Thursday, December 8, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x1

Ever since Ali featured Highclere Castle the other week, I've had one thing and one thing only on my brain and that is cousin Matthew... I mean Downton Abbey! So in anticipation of season 2, which starts January 8th, I'm going to relive the glory, the mystery, the brilliance, the intoxicated madness, the unadulterated perfection that was season 1! Obviously, I'm doing this for the blog, not because I have an irrational attachment to fictional characters... *cough*. Each week I'll be obsessing over breaking down one or two episodes to get us all caught up for that blessed day in January. If you have no idea what Downton Abbey is, be gone! then all I can tell you is that if you like flawless things, this show is for you. I'd even venture to say it's blow-your-mind flawless i.e. we're going to have to keep track of how many times we break out the smelling salts. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, so just be sure to watch with your thinking caps on. Now put on a pot of tea, log into Netflix, and press play!
We open with morse code, a train, an already stellar score, and gorgeous countryside (smelling salts +1). If that doesn't scream instant BBC hit, I don't know what does! In the span of 15 seconds, you're already toast. Congrats! And, I believe, that's a record. N'est pas? The first person we see is that mill worker from North & South (who we shall now refer to as Mr. Bates) i.e. period-piece-worlds-colliding-double-whammy (smelling salts +2)! Then - *gaaaaaaaasp*
Not only do we get our first look at Highclere/Downton (smelling salts +3), but heyo! Written and created by Julian Fellowes, the man behind Gosford Park (smelling salts +4)! Solid. gold. There's so much hustle and bustle in this one house for one family and it's just incredible that people actually lived like that once. Speaking of incredible, its library is to die for. Already you can feel the camaraderie and the tension between all the servants living and working there.
Can I have this installed in my house, please?
"And they're off!" The bells start ringing as the family wakes up. Time to... iron the newspaper? Mmmk then! Apparently it's full of very big news, but they're going to keep us hanging. But oh my gosh, who cares, because it's HUGH BONNEVILLE (Lord Grantham) walking down the staircase with a yellow lab (smelling salts +5)! Does it get any better than this? The immediate answer is no, because the big news is that the Titanic sunk. But our hearts will go on, because his daughters have just walked in and they're fabulous. Except not, because Lord Grantham gets a telegram saying his nephew, heir, and soon to be son-in-law was unexpectedly on board. Oh no!!! Mr. Bates arrives, we find out he's crippled, and the house gets an extra dose of drama. Anna, at least, is very welcoming- bless her! Lord G breaks the news to Mary, his eldest, who is "relieved" that she doesn't have to mourn for her cousin as a fiancé since their engagement wasn't official. One scene and you have an intriguing and twisted character. Love! Since Mary is a girl, she cannot inherit Downton or even her mother's dowry, which is tied up with the estate (all together they make "the entail"). So it's straight from creyes for eyes to business about the estate's fate.
With the discussion being led by none other than MAGGIE SMITH (Dowager Countess/Violet and that's smelling salts +6). She reveals the next heir in line is the son of Lord Grantham's third cousin's son. However, the family is hard at work trying to find a loophole so Mary can inherit her mother's money and her family's house instead of him. But it seems if this happens, she'll lose her title in the process. Dang it! Lord Grantham is downstairs to greet Mr. Bates who was apparently his comrade in arms once upon a time. Surprise! But it comes as no surprise that Thomas and O'Brien are bitter, evil, and plotting Bates' demise. Boo on you!
Mourning is so stylish!
Speaking of bitter, there's the middle sister Edith, who will *spoiler alert?* never be as cool as her sisters Mary and Sybil. Whose outfits I want on my body ASAP (smelling salts +7)! Edith had the hots for her cousin/sister's fiancé, but, let's be honest, you'll soon find she has the hots for anything male that moves. A duke invites himself to Downton, which gives the whole family the impression that he has his eyes set on back-on-the-market-Mary. Which is unfortunate, because he is not cute. When he arrives, O'Brien makes her first attack on Mr. B, forcing him to fall over in front of him. She is officially on the rot-in-the-dungeons list. Gah! Mary and the duke wander around the servants' quarters, which is kiiind of a no no. And rather... suspicious. Mr. B catches them snooping in Thomas' room and Mary apologizes to him, much to the duke's disgust. She tells him, "I always apologize when I'm in the wrong. It's a habit of mine." And just like that, you love her! She's turning out to be quite the complex character. Such brilliant writing. How can they manage to make her so unlikeable and yet so lovable all at once? Thanks to O'Brien's sabotage earlier that day, Lord Grantham tells Mr. B they will no longer require his services. No!!! Don't do it Lord G! Middle sis, Edith, gets her pantaloons in a twist at dinner and you get the sneaking suspicion you might like her to join O'Brien in the rotting dungeons.
Anna brings food up to Mr. B whom she discovers crying. They have a moment and you have a moment and (smelling salts +8)... please don't go, Mr. B! This could be love! Meanwhile the duke stays to speak with Lord Grantham in the dining room. Lord G reveals he'll leave the estate to the heir instead of Mary, so she can keep her title and the estate will stay in tact. But he assures him she'll have a nice settlement. The duke freaks saying he didn't come with the intention of pursuing Mary's hand in marriage (lying gold digger!!!) and Lord G is not happy.
Your heart is as black as your dress, Edith!
Neither is Mary, but Edith is delighted. AND I WANT TO SMACK HER FACE! Luckily, Mary's not one to roll over in defeat. She has some stinging words to throw back and I officially love her, ok? She deserves better anyway, at least... dun dun dun, a man that likes women! Quel scandal! He leaves bright and early the next morning, having destroyed all proof of his affair with Thomas. Mr. B goes to leave as well, but Lord Grantham immediately runs after him, deciding to let him stay. I love you, Lord G (smelling salts +9)! But then... the moment we've all been waiting for...!!!... *drumroll*...!!!...
IT'S COUSIN MATTHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH (smelling salts +11 yeah that's right, his mere presence gets TWO POINTS)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And he's gotten a life-changing letter from Lord G (smelling salts +12)! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! 

First episodes don't get any better than this! Can you even handle it? I, for one, cannot i.e. reaching for smelling salts 12 times! And that's not even including all my dramz-induced meltdowns. Should I be keeping track of those too? There are so many! From the setting to the script to the multi-layered characters and costumes, *squeeeeeeeeeeee*!!!!! I hope you're watching. You are, aren't you?! Fab-u-lous!

P.S. 31 days till season 2!


  1. I just went and watched the trailer for season two, and as if I didn't already need the smelling salts and a handkerchief, that choir version of "With or Without You" *creyes*, so of course I had to go download it on iTunes. AND COUSIN MATTHEW YOU HAVE MY HEART FOREVER. And really, can Edith just go fall in a lake or something. I think someone needs to tie her to some train tracks and leave her there. (Sorry, she gives me lots of FEELINGS, and not good ones.)

  2. I cannot even DEAL with the magnificence of that trailer! I'm all for tying Edith down to the some train tracks. As a middle child, I can understand a bit of middle child syndrome, but she is CRAZY BALLS and I just want someone to give her a dose of her own venom! Luckily our dear cousin Matthew knows better- ahhhhh!!!!!!!

  3. Can not WAIT for Downton Abbey to start! I can also agree Edith is a rotten apple in the whole bunch. I some what at first felt sorry for her but now she can just begone. Yes, January will be having some very nice Sunday evenings!

  4. I felt sorry for Edith at the beginning too. Ha! How things have changed! Part of what made this post so difficult is that I already know what happens with Mary and Edith in the course of the first season. So I'm appreciating different things about Mary's character earlier on. It's quite exciting, actually! I'm sure I've forgotten a lot!

  5. Um. I just realized I DON'T HAVE THIS SCORE. What is wrong with me?!?!?!

    P.S.- I still hate you, Edith.