‘Downton Abbey’ s2/ep4

5 Feb

Episode 4 gives us our first real look at battle.  Matthew must lead his troops, including William, in a charge toward likely death.  The moments before convey the loyalty and courage in the face of raw fear, and I found myself looking for evidence of Matthew’s doggie luck charm, especially after Matthew and William are gravely injured by an exploding shell.

Bates and Anna are back on course and leading us to the altar — not yet to marry but to pray for Downton’s wounded men.  When Bates remarks that she deserved a church wedding, Anna hits the nail on the head by telling Bates, “I would rather have the right man than the right wedding.”  Mrs. Bates sells her story to Sir Richard (upon Mary’s intervention)…and explodes with a vengeance when she discovers she’s been had.  What pitiful beasts gave their lives to be that woman’s fur wrap!

How does Mrs. Bates come to know just when to show up on the Downton Abbey doorstep?  Why, O’Brien, of course!  That woman’s stew is brewing, and she’s gonna be the one to boil in it.  Though I still don’t care for Thomas, he has apparently grown some kind of brain about what’s important, and he calls O’Brien out when she whines that her mistress will soon come under fire.  “You did it!”

Matthew is brought to the clinic in the village for treatment where Mary insists on volunteering as his nurse.  She’s finally crossed the line in life where she understands what matters and what doesn’t.  After her confession to Sir Richard, the noose of betrothal tightens around her neck — and I’m worried what that’s going to mean for her.  It brings him joy to know she’s in his debt and has been bumped a few pegs lower in his direction.  The level of disrespect in the relationship leaves me feeling that future is going to be worse than just bleak.  Matthew better get a clue and up on his white horse, quick!

Lavinia must decide whether to stay with Matthew and possibly remain childless or leave and begin again.  I’d like to believe down deep everyone has the strength to fight for love, but I’m not sure she does.  Matthew moves from acceptance into the self-pity stage — who wouldn’t?  At this point I was glad he wasn’t engaged to Mary because if he had been it would be her he’d be trying to jilt, and having not grown because she hadn’t learned she can’t have everything, she would have hauled out and walloped him upside the head and left him.  You know I’m right.  I do hope Isobel is rested from her jaunt to France because her job as a mom is gonna be her most important of the war yet.

But worst of all, William is brought back to Downton…to die.  I spent the episode in denial.  He’ll get better…What do the doctors know anyway?…He’ll get better…  Just as Daisy has finally found the courage to tell him the truth, he tells her he knows he hasn’t got much time, and he wants to make sure she’s cared for when he is gone.  What a gem!  The Dowager Countess herself goes to bat for William’s deathbed marriage with an unreasonable vicar.  The bride and bedroom are adorned, Carson offers a frozen Daisy his arm, and off they go to William’s last moment of bliss on earth.  If there was ever a wedding to cry at, this was it.  I was brokenhearted to lose a character like William, but I sense that his memory will leave a legacy.  His father and Daisy now have each other, and his selfless love has made little Daisy grow up and look at life differently than she did before.  Life — and death — have consequences.  And ultimately we have a choice in what they are.  RIP sweet William.  I hope your goodness in life will haunt all the characters of Downton Abbey.

It seems that Ethel’s demand for help did not fall on ears of stone.  Mrs. Hughes’ heart is bigger than all outdoors — but don’t tell anyone.  She secretly brings food to Ethel and even agrees to help her get the baby’s father’s attention.  One last word before I close: Major Bryant is a pig…and I think I fancy bacon for breakfast.  That is all.

See you next time!

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