The Case Of The Missing Limp

I have a love hate relationship with Downton Abbey. Parts of it are really good and parts of it are deeply silly. Like everyone else, I adore Maggie Smith as the feisty, funny, and spunky Dowager but then there’s the dour Mr. Bates who was Lord Pompous Ass’s batman (servant, not caped crusader) when the stiff upper lipped loser was in His Majesty’s Army.

In one of the most preposterous but still dull plot lines, Bates has been unjustly convicted of murdering his harridan ex-wife. In writer/producer Julian Fellowes’ fantasy world, the people upstairs deeply care about the dull and ponderous Bates. In the real world, they wouldn’t have given a toss.

Jail appears to have had a salutary effect on Master Bates’ health. In the last episode, he was scampering about the prison yard like a thoroughbred in pursuit of his nemesis. One problem: a major plot line back in Season-1 centered on the downstairs staff’s belief that Bates’ limp should disqualify him as Lord Windbag’s valet. Oopsie.

A friend of mine only recently started watching Downton and he described it as Upstairs Downstairs with better production values. I quite agreed but added something: “Up Down had better scripts.”

Okay, Downtonites, feel free to stone me for my apostasy but don’t forget that I solved The Case Of The Missing Limp and without a society doctor to mess things up either…

11 thoughts on “The Case Of The Missing Limp

  1. Kevin says:

    “A friend of mine only recently started watching Downton and he described it as Upstairs Downstairs with better production values.”
    By Season 2 it had turned into Dynasty 1919, and the Granthams became the Carringtons. The severed spinal column that healed without a trace sealed it.

  2. adrastos says:

    Yep. Fellowes specializes in medical miracles.

  3. robo says:

    Not to mention having the good doctor eat a shit sandwich to miraculously save the Grantham marriage.
    I won’t be satisfied unless BateZ takes a shiv in the exercise yard.

  4. pansypoo says:

    mean upper crust are not teevee fodder.

  5. MichaelF says:

    Agree wholeheartedly re: “In the real world, they wouldn’t have given a toss.”
    Have been watching since the tail end of Season Two with interest and even fascination, but feel like it’s less of-its-time and more an interpretation through a 21st century lens.

  6. adrastos says:

    Fellowes is a close friend of Cameron and George Obsborne. In short. he’s a Tory toff/

  7. Mine is a love/hate relationship,too. I find that accepting the series as high-class soap makes it easier to indulge my fascination, despite the sometimes weak scripts. Dare I say it? I like Bates.

  8. JMac says:

    We watched the complete first season a few years ago and quite enjoyed it. By the second or third ep of series 2 we’d lost interest. With all the hubub lately about the show I had been thinking of giving it another try. But I think we’ll pass. Moving on…

  9. mothra says:

    It’s a prettier Upstairs/Downstairs, but you’re right–the writing and plots were better. I keep expecting Bates to get shivved, but the previews for next week show him coming back to Downton, so I guess there’s no shiv waiting for him in prison. But as for inconsistencies: upstairs and downstairs are so very concerned about Bates and the resolution, but they are quite happy to ostracize young Ethel who had to sell herself to support the baby which should have been supported by that Lord whatever-his-name-was. It was a member of their class, for heaven’s sake.

  10. gratuitous says:

    Yesterday, I was convinced I was the only person on the planet who liked Bates. I see I was in error, which gladdens me. I guess I like the character because despite blow after blow dealt him by life – including some that have come by his own invitation – he seems to have a decent attitude about it all.
    For example, he was genuinely concerned for Daisy when she began to slip into the orbit of Miss O’Brien and Thomas, and kept her from going down that road. And while his methods haven’t always been the purest, I think his goals are generally for the betterment of wherever he is.

  11. Beauzeaux says:

    Bates and Anna are the only resons to watch! As for Lord Grantham’s attachment to Bates, I believe Bates was batman to Lord Grantham during the Boer War. Officers and their batmen often became close under fire. Many of these relationships formed during war time, survive the peace. It wouldn’t be at all odd for Robert to want to repay Bates’ loyalty by helping with legal advice for Anna.

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