Earlier in the week, I had promised my sparkling and witty observations on Downton Abbey Season 5 and am now quite shocked to discover I don't have any. What a bummer!
Yes, I'm often running behind these days. (Unlike Violet, I am not able to claim that the last time I was late was the day I was born.)
No synopsis here. Just some random willy-nilly thoughts and some photos snitched from ITV dot com and such places. There are a few screen captures from rewatching at Masterpiece through the PBS site. Okay, now that that's out of the way...off we go.
Overall, I liked Season 5, though I had my doubts when Lady Mary was busily trying to "test" Lord Gillingham. Is there a delicate way to say this? Such "testing" is unnecessary because the plumbing is so rarely the problem. Relationships are the problem and relationship does not require testing the equipment. (Oh dear, this is excruciating...don't mean to make anyone cringe.) And even with Violet's advice, "In my day a Lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction, until she had been instructed to do so by her Mama."
Yes, well, apparently, not.
Because this season also included that back story about Violet's affair/near affair with Kuragin. I can not imagine what drew her to him. He's definitely a moody Russian, but then life has been hard on him and perhaps he's become more and more depressed over time never having begun that way. Wonderful to hear the "details" of the story when Isobel and Violet were having their heart to heart. Being "snatched back from the abyss" by the Princess Kuragin proved to be one of Violet's greatest life lessons—family is more important than any affair with a moody Russian.
One thing I would have liked is if the producers had included an actor of Violet's age. The actor who plays Kuragin is 12 years younger than Maggie Smith. It made for confusion when one is into timelines as much as I am. It would have made that storyline more believable for me. You can find some excellent Downton Abbey timelines online, if you get confused by ages and events. For example, I was shocked to discover how old Lady Mary is.
Season Five Theme : Family is more important than any grubby old affair.
I'm going to leave poor Cora alone, but just so you know: I did not find her behavior blameless with that stupid art dealer, yet I am glad that, ultimately, she and Lord Grantham are closer now. I once described that couple as the glue that holds the show together and I still feel that way.
The little filler stories didn't excite me much — the conflicts below stairs and the ongoing saga of Violet's battling staff. I know that I am not alone with wishing that Mr. and Mrs. Bates be allowed to move on to a happy future with no more of that bothersome story line.
Joanne Froggatt is just amazing in her role. I enjoy watching those intense emotions flit across her face.
~Blast! They're arresting me!~
~Resolved or nearly...close enough!~
Mary's finest moment this season probably came with being willing to visit her maid in prison. I loved that about her. I did not love that she is so cruel and cutting to Edith. I agree with her Granny's assessment: My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. And how unobservant Mary is to not recognize that Marigold is Edith's child. She's the last one at Downton Abbey who hasn't a clue.
I find this ironic given her powers of observation. After all, she praises Henry Talbot for asking good questions, even as she tells him that she won't answer. I hope that these two are in each other's future. Really, I just hope that anyone, except Tom, is in Mary's.
Sinderby's affair story line annoyed me. Refer to Season Five's theme. Though I am always happy when a snooty butler is reminded of his station by an even snootier butler. Ha!
~snooty butler/s~snooty Lord Sinderby bookends~
Because Rose was never a favorite character of mine, I am glad that she is married off and "redeemed" and heading for New York with Atticus and all in record speed, even by Downton Abbey standards.
The scenes at Brancaster Castle were wonderful...the story not as much.
Perhaps it was just a chance for Alnwick Castle as Brancaster Castle to shine. Do you feel, as I do, that these grand homes are characters, too?
Mrs. Drewe...ewww...not happy with this portrayal. I wanted real tears! After all, she considered herself Marigold's mother. And why did the producers see fit to deny us the scene between Mrs. Drewe and Cora when Mrs. Drewe snitched on Edith to her mother? I wanted to see that!
Speaking of whacked story lines, why in the world does Mrs. Hughes need a demented sister? I'm just glad that Carson loves her and doesn't care that there's an odd sister floating about or that Mrs. Hughes is a pauper. Hope that we get to see the wedding! Just one thing, she touched him on the arm when she accepted the old booby's proposal. Really? That's all? At least last year, we saw some hand-holding.
It seems that every episode brought some conversation about the changing times and how life could not go on as it always had done. Foreshadowing at its finest. Though I can not find a source (other than Susan Branch), I think next season will be the last. The characters are growing older and the actors can't age that quickly without serious time in the make-up chair. Think of the costs! ☺
Isobel is so smart. I am glad that she gave Lord Merton the boot as his sons were insufferable. She and Violet will be wonderful companions in their continued old age.
Loved the closing Christmas scenes...
~actors waiting for their scenes...such fun to see!~
This is my fond hope for next season:
~torn between two sisters~
~not this one~
What are you saying, Vee?! That's right: I want Tom to marry Edith and have more children and live a long and happy life. Mary can have anyone. No Boston for Tom! Tom, trust me, Boston can be the puds.