20 February, 2012

"A Kiss in the Snow . . . "


Greetings,

We interrupt our usual chatting about light fixtures and dog fashion shows . . . for some quick thoughts on last night's season finale of Downton Abbey.  Well, it was the season finale here in the US . . . in England, they watched the second season last fall . . . and were treated to last night's 'episode' as a special on Christmas Day.  And thank you to all my British friends who did not peep a single word about the plot.  Blessings upon you all.

So . . . a few highlights of the evening for me.  There's a parade of spoilers to follow . . . so, proceed at your own risk if you haven't seen the show yet . . .

1)  The Pace.  We've been cranking through plot and characters at break-neck (or better yet, back-breaking) speed this season.  And I was growing nostalgic for the languid pace of the first season.  My thought was that it was a editorial device (with the many new characters, the rapid changes of fate, the large breaks in the timeline) . . .  commenting on how quickly life was changing during the First World War.  And for that reason alone . . . I understood the new pace.  I didn't say I liked it . . . but, I could see a point for it.  But last night, we seemed to return to a pre-war rhythm.  And though the episode was packed with plot . . . it didn't feel as hurried.

2)  The Continuity Fairy.   Firstly, I love the Continuity Fairy.  And she is missing from a great many television shows.  She just stops in every once in a while and says, "Remember that thing that happened?  Well, I do . . . and here is some of the fall-out from events that took place in previous episodes."  So, it was a great delight to see Sir Anthony Strallan re-appear in Edith's life.

3)  The Bomb.  Okay y'all.  I seriously jumped off the sofa when Lord Grantham asked Mary if the only reason she was marrying was to keep the secret of the death of Mr. Pamuk!  And the shock was almost palpable.  There was a point about mid-season this year . . . when I was trying to figure out who did . . . and who DID NOT . . . know the story of the "Turkish gentlemen."  But, after two complete seasons of keeping the awful truth from her father . . . it was SO satisfying to finally hear it spoken of.   The worrisome part is that Bates is now in prison for life . . . just for trying to keep that very same secret from being revealed.

4)  The Kiss.  It's been a slow burn.  I don't think since we all waited and watched outside a rainy coffee shop for Ross and Rachel to admit to the feelings that they shared . . . has there been such a joyous and perfectly pitch declaration of love . . . as an (at times icy) Mary . . . and the (at times stoic) Matthew . . . in a swirl of snow . . . illuminated by the warmth of the Abbey . . . finally, seriously finally, expressing their true feelings.  Good stuff.  And seriously, if the fine people at the BBC aren't selling "Downton Abbey Snow Globes" they're missing a HUGE opportunity.

5) The Dog.  I don't care which character is killed, or crippled, or maimed, or executed, or miscarries . . . don't y'all DARE hurt that dog.  Seriously.  No, I mean it.

6)  The Dowager.  It always kinda worries me when a character becomes the "comic relief."  So often they become over-used . . . and lose their potency.  Not so with the delicious Maggie Smith!  And with her three word line, "Do you promise?" last night . . . I will be the first the start the campaign to build a national shrine to the aforementioned Maggie.

What were your favourite moments?  Favourtie lines?  Favourite plot developments?

Cheers,
Scot


34 comments:

Pat McIntosh said...

"It was LUST, Matthew."

Scot Meacham Wood said...

She has been keeping that secret for SIX YEARS!

EAC said...

Downton Abbey Snow Globe. Love.

YONKS said...

I was desperate to tell you all and it's quite unusual for me to keepmy mouth shut - trust me! News for you, they are now filming the third season here - watch this space!
Di
x

Daniel James Shigo said...

Watched on PBS's website after it was uploaded around 11 PM. Worth waiting for! One hopes that Lord G will somehow realize that Bates was protecting him and all will be set right.

Jeremiah said...

The finale redeemed the series for me. This season has been a bit soap-opera-like for me. And as Scot mentions, the pacing was a bit odd--- WWI in 4 easy episodes! and the return of Patrick Crawley (or was it?) was rather hastily swept under the run. But, like I said, the finale really brought me back. It must be said that thefamily is not very good at wingshooting...

Scot Meacham Wood said...

I was reading about Downton somewhere else today - and their suspicion was that the ever-hateful Mrs. Bates . . . was killed either by Sir Richard (to protect Mary) or *even better* by someone from the Turkish Embassy (to protect the name of Mr. Pamuk.)

Season Three indeed!

Jennings and Gates said...

I feel the same way about the dogs in television shows and movies. Lol, I don't care if the the main character disappears, just don't hurt the dog! It always seems like such a low blow.

the designers muse said...

I don't know how I'm going to wait until next year to see the next season. The kiss and proposal in the snow was lovely, but I'm guessing there are more rough waters ahead for Mary and Mathew.

Tobi Fairley said...

Loved every moment of it. Especially the broken vase (promise?) and finally the kiss I've been waiting on for weeks!!!!! It was splendid. Can't bear to wait for season 3. Thank God Madmen is finally starting March 25 to tide me over!!! :)

NotesFromAbroad said...

We finished all the Downton Abbey episodes a few months ago .. Down here at the bottom of the world ~
I loved that last episode.. everything worked out just the way I wanted it to ..
Can't wait to see the new season, no idea where and when we will see it though :)
( totally agree about the dog )

Design is... All in the Detail said...

One word - MAGIC... the kiss was pure magic! When does the new season begin?

Sunday Taylor said...

The kiss in the snow was pure magic. But there were so many great moments. From the moment the episode opened with the truck hauling that huge Christmas tree to Downton I was entranced and loved every moment of the season finale. Thank goodness Lord Grantham gave Lady Mary permission to get rid of Sir Richard. As if she would ever go to New York and marry a cowboy with Matthew on the scene. I think Matthew's mother was hugely instrumental in his decision to propose. Lots of tears were shed last night. What a wonderful finale!

Karen said...

I don't care if it was a bit soap opera like...I loved every minute of it. Good reason to send a donation to PBS!
Karen

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Maggie Smith's comment has keep me amused all day...so perfectly delivered. Wonderful!

Karena said...

Scot thank you for your great thoughts. I know the next season will be filed with twists and turns.

Curse him for locking up that precious dog!

Yes, Maggie Smith and her "Do you promise?" line!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

t day said...

I started watching Downton season 1 a week ago and have obsessively watched every night. What am I going to watch now? There is nothing that can compare to such a masterpiece of television!

Sue said...

Great recap. I too thought "It was lust Matthew" was the best line.

Mary Middleton Design said...

When it was on at Christmas (here in the UK) the whole family gathered round the TV to watch it. I can't think when the last time a historical drama caught the public attention (or my families for that matter) with such utter conviction.

I even had to write a piece on how to incorporate Downton style into your home!

TN Mimi said...

Thomas! He came out smelling like a rose even when this scheme with Isis went awry. Hope he is growing a heart...but I doubt it.

Klelley S. said...

Yes please for a snow globe. Totally loved the kiss in the snow. Completely agree on the monumment to Maggie Smith, too. Adore her! I can't get enough of DA. Hope the Masterpiece gods don't make us wait too long for the next installment.

Diane Stewart said...

I agree it was wonderful, but I was distracted during the final scene with Mary standing outside in a sleeveless gown! It didn't make sense to me, she lives in a freezing old castle and she runs around in a gown more suited to summer time. Also, can someone please clear it up for me: did she or didn't she lose her virginity with the Turkish guy? It seemed to me that they never closed the deal.

Scot Meacham Wood said...

Diane,

Yikes . . . I don't want to be indelicate here . . . but, I remember Mr. Pamuk saying that there were activities that they could do . . . that wouldn't affect her virginity. Personally, I can think of a few options . . . but, I'll just leave the exact specifics to everyone else's imagination.

cheers!
Scot

Penny said...

I just have to weigh in. It is the only thing one can do with 11 long months of waiting ahead.

I think Thomas had something to do with Mrs. Bate's demise. He was the one who, after been dismissed by Famuk, led him down the long corridor to Mary's room by candlelight. Did he put something into Famuk's drink? Who told Vera Bates about the "scandal" in the first place? Who wants Bates' position as valet? Oh, that Thomas . . .

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Sarah said...

I particularly LOVE the music and Maggie Smith's line to the detestable ex-fiance of Mary's - that was great. I may have to revisit 'Upstairs Downstairs' to keep me interested until next year!! ;-))

The Devoted Classicist said...

I, too, was so worried about Isis and glad she was safely returned! I knew Bates wouldn't hang, but did not want any harm to come to that dog!

pretty pink tulips said...

I still have to go back and watch the first season (especially now that they tie back to the Turkish man!)...but that last episode was the most enjoyable and joyous!

I agree...Maggie Smith's 3 word line was....sublime!
xo Elizabeth

tammy j said...

i'm late checking in to your post on the addictive downton abbey here.
i just cannot get enough of it! i ordered the english cut of each season from pbs so can have my fix as often as i like through the long summer ahead.
thomas cracks me up. i loved it when he's walking back torn and dirty from trying to find isis.
how can lord grantham be so naive!
and like you... if they ever dare to do isis in, they will lose me.
well...
i'll be "bloody" mad!
cheers and hugs you handsome boy,
tammy j

Tami said...

"Don't be a defeatist dear, it is so middle class."- Granny to Edith

I love her lines, and need to write them in a journal for future reference.

Absolutely the very best show, in many years!

Bubble and Squeak said...

How magical was that snow! So dreamy! Thanks for sharing Scot!

Best wishes,

Bubble & Squeak

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it all just delicious - - the snow scene was masterful. And that lady's maid of Lord Crawley's sister - did not one realize what her intentions were right off? Plain old hussy!
I've dared the phone to ring after 9:00 on Sunday nights here lately nor my husband utter one word!
Such a wonderful escape to go back and see TV at its finest - how I wish we had more offerings such as this.

Anonymous said...

Uh- oh - - not Lord Crawley's sister but Lord Grantham . . see it's just so great I'm totally confused...

Anonymous said...

"damaged goods" - what a great years ago description..!

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