I have a warm place in my heart for the first season of Downton Abbey. My best girlfriend and I spent a beautiful spring day indoors, watching the entire series in one sitting. We had a wonderful time exclaiming over the drama, insulting the oldest sister for spending so much time in the mirror, and by the end of the day we both had a mad crush on the valet, Bates, played by Brendan Coyle.
By the time we finished the last DVD and returned it to the Redbox, we were both dying for Season Two. We found no copies for sale in our area after hours of searching, except for extremely pricey copies on ebay for which we’d have to wait due to shipping. Finally I found a website that has the entire series for free, and at one a.m. I settled in front of my computer for another marathon.
(Mild Spoilers Follow)
By three a.m. I was in bed, fuming. Season two seriously let me down. Is there a British phrase which matches the americanism “jumped the shark”? I’ll paraphrase a couple of the scenes that made me crazy and you’ll see what I mean. These conversations occur between the Earl of Grantham and his trusty butler, Carson.
Earl – “Carson, I’m really upset with Bates! He left me with no notice and now I don’t have a valet! I can’t believe he’d do that to me when I stood up for him!”
Carson – “Well sir, I found out that he didn’t leave willingly. Someone who knows a devastating secret threatened to tell all if Bates didn’t leave. If the secret got out it would destroy your entire family forever. He left to protect you.”
Earl – “My goodness! And I was so mean to him when he left. What was that secret anyway?”
Carson - “Oh, well, I can’t tell you that.”
Earl - “OK.”
Are you kidding me?
Carson – “Um, sir, why did you let that thieving blackguard scumbag back in the house? We both know he’s dangerous and unprincipaled.”
Earl – “I know. But Carson, it made my wife so happy!”
Seriously? The Earl of Grantham in the first series was a complete sweetheart and we adored him. There is no mention of an occurrence in between season one and season two, such as a knock on the head, so why is the Earl now a moron?
There were several other changes to characters and situations to which I strongly disagreed. My girlfriend still wants to watch the entire second season, but unless she can tell me that something wonderful happens I refuse to watch one minute more. The beautiful setting and costumes are still there, but I just can’t stomach the rest of it.
Have you seen season two? How did you feel about it?