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


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?


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,



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