On Downton Abbey’s Boring Hour

Last night’s episode was a bit dull, wasn’t it?

Or maybe it was that I wasn’t that engaged by the storylines.

Ethel. Can she go away, please? It’s not Ethel and her situation that irks me. It’s Isobel and her reaction to Ethel’s situation that irks me. I know that Isobel feels like she needs a purpose in her life and she’s decided to be a busybody and fix the world, but she’s just as judgmental as everyone she tells not to judge Ethel because she’s “fallen.” Mrs. Hughes knows that Ethel made the right choice.

Bates. Can he swing from the gallows, please? I want the prison storyline to go away completely. I just don’t care about who hates who and who’s in favor and who’s not. The worst part about Bates and the prison is that it’s limiting Anna as a character because it seems like all she does now is 1) brush Lary Mary’s hair or 2) fret over Bates in prison. It’s disconnected her from the downstairs drama.

Daisy. I was so glad to see William’s father again. (I’ve always liked Paul Copley as an actor.) And the second the new kitchen maid appeared I knew what was going to happen because Alfred hadn’t paid much attention to her before.

Edith. I root for Edith, and I’m glad that she’s found some direction in her life.

Matthew and Robert. It’s no wonder that Robert lost the family fortune in a bad investment; the guy does not know how to manage his finances. I liked that Matthew went to the Dowager Countess at the end for advice — Dame Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens play well off each other, and they have too few scenes — and I expect that next week we’ll see Matthew quietly do something significant and Robert splutter and explode because his nose is out of joint.

Tom and Sybil. I wasn’t exactly clear on what Tom had done — or was suspected to have done. I’m also not sure that Tom and Sybil are outside the reach of the law at Downton Abbey, no matter what Robert worked out with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. And if Tom could see the future, he’d know that he could return to Dublin in 1923 with the establishment of the Irish Free State. (Or is that in 1922?) Whatever, this feels like a contrived reason to keep Tom and Sybil at Downton Abbey and thus involved in the shenanigans.

All in all, I think this was a filler episode.

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