|Edith, Mary, Sybil - The Grantham Girls|
Downstairs, secrets reflect the ambitions, shames and desperate hopes of the servants, as housemaid Gwen tries to hide the contents of a heavy box set atop the wardrobe in her room; Carson abandons his customary dignity as he skittishly raids the pantry; and Bates refuses to share the source of his debilitating pain to his co-workers. Their concern and camaraderie markedly contrast the festering discontent of Thomas and O'Brien.
A sinister stranger barges into the house, demanding to speak to Lord Grantham, and an attractive stranger captivates Mary before setting into motion a chain of events that put the fate of Downton Abbey on even less stable ground. PBS: Masterpiece Classics
Comments (including plenty of spoilers):
I have to watch the episodes two times at least, once to enjoy and a second time to make notes and think through the underlying currents in the episode. Considering that this is removed from me in both time and location, it's difficult not to force 21st century sensibilities on the story -- I have the same trouble with Miss Austen's writings - there are things I just want to scream at the characters -- like, Why don't you really talk to each other?
|Violet, Dowager Countess Grantham & Mrs. Isobel Crawley|
When is being a secretary considered a glamourous thing? Apparently in 1913. Mrs. Crawley takes her place in the series by becoming involved in the hospital and "assisting" Dr. Clarkson. She asks him to "Please, let me be useful." Her treatments are not appreciated, esp by Violet who is President of the hospital. In a sort of ironic twist, Mrs. Crawley helps to save a man dying from dropsy (edema) earning her the respect of Dr. Clarkson and a place as chairwoman of the hospital board. Lord Grantham quips, "She (Violet) may be president, but I am the patron." I do like him so.
O'Brien makes the mistake of making snide remarks about Mr. Crawley within earshot of Lady Grantham - I'm glad to see Lady Grantham (Cora) has a backbone and doesn't put up with O'Brien, but she also seems fair and friendly to the staff.
|Gwen - future secretary|
Mary spars with Matthew Crawley and just when she starts to ignore him for others, he seems interested, much to Edith's dismay. Edith is just conniving, while Mary is a stuck up prig. Matthew begins to show more interest in Downton Abbey. Lord Grantham notes, "You don't love it - you see a million bricks that may crumble... I see my life's work." Just as Matthew doesn't yet understand Downton Abbey, he also doesn't understand the importance of the servants and thinks he should let his valet (Mr. Molesley) go because he can dress himself. Lord Grantham questions him - when he inherits Downton how many servants is he going to put out of work for no reason. "We all have parts to play Matthew, and we all must be allowed to play them." Matthew, I think, is beginning to see the light about what his future may be.
To Mr. Grieg the blackmailer who is making Mr. Carson miserable, "My dear Mr. Grieg, I will give you 20 pounds and you will leave Downton immediately." Mr. Grieg replies, "Just because you are a lord you think you can do what you like with me." "I think it because it is true." So. There.
To Mr. Carson, "We all have chapters we'd rather keep unpublished. To be honest, Carson, I'm rather impressed, did you really sing and dance and everything in front of an audience?"
"I did," replied Carson. "Do you ever miss it?" "Not in the least my lord."
Edith continues to try and get her little claws into Matthew, but he's not taken in and seems to understand what position he's in - not a good one even if he is inheriting Downton Abbey.
Violet is the queen of one liners -- the only one who comes close to her is the character of Mrs. Patmore's quips to Daisy. Regarding Mr. Pamuk's untimely death, Violet says, "No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house." She's hysterical.
The episode ends with Cora and Violet in yet another discussion about the entail and how to break it. Cora says, "I'd hate to go behind Robert's back," but she doesn't look like she means it. I, personally, don't think Mary deserves even that much consideration - spoiled thing.