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From Laura Linney's introduction and the opening notes of the orchestral theme score, to the final close-up and the end credits, the highly anticipated second season of Downton Abbey, which returns us to the Crawley Family and their servants in the throes of World War I, is chock full of moment after memorable moments. Every week, in this space, I'll count down the Top Five moments from the last episode. You'll probably have your own memorable moments, so please chime in and add your thoughts to the comments section below. Let the dishing begin.
Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Tonight is the Downton Abbey finale and as this season draws to a close, perhaps it would be best to draw strength, at this difficult time, from Sir Winston Churchill, who said, ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the Season Two.’ Wise words. And what makes this night different from all other nights? The gloomy look of the opening credits, devoid the customary wagging doggie tail greeting. Isis was busy being locked in a shack in the woods, and being the method actor she is, she couldn’t just wag her tail in the air like she just don’t care. She had to stay in character (and by the way, her agent says that next season she wants a bigger trailer). Read more

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Sunday, February 12th, 2012

And what have we all learned this week, class? For starters, we all learned how to pronounce shaz lllonnnng (let it cradle across the back of the tongue). Yes, that’s shaz lllonnng, not the oh so common ‘chaise lounge’, heathens. Was this news to anyone else? Maybe you fancy pants, arugula chomping, socialist elites already knew this posh pronunciation, but I bet it was news to those watching from the comfort of their Le Zee Garcon se Repose… Read more

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Sunday, February 5th, 2012

This week, it was brought home to us again how sharp a contrast there is between our world and the Edwardian one, in the lack of options for women. It is that lack of options that drives the stories of so many of our friends at Downton. It doesn’t really matter where on the social food chain a woman is in this Edwardian culture; Her status or worth is determined by whether a man (and which one) chooses to marry her or use her (or both). In many ways, Lady Mary and Ethel are in the same boat: They are just a means to an end for these men whose true motives were initially camouflaged by their early charm. Sir Richard is using Lady Mary to get the one thing all his money cannot buy, and Major Bryant just used Ethel for sex. They are both imprisoned by everyone’s adherence to a society that doesn’t allow women to breathe (and in those corsets, that means literally). Can either one of them escape? Read more

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Sunday, January 29th, 2012

If you are turning to this Downton Dish after just watching this week’s episode, you (like me) are probably a little sad right now. I suppose it had to happen though; it would have been too unrealistic for the story to go all the way through the Great War without anyone we know being killed on the Somme — and, of course, it was inevitable that it had to be an innocent rather than an antagonist. Still, we’re so very sad to see William go. But we must soldier on… Read more

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Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

While listening to everyone, except the Dowager Countess, sing ‘If You Were the Only Girl in the World’, (a song that was first published in 1916 and was a big hit during The Great War), I had a thought: Exactly how did a song become such a big hit that everyone knew the words before even radio came along? Back then, the only thing that went viral was influenza, so it’s a mystery to me. Read more

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Sunday, January 15th, 2012

This week, as Downton Abbey is transformed into a military convalescent hospital, and Cousin Isobel turns into Leona Helmsley, it might be time to note that there are some critics who have complained that with this sophomore season, Downton Abbey has become like a soap opera. But these critics are wrong: Downton Abbey has always been a soap opera – right from the start. Read more

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Friday, January 6th, 2012

One would think that all it would take is one withering stare to make the offending flora pop out of the vase and bolt across the floor (I know I would.) But no, Dowager Countess circled the table like a ninja, and quite rightly too! Those cowtails could have poked someone’s eye out. You know, all this floral arranging has left me feeling quite parched. I think I’ll have the footman bring me some tea. Read more

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