Downton Abbey, Season 2

Branson’s Momentous Hip Caress
Talking television.
Feb. 1 2012 10:02 AM

Downton Abbey, Season 2

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Branson, Sybil, and the hip caress that rocked a nation.

120130_TVC_DowntonAbbey_w4_d
Lady Sibyl

Courtesy of © Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE.

See our Magnum Photos gallery on the English countryside.

Seth Stevenson Seth Stevenson

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

Wallace and Gromit,

Lady Mary does appear to be afflicted with a man-maiming curse. At this point, who could blame her for feeling the universe rather unfair? Good point, June—I wonder what misfortune will befall Sir Richard, having announced his engagement to the human Hope Diamond. Perhaps his hands will be mangled to the elbows in a printing-press mishap.

Advertisement

Excellent info, Dan, with regard to that primogeniture statute. We must find some way to get word to Downton. (Do either of you have one of those old-time telephones like the one that befuddled the dowager countess? Might be able to use it to place a call to 1918.) By my reasoning, if Mary can simply hold out for seven more years she can ditch both Sir Cunning and Mr. Softy, opting instead to live out her days in inherited luxury while cougaring local Yorkshire lads.

Have we not yet mentioned the momentous hip caress? (The director felt it merited a close-up, insert shot. I suppose this is the Downton equivalent of a gratuitous HBO nude scene.) I have mixed feelings about Branson—his "gotta break some eggs to make an omelet" defense of the Romanov child murders didn't sit well with me. Yet he seemed to electrify something deep within Lady Sybil's petticoats. Do we think she has real feelings for him? Or is she just frazzled because it's the first time a man has touched her below the bodice?

You folks sure are reading a lot into that three-sentence interaction between Lord Grantham and the new, widowed maid. But it makes sense the show would wish to give Hugh Bonneville a bit more to do: He's a fine actor, and he's spent the whole season sitting around reading newspapers in his military uniform. So, assuming something is indeed afoot, what are the ramifications? If Lady Cora wants a divorce, can she take her money with her, leaving the title and the manor with no economic foundation? Would that render the entire entail problem moot?

Don't recall seeing a single shot of Isis the golden lab this week. The dog must have been filming a spin-off pilot.

Woof,

Seth

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.