Melissa Wiley’s Downton Abbey Season 4, Episode 1 Recap


Are you craving GeekMom Melissa Wiley’s Downton Abbey recaps? Look no further than her personal blog for a discussion of this week’s two hour U.S. season premiere.

Sadly, Lissa had to leave GeekMom at the start of this year so she could pursue new projects. She plans to continue writing Downton Abbey open threads on her own blog, but would like to emphasize that she is not necessarily publishing them immediately after each episode. She loves engaging with other DA fans (as do I!).

In previous seasons, I looked forward to her recaps just as much as I did each¬†DA episode. I’m so thrilled she’s chosen to continue them.

Melissa’s previous Downton Abbey¬†recaps can be found here.

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 7

Duneagle Castle
Ah, Duneagle, we hardly knew ye. Image source:

This week’s episode of Downton Abbey — episode 7 by the PBS reckoning — corresponds to the 2012 Christmas special in the U.K. release. (Last week’s double-sized installment contained U.K. episodes 7 and 8, if you’re catching up via the recently released Season 3 DVD/Blu-ray available from PBS.) That explains the year-long time gap between last week and this week. Lots to talk about, so consider yourself spoiler warned and let’s dive in, shall we?

Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 7

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 6

Downton Abbey recap Season 3 Episode 6
“Luckily, we’ve got Mosely on our team.” Image source:

American audiences got another supersized episode of Downton Abbey this week: episodes six and seven of the U.K. series were rolled into one. Long episodes make for short recaps (pretty sure there’s an axiom for this), because there’s way too much ground to cover to tackle it scene by scene. So this week, let’s dive straight into discussion, shall we? Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 6

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 5

Downton Abbey recap Season 3 Episode 5
Image source:

You don’t mind if I blubber all over my keyboard, do you? That last scene really got me. But let’s begin at the beginning, which is, as always, the spoiler warning. If you aren’t caught up to Season 3, Episode 5, proceed at your own risk.

Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 5

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 4

Lady Sybil
The beautiful Lady Sybil. Image source:

Well, that was harrowing. As always, if you haven’t watched this week’s episode, beware: there will be spoilers below. Big ones.

We open on a house in anticipation. Sybil’s baby is imminent, and everyone’s jittery. Right off the bat, we learn two important facts: 1) Lord Grantham (apparently a Victorian at heart) can’t handle medical details, especially as regards his daughter and childbirth; and 2) for this important birth, he is bringing in the big guns: the esteemed London physician Sir Philip Tapsell, who delivers all the bluest-blooded babies. Dr. Clarkson is quietly annoyed by this, but he’s used to experiencing frustration with the Crawley clan.

We’ll leave the family to wait anxiously and take a look at what’s going on with everyone else.

Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 4

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 3

“I’m sorry, I was expecting a call from my editor.” Image source:

Lots of drama in last night’s Downton Abbey episode, most of it new: we saw the introduction of a number of new plot threads, and only minor advancement on older ones. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty after the jump: SPOILERS BELOW! Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 3

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 2

Edith’s big day. Image source: screen grab from

After last week’s uplift and hilarity — the long-awaited wedding of Mary and Matthew; the steamrolling force of Shirley Maclaine’s Martha — this week pulled the rug out from under us. That is, a team of servants rolled it up and hauled it away.

[SPOILERS below. Watch Episode 2 before you read on! (Note: It’s Episode 3 in the UK release. Last week’s two-hour episode was actually UK eps 1 and 2. I’ve edited to go with the numbering used by PBS Masterpiece.)]

Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 2

Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 1

Downton Abbey Season Three
Downton Abbey cast. Image source:

It’s finally, finally, finally time.

Our UK friends are months ahead of us here, but for the American crowd last night was a banner night: the long-awaited premiere of Downton Abbey Season Three. Like last season, I’ll be hosting a GeekMom open thread each week. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

SPOILER WARNING! If you aren’t caught up to season three, don’t keep reading. Clear your calendar and do some marathon viewing so you can join us here ASAP. All righty, recap and discussion after the jump!

Continue reading Downton Abbey Open Thread: Season 3, Episode 1

Geeks We Love: Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage at the 2010 Television BAFTAs.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s funny sometimes how we discover new actors. I recently discovered Richard Armitage in a bit of a round about way. I began my path when I watched Downton Abbey on PBS, the period drama recently done by the same guy who did Gosford Park (Julian Fellowes). Though I’ve still only seen the American version with pieces cut out, it was a fabulous series with great actors and characters. It definitely left me wanting more. I was quite taken with Brenden Coyle’s character, and thought he did a marvelous job. Coyle’s Mr. Bates was the kind of person I’d liked to have known. So I looked him up to see what else he was in.

The first thing I found was a BBC production called North & South. For those of you in the U.S., no, this is not the long Civil War miniseries. It is an English period drama with romantic overtones based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell of the same name, from the mid 1800s. I had not heard of it, so watching this four part movie version of the book was an unexpected delight. It also introduced me to the amazing talents of Richard Armitage. He played John Thornton, the stern master (operator) of a cotton mill in northern England. One of the first things I learned was that he very adeptly portrays complex characters, making you love them and hate them at the same time. Or you hate them at first, and then grow to love them. Or maybe you just love them all along.

This fantastic movie led me to see what else Richard had been in. Unfortunately, many of his credits are in things that I can’t get from Netflix or see on this side of the pond, but he did play a major part in Robin Hood. This three season BBC production was the kind of show I’d want to see anyway, and from the first episode, I was hooked. The entire show was well-cast, well-acted, well-shot, funny, adventurous, and highly enjoyable. And of course, there was Richard, playing Sir Guy of Gisborne in a love-to-hate-him but also grow-to-feel-for-him kind of role. As the three series went on, his initially one dimensional character quickly became two dimensional, and then three. Though incredibly modest, Richard seems to do everything that he attempts very well. He can smolder, attack, taunt, love, and roll his eyes with equal convincingness. And his voice…

Acting in Robin Hood is a bit geeky, but he has gone on to play roles higher on the geek scale. Richard has been acting for the past few years in the British action show, Spooks/MI-5. He’s got a role in the upcoming Captain America movie where he’ll play Nazi Heinz Kruger. And in March of this year, he starts shooting down in New Zealand where he’ll play the dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield, who leads the group of dwarves and hobbits on their quest in the two Hobbit movies coming out in 2012 and 2013. How they’ll shave a foot and a half off his height of 6′ 2″ I’m not sure, but I look forward to finding out. Major members of the cast (including Richard) recently participated in a Q&A session with the New Zealand press (he doesn’t say anything until 26 minutes in, and then he only talks for a little bit).

I don’t know if Richard himself is a geek, but he grew to his tall stature early in high school, and it seems he didn’t come into his own until later in life, finding more work in his 30s. (Does that sound familiar to anyone?) Also, he does love to read fantasy and science fiction.

Having seen and read several interviews with Richard Armitage, one of the reasons why he’s a Geek I Love is that he seems to be a real person. He’s very private about his personal life. He’s incredibly serious about his work, making up background stories for his characters and wardrobe, keeping a journal, and really engrossing himself in who each character truly is. It’s no wonder he has become such a successful actor. You never get the feeling that he’s acting. He takes my breath away with his acting skills and general presence.

I have no idea if Richard Armitage would want to join me for a board game night or to sit on my couch to watch the (original) Star Wars trilogy, but he’s certainly a Geek I Love. And he’d always be welcome.

Note to Richard: I hope you are not offended by your inclusion in our Geeks We Love series. Around here, it’s meant as a compliment of the highest sort. It means you are passionate about your work and your interests. And that your endeavors are the kinds of things in which we are interested.

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