[personal profile] ravenclawwit
I wrote this long ass cracky/funny recap, but a word that it is my humorous take on the show. So if you can't stand for the show to be mercilessly mocked this is not for you. It's all in good fun though.:P

This will contain both words and images that are extremely spoiler-y as well. You have been warned.

Season 2 of our beloved Downton was a wild ride. We laughed, we cried, we burned effigies of
Sir Richard/Lavinia/Fake (or was he?) Patrick Crawley/Jane/Julian Fellowes/etc.



What surprised me first was that we had jumped ahead again and we were right on the verge of Matthew and Lavinia's wedding. I don't know why this surprised me. Chalk it up to a logic fail on my part, because they've been making giant leaps through time all season, why would they stop now? I think I just had a script in my head of how this all would go, and it somehow didn't include Matthew and Lavinia being 24 hours away from their nuptials of doom. So it goes.

Matthew comes limping in among the discussion of where they're going to put the loot wedding presents, and weirdly, both Mary and Lavinia float towards him. Mary can't seem to accept the idea that Matthew is not her boyfriend. But Lavinia remains ever saintlike (which is why she is both awesome and maddening) and acts as if it's perfectly normal for her fiance's ex to appear at his side every time he enters a room. Matthew complains, illogically, that after having his spine nearly cleaved in two and being confined to a sort of wicker basket with wheels for months, this darn stick is so very annoying. Mary looks bored. Lavinia says something twee about not being too hard on himself, and keep a stiff upper lip and other obnoxious twaddle, and Mary rolls her eyes and tells Matthew that he has three days to practice, which is her tactful way of telling him to quit whining. Never say die, she says. The part of the prophet will be played by Lady Mary Crawley this evening. "Blah, blah, hackneyed in-law joke, blah", closes out the scene.

We sit through a couple of boring scenes where we get the play by play: the Bryants are coming back, Carson inexplicably hates Ethel, Branson is going to storm the castle tonight, and the Crawley sisters really need to pop on down to London and buy some new clothes.

The next scene of note is Thomas, looking pale and tragic and begging Carson to let him stay just a little while longer, since he lost all his money in the Great Plaster Dust Grocery Caper of 1919. But to no avail. We end with Thomas looking almost humbled, which is not a good look on him at all.



Next is the ritual drawing room scene, except Branson ambles in as if he owns the place with one of those horrible new sport coats, and oddly it's Robert who comes closer to fainting than Violet.

Strangely just as Violet starts to get really fun with her speeches we cut away to the kitchens where Daisy is being annoyingly guilty, yet again, for doing the absolute right thing and giving a poor dying young man his last wish. I'm beginning to believe that Daisy actually murders small children in her off hours, because this much of a guilt complex has to come from somewhere.



Back to the drawing room. Robert is apoplectic, Violet is trying to get to the brass tacks, and Cora looks as if she has just done Quaaludes. Everyone else pretends their shoes are oh so interesting. Branson says just about everything he can to drive Robert further into a rage, because this thing with Sybil is not just about love, it's a political protest, every bit as pointed as dumping manure soup on the head of a general. He leaves the room just as Robert decides the thrashing should begin. Clever lad. As he says, he's a socialist, not a lunatic.

Next we cut to another scene with Mrs. Hughes and Ethel which seems more or less exactly like every other scene between them this season. Then we have a scene with O'Brien and Thomas, sexily and ominously giving himself cancer, when Branson comes in and makes everyone feel awkward. Carson comes in and indignantly asks Branson if he has no shame, Carson having no shame at all himself about being an obnoxiously self righteous class betrayer. Branson comports himself with the dignity of an Earl. It's all very inspiring.

Next we have another delightful, "Granny meets modern technology" scene, where she skirts around a gramophone as if it were a lion in its den. She goes in to give a pep talk to Edith, who is tragically underused in this episode. They talk about Lavinia and how a heavy necklace would just flatten her and laugh because jokes about Lavinia dying are hilarious, since there's no danger of it ever actually happening, ever. They talk about Sybil and Branson and Violet pronounces "misalliance" like a French word. Edith has accepted her lot as an old maid, but Granny tells her not to buy any cats just yet, because it's oh so lowbrow.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Sybil is enduring the torture of her father actually speaking to her. It appears as if she hasn't been to sleep, which is actually quite effective, or so they say at Guantanamo Bay. Violet comes in and Sybil looks as close to violence as I've ever seen her. Robert makes some more threats about things she could care less about. He really is useless.

After Carson falls ill, we go upstairs to see Cora looking pretty bad herself, which everyone pretty much ignores. Except for faithful O'Brien but she seems to be under the impression that there's a sudden heatwave or that Lady Grantham is having the vapors. Despite the fact that she's not feeling well, Cora attempts to acquaint Robert with the realities of his youngest child's personality, but since he takes everything she says as a personal affront now, it doesn't do much good.



Downstairs, Anna is trying to explain to Mosely the complex ritual of how to keep the quality liquored up,and they're playing that humorous staccato music in the background which tells us this is all going to get fucked sideways before long.

Cora almost falls down the stairs, Mrs. Patmore is being impertinent to Thomas in the kitchen, and Mr. Mosely is sampling the wares, ostensibly so he can present only the best wine to his patrons, but I think he's figured out that the only way to get through a Julian Fellowes melodrama is three sheets to the wind.

The most awkward dinner ever begins. Sybil and her father spar over the claret, while Mary and Edith beg her with their eyes not to tattle on their part in the matter. Violet seems to be enjoying all of this hugely. Isobel starts to put her oar in, (And really, isn't it amazing that she's kept her mouth shut all this time?) but Matthew shuts her down, for the sanity and health of all. Mosely almost faints into Matthew's first course, and then Cora, with a withering look at Mosely, gives us all a lesson in "falling ill with class and style".

Anna corners Bates in the hall and demands that he put a ring on it. Jane comes in and she and Anna run upstairs to find Mosely looking green. Anna takes over for him and leads us into the dining room where we see that Lavinia too looks ill. My, Spanish flu travels fast. Robert makes an utterly tasteless and horrifying joke about ninepins. Violet tells a lovely story about Cholera. To say that dinner has been an unsuccessful function is an understatement.



Dr. Clarkson comes to see the invalids, and says that they'll need nursing, to which Robert responds, "All my daughters are professionals." I stare blankly before it dawns on me that he means professional nurses, not the other kind. And yet, Mrs. Hughes smiles knowingly at Robert. Hmm.

Dr. Clarkson prescribes Aspirin and a milkshake (Just when will these people demand to see his medical degree, I ask you?), and then turns to go see to Carson. Isobel vows to come along, and he looks like he's barely containing the urge to throttle her. Which is both funny and sad because I sort of ship them.



Matthew is playing the 1919 version of emo music downstairs, and Mary watches him from above. She goes down and they start to dance. Mary asks him if he'll be alright without his stick, and he says that she is his stick. If only Dr. Freud were here. Mary says that they were a show that flopped and oh. This is going to be one of those scenes. It's not a romantic scene like we all thought. It's a goodbye scene. They kiss but it doesn't feel like the beginning of something; it feels like the end. To drive this home, Lavinia suddenly appears. Because although she was too sick to sit perfectly still at the dinner table, she managed three flights of stairs just fine. Lavinia is nothing if not capable. It'll be written on her headstone.

Lavinia acts totally natural, so we wonder what she saw. Matthew and Mary look like cats with canaries in their mouths so we don't know how this escapes her but we'll chalk it up to the fever that's slowly ravaging her body. Then Matthew asks her how she's doing and she says he should never let her be a nuisance, never let her get in the way. Oh shit. She totally knows.

Downstairs, O'Brien is vowing to stay by her Lady's side, and Dr. Clarkson sniffs Mosely's hair. For a minute I think he's going to ask Mosely if he uses apple shampoo, but no, apparently this is how he tells if people are drunk or really sick. I have a feeling Dr. Clarkson used to sell tonics in a traveling circus.

Upstairs, Robert is wandering around in his fancy bathrobe, waiting for Bates to come do things that by all rights every grown up should be able to do for themselves. Jane appears, acting as if she just happened to be there, but it's more like she popped out of a linen closet down the hall. She tells him that Freddie got into the school thanks to Lord Moneybags Grantham's meddling. Robert says that's wonderful, but sounds like he's about to go hang himself in the nearest closet. Jane is all, wow, you're a total drag dude, and Robert apologizes for being depressed. Jane pretends to care about his white rich guy problems, and Robert gets really turned on. He takes her hand and leads her into his bedchamber.

Carson is being tucked into bed by Mrs. Hughes, all the while insisting that he's perfectly well even though he looks like death warmed over. Carson suggests they hire Mosely full time until he gets better and Mrs. Hughes says she'd rather put a railroad spike through her left eye.



Upstairs Robert and Jane are kissing passionately when Bates arrives to tuck Robert in. Jane hides behind the door in mortal terror as if Bates is a puritan preacher, there to slap a scarlet A on her chest. The interruption appears to shake Robert to some of his senses, and he says that this isn't fair, to anyone. We're supposed to think he means Jane or his wife, but honestly I think he means Bates. How can poor Bates fulfill his destiny as a manservant if Jane is always hiding behind doors? We realize during this scene that Robert is actually in love with Jane? Or at least really cares about her. So this is actually a little sad instead of wholly infuriating.

Meanwhile Robert's wife is basically dying down the hall. O'Brien is right next to her, continually keeping her face nice and moist. Mary tells Mrs. Hughes that Sir Richard is coming down to "help". Because what's more helpful than having another person to wait on and feed while the entire house is ill?

Robert walks down to the Grantham Arms for a pint and to have another go at Branson. He's about as insulting and arrogant as rich aristocrats can be, and Branson is beautifully honorable and indignant. Robert commands Branson to leave town. Can he actually do that? Branson seems to think so but he says Sybil will be coming with him if he does.

The minute Robert walks into the door back at Downton, Isobel helpfully details to him all the bad things that are happening today. Cora is deathly ill, and Sir Richard is popping by for a visit. Mrs. Hughes informs him that they are down two more maids, so he should expect his pudding to be late in the next few days. He doesn't care about any of the servants except Jane. Mrs. Hughes smiles frigidly as she walks away. Edith explains that all the people milling about are caterers for the wedding. Robert rolls his eyes and goes upstairs.

Downstairs, Mrs. Hughes has given up on the idea that Thomas doesn't work there anymore. He's being uncharacteristically obliging. Homelessness can do that to people.

Isobel tells Lavinia and Matthew that they have to postpone the wedding unless they want to puke all the way up the aisle. As she leaves, Matthew tells his mother how nice it is that Lavinia doesn't actually seem sick even though she's confined herself to bed and is making everyone wait on her. Isobel says she's been lucky, which of course means she's done for.



Down the hall, Cora is gasping for air and Robert is pissed because nobody consulted him on the matter, being far too busy trying to keep her alive. Sybil asks where he's been and he can't decide whether to tell her that he's been screwing the maid or that he's been trying to pay Branson to abandon her. He tells her he's been taking a constitutional instead. O'Brien comes in to hose down Lady Grantham again and Sybil pleads with her father to make her go away. But O'Brien shall not be moved.

Bates tells Anna that he quite likes being dominated, and that he did as she said and got the marriage license and they can get married on Friday, provided they're all still alive. Ethel shows up with the baby and Jane says the Bryants are back.

Mrs. Hughes goes up to see Mrs. Churchmouse and her husband, Mr. Rude McRudepants. Ethel comes in and Mrs. Bryant is touchingly nice and eager to be the baby's Gran. Her husband is a classless asshole of the first order.

Downstairs, O'Brien explains the concept of death to Daisy, the widow. Mrs. Patmore tries to comfort O'Brien but utterly fails.



The Bryants want to buy Ethel's baby. They'll give him nice clothes, a fine education, and a sanitized origin story until he's about 21, at which point they'll ruin his life forever by telling him his whole life was a lie. Mr. Mustachioed Douchebang the III says "bastard" about 25 times.

Upstairs, Cora is deliriously thanking O'Brien for always being such a devoted sycophant. O'Brien tries to say she's sorry about the time she terminated Cora's pregnancy with a mislaid bar of soap. Before she can get to it, Robert comes in and also thanks her. She decides to let well enough alone.



Matthew comes back in to see Lavinia, and Isobel leaves after deciding that the chance of them having sex is functionally nil. Lavinia angelically tells Matthew that she's not angry at him for snogging Mary at the school dance. In fact, she would feel like a horrible awful horrible person if she held him to his engagement when he clearly likes Mary better than her. Also she loves him more than her life, but she's not good enough for him. She's ordinary, little, chunky jewelry is lost on her. And when she saw Mary and he together, even she kind of shipped it. But she does have some self esteem; she thinks she's a way better nursemaid than Mary. Matthew says that this is pointless since Mary is engaged to someone else, because Matthew always says just the right thing. Lavinia says she has to go die now, k thanx bye.

Sir Richard finally shows up after threatening to do so for the first 2/3 of the episode. He pointlessly offers to drive people around, but Mary would rather he murder Branson. Mary susses out that he only came because he was afraid Mary and Matthew would be having all the sex over Lavinia's sickbed. Just as it's getting heated, Thomas opens the door as loudly as he can, looking inexplicably proud of himself.

In the kitchens, Thomas tells everyone that Sir Richard is making himself useful by daring to ask for tea. Mrs. Hughes looks like she could kick a puppy. Thomas volunteers to do it and even to take some up to Carson and I momentarily wonder if he's going to poison Carson's tea.

Daisy is still guilty so she's like, "Screw William's poor old lonely father, my whole life is a lie!". Life can be so hard for the truly ethical among us.

Anna is in Mary's room when Mary comes in for a handkerchief. Anna says, "This is awkward but I really need Friday off to get hitched, even if your mother is on her way out of this world". Mary says it's fine, she'll just pretend she's a maid and cover for her. Nobody will even notice. Edith comes in to say that Lady Grantham is worse.

She is worse. Apparently her brain is actually leaking out of her nose. But no, Dr. Clarkson says it's just a nosebleed, he just uses words like hemorrhage and mucous membranes so that everyone will lose their shit. He also says that if she lives through the night she'll be alive or something equally stupid. Mary takes him to see Carson before Lord Grantham punches him in the face.

In Carson's room, Dr. Clarkson says Lavinia wasn't too bad the last time he checked on her two days ago and he'll see her absolutely last so she has a chance to get good and sick before aiding her in any way. And then he leaves. Pod!Thomas comes in, looking only too happy to be waiting hand and foot on his former boss, scaring the living shit out of Mary and Carson in the process. Carson and Mary make up for their little spat. Mary says Carson should be careful of Thomas, because she thinks he might be an alien. Then she hands Carson the tray of food and drink that Pod!Thomas just prepared and tells him to eat up.



In the dining room a few people are awkwardly eating, and Mary notices that Thomas looks like a footman again. He explains that he conveniently found his liver livery in a cupboard so he just put them on. He smiles cheerfully at her and she briefly considers plunging the fork she's holding through his jugular to see what color his blood is.

Mary tries to sit next to Matthew and Sir Richard freaks out and screams, "I SAVED YOU A PLACE UNGRATEFUL HOAR". At least it feels like that because everyone else is so silent. Sybil rushes in and tells them that Lavinia is so...*trails off* So what? So boring? So little? So ordinary?



No. Turns out Lavinia is so about to die. Matthew doesn't understand. She was fine just awhile ago when she was telling him that breaking her heart was just fine, really. Dr. Clarkson says it's a weird disease with sudden changes, which Matthew interprets as, "You killed her with your snogging and waltzing ways". Lavinia tells Matthew it's better this way, he won't have to dump her, and she wants him to be happy, which is odd since everything she just said basically ensures that he will never be happy again. Matthew tells her that he can't be happy without her and everybody else feels too awkward to point out to him that she's already dead and she can't hear him.

We see Matthew several days later, walking to Downton wearing a black armband. He looks like a vampire. He arrives to find the servants taking down the wedding decorations and asks them what they're doing. Robert sees him and says he couldn't be more sorry. He tells Matthew that Cora is doing much better, and that all the funeral arrangements have been taking care of, so Matthew can't even look forward to that to take the edge off. He mentions Mary and Matthew looks as if he wants to crawl out of his own translucent white skin.

Carson is still in bed, and he's sad about Lavinia, even though he's also glad she's not there anymore. He's a complicated man.



Robert is glad to see Cora looking better, but she doesn't quite believe him. She says there's nothing like leaning over the side of your bed, puking up everything you ever ate to make a wife realize that she's been neglecting her man.

Ethel shows up to tell Mrs. Hughes that she's keeping her baby, because life is short, especially when you have kids.

Anna and Bates go to the hall of a thousand windows to get married in front of a bored looking clerk and a few perfect strangers.

Robert is in the library when Jane shows up. She tells him she's truly glad that Lady Grantham is better, in the same tone that one would say they are truly glad they have a bunion on their foot. She says she's given her notice and Robert gives her the name of his "fixer". She looks insulted for a moment until he says that the money is for Freddie to give him a start in life. Uh-huh. She asks him if he'll be happy and he finally realizes that if he's not it's his own damn fault.

Mary can't believe that Anna and Bates finally got married. Just to be sure it takes, Mary has arranged a sex dungeon honeymoon suite for the newlyweds. There are enough candles to burn the entire house down, in case it doesn't work out.



Carson goes to check on the silver and finds Pod!Thomas already there, pawing through it. Carson warily thanks Thomas for being so bizarrely helpful in the last few days, and Thomas leers at him and says he's sure Carson will make it up to him sometime.

Jane collects her last paycheck from Mrs. Hughes and it's obvious that Mrs. Hughes knew something was up with Jane and Lord Grantham. She's a sly one.

Anna and Bates are in bed, having just had whatever passed for great sex in 1919. They both look a little unsure about it. Anna says that no matter what horrible distressing things may happen in the very very near future, at least they'll have each other. Nothing's gonna stop them now.

The funeral is extremely somber, with horrible dirge-like music that makes me want to find a convenient implement to plunge into my own carotid artery. Oh happy dagger. We find out that Lavinia's middle name was Catherine and I spend the next few minutes thinking she looked way more like a Catherine than a Lavinia.

Daisy sees William's father at his grave, so she finally has an ounce of pity and goes and talks to him.



Matthew tells Mary his theory that they co-murdered Lavinia with their forbidden love for one another, and that it is all over and they are cursed forever more. Somewhere, Lavinia is either weeping angelic tears or cackling with insane laughter.

Robert sees Branson at the funeral and demands to know what he's doing there, all dressed in black and acting so serious. Branson stares at him and says, "It's a funeral tho". Sybil wishes she and her father could have parted as friends. Robert says since he can't stop them they shouldn't argue. Which is what they've been saying for the past week. He gives them his blessing but tells Branson if he mistreats his little girl, he'll send his animal familiars after him. Branson says he expected as much since Lord Grantham is the greatest wizard who ever lived. Robert also promises to give them some money, but not that much. Let's not kid ourselves, it'll be a lot. Sybil and Branson walk off hand in hand.

Violet asks Robert if he gave in. She then begins to plan the elaborate prank she's going to pull on the entire English aristocracy by making Branson an esteemed journalist/Prime Minister/next in line for the throne.

Back at Downton the servants arrive home, where two extraordinarily well dressed cops are there to arrest Bates for murdering his ex. They lead him away in handcuffs while Anna looks on and the rest of the staff wonders what the hell just happened. Roll credits.
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ravenclawwit

September 2012

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