.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Note: This website has no control over the ads placed on it. Caveat emptor.

Monday, January 09, 2012

 
Short Gay Storyline in Downton Abbey. I caut the first episode of the second season of the PBS blockbuster Downton Abbey last nite. I liked the first season, short tho it was, a mere four episodes as broadcast on my local PBS station (tho elsewhere as eight). This second season is to be eight episodes long, but might also be telescoped into four by WNET (a Newark, NJ station stolen by New Yorkers and moved to NYC without any objection by the FCC, which still shows WNET to be a Newark station). A third season is to start production soon.
+
In any case, one of the male servants in the household, the footman Thomas, was shown in series 1 to be of strikingly bad character. In series 2, he is recruited into the British Army during World War I. He is afraid of being killed, so, at nite, when no one in the trench with him can see, he holds up a candle in his left hand, hoping to be shot, so he will be returned to Britain and not have to come back to the trenches. It works. He is wounded in the hand, and then, thanks to a favor by the aristocrats of his former employment, is posted to work in the hospital the family supports.
+
The episode descriptions at the International Movie Database suggest in two places in the first season's episodes, that Thomas is gay. But it's subtle.
+
In the rehabilitation hospital, Thomas meets a soldier who has suffered blindness from being exposed to poison gas. Thomas reads to the young blind man and tries to buck him up about possible recovery of his vision, or at least of having a life worth living after he recovers as much as he can recover. At one point, Thomas says something about the other soldier being able to have a good life despite being different. The blind soldier picks up on that seeming reference to Thomas himself as being different, but the servant escapes a direct answer as to precisely how he is different.
+
In short order, it emerges that the blind soldier and injured servant have become emotionally involved. The soldier is shown placing his hand firmly on Thomas's knee.
+
But the crowds of people in need of rehabilitation in that facility force a decision to move the blind soldier to a distant facility, far from his new friend / boyfriend. That nite, the blind soldier slits his wrist and dies before his act is discovered. Thomas sobs uncontrollably.
+
This is the most we get of this homosexual love story. The episode description at IMDb says only that Thomas "begins to learn some humanity" thru his duties in the rehabilitation hospital.
+
Tho Downton Abbey is a modern production, it is faithful to the attitudes of the age, even in its vague treatment of love between men, and the insistence that any such plotline should end tragically.
+
Decades ago, ONE Magazine (a gay magazine out of L.A.) published a short story about a love affair between two men. The story ended badly, so I wrote a letter, which I think was published, asking 'Isn't it time we had a happy ending' to gay love stories? Here we are, over 40 years later, and we still don't have happy endings to gay love stories in major media.
+
The connection the servant made with the blind soldier ennobled Thomas. He really cared about helping him. Perhaps for the first time in his life, someone else was more important than himself. So of course the man he loved had to die. Of course. Not.



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?