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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The downlow on ‘Downton Abbey’

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    Carnival Film & Television

    PBS’s “Downton Abbey” wrapped up its fifth season ending in 1924. The Roaring ’20s have changed long-held attitudes toward sex, education and respectable suitors, and the Crawleys, residing at Downton Abbey, haven’t been immune to these changes. Here are some recaps (and spoilers) of a few of the characters as they navigated 1924.

    Upstairs

    Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)

    She’s thoroughly modern Mary now. She chopped her hair into a fashionable bob and spent a weekend sexing it up with the oh-so-dull Tony Gillingham. As usual, Mary never recognizes the negative impact on other people’s lives each of her scandalous secrets has and is rarely all the happier afterwards.

    Lady Rose Aldridge (Lily James)

    Her flippant flapper days are over, and she is now the wife of Atticus Aldridge, who is of Russian-Jewish ancestry. The inclusion of a Jewish man and the anti-Semitism that followed him is very apropos of the time, and the current public resurgence of global anti-Semitism show that some injustices just don’t die.

    Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith)

    Bit by bit, the Dowager Countess is revealed to have spent the 1860s like it had been her free-love years. Russian refugee Prince Kuragin made one last play for her affection after a failed attempt half a century earlier to ditch their spouses and was rejected.

    Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern)

    Taking evening strolls through London with a man who isn’t your husband is not good. This oversight on Cora’s part can’t be blamed on her “Americanness.” Cora flirted with disaster, and it ended with her husband wrestling the art dealer in her bedroom.

    Downstairs

    Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan)

    The two leaders of the household staff have changed with the times and begun to plan for their future retirement. Mrs. Hughes confesses she hadn’t any money to invest with Mr. Carson, and the series ends with Mr. Carson proposing to the long-waiting Mrs. Hughes — she said yes.

    Thomas (Rob James-Collier):

    Pre-War Thomas’ blackmailing is in full swing again. Turning to medically experimental methods to “cure” his homosexuality, he is eventually informed there is no cure. Gaining his strength back, he finally sees the Lady’s Maid, Baxter (Raquel Cassidy), as an ally to trust with his life. In the last episode, Thomas donates his time helping a foolish young server regain his swindled savings, displaying the deep-rooted kindness hidden beneath his tough exterior.

    Daisy (Sophie McShera)

    Sampling the delights of an education, Daisy is desperate for knowledge and experience. More competent in the kitchen and in her newfound interest in social justice, Daisy is far from the scullery maid life she once knew as she prepares to learn how to run her father-in-law’s farm.

    Negatives

    • School teacher Miss Bunting (Daisy Lewis) was easily the most disliked of the season. She gave voice to 21st century views with abominable arrogance. Not only is it difficult to replace Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) as Tom Branson’s (Allen Leech) love interest, but Miss Bunting’s show of feminism was actually a display of unnecessary rudeness.

    • Mr. and Mrs. Bates (Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt) entered the disaster zone once again as Anna is framed for the murder of her rapist. Mrs. Bates spends an episode in prison while Mr. Bates disappears only to have the two reunited in the end. Julian Fellowes, give these two a break.

    Positives

    • Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Marigold are now together as mother and daughter at Downton Abbey.

    • Tragedy struck as Isis, the beloved Earl’s dog, died, but it resulted in an outpouring of Internet consolation from fans calling out for “Prayers For Isis” — no doubt confusing many unfamiliar with the show.

    • Tom Branson finally received the same lovely validation from the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), as Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) had.

    _______________

    Follow Anna Mae Ludlum on Twitter.

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