WITF Talks

WITF Talks is our weekly programming discussion featuring commentary and insights about recent episodes of your favorite shows. Follow along each week as members of our staff are joined by local experts and enthusiasts to share thoughts, opinions, and favorite moments.

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Downton Abbey Season 4, Episode 2

Written by witf | Jan 13, 2014 11:06 AM

Photo by ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Shown from left to right: Cara Theobold as Ivy, Lesley Nicol as Mrs Patmore and Sophie McShera as Daisy

Celebrate the return of Downton Abbey and dish about the latest episode with witf Talkswitf's new podcast series. Find out what all the buzz is about each Monday with entertaining recap and commentary from witf’s Fred Vigeant, Mark Duncan, and Katie Lengyel. Plus, take a deep dive into the intriguing world of Edwardian era history with Dr. Jennifer Nesbitt, Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University - York campus. We’ll break down the latest plot twists, one liners and cliff hangers.

The international hit series, written by Julian Fellowes, features an all-star cast including Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, and Hugh Bonneville. Who will capture the heart of Lady Mary? Will Anna and Bates sink or swim in rough waters ahead? Production and costume design continues to stun. The Crawleys, the staff, and life at Highclere Castle. There’s LOTS to talk about!

Downton fans-- share your reactions, predictions and submit questions for next week's podcast. To participate, leave a comment or question below and we'll talk about during the next aftershow.

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  • Janna W img 2014-01-13 23:38

    Enjoyed the discussion again. I liked the comment that Mrs. Hughes made to Moseley that "you have people that care about you at Downton." And when Carson called Moseley in to see if he would act as footman, I think he motives were dual. 1) to help Moseley when he is struggling. 2) to help himself with the situation without Jimmy. And I don't believe that he was rubbing it in in a malicious way about him delivering groceries but rather using Moseley's logic against him with the idea that he has lowered himself soooo far that he must take what he can get. Carson thinks that Moseley has to adjust his thinking and expectations if he wants to find work. Especially since we are all aware that Moseley is not the brightest card in the deck. My thought (although it will never happen I'm sure) is that when it is found out about what Gillingham's valet did, he'll get fired and Moseley will get the job. Especially since it seems we might be seeing more of Gillingham. Of course that just means that the difficulties that Anna will face with that guy around again will make for painful watching.
    As for Lord Grantham I think he just likes to avoid any dealings with emotions if possible as well as any conflict. He wants to believe that everyone in the family loves each other and never has disagreements. They make him uncomfortable and he reverts to his patriarchal upbringing by asserting his authority when he is forced to face things, many times making rushed and unwise decisions. He has no clue what Tom means when Tom says he feels like he doesn't belong. LG says and feels that Tom belongs but has NO concept of what it is like to NOT have been brought up in the social environment that he's always known.
    I just walked away with the feeling this episode that it was getting a bit like a soap opera, like they were manufacturing situations to elicit reactions that created conflicts regardless of whether they made sense for the characters. I also sometimes just want to yell at them (like Tom) and say "grow up!" or "open your eyes!" I think Edna just gave Tom a big drink to get him drunk so she could seduce him. I am not sure if she is actually expecting to change his mindset and fall in love with a servant (in her mind: "wouldn't that blow their minds if I walked in on Tom's arm") or whether she is just hoping to get pregnant and then be paid to keep quiet. Either way, little does she realize that if something were to develop it would more likely mean the "demotion" and exiling of Tom rather than the elevation of her situation.
    Glad to see they let Albert do some cooking. He jumped in to help when Mrs. Patmore worked herself into a tizzy. Saw that one coming! I am just hoping that Mrs. Hughes decides that she must do something about what happened to Anna (without actually "telling" anyone) because although we know that the Bates' marriage cannot always be all sweets, I hate to see such a thing go unpunished. And I think Bates is too smart not to figure out that something very wrong happened between Anna and Gillingham's valet.
    I am glad that Carson forced Thomas to shelve his pride and take care of what needed to be done when Jimmy hurt his hand. I thought when Jimmy tossed that jar in the air that the jam was going to go everywhere (since he had just opened the jar). I agree with you that it would be nice if Mary and Isobel could find some way to help each other out, maybe by joining forces in being present for George. I agree too that I think the Dowager Countess has mellowed a bit over since the beginning. she has learned to accept that things have changed in the world, even if she is always a few steps behind. She is motivated ultimately by love however.
    That's all for now. (the name is pronounced Yanna, like Jana Novatna, the tennis player)

    • Fred Vigeant img 2014-01-14 09:49

      Janna, thanks for the comments. My apologies on mispronouncing your name. We'll get that right on the next episode.

  • Jane img 2014-01-14 11:22

    Anything bad can happen to any other character from the series, but NOT to beloved Anna!!!!! That terrible scene with Green is painful to watch to say the very least. As much as I love Downton Abbey I don't want to see the rest of it. Enough for me!

  • Eliza img 2014-01-15 14:58

    I cannot believe that Downton turned into a regular soap opera with Episode 2. Why did the storyline have to let Anna be raped and the writers added insult to injury by having it be a valet who is obviously going to return to Downton! It was unnecessary. The plot and storyline is healthy and somthing that I generally look forward to.
    This season is very different than the prior three and I don't mean for the better. Edna is also a distraction; I was sorry to see her back. The drama with the staff and their differences is outweighing the story around the family and the future of Downton. I hope Season Four progresses in the "old" Downton way so I can keep looking forward to it! I would like it to remain "a bit above the rest" with regard to the storyline. Here's to hope....

  • lsgleason img 2014-01-16 15:08

    Yes, I believe Anna and Bates will sink, sink, sink . . . .
    Who will win Mary's heart - actually, no one will ever fill Matthew's shoes.

  • dmillner img 2014-01-17 23:48

    I just have to say I was totally traumatized by Downton Abbey last night. I woke up several times during the night and was dreaming about Anna's tragedy. Horrible!!!! I felt the first two episodes this year were very disappointing too. The characters are not true to the way he has developed them. Would everyone really think that Anna was doing some nastiness to the new maid? Even Bates? Would Bates really give 30# to what his name? Would Mrs.Hughes really go behind Carson's back and bring a strange man to Mrs. Crowley's house? Would Lady Grantham really hire someone Mrs. Hughes was trying to get her to reject? The woman who was going to be so intimate in her life activities and hear all her intimate conversations? None of it makes sense. Would Mary really lay into Carson the way she did? He is like a Father to her. Would the servant have been playing that long and frenzied game when they were in the middle of a big important dinner? come on. I think Julian Followes has run out of ideas and needs a good editor. I am not watching it anymore. i have been a follower of series before that just fall apart after a few years and I think that has happened here. YUK!!!! I loved it the last three years and that is enough for me. Done.

  • jnesbitt img 2014-01-19 11:39

    Hey, everyone. I know we'll probably talk about some of these issues tomorrow but I wanted to thank you all for your great comments. It's true that the opening episodes have been a bit up-and-down, and I hope--now that a major plot point has been revealed--that the stories begin to develop over several episodes.

    And events of episode two were horrifying: many have expressed similar feelings to yours. There's an interesting piece in Slate about the show's treatment of women, which you might find gets at some of the issues you've been talking about. It's strange that when Kamal raped Mary in season one, there was not such a furor. Raises some questions about how we see rape.

    Thanks for joining in, and best to you in all your watching, wherever your eyes may take you!

  • Poboy Bread img 2014-01-20 17:36

    Trying to understand... Why did Mosely get fired? and what became of the handmaid who was stirring up all the trouble?

    • Katie Cibort Lengyel img 2014-01-21 08:44

      Mosely was Matthew's valet, so he lost his job when Matthew died. And we found out what Edna was up to on this past Sunday's episode! Glad to see she's gone! :)

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