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Downton Abbey: Everything seems to be hitting the rocks

atticus rose downton(Series 5, ep.8)  The episode featured a wedding, and who doesn’t love a wedding? Well, the bride’s mother and the groom’s father, for two, but that just added to the fun and made for an extremely awkward dinner party at the Crawleys’ London residence, as the families of Rose and Atticus apparently competed as to who could be the most offensive. I think Rose’s mother, Mrs Shrimpy (soon to be ex-Mrs Shrimpy) won that particular contest. The wedding itself was a tad low-key, though, but I suppose they hadn’t had long to arrange it because the happy couple only got engaged last week.

Thomas is now fully recovered from the side effects of his “gay cure” and had enough energy to join forces with temporary footman Andy in getting one over on Lady Violet’s scheming maid Denker.  This involved a visit to ‘The Velvet Violin,’ which sounds more like a euphemism than a gambling den.  Continue reading

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Downton Abbey: Oh, well played!

(Series 3, ep.8)  The annual House v Village cricket match was a hot topic in the final episode of the series, and who was chosen – or agreed – to play was a key indicator of who was in and who was out.

For most of the episode it looked like Thomas would be very much out. Out of Downton altogether, that is, and possibly even out of the country (India and America were mentioned at various points). But not out of the closet, because as far as most of the members of the household were concerned he was never in. This didn’t stop O’Brien from being able to whip young Jimmy into a frenzy of homophobic fury, leading him to demand that Thomas was let go without any references, otherwise he, Young Jimmy, would go to the police and tell them exactly what kind of man he was.

It was interesting that most of the other members of the household were fairly cool about Thomas’s sexuality. Even Lord Grantham, hardly a beacon of liberal thinking, was pretty comfortable with it, having spent his years at Eton apparently besieged by boys wanting to kiss him. I admit I spent the rest of the episode trying to imagine that and failing, but never mind. It was a testament to Rob James-Collier’s acting that Thomas finally became a sympathetic character – partly because we hopefully now live in more enlightened times, but largely because when things aren’t going Thomas’s way is when he shows his humanity and a grace that he lacks when he’s feeling smug and superior.   Continue reading

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