26 January 2011

Downton Abbey Episode III (The Great Matter Episode)

Summary: The fair has come to town, and with it comes romantic hopes for several Downton Abbey inhabitants. In a triumph of the absurd, Violet asks a baffled Matthew to use his legal acumen to dissolve the entail — the very document by which he is to inherit Downton Abbey. Matthew's findings and his hopes for Downton cement his growing closeness with Robert, and a new warmth suffuses his encounters with Mary. But Mary's thaw doesn't extend to her sister Edith, as their competition becomes crueler. Cora simply wants Mary married, but newly circulating rumors may hinder that aspiration. Meanwhile, Violet's power struggle with Isobel Crawley moves from the hospital grounds to the annual flower show as Isobel casts her democratizing gaze upon Violet's prize-winning roses.
A kind gesture by Bates is not lost on Anna; but he cryptically professes to not being capable of more. Sybil discovers the politics of gender and class, with the help of the socialist chauffeur, Branson, and Carson discovers that several valuable bottles of wine have gone missing. The vulnerable kitchen maid Daisy, under increased pressure and ire from a fretful Mrs. Patmore, possesses a dangerous secret that she learned upstairs. Synopsis PBS.

Comments: Has Lady Mary learned a lesson? We'll see.
Matthew & Mary
Mary is trying to get to know Matthew Crawley, but is this the best idea for her. I am sure she is still looking around to see if she can come up with someone else that will suit her better, but expectations still exist on many sides for this match.
Isobel Crawley is still busy "helping" people, but is bested by Violet. I do just adore Violet, she can't stand Isobel, perhaps because they are so much alike. Isobel is bugging Molesly because he has a rash, but it's Violet that recognizes an allergic reaction to a local (rue) grass.
Mrs. Hughes goes out to the fair to meet an old friend. She's just so lovely that you want her to be happy, but she also doesn't put up w/any crap from anyone, esp. that cow O'Brien.
Violet visits Matthew Crawley to try to hire him to break the entail that will allow him to inherit Downton Abbey and all that goes with it. What an odd choice of attorney to go to for assistance. Violet really has the best lines ever ...
Violet: "Good heavens what am I sitting on?"
Matthew: "A swivel chair."
V: "Another modern brain wave?"
M: "Not very modern, they were invented by Thomas Jefferson."
V: "Why does every day involve a fight with an American."
So. very. funny.
Carson is reviewing the wine ledger - dear lord, did the servants try to make work for themselves? My checkbook doesn't have that much information in it. Thomas (aka the tool) is at it again, but I'm expecting Bates has his number and won't let anything get past him. I so want the tool to get his.... they better not disappoint me.
Mary and Matthew have a little fun at the fair while Matthew tells Mary that his cousin Violet came for a visit. They discuss "The Great Matter" - now is that their potential marriage or the entail - or could it be either. One of the most telling scenes in episode three:
Mary: "Women like me don't have a life. We choose clothes, pay calls, work for a charity and do the season. But really we're stuck in a waiting room until we marry."
Matthew: "I made you angry."
Mary: "My life makes me angry, not you."
Robert, Lord Grantham
Matthew and Lord Granville are growing in respect for each other and even coming to understand their differences. Both actors are so well cast for the roles. I'm very impressed with their characterizations and the nuances of the personalities of the characters.
Robert: "Are you beginning to see a future here?"
Matthew: "In a way this latest business has forced me to see that I do want Downton to be my future."
R: "I'm glad."
M: " You must have thought me an awful prig when I first arrived." 
R: "Not a prig. Just a man thrust into something he never wanted or envisaged." 
Matthew Crawley
I honestly can't decide which one of them I like more, but I think my heart will always be with Lord Grantham (and his puppy).  I even think Mary might be growing on me, but I'm sure that will change - it's just a matter of when.
21st century ignorance alert: Housekeepers are always called Mrs. - even if they are not -- no one told me that. Hell, I thought there were a bunch of widows out there doing these jobs. Shows what I don't know. Mrs. Hughes is such a contrast to that hateful creature O'Brien
- who is giving the new chauffer a hard time on his second day - she's just such a total buzz kill - she and "The Tool" deserve each other. 
Anna's not feeling well and is resting when Bates comes by to bring her a meal -- on a silver tray* -- with! Flowers! Love him, but is this really proper? Would this have happened? Not sure - considering I didn't know about the Mrs. rule for housekeepers, I'm now wondering what else I don't know. Mrs. Hughes remarks to her potential future boyfriend (what did they call boyfriends back then - gentleman callers?) when he asks what will happen if the property changes hands "suppose there is a tidal wave, suppose they die of plague, suppose there is a war."  Foretelling is a ominous thing.
Daisy disses poor William at the fair for the tool (ie. Thomas, if you haven't gotten that yet) and Mrs. Hughes "friend" proposes -- I think. After their time at the fair, I think Matthew might be feeling something for Mary, but she'll probably ruin it. 
Matthew: "It's very difficult Carson, for her (Cousin Violet), for Lady Mary, for everyone."
Carson: "It is Mr. Crawley, but I appreciate your saying so."
Everything, no ... everyone is SO intertwined. 
Lady Sybil and Gwen
Bates takes The Tool to task and I so love it... sigh. Bates is aggressive - rather unexpected, but much appreciated by those of us who love Bates and hate The Tool (Thomas) and his friend (O'Brien). Daisy seems to annoy me more, but perhaps it's because she's questioning herself and her insecurity is making her life, um, pretty much miserable. Sybil continues to help Gwen -- you know the girl Sybil wants to be, but never can be. 

Mary talks to her father about why he won't help set aside the entail.  He states, rather plainly and honestly, "My fortune is the work of others." I think had he earned his money, instead of inheriting, it might have been different.  

Lady Mary
Mary does seem to have a redeeming quality, "I'd never marry any man I was told to." Can't say that I blame her for that one, but she shouldn't refuse Matthew out of hand because of that ... dumb girl. All the while Sybil is getting friendly/political with Mr. Branson and wearing spiffy outfits that he, though no one else, approves of -- pants -- sort of. 
Poor Patmore is trying to explain to Daisy why The Tool isn't for her. "He's (Thomas, aka The Tool) not the boy for you." - Um, wink wink say no more. 
Mary is still hateful to Cora and for that I have a hard time thinking well of her even if her situation is difficult - which it really isn't.
Mrs. Hughes is so nice to William, who deserves it more than most ... it's like the boy she never had. Still am in shock over the the fact that Mrs. is part of a housekeepers name. Damn. No one told me. 
Flower Show
The flower show is an enlightening part of the 1913 life style -- and Violet, god bless her, is finally a generous soul -- I knew she had it in her to do the right thing (because it was someone "beneath" her. She would never do it for someone she considered an equal ie. Mrs. Crawley) because Mr. Wm. Molesley's roses were astonishing. 

Cora and Mary have some conversation that perhaps no parent wants to have. 
Cora: "Some how there is a rumor abroad that you are not virtuous." 
Is the door open, um, really... in this house -- MISTAKE!
Mary: "The world is changing."
Cora: "Not that much and not fast enough for you." (implication - you're too fast)
Geez - imagine that Edith is listening at the door - astonish me. She's really terrible. 
Sir Anthony** is invited to Downton and Edith does her best, but Mary illustrates how easy it is for her to "manage" a man - though this backfires since Matthew doesn't appreciate the illustration.
Mrs. Patmore
In a really important situation -- as opposed to those upstairs - it becomes apparent, despite blaming Daisy for everything that goes wrong that Mrs. Patmore is going blind. Poor creature - Carson is so generous and I know everyone will do the right thing.
Robert: "Mary can be such a child. She thinks when you put a toy down, it will still be sitting there when you want to play with it again."
And in another romance:
Bates: "I'm not a free man."  What the frig does that mean??
Mr. Bates & Anna
Anna: "I love you Mr. Bates**. I know it's not lady like to say it, but I'm not a lady and I don't pretend to be."
*Silver tray w/flowers, swoon. sigh. What a nice guy.
*Does she know his Christian name or not?

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