Another Sunday, and another journey into the fancy hyperdrama of yesteryear with Downton Abbey. While it takes a good twenty minutes to get around to it, the main plot of the episode revolves around some of Tom’s revolutionary activities in Ireland. He lands rain-soaked and penitent at the Crawley’s door. And apparently he’s left his pregnant wife Sybil twisting in the breeze to try to escape Ireland with the police after her.
Other, non-spoilery highlights?
- Matthew begins diving into the finances of the Downton estate and finds some issues he wants to change.
- A new footman arrives, putting the kitchen staff into a tizzy over how handsome he is.
- We find more about the fate of Ethel the maid and her fall into prostitution.
- And no one has heard from Bates, and he’s not getting mail from the outside. We find more about why.
- Daisy extracts some more fatherly advice from her late husband’s father.
- And Ethel writes into the paper expounding on womens’ suffrage.
Overall, this is a fair, but not excellent, episode. We only had a couple of zingers from The Dowager Countess, who has really not been the same since she lost her great foil Grandmama Levinson (Shirley Maclaine.)
Now, here’s a question: why watch this show live every week on PBS? It’s a legitimate question. The DVDs and Blurays are available. You can download them on iTunes. You can even stream them on Amazon Instant Watch. (And this, of course, intentionally ignores people who used bit torrent services to download them illegally months ago when they aired on the BBC.) But why watch a show live on TV instead of just downloading them or buying the Bluray?
I’m the first to admit, I stream most of my television. We went 18 months without cable in my house as we used Hulu and Netflix exclusively via Roku Box and game systems. And last year with Downton Abbey we went out and purchased the Blurays before the season was over and watched the majority of Season 2 that way. We’ve got cable back for a couple months, but beyond a handful of shows that don’t show up on Hulu (including Downton, Clone Wars, etc) we still end up watching the vast majority of the television in my house through streaming services.
But I missed something in doing that. For some reason, Downton Abbey is a show that begs to be discussed, watercooler style, in the way few shows do. In our weekly department meetings at work, we often end up discussing the previous night’s Downton episode before we get into our agenda.
And then, of course, there the new watercooler: Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and other social media. As I’ve said previously, the only way to watch Downton is with an open browser window constantly refreshing #downtonabbey, which has remained a trending hashtag every week so far. And if you know what’s good for you, follow Patton Oswalt. It’s almost worth waiting for the West Coast to get Downton for me to watch along with Patton. Alas, I’ve committed to those taskmasters Swankmotron and Zombietron to get my reviews up as quickly as possible.
So, once again, enjoy this episode, and we’ll see you next week, where it looks like we get a return of Thomas’s long-latent/suppressed homosexuality. (Yay!)