Now we move on to the "Downstairs Family."
First, let me say that the culture then of a staff that lives in your home, but must stay in their place, putting your needs (cleaning, cooking, dressing) above their own, while you, as the elite, don't work and therefore don't know what a "weekend," is.....very thought provoking.
The staff of Downton Abbey adds so much right flavor to this series.
First, there is Mr. Carson, the butler, played by Jim Carter. I think it's so interesting how proud he is of Mary, almost like she's his own daughter. His loyalty to this family is amazing. I love some of his lines: "We are about to host a society wedding. I have no time for training young hobbledyhoys." Priceless! He is always a zealot for standards and style. I think he should marry....
....Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, played by Phyllis Logan, Mr. Carson's female counterpart on the staff. I love how she is open to change and progress and more sympathetic of others plights in life. The discussions that she and Mr. Carson have, make we laugh. They are so different, but so great together.
Mrs. Hughes' sympathetic ways show the most with Ethal Parks, played by Amy Nuttall. She "had the nerve" to have a child out of wedlock, by a British officer (....who denies the child and then dies in WWI...great guy...). She loses her job, becomes a prostitute to support her son, since her "poor morals" prevent her from being hired as a maid elsewhere and eventually gives the child to the officers parents to raise. So sad that this happened to a lot of children back then.
I also love the interaction between Mrs. Hughes and....
....Thomas Barrow, played by Rob James-Collier, The Valet. When his "indiscretion" with
Jimmy, the footman, played by Ed Speleers, is brought to light, Mrs. Hughes is the only one to make Thomas feel human.
I love the line that Thomas has after Mr. Carson calls him "foul." Before Thomas walks out the door, he holds his head up and says, "I am not foul, Mr. Carson."
I hated Thomas in season one. Now, even though he isn't an angel, I like him, especially since his cockiness has been taken down a notch, the way he cried over Sybil dying and the way he protected Jimmy. I didn't see it coming, but I'm also glad that Thomas and Jimmy have found a way to be friendly. I didn't think "the times" would have Jimmy being so openminded.
Thomas really needs to stop smoking, though!!!
Mrs. O'Brien, played by Siobhan Finneran...you wouldn't belief she is a gorgeous actress, is the other one I love to hate. Now that Thomas and she are against each other again, they should be very interesting in season 4.
I love the banter that Jimmy has with....
Alfred, Mrs. O'Brien's nephew. You wouldn't think with Jimmy's looks that he'd be jealous, but Alfred is 1st footman and I guess that is more desirable then good looks.
The first character that I fell in love with was (of course)....
....John Bates, played by Brendan Coyle.
I was so glad when the X-Mrs. Bates, Vera, died. She deserved all she got. I loved to hate her.
It was so excited the day when Bates came back from prison and finally married...
....Anne, played by Joanne Froggatt. I gave them my blessings.
John Bates is such an intricate character. He can be so sweet and nice to Anne, but then has to be mean to survive in prison or devious to help Thomas, when he tells Mrs. O'Brien, "Mrs. Crawley's soap," even though he doesn't know what that means. I hear that season 4 will show a lot more of this couple. I am hoping they have a baby.
There are other minor characters that I didn't go into at all, like: Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, Ivy, Molesley, Gwen, Lavinia, William and Andrew. They have all had their side stories that have added to the richness of this series and will have me waiting anxiously for season 4. I have already marked it on my calendar.
Who is your favorite downstairs/upstairs character and why? Where do you think they should take this series next?