Upstairs downstairs the fledgling online dating
It was, of course, hampered by the fact that the first series was only comprised of three episodes, and seemed to come to a close just as things finally started getting good. The title of the series’ first episode pulls off referring to so many things within this premiere rather cleverly – of course, we’re talking about the series itself and its first tentative steps on-air again after a hiatus spanning several decades, as well as several characters who are either establishing themselves for the first time or reinventing their lives, and even an actual bird that pops up in this episode.
With the six-episode second series set to premiere on starting October 7, now seems as good a time as any to revisit all the drama from Series 1, and give ourselves a little reminder about everything that happened the first time 'round. This episode is plagued by a lot of set-up problems, which are largely native to any series that’s this sprawling and forced to introduce a lot of characters and set-ups. It’s a title that implies baby steps in a grand beginning – that the fledgling that is this new series will eventually spread its wings and fly.
I said that the Great Doctor Who Rewatch was next up – and it IS coming, I *promise* – but I would also like to write about Upstairs Downstairs Series 2 once that’s under way next weekend, and to be honest I feel like I’ve forgotten a lot about Series 1.
So, you know, best of both worlds, I guess never seemed to quite catch on the way that the ITV drama did.
(Agnes is lucky if she doesn’t sprain something from wearing her Trying Too Hard face all the time.).
Persie complains about the poverty of her upbringing/current state, doesn’t know how to command the servants or where to ride in a car that has a driver, and gets signed up for charm classes by her sister.
This is sort of unfortunate for viewers, as we don’t get a chance to see her be at all likeable or charming until much later in the episode, and by then for some people I feel that it might be too little too late.
Rose goes to visit Eaton Place – both on a nighttime walk where she stares longingly at the house from the street, and then to see Lady Agnes the next day, where we perhaps spend a bit too long on the swelling music and Rose gazing around and imagining the entranceway as it once was.
The Hollands are mostly sweet together, but they have practically zero chemistry, which is unfortunate, particularly when I think about how believable Cora and Robert’s marriage is presented – flaws and all – from jump on .
It’s an effective maneuver – and the fact that this is the Holland’s first proper residence allows us to bask a little in their joy in it, without it being too much. Lady Agnes goes to visit Buck’s of Belgravia, an employment agency that finds domestic staff for “discerning households.” It’s run by a familiar face – Rose Buck, a former maid for the Bellamy family that used to live in Eaton Place.
She and Lady Agnes discuss the household’s domestic needs and Agness is sort of pointlessly snotty.
I like what they’re going for here – the connection they’re hammering in with the original – but we’ve officially reached overkill now. Whilst Rose is hosting interviews for maid positions, Sir Hallam’s mother, Lady Maud, suddenly arrives with an urn containing her husband’s ashes, her secretary Mr. (Fair warning; Dame Eileen Atkins is far and away my favorite part of this series, so if I get a bit gushy, that’s why.) Lady Agnes has never met her mother-in-law before and Hallam hasn’t seen her in what appears to be at least a decade, so everything is immediately incredibly awkward.
I mean, they’re five seconds from a giant flashing reminder that HEY GUYS, JEAN MARSH WAS ON THIS SHOW THE FIRST TIME, DID YOU KNOW. Lady Maud invites herself to stay with her son and his wife, sets up shop in several spare rooms, and declares her intention to write her memoires. She is, obviously, this series’ version of Dowager Countess, but that’s okay, because, well, I can’t really get enough of that sort of character, and I expect I’m not alone in that. I realize that the point of a first episode of anything is set-up, plot exposition and getting all the key players identified, together and ready to go.