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TV Recaps: Downton Abbey Season Finale—The End of an Era

 

Downton Abbey FinaleIt was very hard sitting down to write this recap because it means admitting that Downton Abbey has come to an end.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I bawled through most of this episode even though I had seen it already (I bought the DVD weeks ago). Oh, I have had my issues with this series over the years, the almost too fast pace, the arrests of both Anna and Mr. Bates, Mary’s romantical problems (I was rooting for Charles Blake), Edith’s streak of bad luck, Barrow’s schemes, I’m going to miss this series. I loved this show so much that I bought the British DVD’s and watched the episodes before they even aired on American TV (I have a problem with delayed gratification). Hold on to your hats, because this going to be a long recap given that the finale was super-sized.

Edith announces to the family that she is moving to London and putting Marigold in school. The magazine is doing very well and she enjoys working.  While Robert worries about Edith living alone, Edith replies that she is a spinster and that is what they do, live alone. Ah, Edith, as optimistic as ever! On the way to London, Edith stops off at the Dowager’s to inform Spratt that they are expanding his column in the magazine. Spratt informs Edith that he’s “full of ideas when it comes to combining comfort and elegance, milady.” Of course, Denker is eavesdropping outside the door, the better to get the goods on Spratt.  Why she hasn’t used the information about Spratt’s nephew, I’ll never know.

Downton Abbey Finale 2

While in London, Edith heads to dinner at the Ritz with Aunt Rosamund, only to discover Bertie is already seated at the table. Aunt Rosamund discretely exits while Bertie pleads his case with Edith.  When Edith informs him that he broke her heart, Bertie tells her that he’s no good without her.  He still loves her and wants to marry her. He spills the beans that Mary helped arrange this little get together much to Edith’s surprise. It’s nice to know that now Mary is happy, she can allow her sister to have a little happiness of her own.  Edith reminds Bertie about Marigold. She wants to know how her future mother-in-law is going to feel about her.  Bertie hems and haws before finally admitting that maybe they should just keep that between themselves. Despite her misgivings, Edith agrees to marry Bertie.

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6, Episode 7

Downton Abbey Edith BertieSo much excitement and drama on Sunday night’s episode of Downton as we come up to the penultimate episode of the series.  Marriage proposals, puppies, picnics and unfortunately tragedy was on the menu. Lord Grantham and Tom are just giddy at the prospect of watching Henry race at Brooklands.  Lord Grantham, because he is bored out of his mind, and Tom because he finally has a new male friend to talk about cars with.  Even Bertie Pelham has been invited! Of course, Lady Mary is on the fence about the whole thing.  She’s nervous because of the danger and whether or not Henry Talbot is the right man for her.  She even solicits Anna’s advice who is totally uncomfortable with the giving her opinion. Mary presses her and Anna admits that she’s not sure that Henry and Mary are a perfect match.  Even Robert and Cora are not sure that Mary and Henry are right for each other. Robert points out that Henry might have more sex appeal than Tony Gillingham, he’s lacking in things like money and job skills.

Isobel is shocked to have received an invitation to the wedding of Lord Merton’s son, Larry and Miss Cruikshank. Violet senses something crooked is going on and visits Miss Cruikshank to investigate. Miss Cruikshank is outgunned, outclassed and outmatched in this chess match.  The upshot is that Miss Cruikshank wants Isobel and Lord Merton to get back together because she has no interest in being a companion to an old man.  “You want a free nurse to take a tiresome old man off your hands. You’re a cool little miss, aren’t you? I’d feel sorry for Larry if I didn’t dislike him so much.”  When Miss Cruikshank suggests that the Dowager should leave because if she doesn’t, the two might feel awkward when they next meet, which they “are bound to do.” “I think not, Miss Cruikshank,” Violet counters. “Not if I see you first.” Violet advises Isobel to reconsider the match with Lord Merton. If Isobel marries Merton, she’s practically guaranteed no contact with his son since Larry’s new wife won’t want anything to do with them. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone! Isobel doesn’t agree but she won’t have Violet to advise her further since the Dowager is off on a cruise aboard the SS Paris because she wants a vacation that will “make her eager to come home. A month among the French should do it.” Apparently she’s still not over the whole hospital debacle.

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6, Episode 4

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey 6x4Last night’s episode of Downton brought the series full circle, bringing back a character from the 1st series, reminding us once again that the times, they are a changing. Even Branson has come around to thinking that capitalism is a good thing.  His time in America has brought home one thing, that a man, no matter his social class, can rise to the top, if he has ambition and the drive to succeed.  Mary points out that still isn’t so easy in England. One wonders if Branson will feel the same way about capitalism in 1929 when the stock market crashes. In the meantime, he’s happy to let Mary continue to be the estate’s agent, while he figures out exactly what it is he wants to do with his life.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes are off on their honeymoon in Scarborough, much to Lady Mary’s disgust. She wishes that something better could have been found for them, even though Lord Grantham points out that it was the honeymoon Mrs. Hughes and Carson wanted. Thomas is now in charge as butler while they are gone.  After moping around the house for the past three episodes, moaning about getting the sac, Thomas is eager to prove his worth, bossing the staff around, reminding them who is in charge if only temporarily. Unfortunately Thomas doesn’t have Carson’s touch with the staff.  He wishes that he had Baxter’s ability to make friends.  Baxter returns the compliment, she admires him for not caring about other people’s opinions.  “You’re wrong about me,” he says. “I mind what people say.” That’s the problem. He cares too much.

Downton Abbey 6x4b

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6, Episode 3

Downton Abbey

This week we had a wedding and a return of a family member from abroad.  This episode was an improvement over the first two episodes which seemed a bit like the show was treading water instead of giving us a jam-packed final season of drama! I mean, Matthew Goode hasn’t even showed up yet and we’re almost half-way through the season.  A great deal went on in the episode but a lot of just seemed to be retread of what previous episodes.

Denker vs. Sprat Round Two:  Denker notices that Spratt is acting more squirrely than usual, so of course, she spies on him in a not very subtle way.  When Sergeant Willis stops by, Spratt’s secret is out. It turns out that his nephew has been in prison, and is now on the lam, and Spratt has been hiding him in the woodshed.  Instead of selling him out to the po-po, she decides to tortures him instead, and might even be blackmailing him. I’ve decided that these two are secretly hot for each other and need to throw caution to the wind and make-out immediately while the Dowager’s back is turned.

It’s Hard Out There For a Butler:  Thomas has yet another job interview in the county.  For some reason, he prefers to stay in Yorkshire where there are probably no underground gay bars, and no chance of him actually meeting anyone. Sir Michael Reresby lives by himself in a large house that has seen better days with only a housekeeper.  His wife has passed and he lost his sons in the war.  Despite everything, he believes that one must keep up appearances because better days are coming.  He worries that Thomas is a Republican, and Thomas wonders how he’s supposed to keep 50 rooms filled with clutter clean all by himself.  The job interview is not a success. He’s back to square one.  And his efforts to make friends with Andy keep being thwarted.  Baxter, like Mrs. Patmore, thinks he’s trying to get a leg over but Thomas assures her that he just wants to be friends with the lad.  I really don’t like seeing Evil Butler so defeated. It makes me sad.

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 2

This week’s episode could have been subtitled ‘subplots galore.’  The biggest drama in this episode was surprisingly whether or not Carson or Mrs. Hughes was going to get his or her way in regards to where their wedding reception would be held. Lord Grantham graciously offered to hold the reception in the servants’ hall but Lady Mary (of course) thought that they could do a bit better. She insists that the reception be held upstairs in the great hall or one of the many other rooms at Downton that we probably haven’t even seen. Mrs. Hughes doesn’t want to have her wedding reception at Downton at all. Number 1, she doesn’t want to be a servant on her wedding day and number 2, as she puts it to Carson, “It’s just not who we are.” Carson protests that he couldn’t possibly turn down Lady Mary’s generous offer which just annoys Mrs. Hughes. “I am the bride. We’ll be doing it your way for the next 30 years, I know that well enough. But the wedding is mine.” Unfortunately for Mrs. Hughes, Carson refuses to budge.  He’s always been inordinately fond of Lady Mary and would rather disappoint his fiancée than her. Priorities, Carson, priorities!

Downton Abbey Lady Mary

Speaking of Lady Mary, she’s now the agent for the estate which comes as a bit of a shock to poor Mr. Finch. It was bad enough that he had to deal with a jumped up chauffeur, but now a lady? “It’s a changing world,” he tells Lady Mary, reminding us once again of the theme of the last two series of Downton. All this change is likely to give the poor man a heart attack.  He’s come to ask whether or not the estate should enter their pigs in the fat stock show. Lady Mary tells him it can’t hurt and promises to bring little George and Marigold along while she talks to her ‘pig man’ Mr. Drewe. Edith, of course, wonders if it is a good idea to have Marigold hanging around near the Drewes, particularly Mrs. Drewe but of course she can’t tell Mary why she disapproves. As Cora points out to Robert, Edith is afraid that Mary will somehow use the information to hurt her and she’s probably not wrong. Ah, siblings, such a blessing. If only Mary and Edith could work together for good instead of finding ways to hurt each other.

Downton Abbey AnnaLady Mary may not be kind to her own sister but she certainly is a good friend to Anna. When Anna confides that she’s having fertility problems, Lady Mary reminds her that she too once had problems but a London doctor performed a minor bit of surgery and all was well.  She not only offers to make an appointment for Anna to see the same miracle gynecologist but also to pay for any treatment/surgery that Anna might need. Of course, Anna being Anna tries to demur, but Lady Mary is good at riding roughshod over whatever the servants might want and insists.  Which is a good thing too because I don’t think I can take another episode of Anna crying in the laundry room or wherever.  Despite Mr. Bates insisting that he would be happy with adoption, Anna is sure that he is lying to her and he only wants children who carry his own DNA.  The good London doctor informs Anna that she has an incompetent cervix but all he has to do is just stitch her up good once she becomes pregnant and a new little Bates can be born. Hurrah! Of course Anna is grateful to which Lady Mary replies that she seriously owes her since Anna hid her Dutch thing-a-majig for her last series, and helped her get rid Mr. Pamuk’s dead body in series 1.  Anna is practically doing cartwheels when she arrives back at the house. As usual, she doesn’t bother to inform Mr. Bates of the cause of her newfound happiness. That would be too easy!

Downton Abbey Drewes

Poor Edith is not having a good episode.  While Mary and Mr. Finch manage to come to an understanding, the editor of the magazine Edith owns won’t listen to her, and although she’s keeping the flat in London, she won’t stay there because it’s too lonely.  And then there is the whole Drewe situation.  Mrs. Drewe quite rightly still yearns for Marigold, the child she raised for several months.  The whole situation is uncomfortable for everyone. Lord Grantham worries about how living so close to Marigold is affecting the Drewes but he can’t quite bring himself to tell them leave. After all, the family have been tenants at Downton since Waterloo! But when Mrs. Drewe makes off with Marigold while everyone is cheering Lady Mary and prize-winning pig, it’s clear that the Drewes can’t stay. It’s incredibly sad but understandable. Of course, Comrade Daisy, thinks the whole thing sucks and is another example of how horrible the aristocracy is, although the Drewes leaving mean that Mr. Mason can now move into Yew Tree Farm.

Thomas has been seriously off his game this series. After five seasons of back-stabbing, blackmailing, and crawling his way up from footman to under-butler, Barrow is now superfluous in the Downton household.  Carson has nothing for him to do, Andy practically runs whenever Thomas offers to help him with something.  When Thomas asks Carson whether or not he should start looking for a new position, Carson practically starts writing a reference for him! When he interviews for a new job, he discovers that he would be expected to not only be a footman but a valet as well as an under butler! Even Baxter has started to feel sorry for him, despite the fact that she was forced to confess her secret to Lady Grantham, because of Thomas.

Downton Abbey Dowager Hospital

In case you were wondering, Isobel vs. Violet, the Dowager is still at a stalemate regarding whether or not the local hospital should merge with the Royal York.  It’s a question of more modern medicine versus a more personal touch. Dickie Merton is still supporting Isobel, and hoping that she will eventually change her mind and marry him. Dr. Clarkson is still on the Dowager’s side. Robert, who is the patron of the hospital, is trying not to get involved or to take sides.  Good luck with that! Violet also convinced Robert not to tell his wife about a meeting of the trustees which didn’t go down very well.  Cora is clearly supports Isobel’s point-of-view. Once again this sub-plot is yet another example of the old ways versus the new.  And it’s not particularly interesting thus far, just regurgitating the same argument they had last week. Only one side can win, and while Isobel worries about whether or not her friendship with Violet will survive, Violet just wants to be right.

Next week it’s Carson and Mrs. Hughes wedding!  Can’t wait to see what the bride is wearing!

TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 1

Downton Abbey

It’s the final season of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes is clearly wants to go out with bang. Break out the Veuve Clicquot, Anna is finally off the hook for the murder of Mr. Green ending two seasons of torment. And no it turns out that Bates didn’t do it either.  Another of Mr. Green’s victims has confessed that she done it! And she’s so sorry that it took her over a year to come forward.  This poor unnamed woman met Mr. Green in a pub after which he assaulted her. She just happened to run in to him in Piccadilly Circus that day. He taunted her and in a sudden rage she pushed him under a bus.  She will go to prison for manslaughter but she won’t hang for her crime.  While everybody is rightfully celebrating this good news, Anna is still down in the dumps because she hasn’t been able to get pregnant with a miniature Bates. Let us just forget shall we that until Anna was cleared, any child she might have had, could have been born in prison. Of course, she has been keeping her torment from Bates as usual. These two really could use a session with Dr. Phil about how to communicate because they are terrible at it. Bates tries to reassure Anna that it doesn’t matter if they have kids or not, but Anna is convinced that he’s lying to her about his feelings.

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TV Recaps

Recap: Indian Summers Series One Finale

Indian Summers

PBS served the audience a super-sized scoop of Indian Summers Sunday night combining episodes 9 and 10. A lot happened in these final two episodes, setting up the storylines for series 2 which will hopefully land on our shores sometime in 2016. There was some laughter but a whole lot of tears in these two episodes. The finale started off on a somber note when Madeline dreaming about dancing with her brother Eugene and then finding the next morning that he had expired sometime during the night. Cynthia seizes the opportunity to get rid of Madeline by playing on her grief. She persuades the distraught young woman to accompany her brother’s ashes back to Chicago. “Women like that never come back,” she tells Kaiser.

Madeline is not the only to have bad dreams in this episode. Ralph dreams that Adam is riding a rocking horse, but it is not a dream. Adam hands him a note that calls him the Devil and is signed ‘No Name.’ However, he has no time to think because the Nawab, who is so important we don’t even know what he’s Nawab of, is coming to Simla. Something to do with Gandhi and Ralph persuading the Nawab to listen to them instead. Ralph thinks it might be good politics to have some natives attend for window dressing but Cynthia puts the kibosh on his plan. Instead she dresses up Kaiser and the rest of the Royal Simla Club employees in their Sunday best. The Nawab turns up with several adorable dogs which Alice has to chase around the grounds of the Simla Club. He waxes rhapsodic about the mountains of Scotland, suggesting that the Viceroy take a peek after he leaves India.

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TV Recaps

Recap: Indian Summers Episode 8 (1×8)

Well Cynthia Coffin’s dreams certainly came true in this episode didn’t it? It couldn’t have turned out better if she had planted evidence herself. Her performance on the witness stand at Ramu Sood’s trial was so much more convincing than her performance as Lady Bracknell. Perhaps barrister Hugh Slater is a much better director than Ronnie Keane. So determined is she to make sure that Sood hangs, she even forces Eugene to give up his room to the lawyer. Eugene complains loudly that sleeping in his new damp room will exacerbate his consumption but Cynthia doesn’t care now that she knows Eugene and Madeline are broke. And where was Madeline in this episode? Ever since she and Ralph became engaged, her role has diminished in this series.  It’s as if the writers have lost interest in the Mathers siblings.

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TV Recaps

Recap: Indian Summers Episode 7 (1×7)

The Royal Simla Club is buzzing as it prepares for an annual dramatic performance, Ronnie Keane is directing a production of The Importance of Being Earnest starring the Viceroy as Algernon and Cynthia as Lady Bracknell, a role that I would pay good money to see Julie Walters play in real life.  Cynthia is unhappy with Eugene’s performance as Jack, and pushes Ronnie to fire him, by threatening to quit. She’s also decided to improve upon Oscar Wilde by adding her own jokes! Eugene accuses her of holding the fact that he and Madeleine are broke against him. And we still have no idea why Cynthia has not told Ralph the truth about the Mathers siblings. Not that Madeleine had much to do in this episode beyond look worried and complain about Sarah Raworth pushing Alice around.

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TV Recaps

Recap: Indian Summers Episode 6 (1×6)

Sunday’s episode of Indian Summers was certainly, as my mother used to say, a doozy. So much happened in this episode. Jaya, who had gotten a job in last week’s episode working on Ramu Sood’s plantation, sneaks into the house and holds up a beautiful sari that she has taken from the closet. She flashes back to a happier time before sneaking off with the sari. When Ramu Sood discovers that the sari is missing, he is furious. He fires Ian when he discovers that Ian was the one who gave Jaya a job on the plantation. Ian is later denied entrance to the club because Cynthia is a racist and hates the fact that he continues to work for Ramu Sood despite her best efforts.

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