Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey – S6;E5

OK, I just had to add this photo because that scenery! Ahhhh!


Did we see what we thought we saw?

Was anyone else this week transported back to an earlier time in Downton history when some crazy stuff went down?

(I’m looking at you, Mary.)

I’m guessing the writers wanted the series to go out with a bang as big as the one they started with.

(Pamuk, anyone?)

Alright, why don’t we just start out with the scene that everyone’s talking about. Let’s just get it all out on the table, shall we?

Oh wait, Robert just did.

(Sorry, couldn’t refuse that one.)

Let me set for you a different scene. Not the one on the screen with everyone sitting around the dinner table with Neville Chamberlain, sipping wine and eating delicate savories.

No, the scene I want you to imagine right now is the scene in my family room where my husband, daughter Kate, and I are sitting around in our sweats watching this genteel family bicker and rage against one another, behaving very badly in my estimation, in front of a Minister of State. We’re enjoying the banter, laughing about Violet and Isobel, and catching innuendoes that are flying across the table, when all of a sudden . . .


Cue screaming and “OH MY WORD!!!” and incredulous laughter.

“Wait! Did that just happen?”

“I need to see that again.”

We rewind the T.V. and watch Robert ralphing blood across the table five times before we actually believe that what we thought we saw was actually what we really had seen.

Crazy stuff, I’m telling you.

And another daughter, who was upstairs doing homework during Downton (I know, she’s the rebellious type), yelled, “What is going on down there?!”

It was raucous, and it took a few minutes to catch our breath before we could go on and watch the rest of the episode.

[How did it go down at your house? I’d love to know.]

But, you know, aside from Robert’s melodramatic confession of love toward Cora while he’s lying on his left side (thank you for that, Dr. Carson), there really weren’t any great lines that came out of that scene.

Probably because everyone was just standing around with shocked looks on their faces saying, “Oh my!” and “Whatever shall we do?!”

Worthless bunch of ninnies.

So, even though Robert’s explosion across the table was one of the top five scenes in Downton Abbey history, it doesn’t make my top five lines list because there really weren’t any great lines there.

So, now that I’ve managed to talk that scene to death, let’s move on to my five favorite lines from Episode 5.

I’ll be honest, I had a hard time narrowing it down. But I say that every week, don’t I? So if I overlook one of your favorites, won’t you leave me a comment and let me know what line you liked best?

Moving on, in no particular order.

1. As long as we’re talking about the Robert incident (The Great Robert Ralph as it shall forever be known), I loved how the servants all stayed up waiting for news of their lord.

It was kind of sweet, really. They’re all sitting around the table, yawning to let us know that it was very late at night, when Carson rushes into the room to declare, “He’s going to be alright. They’ve performed a gastrectomy.”

Thomas, horrified, says, “What’s that?!”

And Carson, always wanting to sound superior, even when he doesn’t know the answer, replies,
“No business of ours.”
Doesn’t that just kind of sum up things for the servants? They see and hear all kinds of things upstairs—unsavory things, rude things, unbelievable things—but it’s not for them to have an opinion or even pretend knowledge about. It’s just not their business.

(For the record, a gastrectomy is either a full or partial removal of the stomach. For Robert’s sake, let’s hope it was a partial.)

2. So much this week was not spoken, but an exchange of looks.

Daisy and Andy

Mr. Mason and Mrs. Patmore (what?!)

Baxter and Mr. Molesley

Denker and Spratt

It’s all downstairs people—they are the ones who get what’s going on but can’t express their emotion (see #1 above), so they do it with a glance or a smile or a raise of the eyebrow.

I guess they do get to express their opinion in more subtle ways.

There were so many lovely looks exchanged this week, but one of my favorites was when Andy came to Mr. Mason’s rescue in front of Tom and Mary, offering to help with the pigs. Daisy looked up, clearly caught off guard by Andy’s chivalrous nature, and smiled a smile so wide that you’d have thought she’d never seen him before.

I have a feeling Andy had noticed Daisy before, though.

And then the looks, veerryy subtle, between Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason. How cute was that? Another moment in which I just thought, what?!

I also loved when Mr. Molesley was teasing Miss Baxter in the courthouse, asking if she’d like to see if her criminal friend would like to go change his plea. She also smiled broadly for, oh, about the first time ever. Hopefully Baxter can unwind just a bit, now that her legal troubles seem to be over.

I think the king of the sideways glance and the raised eyebrow, though, is Spratt. This week was no exception as he sat behind his newspaper, thrilled to watch Denker squirm in front of him, eyes raised and humming not-so-silently to himself.


3. Speaking of Denker. I have never liked her character. At. All. I’ve even wondered why they’ve kept her around.

So you could imagine my glee (and then my horror!) when she got herself into trouble this week by speaking her mind to Dr. Clarkson.

(Obviously Denker hasn’t spent much time in the Carson School of Service to Our Betters.)

Violet receives a letter from Dr. Clarkson telling her about Denker’s bad behavior and almost has a heart attack. She immediately sacks Denker, but Denker won’t go down without a fight, talking back and trying to defend herself.

I guess Denker forgets who she works for, because Violet will have nothing of it, telling her, “It is not your place to have opinions about my acquaintance, let alone express them!”

Denker continues, “He can’t claim your friendship now, not when he’s turned against you.”

But Violet gets the last word, and it’s one of the truest words she’s ever spoken:
“If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who’d spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty!” 
4. Let’s go back to the infamous dinner. Neville Chamberlain is the Minister of Health at that point in history, and he’s brought in by Violet to be persuaded to step in and stop the takeover of the hospital.

Now, I knew the name Neville Chamberlain, and I suppose this scene would have meant a lot more to the Brits watching it than to me, a stupid American who can’t remember her pre-WWII history.

(This is a photo I found on the www. I thought it was kind of uncanny that they made the actor look so much like the real Neville Chamberlain. Weird.)

This is where my very smart husband came in handy. He remembered that Chamberlain was actually the Prime Minister at the beginning of WWII, and that he was the one who wanted to play nice with Hitler. He was a conciliatory type, just wanting everyone to be happy.

So here he sits with the bickering Crawleys or Granthams or whatever you call them, and his eyes dart back and forth between Violet and Isobel who, neither of them, won’t back down.

Finally, Chamberlain declares, “Goodness! I thought I was brought here to be lectured by a united group, not to witness a battle royale.”

Violet stops, mid-bicker, to ask, “Oh! Don’t you enjoy a good fight?”

And Chamberlain delivers the most ironic line of the night,

“I’m not sure I do, really.”

Forshadowing. For sure.

5. Finally, how could we forget dear Carson and Hughes? Marital bliss, am I right?

Not so fast.

First of all, it never really occurred to me until this week that Mrs. Hughes wouldn’t know how to cook, but of course she doesn’t. She’s been a working woman all her life, but not in the kitchen. She’s had her meals prepared for her as much as the folks upstairs have had, so when it comes to taking care of her husband, as Mr. Carson would surely expect, Mrs. Hughes doesn’t have a clue.

So Carson wants to have a cozy dinner together in their cottage. Newlywed stuff. So sweet.

Until Carson starts complaining.

“Is this meat done enough? . . .This plate’s cold, Tis a pity. . . . Bubble and squeak as a vegetable with lamb? . . .This knife could do with sharpening.”

The best line in this scene isn’t so much a line, per se, but a look again. As Mrs. Hughes sits down to her own dinner, she takes a spoonful of the delicious bubble and squeak (it is, after all, a vegetable, you know) and forcefully plops it onto her plate, giving her new husband a look that could kill.

But then, the line that just made me guffaw with laughter. Carson thanks Mrs. Patmore for their dinner, then asks her, 
“Another time, I wonder if you might go through the cooking of it with Mrs. Hughes. It’s been a while since she’s played with her patty-pans and she’s got some catching up to do.”

Aaand daggers.

Oh Mr. Carson, you’ve got a lot to learn.

Welcome to married life, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes!!!


Now tell me, what did I miss? What was YOUR favorite line of this episode? Leave me a comment!

Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, S6:E4

What’s in a name?

I think that should have been the title of this week’s episode of Downton Abbey.

Did you catch the theme? Name. Reputation. Honor. It was all there.

Interestingly, most of the epiphanies came from Downstairs. Not too surprising, I guess—the Upstairs folks continue to live in their dream worlds, whatever those worlds happen to be.

But the Downstairs folks. They are the ones who get it. The world is moving on. Reputation will get you places. Your name matters.

Take Mrs. . . . C-c-c-c-Carson, for example. Nobody can quite get their tongue around that name (thanks to Violet for that visual), so in the end Mr. Carson proposes that they all just keep calling her Mrs. Hughes.

Mrs. Hughes just smiles and says nothing.

Her name is intact.

And Daisy. The idealistic girl was willing to risk her reputation to get what she thought was “fair” for Mr. Mason (did you not love it when Mrs. Patmore referred to her as Karl Marx?!), and somehow, in the end, she looked like a hero.

Mr. Mason even tells her that it’s her good name that rescues him in the end.

So glad she didn’t actually have a chance to speak up when she tried to accost Lady Grantham in the hallway.

I’d call that a bullet dodged.

And finally, there’s Molesley. The sweetest man Downstairs. The one whose reputation is golden. The one who knows the importance of honor.

And the one who can quote Edmund Burke. (Points to anyone who remembers what he said.)

If I were Miss Baxter I’d thrown down my dishtowel and fall into his arms of rescue. He’s just waiting for that, isn’t he?

And so are we.

Anyway, my reputation will be mud if I don’t “get on” as they say Downstairs. So here we go with my Top Five.

There were so many good lines in this episode. I’m not sure how I’ll choose the best.

1. Let’s start with Violet, shall we? She had a couple of good zingers that made me laugh, so I have to include them.

First, over tea with her friend, Lady Shackleton, Violet presses her to take her side in the dreaded hospital debate. (Honestly, I don’t know where this story line is going. It’s baffled me from the beginning.)

Anyway, Lady S. asks Violet, “How can I present myself as an expert when I don’t know the facts?”

To which Violet responds, 

“Well it’s never stopped me!”

Later, as Violet and Isobel argue about the hospital for the umpteenth time over dinner, Edith tries to come to the rescue. “I suppose Cousin Isobel is entitled to put up an argument.”

To which Violet storms back:

“Well of course she is, but she’s not entitled to win it!”

I think Violet is running out of ammunition.

2. Let’s talk about the situation with Gwen for a minute. Again, it’s about the name.

Cora didn’t remember her. At all. Name forgotten.

Rosamund is enamored with the reputation of Mr. Harding, Gwen’s husband, giving Gwen an “in” with the Downton crowd. Reputation by association (or, in this case, marriage).

And then there’s Thomas (we’ll talk about his reputation in a moment) who exposes Gwen, thinking this will disparage her name, but his plan backfires. Remember? He brings up her former employment in the house in an attempt to embarrass Gwen, but Gwen is rescued by her own grace and charm.

And Sybil.

Gwen notes how Sybil helped her get her first job with the telephone company, which led to her meeting her husband. It’s a bit of a long story, but as everyone sits listening, they smile as they think of the best among them who was taken too soon.

Gwen tells the family,

“I’ll never forget her. Her kindness saved my life.”

It makes you wonder what would have happened to the family had Sybil lived.

Back to Thomas. No matter how hard he tries (not that hard, actually), his reputation seems to denigrate. Even Robert gave him a dressing down after the "Gwen incident" telling him he doesn't like to see such things.

Oh, Thomas.

3. Back up a minute to when the family was meeting Mr. and Mrs. Harding for the first time. Sorry, things are out of order today, but this one was too funny to pass up.

They are talking about education for women, the women’s college that they are all involved with now, and Isobel is preening over women’s issues the way she does.

Yea, women!

They ask to hear Gwen’s story, and she tells them that she didn’t have any higher education.

To which Mary replied, 

“Who did? All we were taught was French, prejudice, and dance steps.”

So clever, Mary! Just think of how charming you’d be if you actually HAD had an education.

4. Mary had some wonderful quips in this episode. As well as some jabs.

I’m not sure which category this quote falls into, but I loved it so I have to include it.

First, you’ll remember handsome Henry Talbot, Lady Shackleton’s nephew. He’s mysterious. He’s from London, the son of a Parliamentarian. He’s oh-so-handsome. And he’s a racecar driver!

He offers her his card when they meet at Downton, and he tells her he hopes they can meet for lunch . . . or something . . . when she’s next in London.

Mary’s practically foaming at the mouth, but she’s playing it cool.

Flirting is her strong suit.

The two beautiful people do meet up for dinner in London (nevermind the fact that Anna is having a serious medical crisis—Mary’s going to have fun!) in a posh restaurant favored by car lovers. I smell a fling if there ever was one.

Mary glances coyly at the menu and says, 

I hope this means you’re boiling up to make a pass before we’re done.”

Talbot replies, “Probably. But will you accept?”

Mary, with a slight raise of an eyebrow says, 

“No. But I shall enjoy the process enormously.”

I think Henry Talbot actually blushed!!

I know I blushed earlier in the episode when Violet was talking to Robert about Mary and said, 

“Mary needs more than a handsome smile . . . and a hand on the gearstick.”

Honestly, Granny!

5. I hate only having to choose five lines because this week there were so many good ones. But alas, I must choose.

And this, I think, was my favorite of the entire episode.

Daisy and Mrs. Patmore are sitting in the kitchen together, gossiping as usual. Daisy says, “I wonder what Mrs. Hughes is up to.”

Mrs. Patmore, resting her chin in her hand, sighs. 

“Ah, she knows the mystery of life by now . . . unlike me.”

Poor Mrs. Patmore. Don’t you just want to see her find her one true love?


And with that I’ll leave you to go out and make a name for yourself.

For the record, Edmund Burke once famously said, “All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

A good reminder to all of us.


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Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey :: S6:E3

Well now, Episode 3 was a happy episode, wasn’t it? Even the foreshadowing was happy.

Daisy studying for her exams with Mr. Molesley helping her.

Anna smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Edith taking charge of the magazine. And her mysterious helper staying up all night to get the magazine out. (Who was that guy again? And why is he helping her? Does he have editing experience? Is he looking for a job? What on earth?!)

Anyway . . .

Even though the foreshadowing was fun, the actual episode was also happy and marvelous and lovely.

WE HAD A WEDDING, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! And weddings are always wonderful.

But at Downton, every wedding must come with a little drama.

1. And so we begin with wedding drama. Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore head upstairs to the servants’ bedrooms where Mrs. Hughes is “showing off” her pathetic brown day dress that she chose to get married in.

As they climb the stairs, Mrs. P. tries to get her BFF excited about the wedding, but Mrs. Hughes will have nothing of it. She’s still complaining about the reception being in the Big House.

“I wanted a big wedding breakfast with all of us set at groaning tables having a jolly time.”

Mrs. Patmore asks, “Why can’t you have that?”

And Mrs. Hughes delivers a line I won’t soon forget:

Because it’s not how posh people do it. They stand around with nibbly bits gettin’ stuck in their teeth and that’s what we have to do.”

You know, I was at a party with some pretty posh people a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t see any nibbly bits caught in anybody’s teeth. I’ll have to be on the lookout for that in the future.

[Note: Several of you last week thought I was being kind of unfair to Mrs. H. for complaining about the wedding being held in the Big House. I get it—she should have the wedding she wants—but I still think she was acting rather like a spoiled child over it. And apparently it worked!]

2. Violet always pleases, doesn’t she? This week was no exception since she gets two spots on my list.

Her first great line came rather early on as she visits the Abbey to talk to Robert about this infernal hospital situation. She’s worried that Robert is actually thinking about the merits of Isobel’s side of things.

Robert admits that he’s been talking to Cora about it, to which Violet responds, “Well that is a mistake.”

Robert pushes back: “You can’t expect me to avoid talking to my own wife.”

Violet, without even blinking:

Why not? I know several couples who are perfectly happy. Haven’t spoken in years.”

3. And then there was the hospital meeting in Dr. Clarkson’s office. Isobel is in rare form up on that high horse of hers, insulting Dr. Clarkson about his soon-to-be-diminished authority around HER hospital.

As she blabs on and on, Isobel comes off as brazen and proud and rude, as usual, even calling Clarkson just “one more local doctor.”

Everyone around the circle just sits there with their mouths hanging open. 

Finally, breaking the tension, Violet cocks her head and sarcastically asks Isobel:

Did you . . . drink at luncheon?”

I don’t know why, but something about the way she asked that question had me laughing so hard.

And Isobel didn’t even get the joke.

4. Now on to the good stuff—the wedding. So many great lines that I’ll have to pick just a few.

First, how about when Baxter and Anna come in with that troublesome wedding jacket in their hands?

“We’ve come to dress the Bride!”

To which Mrs. Hughes says,

“Well now, there’s a sentence I thought I’d never hear.”

And then there was the actual wedding ceremony itself. So simple. So understated. They didn’t even show much of the ceremony—I guess Carson and Hughes wanted to keep it private.

But they did show Carson putting the ring on her finger while stating his vows, which I absolutely loved.

“With this ring; I thee wed.
With my body, I thee worship.
And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”


Why don’t we say vows like that anymore? They are so beautiful, so poetic. And they carry so much weight.

*sigh again*

And finally, how about that toast? Carson with just the right words again. The man knows how to make a statement, doesn’t he?

“I will not be prolix, but it must be right that I mark that I am the happiest and luckiest of men. That a woman of such grace and charm would entrust her life’s happiness to my unworthy charge passeth all understanding.”

So sweet.

5. And then. The happiest surprise of them all (although, for the record, I called this one during the first episode)! Tom!

(Oh yeah, and Sibbie! Daaahling!)

I had to go back and watch this scene again just to capture the looks of surprise and joy on everyone’s faces. I’m sure mine looked just as thrilled.

I’M SO GLAD TOM’S BACK!!!! And I’m pretty sure he’s back for good.

And I’m pretty sure there will be another wedding down the road.

And no I haven’t watched ahead.

I loved how Tom summed up his time in America and his reason for coming back:

“It’s quite simple. I had to go to Boston to figure something out. I learned that Downton is my home and you are my family.”

Oh yes you are, Grantham clan. You’re in it with the chauffeur forever it looks like to me.

And thank goodness for that, amiright?

Till next week. . . .


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Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey – S6; E2

You all know why I love writing these Downton post, don’t you? It’s because I get to go back and watch the episode a second (and sometimes third) time. And when I watch the episode by myself, I catch so many more great lines than just the ones that my family and I laughed at (or swooned at) the night before.

Which is also why some of my favorite lines might be a little obscure to you.

A couple of you mentioned that you fully expected to see the “wigs on the green” line here this week. While funny, I suppose, Isobel was just being her self-righteous self and that doesn’t always appeal to me. So that won’t be showing up. (Although I guess it just did.)

And since cooking is one of my favorite things, Mrs. Patmore’s line, ““I know it’s cheating, but I might have to buy a jar of horseradish,” totally cracked me up and should have made my list this week. But, alas, I didn’t have room for it. (Except I did. *wink wink*)

And then there was the line I loved this week that wasn’t so much a line as a look. Remember when Mr. Finch, the livestock man, wanted to talk to someone in charge about the Fat Stock Show in Molton? Mary told him that she was replacing Mr. Branson as the estate agent, and poor Mr. Finch looked like he had swallowed . . . well . . . a finch.

So many great moments in Episode 2.

But I must get on to my top five lines.

1. This episode opens with Mary and Edith sniping at each other . . . again. Over breakfast. Poor Robert can’t even eat his eggs in silence.

They read their letters, and Mary speculates that Rose must be pregnant. Edith asks Mary why she thinks that, and Mary says it’s because Rose says she might not be able to travel in the summer.


Edith gets the last word, however, when she says,

“As usual you add two and two to make 53.”

I’ll be using that one.

2. Anna confides in Mary (way too much, if you ask me) about her problem maintaining a pregnancy, and immediately Mary insists on helping her. She decides to take Anna to her doctor in London.

Anna rebuffs Mary’s offer of help—it will cost too much. She’s probably worried that Mary will get her into this mess and then neglect to actually pay for it. But Mary is adamant.

“Don’t be silly! You’ve earned it fair and square keeping my secrets. Hiding that fearful Dutch thingamajig and carrying poor Mr. Pamuk down the gallery at the dead of night.”

The two giggle like schoolgirls just thinking about the Pamuk episode.

And so do we.

Later, Anna tells Bates that she and Mary will be headed to London for a quick overnight trip.

Bates doesn’t even question the trip because those poor servants had no say in the matter. When the mistress of the house wants to go to London, you drop everything and go.

(What if Anna had her bunco group coming over that night? She’d totally have to cancel her plans.)

Anyway, Bates sees this as an opportunity for Anna to get some rest after her most recent miscarriage.

“Well, be sure to put your feet up.”

Anna replies,

“Yes, I’ll be . . . putting my feet up.”

Anyone else catch that bit of irony?

3. I guess I can’t avoid talking about the hospital takeover, although I wish I could. That storyline is already boring me to tears.

(BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW ABOUT CORA’S HAT IN THE HOSPITAL SCENE?!—the one with the pheasant feathers. Oh my gorgeousness. I am loving all of the clothes so far this season.)

So Cora goes to the hospital for a tour (as if she’s never been there before, right?) with Violet and Dr. Clarkson (Team Vi). While they are there, who shows up but Isobel, whom Cora thinks is right about the whole takeover thing (Team I).

Eventually Cora decides to leave, but not before Isobel can get in one last lick:

“I’ll come with you. We must give them time to gnash their teeth alone.”

Which is exactly what Dr. Clarkson and Violet do.

“I can’t deny it,” Clarkson admits, “Lady Downton would have made a powerful ally.”

Violet, shooting daggers at him says,

I hope you’re not implying that she would be more powerful than I.”

Oh never, Violet. Never!

4. Could we have a moment of silence for the tenant farmers?




Who knew that they lived under such fear of losing their homes and their livelihoods pretty much every single day? I sure didn’t. But it’s starting to make sense to me, especially after Daisy’s rant in Episode 1.

And Poor Mr. Drewe. (Cue Cora’s pseudo-sympathetic tone.)

The man has his hands full, you’ve gotta admit. What with the pigs and Mary as his new boss and his four kids and his crazy-a** wife to deal with.

His family had been at Yew Tree Farm for over a hundred years for goodness sake!!

Didn’t matter.

I really almost lost it during the scene between Mr. Drewe and Robert at the end. There was no loud discussion. No pleading. Nobody claiming injustice.

Everyone just knew that Mrs. Drewe had screwed up royally and something needed to be done. Someone would have to pay and it sure wasn’t going to be the Granthams.

But Mr. Drewe took it like a man and said he’d start looking for a new tenancy in the morning. Adding this killer:

“We made a plan, lady Edith and I. But we forgot about emotion. And emotion’s what will trip you up every time.”

Sure is, Mr. Drewe. Sure is.

And then Robert has to go and show his human side!

“God bless you, Drewe. God bless you and your family.”

Pass the tissues.

And hand the key to Mr. Mason on your way out.

5. I think I’ve saved the best for last. Carson and Hughes.

(Sounds like a comedy team from the ‘40s.)

I think they had their first fight in this episode. Last time they were just discussing The Unmentionable, but this time it was all out war over their wedding venue.

The Great Hall of Downton Abbey is unsuitable for the wedding, according to Mrs. Hughes, but Carson can’t seem to tell the family “Thanks but no thanks.”

Now, could we just stop and think about that for a moment? The Great Hall. Of Downton Abbey. Unsuitable?

Just who does Mrs. Hughes think she is??

I’d give anything to have a wedding in a place like that. And these days you’d pay a pretty penny to have a wedding in the Great Hall of Downton Abbey, if, indeed, such a place existed.

So seriously, who is Mrs. Hughes to thumb her nose at such a generous offer?

She might need a little time out to think about her actions.

But Mrs. Hughes has a point to make (as does Julian Fellowes), and make it she does.

“I want my own wedding to be done in my own way, is that so outlandish?”

You gotta give it to Carson. He tries. He really does.

“It’s my wedding too.”

(I think I’ve heard that one before, too.)

But Mrs. Hughes holds her ground and delivers my favorite line from this episode.

“I am the bride. We’ll be doing it your way for the next 30 years, I know that well enough, but the wedding day is mine.”

Enough said.


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Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, S6:E1

Alright, folks. Here’s the deal. I wasn’t going to blog about Downton Abbey this year. I’m supposed to be a “serious” writer this year. I’m supposed to write about big stuff, important stuff, life-changing stuff, so that I can build my platform.

Yeah. That.

But here’s the deal. I actually love writing about Downton Abbey (not that I don’t love writing about serious stuff too—obviously I do), and it seems some of you actually like reading my DA posts.

I also think writing should be fun. And helpful. And, at times, entertaining.


So, with all that in mind, I’ve made a momentous decision (cue the trumpets)—I will still be blogging about Downton Abbey this year.

I know. Your world has now been set right on its axis. You’re welcome.

I hope I can do justice to your expectations this year (kind of like British justice, as Robert said, “The envy of the world.”). Maybe then my platform will skyrocket.

*plants tongue firmly in cheek*

Now, as those of you who closely follow Downton already realize, we’re starting off with a bit of a problem: I’m a week behind. I haven’t blogged Episode 1 yet, but Episode 2 has already aired here in America (forget the Brits—they’ve seen it all already).

What are we to do?

We’re going to do what any good Downton character would do.

(Photo Credit: Paula Wilding)

We’re going to recap Episode 1 today and follow it up with Episode 2 tomorrow. Then we’ll be all caught up and you can come back here on Tuesdays for your latest DA Top Five from here on out.

Ready? Here we go!


Season Six starts in epic Downton fashion—with a hunt. Nothing says Downton Abbey better than men in top hats, red jackets with gold buttons, white jodhpurs, and shiny black boots.

And then there are Dogs! Horses! Drinks in silver cups!

(Oh, and don’t forget the creepy woman shooting daggers at Lady Mary.)

I think that pretty much sets the tone.

It’s 1925. (For some reason they are taking great pains to remind us of that this year.)

Of course, life at Downton isn’t all riding and hunting. It wouldn’t be Downton if we didn’t have a little drama, and the drama starts early this season with Mrs. Hughes, who, you will remember, is betrothed to Mr. Carson.

Yet, for a couple that is supposedly betrothed, they sure haven’t talked about much yet.

Of course, it is 1925. Remember?

1. Anyway, early on we get one of my favorite lines from this episode. A line that might just go down as one of my all-time favorite lines from all six seasons of Downton Abbey.

You remember, surely.

Mrs. Hughes calls Mrs. Patmore into her room to discuss something juicy because all the juicy gossip happens upstairs in the servants’ bedrooms. She closes the door and discloses to Mrs. Patmore that she’s just not sure if, after they are married, Mr. Carson will want her “as I am now.”

To which Mrs. Patmore, who by this time has made it perfectly clear that she’s no expert in marital matters, replies:

“Perhaps you can keep the lights off.”

I’m giggling just thinking about it.

2. Later, Mrs. Patmore (side note: why is she called MRS. Patmore if she’s never been married?) enters the kitchen, visibly upset because she’s agreed to do the dirty work for Mrs. Hughes and talk to Mr. Carson. Daisy picks up on this and asks Mrs. P. what’s wrong, using what I assume is an old English platitude, but one I had never heard before:

“A problem shared is a problem halved.”

I thought that was lovely.

3. Violet and Isobel are back to their old antics this season. I have a feeling Julian Fellowes is going to make the most of these two this time around because they have already shared some fantastic jabs.

One of my favorites was when the two were discussing the unfortunate decline in status of one of their neighbors who was forced to sell his estate at auction.

(The disgrace!)

Violet thinks it’s unseemly to have to sell everything, especially in front of all of those people, to which Isobel quickly retorts, “Well, you and I differ when it comes to the importance of things.”

Violet verbally slaps her:

“Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?”

4. Anna learns in Episode 1 that she is no longer a suspect in Mr. Green’s murder—someone has conveniently come forward to confess to the crime. (I have a confession of my own: I didn’t even remember that storyline.)

Anna’s response to the policeman who brought the news was beautiful:

“Give her a message for me. Say I forgive her and wish her luck.”

5. You knew I’d get back to Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, right? 

How could I not? Their story was so good this week! 

First we have Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore trying for a second time to have The Most Uncomfortable Conversation Ever. The light bulb finally goes off for Carson—what a great facial expression that was!—and Mrs. P. lets out a sigh of relief.

(It would have just been so much easier if they could have just said the word “s. e. x.” wouldn’t it?)

Anyway, they have come to an understanding. Both are relieved, yet they both aren’t quite sure what to do next. What should Mrs. Patmore tell Mrs. Hughes?

(It’s like junior high all over again!)

Mr. Carson then delivers the line that any woman of any generation in any place on earth would love to hear from her man: 

I love her, Mrs. Patmore. I am happy and tickled and bursting with pride that she would agree to be my wife. And I want us to live as closely as two people can for the time that remains to us on earth.”


Truthfully, every time I read that line I get tears in my eyes.

Later, Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson are alone in his office, finally talking about what they should have been talking about all along. They agree that they will have a “real marriage,” as Mr. Carson calls it.


(Yes, I'm in junior high.)

Mrs. Hughes, still a little uncertain, says, “Well then, if you’re sure you still want me . . .” to which Mr. Carson replies, 

“I have never been so sure of anything.”


And then he kisses her tenderly.

Fade to black and all’s right with the world.

Until tomorrow.


Gratuitous platform-building exercise: Want to get your weekly Downton Abbey fix delivered straight to your inbox? Why not sign up for email updates from me (just over there on the right)? I’d also love it if you’d follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

S and J Take Oxford

I realize that I haven't finished updating you about our trip. Last week kind of got away from me, but this week I plan to finish my updates, of which there are two more.

If you want to read about the London part of our trip, click here and here.


Here's something I noticed about London on this trip. Back in the '80s, the first time I visited London, I found it charming because the city, in fact, the whole country, seemed about 20 years behind America. I liked that I could still find Mom and Pop stores and that people still slowed down enough to pop into a tea shop for a good cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon.

What I noticed this time is that London has caught up. No longer does the city seem a little slower-paced than the cities here. The people are just as fast-walking as New Yorkers. Look out or they'll mow you down! The stores look just like American stores. In fact, we walked past a Five Guys in London (and, no, we did not eat there).

I'll say they've caught up!

(Side note: Everything in London looked especially spruced up. It was so clean and so easy to get around this time. I wondered if this was a result of the Olympics. Anyone have an opinion on this?)

So, after the fast pace, noise, and congestion of the Big City, Julia and I were glad to make our way to Oxford to start the second half of our trip.

Oxford is one of my favorite cities in England for several reasons. The history. The University. The architecture. The bookstores. The back alleyways. I could go on and on. Oxford is lovely, and if you've never been to Oxford, you really should give it a couple of days on your next trip.

We left London early on a Sunday morning, caught our train to Oxford, and made our way to our B&B--the Cotswold Lodge Hotel.

Let me just say that everything about our stay there was perfect. When we arrived, the woman at the desk was so sweet to us. Our room (an upgrade!) wasn't quite ready since we were early, but she stored our bags while we took off to explore. Once in our room, we were wowed! It was huge--even the bathroom!--and very comfortable.

Plus, it was just down the street from the house I had stayed in when I studied in Oxford in college.

Boy, did that place bring back memories!

Our first order of business was to take a walking tour of Oxford, which was fun, especially getting to see inside some of the colleges.

After the walking tour, we walked some more--over to Christ Church to see the famous dining hall after which the Hogwarts dining hall was modeled.

And we both fell in love with this in Oxford:

I totally want one for tooling around our town.

Our second day in Oxford was so much fun. We started out early at the rental car place, and soon we were off to explore the Cotswolds.

We started in Minster Lovell, a beautiful little village I had seen once before and wanted Julia to see. There is a ruin of an ancient manor home here that I think would make the perfect setting for a magazine spread. This place is magical.

We drove around a bit after exploring Minster Lovell, and made it to Whitney in time for lunch with Sarah of Modern Country Style. Yes, there was a blog meet-up in the Cotswolds! I've already shared a bit about that here, but let's just say that Sarah is such a dear and I already miss her. Visiting her was like visiting a long-time friend. I could have stayed for hours.

But we had more countryside to see, so we sadly said goodbye to Sarah and went on our way.

Much of our afternoon was spent driving, just seeing the beautiful Cotswolds countryside.

We did, however, make a stop in Bampton to see a couple of Downton Abbey shooting locations. This is the church where Mary and Matthew got married and where Edith got left at the altar.

We also found a village that Julia had researched called Bibury. What an absolutely charming place!

Along the way we saw more Cotswolds limestone buildings than we could count, each one prettier than the next.

And now, for those of you who have bothered to read this far, I have a humiliating funny story to tell you.

It was the end of our day, and I had gotten quite used to driving on the left hand side of the road. In fact, I had gotten just a bit cocky, because as I was driving into our very last village (the one I had wanted to see), I said to Julia, "You know, I think I'm getting the hang of this driving on the left thing. I'm getting pretty good at it. You always think you're going to hit something and then you don't!"

Famous last words.

Not 30 seconds after I said that, BANG!

"What was that?!" I screamed.

I glanced over to my left and saw that the passenger side mirror had flipped in toward the car and was completely shattered. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw that I had hit the mirror of a parked car, and a piece of said mirror was lying on the ground.

After a few tense moments, during which a choice word or two that my daughter had never heard me utter before in her life may or may not have flown from my lips, I turned the car around in the middle of the street to see what I had done. Yep, I had hit the mirror of a parked car because I didn't give myself enough room to go around it.

All I could think was, "What am I going to do? How do these things work in foreign countries?" If I were at home, and the driver wasn't around, I could just leave a note on the car with my phone number, and we'd figure it out later. But A) I wasn't from there and B) I didn't have a phone number I could leave and C) I didn't know what the heck to do.

In the end, Julia and I found a place to park, walked back to the car to inspect the damage, found out that the plastic piece that had fallen from the mirror actually snapped back in place, fixed it, and left the village immediately.

We didn't even get to walk around because we were too flustered by what had happened.

I guess I'll have to visit the Cotswolds again sometime.

Top 10 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E8

Well friends, I haven't been posting lately because, I suppose, I've been in mourning now that our beloved Downton Abbey has ended for another season. Is it just me or did this season seem to fly? How could we have gotten through eight episodes already?

So much time has passed since the finale that I almost didn't bother with this last "Top Five" (or Ten) post, but my dear husband has asked me at least three times why I haven't posted yet. So, B, this is for you. I hope I pick your favorites!

Before we get to the Top 10 Lines, though, I have to say that this episode was among my favorites of the season. I felt like the season got off to a bit of a slow start, but ended on a high note. This episode was fun because of the humor and the intrigue. The Levinsons always bring humor with them (oh, that Shirley McClaine has been fantastic, hasn't she?!). And intrigue? We had plenty of that between the Prince's stolen letter and the Granthams running around trying to save the Monarchy. And then there was the train ticket that was found by Mrs. Hughes in Bates's coat pocket.

Oh my!

And that brings me to my first pick.

1. Yes, Mrs. Hughes finds a train ticket in Bates's coat pocket, confirming that he was in London on the day that Mr. Green was pushed (?) in front of a bus. She reaches into the pocket, pulls out the ticket, and looks at it curiously . . .

. . . and then she says . . . nothing.

So, yes, my first pick isn't even a spoken line, but the look on Mrs. Hughes's face says it all.

2. So everyone is in London, preparing for Rose's presentation and the big ball. The Levinsons arrive, bringing their valet, Ethan Slade, with them. Ethan has never been overseas, and, truth be told, they make him look like a stupid American. Even so, he's funny and endearing and he tries so hard, even asking Daisy, "Are you excited?"

To which Daisy replies one of my favorite lines of this episode: "I'm never excited."

I love that girl.

3. Later, Daisy receives a letter from Alfred, and she's excited (ironic, no?!) that Alfred has been hired on at the Ritz. Ethan, ever the eager American, tries to make conversation with Daisy.

Ethan: That sounds like quite the American dream to me. Poor boy from the sticks becomes famous hotelier.
Daisy: Well, I don't know if it's American or not, but I think it's smashing.


4. Poor Robert--he hasn't had much of a season, has he? If he's not losing money, he's acting generally clueless. But this week they gave him a great line that you just might have missed.

Robert: I wish Tom had arrived.
Cora: It's so nice to hear you say that!
Robert: No, I mean, he's bringing Isis, and I do miss her.

A man and his dog.

5. For some reason that I cannot figure out, Violet stays behind in Yorkshire, heading out a day or two after the rest of the family. Isobel decides at the last minute to go with her, and the two share a wonderfully funny scene in the car.

Violet: Cora insisted I come without a maid. I can’t believe she understood the implications.
Isobel: Which are?
Violet: Well, how do I get a guard to take my luggage? And when we arrive in London . . . what happens then?
Isobel: Fear not, I’ve never traveled with a maid—you can share my knowledge of the jungle.
Violet: Can’t you even offer help without sounding like a trumpeter on the peak of the moral high ground? 

Oh, those two!

6. As I said earlier, the Levinsons always offer some levity (ha!), and this week Harold (played by Paul Giamatti who, by the way, was fantastic in "Saving Mr. Banks" earlier this year) provided just that. After Rose's presentation, Harold approaches the Prince of Wales, awkwardly attempting to introduce himself.

Harold (holding out his hand): How do you do? Harold Levinson.
Prince of Wales: You are mistaken, Sir. I am not Harold Levinson, whoever he may be.
Harold: No, no. I'm Harold Levinson.
Prince: Then why did you say I was?

The prince is then whisked away, and Harold just stands there and laughs.

Who's on first?

7. Poor Harold not only causes trouble upstairs, but downstairs as well.

Carson (approaching Mrs. Patmore): Do we have anything I can take up some ice in?
Mrs. Patmore: Why do you need ice?
Carson: Oh, Mr. Levinson seems to want it in everything he drinks.

8. I really love Tom. He's sweet, he's endearing, and he's his own man trying to do the right thing in this world. And he really gets along with the old ladies. (Remember the scene with Isobel in the car a couple of episodes ago?)

This week, Tom and Violet share a moment that I just loved. It's kind of long (so a little more than a favorite line), but so worth it.

This takes place at Rose's ball as everyone is dancing.

Violet: Are you glad you came? These are your people now. You must remember that. This is your family.
Tom: This might be my family, but these are not quite my people.
Violet: That sounds like a challenge.
Tom: Does it? Well here’s another--would you like to dance?
Violet: Oh! Are you sure?
Tom, nodding: Yes.
Violet: Well then, I accept the challenge. I know I can trust you to steer. (And she giggles.)

Too cute!

9. As I've said before, I love how they are developing a potential relationship between Mr. Molesley and Miss Baxter. This week, Molesley, who suspects that something in Baxter's past could be a problem for her, gives her just one sweet word of advice:

"Sometimes it’s better to take a risk than to go down the wrong path."

10. Finally, I'm pretty sure that my favorite scene was most everyone's favorite scene. They made us wait for it--the closing scene of the episode and thus of the season. Carson and Mrs. Hughes are finally able to take a break from their many duties and are enjoying a day at the beach with the rest of the staff.

In this final scene, Carson and Mrs. Hughes wade into the water together--he, hoisting his suspenders; she, clutching her cardigan. Carson is shuddering and grousing about the cold water, hesitating to go any further.

Mrs. Hughes: Come on. I dare you!
Mr. Carson: What if I get my trousers wet?
Mrs. Hughes: If they get wet we’ll dry them.
Mr. Carson: Suppose I fall over?
Mrs. Hughes: Suppose a bomb goes off? Suppose we’re hit by a falling star? You can hold my hand; then we’ll both go in together.
Mr. Carson: I think I will hold your hand; it’ll make me feel a bit steadier.
Mrs. Hughes: You can always hold my hand, if you need to feel steady.
Mr. Carson: I don’t know how, but you manage to make that sound a little risqué.
Mrs. Hughes: And if I did? . . . We’re getting’ on, Mr. Carson, you and I. We can afford to live a little.

And off they walk, hand in hand toward the water.

Well, there we have it. Another Downton Abbey season has come to a close. Thank you for following along with me, my friends, and thank you for your encouragement as I write these posts. It's been fun!

Now it's your turn--what was your favorite scene or line of the season?

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E7

Oh my word, you guys! I thought this week was the best episode of the season--so much happened!

First, though, could I just get something off my chest? Cora. Seriously, I've tried. I really have. I love Elizabeth McGovern--I've loved her since the '80s when she starred in "She's Having a Baby" alongside Kevin Bacon. So I was thrilled to learn when DA first came out that Elizabeth McGovern would be playing the Lady of the House.


Notsomuch anymore.

Is it just me, or does she deliver the same line in the same way every time? With that half-mooned smile on her face that just demands to be slapped?

And, I know this isn't EM's fault, but is Cora not the most clueless mother in the world?

"Hey, Mom, I kinda want to take off for Switzerland for a few months because, you don't know it yet, but I'm having a baby." 
"Well, I really don't know what to think about that, but I'm so busy with this church bizzaaaarrrrre that I can't even begin to think about that so, oh well, why not?!"

It took less than two seconds for her to think that one over.

This week just about did me in where Cora is concerned. Every time she came on screen I just cringed. Please, make her stop!

Alright, I feel so much better now.

Wait. One more rant. I jotted down four phrases this week that were definitely NOT in use prior to the 1920s. What is that?! It bugs me so much when Julian Fellowes writes modern colloquialisms into his scripts.

Anyway, here are the four I picked out. Did you find any more?

"I'm not on the market." (Mary said to Tony G.)
"It's like herding cats." (Cora, of course.)
"It's no big thing." (Mary)
"You know the drill." (Carson)

Could we not just stick to using words like "Golly" (which Cora used at least twice in this episode)?

Good grief!

Despite all of my complaints, I still loved this episode. Let's get to my favorite lines from this week.

1. I think things might be turning around for Molesley. He actually seemed like he had a backbone when he was talking to Miss Baxter.

"It's just coffee. You won't have to surrender any of your independence."

Good one, Molesley!

2. And how about that Mr. Drew, the pig man? Words of wisdom from him:

"Work's like old age, My Lady. Worst thing in the world, except for the alternative."

3. Violet was up to her wonderful ways again this week. How I love her! And that scene when she invited Edith and Rosamund to "luncheon"? Priceless.

"Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts."

Of course. Who doesn't?

4. I absolutely love what has happened to Mary's character this season, especially in this episode. She has matured into a lovely, level-headed, wonderful woman, and I like her a lot. I'm so glad she came out of the fog she was in during the first episode and has gotten herself an occupation.

Side note: the scene with Tony when they are having lunch in that big, glass conservatory-type building? I wish I knew where it was, but it looks exactly like the Orangerie at Kensington, and if it is, I'm so happy because Kate and I had tea there one time.

Anyway, in that scene, Tony professes his love for the how-many-eth time (Go team Tony!), and Mary has a great response.

Tony: I'm not giving up, Mary. Not until you walk down the aisle with another man, and quite possibly not even then.
Mary: I find that irritating and beguiling in equal measure.

I may have to add that one to my lexicon.

5. I had to save my sweet Daisy for last because this week her scenes made me cry so hard.

First of all, this picture. I gave you a wide shot because just LOOK AT THAT SETTING!!! Want to know why I love England? That.

Anyway, Mr. Mason, what a dear, gives the best advice to Daisy regarding Alfred.

Mr. Mason: There won’t be too many people that you love in your life, and he’s one.
Daisy: I don’t know what I feel about him, not now.
Mr. Mason: Even so, you need to say goodbye to this young man, with nothing jagged, nothing harsh between you. 

See? What a dear!

And then, that scene when Daisy says goodbye to Alfred (poor puppy). I was sobbing!

Later still, when Mrs. Patmore comes outside to tell Daisy how proud she was of her? Ahhhh. Just all around television goodness, that was.

Runner up. I have to give a runner up prize this week because, although it didn't make it into my top 5 list, I'm sure it might have come up in yours, and I'm sure it will come up in all kinds of promotional materials for its PC-ness.

Tom: I don't believe in types. I believe in people.

So there you have it. My faves from this week. What were yours? Dish in the comments, please!

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E6

Well now, just when you think things are getting a tad . . . routine . . . around the house, things suddenly start getting interesting.

Lots of interesting story lines leading to lots of interesting spoken lines this week.

Here are my top 5.

1. If you've been reading here for a few days, you know that I'm trying to find the spectacular among the ordinary. So I thought it was absolutely wonderful that a Downton character also found that what might be a fairly ordinary day could turn out to be an exciting adventure.

Know who I'm talking about?

Here is the line I loved from Thomas this week as he and Jimmy discuss his upcoming trip to America with Robert: "I woke up wondering what I'd be doing today, and I'll be off to New York by the end of it."

See? Even Thomas knows that everyday adventures are right around the corner.

2. So Robert and Thomas quickly head off to America to save Cora's no good brother, Henry, but not before the entire household gives them a formal send-off. What is it about goodbyes over there? They make such a big deal about them.

Anyway, dear Violet comes up to the big house to say goodbye to Robert, despite her impending illness. As soon as Robert drives away, Violet heaves a sigh of relief. But her response to her nemesis, Isobel, is what I really loved.

Violet: Oh, that's a relief.
Isobel: Really?
Violet: I'm feeling rather ill. I wanted him away before I keel over.
Isobel: Oh I'm sorry. Do you want me to come back with you?
Violet: That is the very last thing I would want.

How I wish I could deliver a line like that sometimes.

3. Poor Violet proceeds to get very ill. At one point I thought we were going to lose her--she looked so much like a corpse.

But dear Isobel--dear, helpful, in-your-face Isobel--is ready to stand in as nursemaid for Violet who looks like she's going to meet her Maker any minute. All from bronchitis!

[As an aside, didn't you just love Dr. Clarkson's instructions: "You cannot sleep, even for a minute, because her fever cannot go up even a bit. This cannot turn into pneumonia." Take it easy, doc! Isobel's got it covered.]

So Violet spends much of this episode in a feverish stupor, not really knowing what's going on around her. At one point she seems to ask Dr. Clarkson for a new nurse, mumbling, "This one talks too much. She's like a drunken vicar."

Classic. Even with a raging illness, Violet is still my girl!

4. I thought Mary had a great night this week. She was delivering great lines right and left.

To Mrs. Hughes: "Mrs. Hughes, I hope we are good employers, but even we expect to get what we pay for."

To her father, after commenting on Thomas's sexual preferences: "I've been married; I know everything."

And to Bates after he found out that Mary knew about Anna: "It's not your fault, Bates. It wasn't hers, but it wasn't yours." 

I thought that was sweet.

And, speaking of Anna, how about the exchange between Mary and Anna in the bedroom?

Mary: I'm not aloof, am I?
Anna: Would you like me to answer that truthfully or as a Lady's maid?
Mary: Let's move on, shall we?

I simply cannot leave this section about Mary without posting a picture of her in the pigsty. Oh my word! They must have had so much fun filming this scene, but all I kept thinking was that the servants were going to have their hands full trying to clean those clothes the next day.

5. You'll probably not be able to guess my favorite line this week. While I love the banter between Violet and Isobel, Mary's one-liners, and even Daisy's quips, this week my favorite line goes to Edith who very simply, very wisely, made a decision that will change everyone's lives forever.

"This is a mistake. I'm very sorry to waste your time, but this was a mistake."

Way to go, Edith. I can't wait to see you become a much stronger woman in episodes to come.

So that's it. I've probably given you ten lines to think about this week. Bonus!

Now tell me, what were your favorite lines from Episode 6?

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E5

I'm going to have to make this one quick. As usual, I've got too much to do and too little time, but I just have to spend a few minutes with my favorite fictional characters, reminiscing over the latest episode of Downton Abbey.

Downstairs seemed to have a lot of drama, as usual, and a few of my favorite lines came from a few of my favorite servants. So let's start downstairs, shall we?

1. Thomas is really trying to invent trouble, isn't he? This week he pressed Mrs. Hughes for information, but dear old Mrs. Hughes, stalwart and secret-keeper that she is, wouldn't budge. 

"You know me, Mr. Barrow; a woman of mystery if ever there was one." 

2. Later, that disgusting slimeball, Jimmy, suggests that he might like to take Ivy to a movie in town later in the week. Mrs. Patmore is all over that one, but it's Carson's droll response that I really loved.

Mrs. Patmore: Oh, I love that Rudolph Valentino. Ooooh! He makes me shiver all over.
Carson: What a very disturbing thought!

3. As we all know, the Ivy's date with Jimmy didn't turn out very well. (I knew he was trouble. Too slick, that one.) Later that night, she's commiserating in the kitchen with Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes while Daisy listens. Ivy suggests that Alfred would never have done what Jimmy tried to do, and Daisy just blows her stack. But, again, it's the wise and wonderful Mrs. Hughes who comes through with the zinger.

Daisy: Don't start.
Ivy: What do you mean?
Daisy: You break Alfred's heart, so now he's alone in a city that terrifies him. You break my heart by driving him away. I don't care about your good opinion of Alfred. If you'd discovered it earlier, you'd have spared us a lot of grief.

At this point, Daisy throws down her towel and stomps out of the kitchen.

Ivy: What was that all about?
Mrs. Hughes: Oh, I'd say it was about the fact that you had it coming.

So, while there was much drama downstairs, there was much hilarity coming from upstairs, specifically from my favorite Dowager Countess and her counterpart, Isobel.

4. I loved the storyline with the gardener, young Pegg, this week. Early in the episode, Violet believes that Pegg has stolen a precious object d'art, a Japanese sculpture. Isobel lectures her on "Things, things, things" (loved that!).

Isobel: I'm saying that you put too much importance on things and not enough on justice.
Violet: Oh really? I wonder you don’t just set fire to the Abbey and dance round it.

Later, when the Japanese sculpture is found, Isobel once again gives it to Violet.

Isobel: How you hate to be wrong.
Violet: I wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.

Oh, Violet.

OK, I know I'm giving more than five favorite lines this week, but this one from Violet (about Isobel) was too good to pass up. She and Robert are sitting together at the dinner table, and Robert gallantly tries to defend Isobel.

Robert: She likes to fight for what she believes in.
Violet: It's not a matter of what she likes; it is her fuel. Some people run on greed, lust, even love. She runs on indignation.


5. Finally, I think my favorite scene this week took place in the nursery between Mary, Tom, and Isobel. All three were reminiscing about their lost loves in such a sweet and tender way. They all obviously loved their spouses very much, and as each takes his or her turn, it becomes evident that they all share a special, but sad, bond.

After Mary speaks about Matthew, Isobel takes a deep breath and says with a quivering smile:

"Well, aren't we the lucky ones?"

Yes, you are. To have loved and to have been loved so well is such a gift. It was nice to have this small reminder and this quiet moment.

So tell me, did I miss any? What were your favorite lines this week?

Photos: 1|2|3|4|

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4;E4

This week, for some reason, didn't do much for me, so I'm going to keep this one short.

Even though Anna and Bates seem to have patched things up for now, I'm still nervous about their story line. I desperately want them to find happiness, but I don't have a lot of hope at this point.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I adore Daisy. Even though she didn't make any of my top 5 lines this week, I just love her sweet smile and her adorable way about her. She knows she blew it with Alfred, but she just keeps being her own sweet self.

Edith. Oh, Edith. How do you always manage to choose the wrong sort of man? I mean, what did you really know about Michael Gregson before you jumped into bed with him and now he's gone missing and you might be carrying his baby and he's in Germany of all places between the wars. Is he a Nazi? Did you check out his political leanings, Edith? And what about that crazy wife of his? Is she for real? Did you even check? In my mind, there's just too many unanswered questions about Michael Gregson, which means he's probably perfect for stupid, naive Edith.

Alright, let's get going.

1. My first pick is probably an obscure line that most of you probably overlooked, but I just liked it. Alfred was getting ready to leave for London, and he stops in the kitchen to say goodbye.

Alfred: Is there anything I ought to know about London?
Mrs. Patmore: There's quite a lot you ought to know about London, dear.

I think I liked that line because I'll be seeing London in a few months (planning a trip for June, and I can't wait!), and also because everyone should know something about London--it's such a great city.

2. As opposed to last week when we heard nary a peep out of Violet, this week she was back to her usual self, dispensing zingers to anyone within listening range. This exchange took place at the dinner table as Robert was trying to get his head around what should be done with his tenant farmer.

Robert: If we don't respect the past, we'll find it harder to build our future.
Violet: Where did you read that?
Robert: I didn't. I made it up. I thought it was rather good.
Violet: It's too good. One thing we don't want is a poet in the family.

Cue Tom, because I thought one thing they didn't want was a chauffeur in the family. You can bet that next week a poet will show up to court Mary.

3. And weren't there some great quips between Violet and Isobel? I'd say the two were becoming rather chummy, despite their many differences.

I loved the scene when the two were walking through the garden together after just talking to the new boy Violet had hired. Violet doesn't seem to care much about talking to the gardener, but Isobel is more than eager to make him feel welcome.

Isobel: You make me sound very fervent.
Violet: Wars have been waged with less fervor.

And a few lines later . . .

Isobel: Say what you like, but I know you care about these things as much as I do.
Violet (laughing): Nobody cares about anything as much as you do.

4. Early in the episode, the staff is discussing Baxter's new sewing machine, but Mrs. Patmore looks skeptical. Thomas explains, "Mrs. Patmore isn't what you would call a 'futurist.'"

This serves to provide a little background for a later scene between Cora and Mrs. Patmore when Cora explains that she would like to buy a refrigerator for the kitchen. Mrs. Patmore will have none of it.

Mrs. P: I just don’t see why it’s better than an ice box.
Cora: Well, a refrigerator is more efficient. It keeps food fresh longer; we won’t need ice to be delivered . . .
Mrs. P: But the papers will still be delivered, and the groceries, and all sorts. Or are we to stop that, too?
Cora: Mrs. Patmore, is there any aspect of the present day that you can accept without resistance?
Mrs. P (leaning in to whisper): Well, My Lady, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of my corset.

Oh, that just made me chuckle! The woman can deliver a line so very well.

5. OK, my favorite line of the night will probably come as no surprise to anyone, because it was probably your favorite line, too. I think this might go down as one of my all-time favorite Violet Dowager Countess lines of all time. She's talking to Isobel (again):

"It's a wonder your halo doesn't get heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara round the clock."

And with that, I think I'll go polish my own halo--it's been getting a little tarnished lately.

So? What was your favorite line of the episode? And what do you think of Michael Gregson's disappearance? And anything else you'd like to dish about. Leave me a comment!

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E3

Well now. Just when you think it couldn't get any more suspenseful or more sad or more . . . whatever you think it is . . . the show just keeps getting, well, more, doesn't it?

This week I felt like one of the themes was regret. Daisy regretted telling Alfred that James was in the boot room with Ivy. Mary regretted telling Lord Gillingham no.

And Tom. Poor Tom had the biggest regret of all: "I am already full of regrets. There is nothing but regret in me."

We'll get to that later.

First, let's talk about Anna. I didn't choose any of her lines this week because they were all too sad and filled with regret. I have no idea how this situation will play out, but I did notice a few things this week when I went back to watch the episode a second time. Did you notice in the first breakfast scene--it was the morning after . . . that . . . and all of the house party members' servants were gathered with the Downton servants for breakfast--that Anna was seated right next to "Mr. Gillingham," the man who had raped her the night before? I didn't catch that the first time, but whoo-boy! if Anna didn't stick around there very long. What a horrible place for her to be.

Did you also notice that, immediately upon their return from London, Carson told Anna that Lord Gillingham had arrived and she nearly jumped out of her skin? "Is his valet with him?" she asked immediately.

Oh, poor Anna. In every scene my heart broke for her. I just want to scoop her up, take her home with me, and just give her a place to feel safe. Hopefully she will come to her senses soon and tell her husband the truth. But what then????

Alright, I could discuss this forever, but I have class in a few minutes and lots to do today. Better get on with it.

1. My first favorite line came right at the beginning, in the servants' hall where everyone was gathered for breakfast. Anna, naturally, was jumpy. Mr. Bates was confused. And others were downright crabby. Thomas decided to add some levity to the situation.

Thomas: What's the matter with everyone this merry morn?

Carson: I always think there's something foreign about high spirits at breakfast.

Me too, Carson. At least until I've had a cup of coffee.

2. In the scene when everyone is leaving the house party, all gathered around the front door saying goodbye, Lord Gillingham and Mary have a brief exchange. (More regrets.) But in that little scene, "Mr. Gillingham" (I guess that's what they called someone's valet--"Mr" followed by whatever the Lord's name is), Downton's rapist, awkwardly approaches Lord G. and tells him everything is packed up.

Mary and Lord G. exchange glances as if to say, "Well, wasn't that highly inappropriate?"

Instead, Mary says something about how nice it is that Lord Gillingham is so well looked after, to which Lord Gillingham replies: "I know it seems rather ungrateful, but I can't pretend I really like him."

Hmmmmm. A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps?

3. You gotta love Mrs. Hughes. I think she's been the bedrock of the season so far. While Robert and Cora continue to live in LaLa Land, Mrs. Hughes has her feet firmly planted on terra firma. And, wow! Does she know a thing or two about living life! Was anyone else surprised by her dressing down of Edna this week? Or that she even knew what the book Married Love was all about?

[As an aside, I did a little research and actually found a copy online of the 1919 book, Married Love:, by Marie Stopes. In her preface she says, "I have some things to say about sex, which, so far as I am aware, have not yet been said, things which seem to be of profound importance to men and women who hope to make their marriages beautiful." She says lots of other things, too, some of which aren't quite so virtuous.]

Anyway, here's how the scene in Mrs. Hughes's office (sorta) went down.

Edna: How do you know I'm not pregnant, B-----?
Mrs. Hughes: You're not pregnant, and I'll tell you why, you sneaky witch. You had this filthy book hidden in your room that tells you everything you need to know about not getting pregnant!
Edna (shocked): You've been in my things!
Mrs. Hughes: Darn right!
Tom, looking sheepish: What if I said I'd marry her and she wasn't really pregnant?
Mrs. Hughes: Oh, don't worry about that. She'd find some other randy drunk man to get her pregnant.
Edna: So? I'm just going to go talk to that clueless lady upstairs. She'll believe me over you-who-have-worked-here-forever-and-have-saved-her-butt-more-than-once-without-her-even-knowing-it.
Mrs. Hughes: No you won't. And you know why you won't? Because if you ever want a reference, or a job, preferrably in your natural lifetime, you'll hold your tongue.

Meanwhile, Tom just stands there with his head moving back and forth like he's watching a tennis match.

And with that, Dame Edna was gone. Almost. Don't let the door hit you on the backside on the way out, Edna!

4. Next scene. Edna is rushing up the stairs with her book in her hand, and she brushes past Thomas. He gives her some snide remark, and she turns on him, saying the one thing everyone wishes they had the chance to say to Thomas.

Edna: Do you ever wonder why people dislike you so much? It’s because you are sly and oily and smug, and I’m really pleased I got the chance to tell you before I go.

Thomas: Well, if we’re playing the truth game, then you’re a manipulative little witch and if your schemes have come to nothing, I’m delighted.

Two of a kind, those two. 

5. You knew I'd save the best for last, didn't you? My absolutely favorite line of the episode, and one which I fully intend to bring into my own vernacular, was the delicious line from Mrs. Patmore: "Daisy, get a wiggle on!"

And with that, I must get my own wiggle on.

(Just in case you didn't get the context, getting one's "wiggle on" means "hurry up!")

So tell me, what was YOUR favorite line?

Top 5 Lines from DA, S4:E1
Top 5 Lines from DA, S4:E2

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E2

Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen Episode 2 of Season 4 yet, don't read on until you do. You'll be sorry. 


Oh, Downton, you just about killed me this week. I cannot believe what happened to my beloved Anna, and when I think about it now, two days later, I'm still overcome with sadness. I know you're fictional and your characters aren't real, but seriously, the way things played out, the way the scene was filmed, and the seriousness of it all--it just felt so very real.

Besides that, when I talked to one of my girls about it, she said, "I suppose stuff like that happened all the time back then." 

I know she's probably right, but we don't like to see the seedy side of life in a place that feels so utterly idyllic, do we? I mean, juxtapose the scene with Anna to the scene with Mary riding peacefully through the grounds with Lord Gillingham and you get a sense of what I mean.

Which brings me to another topic I feel I must discuss. A friend of Facebook this week mentioned that she's getting frustrated with all of the sitting-around-waiting-for-the-next-meal that goes on Upstairs. "It's like nobody does anything!" she said. Meanwhile, Downstairs is hustling and bustling to make sure Upstairs maintains a sense of calm. Anybody ever wonder what's up with that? 

I have a theory. My theory is that this is done on purpose and that Julian Fellowes, brilliant man that he is, is slowly unfolding the truth about life in post-Edwardian England. That truth? That Downstairs really runs the show. And while everyone Upstairs appears to have it all together as they wait for their next meal, it's the Downstairs folks who really run the engine. 

One more thing. Is anyone else getting sick of Robert? I mean, honestly, how has Cora put up with him all these years? I've only known him for four seasons, and I'm ready to throw him off the horse. Or a wall. Or a very tall building.

Again, though, I think Julian Fellowes is so brilliant in his development (or anti-development) of Robert through the years. In Season 1, I was so enamored by Robert--I thought he was such an honorable man. Today, however, I just see a man who is weak and pitiful. He lies to his wife about his gambling debts. He wants to keep his daughter in mourning so he won't have to share the responsibility of running the estate. And, worst of all, he is completely out of touch with the rest of the world.

Which brings me to my first quote of the night.

1. Cora has just received the news that the world-famous opera singer, Nelly Melba (don't you just love that name?!), has been relegated to eating in her bedroom. Cora, rightfully so, is outraged and confronts Robert.

Cora (whispering so that the other guests won't hear): A world famous singer is in our house, a great artist honored by the King, but you’ve held it beneath your dignity to eat. with. her?

Robert, stammering: I don’t remem . . .
Cora: Am I the only member of this family who lives in the 20th century? Now, you will have her next to you at dinner . . . and you will like it!
Robert: But what will I say to her? What does one say to a singer?

All I can say to that is OH GOOD GRIEF!!!

2. Earlier, we see that Mr. Molesley's troubles continue--so much so that he shows up in the kitchen with a delivery of groceries for Mrs. Patmore. He's embarrassed enough, but then Daisy steps right in it.

Daisy: Oh, you’re a delivery boy!
Mrs. Patmore: Now, now, Daisy. There’s no shame in hard work.

Preach it, Mrs. Patmore!

3. Meanwhile, Thomas continues to sit on his high horse, refusing to serve as footman for a night after Jimmy sprains his wrist and can't carry the trays upstairs.

Thomas: Mr. Carson, may I remind you that I am the under butler?
Carson: I don’t care if you’re the High Cockalorum, you’re a footman tonight.

Now, I'll admit that, for as hard as I laughed at that line (Carson's delivery was perfect!), I had to do a little research here to try to dig up the meaning behind Carson's words. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "high cockalorum," when applied to a person, means "little or young cock, bantam; self-important little man."

Need I say more?

4. Poor Tom. He really is such a nice man, handling his grief quietly and trying his best to work hard and fit in. But this week we start to see just how difficult life at the Abbey is for Tom. At the house party, Tom calls the old Dutchess "Your Grace," which Violet quickly moves in to correct, telling him the terms that old royalty should be called and in which venue.

Truly, I'd be scratching my head, too.

Tom: There’s no logic in it.
Violet to Tom: If I were ever to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper class.

Don't you just love it when they make fun of themselves?

5. You've got to hand it to Violet, she really was so kind to Isobel tonight. (Makes you wonder what she has planned for future episodes.) She actually had her driver stop the car in town so that she could get out to talk Isobel into attending the dinner and concert that night. So unrefined, talking out in broad daylight like that!

Anyway, at the end of the evening, Robert walked both Violet and Isobel outside to bid them adieu. 

Robert (to Isobel): I’m so pleased you came.
Isobel: So am I. I was wrong to hesitate, but then Guilt has the power to make all of us do strange things.
Violet: Oh, not all of us. Guilt has never played a major part in my life.
Robert (under his breath): Amen to that.

Ah, the mother and child reunion! Gotta love both of those lines.

Well, there we go. I have to say that I'm so curious about next week. What will happen with Anna? Will she and Bates ever have an easy time of things? 

We have some predictions around here, but I'd love to hear yours.

What do you think will happen next?

Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, S4:E1

Alright now, for as much as I talk about wanting this place to be a place of substance, I can't help myself. I just have to talk about Downton Abbey.

Not to say that DA isn't substantive. Forgive me if that's what you may have inferred. Actually, I watch Downton Abbey because it is a little more thoughtful than most of what's on T.V. today. (And, again, this isn't to say that I don't watch my fair share of mindless television.)

(Boy, I'm digging myself in deep here, aren't I?)

Anyway, despite my earlier post claiming that I wanted to start blogging again by writing what I would want to read--or maybe because of that claim--I've decided that the Downton Abbey posts must stay. I get a lot of pleasure from writing them, and I suspect that some of you get some pleasure from reading them.

And now you're thinking, as am I, that it's very near the end of Tuesday and this post may be bordering on being outdated. That's O.K. I'm not giving any excuses because there just may have been a hockey game to attend on Sunday night and then I had to watch DA a couple of times to make sure I got this right.

I promise, not every post will have this many caveats attached to it.

So now, as I've done for the previous three seasons, I bring you my Top 5 Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 4, Episode 1.

Such sadness in the big house, isn't there? Matthew has been gone for six months and Mary is still looking like a deer in the headlights. Poor thing. We'll get to her.

Things are in an uproar right away because O'Brien has left. Who knew that a Lady's Maid leaving would cause such trauma both Upstairs and Downstairs? That O'Brien really had a way of causing a ruckus, and she's still managing to do so even by NOT being there.

1. And Thomas. Still up to his old tricks. My first favorite line came fairly early on in the show when Thomas was sitting around (he never really seems to do any real work, does he?) complaining to Mr. Bates about Nanny West who had asked him to do her a favor.

Bates: You mean she mistook you for a servant?
Alfred, confused as usual: But he is a servant.
Bates: Don’t tell him that, he’ll never get over the shock.

2. Ah, Violet. My Lady was in beautiful form this week as she handed out advice and one-liners like penny candy to the children. 

Violet, in an attempt to pull Isobel out of her grief, pays a visit to Crawley House, suggesting that Isobel snap out of it.

Violet: You say you have no purpose. But what about Little George? Surely you’re interested in him.
Isobel: Of course, but I’m not going to drive Mary mad by interfering.
Violet: It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.

Tucking that one away for the future.

3. Poor Mr. Molesley. I felt so sorry for him this week, and I wonder what will be in store for him as he's sunk so low. 
But I loved the sweet scene between Mr. Molesley and his father, Mr. Molesley. It seems there was a lot of shoring up to do this week because between Violet and Mr. Molesley the Elder, there was a lot of good advice dispensed.

Here's the line I loved: In your game, if you want the best, you have to be the best and work at it.

Good parental advice from the elder Mr. M.

4. And what about the sweet scene between Violet and Mary in Mary's bedroom? Words that rarely have been spoken at that house seemed to make all the difference.

Mary: I suppose you think I behaved very badly down there.
Violet: My dear, I’m not very interested in whether you behaved badly or well.
Mary: No?
Violet: I’m not your governess. I’m your grandmother.
Mary: And the difference is?
Violet: The difference is . . . I love you.

I don't think I've ever heard a Grantham speak those words--they just weren't said back then--but as soon as Mary heard her grandmother say them, she seemed to perk up, confessing to Violet that she didn't think she'd make a very good mother.

And Violet spoke such life-giving words to her granddaughter (and to all of us who feel we've failed at motherhood a time or two): My dear, there is more than one type of good mother.

Thank you, Dowager. Thank you.

5. Finally, I had to choose the scene between Mrs. Hughes and Carson toward the end of the episode. The two were in Carson's office discussing his broken relationship with Mr. Griggs, and Mrs. Hughes offered this gem of wisdom: It’s an open wound. I don’t know why, but I do know this—you’d do better to stitch it up and let it heal.

Oh, there were so many more good lines and wonderful scenes, but I had to keep myself to five and these are my favorites. 

OK, if I were to add one more, it would be the tender scene between Carson and Mary in Carson's office when she finally broke down and cried, and Carson comforted her: You cry, my Lady. You have a good cry. That’s what’s needed now. And when you are ready, you can get to work. Because you are strong enough. You are strong enough for the task.


Downton Abbey, I'm so glad you're back. These cold winter nights are made just a bit warmer with you around.

How about you? Did you watch? What were your favorite lines?

Top Ten Lines from Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 7 – It’s All About Family

**Spoiler alert** Do not read further if you haven't watched the Season 3 Finale. This post does contain spoilers.

Well now, how’s everyone doing? Recovered from last night’s drama yet?

I know, I know, it’s hard to remember, but you must remind yourself that this is fiction. It’s just fiction. Tell yourself over and over again, if you must, but what happened on the season finale is just fiction.

Reminds me of when B and I were dating. He’d take me to the movies, and whenever things got a little tense or emotional he’d lean over to me and say, “It’s just light on a screen, Shelly. Light on a screen.” I never really bought it—my emotions were real, so the drama must have been, in some way, real to me. But I nodded my head and tried to tell myself, “It’s just light on a screen.”

I just watched the episode for the second time, and I think it was more sad even the second time around. I caught so much more of the subtlety and the rhythm and the theme of family and love and friendship. You should really go to the PBS website and watch the episode again.

If you can bear it.

So Season 3 is over and now we have to wait another year for what will, I hope, be several new, happy beginnings for many of the characters. This season was such a season of loss; I truly hope next season is a season of happiness. But then, Julian Fellowes is known for surprising us. I’m sure that whatever he has in store will be a great surprise.

So let’s get on with it—my top ten lines from Episode 7, better known as the episode-in-which-everyone-including-Tom-and-Robert-and-Thomas-and-Mrs. Patmore-make-peace-with-Downton.

Number 10. I have to start toward the end, during the dance in Scotland. Mr. Molesley has had a bit too much of the Scotch whisky and he’s dancing his heart out. Robert and Violet are looking on.

Robert: They do say there’s a wild man inside all of us.
Violet: If only he would stay inside.

Those of us who know my last name will know why I chose that line. *wink*

Number 9. Of course, my lady Violet had some great lines this week, as she always does. This exchange took place toward the beginning, as the family has arrived in Scotland to spend ten days with Shrimpy’s family. His shrew wife, Susan, greets Violet at the door.

Susan: Oh, Violet, we feel so privileged to have lured you this far north.
Violet: Oh, dear, you flatter me, which is just as it should be.

Number 8: Later, Violet and Susan are walking together. Violet asks about Shrimpy’s upcoming colonial post.

Violet: Do you know where it will be?
Susan: No, but it will be filthy and dirty and the food will be awful and there will be no one to talk to for a hundred square miles.
Violet: That sounds like a week with my mother-in-law.

Number 7: Oh Edith. Edith, Edith, Edith. Will you never learn? Honestly, I think Edith has worse luck in the love department than anyone I’ve ever known.

(Wait. Did I just say that? Like she’s real or something? Light on a screen, Shelly. Light on a screen.)

(And also? Sorry about some of the grainy photos. Screen shots just don't work as well as actual photos.)

So her editor, Michael Gregson, turns up in Scotland. He just happens to be in the neighborhood and would like to hang out with the family. Mary is skeptical, as Mary usually is about anyone who would be interested in Edith, but this time, Mary is right.

Matthew isn’t convinced, and when Gregson turns up for dinner, he has a great remark for Mary: "What a disappointment. He looks perfectly normal."

Later, in bed, Mary and Matthew discuss Edith’s love life for about the millionth time.

Mary: He probably took reeling classes before he left London.
Matthew: Don’t dislike him before you even know him. That’s a hallmark of our parents’ generation, and I forbid it.

Stay tuned . . .

Number 6. I won’t get into the whole staff-who-stays-behind-and-goes-to-the-fair business. It’s kind of overly complicated, although I did enjoy seeing what goes on when the family is away. Anyway, the staff does all go to the fair in Thirsk (well, all but one), and as they’re heading out, Alfred bumps into Mr. Carson in the hallway. I absolutely loved Carson’s response.

Alfred: You don’t want to come to the fair?
Carson: I would sooner chew broken glass.

So there. Harumph.

But wasn’t Carson absolutely adorable with Sybie? I loved the scene when he was just waiting in the hallway outside of her bedroom for her to cry. He goes in, lifts her out of her crib, and says, “Oh now, what’s the matter? Let’s have a little chat about it.”


Number 5. So there’s something amiss in the Shrimpy household, that is made perfectly clear. Rose is miserable. Shrimpy is miserable. And Susan is just a miserable shrew.

It has become clear that Shrimpy will most likely be stationed somewhere in India, and he’s had a moment to discuss it with it Violet who, not surprisingly, has some strong opinions about Rose.

Violet:Will you take Rose?
Shrimpy: I don’t think we should, but Susan won’t discuss it.
Violet: Unless you’d like her to be married to a third rate Colonial official with no money and bad teeth, Susan had better think again.

Ah, Violet, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?

Number 4: I love Violet’s more tender moments, and this was one of my favorites of this episode. Vi and Cora are discussing the tensions in the Shrimpy household, specifically things between Rose and her mother. Cora is reminded of her own struggles with Sybil.

Violet: We knew things were awkward between them, but now that I’m here I don’t think Susan handles it very well.
Cora: But it’s so complicated with a young daughter with new ideas. She thinks you’re fighting her when all the time you’re just frightened and . . . I’m sorry.
Violet: We all miss her. Every single day.

Yes, Violet, we all do still miss her, too.

Number 3: 

One of my favorite plot lines this week was with Mrs. Hughes and Tom. Poor Tom has been through the wringer this week, just trying to figure out his place in the upper class world. Housemaid Edna wasn’t making things any easier on him, that’s for sure, what with all the following him around and meeting him at the pub and kissing him when he had his shirt off. Good grief, Edna, don’t you know your place?

Obviously not.

So Tom offers to drive everyone to the fair, donning his chauffeur hat just for old time’s sake. He asks Mrs. Hughes what time they’re leaving, and Mrs. Hughes tells him he doesn’t have to go.

Tom: Why? Because I’m so high and mighty now?
Mrs. Hughes: You’re part of the family now. There’s nothing false in that.
Tom: I know.
Mrs. Hughes: I hope you do, because if someone is trying to make you feel awkward, they are in the wrong, not you.

Later, after Edna has been sacked, Mrs. Hughes takes a moment to talk to Tom in the library.

Mrs. Hughes: Would you allow me to speak as I would have in the old days?
Tom: Go ahead then.
Mrs. Hughes: You let Edna make you ashamed of your new life. But you’ve done well. And Lady Sybil would be so proud.
Tom (crying): I can’t bear to be without her.
Mrs. Hughes sits and takes his hand: You must bear it. And one day I hope, and so would she, you’ll find someone to bear it with you. But until then, be your own master and call your own tune.

[Note: this is the only word that I just couldn’t get. Thanks to Megan at Fried Okra for helping me out with that!]

So sweet to see Tom and Mrs. Hughes have that moment together. Mrs. Hughes is kind of like a mother to many of the younger staff, and it was nice to see her take that role with Tom as well. I just loved it.

Number 2

Well, well, well. Robert does have a moment of epiphany, doesn’t he? Remember in the billiard room with Shrimpy? Shrimpy tells Robert his tale of financial devastation, and he is basically recounting Robert’s very own tale, had Matthew not stepped in to save them all.

Robert has much to think about.

Later that night, as he and Cora are going to bed, he tells her what he’s come to learn.

Robert: I can’t wait to get home.
Cora: Aren’t you enjoying your Victorian idyll any longer?
Robert: I’m glad I was jealous of Shrimpy. It’s made me realize what a fool I’ve been. Downton will survive because of Matthew’s vision.
Cora: I’m so pleased to hear you say it.
Robert: You always knew how lucky we are in Matthew, and now I give thanks for him as I give thanks for my home and my family. And most of all, I give thanks for my wife.

I think they’ve all learned some lessons over the past year, but this episode made it clear that they have all come to love and appreciate what they have: family.

Number 1: And speaking of family. Matthew and Mary’s little family grew last night, didn’t it? And then got promptly reduced in size (for which, I have heard, many will never watch Downton Abbey again, myself not included).

But before the size reduction took place, there was this very sweet exchange in the hospital between Matthew and Mary.

Matthew: You are going to be such a wonderful mother.
Mary: How do you know?
Matthew: Because you are such a wonderful woman.
Mary: I hope I’m allowed to be your Mary Crawley for all eternity, and not Edith’s version or any one else’s for that matter.
Matthew: You’ll be my Mary always.  Because mine is the true Mary.

It was like a send-off. Mary has always been conscious of other peoples’ perception of her, but Matthew assures her that she is just enough, just as she is. And that, my friends, is unconditional love.

Their love story may be over for now, Matthew may be gone, but his words of love will ring in Mary’s ears forever. They may be just what she needs to go home and raise this little boy on her own. Words to give her the confidence to be the mother that this boy will need. Words of love that Mary will need as she moves ahead, alone.

Season 3, I’ve loved you, hated you, dreaded you, and anticipated you every week. You have never ceased to surprise me. Thank you for the few hours of joy you have given to me and to my friends and my family. It’s been fun, tragic, comical, and sad. I will miss you and will look forward to your sister, Season 4.

So let's talk. Tell me what you thought of the season finale in the Comments.

To read the rest of my Downton Abbey Top Five (or Ten) lines:

Season 3, Episode 1
Season 3, Episode 2
Season 3, Episode 3
Season 3, Episode 4
Season 3, Episode 5
Season 3, Episode 6


Top Ten Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 6 -- The Cricket Episode

So, was it just me, or did all of you have a scary dream about O’Brien last night, too? She of the beady eyes and crazy curly-Qs on the side of her head. She haunted me in my dreams last night, and I awoke this morning with the disturbing feeling that if I hadn’t woken up, I was just about to be killed in my sleep.

O’Brien gives me the creeps.


Anyway, back to business. Did anyone else notice the overuse of a certain word last night? It’s not a word I ever remember hearing on the show before, and last night it got used five times (I know because I counted. You can thank me later.).  It’s the word “stuff.” Mary used it twice, Edith used it twice, and Matthew used it once.

What’s up with that?

It was bothering me, so I looked up the etymology (that means the study of the origins and uses of words) of the word “stuff.” Of course, there’s the original meaning, “stuffing,” as in the stuffing of a quilt or mattress. There were several other meanings and origins noted, most from the 14th and 15th centuries. (Still with me?)

And then I noticed that in 1927, just about the time this drama is being set right now, the word “stuff” came to have a new meaning: to have a grasp on something, as in He really knows his stuff. And in 1929, the word “stuff” began to be used in reference to narcotic drugs. Isn’t that interesting?

Don’t ever say you don’t learn something here.

But surprisingly, it looks like you have to go back earlier, around the 1570s, to find its usual meaning: “matter of an unspecified kind.” I thought it would be later, like, I mean, totally around the 1990s and all that stuff, dude.

Anyway, tell me I’m not the only one who noticed that they used the word “stuff” five times last night. And tell me that I’m not the only one for whom that use felt kind of, I don’t know, awkward? I wonder, were the writers trying to tell us that the word "stuff" came into vogue right around the 1920s? Hmmm.

Alright, we really should get down to business. Last night was a two-hour episode, and I’ve had a couple of people ask if I would share my top TEN lines this week rather than my top five.

Oh, all right. If you insist.

10. Are we happy that Bates is out of jail now? And that he got his job back? And that he and Anna are decorating a lovely little cottage together? (Oh, the fun blog post we could have with that one!)

Apparently people Upstairs lack a bit of just-out-of-jail sensitivity because there were a couple of lines thrown Bates’s way last night that just made me laugh.

How about this one? As Robert was trying to figure out what to do about Thomas in order to get Bates his job back he told Mr. B: “I’ll sort it out, I promise. Until then, you just rest. Stay in bed. Read books.”


Anyway, Matthew, Mary, and Anna are discussing the upcoming cricket match and, by the way, who knew this family was so into cricket???

[Side note: we just kept cracking up with all the cricket talk. Cricket, cricket, cricket! They just couldn’t let it go!]

So as the "teenagers" talk about how much they don't want to play cricket but they'll do it for dear old Dad, Matthew says, "Bates must count himself lucky to be out of it." To which Anna sweetly replies: "I think he’d like to walk normally, sir, even if playing cricket was the price he had to pay."

Way to put him in his place, Anna.

9. Oh, Edith, how on earth do you get yourself into these situations? I mean, it’s fine if you want to write for a newspaper and all, but your attitude toward yourself is kind of . . . defeating.

“It’s a relief to be reminded that I’m not an object of pity to the entire world.”

And later, she just blurts out her big news in the middle of dinner to which Violet has a great response.

Edith: Listen everyone, you have a journalist in the family.
Violet: Since we have a country solicitor and a car mechanic, it was only a matter of time.

8. And another of Violet’s great remarks (there were so many last night): “If Branson is watering down his revolutionary fervor, let us give thanks.”

7. Of course, Isobel got in a rare zinger, pointing her guns directly at Violet: “Oh, have you changed your pills?”

6. And then there’s Ethel. Doesn’t she seem sweet these days? Must be Isobel’s magnanimity doing her some good. I’m sure Isobel thinks so.

I cracked up at this exchange:

Ethel: These days a working woman must have a skill.
Violet: But you seem to have so many.

5. Another great Violet line. As she, Robert, and Cora are discussing the estate agent’s leaving, Violet comes up with the great plan to give the job to Tom. Robert objects, of course, but Violet has logic on her side this time.

Well, logic and a great sense of timing.

Violet: Think of the child. You cannot want your only granddaughter to grow up in a garage with that drunken gorilla.
Cora, pleading as she does: Don’t we owe this to Sybil?
Robert: I will do it on one condition. No, two. First, Matthew agrees. And, second, you will both admit it when you realize you were wrong.
Violet: Oh well, that is an easy caveat to accept because I am never wrong.

4. Oh goodness, I haven’t even touched on the Thomas scandal. Was that a twist of fate or a play of justice or simply the writers trying their best to add some political correctness to an era that could never even begin to conceive of such a notion?

Whatever the case, Thomas comes out on top. Again.


He not only saves his sniveling, sorry behind, he gets a promotion! Go figure. I would never have figured that could happen in Edwardian England.

But who am I?

Anyway, Thomas does NOT get one of my favorite lines of the episode. He really wasn’t that clever or funny this time around. He was more like . . . pathetic.

But what I really enjoyed was the interplay between Carson and Mrs. Hughes. They really are the best of friends, aren’t they. And I love how Mrs. Hughes can say it like it is, in a nice way.

So just as everything is coming to light, Carson sits, shell-shocked, with Mrs. Hughes to talk things over.

Carson: Human nature is a funny business, isn’t it?
Mrs. Hughes: Now why didn’t the poets come to you, Mr. Carson? They would have saved themselves a lot of time and trouble.

3. I learned a put-down last night that I think I’m going to tuck away to use another day. I’m sure it will come in handy.

Anna and Bates invite O’Brien for “tea”—we’ll get to that later. But Anna says something to O’Brien that she doesn’t care for, so O'Brien comes back with,

“Get back in the knife box, Miss Sharp!”

Oh yeah, I’ll be sure to pull that one out (ha!) sometime.

2. There’s a very important scene between Robert and Bates, just after Bates gets his job back as Robert’s valet. Everyone’s flummoxed by what’s happened with Thomas. People are taking sides.

And some deep reflection is going on as well.

Robert: Why didn’t Carson tell me? He’s the one who’s being undermined.
Bates: It’s a very difficult subject for him to discuss.
Robert: I can imagine. It’s not as if we didn’t all know about Barrow.
Bates: That’s what I said to Mrs. Hughes.
Robert: I mean, if I had tried to call Blue Murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eaton, I’d be hoarse in a month.

Can I just say, Eeeeew! to that one? Eeeeew! But still, so funny.

And, yes, I had to look up the origin of the term “blue murder” and here’s what I found: "’Getting away with blue murder’ 

implies a person has gotten away with something so bad that they were expected to get caught for. If a royal was murdered it would be assumed that the culprit would be apprehended as there would be an unusual large manhunt undertaken making getting away with this murder harder than the murder of a normal person. And since royals are known as blue bloods this is where the term originated.”

Consider yourselves wiki-informed.

1. Now, my number one choice for this week might seem a little strange to you, especially if you haven’t seen Seasons 1 or 2, but, to me, this little line was quintessential Downton—just a little hint, just a little jab, but a tiny little line that packs a lot of punch.

Remember that scene in Bates and Anna’s cottage? They’ve been having tea with O’Brien. Tea-with-a-purpose, that is, because Bates is asking O’Brien to tell Jimmy to drop his threats against Thomas. (Following this?) She, of course, refuses. Bates stands up, walks over to O’Brien, and whispers something in her ear that makes her turn as white as a ghost.

Later, Anna asks Bates what exactly he said to her. He kind of shrugs his shoulders and tells Anna that he has no idea what it means, but Thomas had said it:

“It was her ladyship’s soap.”

You got chills, didn’t you? Come on, you know you did!

And there you have it, my friends. Hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into fictional Edwardian land, or as my little friend C calls it, “The beautiful show.”

And it really is beautiful, isn’t it?

Now, head to the comments and discuss. And have a great week!

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Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 5 or “Robert’s Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"

Poor Robert. He was really having a bad night, wasn’t he? Seemed like he was facing opposition at every turn in this episode, not the least from his wife.

So let’s start there, shall we?

Robert and Cora. I have to say that their grief was very raw this episode, and, I think, very realistic. I felt their pain when Cora shut him out and when Robert tried over and over again to reach her. So, so difficult. You can just feel their sadness.

5. And so, I start with the exchange between Robert and his mother. It was a tender scene, wasn’t it? Robert confessing that things between him and his wife weren’t in the best place at the moment, and Violet adding her wisdom, compassion, and even a touch of humor to the situation.

Violet: Robert, people like us are never unhappily married. (Delivered, I must add, with the perfect comedic timing.)

Robert: I can’t seem to think straight about any of it.

Violet: My dearest boy, there is no test on earth greater than the one you’ve been put to. I do not speak much of the heart since it’s seldom helpful to do so, but I know well enough the pain when it is broken.

Ah, Violet. This is why I love her so. While she can be snarky (as we shall soon see) and biting and condescending, she can also be deeply compassionate and loving to those around her. I just love the way they have developed her character, especially this season.

4. I have to say that I resonated with much of this episode, having lost a sibling of my own a long time ago. So much of what they said about grief rang true to me.

Like, for instance, Violet’s words: Grief makes one so very tired.

And then there was Cora’s poignant line: Is it over? When one loses a child, is it ever really over?

I applaud the writers for getting much of this right.

3. I love, love, LOVED the interlude with Daisy and her father-in-law. How sweet are they? Did you see the big smile he had on his face when Daisy walked up to the farm? Adorable!

But even before she left, there was the brief discussion in the kitchen. Alfred doesn’t get it, does he? He thinks that being a farmer, working for himself, would be so much easier than being in service. He talks about how great it would be to not have to answer to anyone. But Daisy puts him in his place. She totally gets it, and defends William’s dad in the process.

No farmer’s his own boss. He takes his orders from the sun and the snow and the wind and the rain.”

Dad, that one’s for you.

 Later, when visiting with Mr. Mason, he asks Daisy how it’s going with “the lad” she was interested in. Daisy explains that he (Alfred) has eyes for someone else (Ivy), and Mr. Mason has the perfect, perfect comeback: Well he’s a fool. Not worth bothering with. He’s seen a diamond and he’s chosen glass.”

I think a certain dad of daughters around here may have tucked that one away for someday if necessary.

2. You know this one had to make my list. In the scene with Violet and Dr. Clarkson, she’s trying to persuade him to come clean with Cora and Robert about Sybil’s chances of survival. It’s important to Violet to get the two of them to move forward together, so she asks Dr. Clarkson to present the truth in as “helpful” a way as possible.

Dr. Clarkson: You want me to lie?

Violet: “Lie” is so unmusical a word.

Yes it is.

1. And finally, the scene that topped my list last night took place in Isobel’s dining room. Ethel, the former prostitute (gasp!), was serving all of the ladies their luncheon. Robert’s horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day has reached its peak at this point, and he storms into the dining room just as Ethel has brought in the dessert.

Robert comes across as the bigoted prude that he is, but is trying not to be, and Cora staunchly refuses to budge. (“Oh, is that a Charlotte Ruse? How delicious!”) Edith and Mary just sit there with their mouths open. Ethel just about drops the tray. Isobel stands in defiance.

Finally, Robert, in exasperation, says, “Is anyone coming with me?” To which Violet replies: 

It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding.

And the gauntlet has been thrown. Old vs. new. Tradition vs. progress. Law vs. grace. Seems like things are changing just a little too rapidly for poor Robert.

What do you think? Will Robert be able to roll with the changes? Will the estate be saved? What was your favorite line of the week? Comments, please!


Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 4

*****Spoiler alert. If you have not yet watched Episode Four, DO NOT read ahead unless you want to know what happens. Seriously. You will be very upset if you have not watched. Just warning you now.*****

Have a seat. We have some discussing to do.

First, how are you? Are you doing O.K. today? Have you come to grips that Downton Abbey is fiction or are you, like me, really feeling something here?

Second, I’m ashamed of my behavior. The crying, the carrying on, because, seriously, it’s FICTION, people.

Of course, I have been known to sob at the ending of a really good book (My Sister’s Keeper, anyone?).

I watched this episode last night with my husband and youngest daughter (and, yes, forgive me, but I kept looking at her and thinking, “what if?”—she’s the youngest of three daughters). And then, stupidly, I watched it again this afternoon to, you know, put me in the mood to write about it. Oh my! Why? I think I cried more the second time around than the first.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Yes, I think I am. Because my blog posts are supposed to be about the five best lines of the episode, and my number five line happened before all the . . . you know . . . happened.

So let’s start with number five, shall we?

5. Happier days, to be sure. When Sybil was awaiting the birth of her baby and all was right with the world. She and Mary are talking in her room, Mary making it all about her (as usual) and how someday she would have a baby, too, when Sybil brings in a reality check.

She tells Mary that she feels as big as a house, her ankles are swelling, and her head hurts (uh oh!), and then she says a line that I think every pregnant woman in her last trimester of pregnancy has uttered a time or two:

“Honestly, I cannot recommend this to anyone.”

Yes, Sybil, I remember those days. My sister, Jodi, is three weeks away from delivering her first child, and I have a feeling she would probably agree with your sentiments right now as well.

Moving on . . .

4. It wouldn’t be a Downton episode without some pitiful remark from Edith now, would it? She’s gotten an opportunity to write for a London newspaper. She’s excited, as she should be, but, of course, Robert’s cutting remarks bring her down a notch or two. Matthew tries to encourage Edith, but she takes the opportunity to present her pathetic side.

“Don’t bother, Matthew. I’ve always been a failure in this family.”

Oh, Edith, you’re getting tiresome.


And now I can’t avoid it. The matter must be taken up—the matter of Sybil’s death, which, I must say, is almost too horrible to even write.

3. I’ve never included myself in this list before (although I would love more than anything to be given the opportunity to do a cameo on Downton Abbey and be able to legitimately quote myself from the show), but today, I think I get the number three spot. Because as everything was going on, the walls crumbling down around them, people screaming madly at one another, doctors standing helplessly by, I shouted (O.K., I may have even pointed) at the television. Robert, more specifically:


Anyone with me?

Talk about living in a delusional, fictional fantasyland—I screamed at the T.V. I actually yelled at Robert through my tears. I was hysterical.

I’m better today.

I think.

And how about Cora basically telling everyone that this is Robert’s fault and that if they had followed Dr. Clarkson's instructions, Sybil would probably still be here? Harsh, but true. (B thought that was the most realistic scene of the night.)

I guess Cora agrees with me.

2. Now let’s talk about all the tributes to our darling Sybil. She really was a favorite, wasn’t she? And with good reason.

Here I’m just going to include my favorite tributes from various characters because they were all so good.

First up, Cora. Could you believe that scene with her sitting next to Sybil saying goodbye? My heart could barely take it in when she said, “My beauty. My baby.”

And then there was Thomas. Oh, Thomas. I might have found just a trickle of sympathy for him last night when he said, “In my life, not that many have been kind to me. She was one of the few.” Finally, some truth spoken from Thomas’s lips.

Mary, to Edith: “She was the only person living who always thought you and I were such nice people.” Yep. Got that right.

Mrs. Hughes, though, put it best: “The sweetest spirit under this roof is gone, and I’m weeping myself.”

1. I think the best lines of the night, however, came from my Lady Vi. Even though I disagree with her sentiments, to a point, I think the delivery was absolutely perfect.

Just at the end, after Cora gave it to Robert in front of everyone and left the room to go write the apology letter to Dr. Clarkson, Violet walked over to her son and, in the midst of palpable grief, delivered such beautiful words. Most needed at the time, I think.

“My dear when tragedies strike we try to find someone to blame. And in the absence of a suitable candidate, we usually blame ourselves. You are not to blame. No one is to blame. Our darling Sybil has died during childbirth, like too many women before her, and all we can do now is cherish her memory, and her child.”

And so, cherish we will. 


Just in case you didn't get enough last night, I found this on the PBS website. Grab some kleenex and watch:

Watch Downton Abbey: Sybil and Tom on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.


Talk amongst yourselves in the comments.



Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 3

Oh, the drama this week. Strange, unidentified men running through town in the rain. Sybil gone missing. Bates and Anna not getting their mail.

And wasn’t our Violet in rare form this week? Is it just me or is she getting more one-liners every week?

Let’s start with Violet, shall we? Let's end with Violet, too.

5. My fifth pick this week surrounds the Tom-drama and the trouble he got himself into in Dublin.  (Who knew that he and Sybil had even returned to Dublin? That, itself, was a shocker to me.)

Anyway, Tom tells the whole dreadful story about the estate home being burned to the ground (thank goodness they got the family out first!). I swear, every pair of Crawley eyes in the room was the size of saucers. (These Grantham/Crawleys really haven’t seen much of real life, have they?) They discuss how they knew the family that was attacked. How they had visited their home a while back. How they were people just like them, only, apparently, living in sub-par housing.

Edith: What a tragedy.
Violet: Well, rather yes and no. That house was hideous.

4. Don’t you just love Daisy and her father-in-law? To me, they are two of the most precious characters on the show.  He loves her like a daughter, and Daisy loves him, too, in her own way.

The scene between the two of them this week was just adorable, I thought. Daisy took it upon herself to practically ask Mr. Mason’s permission to “have eyes” for someone else.

Daisy: This’ll be hard for you. . . but . . . what would you say if I’d met a man I liked. Because the last thing I’d ever do would be to hurt you.
Mr. Mason: What? D’you think I’d want you to be alone your whole life long?
Daisy: No.
Mr. Mason: Well, William wouldn’t want it neither.

Daisy then acknowledges that there might be someone who has caught her eye and asks Mr. Mason for some advice. She wonders if he thinks it would be O.K. for her to let this boy know that she likes him.

Mr. Mason’s response is so sweet, and earns my number four spot this week:

“Oh. This is too modern for me, Daisy. I’d only say this. You have a pure heart and if he’s a proper man, he’ll know that. But take your time. Prepare what you’ll say. Make sure your words cannot be misconstrued.”

Some great advice there.

3. More Downstairs antics, this time played by Mrs. Hughes. I truly think the woman bought a toaster just so Carson could deliver this gem-of-a-line:

“Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Mrs. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?” (Pointing at the toaster.)


2. Robert’s only cue this week was “scowling.” He scowled, harrumphed, growled, shouted, and acted incredulously throughout this episode.

I, for one, was glad to see the man find his backbone—it’s about time he took some action on behalf of his family. All of his impotence is going to catch up with him pretty soon, I have a feeling. After all, Matthew’s got his nose in the books now.

You’ve got to feel kind of sad for Robert, though, as he pines to his mother about the latest debacle involving Tom.

Robert: Other men have normal families with sons-in-law who farm or preach or serve their countries in the army.
Violet: Maybe they do, but no family is ever what it seems from the outside.

Truth, Violet. Truth.

1. You’ve probably already guessed my favorite line from Episode 3, but just in case, let me set the scene. Edith (“Finally! Something about me!”) has paid a visit to her Grandmama, and Violet asks how she’s getting along.

Violet: I worry about you, dear. That sort of thing is so horrid.
Edith: Being jilted at the altar. Yes it is horrid, multiplied by about ten thousand million.

Edith wonders what she will do with her life now that it seems she’s destined to be a spinster. (Take up gardening? Horrors! No!)

Finally, Violet gets right to the heart of the matter: Edith dear, you’re a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.

Hands raised if you’ve wanted to slap THAT line on someone a time or two in your life. Hands raised again if you plan to tuck it away for the future.

Yes, that was my favorite line from this episode, maybe even my favorite of all time, it was that good. But I want to leave you with one more this week:

“I give you my blessings for your whole life long, my darling boy.”

I can’t take it.


So what did I miss? What were your favorite lines this week? Speak up in the Comments!

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Photos: 1|2|3


Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 2

Well now. Wasn't that fun?

I mean, fun for us, but not for poor Edith. And poor, poor Edith is where I think I'll start this week with my Top Five Lines from last night's episode of Downton Abbey.

5. Did anyone else want to slap Edith as she exclaimed, while giddily watched everyone else working so hard to get ready for her wedding, “Something happening in this house is actually about me!” Anyone? Anyone?

But I did love her "Papa's" comeback to Sir Anthony when he asked Robert if he was happy about the marriage: "I’m happy Edith is happy. I’m happy you mean to keep her happy. That is quite enough happiness to be going on with."

Oh those English, they really know how to evade an answer, don't they?

4. Isobel has got to be the most self-righteous, falsely-pious do-gooder I've ever seen, and I, for one, am getting just a leeettle bit tired of it. Surely she's going to get knocked down a peg pretty soon. Or at least gain an ounce of humility.

But in the meantime, it's Violet's job to keep Isobel humble, and she's certainly earning her keep.

This week brought another subtle jab from Violet. Isobel ever-so humbly (not!) joined the chauffeur in the front seat of the car during the "family outing" to Downton Place (you know, that dump the family might have had to move into if Matthew hadn't come to his senses). Sir Anthony says he would have gladly sat in front, but Isobel waves him off with another one of her placating remarks: "Oh, I've sat in the front seat plenty of times" or something like that.

Violet grimaces, then jabs: "Oh, aren't you a wild thing?"

Touche, Violet! Touche!

3. For newlyweds, Mary and Matthew are sure doing their fair share of bickering over money. This does not bode well for the future, I have a feeling. Mary, you've got to stop hen-pecking your husband over his inheritance. It's getting annoying, even to me.

But Matthew had a great comeback for her after she practically forced him to read the letter from Reggie Swire: "Are you sure you didn't write it?"

Bless you, Matthew, for taking her on.

2. My second-favorite moment of the episode came when Cora confronted Mrs. Hughes about the possibility of her being sick. She rambles on and on while Mrs. Hughes just stands there, mouth hanging open, completely stunned that Cora even knows anything about her "situation."

Before Mrs. Hughes can get a word in, Cora tells her, "I don’t want you to have any concerns about where you will go or who will care for you because the answer is 'here' and 'we will.'”

Such a sweet moment of grace and compassion.
1. Soooo, Edith's wedding doesn't quite go as planned. In fact, we could discuss what happened there for a long time (i.e. the way Sir Anthony's head shot up when Edith mentioned Lady So-And-So getting a divorce, or the way Sir Anthony practically RAN to the car when he ditched the wedding scene).

And there was no shortage of discussion at the Big House, either. Leave it to our Lady Violet to lighten up any situation with her sardonic wit. Remember the dining room scene right after the not-happening-wedding?

Cora: Oh, that reminds me, Carson. I don’t want Lady Edith to see any of the wedding food.

Carson: Mrs. Hughes and Anna are taking what’s left down to Mr. Travis tomorrow--for the poor.

Violet: If the poor don’t want it, you can bring it over to me.

Oh, Madam Dowager, I do so love you!


And with that, I'd like to congratulate Maggie Smith on receiving a Golden Globe award, which was probably handed out at just about the same time Downton Abbey was airing last night. 

Dame Maggie, you're the best!! (Please sign on for Season 4! Please?)

So who can't wait for next week? I'm sure there will be plenty more surprises to discuss.

In the meantime, head to the Comments and start talking! I want to know what you thought about last night's episode. Any favorite lines I missed?

My other DA Season 3 posts:

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