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the island of conclusions

Downton Abbey 2x01 and Dr. Who 6x11

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Downton Abbey 2x01 and Dr. Who 6x11

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Okay, I know everyone is eagerly anticipating the return of Hawaii Five-O tonight (and no one more than my six-year-old, who is Steve McGarrett’s biggest fanbody), but I have two words for y’all: Downton Abbey.

Which is back, and as glorious as ever.





Omg, it’s 1916 and Cousin Matthew is at the Somme!

Look out, Cousin Matthew, German shells are exploding all around you as you carry your wounded comrade through the mud! Luckily, this being WWI, he has a valet, or whatever they called those guys who helped you with your personal toilette in the trenches to help him get all that mud off.

Meanwhile, back at Downton, everyone is exactly the same—or, shall we say, responding to the war in characteristic ways. Though by the end of the episode I thought if someone said "everything will be different after the war" one more time I would punch the screen.

Carson is polishing the silver because the only way to defeat the Hun is keep up standards. Lady Sybil is going off to train as a nurse (leading me to hope for some excellent Regeneration-type action). Miss O’Brien is fucking with people as much as she possibly can.

Mary and Matthew are still hopelessly in love and impossibly brittle and heartfelt with each other. They have such a poignant conversation before Matthew goes back to the front that it’s hard for me to believe he’s long for this world. :(

And, yes, Maggie Smith steals every scene she’s in—looking like she’s having more fun in each one than the rest of us have had in our lifetimes. War cannot get her down, and she lends her support to Sybil doing the nursing course. It’s somewhat unclear why, until she’s gets off this zinger, arguably the best line of the night:

The Dowager Duchess [to Sybil]: Take care, dear and remember your Great-Aunt Roberta.

Sybil: Why—what did Great-Aunt Roberta do?

The Dowager Duchess [sweeping from the room]: She loaded the guns at Lucknow.

They should send her to the front line; the Hun wouldn't stand a chance. Heck, the Five-Os should recruit her.



Side note: what is up with the BBC and WWI this year? We're supposedly getting Parade's End and Birdsong at some point in 2012. Is it beginning of the century malaise?

ETA: press release for Parade's End.



The boys and I also watched the “The God Complex,” and I enjoyed it very much, even if they were disappointed that it turned out more sad than scary. I think you can guess from my user name how much I love the Minotaur story, and Matt Smith stroking its fuzzy little soul-eating face while it died was all kinds of touching (and it reminded me of the first Amy episode, with that other incredibly old, trapped creature—was it called a star whale?).

I also loved the Rory was totally immune to the hoo-ha the prison planet was dishing out. Not because he has no faith in anything, presumably, but because his faith can’t be accessed through fear (or it’s not in some kind of compensation for fear/emotional pain). I actually thought Rory was through with the whole shebang last week when he told the Doctor he had no desire to travel with anybody who did check the fucking quarantine status of the planets he apparated into—or words to that effect. That was actually my favorite line of 6x10, which was also incredibly touching, but got there through a plot of extreme contrivance (even for DW, imo).

And the Doctor sacrificing Amy’s faith in him in order to save her life was also very moving. I was a little thrown out of it, though, when he told her they had to learn to see each other as they really were, and then called her “Amy Williams”—as if the gist of the thing was that she was being transferred from one man to another (something that also seemed apparent in the way he seemed to be deciding to scoop up Rita as the next companion after he realized that Rory already had him in the past tense).

I’m sure better Whovians than I can clarify what exactly was going on.



I will probably watch H50 tomorrow, when I can share the joy with my six-year-old. The fandom is so big now, and so intense, that it all makes me a bit nervous—everyone seems to have so much riding on it….

Oh, and happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

  • Lady Sybil is going off to train as a nurse (leading me to hope for some excellent Regeneration-type action).

    Oh god, I want that SO MUCH. My WWI medical kink, it is HUGE! *crosses fingers*
    • oh, man, you and me both! All the press copy has said that Downton itself is used as a hospital or convalescent home or something this season, so it seems likely we'll get our wish!
      • Have you ever read the book Not So Quiet? It's a (rather autobiographical I think) novel from the 1920's, republished maybe 20 years ago by a feminist press, about a young British woman who's serving as a VAD near the front. It's pretty gory, but I loved it.
        • no! that sounds great!

          I've read Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth --straight up autobiography from someone who served as a nurse in France (I think) (it was a BBC series, too, long ago). A little stodgy, but very moving.

          (also, the three Regeneration books--which I adored--Birdsong, A Very Long Engagement, and probably others I'm forgetting. I was thinking I'd try to read Parade's End, since I like Ford Maddox Ford and BC is going to be in it, but it's 1,000 long :(. I might have just a little bit of a WWI kink...)
          • I read Testament of Youth, and I *adore* the Regeneration books. I had trouble getting into Birdsong and never checked out the other two. I do recommend Not So Quiet if you can find a copy. It's a quick read, but intense.

            There's also a nonfiction book called Roses of No Man's Land that I had to order from Chapters.ca since the American booksellers didn't carry it--it's full of first person stuff like letters and interviews.
            • I had trouble with Birdsong, too, though now I can't remember why...I recommend A Very Long Engagement--which is a French novel, and written from a woman's perspective, trying to find her fiancee after the war (and uncovering a scandal along the way, I think).

              Parade's End is a novel from the 1920s (Ford's more famous novel is The Good Soldier)--and yeah, I think I'll wait for Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall in the miniseries :)

              I'm gonna look for the one you've read though!
  • DA: downloading now, good to know there's a place I can come back to and squee later!
    • ooo! I think you'll enjoy it--it's jam-packed with so much great character stuff! Please do come back and tell me what you think!
  • (no subject) -
    • hee! I can play that game: if Maggie Smith was in Supernatural I'd watch that again!

      (though I think she's just arch an eyebrow at Sam and Dean and they'd slink away)

      Seriously, never apologize for watching or not watching stuff! It's one of our few realms of freedom. And if you watch the Playboy Bunny show, please report back!

      (hope your brunch went well!)
  • I thought the Amy Williams was to say that she was no longer the 'fairytale girl' Amy Pond, but that's she'd grown up, and she was now someone's wife and someone's mother.
    • yeah, I feel a little bad even posting about DW, since I am not a serious viewer, and I absolutely think that was supposed to be the gist of what he was saying--I guess I just wish they'd found another way to put it--seemed a little old-fashioned, y'know?
      • Well people kept calling him Rory Pond! Turnabout fair play.

        I have to give Downton Abbey a try. They swept the emmy's for miniseries this year, (because they combined miniseries with one other award) and beat out Sherlock, but then again, DA was overlooked at almost all the Brit TV awards this year, and shut out of the Baftas, I have no idea why.
        • They should have come up with one of those portmanteau names people devise, where they mush their names together--Pondiams or Wilpond or something.

          Downton Abbey is well worth a watch. I resisted for a long time because I thought, goodness, I've seen all that before, haven't I? But it's all so well done, and Maggie Smith really lifts it into the realm of excellent, imo.
  • Hello!

    sholio posted an interesting blog about this very thing, and it was fascinating to read the comments. I hope you can read it, if you're interested. But other people definitely agreed on the idea of Amy being passed from one man to another.

    Personally I didn't change my last name when I got married, and in the spirit of ceasing the patriarchy I don't think that women should. I realize I'm in the minority on that. ;)
    • thanks -- I did go over to look at it --and it was nice to see a positive spin on it. I feel a little bad even posting about DW since I am not the most serious viewer--but, like I said above, it just seemed a little, old-fashioned, y'know?

      No, I didn't change my name when I got married either--even though my name is of course my father's name, so still part of the patriarchy. Didn't seem right, and I already had a professional identity under my own name. I wish now, for obvious reasons, that my kids had my name too -- but I didn't think that far ahead...I didn't realize the majority of women still change their names--
      • I also didn't change my name when I was married, partly because I had changed my name earlier so it wasn't my mother's or father's name. And I also didn't realize that most women still change their names, though when asked, most say it was because they just liked the spouse's name better.

        I really dislike it when older relatives send me mail care of spouses name! Or my daughter's school appends my name with the spouses, that's one long surname!
        • In the end, it's a personal decision whether to change one's name or not--but I guess I just feel it should be a woman's own decision to choose which name she uses (I've completely strayed from Dr. Who now).

          I get called Mrs. MyKidsLastName all the time--which bugs me, because I really am neither....
          • Whenever I go to my kids schools I just say I'm ThatKidsMum, and avoid the name thing entirely - I go by my initials, which puts people off initially, but they get used to it.
  • WATCH IT! Oh, man, the very beginning, the thunder-sound-effect I swear is the same as Supernatural... and now my crazy crossover idea sprang back to life, fully formed! damnit, like I need another crazy crossover idea taunting me...

    So many things to revel in... maybe my favourite moment besides Mary & Matthew's goodbye scene (and oh god all the lovely Anna/Bates before it all inevitably went to hell... I love that storyline) was the driver declaring himself to Sybil- the way it was played, they were both so great!

    And, random note, but they make me covet the women's hairstyles so much! I though they'd have it short, but when Mary's praying it's down and so long... surely some obsessed kind soul will upload some tutorials *eyes the internets*
    • So glad you enjoyed it!

      And I like the way your mind works! You seen Dean as the Irish Republican/Anarchist/sexy chauffeur, don't you?

      I love the Anna/Bates storyline so much--I wanted to punch the wife for coming back--I want Anna to be happy! She deserves to be happy!

      And the scene with Sybil and the chauffeur was awesome--I wonder where that plot line will go?

      The hair styles and the hair ornaments were gorgeous. I love those dresses, too, with the long, high-waisted skirts.
      • Duude... I have an outline... and it's not an AU, it's a legit canon-compliant crossover!

        Though yes, out of all all the guys in the series, Branson it the one how does it it for me. Mmmmh, lovely Irish green eyes....

        Was just checking twitter and tumbler hashtags, and now I need to find the downton LJ communities... there was an icon with "Keep calm and OMG DOWNTON" that I must have!
        • omg, this is awesome! this must happen!

          you know, none of the guys on the series really do it for me--though I enjoy the story lines. Maybe that's why I can't really imagine writing fic for Downton Abbey, much as I love it, while I totally can for The Hour. I am so shallow.

          Lol--you seduced me into looking at the Downton tags on tumblr, and its a cranky fandom--who'd've thought!
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