Am I the only person who liked the Downton Abbey season finale?
Many people seemed to think the episode went like this: boring boring boring boring ACK! Not me. I don't know what this says about me, but I was relieved that the catastrophe was what it was. I thought the house was going to burn down while they were all at the fair. Maybe it would be Branson's fault somehow, because he hasn't had enough in-law friction yet. Or pre-eclampsia has a genetic link, you know. Maybe we'd see more death throes, this time wiping out the heir too.
Aside from my preparatory (and misguided) flinching, I enjoyed the episode so much I didn't even knit while it was playing. And I always knit. I loved the preparations for the trip to Scotland-- imagine a life in which you might need your tiara on vacation! I loved the scene at the railway station, with the gleaming steam engine taking all of them (and their luggage! loved the luggage!) away to the north. Perhaps it's because I just read To Say Nothing Of The Dog, but I found the luggage especially evocative, a marker of how much the world has changed. How much would it cost you to travel with that much baggage these days? It'd be cheaper to take a black cab to Inverness, I bet.
Oh, Inverness! I loved watching the Crawleys on holiday. Part of it was the scenery-- the people like miniatures against the highland landscape, the towering clouds scudding in. Part of it was the interaction. We haven't seen much of the Crawleys relaxing with their friends, have we? Lots of upstairs-downstairs interaction, lots of hospitality extended to various acquaintances, but nothing quite like this, with people from the same milieu spending time together. I found the grass-is-always-greener moments effective, and Matthew's vindication (by way of Shrimpie's admission) especially satisfying.
Really, the plot could have consisted of "the Crawleys watch paint dry in the Highlands" and I would have gone along with it happily. There's nothing so glorious as a Scottish summer.
I wanted to know about Mary's labor, but no luck there. Was she as reserved as ever? Did she perhaps emit a tiny (but dignified) howl when the going got tough? How does a person come to have such tidy hair so soon after giving birth? My post-birth pictures all show clear evidence of my lack of a lady's maid.
Here's the thing about Matthew: what a way to go! Seeing his long-hoped-for son, brimming over with joy, returning to the estate he preserved from ruin despite significant opposition -- and boom. No lingering suffering, no long ugly illness peppered with false hope. He did good things with the time he had. He brought out the very best in a woman in whom it used to be hard to see much good, and what a valediction he gave her! Life is short and unpredictable, and we none of us know what lies around the next bend.
So do good work, and enjoy the sunshine, and be ready for the milk truck to strike! [she said cheerily] Can't wait for season 4.