The Somme, 1916
Matthew actually carries a guy out of a foxhole and I'm impressed. Good way to start the second series. He has a few days leave and there's a girl he wants to see. I'm sad because I already know it isn't Mary.
At Downton: Anna is training Gwen's replacement, Ethel. She has some cheek on her and O'Brien's not going to stand for it. William is dressing Robert while Bates is in London for his mother's funeral. Robert swells with pride when he gets word he'll be a Captain again and be properly back in the army. Branson is teaching Edith to drive. There's going to be a concert at Downton to raise money for the hospital, which is taking in lots of wounded soldiers.
Isobel is at the house and informs Robert, Cora and Violet that Matthew is engaged to a young lady named Lavinia Swire (and I swear to you I keep hearing "Swine" instead of "Swire"). They're bummed at first but then feign delight that he's found someone. Turns out Mary's on her way back from London today as well. Isobel hopes they can all be at the function and be civil. Like the English don't know how to be civil. Really, Isobel.
The war is hitting Sybil pretty hard and she'd really like to get involved. Isobel, ever the busybody, suggests she train to be a nurse. She can apply for a program in York and in the meantime learn how to do some cooking and cleaning so she won't be far behind other applicants. Oddly Violet agrees with Isobel but Cora is still very hesitant.
Mary is home and Edith gets to drop the "Matthew's engaged" bomb on her. She practically does cartwheels after. What a cow. Mary doesn't break down until after the ladies have left her room. Poor thing. She meets Lavinia and is perfectly pleasant to her. She makes nice with Matthew and both are pleased to be friends again.
|"Ex-future father-in-law, meet my new fiance."|
Ethel is pissing O'Brien off (which is kind of fun) but O'Brien won't stand for it. She sends Ethel upstairs to the drawing room where she's under the impression Lady Cora wants to congratulate her for a first day well done. Everyone is having their post-dinner port (or whatever) and are shocked, SHOCKED, that a maid has entered looking for compliments from Her Ladyship. Both upstairs and down get a good laugh at this. Actually Ethel's hazing continues until Carson suggest she check with him after O'Brien has given her an order.
William is dying to enlist but his father is guilting him into not joining up. He's all mopey and Daisy gives him a kiss to cheer him up. It works because he asks her to be his girl. Turns out Violet doesn't think he should enlist either. She's taken it upon herself to keep both William and Molesley out of the service by creating physical conditions for them. Isobel, naturally, cries foul and gets Dr. Clarkson to fix it. Later Molesley goes to him and asks that he not retract Molesley's form because his lungs do bother him. Not sure if it's true or not but Dr. Clarkson agrees.
Back on the front lines, Matthew runs into Thomas of all people. Thomas isn't taking the war too well and is freaking out quite a bit. They run into each other again later and have some tea. Of course I want to yell at Matthew to run away. Thomas is a bad influence and you'll just end up unknowingly doing some favor for him. After their tea Thomas decides to put another scheme into action. He wants off the front lines and lose a hand to do so. It works. Boo!
Sybil gets accepted to the nursing program and will have to train for 2 months. Branson drives her up to York and before leaving her declares his affections for her. Awww, he's so sweet when he does it but apparently it caught Sybil off guard. She's flattered but that's it for now. Branson is still holding hope for their future, especially after she is working as a nurse and confirms that she can never go back to her old life.
Poor Robert's dreams of being back in the war are dashed. It's more of a get dressed in your uniform and keep everyone's spirits up kind of deal. Carson cheers him up a bit with the news that Bates "fell on his own sword" for the family/house and didn't quit for his own, personal reasons.
Edith catches Mary praying and actually mocks her for it. Edith really isn't a sympathetic character. Like at all. Mary's hoping that Matthew will be returned home safely. I hope so too, Mary.
Robert's barking at his new valet, Lang but then apologizes for being huffy with him. Lang seems quite twitchy so I'm not sure how long he'll last. WHY DID BATES HAVE TO LEAVE?!?!
William gets called up and is thrilled. Cora suggests he go home to see his father before he heads off to training. He even asks Daisy for a picture to take with him. Awwww! Too bad Daisy's just not that into him. Pattmore suggest that she save the heartbreaking for when he returns from war. He could do so much better.
Molesley drops in to see Anna but she's not around. He comes back again and on the third visit gets a little personal. He asks that since Bates is gone would she want to spend some alone time with him. Anna lets him down very gently because she is gentle and wonderful and so totally deserves to be with Bates who is equally wonderful and gentle and I'm just so dang heartbroken for them.
O'Brien is apparently working for both the Granthams and Thomas. She manages to manipulate Cora and Robert into getting Thomas transferred to the Downton hospital. They even resort to arguing that since they give the hospital so much money Dr. Clarkson should do their bidding. Thomas returns and is as nasty as ever.
Mary's friend, Sir Richard something or other, arrives for a visit and it's Iain Glen! He's been in a bunch of my guilty pleasure movies (Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, etc.) and on Game of Thrones. He's an older, wealthy newspaper magnate and seems to be quite taken with Mary. Isobel, Matthew and Lavinia arrive for dinner and it turns out that Sir Richard knows Lavinia's father. Later on Aunt Rosamund overhears a conversation between the two and it borders on threatening. Hmmm...
Carson is all stressed out at dinner and Lang's ineptitude doesn't help. Carson spills sauce on Edith, has what appears to be a heart attack and all Edith cares about is her ruined dress. COW! Turns out it wasn't a heart attack but Carson has to stay in bed for a few days to try and relax. Mary visits Carson in his room, which I think is sweet until he ends up taking care of her instead. Bed rest won't do any good for Lang who has shell shock. O'Brien is actually able to help calm him down at one point. Wow, I didn't think O'Brien could be used for good and not just evil.
Thomas is actually doing some good work at the hospital and befriends a blinded soldier who is quite depressed. Thomas reads him some letters from home and even assists him in using his cane to walk. Unfortunately they need his bed freed up and the blind guy panics because he doesn't want to be sent away from Thomas and Sybil who have been so nice to him. Sybil finds him that night with his wrists slit. Poor guy. Thomas doesn't take it well at all. Isobel suggests they open Downton as a convalescent home in order for some beds to open and they decide to use the suicide as a example of what could happen if they don't.
Sir Richard is headed off again but proposes to Mary before he leaves. She notes that he doesn't use the word "love" in his proposal and he thinks they're beyond that. He believe they're well matched for each other and would leave quite a mark on the world. She says she'll think about it (does she ever give an immediate answer?) but needs some time. Later she's at Crawley house and sees Lavinia crying in the garden. Lavinia's upset because Matthew is leaving again and even though this time isn't heading to the front lines he will eventually. She either really loves him or loves the money and security he provides. Mary was going to tell Matthew that she still loves him but changes her mind.
OH! Edith! How could I forget dear, sweet Edith?!?! She's landed herself a job driving a tractor for the farmer who had dropsy last season. She takes to it pretty well and has some nice chats with the farmer. The farmer's wife starts to notice they're chatting a bit too much and gets suspicious. Never question a woman's intuition because she totally catches them kissing. Geeze, Edith! A married man! The next day Edith gets word that they've hired a farmhand to replace her. Doh! She's pretty shocked and therefore stupid.