This week I (Rebecca T) wanted to start with an observation. Normally I don't pay too much attention to the cinematography of a show I'm watching (usually because I'm so focused on what's happening, I'm thinking of the characters and dialogue), but I started to notice that this particular episode felt a little different. And then I noticed that there were so many shots of doorways, thresholds, passages, gates. I'll give you 3 examples - 1. When Edith comes downstairs to make the phone call, the shot holds back with her in the foreground, then Anna standing in the doorway, and then Daisy behind her, just in the other room - all framed around that door. 2. At the Dowager's dinner, there is a long moment with Mrs. Crawley and Lord Merton heading through the door to the dining room and Violet and Dr. Clarkson just this side of the door, talking. 3. The part of the episode we'll discuss shortly - Mr. Bricker, and Lord and Lady Grantham in the bedroom. Robert comes through the door, Bricker is headed toward the door, Cora talking to Edith through the crack in the door. And these are just a small sampling of the shots I noticed.
And I started to think about it. Almost every character is in the middle of or about to make (or be forced to make) a major decision that could change the course of their lives. This season and this episode in particular seemed to be about thresholds - lines you cross or don't cross that affect who you are. I thought the cinematography did a good job of subtly emphasizing that.
And speaking of crossing lines...
Jenn N: Should we start with the wildest part of the episode? The part that made me actually yell out an expletive. Mr Bricker crossed the line. In fact I think he ran over it, backed up and ran over it again. He apparently took Cora's innocent interest in him to mean she'd welcome him in her bedroom. She told him to leave but of course this is the exact moment that Robert decides to come home early. In my opinion Robert justifiably punched Bricker in the face.
Rebecca T: I was clutching my hands together internally screaming (so I wouldn't disturb my neighbor) about that part. I think Cora was appreciating the slight flirtation, but I don't think she ever expected Bricker to go that far. And while I think Robert has been blind to Cora's needs, I was totally on his side for that punch. But honestly. Did Cora have to tell Edith that she and Robert were just "playing a silly game"? I mean, really? Just say you knocked the lamp over. I was shaking my head at that. But I am curious to see how Robert and Cora's relationship is affected by this. I hope Robert doesn't continue in his stupidity like he did at the cocktail party.
Jenn N:I'm worried about the changes for Bates and Anna. We saw the really sweet conversation about them planning a family. However earlier Anna was questioned about her whereabouts the day Mr. Green died. I'm concerned that they'll try to pin the "murder" of Anna and Bates will confess to protect her.
Rebecca T: I just want this whole business to be over with. There is way too much attention being paid to Greene's death for no reason that I can ascertain. There has to be someone feeding information in the background. I am sure there are many more crimes that deserve more attention than one that is based on such vague suspicions.
Jenn N: While I as a viewer understand Edith's interest in Marigold, I don't understand how Edith thought bringing Rosamund by would help. Maybe she thought Rosamund would tell Mrs. Drewe the truth? I suspect Edith is going to try and runoff with Marigold. I watch a lot of soaps so maybe this another crazy idea of mine but could you imagine if Edith runs away to parts unknown and that's when Michael returns alive and well with a valid explanation for his disappearance ?
Rebecca T: Well, I kind of consider Downton a period soap opera. And no, I totally see that happening! I just know Michael is going to show up. And if he doesn't, I'm going to be very disappointed. I don't know what Edith's plan was, but I just feel rotten for her, even though she's brought a lot of this on herself. I completely understand that she would want to be a part of her child's life, and it's sad that she lives in a society that would shun her for trying to do the right thing now that she's gotten to this point.
Jenn N: Speaking of society and shunning. Apparently Thomas ' s syringe has something to do with him trying to change his sexuality. It's awful that it was illegal at that time for him to be his true self. Now that I think about it? This would explain why he is so miserable all the time. He just wants to be loved just like everyone does.
Rebecca T: I understand what you're saying, but I don't think, at this point, that any excuses can be made for much of his behavior. He's just been plain mean and cruel to so many people. I just can't feel sympathy for him. However, I did think that Baxter has a remarkably progressive view of the situation for a woman of that time period. Maybe she's been picking up some progressiveness from Sarah. And I'm sorry, but I have to say it YES SHE'S GONE!
Rebecca T: And I think she really is a little concerned that Isobel won't be happy if she accepts. I think Lord Merton is more interesting than some people give him credit for, but Isobel is a middle-class woman living with the upper class. And I think there would be a lot of things about being Lady Merton that wouldn't sit well with her. Violet has a lot of different motives going on, but I think she does care for Isobel's well-being.
Jenn N: I'm also interested at seeing how Rose's relationship with Atticus develops. I wish I paid more attention in history class so I could better understand why his family had to flee Russia.
Rebecca T: I'm not really familiar with that period of history either, so I'm no help there. I did adore the look on Atticus' face when Rose obviously didn't have a single thing to think about his family being Jewish. She's so naive in the best possible way and I'm also curious to see how their relationship develops (though I miss the jazz player!).
Jenn N: Charles Blake had the misguided idea to get Mary and Tony ' s ex together for dinner. It was the definition of awkward. I can't believe he expected Mabel to just take Tony back after he broke off the engagement. Mabel held her ground though. She's quite saucy and I don't know how we'd see more of her but I sure hope we do.