Loud Americans and Grasping Peers, Season Finale, Downton Abbey Season 4, Review
To London to look at the King or have him take a look at you
The season is finally over, after moving at a snail’s pace for the last seven episodes. We had a time jump of over a year from the seventh episode. For the season finale, most of the action took place in London, since that’s where Rose was coming out, to the society that is, not as a lesbian. How many houses do the Crawleys have? Beside this house in London, there is the Abbey, and the slightly smaller one they were going to move to, when they were in financial trouble in one of the earlier seasons. They are always complaining about the lack of money but they do seem to live rather lavishly.
Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the marriage to Cora that saved estate? The pompous parasites look down their noses upon on their American side of the family for being loud and crude. There was lot of eye-rolling on the parts of Mary, her father and her grandmother. It would have made Robert, Mary and the Dowager countess a smidgen more likeable in this episode, if they were slightly more self aware. Even the Dowager countess seemed more peevish in this episode rather than her usual ironic self. Although she still had the best lines.
We are a match made in heaven, I have the title and you have the money
The caricature of all the Americans as rude, crude and lacking in taste was formulaic and felt off-key. No one was spared, Cora’s mother and brother as well as the brother’s valet fit the stereotype to the T. Has Fellowes never read Edith Wharton? Perhaps, he should have rented Scorcese’s Age of Innocence.
Also, lack of good manners seems to be a far more forgivable sin than whoring yourself and your title for money by marrying into a family you clearly disdain, just for their dollars. Something that Robert did back in the day and what Mrs. Levinson’s geriatric suitor was trying to do in the season finale by courting Mrs. Levinson and thrusting his daughter at Harold Levinson. Both Harold and Mrs. Levinson seem far brighter than clueless Cora. I now have a suspicion that she might be adopted.
The tale of two sisters
Mary still has her two suitors, Curly and Shorty, following her everywhere. Shorty’s stock suddenly went up in snobbish Mary’s eyes when she figured out that he was going to inherit his uncle’s title and estate. Mary came across as colder and more obnoxious than she has the entire season. Quite an achievement, she was rude to her American relatives and bratty towards her sole surviving sister. Although I must say, I am finally coming around to Mary’s point of view about Edith, who is whiny and never seems to be able to think things through or stand up for herself for that matter. Sister Chopped Liver, back from her Europe trip after giving birth, now wants her baby back. She wants to bring the baby back to Downton but have one of their tenant farmers be the parents. This plot has disaster written all over it. Either she needs to the let the child go or bring her daughter up herself come what may. She is not going to be able to have her cake and eat it too.
Four paragraphs in and I have only briefly touched upon the reason the Crawleys are in London, and the Levinsons are visiting; Rose and her coming out. Just like the Rose of Titanic, our Rose has forgotten all about Jack. Fortunately for our Jack, he is still alive and well. The coming out ritual seemed archaic even for the 1920s. Rose’s dress looked awful too, probably was considered the height of fashion then. Why are the debutantes being presented to the King? What’s the significance?
Baker Street, Downton Edition
The other plot that took up most of the episode, was the whole plot about the Prince of Wales and the purloined letter to his mistress. It was a snooze fest, except we learned that Bates may or may not be a killer but is definitely an accomplished forger and a pick-pocket. Anna’s rape plot became too much about Bates, as I was afraid. Well now that Bates is happy, Anna is back to her chirpy self. Backing up a bit, a railway ticket stub, does not a murder prove. Fellowes should stick melodrama and leave the who-done-its to someone else.
Downstairs, Thomas’ invisible mustache twirling came to a naught. He was wasted this season, after he got the nanny fired, he has hardly done much except threaten Baxter. Thanks to Molesley’s gentle encouragement and friendship; she impervious to the under-butler’s incessant bullying. I do like her and Molesley together. This episode Thomas was also giving Tom an attitude. Speaking of Tom, why does let Sarah Bunting walk all over him? She is ill-behaved and unattractive, I hope she is not brought again another season as Tom’s romantic interest.
The day at the beach
The day at the beach for all the hardworking folks downstairs was a great idea and Carson and Mrs. Hughes were cute together, holding hands and all! Even better, Ivy is going to America, I hope she takes Rose with her.
Overall a tedious episode to cap a tepid season. At least, nobody died this season, so that was a definite improvement over the last. How did you like this season of Downton? Will you watch the next season?
Overall grade for the season: C+
Full IMDB credits here