There was a lot I really liked about the first episode:
Having the kids in the house is pretty delightful.
Mary and Tom working together showcased why their respective dead spouses loved them. Tom is really smart, has conviction and sees more angles than just what’s on the surface. Mary is really smart, really strong and sees herself clearly. I absolutely loved the scene with the lost letter from Matthew. (It actually made me decide to write some letters to be “found” 6 months after my death…what a gift to hear your husband so happy and content at the thought of coming home to have dinner with you.)
That said, I do not want a romance between them.
I also loved all the do-gooding. It’s like the spirit of Matthew lingers and directs people toward their best selves. The Bates’ and the Dowager working to help Mosely paid off huge with the scene downstairs when Mr. Bates “remembered” the debt. And Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Crawley helping Carson’s friend (and Carson himself most importantly) was so moving, I didn’t even groan out loud when Mr. Carson emerged out of the fog at the train station.
Thomas pulling the exact same shenanigans as first season? So we’re to believe that all of the kindness and forgiveness shown him over the years (particularly by Anna and Mr. Bates) didn’t change him at all. I’m so glad he wasn’t fired for being gay last season because he needs to be fired for being a dick.
And the Dowager’s butler? Is he taking classes from Thomas? It was far too reminiscent of the first season when Thomas tripped Mr. Bates and then proceeded to set him up as incompetent for the entire season.
And most importantly, Lord Grantham is the Jeff Winger of Downton. Except at least on Community, Jeff learns the lesson at the end of every episode. Yes he has to learn it every time, but there is some fog on the mirror. Grantham NEVER learns, never changes, and as one recent writer put it, everything bad at Downton is HIS FAULT!
I learned not to say “at my wit’s end”. Apparently, it is vulgar and self-important. Good to know.
Best Dowager line of the night: “there can be too much truth in any relationship”
And Isis continues to be the best dog ever.