Wednesday, January 7, 2015
What Are We To Do About Lady Mary?
Indeed, it's almost surreal how familiar the Abbey and its inhabitants feel. They're the same as they always were... except...
...except, really, Lady Mary, what are we to do with you? I mean, I get that it's the raging twenties and you're a widow with your own fortune now and Gillingham is a respectable suitor, but still. There's no guarantee that this proposed week of 'discovery' wouldn't end up in a pregnancy and then you'd have no choice but to marry him, would you? And what if, after that week, you didn't think he was so hot in bed after all? Then you'd be stuck! Roaring the 1920's might be, but as your sister Edith knows, they're not that roaring. And after how your last out-of-wedlock bed adventures went, you're the last person I'd expect to entertain any sort of extra-marital experimentation.
Every now and then, "Downton Abbey" breaks free of it's historical shackles and interjects a very modern viewpoint. It's not prevalent, which makes it rather more jarring when such a thing pops up. This is one of those moments and it's hard to reconcile Mary's interest in Gillingham's proposition, apart from one thing. After living for so many years in fear of someone judging her for a scandal in her past, it might very well be Tony's openess to non-judgement about a test arrangement that makes it so appealing and liberating for Mary. It's a sign that he is certainly not going to judge her for youthful indiscretions.
Still. It doesn't make practical sense, and Lady Mary is nothing if not practical.
Anyhow, the rest of the episode was regular good ol' Downton fun. Moseley trying so hard and failing so miserable. Thomas scheming, nearly getting caught, and then getting blessedly forgiven by a waaaaay too nice Cora. Daisy working her way every so slowly upwards. Carson and Lord Grantham dealing with the ever changing world. Lady Rose being sunny and gay and full of naive good intentions.
Actually, my favorite part of this episode was when Tom went and apologized to Robert for arguing with him at dinner. It was not something that Tom had to do, but it was the mature thing to do and proved him to be the bigger man. He's come a long way from being the brash rebel who was more concerned with his pride than with the 'right and kind thing to do.'
I also am growing quite fond of Miss Sarah Bunting, Tom's schoolteacher beau. I know it would be a frightfully drama ridden match, but honestly, how can anyone expect Tom to make a more respectable second marriage than that? It's not like there are dozens of young heiresses lining up to marry a widowed ex-chauffeur, even if he is the son-in-law of the Earl of Grantham, and uncle to the Earl's heir. Sarah is poised, intelligent, and extremely socially aware. I was impressed by her intense questioning of Rose before agreeing to come to the party. Could she have been a little more circumspect? Well, yes, but the whole theme of the show is "it's a changing world" and Sarah is exactly the kind of woman you want on your side as the next era ushers in.
Edith nearly burns Downton to the ground, and is saved by Thomas who immediately is forgiven his blackmailing of Baxter. Burnt Downton or forgiven Thomas? Which is worse...
(Please know that I say that most tongue in cheek. Downton would not be the same without Thomas.)
We await next week to see how matters progress with Edith becoming her daughter's godmother, and whether Mary will actually accept Gillingham's risque proposition.