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S06.E01: Season 6, Episode 1

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For all the anachronisms mentioned regarding Thomas and Rose, the one that stood out for me in this episode was Robert calling the kitchen appliance a refrigerator.  Wouldn't it be the ice box?  Or was that just an American term?

 

It is a refrigerator. Back in S4, Cora talked to Mrs. Patmore about purchasing one because they were more efficient than ice boxes and they wouldn't have to worry about a daily ice delivery anymore. Mrs. Patmore was reluctant to the change because if refrigerators got popular, that would mean that ice deliverers would be out of a job. This was also around the time that the kitchen had gotten an electric mixer, coinciding with Mrs. Patmore's fear that her position/skills would also one day be irrelevant and unnecessary.

 

I was talking with my mom last night about how I thought the idea of the servants losing their jobs due to the fact that their positions were no longer necessary in a changing world was a theme that I think is still relevant today. My mom was born in 1960 so she's seen jobs like the milkman go by the wayside. I was born in the mid-90s but I wouldn't be surprised if jobs in mail/newspaper delivery dried up in my lifetime (although we'll always need people who deliver for UPS and FedEx). I also originally went to college for journalism (started in 2012) but by the end of my sophomore year I realized that traditional journalism is a rapidly shrinking field and I had to change my plan. It'll be interesting to see where the working-class characters go at the end of the series. People like Carson, Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore are luckily old enough that they can probably keep their jobs until they're ready to retire, and people like Daisy and Andy are young enough to learn new skills or, like Daisy might, take their exams. But I wonder what will happen to people in the middle (Anna, Bates, Baxter, Molesley, Thomas) who will still need to work for a while but have kind of passed the point where they can totally be retrained in another field. My mom thinks that they could probably find jobs in other forms of service (hotels, restaurants, Anna and Baxter can do hair so maybe beauty parlors for them) but I imagine that they would have a difficult time adjusting to the fact that their very specialized skill sets, that they spent years learning and perfecting, are now no longer necessary.

 

It doesn't surprise me that the Crawleys would only be concerned as to how the changing times would affect them with no thought to how less servants meant substantially more work for the servants who were left. I think the idea of their reluctance to reduce staff has more to do with the fact that the house would look less impressive and that their peers could tell that they weren't as financially stable as they had once been. Going from however many footmen Carson said there were when he started (10?) to a mere 2 is a pretty obvious sign that things are not as they once were. Although it seems the Crawleys are slowly coming to accept this, as their peers are in the same boat. At least they haven't gotten to the point where they have to sell the house/estate yet.

 

 

It greatly bothers me that the whole "Cora slipped on the soap" incident has never come to light.  I can't remember if the O'Brien actress quit or was fired, but the disappearance of this character seems to have ended that storyline completely.  When Cora was potentially dying of that fever, I really wanted O'Brien to redeem herself and tell Cora she was sorry for the soap, but she never did.  And it's even worse that Thomas knows and has kept this hidden all these years.  I would love to see O'Brien return and make amends, and to have Cora forgive her.

 

I was hoping last season with the return of the Flintshires that there would be a Cora/O'Brien run-in, but O'Brien got another job (I think with a governor's wife) to explain the fact that I guess the actress had no interest in returning, even for an episode. But yeah, that plotline doesn't feel quite resolved to me either. I doubt Cora would forgive her (I wouldn't) and I'm not sure if there's anything legally that could be done so many years later, but there does seem to be some unfinished business there.

 

I also just realized something...since the details of the investigation into Green's death became common knowledge to everyone in the house, does that mean everyone now knows that he raped Anna? Cuz that kind of sucks for her, especially when she originally tried so hard to keep it under wraps.

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I don't know, I liked the Carson/Hughes/Patmore storyline, and I found it believable. Women have all sorts of insecurities about their physical appearance, and I think a woman of that era, a middle-aged woman who's never been with a man, would have some trepidation. Just because she could fire people for inappropriate sexual behavior doesn't mean she's comfortable chatting about sex in general. 

 

Maybe it's because I love Mrs. Hughes as a character so much, but I bought that she would be nervous and insecure about that possibility, and I thought Mr. Carson spoke beautifully and eloquently about his feelings. Now, I'm not 100 percent sure I believe Mrs. Patmore would be her go-between, but it didn't ring false to me. Besides which, it made for a dynamite scene with Carson and Patmore. I loved Patmore's "go on, then" response to Carson's offer of the sherry. And any scene that makes use of Leslie Nicol's comedic talent is tops with me.

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It greatly bothers me that the whole "Cora slipped on the soap" incident has never come to light.  I can't remember if the O'Brien actress quit or was fired, but the disappearance of this character seems to have ended that storyline completely.  When Cora was potentially dying of that fever, I really wanted O'Brien to redeem herself and tell Cora she was sorry for the soap, but she never did.  And it's even worse that Thomas knows and has kept this hidden all these years.  I would love to see O'Brien return and make amends, and to have Cora forgive her.

 

 

 

I may very well be mis-remembering, but I thought that O'Brien did try to tell Cora that she had done something terrible, but Cora - who was very ill and feverish - said she didn't want to know what O'Brien was talking about.

 

Please, can someone tell me if Mary knows that Marigold is Edith's child?  Can't remember for the life of me.

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I liked the Carson/Hughes/Patmore story too- it was a wonderful combination of hilarious and poignant.

 

I hadn't thought of the O'Brien soap incident in a long time, but really, what purpose would it serve now for Cora to find out? It would only re-open an old wound without any possibility of fixing the original event.  

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I think you're giving Carson waaaaayyyy too much credit in the stamina department. ;-)

 

It doesn't have to happen all in one night. But I definitely think they ought to claim some ownership of that house and estate they've so willingly served all these years.

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Please, can someone tell me if Mary knows that Marigold is Edith's child?  Can't remember for the life of me.

No. Its one of the things that show that Mary isn't interested in Edith at all.

Originally only Rosamund and Violet knew. They had to tell Cora when Edith "disappeared" after taking Marigold from the Drewes. When Edith came back, Anna saw Mr Drewes and Marigold in the train and figured it out and told Mrs Hughes who told her keep silent. Robert figured it out in the end S5 as well as Tom in CS before leaving to America.

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Someone please help me out.  When Robert and Carson were in the library discussing the potential cuts to the staff, Robert was talking about the managing of the estate, and said something like "Mr. Crawley and Mr. Branson are doing a great job".  Who is Mr. Crawley?  Was he talking about Matthew?  That's the only Mr. Crawley besides Robert that I know.  It's weird, because I could have sworn the way Robert was talking made it sound like they are "currently" doing a great job.

 

 

I noted that, too, and thought maybe I misheard it. It did sound as if he meant "currently". Also, why would Robert say Mr. Crawley (or Mrs.) if he meant Matthew or Mary? He's talking to Carson so no need to be so formal. It was just an odd line and if he was to say "Mrs." but slipped and said "Mr." maybe none of the production people caught it.

 

I'm going to re-watch later with the captions on and see if it makes more sense. 

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It greatly bothers me that the whole "Cora slipped on the soap" incident has never come to light.  I can't remember if the O'Brien actress quit or was fired, but the disappearance of this character seems to have ended that storyline completely.  When Cora was potentially dying of that fever, I really wanted O'Brien to redeem herself and tell Cora she was sorry for the soap, but she never did.  And it's even worse that Thomas knows and has kept this hidden all these years.  I would love to see O'Brien return and make amends, and to have Cora forgive her.

We have seen that O'Brien regretted at once but it was too late. And she tried to confess when Cora was ill but she was delirous.

I think just on the contrary: it would be utterly selfish from O'Brien to confess in order to get redemption to herself but at the same time cause great distress to Cora.

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To those of you referencing/recommending "outside" reading (and sometimes providing links!), a heartfelt "thank you."  Bonus points for not prefacing them with "Sorry, but I'm a history geek."

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Yeah but like... realistically, it ain't like they got introduced over the internet. He's got to have some idea what's under the petticoats isn't a nubile young girl...

 

It's actually super realistic.  There's a big difference between the level of vulnerability someone feels clothed and undressed, which was the point.  Here's how I know it's very realistic: when out to lunch with three friends, we sat next to a table that had a couple on a first date.  Very clearly a somewhat later in life pairing (I'd say mid-forties) and they were hilarious in how hard they were trying.  It was TWO degrees out and she was wearing slingbacks with bare heels.   

 

So we got to talking about what we'd do if any of us found ourselves single:  I will become a goat herder rather than date again.  Please keep in mind, we're all in our forties also.  All of us workout like crazy people...and UNIVERSALLY (except for me, because I had already stated I wouldn't want to be bothered, and bring on the life of a goatherd ) ...all three other women had the same concern:  "Oh God, can you even imagine someone new seeing you naked? No way, I couldn't do it." 

 

So it was hilariously realistic for me in particular, but hilarity notwithstanding, it's pretty realistic.  

 

 

 

But seriously, people: Having a screwball awkward sex talk comedy is now supposed to be "bravely adressing sex"??

 

I don't think anyone said that the show was "bravely" taking on the subject of late-in-life romance and sex. No one said the show was being courageous, just that it's not like it's some taboo subject.  It wasn't a story that was told with pathos, it was told kindly and with a sense of humor...and a stiff shot of Port.  

 

 

 

I liked the Carson/Hughes/Patmore story too- it was a wonderful combination of hilarious and poignant.

 

I've come to the conclusion that I would happily watch this series indefinitely if it was all just the adventures of Mrs. Patmore and how she views life, but she really added the necessary leavening ingredients so that it could be comical and touching.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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Yes Lucindabelle!!!!  I posted just that on another thread.  Thomas turned around and threw Anna under the bus with the Edna-I-burned-m'lady's-scarf-with-the-iron when Bates had gone to bat for him.  What a shit.  

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I've come to the conclusion that I would happily watch this series indefinitely if it was all just the adventures of Mrs. Patmore and how she views life, but she really added the necessary leavening ingredients so that it could be comical and touching.  

 

I would so watch that show! They could call it "Does She Look Like a Frolicker?" Mrs. Patmore is one of the very best characters, in a show full of awesome characters.

 

And speaking of awesome characters, I loved the way Violet played Denker, who is the opposite of awesome. I can't understand why Denker hasn't been fired yet, but I fervently hope that when she is, we get an epic scene of Violet kicking her to the curb. 

 

Then there's Daisy, who made me cringe for her (and for poor Mr. Mason) during her tirade. I felt like her behavior was part impulsive and part a result of the consciousness that's been raised through her education. I totally got her point, but she had to know it was spectacularly bad form, not to mention epically stupid. I just hope that Mr. Mason, another character I really like, doesn't suffer the consequences.

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It's actually super realistic.  There's a big difference between the level of vulnerability someone feels clothed and undressed, which was the point.  Here's how I know it's very realistic: when out to lunch with three friends, we sat next to a table that had a couple on a first date.  Very clearly a somewhat later in life pairing (I'd say mid-forties) and they were hilarious in how hard they were trying.  It was TWO degrees out and she was wearing slingbacks with bare heels.

 

Not to disagree with your personal experience, but this example isn't even close to what we saw. Look, Hughes and Carson are both middle to late middle aged adults. Adults who have already *agreed to be married*. They're past the dating, they're talking about setting a date, and they aren't really living in a prim, proper universe where no one knows what sex is. As not rich people, these two probably grew up in one room cottages where they witnessed the sex act. Mrs. Hughes is a strong no nonsense woman who faced breast cancer face on. If she genuinely wasn't certain if Carson wanted her sexually, she's a brave woman, she didn't need a go-between (not that I didn't enjoy Mrs. Patmore being all "WINK WINK THIS IS ABOUT FUCKING") and to me it cheapens and weakens a strong character when they're reduced to being a timid mouse who has to send in the B team to have a frank talk with her soon to be husband.

 

I might just be too practical minded. I'm fortish myself and anyone who thinks there's secretly something other than a fortish body under the crass t-shirt is going to be sorely disapointed

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Something else that just occurred to me: When Mrs. Hughes was talking to Mrs. Patmore, she was kind of indecisive, and Mrs. Patmore (it seemed to me) kind of skeptically said, "You don't want me to talk to him, do you?" 

 

And that gave Mrs. Hughes the idea: "You would do that?" or something to that effect. I'd have to rewatch the episode (and probably will), but it seems the whole thing started sort of impulsively on both their parts.

 

I've had the same kind of conversational exchanges, where one person hears the other's "you don't want me to XYZ?" and immediately thinks they've found a great solution.

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but this example isn't even close to what we saw. Look, Hughes and Carson are both middle to late middle aged adults. Adults who have already *agreed to be married*. They're past the dating, they're talking about setting a date, and they aren't really living in a prim, proper universe where no one knows what sex is.

 

I disagree, although I agree that they both have likely seen a few things and perhaps Carson has actually had some sexual contact in his life, Mrs. Hughes hasn't.  She hasn't had any man see her without her clothes on in anything other than a medical situation.  She even said when she was younger, it wouldn't have worried her.  

 

So combine the "no real clue what we're doing" with "and no one other than me has seen me naked" ...and nerves would be normal. 

 

They didn't date.  They apparently have had so little physical contact that she had no idea if he any amorous interest in her.   So it's pretty realistic to now and the only "eh, I'm not sure that is realistic" of it all is that it kind of made me laugh that Mrs. Hughes was apparently anticipating being naked vs.  in any sort of nightgown.  That just cracked me up:  Mrs Hughes sleeping in the au natural was not actually something that I had ever pondered before.    

 

She also wasn't being prim, or pretending she didn't know what sex is.  The entire problem arose because she knows exactly what sex is and was anticipating the "And we'll be naked" and part of the reason that it hadn't come up before is precisely because they didn't date, or court, or fumble around in the backseat of one of Tom's cars.  They agreed to marry without dating, or fumbling...or frankly having any discussions.  

 

 

 

and to me it cheapens and weakens a strong character when they're reduced to being a timid mouse who has to send in the B team to have a frank talk with her soon to be husband

 

Now, here's where I'm willing to agree.  It didn't actually strike me as realistic that Mrs. Hughes would be sweating what she'd look like Mr. Carson's male gaze, ask Mrs. Patmore for her input AND THEN (the only part that strikes me as unrealistic) ...ask Mrs. Patmore to ask him.  However, dramatic license for some hilarity and to make kind of a sad issue (it's sad that anyone thinks they are potentially hideous to someone who cares about them when undressed) funnier and lighter.  

 

It was a little farcical only in the involvement of Mrs. Patmore I thought, but I was willing to take that gladly enough because she's hilarious.   

Edited by stillshimpy
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I can understand why Mrs. Hughes couldn't look Mr. Carson in the face and talk about her...ummm..."concerns."  Also, she probably felt more comfortable discussing her issues with Mrs. Patmore, rather than a much younger Anna. 

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When Mr.s Hughes says, "I can't talk to him about it" I wanted to yell at the tv, WHY THE HELL NOT?  You did agree to marry him!!!!

I don't know, I thought this plot line was so odd.

 

Regarding the Below Stairs book, on Amazon it is listed as such Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey".  But this isn't true.  Downton was inspired by Gosford Park and I cannot remember what Julian's inspiration was for GP.  I should know this.  I work at the US film studio who distributed the film and spent many an evening with the man and his hilarious wife. 

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Plus, I now want to do a shot of port, just because, so there's that.  The look on Carson's face in several instances was high comedy also.  In fact, all three actors are quite gifted when it comes to comedy.  

 

Funnily enough, that's really the only storyline that stuck with me.  Anna's "I can't conceive!" seems like a setup for a wee Bates bairn on the way by series end.  So that seemed something set up to knock them down. 

 

I don't really live a life in which the woes of cutting down the household staff particularly resonates with me as a problem: although it was realistic.  

 

Daisy is still almost injuriously dull in all of her storylines and mostly I spend most of my time wanting her to stop talking about whatever she is thinking.  I like the actress, they just give her the worst storylines. 

 

Mary's woes are essentially the same story over and over "Oh nos....my tattered reputation took another hit!"  Edith essentially has a very nice life now, she has her daughter, she has a career and she has a pretty nice flat too.  Plus, they've put her in flattering garments at long last.  

 

Kind of a lot of story arcs were in play, but the only one that really caught me was Mrs. Patmore's attempts to act as a go-between.   I don't know why, I was happy to see all the characters again, and the whole episode was fun.  That was just the only subject I had much to say on. 

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I think the only thing that wasn't realistic about the whole situation was that it took so long for Carson to catch on to what Mrs Patmore was hinting at.

Good grief, I'm about the same age as Phyllis Logan (and presumably Mrs Hughes) and the thought of stripping down for a new husband (and waiting for the disappointment in his eyes) would be terrifying.

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Nobody has mentioned the funniest line (even funnier that Violet's, imo) in the show:

 

"We've got there."

 

(after Carson's oooooooooh)

 

I chuckle just thinking about it. And how both actors turned away. Comedy gold.

 

I am a journalist and can agree, the field is shrinking. I don't think it will ever go away completely though-- we've already seen fewer and fewer newspapers. But papers will have a place I think; people do get headaches from endless clicking and there are still too many situations when streaming isn't practical or possible.

 

(OK "ever" is a long time. But I don't think newspapers will vanish completely in my lifetime... and print books are making a resurgence too it seems)

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A minor character I've grown to like a lot (even though she didn't have much to do this episode) is Miss Baxter. She came on and had this mysterious past, so I figured she would get entangled in Thomas' blackmail shenanigans. But she's proven to be much more than a one-note caricature. I think the actress who plays her is very good; she just feels like a calm, no-drama presence despite the sometimes over-the-top plot twists. I hope we get to see more with her and Mr. Molesley this season.

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I had trouble paying attention to the dialog and acting because of that wig. It made her look so awful and old beyond her years, so much so that the discussion of children seemed out of place - she looked almost too old to have them.

 

Yeah, that confused me. So many elements of the story seemed like the time frame was a couple weeks or at most a month after the last episode of last season. Mary being blackmailed over what must have been a relatively recent indiscretion (the blackmailer wouldn't wait years, would she?); Mary just beginning to pick up the estate-running slack after Tom's departure; Edith deciding what to do about the magazine, which she was figuring out last year; Carson's and Mrs. Hughes' relationship status moving from let's-get-engaged to engaged, which seems like about a week has passed; not to mention the Mr. Green investigation bearing fruit, which could hardly have taken years. So why would Anna look one bit different than she looked at the end of last season? I get that the stress of being a homicide suspect would take its toll, but not in two weeks! Mrs Hughes also seemed to have aged disproportionately to the time that could logically have elapsed. 

Edited by Milburn Stone
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Just guessing, but isn't the most likely answer to The Problem of Anna's Wig that the actress playing her has changed her hair and the show is attempting (unsuccessfully) to maintain continuity?  (Btw, I agree it looked fake and severe, a crappy combination.)

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After some indefatigable Googling, I was able to unearth the script's uncut original scene between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore.  

 

The fragment I found starts in the middle of the scene:

 

Mrs. Patmore: Missionary?

 

Mr. Carson: Yes.

 

Mrs. Patmore [ticks checkbox on list]: Doggie-style?

 

Mr. Carson: Of course.

 

Mrs. Patmore: I see.  Reverse cowgirl?

 

Mr. Carson: Why not?

 

Mrs. Patmore: Very good. [ticks checkbox]  Double-dutch door in a church pew while being sketched by a Frenchman?

 

Mr. Carson: Does it have to be a Frenchman?

 

Mrs. Patmore: Well, 'tis Mrs. Hughes' preference, sir.

 

Mr. Carson: As she wishes.  As long as it's not one of those flighty impressionists.  Communists, all.

 

Mrs. Patmore: Last item, sir: Will you expect knob-gobbling?

 

Mr. Carson: Knob-gobbling?

 

Mrs. Patmore: Knob-gobbling.

 

Mr. Carson: Knob-gobbling...knob-gobbling...well, I suppose, yes.  But tell Mrs. Hughes that I would certainly, in turn, take her vicar to the tavern. [winks]

 

Mrs. Patmore [winking back]. Well, that about does it, Mr. Carson.  [she gets up.]  Oh, one more thing, she wanted you to 'ave this instructional manual, with pictures.  She said it would be most 'elpful.

 

[she leaves the book on Carson's desk.  Slow push to reveal the title "TWO EARLS, ONE CUP."]

 

My understanding is that this part of the scene was cut for reasons of timing and pacing.

Edited by Penman61
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I ordinarily ignore Edith, but I thought it was bizarre that she smiled at EVERYTHING that was happening every time I looked at her this episode.  It didn't seem like nervousness (which is my guess as to what she thought she was protraying), it seemed like the actress wasn't listening to any of the dialogue.  Could just be a weird effect of not watching her very often, I suppose.

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So glad 'Stillshimpy' pointed out that Mrs. Hughes concerns were about what she looked like undressed, not whether or not they were going to do the deed.  Mrs. Padmore was having difficulty with that, so it came about as her asking Carson if he planned on doing the deed, since there would really be no other reason for him to see her naked.

 

In the 20's womens chests were strapped down. The bosomy look wasn't "in," the more boyish looking the body the better.  You can only really tell with Edith because Mary and Cora are naturally not well endowed.

 

Question:   Yes, the way of life is going away (gee, how do I know that?), and I understand why the aristocrats had to sell (they didn't know how to handle their money or land), but didn't the people buying the estates want to be treated as Toffs? Wasn't that kind of their point with shelling out the dough for the estate? They were buying their way into the gentry?  I don't understand if the estates were being bought, the lifestyle was going away. I do understand people not wanting to enter a life of service, but what other reasons were there?

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I understand Mrs. Hughes worry about what she looks like undressed now that she's older. Contents shift in flight.

Edited by Rhetorica
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The Carson/Mrs. Hughes "romance" seems very forced to me.  They have known each other for decades, and we have seen them for five seasons, and there was never any indication before the events of last season that they were actually romantically inclined.  Sure, they were colleagues and close friends, but we never saw any signs of anything more until the sudden proposal.  It was like Fellowes thought "here are two characters that each are in badly of need of a storyline of their own... let's put them together!"  I thought it was great that Mrs. Hughes said "don't you think you should start calling me Elsie", because, well, yeah.

 

 

 

This is my problem with it exactly. I have no issue with them being older or older people having sex or anything else. It's that this relationship came out of nowhere. I actually really liked their platonic, working relationship; and just because it was platonic I don't think that makes it a less significant relationship at all. I would have much rathered a continued exploration of that relationship. But the romance aspect came out of literally nowhere. It just seems slapdash to me, and the non-organic nature of it makes me uninterested. For example, I think Moseley and Baxter's budding relationship has  been handled well in contrast.

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I understand Mrs. Hughes worry about what she looks like undressed now that she's older. Contents shift in flight.

This cracked me up! Never thought of it quite that way, but it makes sense.

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Agree -- and I can completely understand a marriage of convenience to stop prying eyes as they open their B&B or whatever they're actually going to end up with ... Carson's future retirement plans need a woman and Elsie has no nest-egg ... it's a win-win ... love and baby carriages and marital relations not required ... better to surprise us with happy faces and a wink-and-a-nod the next day .... 

 

ETA:  After Rebecca Eaton's remarks about the old ladies who watch Masterpiece and too many Julian interviews, I tend to imagine both of them cackling about just how "racy" to make Downton .... that golden mean ... don't want to upset the old biddies ... 

Edited by SusanSunflower

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I enjoyed the Carson/Hughes/Patmore 3 legged stool negotiations about what kind of marriage Carson has in mind. To me, the only false note was Hughes saying "warts and all," which no woman would ever, ever say in reference to her own body unless she was trying to end a marriage before it began.

 

In fact, it's hard to imagine

a prospective groom using that term either.

 

Maybe Julian Fellowes is having us on a bit in this last year.

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I'm sad to read that some of you gals would feel so worried about showing your body to a new man in your life, especially those of you who work out and are only in your 40s! Please, let's all be less critical of our beautiful bodies. I'm 53 and 50 lbs overweight and while I can't say I was confident when I stripped off for my last lover, I didn't let fear hold me back. He was my age and I figured he wasn't expecting me to look like Gigi Hadid or even Yolanda Hadid Foster, just as I didn't expect him to look like Brad Pitt. Thinking I might see a look of "disappointment" in his eyes? Not a worry. Clothes can only hide so much, and by that point we were much too, um, interested in each other to have any disappointment. 

 

That said, I think the entire Hughes/Patmore/Carson story was a setup for fun and comedy and I took it that way and nothing more. In reality, sure, Mrs. Hughes should have been confident enough to have a forthright conversation in which she expressed her concerns and was reassured, but when you can send Mrs. Patmore as your envoy and hilarity ensues? Oh yes, let's!

Edited by RedHawk
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To me, the only false note was Hughes saying "warts and all," which no woman would ever, ever say in reference to her own body unless she was trying to end a marriage before it began.

 

 

Mrs Hughes was not literally referring to any warts she had.  This is a very old phrase dating back to the 1600's and is supposed to have been an instruction from Oliver Cromwell to the artist commissioned to do his portrait.  It means not to hide anything, to show someone as they really look.  Kind of like no airbrushing allowed!

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Mrs Hughes was not literally referring to any warts she had. This is a very old phrase dating back to the 1600's and is supposed to have been an instruction from Oliver Cromwell to the artist commissioned to do his portrait. It means not to hide anything, to show someone as they really look. Kind of like no airbrushing allowed!

You are spot on, Kohola3!

And extra bonus points & my undying love for using the word "literally" as it was intended. ( a rarity these days)

I am adoring the Carson/Hughes storyline. Sometimes romance blossoms from platonic friendships. It happens.

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I don't know. Why would Our Lord Creator introduce the evil Miss Bevan and then conclude the arc so quickly and neatly? Will we see her again, in some troublemaking form? Was it to signal that Mary's past is indeed past and done?

 

I saw it as a signal to the audience that the time for prolonged hand-wringing over this kind of thing is past, and that we are indeed on a fast-track to the end.   It works in the context of the current story too -- Downton and the Downton way of life are at the top of the endangered species list.   Robert's decisive handling of Bevan, with virtually no condemnation of Mary's actions, indicates where his priorities are now.    He's worried about the future.   There's no time left to sweat the small stuff.

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A minor character I've grown to like a lot (even though she didn't have much to do this episode) is Miss Baxter. She came on and had this mysterious past, so I figured she would get entangled in Thomas' blackmail shenanigans. But she's proven to be much more than a one-note caricature. I think the actress who plays her is very good; she just feels like a calm, no-drama presence despite the sometimes over-the-top plot twists. I hope we get to see more with her and Mr. Molesley this season.

 

I love her too! I love that she stood up to Thomas. and I LOVE that she brings dignity and an heroic quality to Molesley (who is dependably hilarious but all these characters are fully fleshed out and nuanced characters and he deserves gravitas as much as anyone else).

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When Mr.s Hughes says, "I can't talk to him about it" I wanted to yell at the tv, WHY THE HELL NOT?  You did agree to marry him!!!!

I don't know, I thought this plot line was so odd.

 

Regarding the Below Stairs book, on Amazon it is listed as such Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey".  But this isn't true.  Downton was inspired by Gosford Park and I cannot remember what Julian's inspiration was for GP.  I should know this.  I work at the US film studio who distributed the film and spent many an evening with the man and his hilarious wife. 

I actually thought Below Stairs inspired GP as well.

I think the only thing that wasn't realistic about the whole situation was that it took so long for Carson to catch on to what Mrs Patmore was hinting at.

Good grief, I'm about the same age as Phyllis Logan (and presumably Mrs Hughes) and the thought of stripping down for a new husband (and waiting for the disappointment in his eyes) would be terrifying.

I took it that his own insecurities about her loving and marrying him took his mind to her rejecting him and he could get his mind past that for a while. 

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I actually thought Below Stairs inspired GP as well.

 

I'd also say that the concept itself, i.e. a dramatic television series chronicling the lives of those upstairs and downstairs, is not an original concept.  So Gosford Park may have "inspired" Downton Abbey in that the reaction to it encouraged Fellowes to revisit the idea as a television show, but other programs covered similar material long before Gosford Park could have ever been contemplated.   

 

 

I liked The Dowager's line (to Isobel): Do you ever get cold up on the high moral plain (paraphrase)?

 

It was a wonderful line, and I do enjoy the Isobel/Dowager relationship.  I'd totally watch a spin-off where the ladies open a B&B together called "Dowager's," and perhaps spend their time solving mysteries.  

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Bob Balaban has a story credit on Gosford Park as well as Fellowes.

Fellowes doesn't do his best writing with the romances and such. His good stuff is subtle and is a commentary on the class and caste systems in the country house society. The splinter distinctions made among household staff are a riot if you pay attention. Gosford Park was a dissertation on these distinctions; the nouveau riche owner and his parasitical "aristocractic" relations by marriage, the striving police officer, the jockeying for position of the downstairs folks, the blindness of the toffs to the richness of the servant life while the servants knew every secret of their masters.

He writes this stuff because he has lived it and observed it; Upstairs, Downstairs was a totally different story, city people, only marginal aristocracy, etc.

Edited by SFoster21

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RedHawk -  Robert would never be so informal.  There's a scene in Series 3 when Tom comes back the first time with Sybil (for Mary's wedding) and he goes down to the servants hall to say hello.  While there he says to Anna that "Mary keeps us informed" (about Bates who was in jail).  When he leaves Carson huffily says to Mrs. Hughes something like "Mary! His lordship would never call her Mary when speaking to me."  And of course Mrs. Hughes stands up for Tom and says well he knows her know.  So no matter how close Carson is to Robert or Mary when they speak to him they'll always say the person's title.

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He writes this stuff because he has lived it and observed it; Upstairs, Downstairs was a totally different story, city people, only marginal aristocracy, etc.

 

I think both shows have done different things with similar concepts.  I appreciate what you are saying, but to me, it would be like someone claiming Webster as a totally original concept because of differences in setting and characters from Diff'rent Strokes.      

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Not to disagree with your personal experience, but this example isn't even close to what we saw. Look, Hughes and Carson are both middle to late middle aged adults. Adults who have already *agreed to be married*. They're past the dating, they're talking about setting a date, and they aren't really living in a prim, proper universe where no one knows what sex is. As not rich people, these two probably grew up in one room cottages where they witnessed the sex act. Mrs. Hughes is a strong no nonsense woman who faced breast cancer face on. If she genuinely wasn't certain if Carson wanted her sexually, she's a brave woman, she didn't need a go-between...

 

Two different issues getting mixed up here, it seems to me. Issue #1 is Mrs. Hughes being embarrassed about her body at her age, which, while unfortunate, is probably realistic, as stillshimpy has said. Or at the very least plausible. Issue #2 is whether the Mrs. Hughes we know would have been unable to tell Carson this herself instead of needing a go-between. That struck me as ridiculously out of character. But one can have a problem with #2 while still accepting the human insight of #1.

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A minor character I've grown to like a lot (even though she didn't have much to do this episode) is Miss Baxter. She came on and had this mysterious past, so I figured she would get entangled in Thomas' blackmail shenanigans. But she's proven to be much more than a one-note caricature. I think the actress who plays her is very good; she just feels like a calm, no-drama presence despite the sometimes over-the-top plot twists

 

She's kind of what Anna started out as.  

 

I can't get the image of Baxter and Molsely from that Text Santa bit out of my mind (google the one with George Clooney if you haven't seen it).

 

I think it's entirely plausible that there could be actual organic romance between Hughes and Carson after so many years.  They're both no nonsense people, and fraternizing simply was not an option for them professionally (and frankly, would have threatened their very ability to support themselves, as any kind of romantic entanglement/scandal could cause them to be discharged (pardon the pun) without a reference, endangering their ability to earn a living at all).  So they sublimate their sexual sides to their careers.  Over the decades, they realize they're fond of each other, glad to be able to count on that friendship.  As they start contemplating life beyond service, they realize they're alone, and who do they really cherish in this life?  

 

"Love the one you're with" may sound cold, but it's perfectly human. Hughes gave up the opportunity to marry that old flame a few years back, and maybe she reconsidered since.  Or maybe there was a wee flame for Carson even then.   

Edited by kassa
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