Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.
“I wanted to do something special. I wanted to say thank you.”
Can we just take a moment to appreciate Celia Foote?
She’s literally the only white character in the book or film with absolutely no racist feelings, although her husband is also just as kind and accepting from what little we see of him. Even Skeeter, the fucking main character who’s so disturbed by the treatment of black maids that she befriends them, writes a book with their help and gives them money, is still a segregationist who finds the thought of a mixed race relationship “horrific, disastrous”.
But Celia is completely different. She doesn’t treat Minnie like a maid, she treats her like a friend: She offers her a cool drink, asks her to have a seat, is unfailingly kind to the point of making Minnie suspicious, and even pays Minnie twice as much as usual for less work. She doesn’t order Minnie around, she’s genuinely grateful for everything Minnie does for her. She even eats at the same table and doesn’t care about using the same dishes and cutlery. Minnie teaches her to be domestic, and you get a very real sense that Celia values Minnie as her friend, not as her staff, and her optimism rubs off on Minnie until she can’t help but see her as a friend too. Near the end when Celia cooks a huge meal for Minnie to say thank you makes me cry every time, because I have no idea how much that would mean to her: That a white woman, who society treats as her superior, would go out of her way to do something so kind and extravagant for her just because she can, and that she offers her a job for life because she honestly values her, not because she’s good at what she does, but because she’s her best friend.
She’s so kind that she annoys Minnie: She’s so used to being abused and mistreated that she doesn’t know how to react to someone doing something as simple as offering her a drink, tending the wounds from her husband’s abuse or asking about her day. She even has to go so far as tell Celia how she should treat her maid: everything from offering her less money to eating at a separate table to not hugging her.
And yet, she’s living proof that the ones who hurt the most are the kindest. By the end of the story, she’s suffered several miscarriages, and in the book she’s been told that she’ll never be able to have children. She desperately wants to be friends with the women of Jackson, but because she married Hilly’s ex she’s constantly shunned and isolated. She honestly believes the only reason Johnny married her is because she was pregnant, and the fact that she can’t makes her depressed.
The friendship between Minnie and Celia is the most beautiful part of the story to me. It stands apart from the main story of the book, but it’s a story about friendship between two women who offer each other so much: Celia’s job offer lets Minnie finally escape her husband’s abuse, And Minnie’s care and support not only helps Celia become more confident and teaches her to rise above her exclusion from Jackson society, but saves her life.
Celia Foote is proof that things like racism and homophobia aren’t things we’re born with, but things we learn. She’s innocent, and she doesn’t treat Minnie any differently because she doesn’t know she should. She’s a beautiful woman, inside and out.
It really reminded me why I loved the show in the first place. It makes clear why Mary is the best character on it, and the main one too.
Michelle Dockery is a wonderful actress, we already knew that, but her performance in this episode was unbelievable. Her highest point was when all Mary’s defenses came down while talking to Carson (it’s heart-wrenching when she’s beginning to say “I lov..” and she can’t even finish the sentence, it’s almost impossible not to cry); that is also one of the best scenes written on the whole show.
And the final moments of the episode, when the light begins to shine once again over the Abbey and Mary finally decides it’s time to start living again, were breath-taking and truly gave me shivers (also, the soundtrack of this episode was really spot on, it added much more to many scenes).
I really couldn’t ask for more. It was emotional, it was sad, it reminded everyone why Downton Abbey is one of the strongest shows airing at the moment.
Mary Crawley || 4x01
Can anyone give me a link to watch Downton Abbey 4.01 please?