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A very busy night at Downton Abbey

By Kathleen Edgecomb and Marisa Nadolny

Publication: theday.com

Published January 06. 2014 11:00AM   Updated January 08. 2014 6:01PM

My dearest Kathleen,

How lovely it is to once again correspond with you. I've missed these conversations!

Now, before we get down to brass tacks, can I just begin by commenting on the great clothes we saw in last night's season premiere? From Cousin Rose's oh-so-on-trend sweater jacket when she goes flitting into the village, to Edith's spectacular red ensemble at the "literary friends" party, I'm just amazed at how well Team Downton's wardrobe people do their thing (and did you know they also do the production on NBC's "Dracula," which is equally as gorgeous as "Downton"?) And how about Edith's blue dress with the beaded V-neck thingy for dinner at the Criterion? Seems like this season will be Edith's time to shine (although, even Lady Mary's mourning clothes are beautifully elegant and mod). Still, I loved how Edith and her fellow discussed how "wild" it was that a woman and a man could be seen out at dinner, having drinks. And who knew Cora was such a stickler for form (re: Edith's note that Mama advised the girls to never eat in public!). Gotta love that.

Wildly,

Marisa

***

My Dear Miss Nadolny,

Saw Lady Mary Sunday night, poor thing, she's still wearing black and mourning the tragic death of her husband. It's been six months now since Matthew was killed in a automobile crash, of all things. I mean how many of those contraptions were on the road? She doesn't seem too interested in her darling son, George, who has an old name for such a little thing. Nanny West is taking care of George and baby Sybbie, but gracious she runs a tight nursery. She wouldn't even let Mrs. Crawley, George's own grandmother, in to to see him. And to think it's the grandmother's job to interfere!

But no matter, Countess Cora overheard Nanny speaking harshly to Sybbie, so she's no longer employed at Downton. And I guess, the poor gentlewomen will have to take care of their own babies for a while. Maybe Lady Mary will come around. As her grandmother the Dowager told her, "It's time to chose death or life."

Have to run. Will write again, when I can.

Sincerely,

Miss Kathleen

***

Lady K,

It was very weird to see Nanny bring the kids into the sitting room, as though the parents had an appointment with them. Did Baby George and Sybbie write first and ask if they could have a visit? Sheesh...and while it was just a tad convenient that Cora overheard mean old Nanny just as she was berating a 2-year-old, I'm OK with it. Didn't like Nanny West one bit. Perhaps this is why I enjoy Thomas so much — his vendettas against power-femmes in the house are fabulous and usually they sort of deserve it anyway. Besides, he needs someone new to torment, now that O'Brien up and skipped town. (I admit, I thought it was Anna at first, leaving "like a thief in the night," which would've been bizarre...but interesting!)

Speaking of power-femmes, I think last night's episode showcased what we all love some much about Violet the Dowager. She seems to be letting fly all the more, but with a warmth that wasn't there before. She stuck up for Lady Mary as the proper heir to the estate (despite her own aversion to non-traditional things); she tried to help Mosely; she was actually NICE to Isobel; and she told off Lord G. a few times most exquisitely.

And seriously, the whole issue of inheritance makes me mental, but, indeed, it was the law. The bigger question is, will Lord G. make the leap into modern time with everyone else, or will he continue to be a total prat about Mary's role at Downton?

Lovies,

M.

***

Dear Miss M,

Full disclosure: I know a guy who has connections in the UK and access to the past six months at Downton, so I know a few things that have yet to be revealed. So I must say, I was a little disappointed in all the running around and new characters coming and going and storylines being set up, and not one mention of the things I know will come to pass. It's going to get better.

I thought it was all a bit overwhelming trying to keep up. For heaven's sake, we know Anna and Mr.Bates are in love. Did he have to go through such contortions — finding a way to give old Molesley some cash — to prove his love? And young Lady Rose looking to have a good time with common folk — a prince and the pauper theme? And Valentine's Day with poor Daisy. Her love letter was from Mrs. Patmore and it took her days to figure it out. And the Dickens plotline involving, gasp, a poor house and Mr. Carson's past.

I do think Lady Edith saved the day with her trips to London and trysts with the married newsman. And kissing in a public restaurant? Oh, the world is changing. And the hemlines are getting shorter

Oh, and I did love Mosely and the other butler arguing. They hardly moved their lips as the hissed at one another. And now I know about butler sabotage. Oh, that serving dish was hot!

Yours,

Kathleen

***

Mdme. K,

I'm so glad you brought up the Rose ruse. I mean, if she was going to put a stop to it anyway, she might as well have gone to see Sam in the yard in her evening dress (which, PS, was another gorgeous piece) — why don the maid's uniform? Ah, she's young, I suppose, but you'd think Anna would have more sense.

And on the subject of Anna, I'm really annoyed about this little twist with Edna and the torn blouse. THAT seemed like a long way to go to explain away some torn fabric — get Thomas to point the vague finger at Anna? Why Anna? Pullease. That whole bit was pure soap opera right there. And we are agreed that Bates's ploy to get a loan to Mosely was a bit much. cripes, he should've drafted a pretend lottery winning notice if he was going to go that far!

Regarding Edith and her blossoming love affair, I loved how when she arrived late to dinner due to a train delay, the writers, through Edit, very elegantly let us viewers know that there was no delayed train at all. Well, unless the train was delayed at the publisher's house...still, I worry about this match. Yes, it all seems to be working out — and yes, I did think it was sweet that EDITH thought it was sweet that her man would move to Germany for a divorce — but something just seems off to me. Since when do things work out for Edith? What do you think?

Cheers,

M.

***

Here's my take on Edith. In the "Picture of Dorian Gray," Gray finds his true love, but his caddish friend says she needs to be tested. He tells Gray to ask her to stay the night, and when she protests, Gray should turn cold toward her. If she doesn't change her mind, she's the one. But if she gives in and stays the night — well, you can see where this is going.

I got that sense when here divorcee kept trying to convince here to stay. I do like Edith a lot and I hope things work out, but I agree with Lord Grantham — she can do better.

My favorite line of the night — "Just because you're an old widow doesn't mean you should eat off a tray."

Off for a cuppa ...

k

***

My dear, you are wise, indeed. There is so much more ground to cover, but I'm woozy at the prospect of breaking down all the other story lines — how about Branson becoming one of the family? Will Mrs. Patmore learn to love her stand mixer? Is there or is there not a thing between Mrs. Hughes and Carson? And what will we do with cousin Rose? I, too, need a cuppa, and must dash. I'm very excited for the next episode, and I look forward to our next correspondence.

TTFN,

M.

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