Thursday, February 11, 2016

Downton Abbey Update: Season 6, Episode 6

I feel as though I've missed a great opportunity waiting until this late to make Downton Abbey a regular part of the FGR writing cycle. What are the chances that I'm ever going to latch onto another show that is both so frivolous while at the same time so ripe for commentary (much less watch it as it unfolds season by season instead of binge-watching like some Adderall popping college kid who's parents thought they were doing him a favor by not having a T.V. in the house). I'm open for suggestions if anyone has discovered a worthy replacement.* In the meantime, we'll just have to make the best of the time we have left with the Crawleys, their servants and the men who inexplicably want to marry their strumpet daughters in spite of the sudden tragic death that goes hand in hand with that commitment. Which transitions us smoothly to last Sunday night's episode.     

Nobody met or initiated their demise (the Carolina Panthers notwithstanding) so, with but two episodes to go before the final servant bell tolls, we had to satisfy ourselves with some good old-fashioned class bashing by Lady Mary and that aristocratic apologist Mr. Carson. It was whimsically entertaining to say the least but Downton is at its best when tragedy, or at least the threat, of it is in the air. We can be pretty confident that will be the case next week as we'll be treated to an early 20th century version of the Daytona 500 in which one of the drivers will be carrying the curse of the aforementioned Lady Mary as his co-pilot. What couldn't go wrong?

That Berning sensation
ain't your ulcer. 
And don't forget Lord Grantham and his one or two not so subtle coughs per scene to remind us that the Grim Reaper could enter his room just as easily as that nosy little socialist from the house tour. I assumed that was supposed to be Bernie Sanders' dad but I checked and he emigrated from Poland in 1921 so it is highly unlikely that he was in England to interrogate Bobby Grantham on June 6, 1925. And yes I just Googled "Downton Abbey timeline" to determine the exact date of the open house so I could figure-out whether or not Bernie Sanders' father might have been there. What kind of life is this? 

It would appear that, after five and half seasons of taking more abuse than O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun, Lady Edith's tortoise strategy is going to payoff in the race to be the happiest daughter. Lady Sybil retired early when she married the chauffeur, had a chauffeur baby and then paid the ultimate price for her act of royal rebellion. Lady Mary appears doomed to suffer another tragic loss before the series finale and, even if what appears to be the inevitable is somehow averted, she'll undoubtedly blast another relationship into oblivion with her freeze ray dooming her and young George to a lonely existence at Downton where he'll probably end-up like the creepy mama's boy from Game of Thrones who kept wanting to throw Peter Dinklage through the hole in the floor. At least they'll have Carson around to defend the abbey from thieves and evolution.

As the end draws nigh, I really just have one request and I don't think it unreasonable if I may be so bold. Young Daisy should be on schedule to take her nebulous exams this week and, if she performs well, it could be her ticket to a better life far away from the bowels of the abbey. I hope she bombs them in spectacular fashion. Then I hope she stays true to the impertinent twit she has become and blames Mr. Mosely for her failure. Then I hope she storms out of the school and gets run over by a double-decker tour bus carrying 87 obnoxious Americans on their way to Downton Abbey for Tom Branson's Magical Mystery Money Grab house tour. And yes, double decker buses had been invented by then. I looked it up. (What kind of life is this indeed?)       

Footnote

"And I'm still going to call
you 'Brody' so get used to it!"
* I started watching Showtimes' Billions with Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis this week. It's going to be hard to fuck-up a show with those two guys in the lead roles so let's hope they don't find a way. As far as it filling the Downton void, let's just say it doesn't have quite the same subtlety. When one of the main characters poses the question, "what's the point of having fuck you money if you don't get to occasionally say 'fuck you,'" you know the writers aren't striving for the same level of nuance as Julian Fellowes (for you troglodytes, he's the chap who writes Downton Abbey).