Sunday, February 24, 2013

OSCARS!! Big Awards Edition

And here we are at Director, going to Ang Lee for Life of Pi. I didn't even call this category. Have to say Jane Fonda looks amazing in bright yellow. Did they seriously just give this award and then go to ads?

How much time would we have saved by cutting Seth McFarlane out entirely?

Oh, and the ad for Baileys reminded me that I should be drinking! Fortunately, I have some Baileys in the house!

Best Actress, introduced by the still charming Jean Dujardin--wait, wasn't he a character in Les Miz? Jennifer Lawrence won! Wow. And she tripped on the stairs. I bed she mentions it in her speech. And she gets a standing O--yes! She mentioned it! She was charming and flustered and DeNiro looked like it was past his naptime.

Nice move, McFarlane. You were right--Meryl Streep needed no introduction. This is DDL again, although the clip of Hugh Jackman makes him unrecognizable. That's the kind of role that wins often, but not against DDL. Also, Denzel should win for his role as a drunk, but the DDL thing is hard to beat, especially him playing an American icon like that. Yup. Who knew? First actor to win 3 in the Lead Actor category? Wow.

DDL is so gracious, but he couldn't sell that joke. I guess we won't ask him to host the show next year.

I do not love Jack Nicholson. Seriously, why is he still being trotted out all the time? I never got him. I saw Five Easy Pieces and could not get the love. 

WTF? Michele Obama? That WAS a surprise!  And a great dress too! Go M.O.!  And the winner is going to be Lincoln, isn't it? Michele Obama gets to open the envelope? ARGO? ARGO?!?!

Wow. That was not what I expected. But it's got two really good looking producers to bring to the stage. And the funny looking one takes the mic.  Turns out he's funny too.

Now we get a closing musical number and it's almost 11--will they cut it?  Will they play these guys off? No, it's a direct steal from Neil Patrick Harris's closing number at the Tonys. Having Kristin Chenoweth helps sell something that is pretty weak. 

Let's not have him back next year, but ask Adele to host! Or Shatner. Or Tina and Amy. Somebody who is actually funny. Or nobody at all, and just have excellent traffic control to send people onto the stage without the person "hosting." A word which here means "tells stale jokes that are both boring and cringeworthy."

Congratulations to the winners. See you next year!

OSCARS!! In Memorium Edition

Babs was a nice choice, making this the Oscars all about women bringing the voices--Seth who? Maybe we don't need a "host," maybe we just need great voices and a traffic director backstage to get people to their marks?

Have to say Greg Louganis still looks awfully good in a Speedo--but no way am I watching "Splash."

Oh good, a gay joke from McFarlane! Offensive and not funny--that's what we want in our telecast!

Ten years since Chicago won it's Best Picture oscar. Zellweger looks especially scrunchy faces--like she can't even see out of her tiny eyes any more. The years have not been kind to her, but Queen Latifa looks WONDERFUL! And they are introducing Film Score--again, not one I feel qualified to predict. And the Oscar goes to Life of Pi.

Wow, it's after 10 p.m. here, and there are still a whole lot of awards to be given out. Are we going to be here until the wee hours!

Original song--who knew Scarlet Johanson performed one of them? Chasing Ice? I didn't even know it was a movie, much less a song. And what's the deal--two of the five nominees are in a film clip mash-up while Skyfall and the one from Les Miz are performed live? Do. Not. Get. We have time for Chicago and Dreamgirls but not the actual nominees? And Seth McFarlane's song from Ted gets Norah Jones onstage? Guess we know who are the favorites?

Actually, everybody knows Skyfall is going to win this. No question. But would Joshua Bell and Scarlett Johanson have come if they were asked?

Zellweger is all but unrecognizable--I feel like a bitch for saying it, but girlfriedn does not look like herself. She's totally rocking that gold dress, though.

And an Adele acceptance speech--too emotional, and very sweet and plenty of time for her co-winner. Lovely.

Oh no--Jimmy Kimmel is having an Oscar show afterwards. No, I am not going to watch that too. Although I am kind of surprised that I'm not also checking out what E! is doing now. Weren't they going to be counter-programming with more fashion analysis? Oh, I just checked, it's a Kardashian show, so I'm not missing anything.

Argo won adapted screenplay! I was wrong, I thought sure it would be Silver Linings Playbook--I overestimated the Harvey Weinstein factor, which I didn't think was possible to do!

Amazing how Quentin Tarantino can say words that might read as humble, but he still makes it all about himself. I had picked Moonrise Kingdom for screenplay, but this is the year of "Everybody Gets Some Love!" The Best Picture nominees are going home with a couple each it seems.

OSCARS!! The Nine O'Clock Hour

Scientific and Technical Awards awarded by Star Trek actors? Well chosen dudes.

Ted is presenting--I don't like it. Not funny, not cute. Technically impressive, but a crudeness too far. Sound mixing--goes to a musical do you think? As someone who doesn't understand technical awards, that's what I would vote for. Apparently so does the rest of the Academy.

A TIE for sound editing! So nice they both get to win. I was afraid we were going to have to do something unsavory with the damn animated teddy bear to break it.

Now a Von Trapp Family Singers joke. Which works almost, until McFarlane laughs at his own set up. And then we introduce Christopher Plummer.  And now here we are with Supporting Actress. And I was right about Hathaway.  I like her, but I'm preparing for a lot of backlash in the recaps. I even like her pink Prada dress. Hey, I didn't know that she was married to a Baby Goose Celebrity Impersonator!

And what are the popcorn usherettes doing? Is that usual? To keep people from passing out before dinner?

ADELE is awesome. She changed her hair from the red carpet, and it's gorgeous. I kind of wish her dress were floor length, but then we wouldn't be able to see her sparkly shoes. She totally killed that song. (I checked, her shoes were not the ruby slippers Kristin Chenoweth was teasing during the red carpet--but if she clicks them together three times, will they take her home? Or to a world of bimetalist fiscal policy?)

And now Nicole Kidman, looking human and not at all plastic. The best picture nominees: Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, and Amour. What ties these together--medical care/dentistry?

Dan Radcliffe and Kristin Stewart--I heard she was on crutches? Is that actually true? I wasn't paying attention. Production design goes to Lincoln--kind of predictable because so many of these go to period pieces. Not surprised to see Anna Karenina nominated, for example.

Snotty intro to Selma Hayek--she looks gorgeous, and she's using her second language. Let's see you be an artist in your non-native language, McFarlane. Thanks for being a jerk and a racist as well. These were pretty big awards given to big Hollywood players. Way to minimize them.

OSCAR!!What Happened to my Posts Edition?

And now, A TRIBUTE TO BROADWAY! Seriously, why doe movies on television need live stage performances? But I still love Chicago, thought Dreamgirls was adequate--with a special nomination for Beyonce's unplucked eyebrows. I have zero interest in Les Miz. It's Hugh Jackman singing--just like on Broadway!

I'm not buying this as necessary. A medley of tunes that all sound exactly the same as each other. That's an easy clip job. Love Samantha Banks though. Do we bring the whole cast on because we know the movie isn't going to sin anything? And where was Helena Bonham Carter during the red carpet shows? She's looking cracked out as usual, but that's apparently in character for the movie. I do like Hathaway's dress too. But I want to see more of Banks!

Oh guess, a standing ovation for this? I guess is twas guilt to create one. Either that, or there were actual electrodes implanted in the seats so everybody HAD to stand up

I think I had some posts that got lost, but they were mostly about how little there was to comment on, so no great loss, and maybe they will show up. We're back to ads, and I'm going to post this.

OSCARS!! The Part Nobody Cares About Edition

What is there to say about these awards? Life of Pi sure was pretty--so visual effects awards make sense, bunch of movies I have never heard about. Seth McFarlane is mercifully absent mostly. A good speech from a guy who I don't know what the movie was. Short documentary--I don't know anything about these. Jamie Fox and Kerry Washington are doing a good job and not embarrassing themselves.

This is probably as good a time as any to go check some other live bloggers. I personally want Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson to be sitting on my sofa and talking me through these awards, but their life feed is full of commentary and so it's terribly diffuse and hard to follow.

I love the Fug Girls, but their comments on fashions will keep.

Any others recommended?

Liam Neeson! Still attractive, but I don't like his devolution into an action hero. Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty--these are the political movie nominees. I see why they are together.  Too bad the hair and beards of the 70s weren't nearly as attractive as Ben Affleck's are. Victorian facial hair is also pretty weird, and who know that they had Grecian Formula for Men in 1863? (Yes, I'm looking at Tommy Lee Jones's hairpiece.)

Searching for Sugarman wins documentary. Shot on a iPhone, I hear. So now there is really no excuse for the rest of us not to be making movies too.

Hey--Marchesa is coming to JCPenney's? Harvey Weinstein is EVERYWHERE! Quick! Revise your Oscar picks--SLP for EVERYTHING!!

OSCARS!! Animated Films Edition

Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy in a classically bad bit of banter about actor's voices as tools of the craft. They tried, but the material was weak. Oh, and what a surprise! Pixar won for "Paperman."

Animated Feature Film--is--Brave! The non-brave choice--it goes to Pixar. But I do like the kilt on the producer/director.

Reese Witherspoon has to introduce three best picture nominees. This is kind of awkward, but probably necessary. Les Miz, LIfe of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild--quick! Why group these ones together? I guess they all have boats?

Avengers cast taking digs? Not really funny, but not UN-funny. Cinematography going to Life of Pi makes sense because it's a gorgeous looking movie--but is he high? Way to just say thanks and get the heck off the stage.

Visual Effects? Any of these is decent--special effects have gotten so good that there's really no difference in craft--it's sort of a matter of artistic effect now. And Life of Pi used the special effects in service of a story, rather than in service of the special effects. A logical win.

Using the music from Jaws to play off the speaker--rude, but kind of awesome. Shouldn't there be a hook or something coming to pull them offstage if they overrun the  allotted time? When you are playing "Jaws" the menace is palpable.

OSCAR Ceremony!!

We are inside the theater, seeing Renee Zellweger in gold Carolina Herrara, looking good but also kind of old. Time is not kind to women.

Queen Latifah looking BOSS!! Badgely Mischka FTW!

Credits are running and now it's the last sponsors before the higher ad fees kick in maybe? Let's check and see if Levi's/J.C. Penny's has any ads during the actual ceremony. . .

And we're starting! Lots of LED lights! Seth McFarlane and his punchable face.

Let's make Tommy Lee ones laugh. It worked.

The monologue jokes are old--really a joke about accounting for no profits?

But the Captain Kirk thing is working! "We Saw Your Boobs" as a kind of parody of bad Oscar musical performances actually works. Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum doing a sort of Astaire/Rogers dance to "Just The Way You Look Tonight" is actually charming. How did that happen? The changing newspaper headlines, the sock puppet re-enactment of Flight. . . .not terrible. Especially the dryer tumbling the socks. JGL and DRadcliff dancing to "High Hopes?" He's all the way up to "mediocre." He's willing to take "mediocre."

The Green Room Sally Field and Seth in the Flying Nun sequence is a bit off, but using the "alternate history" approach allows him to have his cake and eat it too. And really, he's got to be nervous--this is a lot of singing and dancing for a guy who isn't usually in front of the camera. And I haven't wanted to punch him even once. So I'm calling this a success.

Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actor. She's charming and lovely and amazing. And the winner is--Christoph Walz! I didn't pick a winner here, but what a great clip they showed. Bounty hunting--"much like slavery, it's a flesh for cash business." And Walz is a classy speech-maker. A well crafted speech and they didn't even have to play him off!

Hey--Seth McFarlane does the voice over outro to the ads. He's a bargain! And we're into commercials.

OSCARS!! E! News Working their Blackout

I just checked out what was happening on E! while ABC was on ad break--they are pimping the heck out of E! shows that will happen later. Because guys! They totally aren't just watching TV and commenting just like you are at home! No way!

We have Giuliana Rancic and Kimora Lee and Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Osborne (and someone from Marie Claire) and they are wearing expensive dresses and they are totally not just watching TV! They are "Live from the Red Carpet!!"

Back at ABC and KChen and her Oscar Mystery--Anne Hathaway just guessed Dorothy's Slippers, and that's what it was! We have a winner!

Jamie Foxx is here with his 19 year old daughter. They talked about college in the limo on the way over--that's great. Makes me like Foxx better.

Daniel Day Lewis and his wife, Rebecca Miller--she looks like a smart person--mostly because I want that to be true. I want them to be a marriage of interesting minds. (I think he's a lock, by the way.)

So, less than 12 minutes to broadcast. Shall I make some picks?

Best Picture:I'm going with Lincoln.
Best Actor: DDL--Daniel Day Lewis
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence--as the "token" SLP winner
Best Supporting Actor: No Clue--everybody has won before, so it doesn't matter.
Best Supporting Actress: Hathaway is also a lock

SLP for Adapted Screenplay
Moonrise Kingdom for Original Screenplay
Best Animated Feature Film: Brave is the logical one, but I'm going to pick Wreck It Ralph, because that one had the whimsy and cleverness that we expect from Pixar and didn't get in Brave.

Those are the only ones I feel are worth predicting. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Seth McFarlane isn't going to be asked back after tonight. I have no inside info--this is just my gut.

Enjoy the show!

OSCARSII Is it a Head?

Hugh Jackman guesses the Oscar Mystery is a head--just like Amanda Seyfried. The clue has changed--the first clue was "over 2000 components." The new clue is "It was given as a gift." Can't say to whom.

Chris Evans also brought his mom as his date.

DeNiro and his wife--she's younger but not exactly young, and African American, which I didn't know. Robyn Robinson is asking DeNiro about Cooper, which is nice.

Dan Radcliff is cute, and HP is clearly over, since there aren't hordes of screaming fangirls dogging his progress. It must be a relief!

So many many ads! We're already at another commercial break, which is kind of nuts. I didn't realize just how little content there is between the ads.

Jennifer Aniston in red--not black? Is the world ending? She's got her hair down and minimal make up and no visible jewels--oh, there's a bracelet and ring and a clutch. Now we can see the earrings inside her hair, which is kind of a loss for Fred Leighton. The dress is Valentino, of course.

Jennifer Garner in purple looks awesome, with a ruffled train down the back, and what looks like a vintage elaborate necklace

Halle Berry and Robyn Robinson. Berry has a lovely black and beaded thing in stripes that looks great. She's a Bond Girl too! And this is the 50th anniversary so there's going to be a tribute. The dress is Versace, it looks great.

Chenoweth and Adele. Adele is about a foot taller than Chen, and they are talking about how heavy Adele's dress for performance is. "How tall are you?" Adele is 6'1" in her heels. They are darling together.

George Clooney--he and Walt Disney have the most different category nominations. Stacy Keibler looks very vintage. Cloons has a nice beard--he looks charming, and Keibler has lasted HOW MANY award seasons?

Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab look tall and lovely. THere's a problem with the sound--they start out booming over speakers, and then Chenoweth is heard gabbling about something. Accountants are in the house!

Are we going to get the answer to the "Oscar Mystery?"

OSCARS!! The Who Is Taller Edition

K Chenoweth is comparing height with Mama Cooper, and takes off her heels to see she's shorter--then Bradley Cooper gets down on one knee to help her get it back on. Very lovely, and a complete rehab from his smirky, fratty character from The Hangover.

Kidman and Urban! She looks actually human. She's got a black and gold sequined sheath and it's lovely. L'Wren Scott--it's classy and fabulous.

Charlize Theron again. The costumes from Snow White and the Huntsman is the topic of the interview. She's refusing to take any credit for her look, giving props to her styling team. I like it, but there's a train that comes out from her butt crack, which I don't like.

Oh, Robin Robinson--it's so good to have you back!  (Okay, I had to say that.) Cobalt blue looks really good on her.

I'm not fond of the "Oscar Mystery" nonsense, but I'm guessing it's the Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz. Amanda Seyfried has guessed "A Head" and Bradley Cooper said "A Parrot?"

Over on E!, the aggressive Size 0s saying ANYTHING about Adele is just obnoxious and hypocritical. Adele does look great and happy, but also exactly like she always looks. Big black dress, big hair. Salon nails and make up. She's awesome, but shut up Giuliana. You look like you have a padlock on the fridge and you lost the combination on purpose.

Okay, I'm posting this one and switching back to ABC.

OSCARS!! Again!

Why am I doing these serial posts? Because I have lost too many posts to inadvertent deletions. So I'm posting as soon as I have a break so I don't lose it all.

ABC is doing something foolish--an Oscar road trip? No thanks. Back to E!

But, E! is doing something on the Governor's Ball. It happens on the top floor of the theater, which you can check out if you tour the theater--like we did a hear and a half ago.

Giuliana Rancic is dark haired?!?! And understated in something black and strapless.

Bradley Cooper and his mom! Mom is about Chenoweth height! They are representing Philadelphia! Mom looks great, sporting a cape of feathers, and Brad is cute and awkward as he stands on somebody's gown.

Anne Hathaway was supposed to wear Valentino? She's in a pale pink Prada, and I like it. I like the simplicity, but I don't loke the double waistline--Empire and one at the waist too.

Back to ABC,  which apparently has dibs on red carpet for the last hour before the actual ceremony. Reese Witherspoon rocking the Veronica Lake glamorous hair. JGL showing off his funky fly socks. ABC is showing clips of Movies of 2012--while E is recapping fashion. So that's where I am.

Jessica Chastain--her dress is kind of the same color as her hair. It's tailered and subtly beaded, but it just doesn't show on the red carpet. It's too understated, really.

Hey! The crawl says that the Governor's Ball crew will be eating chicken pot pie too! Just like me! Although theirs will be prepared by Wolfgang Puck and includes shaved black truffles. Mine is not going to be so glam, but then I get to have mine earlier than they get theirs! Win!

OSCARS--The Switch to ABC

There's an alternative to Ryan Seacrest! And it's on ABC--and Kristin Chenowith is interviewing Amanda Seyfried and doing a MUCH better job getting Amanda Seyfried to say anything. There is also a gimmick, an "Oscar Mystery" with clues and making people guess.

Quvanzhane Wallis getting her first red carpet interview, and is at least as good as Seyfried is. And Wallis is only 9 and ridiculously poised. She's wearing an age appropriate cobalt blue dress.

A salute to movie fashions! Since we keep asking the stars who they are wearing, this makes sense. In fact, it's kins of neat as they talk about what the fashions SAY about the characters.

JLaw and KChen. The second question is "How tall are you?" KChen is 4'11", JLaw says she's 5'8", but wearing "9 inch heels." And they are bonding over watching "Dance Moms." This is cute.

Zoe Saldana--we aren't asking who she is wearing? I lover the hem, love the belt, love the earrings. No so fond of the appliqué and the bow as well.  There is just a little too much going on in the top half of that dress.

ABC commercial break! So we switch channels again!

Over on E!, Anne Hathaway showing some side boob, and her hair is growing out beautifully. She's reaqlly working it. It's a nice pink Prada with a very interesting back.

Naomi Watts in a sparkly Armani Prive that is rather sci-fi--cutout neckline unlike anything ever seen on the Oscars red carpet. She's lovely, I loved her so much in Mullholland Drive, but Liev Schriber on her arm is the BEST accessory.

Charlize Theron--in white Dior Courture, buzzed for "Fury Road" and she's following Anne Hathaway in the "how to rock the new cut" reality show. I'm reminded of a dress Kate Hudson wore last year, I think--white sculptural fabrick like ice cream.

OSCARS!!--Red Carpet part Deux

During this commercial break, I am making a confession. The plan was for pizza and wine and serious couch surfing. HOWEVER--I am out of wine, so I decided to substitute rum-and-diet-pepsi. Then I punted on the pizza, because the one I like best requires actually leaving the apartment and driving to pick it up. Yes, outside the delivery area sucks.

So to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of my own laziness, I'm having "Life of (chicken pot) Pi(e)" and the Pepsi version of "Zero Dark Thirsty" (which should be Coke Zero, which I don't have, and dark rum, which I do.)

Back to the red carpet!

GJL and Sally Field nattering about JGL's inability to tie a bow tie, while CZJ and Michael Douglas are in the background--girlfriend is looking FIERCE and FABULOUS. She was pregnant when she was here for Chicago. Is this her first time back since then?

Dustin Hoffman and Sally Field hug delightfully, and JGL is totally star struck. Dustin is spared the ManiCam. Why?

Charlize Theron is rocking a seriously short haircut. Melissa McCarthy looks lovely and nice nice hair, but almost no visible jewels--not snark, given she's got the #1 movie of the week.

Jennifer Hudson looks great, but I don't like the bangs--it makes her look ridiculously generic.

Back to the B team (Ross and Kelly in the sky box) reprising Seyfried in Alexander McQueen--it's lovely, but it's getting overpowered by the carpet.

Sneak peak of Jessica Chastain, who is so talented an actress, and such a disappointment on the red carpet. Last years black and gold gown was fabulous, this year looks washed out and small.


I'm late to the red carpet, but I managed to catch Jacki Weaver standing over Daniel Radcliffe's shoulder, rubbing her teach to make sure there's no lipstick for her interview with Ryan "The Tool" Seacrest.

I predict this is the high point of the night.

Although Zoe Saldana's dress is architectural and fabulously understated.

Amy Adams and Amanda Seyfried look like the same person.

Octavia Spenser, looking awesome and amazing in an asymmetrical beaded and tulle-topped gown.

Is that a drawing of Bette Davis in an Edith Head dress in the background?

Kelly Osbourne--lose the purple hair. It's really not doing anything for you.

Amanda Seyfried's dress is the EXACT SAME color as Kelly's hair. Also, her eye shadow is the same color.

Split screen Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Lawrence--again, two women, one look. Seyfried is also refusing to participate in the Seacrest Show--it's kind of obnoxious. Is there a "Big Showstopper Surprise" musical number that nobody knows about? Then answer the damn questions.

Sally Field in Red--Nice.

JLaw--now with Seacrest, and she totally towers over him. SHe's being charming, voluble, and looking creat in a white Dior, with an interesting find chain necklas that runs down her back. Love her classy hair, and the GIANT diamonds in the earrings.

Mani-Cam failure? That's a feature, not a bug!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Downton Abbey Season 3

Well, that was weird. Not quite as weird as season 2--no creepy Canadian "heirs" for example, but still really weirdly paced. It's the way that the major plot developments get introduced and resolved in minutes, while the small things get drawn out to such a degree that the whole season feels out of balance.

For example--

And for gods' sakes, there will be spoilers, so only read this if you are prepared to discuss endings!

For example--

We spent two years worth of episodes on the Matthew and Mary story line. TWO YEARS. And they get married in the first hour, and the honeymoon takes place in the gap between episodes. Meanwhile, Anna and Bates (who are really hopelessly boring) take a picnic and walk the garden paths and look at each other with an appalling amount of schmoopiness. I'm glad they are together, I'm glad they are happy, but who cares if Anna knows how to reel? Who really wants to watch her take lessons from Rose? It's not dramatic, the payoff is non-existent, and it's hopelessly dull.

Or the restructuring of Downton Abbey and the elevation of Branson the Estate Agent. We had to sit through Lord Grantham being a big whiny baby about making any changes to the farms and the estate, we had to listen to him flirt with Ponzi schemes as a better solution than adopting efficient farming practices, we had to put up with his whinging about "but is it fair to the tenant farmers" far too many times...

...and suddenly it's all be done already, the entire business plan for Downton has apparently be created, adopted, and successful, to the point where Shrimpy simply says "If only we had restructured like Downton, then I could have saved Duneagle. . . ." What? In a single year? A farm-based economy has, within a single calendar year, been entirely restructured and the economic benefits became sufficiently apparent by mid summer? How is that even possible?

It's not. It's like Fellowes has an attention problem--he seems to believe that he needs to have major plot developments, but he's really not interested in them. What he is interested in are the details of how a life like the Downton's is actually lived. That's why the question of Thomas and his sexuality plays out across several/many/most episodes, ending in the weirdly anti-climactic scene where Jimmy confronts him and in two sentences they agree they can be friends, no problem.

Similarly, the Big Plot Twist at the end of the season. It's only a Big Plot Twist if you hadn't seen the many many articles about Dan Stevens' decision not to sign on for another season. Or if you didn't know he's been starring on Broadway with Jessica Chastain for the last several months. Of course Matthew had to be killed off. But killed off in the Fellowes Fashion (TM), where there is really no emotional arc or resolution. Nope--he gets run off the road, and the season ends with nobody learning about it. What do you bet that next season is at least another year later, and everybody is over him too?

BUT! He couldn't die without leaving behind a male heir, because as much as Fellowes hates change, he hates chaos more. That's why Thomas had to not be dismissed, despite everything--because he's part of the furnishing of the plot by now. He had to come back as a servant, even after his war service, and his attempt at entrepreneur status, because Downton without Thomas is apparently unthinkable. It's why Branson is staying with his aristocratic in-laws instead of setting up his own life, but he remains an employee so they don't have to call him "Tom."

I really wish Fellows would recognize that he really doesn't do melodrama very well, and just drop it. It's the small details--what does a Gillies Ball look like? How do Scottish people wake up in the morning? (To a piper treading across the bridge over the dry moat, apparently.) What is it about Rose's dress that is so scandalous, and what did the Dowager wear to her first ball?

At least Lord Grantham apologized for his opposition to Matthew, so perhaps he can stop being such a whiner and idiot. Plus, he did it just in time so Matthew can die without anybody thinking he was anything less than perfect. And Lady Mary is now free to "inherit" as regent to her son. Too bad she's such a nasty woman too. Matthew at least got to die without getting tired of her snobby, bitchy comments about Edith and Michael. So I guess it was a win-win?

There have been internet commenters who feel that Dan Stevens should have remained with Downton, either because Matthew was their favorite character, or because they feel he is not "good enough" for a different career path. Frankly, as boring as Matthew's character arc has been this season, and as uneven a writer as Fellowes has shown himself to be, I have a lot of sympathy for someone who wants to do something different for a change. I wish him luck.