‘Downton Abbey’ s3/ep2 – There goes the carpet

31 Jan

“Good afternoon.” – Lady Edith

The giant carpet rolls up as everybody, except Grandmama Martha, gets on their dancin’ shoes for Edith’s wedding to Sir Anthony.  Only Edith gets dumped at the altar instead, and the carpet goes right back down.  Sir Anthony is so deep in the social doghouse that even Carson declares it ok to abuse him for a day.  This guy just publicly humiliated the daughter of an Earl, lost his friend the Earl, lost all local respect, and goes back to a still empty manor house in one sweeping blow.  He’s like the anti-William/Matthew.  Not his finest hour.

Of course, Lady Edith lost her mind in this relationship to begin with.  It’s not an age thing with her, it’s a jealousy thing — “well, Mary & Sybil both have one.”  And I don’t buy the whole “there are no other socially acceptable men my age” thing.  Lord Grantham doesn’t have his head in the game, because if he did, he would have 1) said “I told you so,” and 2) put that child on a boat with a one-way ticket to somewhere she could learn something about life and meet other people.  Hopefully not other women’s husbands as she didn’t seem to have a problem with that before.  On second thought, maybe Lord Grantham should just arrange a marriage for her.  Done.  But what was the point of turning Downton into a convalescent home if you can’t get any of the nice gentleman soldiers to fall for your daughters, especially when Edith is nominated Most Likely to Be Liked by the soldiers themselves?  She should console herself that at least her wedding dress was better than Mary’s.  And I’m very proud of her for getting out of bed.  Wallowing is not one of Edith’s faults.

Mrs. Patmore has worn herself slick cooking for this wedding, but she’s still kind enough to have more compassion for Edith’s broken heart than her own blistered feet.  I can’t help but love that lass.

Poor senseless Alfred would rather have cheese than eat the ten course wedding feast.

Martha may not have returned for her granddaughter’s wedding, but Tybil is back.  Now compliant in black tie, at dinner Tom allows Lord Grantham to call him a “tame revolutionary” without a single objection or political commentary.  Maybe we should call for Dr. Clarkson.

Carson learns Mrs. Hughes’ secret and sets out to make her life easier.  As good as he is at upholding standards, he’s got a lot to learn from the ladies about being secretive.  But his joyful singing is more precious than anything else on the soundtrack.

WWII — between Thomas and O’Brien — is ON.  Make no mistake.  Those bangs are twisting in the winds of revenge, and Thomas is presently going to rue the day he decided to stick it to the ladies maid who knows more about him than anyone anywhere.  Thomas knows not what he says when he tells Lord Grantham, “It’ll take a lot more than [O’Brien leaving] to drive us out of Downton.”  But it may not take that much to drive him out.  Hmmm.

Surprisingly none of the servants have discovered any of the family’s plans to sell and move to Downton Place, where the Crawleys will only be able to retain eight servants.

Will we ever meet the new chauffeur who’s been at Downton Abbey nearly a year now?

Lady Grantham may spend a lot of this episode in the background, but when the drama hits the fan, she proves herself to be the emotional epicenter of this episode and clan.  Cora keeps her cool, and moves in with support pillars whenever the house starts to crumble.  Classy.

Mary Quite Contrary is determined to get Matthew to change his mind and read that letter.  I’d give her a high five for making him face its contents, but then I’d have to take it right back because she never got to the heart of the issue.  Last Christmas she faced exile to America because of her mistakes, but she found forgiveness and love in both her father and in Matthew.  It was undeserved, and it was liberating.  Now it’s Matthew’s turn.  He’s wrestling with ghosts and a guilty conscience.  And Mary’s too worried about what the money will do for her family to think to tell him how reading the truth in that letter will set him free.  If Mr. Swire had not known the truth, Matthew would have been first on the list of heirs.  But he wasn’t.  Clue one.  The lawyer needed to personally deliver a letter rather than mail it.  Clue two.  Matthew: It’s time to listen to your wife, but do it for your own good rather than hers.  You’re not the first Crawley to make a mistake.

Dear Matthew — who came to Downton with a Branson-like chip on his shoulder — has now saved the Crawleys’ bacon more than once.  I vote they erect a statue of him out back with the follies.

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