Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Fangirl's TV Recap: Downton Abbey 2x01

Pardon the little hiatus--just a few days!--in our posting schedule.  We're back!  And we'd like to introduce our new feature, "A Fangirl's TV Recap"!  Kicking off this new feature is admin/founder Jacqueline, who will be fangirling/recapping one of her favorite shows of all-time, Downton Abbey.  (Be forewarned of much fangirling, much fandom-related items, possible shipping, DEFINITE SPOILERS--so step carefully!, rambling, ranting, and other goodies.  Feel free to chime along in our comments!)

Downton, oh, Downton, how have we Americans been without your presence in our daily lives for almost a year?!  Julian Fellowes, torturing us with the ultimate cliffhanger--"we are now at war with Germany!"--at the end of season one, and then stabbing our lovely Mary/Matthew ship with Mary's complete idiocy (darn you, Mary!).  So when the second season of Downton finally rolled around last Sunday night, of course I was glued to the TV for two hours until eleven at night (and so what if I had my first day of the quarter the next day?).  Let me try to go as chronologically as I can with the episode, but you have been warned of any gushing and such.
  • WAR. ZOMG. It's much more in-your-face (season one saw very little violence, with the exception of William beating up Thomas on the kitchen floor) with some blood off-screen.  C'mon, I wasn't the only one who was like, "MATTHEW, DON'T DIE.  WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T. FREAKING. DIE."
  • Mary.  My gosh.  She holds so much in.  Listen to Carson!  Be honest with yourself!  Sheesh!
  • Thoughts on Lavinia: okay.  From the onset, just hearing about her makes it seems like she's the kind of gal you'd love to hate.  I certainly made the assumption that Zoe Boyle probably has a squeaky voice ("like the mice in Cinderella", as Joe Fox from You've Got Mail would say), but she doesn't, so you automatically can't get annoyed by her.  And then when Sir Richard Carlisle is being a total jerk and bullying her, you don't want to hate her anymore, and, in a way, you kind of want to say, "Lavinia, you're a really sweet girl, but can you stop ruining the Marthew ship?  Please?"
  • O'Brien!  I think everyone was determined to hate her at the beginning of Season Two, but, just like her hair, she's toned down quite a bit.  Even though she does once seem to be trying to ruin plans, she does so in a way that she thinks will be beneficial to the family--aww.  Was I the only one cheering her on when she was making fun of Ethel?
  • Oh, and speaking of Ethel...what a brat.  I want Gwen, the nicer ginger, back!  (okay, I don't mean that: Gwen, keep your secretary job, but Ethel's just a pain in the bum and you were so much sweeter than her)  Why do I feel like she's going to be a rascal later this season?  I'm hoping she has SOME redeeming qualities...she seemed pretty cut up by the end of the first ep.
  • And my all-time favorite ship, BAnna (not a misspelling)!  GAH.  Okay, so maybe they have kind of an age gap.  And maybe he's kind of married.  And maybe this is totally like "downstairs Jane Eyre".  But GAH.  They're so. freaking. adorable.  But of course, Vera has to come in and ruin everything. *grumble grumble*
  • Even though Molesley tries to ruin the BAnna ship a little, there's something so adorable about the fact that in ye olde days of King Edward, instead of texting a girl to say, "heyyyy gurllll u fineeee...wanna go out for some pizza?", they would lend each other books and ask each other to read them to share opinions about them with each other.  Sigh.  Just another reason I love the olden days and disapprove of the twenty-first century.
  • Thomas....hmm....I feel like he's softened up a bit like his partner-in-crime, O'Brien, no?  As my mom pointed out a few days ago, even though viewers may hate him initially because of all the things he did in Season One, he still has a very human side of him in this first ep that people that empathize with.  I just hope he doesn't try to ruin anything again this season.  It's bad enough having Vera Bates as a sort of unfortunately-completely-sane-and-thus-knows-what-she's-doing Bertha Rochester nee Mason, and that Sir Richard Carlisle...he certainly looks like he has something up his sleeve for this season. :-/
  • Daisy!  What in the world do you mean when you say you and William aren't sweethearts?  Dare you ruin the Dailliam ship?  GAH.  I'm so nervous for William now.  William!  Don't you die, either!
  • A part of me also really likes the Carson/Mrs Hughes ship.  A lot.  They're just so sweet!  GAH.
  • The whole Edith-at-the-farm plotline just felt like it threw the whole story off a bit.  It was kind of off-kilter.  It's highly uncharacteristic, I think--I don't know why it was added in, as it seems like a very haphazardly written portion just so that Little Miss Middle Child isn't so left out while Mary mopes and Sybil gets to be a nurse.  Was it to show that Edith isn't such a snob that she doesn't mind associating--and practically canoodling--with farmers?  I don't know.  Does Mrs Drake get to exact revenge on Edith for crushing on/kissing her husband?  Unless this plotline goes any farther in the second episode, I don't really see the whole point of adding it in. 0_o
  • Last but not least...Sybil!  Branson!  Much to many Sybson shippers' chagrin, I'm sure, Branson had only a few lines in the first episode, but I have know doubt that his role will grow.  On a second thought...shows tend to make their characters back-track a little: they forget a little forward action they took in the season finale, and then suddenly seem to forget that action in the next season's premiere and start practically from square one.  This formula--if you can even call it that, since it's so frustrating--just happened with Sybil.  She briefly holds Branson's hand in the first season's finale, and by the next season she's like, "OMG wut?  Branson, this totally can't work because I'm a lady and you're just a chaffeur.  And, like, I *may* have had a crush on a few other higher class dudes, but they all kind of died in the war."  Um, Sybil dear, don't forget you held Branson's hand in the season finale.  Apparently that's slipped out of your mind.
Nonetheless, as Masterpiece Classic hostess Laura Linney (love her!) said about this particular Downton ep, it was DEFINITELY worth the wait.  Can we expect another action/drama-packed second ep tonight at 9/8 C?  I sure hope so!  (And, tonight, the Golden Globes had better be as generous to our favorite series as they were during the Emmys!)

Downtonians, what do you think?  Any predictions?  Favorite ships?  Spoilers are allowed in comments (so be forewarned, new Downtonians, if you're still making your way through season one), but please limit it only to the first episode of Season Two!

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