Thomas, The Evil Gay Of “Downton Abbey”, Is Coming Out In Season 3


It’s the series where we really comes to grips with Thomas’s sexuality and the impact being gay must have had on him, in Edwardian times. If you’re including a gay character, there’s an onus and responsibility to at least show what the impact of the time will be on him, and of him on that time. Thankfully we’ve done that, and I’m so proud that I’ve been used to tell that tale…If you were gay in those times, the fact that you’re even functioning, how you’re not completely fucked up by that, is beyond me.”

The devilishly handsome Rob James-Collier offers some insight into his character’s story arc for the upcoming season of Downton Abbey to Out magazine.

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  • BritAus

    Hasn’t the Thomas already come out?

  • BritAus

    that was mean to read “the character of” Thomas etc

  • BritAus

    meant – DAMNIT !

  • Tracy

    Season 3? Isn’t that already over?

  • Lester Brathwaite

    @Tracy Starts Sunday on PBS and @BritAus some of the other characters are kind of aware of it but no one really acknowledges it. In true Edwardian fashion.

  • Snausages

    He is not ugly.

  • Joel J

    @Tracy: It begins Jan 6th in the U.S. to much anticipation.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    I want Gwen, the one who bought the typewriter, to come back filthy rich for having gotten in on the ground floor of the telephone company. That would be a good plot twist. Perhaps she could even come to the financial aid of the she-babe daughter (nurse) who helped her get her start. Sir Richard Carlisle needs to lose his fortune in the stock market crash.

  • erasure25

    @1EqualityUSA: I want Gwen to come back and extoll: “You know nothing, Richard Carlisle.”

  • Joel J

    I want Thomas to have a hot, steamy relationship. After he gets screwed, his personality changes and he becomes Mr. Nice Guy much to the consternation of all: “I wonder what’s come over Thomas.”

  • Michael Bedwell

    It was bad enough that the show’s creator [whose literary limitations are revealed repeatedly in S3] needlessly chose to make his one continuing gay character out of more than a dozen nongay regulars a villain. But all this about how Thomas’s evil can be excused is the same kind of stinking hogwash that Dustin Lance Black tried to bathe J. Edgar Hoover in for Clint Eastwood’s execrable film. “Downton Abbey”-era Brit playwright/song writer Noel Coward, economist John Maynard Keynes, writers E.M. Forster and Lytton Strachey, poet Siegfried Sassoon, painter Duncan Grant, actor Ivor Novello—among countless other gays—didn’t gleefully engage in all the rot that the Thomas character does. That’s not actor James-Collier’s fault, but, to re-turn a phrase—let’s not confuse his character’s pissing on so many legs with rain and rainbows.
    Julian Fellowes’ Thomas is not Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean forced to steal bread to save his sister’s starving children. He has multiple opportunities to not do evil, but chooses Wrong again and again, and that is not excused by the probability that he would have been a social pariah had his homosexuality been confirmed, and possibly imprisoned for homosexual acts. To forgive him is to suggest forgiveness for the emotionally disturbed husband and father sinking in poverty, political betrayal, and a cultural revolution passing him by, who grew up hearing stories of the demonization of his Irish Catholic ancestors [SEE: “paddy wagon”], for his acts. His name was Dan White.

  • LadyL

    @Michael Bedwell: Oh, wait now. First of all Coward, Keynes, Forster, Strachey and company were all educated individuals whose professional success and public acclaim inevitably made easier (not easy, but certainly easier) their opportunities for the kind of love and companionship denied a below stairs servant like Thomas Barrow.
    Indeed Thomas’s anger–like that of the presumably heterosexual lady’s maid O’Brien–seem to stem as much from resentment of his low-born social status and frustration in being unsuccessful in escaping it as anything else. Combine that unhappiness with the bitter realities of what it means in that time and place to be both poor and gay: an emotional/romantic/sexual life lived (of necessity) in secret with the ever-present danger of discovery looming over you. Is it really so difficult to understand Thomas’s spiteful impulses? Put yourself in his place–you are surrounded by others who even in their socially and financially reduced circumstances are nevertheless allowed to fall in love and marry. The happy promise of those relationships are openly shared and celebrated. But you are never allowed the same–you can only watch everyone else as your loneliness deepens and burns.
    And I do think it’s possible to sympathize with Thomas on these points without excusing away every malicious thing he does. True, he often behaves like an arrogant jerk with a nasty disposition. But he’s also demonstrated that he can empathize with someone else’s pain and loneliness and grieve their loss, and be vulnerable to hurt, and open to love and friendship. So I wouldn’t characterize him as evil and I don’t think Fellowes does either.

  • LadyL

    @Michael Bedwell: And–Dan White?! You’re really comparing Thomas Barrow to a self-loathing homophobic real-life multiple murderer???

  • Joel J

    @Joel J: Or, as Mrs. Patmore would say, “I wonder what’s got into Thomas.”

  • 1EqualityUSA

    LadyL, You rock. Thanks for the words above.

  • John Doe

    I read in a British newspaper recently that the writer of Downton Abbey will be writing an American version of Downton Abbey…. a historical piece based in New York.

  • LadyL

    @John Doe: Oh, no!

  • Joel J

    @LadyL: The characters in Downton Abbey are all trapped within the rigid English class system. That is a main theme of the series. WWI begins to erode that system as the characters break out of their assigned roles. We learn of Thomas’ homosexuality when he is rebuffed by one of the Crawleys’ upper class house guests, someone with whom, it is suggested, he had previous sexual relations.

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