So here's one of the them . . .
Can Lord Grantham really be such a dolt? Mostly a loving dolt, but clearly right down there with Daisy when it comes to usable brain matter. In the middle of his third (fourth?) tirade about Mathew's distasteful attempts to avoid a third (fourth?) bankruptcy, his Lordship launches into an energetic description of a promising investment:The Ponzi Scheme. Yes, in a bid to link the financial blunders of our time with the woes of the 1920s, we hear Lord Grantham's ringing endorsement of The Ponzi Scheme. Robert's long on bluster (note the dining room scene at Isobel's) and short on common sense (note just about everything else he's done in Season Three).
And speaking of dolts . . . Either endow Daisy with a few firing neurons or send her to the farm already. I could hardly stomach the You made me marry William and now he's dead shtick, but this moronic love quartet in the kitchen and her endless snipping at Ivy? Stop the madness and be quick about it.
|Photo credit: not me.|
And Edith . . . oh, Edith. Just as her career is taking off, she's heading willy-nilly into a relationship with a married man. Been there, done that in Season Two, my dear . . . Remember the farmer? How'd that work for you? Unemployment and another sad chapter closed. As for the wife in the asylum, let's dust off that copy of Jane Eyre and read the script. We, the viewing audience, had the benefit of hearing Mathew's words to Rose: The wife is always awful, and the husband is always just about to divorce her, or something to that effect. Flee, Edith, flee!
So who's not on the hit list? Cora, dear Cora. She spent Season Two drawing back curtains and gazing pensively at her daughters. This season she has stolen the show. Her scenes during and after Sybil's death were stellar, the best of the season.
And then there's the Dowager. Rock on, Maggie! That woman can convey emotion with the tilt of her head. She's a champion of family -- the reason Sybil and Tom returned to Downton and began grafting into the clan; the reason Robert and Cora are now reconciled; likely the reason the estate will survive.
Fellowes is at his best when the repartee is witty and the characters are given the range to be authentic, flawed, complicated humans just like the rest of us: the stiff and crusty Carson sings as he polishes silver; the flinty Miss O'Brien has a kind word for a traumatized soldier; the Dowager grasps Carson's arm in a gesture of grief; the broken Thomas stands up tall and says, "I am not foul. I am not foul."
One episode to go and one headline deems it "jaw dropping".