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Fundraising by Evil Butler

Okay, Miz is a Downton Abbey. She loves to hate Thomas. He makes me throw shoes at him.

BUT he’s (well, the person that plays him, Rob James-Collier) is running the London Marathon to raise money for MS and his fund-raising website is literally http://www.evilbutler.com/

RAISE THE ROOF FOR AWESOMENESS!!!

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Downton Abbey – S04.04 and S04.05

Miz felt like catching up on DA after the stress that was last episode. The next two episodes were entertaining – drama, pretentiousness, blackmail, and birthright romances. One of the more scandelous-ish romances is between Edith and Gregson, after a night of passion. Edith then goes to a visit a doctor – poor Edith always gets the bum storylines as Miz suspects that Gregson won’t appear again.

Rose and Jack Ross (the black jazz singer) flirted much to the disdain of Aunt Rosamund. It was hilarious!!

Still with the theme of romances, Lord Gillingham likes Mary. And Mary likes Anthony. Oh la la. He even asked to marry her, she declined as it was too soon, and then there was a passionate embrace, and latter an admittance that she would probably regret declining his advances. Big ups to Tom Cullen for nailing his character portrayal and making us like him, despite his incredibly non-British love gushing speeches.

Over the two episodes Anna and Bates make up after Bates forces Mrs Hughes into disclosing what is the matter. Much of what Anna is feeling and working through is still the same in today’s day and age, which is makes it difficult to watch yet you are compelled to help Anna and Bates work through this massive physical and psychological issue.  Clever Mrs Hughes has put Bates onto the wrong track when trying to find her unknown attacker, though this was only after Bates correctly guessed it was Green. Bates then broke down in the hallway in a well-portrayed scene by Brendan Coyle which had Miz almost in tears, along with the following scene with Bates telling Anna that he loves her even more today because of her strength in face of this adversity. Joanne Froggatt makes Anna come to life and when her chin wobbles, just amazing.

. He tells her he loves her even more now because of her strength in the face of everything she’s been through, and though this is largely Coyle’s showcase, Froggatt remains tremendous in her role, as Anna initially shrinks away from Bates only for her walls to gradually break down as he reaffirms his commitment to her. It’s a moving scene all the way through, handled with delicacy and honesty.

Edna and Tom’s disaster of a relationship finally got resolved after she was trying to force him into marriage after a night of regret. Mrs Hughes saves the day, finds ‘Marie Stopes’ Married Love’, confronts Edna with her plan to blackmail Edna and stresses she cannot tell Cora otherwise she will never work again without any referee. I love it when Mrs Hughes throws her toys!

Along with Anna and Mrs Hughes, Daisy the kitchen hand is one of my favourite characters. She’s trying so hard to get over her crush of Alfred and helps him with his cooking dream and his trial at the Ritz. Unfortunately he doesn’t get in but Carson’s speech of motivation is excellent and typically Carson. Oh man, he’s also one of Miz’s favourites.

Credit: Carnival/Masterpiece

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Downton Abbey – S04.03 (other thoughts)

Miz has more thoughts aside from the BIG thing that happened this episode (discussed in post here). So in summary:

– Lord Gillingham was entertaining and actually Mary and him seemed well suited. Cynical enough to be realist, but also looked handsome together. Let’s see if Lady Mary can weave her love spell (and actually, I’m on the fence as to whether I want her to!). This was nice: “I’m not sure. Matthew changed me. I loved him, but he changed me. If I were as tough as I was before I met him, I bet I’d be happier now.”

– Poor Mrs Padmore getting in a tiss and having an anxiety attack. Hopefully this means Daisy can start to shine. It was very cute seeing Alfred helping too. You go you young things – break down those barriers! Anybody can cook Alfred!! You do it. I’m rooting for you.

– Edna is an unlikable character. Though of course her and Tom will have sexytime. Look how determined she is. Miz just doesn’t get the vibe or chemistry between these two. Tom was hilarious with the older lady who was asking him all about the upperclass contacts! Haha.

– Maggie’s one-liner awesome: “Oh no. If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upperclass!”

– Samson was bad news and must have been a cheater. Pretty impressed with Gregson here though – he started as such a weak character but I appreciate him a lot more after this episode: “dubious talents from [his] mis-spent youth.” For the win (literally and metaphorically)!

– Poor Isobel. You can fell her heart breaking every time it beats and she’s trying so so hard. “But you see what it comes down to in the end is this nice Lord Gillingham and Sir John over there, and him and him and you…you’re all alive. My son’s dead.”

– Lord Grantham is really beginning to irk me this season – particularly in his gambling ways as seen this episode, and his distain of any sort of change at all (like the kitchen staff as well as the servants joining in watching the performance). I mean really. He has no regard of anyone and is rapidly becoming my least favourite character.

– Does anyone actually like Jimmy (well except for Daisy)? He’s just irritating.

– Thomas’ hair amazed me this episode. Super. Perfect.

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Downton Abbey – S04.03 “The opera episode” (Controversy and spoilers)

Miz finally got around to watching this controversial episode which was shown in early October 2013 – the one that prompted 244 complaints to the UK’s media regulator (Ofcom) and many debates in the media. Nine million viewers tuned in to see this Sunday night drama and Ofcom subsequently ruled that it would take no further action as the complaint event in question was broadcast at 9.45pm, there was a clear warning at the beginning of the episode, and the action happened off screen and there were no graphic scenes of the event itself.* She has THOUGHTS on this episode.

OMG What happened? Well if you don’t want to find out, stop reading. Now. like yesterday.

It was incredibly distressing  to see one of their favourite characters, Mrs Anna Bates, attacked and presumably raped off-screen. This plot twist was completely out of left field and threw loyal viewers into a tissy of epic proportions. For once the anger of viewers wasn’t directed at Thomas and his manipulative ways.

*The fact that the action happened “behind closed doors” was a compelling portrayal of a vicious attack. Anna’s screams intermingled with opera notes pulled at Miz’s heart strings in a way that only Downton can seem to do. yes the dialogue was a bit pantomimey but it was an effective storytelling device as Miz was drawn in. In much the same way as hating on GOT characters, Miz dislikes Thomas. This twist took things to the next level.

The offending scene showed Anna feeling dizzy so going to the empty kitchen to get a glass of water while all other house members were in the front room getting entertained by Dame Nelly Melba, Anna was approached by Mr Gillingham’s valet (Green) – someone who was seemingly flirting with her throughout the whole episode, much to the ill-feeling of Mr Bates – Green then grabbed her, Anna try to fight back, and she was dragged to a room kicking and screaming. Afterwards Anna was found by Mrs Hughes in only her underdress and battered and bruised, begging the mother of the house not to tell anyone (let alone Mr Bates who’s temper is short and has already served prison time). This scene was almost as distressing at the implied rape scene for Miz – the thought that no-one would believe her, that the attacker was a guest in the house, or the retribution for the attacker would harm someone’s “good” name (=hanging by a thread), was awful.

Yes we watch Downton Abbey for the costumes, the parties, the historical events, Maggie’s one-liners, and Thomas’ evil plots. But these kinds of twists and social messages is good for a show, and a demographic, that doesn’t like to confront hard truths. From the get-go this series has dived into tough subjects: post-traumatic stress, suicide, prison time, death (in and out or war), child birth, prostitution, desolate poverty, divorce, and homosexuality. For Miz, this attack scene was no different – It prompts discussion of a real injustice in our society that sadly exists and effects people. There’s no such thing as “old-fashioned-rape” – you cannot just shelve this event in with the notions that medicine is better these days for those in child birth, that our roads are safer, that homosexuality is( seemingly) more accepted, that we now have a welfare state. This is perhaps what got people’s noses up, but for the exact same reason why Miz appreciated it.

Miz watches with anticipation as to where the writers will take this show now… Yes, she’s behind UK audiences, sorry about that, there’s just too many shows to catch up on (especially when the sun is shining)! In the meantime, know that Miz is thinking about this episode way past watching it, which is more than she can say for many other staples of her tv diet.