Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lord Grantham on Ponzi Schemes

So I slept like a rock . . . until 2:00 a.m. at which time I began worrying about my every problem. Real ones? Yep, covered those. Imaginary ones? Check. I listened to and analysed odd noises. I prayed. I shifted the blankets here and there. I checked the kitchen. Twice. I wrote two, maybe three, entire posts in my mind.

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.
Ethel was another character I wanted to wish into the cornfield, but I like the way her story appears to be winding down. When she kissed her boy goodbye, I thought I'd choke. I don't know from suffering. Now, I doubt you'd go from an inability to make a cup of tea (Really? Come on, she's English) to producing some fancy schmancy souffle with just one lesson from Mrs. Patmore. But we'll let that pass. Ethel's moving on, and I hope she'll see her son grow up, if only from a distance.

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".


Kris said...

I'm scared for next Sunday. I just can't take another big loss. We shall see. I totally agree with everything you have written. Cora has really shined this season. My favorite line from this week was outside the church after the baptism, when Robert was getting his picture taken with the pastor! "Oh, Robert. Don't look so sour. Are you afraid he'll convert you when you're not looking?"! I laughed out loud!! And the Dowager - never disappoints. Her aside comments and her exchanges with Matthew's mother are priceless. I'm afraid next week will be some sort of tragedy for Matthew and Mary, what with all this talk of "I'll love you until my last breath" and that sort of thing. I'm desperately trying to stay off the internet so I don't know ahead of time.

Joanie said...

Robert never had the best example when it comes to financial issues, if I remember correctly it was his Dad who ran Downton in such a way that they needed bailing out by Cora. Also it was the Dad you tied up the money and estate in the entail which would not allow Mary as first born to inherit.

Also while Ivy has been acting a bit boorish, she's participating in that time honored tradition of making life miserable for the new person at work. Doesn't make it right, but it still happens today.

Kelly said...

We all now know that we were right to be scared, I'm still processing my emotions.

When you look at the money issues, the heir got the title and was then saddled with the job of supporting an unsustainable lifestyle. A nice lifestyle, to be sure, but an unsustainable one. I remember being in England and visiting a castle that had toys and pet bunnies in the courtyard. Real children were growing up there. And having tourists like me traipse through their hallways. Odd.