Lady Mary Crawley Dockery was set to marry her cousin Patrick in order to keep one of Lord Grantham's three daughters in the inheritance. After Mr. Pamuk dies in her bed, the scandal reverberates throughout the entire rest of the series, yet solidifies the friendship between Mary and her maid Anna Joanne Froggatt.
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Of course, a lot happens between the third and seventh episodes. Youngest sister Sybil Jessica Brown Findlay learns more about feminism, sports a pair of pants, and begins falling for Irish chauffeur Tom Branson Leech. But this Season 1 finale packs a ton in as well.
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The Crawleys make one of the series' many trips to London. Lady Cora Elizabeth McGovern learns that she's pregnant, possibly solving the family's heir problems. That is, until O'Brien steps in with "her ladyship's soap" and causes tragedy. The season ends with Lord Grantham announcing the outbreak of World War I at what was supposed to be a posh garden party, and suddenly nothing at Downton will ever be the same.
The war is in full swing and has spread throughout Europe. Two years have passed and Downton is turned into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. Meanwhile, Anna and Bates work on getting his wife to divorce him so that they can marry. But the whole episode really shows just how much every citizen, even those in the upper class, is affected by "The Great War. A die-hard fan may not skip over this much of Season 2, but the middle of this season is where Downton gets the most melodramatic.
There's a wounded soldier pretending to be deceased cousin Patrick, an illegitimate love child between a maid and an officer, Bates' wife Vera plotting to ruin his life, plus a flirtation between Robert and another maid. It's all very soapy. Best skip to Episode 8, where Matthew's war injury is healing, but many in the household are infected with the Spanish Flu. After Lavinia dies in the historic epidemic, Matthew and Mary's future is once again up in the air.
Meanwhile Bates is arrested for the murder of his wife, beginning what would become a long and tiresome plot line determined to keep Anna and Bates apart. Season 2 includes the first of what would be many Christmas specials for Downton Abbey. A lot happens in this season ender having to do with newlyweds Anna and Bates, as well as beloved kitchen maid Daisy Sophie McShera and her husband! Pamuk, and Matthew proposes in the glistening Christmas snow. Matthew and Mary finally get married!
Just in time for Lord Grantham to lose all of his money in a botched railroad investment! Hey, at least the wedding is fab and already paid for. Tom and a very pregnant Sybil return from Ireland and Tom doesn't shy away from sharing his views on Irish independence, which of course everyone at the British aristocratic table just absolutely loves.
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This ep also introduces the half Jewish, American members of Cora's family: her mother, Martha Levinson, played by a snappy Shirley MacLaine, who gives the Dowager Countess an equally quippy sparring partner, and her dry brother Harold, played by Paul Giamatti. Oh, Edith. Perhaps feeling overshadowed by Mary's perfectly romantic and noble match, Edith pursues the feeble and way-too-old-for-her Anthony Strallan Robert Barhurst. He reluctantly proposes, but in the end leaves her at the altar in a move literally everyone but Edith could see coming. Edith's first yes, first! Downstairs, Thomas and O'Brien turn on each other.
Lady Sybil was always the most openminded of the Downton bunch. Her love for Tom, an Irish chauffeur, transcends class and rejects gossip and labels. Sybil's forward thinking offers a glimpse into the future, which is why her death shortly after childbirth mostly the result of her father and posh doctor's male pig-headedness is so tragic. Prepare the tissues for this episode. Another Downton baby and another Downton death. But Season 3 of Downton seems determined to break our hearts. After Mary gives birth to her and Matthew's son George, the trio have a lovely moment together just like Sybil and Tom did with baby Sybil.
But in a moment of euphoria, Matthew loses control of his car and dies at the close of the finale. It's , and Mary is in mourning for her late husband, Matthew, but that hasn't stopped other eligible bachelors such as Lord Tony Gillingham Tom Cullen , from pursuing her. But Downton needs another young ingenue who bucks the status quo as Lady Sybil once did, and Lady Rose moves to the Abbey, bringing some fun with her. But serious tragedy also strikes when Lord Gillingham's valet, Mr.
Green Nigel Harman attacks and rapes Anna downstairs while most of the staff are upstairs enjoying a musical performance. She tells only Mrs. Hughes, but another crimes have struck the Bates couple, and the show seems determined to keep them from happiness. Talk about a packed episode. Tom is blackmailed by maid Edna MyAnna Buring , who is claiming to be pregnant with his baby after seducing him while he was drunk.
Anna, still suffering from her attack, moves back into the main house, leaving Bates behind in their cottage. Lord Gillingham proposes to Mary, but she refuses him, citing the fact that she's still mourning Matthew. But the scandal doesn't end there. Edith spends the night with her new beau, Michael Gregson Charles Edwards , before he departs for Germany to obtain citizenship so that he can divorce his wife, who's been declared clinically insane. Perhaps Season 4 is the soapiest after all!
The Season 4 Christmas special sees the Crawley family move to their London residence for the summer of Cora's mother and brother come over from America once again, while Tom stays behind at Downton to keep things in line, meeting a new lady friend in the process. Rose has her coming out ceremony before the King and Queen and gets caught up in a debacle involving the Prince of Wales, his mistress, and a mysterious letter. In Switzerland, Edith gives birth to a baby girl whose father, Michael Gregson, has disappeared in Germany.
She tries to leave the baby behind in Europe but eventually brings her daughter, Marigold, to live with farmers on Downton land.
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And love blossoms between Mrs. Hughes and Carson when the staff ventures to the seaside for an outing. The two hold hands as they wade barefoot into the ocean, foreshadowing their relationship to come. The Dowager Countess finally gets her own juicy story line when she reunites with an old flame, a Russian aristocrat named Prince Kuragin Rade Sherbedgia , who has been forced to abandon the country in the aftermath of the revolution.
New ladies maid Baxter Raquel Cassidy finds out that Thomas is attempting to "cure" his homosexuality by self medicating. Mary refuses Gillingham's proposal. And in a plot point that simply won't die, Anna is now suspected of killing her rapist, Mr. Edith learns that Gregson was killed by Nazis during one of Hitler's early coup attempts.
She inherits his publishing company and takes Marigold to London to start a new life seemingly away from the proper confines of Downton. Next season, Edith will stand up to a misogynistic male editor and replace him with a woman. It would have seemed, at least to some, like saying that the Backstreet Boys were the equal of Nirvana.
For the crucify- Titanic crowd, though, it was more proof that the movie was a sentimental sham built on a false bottom of ego. Never, for a moment, did I buy that Titanic had a bad script. To me, it was the rare movie that achieved an old-fashioned quality that was classical and wholehearted, rather than starchy and square.
I really wanted to know: Did the Titanic bashers have a point? Was the movie a garishly written youth soap opera? There are other lines you can pick at, but most of the dialogue in Titanic has a sharply colloquial old-meets-new flow. In other words: Man, did that script suck, or what? I now believe that the movie the Titanic bashers were talking about — the junky embarrassing one, the one with cringe-worthy dialogue, the one that only a teenager could love — is a figment of their imaginations.
It has to be recognized for what it was, and still is: One of the founding manifestos of hater culture. Titanic came out just as the Internet was starting to rise up and merge into the ocean of our lives, and though, at that point, most of the hate directed at the movie was conversational and anecdotal, in spirit it was computer-viral. It was about fragments of resentment banding together and organizing themselves into a cult, a movement, an anti-fan club.
What gave the movement its motivating force? What made the fragments band together like angry iron filings? It was a movie that found love in the machine, even as the machine was destroyed. No wonder the haters hated it.
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Their real identification was with the machine. Follow Owen on Twitter: OwenGleiberman.
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