Your Reactions to Downton Abbey?

Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There was some football game or other on TV yesterday. Must have been big because the streets were void of traffic. It didn’t affect PBS, however. You could watch last week’s Downton Abbey and this week’s Downton Abbey in one session. How could television get better than that?

So what do you think about what’s happening on Downton Abbey this season? Will Anna and Mr. Bates make it through their crisis? Will the very conservative Mr. Carson and the equally conservative Earl of Grantham transition into the modern age with grace or by fighting all the way? What’s going on with Lady Sybil – what if she’s pregnant? Will Thomas Barrow’s evil machinations ever be caught out?

And how about Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton? Don’t those two have the most delicious parts and lines and arguments?

6 thoughts on “Your Reactions to Downton Abbey?”

  1. jane hutchinson

    I think Julian Fellowes was smart to add a rape to the plot. Other viewers thought the subject matter was inappropriate. But, predators existed in the 1920’s, as they exist today. Mr. Gillingham raped and beat Anna. No doubt there are other women whom he raped and beat. No doubt these women have kept their rapes a secret. And, no doubt, he will continue to rape, unless he is stopped. Anna’s reactions of shame, a need for secrecy, feeling responsible, feeling impure and dirty are consistent with victims of rape. I didn’t think Bates would ever buy the “intruder” explanation. If the servant’s hall was unsafe, Lord Grantham and/or the police would surely have been notified in order to prevent any future break-ins. The saddest part is that Anna is in great turmoil because she wants to move on quickly (a form of denial) and continue to keep secrets from her husband and everyone else, except Mrs. Hughes. It takes years, if ever, to recover from a rape, I would think. But, the only way she can soothe her own pain and try to keep her husband from seeking justice is to steep herself in denial and tell him and herself that she is not a victim. Thank God she has Mrs. Hughes to confide in. I can’t say enough good things about Mrs. Hughes (or Mrs. Patmore). Not filing a police report means that Bates can seek his own secret justice for the crime, a thought Bates seems to relish and Anna dreads. So, Bates won’t move on until he has his victorious, secret justice. It’s sad to see the strain between Anna and Bates. Don’t know if their relationship to each other, and to others, can survive all the secrets and denial.

    I am less concerned about the other characters, except the pregnant Lady Edith. Hope Michael Gregson is still alive.

    1. In that time and place, Anna would lose her position and her standing in society if she told anyone what happened. Sad that it was that way. Yet in many ways we haven’t come that far from blaming the victim in cases of sexual violence.

      1. jane hutchinson

        Thanks, Virginia. I didn’t realize how much sexual violence had to be cloaked in secrecy.

        It was heart wrenching to see Bates cry after he found out what happened to Anna. Those two needed to have a good cry together.

        Didn’t Bates have some legal/criminal issues before he worked at Downton? Recently, when he forged an I Owe You, didn’t he remark how he learned a lot while in prison? Perhaps, you can take the man out of prison. But, you can’t take the prison out of the man.

      2. Bates was in prison for a while because his first wife was murdered. Anna did a lot of work to prove him innocent and he got out and was rehired to work at Downton. I don’t think his innocence in that case would prevent him from doing some serious damage to the guy who raped Anna if he gets a chance, however.

      3. jane hutchinson

        Hi Virginia. I meant, was Bates in legal/criminal trouble while married to Mrs. Bates, long before Mrs. Bates committed suicide, in her hope to frame Bates for murder? I believe he said he had legal/criminal woes from Mrs. Bate’s overspending, long before he was employed at Downton. But, I could be wrong. And, Mrs. Bates did commit suicide, didn’t she?

        I think Bates made some comment about his eyes being set on murder as a way to avenge Anna’s rape? I don’t think Mr. Gillingham knew who he was dealing with when he chose Anna as his victim. For a kind and gentle man, who may be misconstrued as naiive, Bates has a total opposite side that is far from naiive, as he displayed with the criminals while he was incarcerated. And, I do think he had a history of legal woes long before Mrs. Bates died.

  2. jane hutchinson

    Also, Bates has the limp which makes him look weak and unable to inflict bodily damage. Looks are so deceiving!

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