Tag Archives: matthew and mary

Love is in the air

I know, I know, my blog went silent again after Downton Abbey’s conclusion.  But I needed time to mourn Cousin Matthew.  But I’m back, and ready to write a fun post!

In honor of the arrival of spring, I thought I’d post about some of my favorite couples from period pieces.  This may also be a thinly veiled way of allowing me to profess my new found love for a certain actor (I’m looking at you, Eddie Redmayne).

So, let’s get right down to the list, shall we?  These are in no particular order.

young victoria

1. Victoria & Albert (The Young Victoria): Despite a few glaring historical inaccuracies, I really love this movie.  Both Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend are fantastic in it and have wonderful chemistry.  And it’s always nice to see a royal match that actually involves love.

Favorite Victoria & Albert moment: Victoria’s proposal to Albert.  It’s too perfect to try to explain, so just watch the video and you’ll know what I mean.

jack and aliena

2. Jack Jackson & Aliena (Pillars of the Earth): I finally watched this miniseries based on the book by Ken Follett after it was recommended by a friend.  And while I always admired Eddie Redmayne’s acting abilities, he brought an intense romantic stare to this role the likes of which I have not seen since Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (don’t worry, he’s coming up).  Eddie’s role as Jack has made him my new favorite celebrity crush.

Jack and Aliena

Favorite Jack & Aliena moment: When Jack discusses the inspiration behind his sculpting to Aliena and finally gives in to his feelings and kisses her.

Mary & Matthew

3. Matthew & Mary (Downton Abbey): You knew they’d fall in here somewhere, didn’t you?  The tempestuous couple kept many viewers (including me) wondering if they’d ever get together.  Both were stubborn and opinionated but they made a fine match.  Matthew saw the vulnerability behind Mary’s icy exterior, and Mary loved him for it.

matthew and mary

Favorite Matthew & Mary moment: As Spanish Influenza invades the house, Matthew and Mary dance and Matthew informs Mary she’s his stick.

Titanic

4. Jack Dawson & Rose Dewitt Bukater (Titanic): Yes, I know, I know, but my teenage self would never forgive me if I didn’t include them.  Sure, they only knew each other for a little over 48 hours, but they were on the “ship of dreams”–anything could happen!  Even a class-crossing love connection.

Favorite Jack & Rose moment: It’s a tie:

Jack & Rose party

#1 When Rose meets Jack at the clock and Jack asks Rose if she wants to go to a “real party” and

# 2 When Rose jumps out of the lifeboat and rushes back inside to Jack, reminding him that they promised “You jump, I jump.”

Darcy & Elizabeth

5. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice): Well, this one is pretty much a given.  And it’s a toss up for me between the classic 1995 TV miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and the 2005 movie version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.  I know a lot of Austen purists detest the film, and while I agree it strays a good deal from the book, I loved Macfadyen’s interpretation of Darcy.

Colin Firth

Favorite Lizzie & Darcy moment: From the miniseries: When Elizabeth helps Georgiana turn the pages of her music and she and Mr. Darcy exchange love-laced glances (or in Darcy’s case, a really long, intense stare).

Keira and Matthew

From the film: I mean, come on, can you beat Darcy walking across a foggy field as the sun rises in a state of undress, his coat flying behind him?  Yes, I know, it never would have happened!  But I’d like to think it could have just the same.

Of course there are more period couples I adore, and perhaps I’ll do a “part 2” post sometime.  But in the meantime, what are some of your favorite screen couples?

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Downton Abbey Season 3, ep. 3 recap

There were an awful lot of new plot lines jammed into this episode (in classic Julian Fellowes style, we flitted from one character’s story to the next, hardly giving us enough time to digest what just happened), and while there were no major shocker moments like last week, it looks like the groundwork has been laid for some escalating conflicts that are sure to come in the remaining episodes.

Warning: Spoilers for episode 3 ahead!

Upstairs revolved around two main stories: Tom and Sybil’s escape from Dublin, and Matthew’s increasing involvement in the running of the estate.  The former was the big drama for the night, the latter looks like it will create quite a bit in future episodes.

Branson

Tom shows up on Downton’s doorstep (on a dark and stormy night, of course), on the run from the law after his involvement in burning down an Anglo-Irish estate.  He and Sybil had a plan in place in which they would leave Ireland separately should something like this happen, but that doesn’t save Tom from getting an earful from the Crawley clan.  I can’t say it was undeserved, leaving a pregnant woman in a very volatile situation to fend for herself.  But, fortunately Sybil arrives safely, much to Tom and the family’s relief.  And Tom’s name is cleared with the authorities thanks to Papa, as long as he doesn’t return to Ireland.  It’s understandable that Tom is crushed by this; after all, Irish independence is his passion and to be kept away is a cruel punishment for him. But Sybil becomes the voice of reason, telling her husband the baby’s safety is what’s important, and so at Downton they will stay.  Side note: I wish we could have heard a bit more about Sybil’s experience in Ireland here, and how she feels about Tom burning down an aristocrat’s home, given that she was raised as one herself.

Tom and Sybil

Matthew

Matthew realizing his father-in-law is not the best business manager.

Elsewhere upstairs, Mary encourages Matthew to take a greater role in the estate, now that he’s invested in it.  She’s probably going to regret her prodding.  Matthew uncovers a lot of waste when looking over the accounts, which is not a big surprise given Lord Robert’s penchant for business management (need we be reminded of episode 1’s Canadian railway disaster?).  Matthew brings up the bookkeeping to Mary, who reluctantly tells him to talk to her father about it.  But Papa quickly brushes him off.  When Downton was so quickly saved thanks to Reggie Swire’s money I wondered where else we could go regarding story lines with the estate.  Now I know.  There’s going to be a showdown between Matthew and Robert, and maybe Matthew and Mary.  Change is certainly not their strong suit.

Mary and Matthew

A few other minor things upstairs: an interesting little scene between Matthew and Mary in the former day nursery.  Matthew apparently is looking to start a family, Mary not so much.  Seriously, can we please have a few scenes in which Mary doesn’t seem like an ice queen towards her husband?  It’s like first season Mary all over again.  What happened to dewy eyed love struck second season Mary?  Bring her back!

Edith

And then we’ve got Edith.  Poor Edith who seems a bit lost since her jilt at the altar.  But this episode gave me some hope that she’ll soon be finding her voice.  Her dear Papa is shocked when the newspaper actually prints an article she wrote about the women’s vote.  And Edith is not just becoming more vocal about suffrage, but also about the way her family perceives her.  I want to see Edith gain a little backbone when it comes to her family and the way they treat her.  And maybe move somewhere where she’ll be more appreciated, where she isn’t the overlooked middle child.  Go Edith!

Carson and the toaster

“What in God’s name is it?”

There was a lot of exciting new plot developments downstairs, and I’m not just talking about Carson waging war against a toaster.  Now that Matthew’s money has saved Downton from financial collapse, new staff members can finally be hired (even if Matthew seems reluctant about it…but Robert easily overlooks this), allowing Daisy to get her at-long-last promotion in the kitchen, and Anna to officially become lady’s maid to Lady Mary.

Daisy

Poor Daisy, can this kid ever catch a break?  She’s got her eye on Alfred, and she even goes to visit her father-in-law for a heart to heart about being interested in someone else.  And wouldn’t you know, every single time she’s about to say something to Alfred, Mrs. Patmore interrupts.  Does this woman have some sort of sixth sense for interfering in Daisy’s love life?  I had hoped we’d be rid of Daisy’s scowl and foul moods once she got promoted, but just as she’s about to tell Alfred how she feels, Mrs. Patmore comes in with Ivy, the new kitchen maid, who immediately catches Alfred’s attention.  So Daisy’s promotion came with a simultaneous jilt in the romance department.  I don’t expect that scowl to disappear anytime soon.

Anna

This week’s edition of the “Anna & Bates saga” was a little more interesting.  All communication was cut off between the two for the majority of the episode, causing some temporary anguish as Bates feels Anna has given up on him, and Anna worries that Bates wants her to move on and forget about him.  But thanks to a helpful fellow prisoner and a set up of Bates’s cellmate, his good favor is restored in the prison, and a backlog of letters finally gets delivered to them both.  It was nice to see at least one happy couple in this episode.Bates Anna with letter

Jimmy Kent

The new addition downstairs that causes the biggest stir is handsome footman Jimmy Kent.  His arrival turns all the maids’ heads, gives Mrs. Hughes pause (did anyone else notice her look him up and down?), and catches the attention of Thomas.  That attention does not go unnoticed by O’Brien, and I could see the cogs of evil working in her head.  I have a feeling she’s figured out what her next move is going to be, and I fear it is going to be exceedingly low.  Because now she not only needs to get back at Thomas, but she has to keep this headstrong new footman from taking away Alfred’s chances for advancement.

O'Brien

O’Brien forming a new scheme

Ethel

Finally, we have Ethel, who is still hanging around.  I actually felt some sympathy for her this week when she made the extremely difficult decision to give up her darling boy Charlie to his paternal grandparents.  I thought that might be the end of her story.  But now it appears that in next week’s episode Cousin Isobel is indeed going to make her her new project, and hire her on as a maid in her house.  Good luck with that, Isobel, we know how well that went last time.

I’ll be interested to see how all of these new developments play out in the remaining episodes.

All right, your turn!  What did you think of episode 3?

Missed an episode?  Read my episode 1 and episode 2 recaps.

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Downton Abbey: Series 3 Predictions

Lately I’ve been submerged in the 1920’s as I conduct research for my next novel.  So imagine my giddy excitement when Downton Abbey released its first major promotional image.  Those gowns, the hair!  The third installment of the series takes place from 1920-21, as Europe tries to pull itself from the wreckage of World War I.  And everyone wants to know–how will the family and staff of Downton Abbey manage this enormous task?

The show is set to air in the UK this fall, while we poor Americans must wait until January to find out the answers to the questions that have been nagging us since series 2 ended (well, those of us who are patient and do not look up answers that can easily be found on the web).  So before it airs, I wanted to put out some Downton predictions/questions that I hope will be answered in this latest installment.  Warning: there are a few spoilers in here for those of you who haven’t read any of the teaser material out there about season 3.

1.) How much longer will the Mary & Matthew “will they/won’t they?” be dragged out?

From what I’ve gathered from the limited information that’s been released, it’ll go on for at least a bit longer.  You know, I really had hoped we had finished with this one.  We left Matthew and Mary hugging in the swirling snow after a perfect Mary/Matthew-esque proposal.  But Fellowes isn’t quite ready to let it go.  Apparently a bad investment on Lord Grantham’s part is going to be a major plot device for this season, and the problem is going to weigh more heavily on aristocratic Mary than on Matthew, who is used to earning a living.  My guess is the situation will bring to the forefront the fundamental differences in the way Matthew and Mary see the world.  Do I think love will win the day?  Probably.  But it looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride (but then, what else can we expect from Matthew & Mary?).  And as a side note–if and when they do marry, are we going to get to see some happy honeymoon scenes between them?  After having to see Bates and Anna’s night together, I think it’s the least Fellowes can do for us.

2.) And speaking of Bates and Anna…

Will Bates ever get out of jail?  My theory: yes, and it may be thanks to Richard Carlisle.  He was the one who heard Mrs. Bates’s rather blatant threat against her husband, after all.  But I can’t imagine that Richard would provide a favor for the Crawley family so easily after being jilted by Mary (and I’m still wondering if the Pamuk scandal is going to resurface yet again).  And what will Anna’s story line look like, with her husband in the clink?  This is just a guess, but based on the picture that was released of the entire cast, it looks like Anna may become a ladies’ maid.  She seems to be dressed the same as O’Brien.  And of course that makes me think that Mary and Matthew do indeed get married, and Mary’s new marital status allows for a promotion for Anna.

3.) And speaking of promotions…

At the end of last season we finally saw Daisy grow a spine and confront Mrs. Patmore, asking for a promotion to assistant cook.  Wonder how that’s going to work out?  And who will replace Daisy as scullery maid?  According to this article, she’ll be replaced by a doe-eyed girl named Ivy.  You know, I hope Daisy finds a man this season, one she actually loves and isn’t guilted into marrying only to become a widow hours later.  I’m pulling for you, Daisy.

4.) What will the downstairs dynamic be like?

So many changes!  We’ll need a replacement footman for the deceased William, and a new scullery maid to fill Daisy’s vacant position.  Plus, if the estate is in financial trouble, what will it mean for the hardworking folks downstairs?  Job security will surely be on everyone’s minds.  And will O’Brien and Thomas continue their conniving ways?  Who am I kidding, of course they will.

5.) What does the future look like for Sybil and Branson?

The relationship between Sybil and Branson was boring in season 2, in my opinion.  But now that they’re married, and Sybil’s pregnant, and Cora’s insisting they be allowed to come back to Downton, my interest has perked up.  How on earth are these two “rebels” going to fit in around the dinner table?  Branson, the former chauffeur, dining alongside his former employer?  Should be interesting.  And what will Granny have to say about the whole thing?

I’m concerned about Branson’s safety, and not just because of Granny’s barbed one-liners.  He’ll most likely be involved in the Irish political movement, which was at times violent (though the civil war did not begin until 1922, which will be after the time period of the upcoming series).  Speaking from a story/plot perspective, it makes sense in some ways for Branson to leave Sybil behind at Downton, and she and her “crazy” progressive notions will have to fend for themselves in a house full of traditionalists.  Now, whether this “leaving” is in the form of taking off to fight in Ireland, or perhaps a more…permanent exit, I don’t know.  One thing’s for certain, there’s going to be a lot of head-butting when these two re-enter the scene.

6.) Will Edith finally find her place?

Poor Edith.  I hated her the first season, but mostly just pitied her the second.  However, the war seemed to help her realize she had more valuable contributions to make to society besides sending off letters about her sister’s improper behavior in the bedroom.  At the end of season 2 she went to see Sir Anthony Strallan, the man who almost proposed in season 1 until Mary intervened.  He didn’t want to court her due to his crippled condition, but Edith didn’t seem inclined to take no for an answer.  My prediction–she’s going to wear him down at some point and the two will be married (unless long-lost cousin Patrick Crawley somehow makes his way back into the picture–and boy I hope not, as that was one of the more soap-opera-ish plots in season 2 I could have done without).

Finally, an overall thought about the upcoming season.  I think that the money issue will divide the house between the aristocrats (Lord Grantham, Mary, Lady Violet) and those who don’t quite “get” the English obsession with tradition (Cora, Sybil, Matthew, Cora’s mother, who will be played by Shirley Maclaine and who I can’t wait to see).  I think this is where the main conflict is going to stem from.  And I think (hope) it will reflect what was going on throughout England during this period of enormous change after the First World War.

So now it’s your turn–what are your Downton predictions for season 3?  And what do you hope will happen?

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Downton Abbey Season 2, ep. 6 recap

This episode opens in 1919, as Edith watches the last medical vehicle leave the property of Downton, signalling that the home can finally return to normal.  Downton Abbey’s definition of “normal,” that is: this two-hour episode was packed with drama, culminating in a wedding and a funeral.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Now that the war is over, the inhabitants of Downton are ready to move on, or rather, move back to the way things used to be (much to Lady Sybil’s dismay).  As Cora goes about looking for new work to put her energy into, her husband continues to mope about, feeling his life no longer has purpose.  He apparently finds that purpose in one of THE oddest hookups in Downton Abbey history with the housemaid Jane.  Honestly, I know the man’s lost, but this seems so far out of character for Robert that I just couldn’t buy into it.  And his wife is in the other room battling for her life no less!  Who is this man and what has he done with the Earl of Grantham, caring husband/father/lord of the estate?  Fortunately, Jane decides it best for both of them if she turns in her notice, but not without giving Robert a goodbye kiss to remember her by first (in the library, really?).

Of course, that’s not the only social-barrier-crossing romance that reaches its conclusion in this episode.  After much deliberation (and a great deal of patience on Branson’s part), Lady Sybil finally decides that she cannot go back to her life before the war.  We see her sitting in the grand drawing room, staring off into space while others chat around her.  The wheels in her mind are turning, and she goes to Branson, telling him she’s made her decision, and he’s her ticket out of her old life.  Her statement left me feeling that Sybil is using Branson just as much as Branson seemed to be using Sybil in previous episodes.  But I had to respect the resolve of the couple, which never wavered despite a botched elopement and retrieval by Edith and Mary, and a large amount of blustering by Papa (who apparently is okay with double standards).  So maybe there’s love there, after all.

But of course the big news of the episode (besides the fact that Dr. Clarkson made a mistake in his diagnosis of Matthew’s spinal injury) is the development in the driving “will they/won’t they” plot between Matthew and Mary.  The dance scene between the two of them (the one that Lavinia unfortunately witnesses) is one fans have no doubt been waiting for all season.  Thanks to Granny’s advice, Matthew has been left to mull over the unsettling thought that he is marrying the wrong woman, but out of obligation and duty he feels he must marry Lavinia, who sacrificed everything to be with him.  Even though he doesn’t really want to.

And what of poor Lavinia?  It is somewhat disheartening to see your fiancee embracing his former fiancee just days before your own wedding.  She takes to bed with a case of the Spanish flu (of which Cora and Carson are also afflicted), and has a heart-to-heart with Matthew, and even she has to admit that Matthew and Mary are a better match than the two of them. She takes a sudden turn for the worse, and lives up to her predictions from previous episodes that she will not be able to live without Matthew.  On her deathbed she informs him that it is better this way, and she wants him to be happy.  I’m sure her intentions were good, but her words left Matthew wandering around the estate, wracked with guilt.

Matthew and Lord Robert discuss funeral arrangements

After the funeral Matthew informs Mary he feels certain that Lavinia died of a broken heart (while I yelled at the TV “NO!  It was the Spanish flu!”).  Because of her parting words he knows he and Mary can never be happy together.  A devastated Mary leaves the graveside on the arm of skeeze ball Sir Richard (you know, the one who tried to bribe Anna to spy on Mary for him).

"We are cursed, you and I."

Amidst all this, Bates and Anna’s relationship is taken to the next level when evidence surfaces of Bates’s possible involvement in his wife’s death.  Anna refuses to let him go through it alone, and basically orders him to go ahead and marry her, which he does.

The two get one night of happiness together before he’s carted off to prison on the charge of willful murder.  I’m still of the opinion that Mrs. Bates’s demise was self-inflicted, and she set up the letter and other evidence in order to frame her husband, but I suppose the upcoming trial will shed some light on what really happened.  Poor Bates and Anna, will these two kids ever catch a break?

Bates being handcuffed, with a helpless Anna watching on

Hard to believe it, but next week wraps up season 2 with Christmas at Downton.

Interested in learning more about the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-19 featured prominently in this episode?  You can read my post about it here.

Miss any of the other episodes?  Read my recaps here:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

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