Dishing on Downton Abbey

February 5, 2015

Lady Mary and dishy Lord Tony Gillingham

Well, Lady Mary’s gone and done it. She left Downton Abbey for a “sketching vacation” with a girlfriend, but instead shacked up with Lord Gillingham in Liverpool, a trial run, if you will, prior to agreeing to the bigger step of marriage.  He’s a fox, isn’t he? And much smitten with Lady Mary, who I find to be always bored and rather sour, even on her best days.

In a delicious twist (and the series is full of them, no?)  the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) found out what Mary had been up to in that Liverpool hotel, because the countess’ nosey butler saw her kissing Lord G goodbye –both with their suitcases–and tattled.  The dowager was, in a word, horrified. She confronted Lady Mary and let loose with what has to be the best line of the TV show’s current season:

“In my day a lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction until she was instructed to do so by her mama,” she sniffed (accent on the second ma in mama, of course.)

The dowager had already slut-shamed Mary by telling her she couldn’t possibly have sexual feelings if she was the “daughter of an earl.”  But it’s hard to slut-shame Lady Mary, whose virginity was “taken” years before her marriage by a dark-skinned, foreign lover who instantly died in her bed, forcing the women of the house to drag the body into his own room in a hilarious coverup.

Viewers aren’t let in on exactly what happened in Liverpool, but by the end of the trip, Lady Mary had decided that she and Lord G. may not have had as much in common as she’d thought, and she dumped him.  Rather quickly, too.

When he asks if he hadn’t been a good enough lover, she evades, leading me to hope one day we’ll learn more about her decision. I hope it’s juicy, but I think she probably figured out that he isn’t all that bright. More’s the pity, as he is delightful to look at, especially in white tie. Quite dishy.  And we were due a handsome character because we were all taken aback when Lady Mary’s hunky husband had to be killed off so he could leave the show.

Downton Abbey is a delightful experience –an upscale soap opera full of so much great acting, fabulous writing and unintended hilarity that I don’t even have to pretend it’s a guilty pleasure.  I EMBRACE it!  I’m not alone in my fantasies about leading the life of the idle rich, having no responsibilities because servants take care of everything, leaving me to concern myself only with wearing stylish and expensive gowns.  The PBS show allows me to live in that world every Sunday night during its season.

It’s one of my favorite times of the week.

So tell me. Do you watch? Who is your favorite character?

Do you have a favorite line of dialogue?

What has happened that really rings your chimes in a good or bad way?

And if you don’t watch, is there a TV program that you escape into and almost wish you could live in its world?




27 comments on “Dishing on Downton Abbey
  1. PatU says:

    LOVE Downton Abbey! And I got my husband into it too.

    I don’t like to decide of favorites, but I do find the little one, Rose, adorable and entertaining. I agree with your assessment of Mary. Dour and Sour.

  2. ryder ziebarth says:

    It’s my favorite show.I thought , for a moment, it may turn out to be a slow season, but it’s gearing up.I thought Lady Mary’s first husband was insipid. I far prefer the dead prince. Not sure about the pig-farmer for her…too short.And am too, sad about Lord G. Edith drives me insane-not a brain under her dowdy hats; thinking the murder will be pinned on Anna; heart breaks for Lord Grantham ( the wife enjoyed the attention but never thought it would get out of hand) and love his pout. I want to adopt Isis, the white Labrador.Love,love,love, Granny.

  3. I love Downton Abbey! My favorite is, of course, Violet. She has the best lines in the show, hands down. I’m not a Gillingham fan, he was so wimpy, whiny when Mary dumped him, he should know that wouldn’t work with her, not for a woman as independent as she is. And I happen to love Mary. She’s just trying to be a strong woman in an era that didn’t allow women to be useful. That hat she wore (the red one) was just to die for! I can’t stand Cora, how useless is she? She doesn’t even seem to have a clue that her own daughter, Edith, is suffering so and about to lose her mind. Ah, drama. Such fun. Great post!

  4. Lisa Romeo says:

    Mrs. Patmore: “Sympathy butters no parsnips”!

  5. Diane says:

    Rabid Downton fans here.
    I’m a Mrs. Hughes fan! Love that accent!

  6. I don’t watch DA, but I have many friends who do. I can see how engaging and suspenseful it is based on your summary/review. The architecture and costumes are fabulous, too!

  7. Mary says:

    My girls have DA viewing parties and everyone must speak with a accent. It is hilarious!

  8. I came late to the party but binge watched last year to get caught up and ready for this season. I’m glad to see Barrow put in his place but he’s sure to get up to no good again. Feel sad for Edith and her little girl. Love love love the old dowager and Mrs Hughes too!

  9. Thom and I started watching it for the first time over the Christmas Holidays (on Amazon Prime) and now we are both hooked. I think my favorite character is the Dowager because she has the BEST lines of all. She is practical and scheming–but has a heart that shows up every now and then. We both laugh like crazy when she comes out with some of her comments. Looking forward to seeing where things go from here. ~Kathy

  10. I so love Downton, and I’m kind of glad no one watches it with me. Then I couldn’t just pour tea and have “me time”. I won’t say whom I miss greatly, though, in case others are starting to watch. But I do, and life hasn’t been all the way the same since.

  11. Robin says:

    I am obsessed with Downton Abbey. I have to watch each episode at least twice, maybe three times to catch the gorgeous characterization and storyline and the delightful Fellowes dialogue. Too bad Mary dumped Tony, I rather liked him. Really hope to see some sparks fly between Molesly and Ms. Baxter. Saw the cast live in NYC at one of their Q and A’s, they’re charming too as real people, particularly Leslie Nichol and Robert James Collier.

  12. During our recent snowstorm I spend a good deal of time watching the entire season! Yummy. I won’t say more.

    My favorite character hands-down is Maggie Smith. She absolutely steals every scene she is in, and the WAY she says every word makes me laugh out loud!

  13. I love love love Downton Abbey and have already binge-watched and finished this season because I can’t stand spoilers!

  14. I watch and love the show, as I loved your review. My favorite character is the Dowager Countess, who has so many good lines it’s hard to pick just one.

  15. Carolann says:

    I too thought it was going be a slow season, but it’s rolling along now! I loved the last episode. I knew she was going to dump him. I don’t think he is going to let it go at that either!

  16. Donna says:

    I haven’t watched! I am the only woman in America who hasn’t. I keep thinking I will binge watch…but then I don’t have the time. But this post makes me want to find the time!!

  17. Kate says:

    I love Downton so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.