Live-Blog the Fourth! "Downton Abbey"

Here we all are for the last — *snifsnif* — installment of the wonder, beauty, and majesty that is Downton Abbey. (Have I been watching too much MST3K the last few days? Why, yes, yes, I have.)

With us here this evening we have Michael J. Nelson, Tom S—wait, wait. Sorry, folks, sorry. Minor confusion there.
We have Anna (A) of The Feminist Librarian, Minerva (M) of Hypomnemata, and me (H) of here!
Pre-episode conversation topics this evening include: Sherlock fanfic, M’s grad classes, health care policy, and…Sherlock fanfic. 🙂 And glancing up at the Aretha Franklin R&B special and goggling at 1970s clothes. And horror at Twitter commentary on picture of a pregnant Natalie Portman: apparently she is no longer the “thinspiration” for these girls. I’m sure she’s heartbroken. O_o Lord love the folks who came back with, “Idiots. She’s pregnant.” And chatting about Gavin and Stacey and perception of body image.
9.01: Laura, Laura. Change is our theme this week. Change is apparently faster now than it used to be. A: Uh — uh — uh — H: Seconded. Uh–uh.
9.02: H: It still is a lovely opening sequence though. A: Yes. M: I was wrong about Elizabeth McGovern, by the way. She is American. A: Her accent sounds like she’s trying so hard!
9.03: A: Suffrage rally, must be. H: There’s more men… A: But he said about votes for women… H: Have you met Lloyd George?
9.04: [Sybil and chauffeur] A: I like her hat. M: I like his gloves. 
9.04: [Thomas and Bates] A: These two people believe in politics! All the time! [O’B and Thomas]
9.05: [Lord and Bates] A: Uh — uh — your daughter. H: No-one! Oh, Bates…
9.06: [family dinner] H: Ohhh… A: Oh, god, man. M: She’s canvassing for a husband! [Maggie Smith on husbands] M: Fuck! A: Wow! Maggie, your smarter than that! You never let your husband tell you your opinions! M: Maybe her husband was silent. [General laughter]
9.07: [Daisy and Thomas] H: Are they supposed to be sweet! A: ‘Cause they’re just creepy. [laughter at Maggie Smith expression]
9.08: [Carson and Ladyship] A: Oh. [as realisation dawns] M: Letters were so tiny.
9.09: [Ladyship] A: Good point. 
9.10: [Thomas and O’Brien] A: Again, why? [Lord and Lady] M: She sounds simpering there… A: Way to write the middle daughter off! H: That was what the middle daughter got.
9.11: [Carson and Thomas] M: How can he have any credibility left? H: Maybe he doesn’t. [faces being pulled at re-advent of Sir Antony] M: She needs to reintegrate all of these personalities! H: I like her coat. Oh…and he thinks that’s a win. A: Oh….that was really sad. M: *groan*
9.12: [Sir Antony and Edith] H: This is very boring.
9.13: [O’Brien, Daisy, Thomas, and Carson] A: And they’ve got whatshername in to back them up… H: Of course they do. M: *sigh* A: Carson is smarter than this. I hope he hangs them. H: Literally? A: No, not literally. I want to see them hoist with their own petard!
9.14: [Sybil and Lord] A: What a lovely skirt. M: Yes. H: And our short scene is over! A: Yeah, this is a bunch of short scenes! [Mary and Matthew] M: I think this is that scene… *pulls face* A: That was… M: That was…that was a good line. Not so bad. A: It was a good ‘lets start again’ kind of…
9.16: [Sybil] A: Someone’s got something up her sleeve! M: Someone’s not going to a charity. [Lady and Maggie Smith] M: This is that scene! A: The voice cracks… [as Maggie Smith rationalizes house geography] H: It’s the delivery… M: It’s fantastic… A: I could watch that scene over and over for hours. M: She’s all about practicalities. A: Well, it’s about image, right? Whatever you do is okay so long as society doesn’t find out. M: I wonder if Grandma’s going to back Mary so much now.
9.18: [Anna and Bates, ‘I’m not sure the world is listening.’] A: Good point. [William and Daisy] A: That’s…a stunned look. M: I’m surprised people can’t read Daisy like a book!
9.19: [chauffeur and Sybil] M: Yeah, but he loses his job, honey… [Sir Antony] M: Edith. [and so it goes.] A: You don’t want him, honey… H: It doesn’t matter… M: Although, to be honest, I’m a big devil’s advocate here: who knows what Edith wants? Maybe she’d be happy with a comfortable life. I mean, not comfortable, but not the grand passion Mary seems to want.
9.21: [Sybil at election] H: 1913…I’m trying to remember. A: Yeah, you know more about this than me… H: I’m trying to remember. There are some really contested, really violent elections. Oh, like this…[as men come out with bottles; as Matthew and Sybil go down] H: That wasn’t your brightest move, was it sunshine!
9.22: [Harriet Jones and Sybil] H: Go, Harriet. [Matthew and Sybil] H: Oh, well, there’s that, then. Oh, poor old Mary. 
9.23: [Daisy w/housekeeper and Carson] General awed silence. H: That’s a moral leap! A: It is. M: Daisy was workin’ hard on that. A: It took her awhile! But she got there!
9.24: [as Branson asks after Sybil] H: And Lady Mary’s goin’, “My sister has beerflavored nipples, what the fuck!” A: I’d be really disappointed if this was what Mary’s story turned into: slept with a Turk, turned into failure. 
9.25: [Matthew by fireplace] H: And Matthew’s like, “am I here, should I go…” A: The mother needed reviving? How so, exactly?
9.25: [servants] H/A/M: The silent enjoyment of humiliation. H: Oh, bugger
9.26: [Mary and Matthew at dinner] H: Okay, that was… M: Pick a personality, honey! A: Yeah…
9.27: [Bates and Carson] H: Is Bates going to be all confessional with no need? Yes, yes, he is. A: Is this why he isn’t free to marry? H: It shouldn’t make any difference… A: Canny housekeeper! Oh god! Jesus, man! M: Get off the fucking cross! A: Indeed! Carson!
9.28: [Mary and Matthew] A: He’s looking a little stunned. M: He’s like, which personality is this? Their hands are very close together…He said “Don’t play with me!” H: Are you sure about that? M: Ooohh… [‘pay no attention to the things i say’] A: But pay attention to this? Don’t listen to me but fuck me?
9.30: [Bates and Anna] A & M: Ohhhh… H: Damn it. [general cheering at peck] H: *cheering* M: There was touch! there was touch! A: Yes, yes, yes… M: I mean, there was no tongues…
9.31: [Lady and Mary] M: There was some smexin’… [‘what did you put in them’] General laughter. [‘what we want doesn’t matter’] H: Rubbish! A: You’ve been saying it does for the last year. M: One of my personalities does… H: Oh, rabbits… A: *sigh* general baaing noises. M: Fucking barf, lady. 
9.33: [Lord, Lady and Mary] M: That was….awesome. A: *laughter* I love the fact that the daughter is like sitting there and comments on it. Like “Everyone knows you’re doing it with mom…” H: “…and that’s just tacky!”
9.33: [Mary and William] M: What…what was that? H: She’s trying to be sweet to everyone? ’cause she’s going to get laid?
9.34: [Lady and Maggie Smith] A: With my awkward cane! [‘the strength…mentally or physically..’] H: Oh, Maggie. Yes, you could. A: She’s so fixated on this — the carrying of the corpse. [and then the delightful suggestion of assassination!]
9.35: [‘she reads too many novels] M: Laughter. A: Literature is the downfall of all young ladies. [‘an Italian who isn’t too picky’] *laughter*
9.36: [‘Mary is family’] M: Ah. [Lord and Lady enter] M: What is she wearing? [‘the murder of the Austrian archduke’] H: There’s that. 
9.37: [Rosamund and Mary] H: Hey! It’s! *smacks A’s leg repeatedly* It’s Mrs. Bane! 
The muffin on the left isn’t in Downton. Mrs. Wormwood,
on the right, is. Mary’s probably lucky to have escaped.
9.38: [Lady’s pregnancy: “i don’t understand what we’ve done differently”] *hysterical laughter* A: It’ll be a son — it’ll be a son. M: Either that or it’s…cancer. H: Oh, you miserable thing. M: I’m sorry! A: I did think of that. But they would be able to tell…yes? H: Not necessarily. [‘the child will be healthy?’] M: Well…
9.40: [Mr Napier] M: Uh… A: Hah! H: Gosh, really? M: *general looks of confusion and bafflement* M: ooohh. [Napier disclaiming gossip] H: That’s kind of…nice? A: Ah…it was Edith. H: Yeah, not so much with the hard to believe.
9.44: [Mrs Byrd] M: *wicked laughter*
9.45: [Mary and Rosamund] A: Might be more scope? Than what she currently has?
9.46: [Mary’s arrival at home] A: Aha…that will be delightful. [as Maggie Smith outlines men of principle] A & H: Yes, she has a point. 
9.48: [servants chat about war] A: He’ll be off [William], first to go. Bates won’t be able to go, because of his leg. And the lord is too old. And Carson is too old. Everyone else…is fair game. 
9.49: [general laughter as cook asks permission to sit as if in presence of royalty]
9.50: [Mary and Matthew] H: Good point. 
9.51: [Anna and Bates] H: Good for you, Anna. [housekeeper goes off to ref cooks] A: She needs a whistle. And those cards…the soccer cards. M: Bates is being all — let me sacrifice myself! 
9.52: [Lord and Lady and O’Brien] M: Oohhh…. 
9.53: [Sir Antony and Edith] M: Ooh…. H: And Carson pronounces ‘telephone’ to rhyme with ‘scum.’ 
9.54: [admitting doctor] H: Right then. Mr Sympathy and Good Humor. A: The era of tell the patient as little as possible. M: The era of informed consent what? As I like to say, your uterus makes you stupid! You couldn’t possibly understand.
9.55: [huge gold statue] H: Fuckin’ hell… A: Ohhh…. H: Are you going to go see the Brigadier? [as Daisy scrubs soap into soup] M: She’s sabotaging them! H: *claps hands* A: No-one told them? H: Anna would have told them!
9.56: [Edith and Mary] H: And here we go. H/A/M: Whoa! M: Yeah, yeah…them’s be fightin’ words. 
9.58: [Maggie Smith and Harriet Jones] A: I”m surprised she knows who HG Wells is! M: This shot… A: This really sums up the entire film. [‘put that in your pipe and smoke it’] H/A/M: laughter, applause. H: Look at Carson’s face!
9.59: [servants dinner] H: Oh, god, wrong soup. 
10.00: [Daisy crying] A: Oh, grow up… [admission of crime not committed yet w/other soup] A: They’re all trying not to laugh! M: She’s daft but she’s honest.
10.02: [Lord turned away from library] M: The sigh of the longsuffering…
10.03: [discussion of phone] H: Given that they have phones stuffed in their back pockets… A: They’re having fun with it.
10.05: [Thomas talking to doctor] H: What? M: And buggering the patients… Oh. A: Is he trying to become essential staff? Even so… M: He’s trying not to be in the front lines. A: So would I!
10.06: [Bates and Carson arguing about Thomas; ‘i hate this’] H: I don’t! Make him go! A: A lot is hinging on this garden party. M: It’s going to be the big denoument. A: She’s got little spectacles. H: Whoa! A: You didn’t see? 
10.07: [cooks outnumbering housekeeper] A: Aha! Well done. H: That was neat. A: Mrs. Byrd knows what she’s up to. M: That was well-played. [Carson playing with phone] H: Maybe it will explode! M: He’s practicing! A: Yes, he is. M: He’s fucking adorable. 
10.08: [O’Brien listening to conversation] M: She’s going to act like an animal in a fucking corner. H: Yes, she is. [O’Brien kicks soap] H: She wants her to step on it. M: What the… A: I don’t understand these characters. M: I don’t either. [thump and squeak] M: She’ll have miscarried. H: Yup. [‘it was a boy’] M: Oh, Christ… oh, dude. H: Oh….
10.10: [Bates and Lord] M: And then…kiss like it’s going out of style. 
10.11: [Thomas chatting] A: I don’t get it… H: What the fuck… [William and Thomas] A: Oh! nice punch, man. H: I notice no-one’s really hurrying to stop them… M: No…except when…William starts to get it… [Carson pats William] H: Good on you, man… A: Yeah… H: We all wanted to do it!
10.13: [doctor and Thomas] M: Something happened. A: Are the two of them involved? M: I think that’s what just happened? A: That lilt? M: Yeah…
10.14: [cooks] A: Wow, they’re like best buddies. I think they’re making out. [phone rings] M: They’re like deer in headlights. [Sybil runs off with Branson] M: That’ll cause tongues to wag.
10.15: [Branson and Sybil are broken up] A: The two of them are so cute…
10.15: [Mary sees off Sir Antony] M/A: Ohhhhhh…. H: *applause* Nice. Nice. M: That was rough! A: Slide the knife in and twist it!
10.16: [Edith and Mary] M: They’re cutting off their noses to spite their faces! They’re still relations! A: They’re going to end up with each other.
10.17: [O’Brien and Lady] H: She’s going to end up in the lake. M: She’s going to sew stones in her clothes, that one. [Maggie Smith and O’Brien] M: Oh, yeah…bottom of a river. H: Oh, yeah. M: Oh, shit. A: Or maybe just a shotgun.
10.18: [Bates and Anna] A: Oh… H: Oh, fuck off…[as Bates tries to be self-sacrificing] A: *whimpering noises* M: Oh, you kill me. [Bates and Molesley] H/A/M: General laughter and approving expressions.
10.19: [Mary and Matthew] H: You walked right into that, sweetheart. [‘so i’ve ruined everything!’] H: Yeah, more or less. A: But she was trying to do what everyone expected of her… M: Shit. No-one’s ending up happy in this picture. A: As you say, the two sisters are going to end up side by side. 
10.20: [Rosamund and Maggie Smith] H: What do you expect, she’s an alien!
10.21: [Mary and Carson] A: Oh… M: Oh — oh — oh — ohhh….
10.21: [Harriet Jones and Maggie Smith] A: So the two women are going to end up conspiring… H: Well, the wanted the same thing from different ends… M: Can I just say in retrospect…Harriet Jones’ outfit…for the win!
10.22: [telegram] A: War? H: August. Could be. M: Yup. 
A: You called it. [to H.] The beginning of the war.