him, but Mrs. Hughes and Isobel step in help.

Mr. Molesley is out of a job after Matthew’s death and hard pressed to find work.

Analysis

The wait was worth it.  It was an incredible season opener.  Julian Fellows has hit it over the park again.

Michelle Dockery deserves an Emmy,  A Golden Globe,  some sort of award for last night’s episode.  If this is Mary’s story arc and we only saw the first episode, the rest of the series will be incredible.

Kudos to the costume department. Laura Carmichael’s beaded dress is absolutely stunning. What a transformation from the dowdy, forgotten middle sister to a woman who is choosing  her own destiny and not afraid to show it.

Dowager Moment/Quote Of The Week

Violet: You must choose life or death?

Mary: You think I should choose life?

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