‘Downton Abbey’ s4e3 – ‘Honesty is the best policy’

3 Feb

My heart broke all over again as Anna walked so slowly across the opening shot.  She’s not the same woman, and maybe I’m not the same Downton Abbey viewer.  Since there’s no going back, my greatest hope is for justice for her…and it cannot happen too soon.

She accidentally seats herself next to Green (her attacker) at breakfast and then launches away from the table to her chores.  She won’t let Bates touch her, won’t tell any of the Crawleys when they ask after her, and she blames herself for what’s happened.  I love Mrs. Hughes’ counsel with all of my heart…

“I wish you would decide that honesty is the best policy.” – Mrs. Hughes

It’s understandably impossible for Anna to think clearly and rationally in the aftermath, but it’s absolutely NOT her fault, and it’s only a matter of time before Bates and the Crawleys discover the truth.  Lord Grantham speaks wisely when he tells Bates, “The damage cannot be irreparable when a man and woman love each other as much as you do.”

Did you catch how impatient Green got standing beside the car waiting for Lord Gillingham to hurry up and finish his goodbye to Lady Mary?  That he actually went around the car and interrupted them to make Lord Gillingham leave?  I relish the thought that someday Lord Gillingham will drive Green from the manor…preferably on horseback and with a large polo stick.

The question of the day:  Can you see Edna as Baby Sybbie’s mummy??  I found myself wondering “what if Edna came back to Downton already pregnant and she’s just looking for a baby daddy?”  But then she gives Thomas the “someday I shall be lady of the manor” speech.  I see.  If only Cora knew there was a snake tucking her in bed at night…

The duchess shares with Tom a beautiful sentiment about how she felt in the aftermath of her husband’s death — “It felt disloyal to manage anything properly without him.”  She may be an aristocrat, but she’s a very good egg.

Mary’s finest moment of the season takes place as she asks Tom what’s wrong with him.  When he says he couldn’t possibly tell her, she replies, “Then find someone you can tell — it will help more than you know.”  That white horse really suits you, M’Lady.

So Tom takes Lady Mary’s advice and goes straight to Mrs. Hughes as soon as he gets home, who then searches Edna’s room and calls her in for a little tete-a-tete.  Mrs. Hughes is the Granny of the Downstairs — “You got a man drunk and then climbed into his bed — I don’t call that seduction”…“I’ll call for the doctor, tear the clothes from your body and hold you down!”  Did Edna have a pre-selected daddy?  What was her evil master plan?  Alas, we shall never know.  Don’t let the door hit you in the booty on the way out, Edna.  It would taint the door.

The Thomas vs. Edna showdown in the stairwell is our small farewell.  And it’s delicious.  Will this be the only episode of the season where Thomas is not in the doghouse?

Clarkson still hasn’t finished with Isobel.  And I confess, I’m so glad the series is not finished with Dr. Clarkson.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think he’s still looking for a “companion” in life?  Or do you think he’s showing kindness to her in her grief, as Mrs. Hughes did by finding her a “project?”

Isobel deserves a medal for distinguished conduct this week.  The whole room fell utterly silent when she rose to leave the dinner party and spoke warmly to Lord Gillingham.  Wow!  Isobel was the very definition of grace, courage and nobility, all wrapped up in one.  How did Lord Gillingham manage to remain composed and not grab her up in a big bear hug?  This lady really knows how to get the Crawleys’ collective eyebrows up and tongues wagging.  “There are moments when her virtue demands admiration” — Granny isn’t too big to practice noblesse oblige!

Teddy bear Carson installs a picture of his Alice in his office — “The business of life is the acquisition of memories.”  But as always, Mrs. Hughes helps bring him back to earth.  “It will reassure the staff to know you belong to the human race.”

And the Crawley’s go clubbing.  Yes, it’s the Roaring Twenties, folks.  Fasten your seat belts.  Even Aunt Rosamund gets in on the action.  Enter racism:  Black singer Mr. Ross flies off the stage to “rescue” Rose, and he’s snubbed by the clan.  Not that Rose really needed rescuing, actually.  Does he jump down off the stage for every girl whose dance partner gets a little tipsy?  It’s all very weird, and apparently Tom is the new Matthew.  Not possible.  But will we see more of Mr. Ross in the future?

“Edith’s as mysterious as a bucket.”  Mary hits the nail right on the head.  Sister Edith, you know, the one who wrote a letter to the Turkish Embassy claiming that she had information that her sister was a whore and probably killed the Ambassador’s son, yes, that one, has gone astray.  Edith has dinner alone with Gregson in his home — the poor man cannot even afford live-in servants, the horror! — the servant clocks out to go home, Gregson asks her to sign a few papers — here, and here — and then one last crack at getting at her before he frolics off to Germany.  There was blushing around a discussion of bed-jumping and bells.  “Of course, my parents were already in their correct beds.” Eeek.

So she takes the walk of shame back home to Auntie Rosie’s — who actually has live-in servants expected to be up lighting the fires and fixing breakfast before she awakes.  What could possibly go wrong?  Rosamund takes a bite out of Edith’s behind, and so she should.  “You’re trusting this man with your name and your reputation…be under NO illusions.”  I was shaking in my boots by the time she was finished with Edith.  Shoe’s on the other foot now, sister dearest.  Ahem.

“If only we had moral thoughts, what would the poor churchman do?” – Dowager Countess

This episode I found myself wondering about Mary’s mental and emotional health over the six month period after Matthew’s death/George’s birth.  Some women experience trouble with post-partem depression.  I can only imagine how much more terrible it could have been for Mary adding the loss of her husband into the mix.  It must make her feel incredibly guilty to hold George in her arms and enjoy the bliss of him without Matthew to share it with.  Not sure why, but I just got this stabbing pain in my heart.

So Mary’s “not ready” — and this time she can afford to not be in a hurry and make good choices concerning remarriage.  She intelligently decides that it’s “time to go back to real life again.”  But like I mentioned before, the more she says, the more she smells like CATNIP to Lord Gillingham.  Tony can’t get enough of Mary — so much so that he can’t seem to give her any space and becomes a slightly creepy viscount stalker person.  I suspect he’s still got a little upper crust university playboy in him, in spite of the humility of having a crumbling estate.  He follows her home, slumming it in third class on the same train to continue being really pushy, I mean, propose to her with a very tight deadline.  Dear Tony, you have to WIN a woman, not steal her from the clutches of her love for her deceased husband.  “He’s dead, and I’m alive” is not a romantic argument in your favor.  Mary feels some of the same ways Isobel and Tom do — including feeling guilty for wanting to be happy or feeling happiness at all.  Tony’s nice, but he’s putting too much pressure on Mary, and in my own opinion, getting dangerously close to being a bully.  Hey, Mr. Pirate — chill!  But I LOVE Mary’s response: “I’m not free of him…Matthew fills [my brain] still, and I don’t want to be without him.  Not yet.”  The true hallmark of a classy, worthy person.  This should make Tony value and respect her more than ever.

WHAT IS IT with people saying goodbye with kisses in this series?  “I must have something to remember this moment [of total rejection?] by?”

Mary wonders if she’ll regret her decision, but I suspect she would regret not trusting herself far more.  If she’d said yes, throughout their marriage, anytime anything went wrong, both of them would be using the excuse, “he pushed/rushed me into this.”

Remember the Lavinia, kids.  There’s always hope the fiancé will call it off and Tony will be free later.  Assuming we still want the glamorous pirate after the next episode.

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