So, I finished up the third season of Downton Abbey today and all I can say is: “HER LADYSHIP’S SOAP?!!!!”

The penultimate episode left me a little…befuddled.  Fortunately, I know many of you are fans of the show and can help clarify a few things…

What was the deal with Mary asking Edith to ensure Matthew NOT catch an earlier train back from London, presumably in order to avoid him finding out about her visit to the fertility clinic – only to have her travel to London (while he’s there) and run into him anyway?  What was the point of the “make sure he’s on that 3:00 o clock train?” request?

How did Robert go from the amusingly staid conservative of the first 2+ seasons to the suddenly very liberal and forgiving man who happily forgives (forgets?) Thomas’s past transgressions and decides to keep him at Downton?

Her ladyship’s soap?  So, sometime following the “soap incident”, the hitherto crafty O’Brien entrusted the Machiavellian Thomas with her deepest, darkest secret?  Why?

Please provide your clear, concise answers in the comments section.

In the meantime…

Running down my Top 5 Favorite Downtown Abbey characters:

1Mrs. O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran)

I hated her at first and then I loved to hate her and know I just love her.

1Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern)

The calm in the eye of the storm, her proper, bemused responses to the household drama unfolding around her makes her a charming honorary Brit.

1Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol)

No-nonsense, surly, sarcastic – and she can cook!

da3_1_2Mr. Carson (Jim Carter)

Downton Abbey’s most lovable resident.  The butler with the heart of gold – and demeanor of steel.

1Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith)

Oh, I’m sure there’s at least one colorful and amusingly opinionated Dowager Countess in everyone’s extended family.

23 thoughts on “June 14, 2013: Her ladyship’s soap? Her ladyship’s soap?!!!

  1. ;-D I’m already “grooming” myself to be the Family’s “amusingly opinionated Dowager Countess”! — I’ve got the jewelry…

  2. O’Brien thought she was being replaced. So she moved the soap while Lady Cora was taking a bath. While reaching for the soap, a pregnant Lady Cora slipped, fell and lost the baby.

    It’s interesting how when a season of Downton Abbey resumes, it can be several months after the finale.

    1. “O’Brien thought she was being replaced. So she moved the soap while Lady Cora was taking a bath. While reaching for the soap, a pregnant Lady Cora slipped, fell and lost the baby.”

      Actually, I know all this. I want to know why she was foolish enough to tell Thomas about it.

  3. Well, if you recall, O’Brien and Thomas were thick as thieves back in the day. I seem to recall she was incredibly guilt-ridden over having caused the miscarriage and I’m guessing she confided in Thomas…never thinking the day would come when she and Thomas wouldn’t be on the same side of things. I agree…foolish in restrospect, but at the time, I think Thomas was the only friend she had.

    Does that make sense?

  4. I don’t think she told Thomas. O’Brien and Thomas are 99% psychopaths teamed up (early on). Psychopaths recognize one another. Thomas realized O’Brien’s 1% not psychopathness being touched by the results of her “mistake” was very significant, as signified by some lingering stare of his after he said something like “why do you care?” If I’m remembering correctly, it was a long time ago.

    And Robert’s treatment of Ethel vs. Thomas gets to me. At least Ethel never tried to hit on someone who wasn’t able to consent due to being asleep.

    O’Brien might have learned something, but I think she’s really mostly the same as before, just not teamed up with Thomas anymore and having to try to pretend to be normal better.

  5. Why did O’Brien tell Thomas her dirtiest secret? Maybe it was eating away at her and she just had to confide in someone. She has alienated everyone else in the staff and Thomas is her only confidant. The other option is ” the plot needed it to be so” and I don’t really like that one.

    Not sure about Robert and Thomas… though I had the feeling that Robert didn’t take some of Thomas’ transgressions as seriously as I did.

    You are correct – Mary didn’t want Matthew to know about her going to the fertility clinic, so she tried to have Edith delay him. It didn’t work out. Also necessary for plot advancement.

    I love all of those characters, too. Except O’Brien. She is just too mean-spirited.

    I, too, aspire to become the eccentric Dowager in my circle of friends and family. Need to cultivate a bit more acid wit, though.

    I’m looking forward to next season.

  6. I just looked up the quote to make sure I spelled the name of the college right. It’s what the writers offered as explanation for Robert’s attitude regarding Thomas.

    I mean, if I shouted blue murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton I’d have gone hoarse in a month. What a tiresome fellow.

    I was only going to point out the writers were taking advantage of the fabled attitude at Eton about boys boarding together and that being steeped in Eton culture (if the stories are true) would cause Robert’s differing attitude when it comes to boys vs. Ethel’s situation.

    But, I just noticed that “What a tiresome fellow.” remark. Excuse me? Thomas’s actions toward James were a genuine offense, independent of one’s attitudes about same-sex relationships. He tried to kiss him when he was asleep, when he was unable to consent or say “no”. He withdrew the complaint because his era’s penalties were excessive, not because there was no offense. He played ball and still gets called the “tiresome fellow”. If he’s saying it was normal at Eton to try to kiss someone who didn’t want to be kissed, that’s wrong even if you are at an elitist institution and can get away with it because of the survival-of-the-strongest culture. I can only hope Robert just didn’t know James was asleep so that that puts a different spin on “tried”.

  7. Some small part of me is always waiting for the TARDIS to materialize in the library and take Lady Edith away. Lord Robert objects, of course, until the Dowager Countess reveals that she was also a companion of the Doctor in her younger days.

  8. Don’t you mean honourary Brit? *snicker*

    I’m not watching DA, in fact I think the only shows we have in common is Community. Did you hear last week that it was announced that Dan Harmon is returning for S5. Now explain that one? With all that bad blood on his leaving I think it would be kinda awk-weird…

    AND who can explain John Hurt on Doctor Who to me?


  9. I found the third season ended dissapointing because of the inconsistent attitudes towards Thomas. It all seemed very consistent and appropriate to the attitudes of the time, until at the last minute (inexplicably?) everyone suddenly rallies around Thomas. Like 21st century attitudes being forced into a setting where they didn’t exist, which felt as anochonostic as one of the characters suddenly pulling out an iPhone.

  10. And yes, I also felt like she didn’t tell him directly about the soap, but they were tight enough that he could guess what had happened by the way she acted. He was always portrayed as very intuitive.

  11. G’day

    Never watch it.

    Used to love “To The Manor Born”, great British show.

  12. In other news, I managed to make those bacon-grease kale chips. It wasn’t as hard as I thought to get the grease to be a liquid at a temperature that wouldn’t wilt the kale.

    They’re great, but I wouldn’t call them far and away better than the olive oil version. I feel like I must’ve forgotten where I come from to say that. I’m sure the sea salt is the right salt for the olive oil version, but I don’t know which salt should go with this version, or maybe even an additional seasoning. And now I know I’ve forgotten where I come from.

  13. I really enjoyed the verbal fencing between Martha Levinson and Lady Violet Crawley. That was some fancy footwork on the writer’s part and the actresses brought it to life.

  14. Has anyone seen this website?
    It’s pretty cool if you want to look up an old post that was removed. It’s called “The Way Back Machine”. I was looking up some threats made and removed from a certain person I know. It’s hard to erase something once you put it on the net.

  15. When I was visiting my mother in Florida, I was introduced to this program. It was rather enjoyable. Fortunately, I have not t.v. so I have ward off the affliction of addictions. The one episode I remember when the mother of a bride to be, she being of upper new england society, was visiting the family who had in the hope of getting the mother’s money to save the estate.

  16. Much as I like Downton I’m loving Call the Midwife way more; Miranda Hart is a treasure. I don’t think O’Brien told the evil footman anything, he may have figured it out due to how upset and guilty O’Brien was behaving at the time. I adore Mrs. Patmore; they could do a whole spinoff just on her adventures and spikey comebacks.

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