After watching him get even with Lord Sinderby for calling him a "stupid fool", I couldn't help but respect how he nearly brought this same man to his knees. I thought he might get even with Mary. Afterall, it was her request that caused him to get even with Stow, in the first place, leading to a round of actions that would manifest this event. Its apparent how petty, senstive and reckless Barrows really is, that something so small can be huge to him. Then seeing how he abuses his childhood friend. He only seeks to get her hired at his place of employment because he has leverage on her. I think to myself that something creates people like him that I can say I've seen in real life. Yet I can't bring myself to pitty him. To me, he's a truly horrid person. I'm somewhere between repulsed and amused by him.
Is it because we judge people not from what they are like ^overall^ (we know Bates was an alcoholic and probably abused his first wife), but from what they were like when we first caught sight of them? Though that doesn't explain why everybody is so quick to forgive Mrs Patmore for her early treatment of Daisy. Or why Spratt, who played that nasty trick with the red-hot dish on Moseley in series 3 (also fuelled by jealousy), is not hated. In fact, nastiness towards Moseley seems to be something you can get away with.
If the nasty character is shown later as some kind of incompentent woobie or with a "oh, poor baby" vibe, there's no more nasty character. It is known. That's the difference between Thomas & O'Brien and the rest, they still bite after being "punished".
I'm not sure if I explained it correctly XD
Thinking about forgetting the weaknesses of other characters, what about the constant mentioning of Thomas' cowardice? This is the man who lost nerve and got himself shot after TWO YEARS of saving lives as a stretcher bearer in the hell of the Somme trenches.
Anyone remember Mr Moseley? Now HE was the man who never went to the trenches in the first place because he got Dr Clarkson to compromise his professional integrity by writing a fake report about a non-existent medical condition. Sweet and endearing and never to be mentioned again.
I think SlayerNina made a good point; as long as you are shown as bumbling in some way you will be forgiven. Also that if you forgive yourself, the audience will forget. Moseley goes through the entire war without ever seeming troubled by the fact that other men are dying and he lied his way out. After the war he sets up as a moral authority on integrity and emotional courage.
Thomas otoh can't live anything down because he never forgets what a little shit he has been. Carson has forgotten about his own food pinching by the next episode, but Thomas will probably remember those wine bottles when he is 80.
Poor unhappy Thomas. I can't help but feel for him and over the course of six seasons he became the one I cared most about. What a life the poor fellow had: a bad, possibly abusive childhood, rejection everywhere he turned for something he could do nothing about but goes to the core of his existence (his sexuality). Sure he is proud and arrogant but he probably never heard anyone say something nice and encouraging to him so he tried to prop himself up - which comes across as arrogance but really just is well hidden insecurity.
Was he a bastard for long stretches of the show: no doubt. I wouldn't have wanted to have to deal with him during those first seasons either. But that is not really surprising either, he craves attention just like anybody, he wants to have friends and people he can rely on, he wants to be loved for who he is and with sad regularity he picks the wrong people and the only way he knows to get any attention at all is by misbehaving. This is something we teach our toddlers these days, there is good and bad attendtion and you don't want the bad kind. Nobody taught him so he keeps repeating the same pattern digging himself in deeper and deeper.
Other than Jimmy eventually, after Thomas takes a brutal beating for him, and Mrs Baxter later nobody ever makes a real sustained effort in understanding the poor guy and help him deal with his demons. He is very sweet to the kids and they like him - not surprisingly, they don't have the prejudices of the adults and none of their prior experiences so they like him for who he is, a friendly guy who gives piggyback rides. This is probably the first time Thomas experiences something akin of unconditional affection in his life. How terribly sad and heart-breaking.
I am very happy, that in the end, he managed to pull himself out of this viscious cycle and achieve the success he craves and needs to validate himself as well as at least some respect and understanding.
Not in the beginning but in the end: totally my favorite!
There are certainly a whole list of characters who I am repulsed by far more than them, namely Vera Bates, Edna Braithwaite, Mr Green, Larry Grey, and Nanny West. They are at the top of that list because unlike Thomas and O'Brien, they showed no guilt for any actions they took that harmed others.
You have that right. Like Carson, the image of homosexual practice revolts me; however, as much as it drives him, Thomas's homosexuality is not all there is to the man. He is also a man of resentments, some of which derive from his sexuality, but not all. Yet the genius of Julian Fellowes is that all the main characters are flawed in one way or another, yet they (unlike the utterly despicable side characters Grey and Braithwaite) undergo a process of redemption, even the more admirable yet still troubled characters like Lord Grantham and Lady Mary. Thomas truly mourned over Lady Sybil's death, and he feels real fondness--not reducible to his sexual preferences--to Master George. With true Greek _paideia_, he transforms his desire for Andy into a willingness to tutor him. It is more a result of his invidiousness than his sexual aberration that he attempts suicide, yet he has established enough fellow feeling with Miss Baxter, a woman, that she, prompted by her woman's intuition, rescues him.
Some aspescts of Thomas are revolting, yet, like many in Downton Abbey, both upstairs and down, he has undergone repentance. I must own, however, that I almost never found him amusing--except perhaps when he discovered that he was himself the victim of his black market scheme.
I thought the same at first, but gradually and, in my mind, credibly, Thomas underwent a metanoesis (process of repentance/reform). Julian Fellowes plots much more subltly than your average showman, nay?
Your barely concealed homophobia makes me sick. Furthermore, your use of obsolete terms (did you really compared Thomas to a pedophile?) on the verge of considering homosexuality as a disease to be treated makes me think you've been too much influenced from the setting of Downton Abbey. We no longer live in 1920!
It would be EZ to criticize JF for appearing to be homophobic as he gave Thomas no redeeming qualities. But maybe JF would say that is absurd and a mere coincidence. OR it could be something deeper. Give JF the MMPI and see what it shows - probably invalid since he is British and it was normed in American culture,
Fellowes has made Thomas unidimentional? Have you paid attention to all six seasons?
One really cannot resist the intuition that Thomas played Mephistopheles to Lord Sinderby, the force that evil would / but thereby summons the greater good. Fellowes certainly has read his Geothe, for Thomas often plays such a role.
Well, there is a sly reference to Oscar Wilde, and, if I remember, it was the Dowager who said something about not scaring the horses. ... In these hyper PC times, people forget that in reality there is a multi-layered approach to queer topics. The problem with too much democracy is that a cautious reticence to become hypercritical is no longer admired. When we "let it all hang out," we overlook how much like a mangled sausage it really can appear. But yes, your main point stands: doing evil (as opposed to merely suffering it) is always a choice.
All things truly wicked start from innocence. - Ernest Hemingway.
What do you think?