Sunday, January 8, 2012

Downton Abbey: Series 1, part 2

Episode 4 - May 1913
The fair's in town and the staff wants to go after supper if Hughes and Carson say it's ok.  The new chauffer, Branson, arrives.  Immediately he compliments Robert's library and he allows Branson to take a book out if he so desires.  Before Branson leaves Robert asks his interests and Branson replies: "Politics and history."  I'm sure that won't be important later. Violet decides there's a lawyer decent and honor bound enough to look into the entail one last time...Matthew.  Molesley has irritated hands and Isobel is convinced it's something I can't spell.  Oh and Hughes won't be around for the evening because she has plans.  And we're off!

Violet goes to Matthew's office to task him with studying the entail.  She's almost taken down by a swivel chair, which, interestingly, are the invention of Thomas Jefferson.  Says the Dowager, "Must ever day involve a fight with an American?"  Matthew agrees to look into the exact terms and has no qualms about finding a loophole for Mary.

Sweet, wonderful William is about to ask Daisy to the fair but Thomas beats him to it just to be spiteful.  He is determined to make everyone as unhappy as he is.  Carson is going over the wine book (how fun would it be to have that much wine?) and realizes there are a number of bottles missing.  Intrigue!

Mary and Matthew chat a bit at the fair.  He asks if it would be alright to drop in on Robert after dinner tonight because he needs to inquire about "the great matter" as Mary calls it.  Daisy has it bad for Thomas and that's no good for Daisy.  At the fair, the staff notice Hughes is on a date.  Awww!  I love that most people on this show have a shot at finding love.  Speaking of...Anna's been in bed with a cold and Bates brings her some supper.  She even breaks a major rule and opens the door inbetween the women's and men's hall to get it from him.  Awww!  Long, lingering looks with nothing said?  They love each other!  Hughes's man-friend proposes but she'd have to give up life as a housekeeper.  One look around the house and some kind words from William about the place falling apart without her and I think Hughes has her answer.

Matthew arrives and breaks it to Robert that he wasn't able to find anything to break the entail.  Robert knew he wouldn't and they're left wondering how to break it to Violet.  She's the only one who hasn't given up it seems.  Mary and Matthew talk a bit.  There's even some sparks.  Awww!  He's troubled by her situation and she finds some solace in that.

Daisy has become part of the nasty Thomas and O'Brien gang and it doesn't suit her.  Bates even tells her so.  Poor William is bummed about Daisy and Thomas so Bates threatens a very smug Thomas but it does no good.  That man feels nothing.

Robert and Mary have a pretty open and honest conversation.  He's very self-aware for an upper-crust Englishman.  His existence at Downton is solely as a caretaker.  He's a custodian of other people's work and not an owner.  It's not his money that keeps Downton standing and that is why he cannot hand it over to his daughter even though he would love to.

Sybil and Branson talk politics while he drives her home from her dress maker.  He's a socialist with dreams of being something more than a chauffeur.  She's all about women's rights.  Spark!  (This is when I get Downton confused with the recent Upstairs Downstairs because young Lady Persie talks socialist politics with the cute chauffeur in that too.)

Violet is in the Doctor's office when Isobel and Molesley stop by.  His hands aren't getting any better so Isobel's diagnosis seems to be wrong.  Violet asks him some simple questions about his father's garden and what Molesley's been doing to help him out.  In a matter of seconds Violet figures out he has a very simple allergy that will clear up if he starts wearing gardening gloves.  Dude.  She's put Dr. House out of business.  Also, it proves that she really does know the people in her village.

Back at the house...Matthew's come around to wanting Downton and its care to be his future.  Mary is bummed about how much Robert and Matthew are connecting.  She feels that Robert finally has the son he's always wanted and your heart can't help but break for her.

Last but certainly not least, Sybil gets to show off her new and very current style.  Her pants are quite shocking to everyone except for Branson.  He's smitten.  Awww!  (Yes, those are pants.  They're really flowy so they almost look like a skirt but they would have been REALLY controversial.)

Episode 5 - July 1913
Mary, more and more, likes the idea of being single and able to take care of oneself.  This may be her future because Aunt Rosamund sends word from London that gossip is spreading about her, uh, character and how it may be wanting.  This is due to the fact that Evelyn is courting someone else now and the rich have nothing better to do then speculate about someone's character.

Daisy is having flashes of the night poor Mr. Pamuk died and is all creeped out about it.  Thomas and O'Brien correctly guess that she knows more than she's letting on.  They also have to come up with a plan on how to deal with Bates.  Again.  Just earlier Bates caught Thomas with a bottle of wine in Carson's office.  O'Brien warns Thomas that he should turn the tables on Bates and get him fired before Bates can tattle on Thomas.

The flower show is next week and Molesley wants to help his father set up.  While touring the flower show set-up Isobel inquires as to who won last year's cup.  It was Violet.  Turns out she won the year before and the year before that as well.  Isobel feels the judges give her the grand prize out of a sense of duty and tradition which of course Violet balks at. 

Back at the house there's lots going on.  Patmore won't veer away from the menu she has set for dinner that night.  Visiting them is Sir Anthony who has a favorite pudding but Pattmore isn't familiar with it and can't be swayed.  Gwen's feigned illness so Sybil can take her to an interview.  Anna and Bates are making Edith's bed and talking about how they feel badly for her.  They speak in generalities of loving and not being loved back but really we know they're referring to themselves.

One of Robert's favorite snuff boxes is missing and since Bates is the only other person to go in his room he'll likely get blamed for it.  We know and Anna knows that Thomas and O'Brien are behind this one.  She won't let them take Bates down.  Meanwhile O'Brien goads Edith into questioning Daisy about the night of Mr. Pamuk's death.  Edith shows Daisy some fake concern and sympathy but we don't get to hear what Daisy tells her.  Later Edith overhears a conversation between Cora and Mary.  There's no knowing how much she heard regarding the bit about Pamuk but she definitely heard the part when they said she has no advantages compared to her sisters.  Well that's the nail in the Pamuk coffin I suspect.

Dinner with the incredibly dull Sir Anthony but Mary can't bring herself to connect with him.  Her prospects are getting fewer and fewer.  Edith is able to hold a conversation with him and saves the day.  Patmore's dessert, which she refused to give up for Sir Anthony's favorite treat, gets served to them after she mistakenly douses it with salt instead of sugar.  Heh.  This sends Patmore into a tailspin and Carson needs to calm her down to find out what's wrong with her.  You know, beside the fact that she salted raspberries.  He gets her to admit she's going blind and promises her it will be alright. Back upstairs Mary and Edith compete for Sir Anthony's attention, much to Matthew's dismay. 

Anna and Bates realize the snuff box is probably in his room so she sends him to find it and he can either put it in Thomas's room or she'll put it in O'Brien's.  Everyone's around the servants' table and Bates and Anna suggest a search of the rooms.  They're sure the snuff box will turn up.  In fact they suggest Carson and Hughes do it now so no one has a chance to get to their rooms.  Carson goes off to get Hughes and Thomas and O'Brien choose that moment to rush off to their rooms.  Hughes catches O'Brien but somehow neither she or Thomas get in trouble.  That's a head scratcher.

It's flower show day and Molesley's father's roses are splendid.  Everyone agrees so but Robert assures his mother she'll win as usual.  This perturbs her enough that she decides to set it right.  Instead of calling her own name as the winner (which is what's listed on the judges' sheet) she graciously gives it to Mr. Molesley.  Robert and Cora have a new found respect for her and it makes me smile.  Meanwhile at the flower show Mary apologizes to Matthew for ignoring him and tries to explain that she and Edith had a bet.  He can't get away from her fast enough.  Edith comes over to gloat and Mary snarks at her that no one would want her in that dress and hat (pictured).  Back at the house Edith pens a letter and the envelope is addressed to the Turkish Ambassador.  Yipes!

Episode 6 - May 1914
Sybil's at a political rally for women's rights.  She and Branson discuss politics and socialism a bit more.  He even manages to do it without insulting her father or her wealthy family.  Unfortunately Bates slips and has to tell Robert that Sybil was at the rally.  Robert lays into Sybil during dinner and Bates feels awful about it.

Thomas and O'Brien, persistent yet awful, are giving Bates another go.  O'Brien realizes that they need to turn the actual theft of the wine on him instead of a supposed theft of a snuff box.  Even though Bates saw Thomas do it they need to put it all on him and it'll be his word against theirs. They go to Carson with their story and even bring Daisy in on it to say she saw him go down to the cellar.  Carson mentions the theft to Bates who knows he's specifically talking about the wine.  Of course that could either make him guilty or knowledgeable about the real thief. 

Upstairs, Sir Anthony has called and wants to take Mary for a spin in his Rolls (I'll bet he does!)  Mary explains that her horse is already saddled so maybe another time.  Desperate Edith will have to do.  The car ride goes pretty well and Edith encourages Sir Anthony to open up about his dead wife which seems to endear him to her a bit.  In fact he shows up later to ask her on a date.

Matthew and Mary chat a bit and finally get some sparks of their own.  Seems he's come back around now that she's not paying attention to Sir Anthony anymore.  Unfortunately for them, Violet has gotten a letter from London and Mary's reputation is worse than the last time someone sent a letter.  Dude.  Gossip is a full-time job for these people!  Violet is horrified by what the letter suggests and is even more horrified when Cora confirms it.  Cora refuses to disown Mary no matter what she's done.

Back downstairs, William reminds Daisy the value of truth over lies and she seems to have a change of heart.  Poor, sweet William.  Turns out his mother is ill and Isobel has seen her at the hospital. She tells Cora and Mary his mother's heart is bad and she's back at home but the prognosis isn't good.  She doesn't want William to know her situation because his job is too important.  Isobel has to follow her wishes not to tell William.  Mary thinks this is hooey and insists William should know.  Awww.  She's gotten so nice!

Sybil has gotten permission from her father to attend a committee meeting even though he's upset at her desire to be so political.  Branson's driving her but she gets out of the car before they get to the destination.  Sybil's attending the counting of the votes instead and it's going to be a doozy.  Branson finds her amongst the rabble and tries to get her to leave.  Thankfully Matthew happens by and tries to get Sybil to leave as well.  A truck full of ruffians pulls up and Branson tries to talk them down.  It doesn't work and a fight breaks out.  Matthew holds his own but Sybil gets knocked down in the melee.  They get her out and to the Crawley's home so Isobel can tend to her.  Branson gets Mary from the house to come and get Sybil.  She's ok but a little bloody.  Also, she'll have to stick up for Branson who Robert will immediately blame.  Sybil's got a bit of a crush on Matthew, her rescuer and Mary spots this.

Carson and Hughes are mulling over (get it?!?) the wine situation when Daisy comes in to redact her earlier statement.  Carson holds a meeting with all involved and figures out that Thomas's story was untrue.  But the wine is still missing and Bates won't tell him how he knows it was the wine missing and if he knows who did it.  Thomas, O'Brien and Daisy leave but Bates asks Anna, Hughes and Carson if he can speak with them.  He confesses that he used to be a drunk and a thief and even went to jail for it.  He offers his resignation but Carson wants to discuss this with Robert before he accepts it.

Sybil is back home and to say Robert is angry would be an understatement.  He blames Branson but both Mary and Sybil stick up for him. Meanwhile, Mary and Matthew chat over sandwiches.  She thanks him for coming to Sybil's rescue.  They flirt and sparks are flying all over.  In fact it's so much sparking that they kiss.  FINALLY!!!  She ends up in her mother's room who can't believe the news.  Mary admits that she does in fact love Matthew but can't agree to marry him until he knows the truth about the Pamuk situation.  Cora can't see why that would be a good idea but Mary is standing firm.  She hasn't given Matthew an answer yet but all signs are pointing to yes.  That would solve just about everything.

Bates tells Anna she should go to sleep and dream of a better man.  She can't because there isn't one and I totally agree with her.  They're about to kiss but are rudely interrupted.  Apparently it's not their time yet.  FYI, the guy who plays Bates is single and looking for a wife.  He's quite popular now in Britain (for obvious reasons) and won't have trouble finding someone.  I wonder if he likes Americans...

Anywhoodle, Mary runs into William out in the stables and urges him to go home.  She's heard his mother isn't well and he should go see her to cheer her up.  In fact she offers to arrange it for him to have a few days off.  Wow.  While they're talking Violet calls on Cora and even manages to compliment her on how she handled the Pamuk debacle.  Violet has done some damage control but they've got to get Mary married sooner rather than later.  Let's hope Matthew doesn't mind she's not virtuous.  The whole conversation between Cora and Violet is priceless and I wish I could transcribe it.

Episode 7 - July and August 1914
The family is returning from London.  Hughes and Carson (he went with them and she didn't) catch up.  Apparently William got home in time to see his mother and say goodbye to her.  Also, Mary's decided to stay in London a bit longer with Aunt Rosamund but will give Matthew an answer upon her return.  Sybil was a great success during her season.  However Patmore's eyesight is worse than ever and Hughes goes to Robert to tell him as much.

Robert runs into the doctor who has come to see Cora.  SHE'S PREGNANT!!!  Robert is shocked at first and soon after is quite pleased.  Too bad it's before ultrasounds because everyone is dying to know if it's a boy.  A boy would change everything. A boy would mean Matthew would go back to being a lawyer.  A boy would mean that Mary probably wouldn't marry Matthew because she wouldn't want to be the wife of some country lawyer.  Dude.

While in London, Mary receives a call from an un-engaged Evelyn.  Matthew's great and all but I like this guy.  He's sweet and upstanding and would make a very nice husband.  Oh well.  Anywhoodle, he needs to be sure Mary knows the gossip about Pamuk didn't start with him but he managed to find out who did start it.  He is hesitant to tell her that it was her sister, Edith, who started the rumor.  Mary is not at all surprised.

Back at Downton, word is quickly spreading about the baby.  Hughes and Carson talk and Hughes knows Mary will dump Matthew if it's a boy.  Carson thinks too highly of Mary to think she'd do that.  Honestly I don't know what I'd do either.  Carson is soon distracted by the news that they'll be putting two phones into the house.  Why on earth would they need phones?

Cora and Violet are talking too.  Violet's bummed because her maid is leaving.  She's been so nice to her, mostly. Heh.

Carson goes to Bates, who is waiting on news as to whether he'll be sacked or not, about his confession and tells him O'Brien has done some digging of her own about Bates.  Bates reads the letter Carson has and cannot deny its contents.  Carson goes to Robert with the information and both of them still think it sounds odd and they're not ready to sack Bates yet.

Mary's back and the ladies are no real help to her.  Actually Violet briefly suggests she accept and if it's a boy she can always change her mind later.  By the end of the conversation she tells Mary that if she accepts him now he'll always be true to her and she's totally right about that.  Mary still doesn't know what she wants to do.  The girls leave but before Edith leaves Violet tells her Sir Anthony has been asking for her.  Hmmm...

Robert asks to speak to Mrs Patmore and Anna which freaks out the downstairs folks.  Mrs Patmore is convinced she's about to be sacked but it turns out Robert is sending her to an eye specialist in London and Anna will accompany her on the trip.  Awww!  He's so nice!

Mary and Matthew finally talk but really then end up fighting.  It's not good.  A lot is said and unsaid and poor Matthew is no closer to an answer from Mary.  Later Mary confronts Edith who doesn't deny she was the one to tell the Ambassador about Mary and Pamuk.  Unfortunately for Edith she later says to the ladies that Sir Anthony an important question to ask her at the garden party.

Bates refuses to give Robert any more details about his past theft.  Robert catches Cora up on Bates's situation and tells her Carson admitted that Thomas and O'Brien have been conspiring against Bates all along.  They joke about sacking O'Brien who has walked in on the conversation.  Ooops!  Now O'Brien's pissed and saying the nastiest things about Cora.  Later Thomas overhears Violet ask Cora about the ad for the new maid which pisses O'Brien off even more.

After chatting with the telephone man, Sybil finds out he's in need of a secretary.  She tells him she has the perfect woman for the job and she'll have her apply immediately.  He comes back to the house days later and says that the application didn't reflect the woman's work.  Sybil sends for Gwen immediately admits that she's a housemaid and was hesitant to put that on her application.  Turns out the guy's mother was a housemaid and he has the utmost respect for them.  They go off to have an impromptu interview and Sybil is quite pleased with herself.  And rightly so!  Well done, Sybil!

Patmore and Anna are in London and Patmore is very nervous about her surgery.  Anna does her best to reassure her but then takes off to do a little digging on Bates.  She tracks down his mother who tells her the story of his hinky arrest.  As it turns out his wife had stolen the silver but he felt responsible for her so he confessed to the crime.  The wife took off and he ended up doing her time.  Anna loves him so much more now if that's possible.

Molesley catches Thomas going into Carson's jacket.  Carson tells Robert about this and they're pleased they finally have concrete proof that Thomas is a sleeze.  Robert wants to wait until after the upcoming garden party to sack Thomas.  Meanwhile Thomas talks to the doctor about volunteering to be a medic in the inevitable war.  Well he's covering his back. 

Anna goes to Robert with the information she collected about Bates.  Later Robert tells Bates what she was up to while with Patmore in London (FYI her surgery went well).  Robert tells him he won't be going anywhere and he's happy to have him as a valet, etc.

Violet and Cora are chatting in Cora's room and O'Brien hears them talking about the women who have applied for the advertised post.  Does she really think they'd talk about it in front of her so cruelly?  The answer is yes.  She draws Cora a bath and when Cora drops the soap, O'Brien uses the other soap on the floor to make it totally slick.  SHE'S MORE THAN ODIOUS!  O'Brien has a sudden change of heart but before she can say anything Cora's out of the tub and on the floor.  The baby is gone and sadly it was a boy. Thomas is as jerky as ever and even manages to insult William for mourning his mother.  Well that was the final straw because William jumps him and even gets in a few good punches.

It's garden party day and a lot happens in just a few minutes.  The doctor gives Thomas the news that he's all set to become a medic.  Daisy apologizes to William for being nasty to him.  Carson's new phone rings and Branson gets to tell Sybil who gets to tell Gwen that she got the job with the telephone guy.  Hughes warns Branson about falling for Sybil.  Mary takes the opportunity to quash Sir Anthony's proposal to Edith before he can say a word to her and she makes Edith look like a complete brat in the process.  Thomas quits during the garden party which lets Robert and Caron off the hook of having to fire him.  Sir Anthony rushes off and Mary confirms to Edith with one look that she was the reason he was in such a hurry.  Oh Edith, these wicked, wicked games.  Violet asks O'Brien for a favor to help find the applicants for her open maid position and if she'd take a look at them as well to help Violet and Cora choose.  O'Brien is gobsmacked at this and realizes that she is odious indeed.  Now she knows what we all know.  Bates still insists to Anna that she doesn't know the whole story about him but she doesn't care.  Molesley asks Bates if Anna is single (they say it much nicer than that though) and Bates says she's keen on someone and that someone is very keen on her as well.  Awww!  Mary tries to get Matthew back but he's protecting his heart.  He's heading back to Manchester.  You can tell they still like each other but he can't trust that she really does love him.  Violet and Isobel finally agree on one thing...Matthew and Mary are making a huge mistake not choosing to be together.  Lastly, Robert gets word that the war has begun with Germany.  Things will definitely change.

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