19 Things I Noticed Rewatching The 'Downton Abbey' Pilot
The phenomenon that is Downton Abbey is coming to a close with the final season premiering in the U.S. on Sunday, Jan. 3. In order to fully embrace Season 6, I decided to watch the Downton Abbey pilot over again to remind myself of the delightful British show's origins. When Downton Abbey premiered in the U.S. on Jan. 9, 2011, Americans were given a reason to clear their calendars for PBS on Sunday nights. Thanks to the time jumps that Downton Abbey does, a lot of world events from the early 20th century have been covered by the show — and a lot of drama and scandal has been included along the way. Each episode is rich and fulfilling, like a Mrs. Patmore pudding, with a large ensemble to follow along the way.
I've gone through ups and downs with the show over the last five seasons, but with Season 6 going as Downton Abbey's last, I felt it was only right to give the show the respect it deserves by revisiting the beginning of it all — the very first episode of Downton Abbey. Whether your favorite character is from the upstairs or the downstairs of the estate, here are 19 things you may have forgotten from Downton Abbey's very first episode.
1. Bates Was The First Character To Ever Be Shown Onscreen
As a train rolls through the countryside, a serious-looking man looks out the train window. Alas, it's Bates! The troubled valet.
2. William, Gwen, & O'Brien Were Still Around
William was still alive, Gwen was still at Downton, and O'Brien was still a massive bitch.
3. Daisy Was Scared Of Electricity
Daisy also promised to "never do anything simple again," which fans know not to be true.
4. Ironing Newspapers Was A Thing
William displayed that not just clothes need to be ironed.
5. Lord Grantham & Isis Appeared Onscreen Together
No one can separate a man from his dog — except when the dog dies in Season 5. Oh, Isis!
6. The Titanic Had Sunk
The main action surrounding the premiere episode had to do with the Titanic sinking on April 15, 1912 since Robert's cousins, James and Patrick Crawley (the heirs to Downton), were on the Titanic.
7. Anna Was The First Person To Introduce Herself To Bates
The love blossomed early with these folks, so it's no wonder they got married later on Downton Abbey. Anna was kind to Bates from the get-go, while Mrs. O'Brien was downright rude.
8. "Does This Mean I'll Have To Go Into Full Mourning?"
Mary, as selfless as ever, was primarily concerned that she'd have to go into "full mourning" after she heard the news of the Titanic since she was secretly engaged to her cousin Patrick. What a relief her father told her she didn't have to full mourn!
9. Mrs. Hughes Was Still The Bomb
Her patented gentle sass was intact in the first episode when she quipped, "Is this a public holiday no one's told me of?" at Thomas and Mrs. O'Brien as they were gossiping about "Long John Silver" AKA Bates.
10. Violet Was Progressive
It was the Dowager Countess's idea to try to get Mary labeled as the heiress of Downton so that the family could keep the money and the estate. The idea failed, but it was a tremendous introduction to Downton's most memorable character.
11. Thomas Always Looked Like A Vampire
And Daisy had a crush on him. Oh, poor Daisy since it was revealed later in the episode that Thomas was gay, which I saw coming even when I first watched the pilot.
12. There Was Serious Foreshadowing About Carson & Mrs. Hughes
In their first onscreen conversation, Mrs. Hughes asked Carson if he wished he had taken a different path in life and chosen to have a wife and children instead of being a butler. Little did fans know that Carson would ask Mrs. Hughes to be his wife in the Season 5 Christmas special.
13. Violet Revealed The Real Reason Robert Married Cora
Violet said his peculiar marriage to Cora was all about the money, money, money, which was true, but it was revealed the pair were legitimately in love with each other now. It didn't help that Cora was shown at her worst in the premiere episode while Robert was at his best.
14. Edith Was A Troublemaker & Sybil Was A Kiss Ass
Edith was as resentful as ever of Mary's romantic prospects since she had wanted to marry Patrick and Sybil (dear, alive Sybil!) was outrageously complimentary of her eldest sister. No need to feed Mary's ego, Sybil. Although Mary was quite naive when it came to the visiting Duke's intentions, which was refreshing to remember.
15. The Half Mourning Period Required The Ladies To Wear Purple
As the ultimate source on purple — Violet — said, "No one wants to kiss a girl in black."
16. The Visiting Duke Was A Real Daredevil
The Duke of Crowborough who Mary thought was courting her (but he was really courting Thomas — and her family's money) was played by Charlie Cox, Matthew Murdock of Netflix's Daredevil. I prefer to see Cox play the nice-badass guy, not the money-grubbing liar guy, but I was glad to see he had a cane in both Daredevil and Downton Abbey.
17. Bates Was Fired
Everyone at Downton was extremely prejudiced toward Bates, but O'Brien and Thomas instantly ganged up against him since Thomas wanted to be the valet. So when the Duke came to visit, O'Brien made Bates fall. Lord Grantham eventually listened to Carson and fired Bates. While the prideful Bates wasn't happy about any of this, his firing helped develop Bates' relationship with Anna since she saw him crying and said she was "ever so sorry" he was going.
18. Lord Grantham Did Physical Exercise
Lord Grantham himself ran after the car with Bates and the Duke in it to rehire Bates. Yay Lord Grantham! He really was an amazing character in the first episode, which makes me sad for the fool he became in later episodes.
19. Matthew & Isobel Crawley Appeared In the Final Moments
And I audibly cheered to see Matthew's beautiful face! He received a letter from Lord Grantham that would change his and his mother's lives. And change their lives — and all Downton Abbey fans' lives — it did.
Images: PBS (21)