Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Downton Abbey: The Crossing

You have to give the series credit. How do you make a story about upper-crust Englishmen living in a 50 bedroom mansion who can't even get themselves dressed and undressed without assistance from the service staff, as entertaining as it is interesting and lush?

As the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show would end years ago, we left our heroes with two main story lines to propel us into the third season. The first is the conviction of the valet John Bates for the murder of his wife, and the second will have to do with the love life of Lady Mary.

As to the murder conviction being commuted to life imprisonment, they've obviously got the wrong chap. John Bates's defense attorney should be hung until he is dead. The nitwit is obviously practicing law in a coma.

It's fine that the show is not really a courtroom drama, and that the scenes are just there to get old Bates found guilty, but really, couldn't the defense at least think of something to say that would twitch the ears of the wig-wearing goat overseeing the proceedings? I think the jury returned faster than the O.J. lot. No Henry Fonda on that bunch going over the evidence. They should all be waving white flags of surrender. Where's Horace Rumpole when you really need him? Locked away swilling wine in Pomeroy's, I guess.

And Lady Mary. Will she be going to America, or will America, in the form of her grand-mama, be coming to her for the wedding?

This is set up to go either way. Her American grand-mama will be played by Shirley MacLaine in Season Three. Ol' Shirl is a major name with I'm sure a good contract. We're going to be seeing her more than a few times. She's the elephant in the drawing room: attention will be paid.

If Mary goes to America, then money will have to be spent on those sets. If Shirl crosses the pond and lands in England, they won't need to create different backgrounds. The producers certainly have a decent budget by the looks of things so far, so we're just going to have to wait.

Lady Mary in America would be a great touch. Frank Sinatra has get to sing 'New York, New York,' but if a "fallen" woman like Mary can make it there, she can make it anywhere. Who knows, she may start partying with grand-mama there and start keeping all kinds of odd hours. It is the city that never sleeps.

American grand-mama has homes in New York and Newport, so maybe some tennis will be played. We don't know how Ol' Shirl arrived at money, but it's a good guess she buried the guy. They always do.

Of course, all the other characters will swirl in and out of scenes, some with drama, some with comedic effect.

Whatever happens, it's a sure bet Lord Grantham will never like the Irish.

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