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…