Downton Abbey – series 2 begins

19 September 2011

My original intention was to boycott the second series of Downton Abbey after Dan Stevens who plays Matthew Crawley, unfollowed me on Twitter when I was having a Bad Day. I can be a bit petty like that. For instance, I am apparently oblivious to and not taking part in a big charity blogging thing just because two of the bloggers pushing it unfollowed me in particularly irritating circumstances which made them MY ENEMIES FOREVER so I am pretending that they don’t exist. Yes, I know, I know.

MOVING ON. I wish I would. No, but MOVING ON to Downton Abbey, my resolve held until about fifty minutes in when my husband’s NFL game finished and he asked if I wanted to watch Downton Abbey, which he had thoughtfully Sky + because I am apparently incapable of carrying on a boycott. This may be true actually.

Anyway, leaving aside the fact that it was already completely spoiled by all the inarticulate fangirl squealing on Twitter, I really enjoyed the first episode. I’m going to try and discuss some of the bits that stuck out to me, but will be employing a form of code so as not to annoy our American Chums who won’t be able to watch this until January or something.

First of all, the bits in the trenches weren’t really very convincing. Oh come on, that’s not a spoiler – they declared war at the end of the first series so of course the second has some of the characters, who will be referred to as A and B rolling around in the mud, being shot at, witnessing ironic death and referring to tea as ‘nectar’. I found it all rather reminiscent of Blackadder Goes Fourth, except less funny, obviously.

Meanwhile, back home at Downton which is apparently in Yorkshire, a fact that I had failed to notice throughout the first series, everything is much the same as it always was so as to reinforce the message that Trenches = Very Bad. A few characters who will henceforth be called C, D, E and F are not at the front although C wears uniform rather a lot and looks wistful. D doesn’t want to go to the front, and who can blame him? E really wants to go but Isn’t Allowed while F clearly couldn’t care less either way, although he points out to the Nasty White Feather Giving Ladies that he is actually technically wearing a uniform already so ner.

I don’t like the Nasty White Feather Giving Ladies who infiltrate a concert to raise money for Our Poor Brave Troops and hand out feathers to men that they think ought to be out in France dying to protect them. It’s not just that they had a bad attitude, but also, well, frankly, who can blame people for not wanting to enlist? However, my husband pointed out that it was very bad not to enlist because NO ONE wanted to but most people did anyway so to not bother was a bit rubbish really. Or something. Anyway, that doesn’t excuse the whole snide white feather giving out thing.

Now OBVIOUSLY, Mr Bates has a gammy leg so can’t enlist and that’s not a spoiler, unless you failed to notice his rather extravagant limp in series one? However, there was drama afoot for him in this episode when he XXXXXXXXXXXX G and then H ruined the whole thing leading him to have WORDS with an aggrieved C, who is later put right by J in a conversation that defeats my code as it involved J telling C why Mr Bates had done something but without actually telling him WHY, which was pretty awkward as it directly related to C and also K. I think I’ve gone off Mr Bates a bit actually.

The rest of the episode featured Sybil not being able to cook, broken hearts, praying, Edith being awful and a new housemaid who I hope gets sent off to the Somme at some point. There was a lot there to satisfy fans – glorious costumes, lots of drama, a few comedic touches and bittersweet romance that you know is going to go all wrong. I wasn’t keen on some of the dialogue, which seemed a bit Sixth Form Play About Class Differences and, as I’ve already said, the trench bits were a bit ropey, however it was brilliantly entertaining so I’ll let that pass.

Anyone else watch it last night? What did you think? Who do you think will get killed? Personally, I’m hoping that the BBC make a series of Upstairs, Downstairs soon as I really loved the one they showed over Christmas.

You Might Also Like...