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B*tch Ranking 'Downton Abbey': The Art of Victorian Seduction

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | TV | January 6, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | TV | January 6, 2015 |

When we last left Downton Abbey, Carson was dipping his fetid toes in the mighty Atlantic, which horrifyingly touches places other than England.

And now the video’s starting and it’s like returning to a familiar home: Ralph Lauren waxing poetic about a fucking dress followed by the Earl’s dog’s ass shaking with the title card.

1924? Wasn’t last season that year? If it goes any slower we’re going to be going back in time, and after those first couple seasons went from the Titanic to the end of the Great War in less time than The Dowager Badass considers the merits of socialism in a given day. I demand that by the end of the next season we get to see 1929, Pappy Grantham ruining the family (again), and have the series end with a shot of his dangling feet and Carson at his feet sobbing, professing his undying love. And then the Earl will collapse to the floor gasping because the noose broke, because he can’t even commit suicide with anything approaching competence.

In no particular order, which does defy the very definition of ranking, let’s rank some characters. Some of them for their bitchiness, some for their awesome, all because I felt like it.

1. Thomas. Sweet lucky zombie Jesus. This guy is like the avatar of the god of anti-karma. Get caught blackmailing and letting a convicted felon work in the lady’s bedchambers? Sneaking around so that the other footman can get lucky? Well he’ll just personally raise the alarm, save the children, and carry Edith to safety. This happens like four times every season, with ever escalating assholery and accidental heroism. At this point, he could whip it out at dinner, piss on the Dowager Countess’ face, and a jellyfish would leap out of the soup and sting her just so he’d still be the hero. Meanwhile, if Molesley jumped in front of a bullet aimed at Mary, they’d geld him for ruffling the carpet.

b. Dowager Countess. Only had a few true zingers, but the realization of pure horror that if Violet did marry old Merton then she’d be socially above her Dowagerness, was delightful. Poor Doc Clarkson, lovelorn and caught in the middle of a scheme far beyond his simple medical doctor capabilities.

19. Sarah. I love the idea of Tom actually having working class interests other than his early experimentation with eating the rich. Or fucking them. But I loathe this character. Maybe she can die tragically. The show’s never done that before. Oh wait, they’ve never done it with a character we don’t like.

Sigma. Baxter. I really enjoy her interactions with Molesley, but they dragged the whole blackmail thing on vastly too long. And in burning all of that time they have left her with no characterization other than 1. used to be being blackmailed and 2. nice to Molesley. At least O’Cranky had some layers to her character in addition to murdering pre-natal heirs in the bath.

-3. Carson. Gross, the working class. Labour Party, how uncouth. Learn mathematics? What does she need that for as a cook? I don’t know Carson, have you ever needed to scale a three egg recipe up to a five egg recipe? Thought so. Fractions, bitch. Make your own omelet from now on you class traitor.

Infinity. Julian Fellowes. Do not give us another “will Bates go to prison/get out of prison/be forced to be Batman” season. Not. Again.

Ugh. Edith. At this point, I think “ugh” is just the appropriate non-numerical number for Edith’s ranking. Although she’s come the closest to burning the house down in a literal sense, so she gets an honorary gold star in my book. Especially because her weapon was a book. Points off for lighting the book on fire though. Ugh.

Red. Robert. They’re coming for you, Robert. The poor huddled masses have the vote, which by the way your lot sort of grudgingly and gradually gave them because of a simmering terror of what they’d do if you didn’t. And look, Sarah’s kind of awkward and an ass, but dude, buddy, screeching defense of the war having been totes worth fighting? The one you didn’t fight in, are you going to sing us a dirge of all the personal sacrifice and loss? That would probably require you actually remembering the name of the footman who died, you know the only one you personally know who died, the one who it kinds of pisses you off even had the right to vote in the first place?

69. Tony and Mary. They get one very special number, because they are indeed sitting in a tree. “Look I married for love last time, and I’m not comfortable doing that again without seeing the merchandise first,” Mary thinks aloud. “Hey, I know you’re not sure about getting married, but how about we go away and I bang your brains out for a week to convince you?” Ha! That won’t work, bro have you even read the Victorian handbook of seduction? “I’ll start packing. How many fezzes do you own? This is a DEAL BREAKER.”

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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