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Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Groove Tube: Team Tony vs. Team Charles on Downton Abbey

Okay, folks, let's discuss the fourth season of everyone's favorite British drama, Downton Abbey, which nabbed 8.5 million viewers for its recent season finale. Although I still enjoyed the show this season, the series has lost some of its luster. It was a good - but not great - season (even with the attractive additions of Mary's two new suitors, Lord Tony Gillingham and Charles Blake). So now let's take a look back at the Best and the Worst of Season 4:

Best Sex: Edith and Mr. Gregson finally did the dirty deed - but it's too bad their happiness together didn't last long.

Worst Exit: Mr. Gregson mysteriously disappeared while in Germany to get a divorce from his institutionalized wife, leaving poor Edith alone and pregnant.

Worst Sex: Tom slept with the scheming Edna (Cora's lady's maid), who then tried to force him to marry her by claiming that she might be pregnant.

Best Exit: When her plot to become the next Mrs. Tom failed, Edna left Downton Abbey (I was relieved that she didn't become the new Miss O'Brien).

Best Storyline: Despite the fact that it was upsetting to see the lovely Anna suffer such a horrible fate, her rape by Lord Gillingham's evil valet, Mr. Green, did set up the season's best storyline of whether her husband, Bates, would ever learn the ugly truth - and what would happen once he did.

Characters Most in Need of a Good Storyline: After Thomas and Jimmy's groovy gay storyline last season, both of these characters barely had anything to do this year as the former just lurked around and bothered Miss Baxter (who replaced Edna as Cora's lady's maid) while the latter failed to get more than a kiss from Ivy.

Best-Kept Secret: Miss Baxter must have a sordid skeleton in her closet since Thomas used it to blackmail her into digging up dirt on everyone.

Least Favorite Character: Lady Rosmund (Lord Grantham's sister), who only made Edith's life even more miserable as the girl tried to deal with her pregnancy.

Most Missed Character: I missed Miss O'Brien much more than Matthew Crawley (whose death provided new storylines for Mary).

Favorite New Friendship Runner-Up: Mr. Molesley finally got a worthwhile storyline (after floundering around at various jobs all season) when he and Miss Baxter became friends.

Favorite New Friendship: Isobel Crawley and her admirer, Lord Merton (Mary's godfather).

Least Favorite New Friendship: I'm hoping that Tom doesn't end up with school teacher Sarah (I'd rather see him and Edith get together if Gregson never returns).

Best Prelude to a Possible Romance: Mary and Charles' muddy pig drama was entertaining to watch.

Most Boring Romance: I liked the character of jazz singer Jack Ross, but his romance with Rose was a dud (I just can't warm up to her annoying character).

Most Boring Love Triangle and Worst Storyline: Daisy pined away for Alfred, who only had eyes for the self-absorbed Ivy (fortunately, both Alfred and Ivy were written out of the series - him to The Ritz hotel as a chef and her to America as Harold's personal cook).

Best Love Triangle: Mary and her two suitors, Tony and Charles (they're both cute - and Julian Ovenden is a great singer - but I would choose Tom Cullen's Tony).

Best Couple: I have to give this to the Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley, whose amusing repartee is always a delight and who became somewhat closer during the former's bout of bronchitis.

Hottest Hunk: Allen Leech's Tom Branson - but Tom Cullen's Tony Gillingham is a close second (especially on the cover of attitude magazine).

Grooviest Guest Star Runner-Up: Michael Benz as Ethan, the valet of Cora's brother Harold, who developed a sweet (but sadly one-sided) crush on Daisy.

Grooviest Guest Star: Shirley MacLaine, of course, as Cora's mother Martha.

Best Episode Cliffhanger: The one that ended with Bates finally realizing that Green was the one who raped Anna.

Most Disappointing Resolution: I'm glad that Mr. Green died - he fell into the road and was hit by a bus - but I was very disappointed that we never got to see a confrontation between him and Bates (who obviously had something to do with his death).

Most Disappointing Season-Ending Cliffhanger: There wasn't one - unlike Seasons Two (Matthew's marriage proposal and Bates' murder conviction) and Three (Matthew's tragic death after the birth of his son). In fact, the entire last episode was underwhelming with too much time focused on Cora's disagreeable brother Harold and the scandalous letter involving the Prince of Wales.

Most Intriguing Storyline for Season 5: As much as I'm curious to know which man Mary chooses, I'm more interested to see what happens with Edith and Tim, the married farmer who will be raising her baby daughter.

Best Line from someone other than the Dowager Countess: "Get a wiggle on!" - Mrs. Patmore to Daisy (it made me laugh).

Best Line from the Dowager Countess (to Isobel Crawley): "I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara around the clock."

Season Grade: B+ (I will definitely be tuning in again when Downton Abbey returns to PBS next January for its fifth season, which I'm hoping will be worthy of a grade of "A")


Jon said...

I was rather hoping that Lord Gillingham and Mr Blake would get it together. In evening suits. But maybe that's just me? Jx

Marc said...

It's not just you, Jon. I would definitely tune in to see those two get it together!