Television

Downton Abbey 4×01: Brave new world

Get the tissues ready, Downton Abbey is back!

Downton Abbey S04E01

We can’t deny it any longer, Matthew Crawley is really dead (because Dan Stevens wanted to pursue other things). But Downton goes on, so we have to deal with it. The story picks up six months after the accident. Lady Mary and Isobel Crawley are having trouble to move on with their lives. This gave the viewers a chance to mourn along side the characters during this first episode. But the main theme this episode was “the world is changing” and all the characters have to decide what they are going to do with it (stay stuck in the past or evolve).

Upstairs: Mourning Mary
Lady Mary is a train wreck and Lord Grantham and Mr. Branson are at an impasse what’s right for her. Her father wants to protect her from the world, while Branson wants to involve her in the estate business. Even the Dowager agrees with Branson. It’s funny to see that she is more evolving then her son, who likes to stick to the old patterns and I’m afraid is going to ruin the estate again when he is going to control Master George’s piece. Yes, we are back to that. Matthew didn’t leave a will so Mary gets 1/3 and the rest of it is for their son George (isn’t Master George a ridiculous name?!). I think it would be the worst idea ever if Lord Grantham gets control again over the estate. He means well, because he wants to take care of his grandson’s estate, but his management style is just too old-fashioned. Luckily Mary found her way again (in her words: she’d spent enough time in the land of the dead) after a touching conversation with her grandmother and a little help from an overstepping Carson. When she eventually broke down in Carson’s office, I had goosebumps. Great job by Michelle Dockery this week! Also nice work by the costume department: when she joined the luncheon she wore purple instead of black.

Other upstairs events that are worth mentioning:
– Edith looks really happy. I guess she deserved that. Although her father doesn’t seem very happy about Edith seeing her editor, because he is still married. Gregson is looking into countries where he is allowed to divorce is his wife. His first choice: Germany. My thought: all Crawley girls are doomed.
– Isobel got a new project: Carson’s old theater buddy Griggs. Although I’m happy it got her back to the land of living, I couldn’t care less about Griggs.
– Lady Grantham had to look for a new lady’s maid, because O’Brien skipped town. Of course she ends up picking Edna, the maid who seduced Branson. But Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson decide to protect Branson, which means we will welcome Edna at the Abbey soon.
– Lady Grantham also had a great move. The nanny looked a bit fishy, but when she overheard a conversation where Nanny West was insulting Sybil and Tom’s daughter, she got kicked out immediately. Well done, Lady Grantham! Don’t let Edna take care of the children though, she might think she is playing house with Tom otherwise…
– Every time someone glanced at Mary and Matthew’s wedding photo my heart broke a little. There were also some nice shots of significant locations for Mary and Matthew. I think the crew did a nice job on saying goodbye to Matthew (beside the hideous gravestone) and I’m ready for Mary to go out and live her life again.

Downstairs: Valentine’s day blues and nanny troubles
– Mrs. O’Brien left Downton like a thief in the night. The whole situation made me laugh a bit, but it was a great creative solution by the writers. Everything sounded very fitting for the characters (I mean O’Brien and Rose’s mother). Well done.
– Thomas and Mr. Bates continue their rocky relationship. Although Thomas was looking for trouble when it comes to Nanny West, I’m glad he spoke up. It was obvious Mr. Bates thought that Thomas bullied Nanny West out of the door, but if he knew what happened he would agree with Lady Grantham’s decision.
– Valentine’s Day cards made everyone go a little bit crazy. Ivy still likes (secretly gay) Jimmy, but Alfred actually likes Ivy and Daisy likes Alfred. Still with me? Everyone got a card, so it was time to guess. Unfortunately when Ivy came home drunk (why is she that stupid?!) and Daisy got the idea Alfred was actually into her, Mrs. Patmore had to fess up: she was the one that send Daisy the card so she wouldn’t be left empty handed. It was actually a nice gesture of Mrs. Patmore. But I hope everyone could stop messing with each others feelings downstairs. It’s going to get old at some point this season.
– Poor Mr. Molesley, he is out of a job since Matthew’s death. You might remember they had some troubles in the beginning (because of Matthew’s middle class roots, he had to get used to having a valet), but working for Mr. Crawley made Mr. Molesley raise his standards. I really liked the conversation between Molesley and his father about this. The Dowager even tries to help him get a new job, but unfortunately her own butler gets jealous and spoils it.
– Another nice “times are changing” moment was the introduction of a new machine (a mixer) in the kitchen. The younger girls were happy with it, but Mrs. Patmore pointed out that increasing amount of machines in the kitchen, eventually will lead to them being unemployed. Of course this a very extreme scenario, but it turned out that Mrs. Patmore had some trouble with the use of this new device and she is probably worried about the fact if she will be able to work with it, because if she can’t she will be the one that gets fired first.

Downton Abbey 4×01 quotes
Lord Grantham: “The price of great love is great misery when one of you dies.”

Mr. Bates about Nanny West and Thomas: “You mean she mistook you for a servant?”
Alfred: “But he is a servant.”
Mr. Bates: “Don’t tell him. He’ll never get over the shock!”

Questions
– What did you think of O’Brien’s departure?
– Who should look after Master George’s share in the estate: Lady Mary or Lord Grantham?
– Should we start shipping Edna and Branson?

ATC’s rating
ATC-scores-4

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