Blogging the Abbey, Episode 7

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Oh, I have to admit I did find this guy’s courting of Isobel kind of sweet, too. Remember the doctor pursued her for a bit?

    Re: Branson, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Downton Abbey, it’s that the true classists are in the lower classes.Report

  2. Avatar Patrick says:

    Scattered thoughts:

    Bates didn’t do it. This will come out when someone winds up confronting him and he alibis himself. (He totally should have done it, though.) Bates is critically misused on the show, ever since the plotline with the leg brace they’ve just used him to provide Drama for plot eddies.

    Molesley is dangerously close to getting some self-esteem.

    Like Lady Edith, Molesley is best when they let him act like something other than a pile of pathetic drivel. I rather like Evil Cackling Maid, as an actress. I hope they let her be a character other than Thomas’s set piece.

    Speaking of Thomas, my guess is that he’s not angling toward anything in particular other than advancement. He’s a climber. He’s been first footman, and then valet to his Lordship, and now he’s underbutler, a pretty impressive run for someone who is cordially loathed among the household. But it’s clear, I think – to everyone including Thomas – that he doesn’t have the personality to give him support either upstairs or down to replace Carson when Carson steps down. His solution is to build a web of forced support via machinations. That means getting blackmail material on people, or inventing some, and building a stockpile of owed favors (this gives him open-ended motivation to always be scheming, which the writers clearly like). The frontrunner for Carson’s job is clearly Bates, nobody else commands the respect of the downstairs and upstairs sufficient to run the joint, and the natural ability for the proprieties to do it (I see Bunter every time I see Bates). Whether or not John is angling for the job isn’t germane; Thomas knows he’s down by four touchdowns and nobody knows when the whistle is going to be blown. Hail Marys are called for.

    Branson could turn out to have one of the more interesting character arcs on the show. He’s actually been given an idealism together with a tragedy and responsibilities. If they make something of that rather than just moving him around the other characters for the sake of this year’s subplot…

    Cora really seems to be the Upstairs Person Who Will Incompetently Fail To Notice Things And/Or Bungle this season, which ought to be nice for his Lordship, gives him a break.Report

  3. Avatar Pub Editor says:

    The resolution to Vacuous Dancing Cousin’s storyline was a bit too tidy and anticlimactic for my taste, but perhaps that was the only way the writers could do it without destroying the audience’s affection for several main characters.Report

  4. Avatar Pub Editor says:

    Speaking of prejudices, religion, and the rarely seen children: is Branson raising little Sibyl as a Catholic, like he promised to do in season 3?Report

  5. Avatar FridayNext says:

    In regard to the idiocy of Evil Roadkill Rapist in chattering on about how to get himself killed: Recall this is the same guy who chose to rape the wife of someone he had to have known probably already killed someone. The Bates murder affair had to be known among the servant population in the UK and even I am still not sure Bates was innocent (the “evidence” that got him out was so flimsy even Matlock couldn’t have presented it without laughing). I would think every valet in England would know this story.

    Seriously, if you are stupid enough to rape the wife of a convicted murder war veteran, chances are you won’t be wise enough to tread lightly to save your hide. His chattiness on the issue is in character, such as it is.

    Protip to Bates: If you don’t want people to know what you were doing in York, come up with a better cover story than you were doing “this and that.” Even I could come up with a better story than that.Report

  6. Avatar Maribou says:

    ” I wonder if the writers meant her to seem as unsympathetic as I now find her?”

    I would find her more unsympathetic if
    a) she were older – she’s what, 19 or 20? Jack is in his late 20s, so it seems reasonable to expect him to grasp Full Well what he was getting into, having a dalliance with a sheltered, obviously spoiled, near-teenager.
    b) she hadn’t been raised by her mother. who, exactly, was she supposed to learn not to be gross from?

    I figure she is going through her “must learn that there are other ways than being a complete dysfunctional git to relate to the world” phase. Having done some rather dreadful things myself at that age, I have compassion (but she better not keep making a habit of it, or my patience will wear thin).Report

    • Avatar FridayNext in reply to Maribou says:

      She’s younger than that. She is being presented to London Society next week and that is traditionally at 17 or 18. As horrible as she is behaving, it is completely in character as an entitled teen age girl who wants to rebel from a strict, maid-stealing mother.Report

      • Avatar daveNYC in reply to FridayNext says:

        I dunno, her reasons for marrying Jack were:
        1) I love him.
        2) It will piss off mother.

        All fine, I guess, but she was a hell of a lot more enthused about pissing off mom than loving the guy. If they’d phrased it as ‘getting away from mother’ or something, I might be more sympathetic.

        I’m also confused as to how all these people are busy falling in love. She’s met Jack what, three or four times? Ditto for some of Mary’s suitors.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to FridayNext says:

        It’s amazing how much time is on your hands when you don’t have the internet.

        Also when no one has a real job other than a couple of blokes on a government junket and a dude that works the swing shift.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Speaking of jobs, something I just remembered, regarding when Sir Lovelorn was talking to the mom of Late Saint Matthew: why was doctoring beneath him when it wasn’t for Sir Doctor Quack Mommy Killer?Report

    • Avatar Pub Editor in reply to Kolohe says:

      I believe it’s actually Lord Lovelorn, and his father felt that being a physician was beneath the dignity of a peer.

      Sir Doctor Quack Mommy Killer was probably knighted in recognition of his medical “accomplishments” (whatever those were). He probably started as a middle class gent, went into medicine, and in the course of his career rose to the rank of knighthood. (Which is still below lord or a proper member of the aristocracy.)Report

    • I don’t remember the bio forSir Doctor Quack Mommy Killer (nice moniker, by the way) well, but my impression is that he was knighted for service to the realm, presumably in his role as hoity-toity doctor. If he were a member of the nobility, he wouldn’t be going by “sir.” Knighthood is for elevating commoners.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think I understand now. Thanks to you both.Report

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