Downton Abbey, Season 2

The Mystery of P. Gordon’s Finger-Lip Tic
Talking television.
Feb. 7 2012 1:04 PM

Downton Abbey, Season 2

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

The mystery of P. Gordon’s finger-lip tic.

Still from Downton Abbey.
P. Gordon swipes a finger across his lip.

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.

June, Dan,

Isn't wondering who's gonna bone whom basically the only reason people watch soap operas at all? Or, really, the reason we keep tabs on our single friends' lives? Bone speculation makes the world a far more entertaining place.

A few loose odds and ends noted by our commenters:

When Matthew experiences what we have assumed to be nether-stirrings, he is in the midst of being wheeled around by Bates. Why, at this particular moment, would the heir to Downton suddenly be hit with a jolt of erotic desire? Dan, I know you've hazarded a guess that Matthew is fantasizing about that photo of the real-life Bates holding a puppy, which is totally plausible. But perhaps Matthew's recovery was more about a twitching calf muscle than a twitching love muscle?

Advertisement

While meeting with Lord Grantham, P. Gordon swipes a finger ever so fleetingly across his upper lip. Grantham is startled and demands to know where Gordon picked up the gesture, but Gordon pleads ignorance. Was this some sort of Skull and Bones secret signal? A Crawley family shibboleth? If it's the real Patrick, why would he pretend not to understand its significance? If it's an impostor, is he making a threat—letting Grantham know he has insider knowledge? Or are we meant to believe this was indeed Patrick, that the amnesia has blotted out his conscious memory of the finger-lip tic, and that his doing it now was simply an innocent, vestigial reflex?

I'm still angry at Sir Richard for how he's treating Mary, but I've taken solace in this thought: If Sir Dick gets his comeuppance, it might well involve some extremely caustic zingers from the dowager countess. Perhaps even a few admonitory shakes of her cane. I very much look forward to this possibility.

Wondering how Lady Sybil's hip is doing these days,
Seth

 
 
 
 
 
 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nobody Knows How Many Gay Married Couples Live in America—Not Even the Census Bureau

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.