and it isn’t even that i am annoyed that bricker is gone and disappointed my ship came to nothing because i knew perfectly well he was leaving, but i had hoped that his exit would be handled with grace.
instead, a man who had been admittedly flirtatious but otherwise courteous and respectful of cora’s wishes and opinions (when she said no to another walk around the square he fucking well accepted it) basically pulled a pamuk and ignored cora’s protests apparently twice because he had decided he knew what she wanted better than she knew it herself, when the entire point of his character was to prove cora was her own woman and deserved to be treated with respect. i do not buy him sneaking into her bedroom and all but propositioning her without an ounce of respect for her reputation and position. the bricker in that scene was contrary to the man that we’ve come to know and everything about that scene stank of utterly poor, lazy writing.
and on that note, i re-watched a few scenes of season one the other day and was struck by how much more likable robert was, even if i shipped cora/o’brien rather than cora/robert. i utterly detest the character as he is now but i used to be very fond of him and actually i’m so disappointed for him too. consistency of character and the quality of writing has been totally abandoned (on all counts with, perhaps, the exception of mary but i’m really no expert on her character and misslanefox is) and i don’t know why i bothered giving this show another chance.
Alas, my ongoing problem with Downton Abbey continues: poor writing, truncated characterization, and facile solutions to whatever meager problems JF has managed to concoct. I find it difficult to believe that this staccato season, with its rapidly-shifting scenes, disregard for characterization, and utter lack of engaging storyline is meant to be the progression of the truly excellent first and second series. So, I’m not going to rant about the Bricker problem (that would fall under disregard for characterization) or any of the other things that have frustrated me in the past two seasons.
I do, however, continue to be horrified by the way that Cora is infantilized by her husband. He treats their daughter - well, one of them - with greater respect, never mind his mother and his sister, and I find that problematic.
I do not think, and i have said this before, that the Cora-Robert marriage is a healthy one. I don’t even think it’s especially historically accurate, even though I suppose you can make that case, though now I am less sure. Robert is, particularly in this season, respectful of Mary’s position and actively seeks out her thoughts before making a decision - and deliberately excludes his wife from the same. One may conclude that this is due to Matthew’s having saved Downton with his inheritance, and that he is merely acknowledging that this daughter is acting on his grandson’s behalf. But if that were so, his approach would be far more perfunctory. The fact is, he values Mary’s opinion, whereas he is not even concerned about Cora’s. That should make you stop and think. Another example of Robert seeking out a woman’s assistance while still disregarding his wife would be his collusion with Violet against Cora in series three. Of course, examples of Robert disregarding his wife entirely abound throughout the show as a whole, and no one needs me to enumerate them here.
Nothing for you to trouble yourself over is the kind of quiet verbal abuse that kept - and still keeps - women dependent upon their husbands in a submissive role. Never forget that, no matter how cute Robert and Cora may look together - and they do. Theirs is not a healthy marriage, but rather the image of one. That image is beginning to crack, and I wish I had confidence that JF would resolve this with maturity and with respect for Cora as a grown woman.
Then you were the young and beautiful Countess of Grantham, turning eyes in a ballroom, or out in your carriage. Now you are a great lady. Imperious. Magnificent!
I loved a maid.
The Order of the Companions of Honour, to be a member; Dame Maggie Smith, for services to drama.
Dame Maggie Smith is made a Companion of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle - 17th October, 2014.