Downton Abbey: Gambling, Rape, and Babies, Oh My!

Downton Abbey Series 4

Disclaimer: Spoilers included

I have been trying to watch this season live rather than DVRing it and watching it later, but I can’t resist.  The series seems so short that I want to try and make it last, but there’s something about watching it live with an online community of people that makes it so much more fun!  The series opens in 1922 – a far cry from the Titanic era in which they began.  We aren’t yet at the height of the roaring twenties, but we are getting there.  And the costumes, for one, are definitely emerging from their more conservative shells, little by little.

A few things I’ve noticed during the first two episodes of Series 4:

The theme song still gives me chills every time.

Mary and Matthew’s baby’s name is George? Wow, that’s a popular British name this year.

I am obsessed with the color of Lord and Lady Grantham’s bedroom. That robin’s egg blue is just perfection.  And that lighting – oh, the lighting.  It makes everything look more beautiful, especially in HD.

I adore prams.  I wish they would come back in style.  My grandmother had one that was old as dirt that we played with as kids and I always wanted to save it for my own children, if ever I had some.  I have no idea where that is now, but if I ever have kids – I’m getting a pram!



I simply love Lady Mary.  I think her grieve is so palpable, and it makes perfect sense that she is grieving not only for her husband but for the careful young woman that she briefly allowed herself the opportunity to be.  I think Matthew’s death is as hard for her as realizing that she may never be able to let herself go again.  I can certainly relate.

And how about Lord Grantham being perturbed about the fact that Mary is essentially the sole heir of Downton?  Go, girl!  Seems despite her father’s wishes to remain in control, life is getting in the way and Mary is moving full steam ahead. Maybe Matthew was a catalyst for Mary to assume control of Downton Abbey. Funny that as open-minded as Grantham can be, he is still holding on dearly for control of his estate.  I wonder if he’d be just as uncomfortable if a male was taking over.  I doubt it.



Edith still gets on my nerves.  She’s just a little too desperate.  I would feel like I had a sort of spinster sympatico with her, but she has a history of throwing her sisters under the bus and being a little witch.  I love her attempts at being coy and coming out of her shell to try and hook Mr. Gregson in her foxy London outfits, but she just doesn’t really pull it off.  I could really care less what happens to her in the long run.  I miss Lady Sybil!

Speaking of the babies of Downton Abbey – what was with Mr. Barrow giving away that George and little Sybil’s nanny was a cruel woman?  Seems he had an ulterior motive but I just didn’t pick up on quite what it was.



Speaking of Sybil, poor Tom.  The guy looks bloated and uncomfortable in his own skin, and can you blame him? He’s stuffed into a tux and forced to wine and dine with horrible people all day and night, without the comfort of his lovely wife on his arm.  At least he’s got his little girl, mini-Sybil.  I still find it funny that all of Downton was in arms over his courting their daughter, and now that Tom has married her, had a child with her, and dealt with her passing away, they are keeping him prisoner at Downton.  Poor guy just doesn’t belong, and I don’t think he ever wanted to.  It’s a bit of a jab at his character to show how constantly uncomfortable he is — like he just can’t “man up” and don the penguin suit with the rest of them.  We’ll see where this leads us.


And for the worst news ever: Anna getting raped by Mr. Green!  Anna and Bates are by far my favorite characters on this show.  Seems the poor woman was punished for having fun and being nice and chatty with this man – nothing out of the ordinary, of course, except for the fact that had this houseguest arrived ten years ago, he a) never would have had the chance to be alone with Anna and b) all the kitchen staff would never have been invited to a concert upstairs in the main living space.  It was just a recipe for disaster.  

And of course Anna doesn’t want Mr. Bates to know, seeing as he is a convicted felon already and doesn’t exactly have a penchant for restraint, especially when it comes to those he loves.  Wow.  I really, really hope that Julian Fellowes doesn’t drop this story line a la Mad Men with Joan’s indecent proposal in “The Other Woman.”  I know that sexual assault happened all the time (and still does), but nevertheless, it’s a big fucking deal.  I’m sick of writers using rape as a tool for plot advancement.  Where is this going?  I hope it’s not another “Bates falls on his sword so he spends a year in prison while we wait anxiously for another pensive visit between him and Anna with absolutely no reward at the end.”  That would be a snore.  And what of Anna?  I hope she doesn’t dissolve into the demure girl who saw in the first seasons of Downton.  Arg.  This one’s a complicated one…

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