Downton Abbey Season 2 (Part II)

Let’s get right to it – William and Daisy. I understand why Mrs Patmore gave the advice she did at the beginning when William was first going to war, she couldn’t have foreseen what happened next. Daisy herself isn’t blameless, she should have been more clear and honest about her feelings with William before there was any plan for him to go to war (there was that interlude where William was not called up because of Violet’s meddling/effort). And as a viewer, I do have a soft spot for poor William and don’t want to see his feelings hurt.  But all that said, I can’t really get over the icky feeling that Daisy was essentially emotionally blackmailed to marry someone she doesn’t want to marry. Granted, everyone is acting based on good intentions; Mrs Patmore and William’s father want to grant William’s final wish and make his last days happier, and William himself only wants Daisy to be taken care off after he’s dead. But sometimes good intentions can be just as suffocating as force. As for William himself, is there anyone watching who didn’t think that William would be the one to die after he made that speech about playing his part and serving his country?

I appreciate the fact that the show did not go the “evil, scheming Lavinia” route that was hinted a bit in the first few episodes. But ye gods, is she an insufferable character. Maybe this is my personal bias, but I’m not a fan of these “long suffering, willing to sacrifice everything, including their own happines, for the man they love” characters. But then again, maybe Lavinia was doing her own emotional blackmail at the end, ensuring that Matthew’s feelings for Mary would be poisoned forever. Hah! Maybe Lavinia is more devious that I thought.

I really enjoyed the Cora-Isobel battle for supremacy. Kudos to the show for not just rehashing the Violet-Isobel battle from Season 1. That battle was highly entertaining as well, but probably too much to repeat it this season. I’m much more in sympathy with Isobel’s view on the issue of what Downton Abbey should be used for, but on the other hand, her son is not Lord Grantham yet. It’s quite tackless of her to act as if she’s already the mistress of Downton. It’s still someone else’s house, regardless of her good intentions or how selfish she thinks the owner of the house is behaving.

Should we expect romance blooming in the coming season for Carson and Mrs Hughes? It seems like it, from some of the things said and glances exchanged when Carson was considering leaving to work for Mary and Richard Carlisle. It’s interesting that although Mary is the most snobbish and stuck-up of the three daughters, she’s the one who seems to have the closest relationship with the servants (with Anna and Carson).

I’ve been quite negative about this season, but to be honest, this show is still better than most things on TV. Maybe because Season 1 was close to being perfect, so my expectation was very high for this season. I will still look forward to the next season, but with a reduced expectation.


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