Last night’s season premiere of Downton Abbey reminded me why I watched the first two seasons in a single weekend this summer. It’s so good. Also so commercial-free. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good two-hour episode on a Sunday night. But I also love having a chance to run to a bathroom. First lesson from season three of Downton Abbey? Do not partake in any drinking games.
Second lesson? Don’t attempt to be a tall footman in 1920. It won’t work. I mean, you’ll get work, but it won’t work. Follow what I’m saying? I hope so because we have about 120 minutes of a season premiere to get through and I plan on accurately discussing approximately 30% of it.
So let’s start by discussing the Fiscal Cliffs of Downton Abbey. Lord Grantham invested all his money in the wrong railroad company. At first I was all like “YOU’RE SO STUPID LORD GRANTHAM.” Then I composed myself and realized we’ve all made that mistake before. I’ll never forgive myself for investing in the wrong Canadian teleportation company. But that’s what I get for thinking an email titled “Jeni Mayer Make Money Fast Click Here,” could actually get me rich. So anyways the Crawley family’s going down faster than the Titanic. Which might seem like a dated reference in 2012, but I assure you was very un-dated in 1920.
Despite the fact that all this money came from Cora’s family, she takes the news incredibly well. Like this whole “poor” thing will be some kind of wild adventure. I’m sure she’s already dreaming of the 4-bedroom split-level home they can buy in the suburbs of London. Matthew and Mary can live in one bedroom, all the help can live in another and Edith, well Edith can live in the basement with Sir Anthony. They can lock the door at night and do whatever it is that lonely people do together. Play mah jong or something.
Yep, that’s right. It appears that Edith and Sir Anthony will finally get together this season. For some reason Lord Grantham thought she could do better than an old cripple. Then he googled ” middle daughter on TV show” and realized that no, she can’t do better. Show me the episode where Stephanie Tanner got a hot boyfriend. Exactly. Previews for the season make it look like the two will finally wed. Unless of course Downton Abbey gets all Downton Abbey on us and kills him off before that happens. They love nothing more than an on-again-off-again-on-again-missing-again-engaged-to-someone-else-she-died-on-again relationship.
That’s why it took so long to finally witness the Matthew and Mary wedding. But alas, after two seasons of teasing us with their love affair and chaste kisses, they finally got married. Did we get totally ripped off when it came to seeing their honeymoon sex? Yes, yes we did. But did that inspire me to write fan fiction about how it went down? Definitely. Fifty Layers of Fabric will be out this spring, on bookshelves everywhere.
But the long awaited marriage doesn’t waste any time developing problems. Matthew inherits a ton of money from his dead fiance’s father and wants to do the right thing and give it away. Mary, who doesn’t really understand the concept of the right thing, throws a shit fit about his selfishness. How can he think of others when he could be thinking of her? Like seriously does he want to help the less fortunate or does he want to donate it to the Keep The Downton Abbey Servants Employment Agency open?! Even though Mary totally loves Matthew, she doesn’t get why he must always take the high road. Chauffeurs can drive on both the high and the low road so there’s really no reason for him to act like he’s above helping rich people stay rich.
His only redeeming moment throughout his entire two hour “I’m a morally good person” charade occurred when Sybil and Branson returned for the wedding. After carefully considering that the happiness of Sybill matters more than the fact she married the help, the family embraces Branson with open arms.
Can you imagine if that happened? It would be like Grandmama wearing jeans to dinner? RI-DIC-U-LOUS. No. His entire visit consisted of horribly awkward moments where he insisted on reminding them that he loves being poor and he loves being Irish and he loves insulting them. Sybil’s all like, “I know you hate my family, but can you pretend to be nice for my sake?” And Branson’s all like, “No. I will not….but I will leave my drink unattended at a party with strangers and see what happens.”
Luckily for him, Matthew turns the entire affair into TV’s best bromance. Like a celebrity publicist, he spins the entire situation around by making Branson his best man and creating some kind of brother-in-law camaraderie. I’m not going to say they make-out, but I’m also not going to say that we saw every moment they spent together on camera. So let your imagination run wild.
Last but not least we got some quality girl fight action in between Violet Crawley and Cora’s American mother, Martha Levinson (Shirley Maclaine). The two grandmothers battled back and forth throughout the episode about tradition versus change. Basically Violet wants everything to remain the same at Downton Abbey and Martha wants to live in the episode where Steve Urkel builds a machine that turns him into Stefon.
Next week on Downton Abbey: Anna and Bates continue to participate in detective role play games as a way to spice up their relationship Of course they took it a step too far last season by actually getting Bates sent to jail for murder. So now they must fix this mess they’ve found themselves in and free Bates. If only Internet vigilante justice existed back in the 1920s…Bates would be out and on The Today Show in no time.
(Photo: Ranjoli Jewelry)