Downton Abbey, Questions

Highclere Castle (April 2011) 2Are you watching Downton Abbey?

I’ve been watching since the first season aired, and, I’m still watching, but I sometimes wonder why.  I won’t give any spoilers about season three, in case you’re not caught up, but I will say that it is getting soapier by the episode.

As if recovery from paralysis and imposters and blackmail were not soapy enough.

None of that keeps me watching; too much of it makes me want to stop.  I continue because of a fascination of watching people navigate a rapidly changing world.  (And the great costumes.)  The way some people cling to what they’ve always known, as if tradition guarantees stability, despite societal shifts they cannot deny, while others adapt or even rush to embrace change, sometimes unwisely.  How does a culture retain its identity and strength in times of rapid change?   How do we let go of what does not matter, while retaining that which does?  Can we change our standards without lowering them?

Culturally, we are facing those same questions, so watching Downton, even if the presentation is skewed, gives much to ponder.

Why do you watch?

Who is your favorite character this season?  Or two, one from upstairs, one down.  Or one of the older generation, and one the younger.  Or whatever you like.  (But don’t name Violet, because the Dowager Countess is everyone’s favorite.  Name your next two favorites after her.)

I think mine are Mrs. Hughes and Daisy this season.

I have one burning question, not at all related to cultural shifts.  If you know the answer, please share, because I’ve googled and not found anything.

What happened to Bates’ limp and war injury?



14 thoughts on “Downton Abbey, Questions

    • I love Mrs. Patmore, too. I’m glad she didn’t go blind the first season. I agree; I think the writers will finally do more with Edith, since they’ve given her the journalist career.

  1. I have always loved Mrs. Hughes, but then again who wouldn’t? My upstairs favorite is probably Cora. She’s very human, but she also tries to be the peacemaker when she can. I loved the way she stood up for Mary while acknowledging her tremendous failure in season 1.

  2. I love Daisy, downstairs. She’s weird and not particularly likeable, but she isn’t ‘too good’ or ‘too bad’ to be believable. She’s got challenges to overcome.

    I like Tom and Matthew upstairs…they’re trying to make it in Robert’s world even though their values are so much broader. They’re working so hard to be honoring and stand up for what they believe, too.

    I’m a little wearied with the Ethel storyline.

    I love Downton. Love it.

  3. I was thinking the same think about Bates. Maybe all the walking in prison has served as some sort of physical therapy and helped make it better. Who knows?

    I watch it because it’s beautiful, well made, and has fabulous dialogue. I like your reasons, too. And there is an element of guilty pleasure in the soapiness of it that seems to be allowed because of the high class Brits. Also, my dad is ultra-conservative in his approach to relationships. Watching DA and the way Robert interacts with his children has helped me understand my dad better. He would fit in well there.

    Hm, favorites? I’m loving the evolution and growing pains of Tom and Edith. I’ve always loved Anna. But I think my favorites this season are Mrs. Hughes and Matthew. Both are wise and see the best in people and offer a healthy, unconditional love.

    I bought the season on dvd, so I’ve seen the whole third season. There’s so much great stuff still to come. Enjoy!

    • Oh, I love how you said that (and that you noticed it) – that both Matthew and Mrs. Hughes see the best in people. That completely answers my wondering what Matthew sees in Mary.

  4. I have only seen one episode and plan to get it on netflix because it was good! I think the longer a show goes on the more soapy they get. I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy years ago because I thought is was getting ridiculous. I was shocked to find out it was still on! I remember when I was a kid my mom watched a soap where a lady had a brain transplant…haha!

  5. Bates’ war injury and subsequent limp seems to have been cured in prison only to have returned in full force after his release. Apparently not being allowed to use a cane for his daily limp around the prison yard was enough to cure him.

    I’m glad to see Edith come into her own although sad to know she’ll never know romantic happiness in a socially acceptable way. I really never understand why everyone thought it would be better for her to be a spinster with nothing to do all day, other than change clothes, than be married to an old man who loved her.

    I think Tom has been my favorite this season. His character has undergone the most turmoil and faced the hardest challenges. He has the most potential for real growth, I think. I also think the redemption of Thomas was fascinating. I’d read a few months back about him being promoted and couldn’t then see how his character could be redeemed.

    • Yes, we noticed the return of the cane after prison. Thomas has definitely been one of the least static characters all along, so he’s always interesting. Poor Edith- I think the writers have it in for her. They seem determined to prevent her happiness.

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