ad00absurdum: (DA - thomas and iphone)
So, there are several ways to continue. There are rumours about a possible Downton Abbey film where Thomas could get his happy ending. If Julian Fellowes actually realised gay men lived in relationships (with other gay men - just a clarification) before 1967, it could be done via storyline Agatha Christie would be - if not proud of - then at least somewhat favourable towards. Let me tell you my conspiracy theory.

Do you remember lady Edith marrying? Good. So, the chap she's married is Bertie Pelham, Marquess of Hexham. But before he got the title, his cousin Peter was the Marquess of Hexham. Now, Bertie spends really an inordinate amount of time talking about this cousin of his. That he's an "arty type rather than sporty, if you know what I mean", that he often travels to Tangiers to paint "boys, scenes of local life" and "young fishermen", that he likes poetry and he's generally a gentle soul.

And then, much later on when he's about to marry Edith, Bertie's mother all but says that Peter's conduct was questionable/immoral.

Yes, Mr Fellowes, we get it: cousin Peter is gay. But why shove this fact at the audience with such determination, hmm?

Bertie inherits the title because Peter dies in Tangiers. Of malaria and just as he was all set to marry some girl. Interesting, eh? Of course he had to marry: to ensure there was an heir to the title, perhaps because his family was really pushing. But when Bertie gets to Tangiers, he later tells Edith that Peter had already been buried. So he (and we as an audience) never actually saw Peter's body.

My totally brilliand and very plausible theory is that Peter faked his death to have the family/marriage etc. off his back. He just couldn't hand down the title to Bertie but with his death, Bertie gets the title and will marry and will preserve the line and all those things a marquess should do.
And honestly, I wouldn't put that much stock in this theory (even if it is brilliant) if cousin Peter wasn't so much talked about. If he was just mentioned is passing - fine, but Bertie talks endlessly about him and that makes me suspicous of Mr Fellowes's intentions.

And another - purely fanfic - method of fixing things is to go the Jeeves/Wooster route and have Master George, all grown-up of course, become Thomas's lover. I know, the solution is brilliant in its simplicity, isnt it? :D
ad00absurdum: (DA - thomas and iphone)
So, what I didn't like was how Thomas Barrow's character was treated in later seasons and the finale. Because worse fate or luck - whatever you'll call it - was only dished to Anna and Bates. And in the end even they had their happy ending: they were together, they had a baby and were secure in their positions as servants to the Granthams.

But Thomas - no such luck. Season 5: painful attempts at curing himself of homosexuality. Which actually was very interesting from historical point of view, but in DA universe got Thomas nothing but pain (physical and I'm sure emotional as well) and eventually a visit to Dr Clarkson's office.

Season 6: Downton has to reduce the number of servants so the obvious candidate is the under-butler. Not the newest footman, not a hall-boy, not a maid. No, instead it's the man that spent half his life in the service to the Granthams and rescued little Sybbie from an awful nanny and lady Edith from burning into a crisp in a fire. Carson could have said something, perhaps pointing out another candidate to lord Grantham, but he's all too eager to be rid of Thomas too.

Maybe it wouldn't be so annoying if Thomas was the same little shit he was in season 1-3, but he is not: he actually tries to be nice, especially in season 6. But even before that, it seems he really gave up scheming against his fellow men and when he does scheme, it's on lady Mary's request. And what's more, his scheme goes off so brilliantly that everybody is literally happier afterwards. Well, OK, his scheme on lady Mary's request did go well but also got him called a "stupid fool" by lord Sinderby. And that got Thomas furious (because there's nothing worse for an NT than to be called stupid and incompetent and this insult was both to his intellect and competence). So he went for the heavy guns. Later lady Mary admits to her father that she was the one who ordered Barrow to scheme and also says that "it looks like he overdid it". But the funny thing is, he didn't. This was probably the best scheme in Thomas's entire career.

So, instead of finally getting a break, he's ostracised by the rest of the servants at the Abbey (only Miss Baxter is somewhat sympathetic), he's still being told by Carson to find a job and leave in every other sentence and he's so lonely and feels so unnecessary and unwanted that he tries to commit a suicide. No one really cares (though Miss Baxter and the new footman do rescue him) and it looks like lady Mary's dithering over her suitor(s) in that episode is much more important to the writer than a character actually trying to kill himself.

At least the family don't cart him off to a hospital 'cos then he would end up imprisoned in a mental institution.

So then Thomas gets a few weeks to recuperate (at least the upstairs kids like him), but he's still being told to get a job elsewhere. OK, so he finally finds a new job as a butler in some godforsaken old residence. There's only a cook and a maid in the house by way of the downstairs staff and the upstairs family consists of an old couple of unpleasant toffs so it's not the grand career he's always dreamt about. But it is a job. So OK.

And then finally at the end of the series comes the last special Christmas episode. And everybody - and I mean everybody, be it the Abbey's downstairs staff or the family - finds love. It's actually a bit sickening to watch. And what does Thomas get? His old job at the Abbey back. True, he will be the butler now (because Carson's got some mysterious palsy-like illness) but Carson will stay and have an eye on him the house. And I wouldn't complain too much about it, except when lord Grantham learns of Carson's disease there's a talk of searching for a new butler and Carson says that he will of course retire and will live in his cottage because he doubts the new butler will take kindly to the old butler sticking his nose in the business of running the house. And he says, he himself wouldn't let the old butler do that if he were to be the new butler at any place.

With the re-hiring of Thomas, though, Carson is free to stick his nose and dictate how things are to be run to his heart's content. So in effect Thomas, while having the title of the butler, will still be an under-butler: a pair of hands for Carson since his own are shaking too much to do any useful work.

And I would even be fine with that if Thomas was someone who didn't care for people and his sole ambition in life was to be at the helm of a big house. But the really tragic thing is that Thomas rather desperately wants someone to love and who would love him back. It's pretty clear that he'd always wanted to be a valet to a gentleman who would also be his lover.

So the position of a butler, while in itself good and the pinnacle of a career for a servant, is not what Thomas would really like deep down. It's infinitely better to what he had before but you can bloody see he will never really be happy. He will dedicate his life to his work, but the bitterness-turned-sadness-over-the-years will always be there.

And that is why I'm so bitter about the ending of the series I could double as a beer.

Next part: how to fix it. Stay tuned.
ad00absurdum: (DA - thomas and iphone)
A few days ago I finished watching Downton Abbey: re-watching first three seasons and watching seasons 4, 5 and 6 for the first time. And yes, it's still a great period drama, great story with great characters, but there are curious instances of really odd writing on Julian Fellowes's part. Which I don't entirely like.

'Cos really. Mary "sensing" the moment Matthew was injured? Or Daisy "sensing" the moment William was injured? Or Baxter galloping back to the house to check up on Thomas? I mean good thing she did, but that was a particularly WTF moment - there was literally no reason for her to do so.

So take note, fanfic writers: Downton Abbey actually is a legitimate soulmates universe.

Anyway, let's start with the things I liked in the series before the complaining begins (and won't that be fun).

The opening scenes, I just love the opening scenes: when that fateful telegram is being sent, then Bates on the train, but most of all the first scene in the house. How the scullery maid is the first to wake and then wakes the maids, and how the camera follows first her, then a maid then a footman and so on. There are few words, but we can immediately see the hierarchy among the servants and we can also see interior of the house. Brilliand scene done in one long shot I think.

Then the characters. Apart from the obvious one(s), I really liked Spratt. He's a massive snob, talks entirely without moving his upper lip and he's the Dowager Countess of Grantham's (a.k.a. grandma Grantham's) butler who first appeared in season 3 if I remember correctly. I thought it would be a one-time appearence, but later we see a bit more of him, particularly when the Dowager hires a new lady's maid, Denker. The two, that is Denker and Spratt, are the sort of a duo whose mutual dislike for each other makes for a great on-screen relationship.
Denker is quite a character in herself actually and between her and Spratt, there's never a dull moment in the Dowager's house.

Also it turns out much later on that Spratt has got another career apart from butler-ing. I'm not telling what it is in case someone who hasn't seen the series is reading this. Fat chance, I know, but it was a very amusing surprise and it'd be pity to spoil it.

Here, have the picture of Denker and Spratt instead:



Another thing/character that I liked - and I thought I actually wouldn't - was lady Rose. At the beginning she's just this horrible brat always sneaking out to meet her friend (a married man - shocking, I tell you) or to a jazz club (the dancing is outrageous) and generally being a silly bint. But then she changes, grows up, sort of and is actually a very likeable character.

Also, at the end lady Edith finally finds the right man to marry and lives happily ever after with him. Which is nice. After all her marriage prospects turn to dust (Strallan's "I can't do it" in front of the altar was particularly amusing), she marries a man who not only has loads of money and a castle, but seems to genuinely love her.

And this concludes the saccharine part of these ramblings. Next part will ooze bitterness. Because my spirit animal the special snowflake I took a liking to an NT character (must protect. it's a tribe thing) Mr Barrow suffers more than is reasonable and more than he deserves. Stay tuned.
ad00absurdum: (DA - thomas and iphone)
Guys, do you remember Downton Abbey ? I don't know what's happened exactly this past week but my fixation on the show is back. (OK, it's most likely because I re-read Thomas and the Society of Sentinels by Alex51324 and its sequel . The story is brilliant and I obviously have no chances when faced with brilliant writing in general. And perhaps this show in particular).

I used to watch the show regularly through 1st, 2nd and 3rd season but later somehow forgot or something else captured my attention and I stopped, but as we say "co się odwlecze, to nie uciecze" [*] so my obsession is back :D . I've just bought all six seasons on DVD and I plan to watch them when I've got 2 weeks off work starting the beginning of August. Six seasons in two weeks *giggles manically*. My grasp on reality will probably be non-existent by the end of it, but who cares.

Anyway, to prepare you for the things to come (though I will be mostly spamming Twitter), have some Downton Abbey/Star Wars crossover. It is legit, I swear. And you haven't seen anything until you've seen Maggie Smith with a lightsaber. Every argument after that is invalid. Also, capes are cool (at least according so some).

Part 1



Part 2






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[*] - meaning something may come later but will come eventually

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