So of course, I’m watching Downton Abbey on DVR (the Grammy’s were on, Beyonce wore a jumpsuit, Alicia Keys is awesome so… duh!) and what to my pleasant surprise do I see ? 2 HOURS of Downton! Naturally, I’m ecstatic and naturally, we have a lot of ground to cover.
Bates is Back
In a sweet homecoming scene, Bates is released from jail. Anna meets him at the exit and Mr. Bates hobbles towards her with his cane in tow and I think to myself… “Self. Does Mr. Bates really need that cane? If memory serves, he was walking laps in the prison yard like a pro. What’s up with the hobble, bro?” Anywho, Mr. Bates is going to get his job back as Lord Grantham’s valet of course, but where does that leave Mr. Barrow? And does anyone really care about where Mr. Barrow/ Thomas ends up? No. Essentially, Mr. Bates becomes a superhero in this episode. His skills of deduction, insight and quiet intimidation are like superpowers and his mission- restoring peace to Downton. See next topic…
Mr. Barrow- Should He Stay or Should He Go
O’Brien is up to her old tricks, stirring up trouble and weaving tangled webs. For the past few episodes, she’s been planting seeds of deception in Mr. Barrow’s mind- that James the footman fancies him. Mr. Barrow finally acts on that and kisses Jimmy while he’s sleeping. Honestly, I don’t care what sexual orientation you are… Sneaking into someone’s bedroom to plant a wet one on ’em after NO clear defining of the relationship status is just creepy. Jimmy is not impressed with Mr. Barrow’s romantic gesture of mouth-raping and screams bloody murder… and Albert witnesses everything. In an effort to get back at Jimmy for embarrassing him (crustacean catastrophe), Albert decides to tattle leading to a nearly epileptic Mr. Carson as he tries to handle the sticky situation. First, it’s all good because Albert promises to keep quiet, Mr. Barrow is going to leave with a good reference and Jimmy is happy to see him go. Enter O’Brien’s manipulative persuasion and Jimmy decides to press charges after all to protect his manhood. With some convenient lurking and clever observation, Mr. Bates realizes O’Brien is behind all the drama. What this calls for is some good old-fashioned blackmail…. remember Cora’s miscarriage? Remember whose fault that was? Bam! Oh snap. O’Brien’s all out of mean.
Mary visits Baby Sybil and Branson in the nursery. Let’s be real, a man holding a baby is one of the most attractive things I’ve ever seen. I mean really. It’s beautiful. Branson takes this opportunity to ask Mary to be the godmother and she accepts. But who’s the godfather??!? Your brother, whaaaat?! Branson has a brother, whaaaaat?! He’s coming to visit, whaaaat?! More man candy?!?!…
No. Fake-out. Branson’s bro looks like a sleezy child molester. His only redeeming quality is that he has an Irish accent and. oh wait. that’s it. Socialist Brother Branson declines dinner upstairs in favor of hanging out with the servants and Hot Socialist Brother Branson is like ” You know I don’t think I’m better than them. But we will pay Lady Grantham the respect she deserves by accepting her invitation to dinner.” He handles it perfectly (and Carson agrees with me). At the christening- Did anyone else think creepy Father Dominic looked like he needed to do an exorcism on himself. He had that whole possessed by a demon look down to a tee….
Edith- The Modern Woman
In this episode’s Breakfast Club scene, Edith announces that she plans to pursue the journalist offer. Of course, Daddy Grantham is not pleased but Edith’s all like “London Calling!” She meets with the editor, Michael Gregson and clearly he’s got a thing for jilted red-heads. Edith takes the job but does some early 20th century Facebook stalking- she calls the operator. It turns out, he’s MARRIED! Poor girl can’t catch a break. He clarifies though: his wife is in an insane asylum and they can’t get a divorce because she’s not in her right mind enough to make a decision. Poor Edith, perpetually alone. My prediction: she’ll strike up an affair with her married boss.
Rose- The Even More Modern Woman
Which leads us to Random Rose. I don’t know where she came from or why, but her parents have sent her off to stay with Old Cousin Violet. Rose is quite the rebel. She is the epitome of a 1920’s flapper and she too has taken up with a married man. She sneaks out of the house in broad day light, looking a hot mess I might add, to a dance club. Edith, Matthew and Aunt Rosamund catch her swapping spit with her sugar daddy. Matthew plays the big-brother role and forces her to come home with them. Back home, Aunt Violet the Duchess nips that in the bud, shipping her off to stay with some horrid other aunt. Hopefully, that’s the last we see of her because she’s a spoiled little brat- and let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Despite last week’s rally for the former prostitute, Violet Grantham will not tolerate having a harlot serve as a cook in Isabelle’s house. What gives her that authority, I have no idea but anywho. The Dowager Duchess has Edith place an add for Ethel’s services (as a cook, not a prostitute) in the paper. Several offers are made. Ethel doesn’t want to leave but is intrigued by one that gets her closer to Charlie. Knowing that Charlie’s grand parents won’t approve of her close proximity, she gives up… only to have Violet interfere again by bringing the grandmother over to extend an offer to Ethel. She can pretend to be Charlie’s former nurse, spend time with him and the grandfather can suck it (that was not a direct quote). Is Ethel gone for good?
Cricket- A Gentleman’s Game
So all of a sudden there’s this age old tradition that, in 8 years or so, we’ve NEVER heard of. Cricket, it’s a pretty big deal. House vs. Village and Lord Granthram desperately wants to win. In an effort to build the strongest House team possible he tries to recruit Branson. Homeboy is like “Dude! I don’t play cricket.” In the end, he acquiesces as a bargaining chip. He and Matthew have been trying to persuade Lord Grantham to try new ways of estate management. It’s cute really, the two son-in-laws working together to help dear, stubborn old Dad. All the while, Moseley is coo-coo for Cricket puffs. Like all out obsessed. Like he may or may not have on an “I heart Cricket” t-shirt underneath his cummerbund and dinner jacket. Moseley is the last at bat and misses it… awkward. Branson redeems them however, by catching a big hit from the opposing team. We’re led to believe they win. I hope they win. They have to with a slow motion run scene like that.
Matthew and Mary are gradually becoming one of my favorite married couples on television ever. They support each other no matter what. They share everything and even have silly moments (exhibit A: Matthew gets “untidy” in the bedroom). Unfortunately, Mary’s been holding out on Matthew in the bedroom. Both are worried about infertility and think it’s they’re own fault. They play a little “Gift of the Magi” by making separate, secret trips to see a London fertility specialist. Murphy’s law- they run into each other in the lobby. It turns out, Mary had surgery in her downstairs area! So is there a Baby Matthew Crawley on the way?
Season Finale Previews answer… YES!! (I guess PBS Masterpiece has yet to fully grasp the idea of a promo that doesn’t give away all the good surprises) Will there be another dramatic birth? What drama will the ball bring? Who is this maid-ho walking in on Branson changing? It better be Sybil miraculously brought back to life, otherwise I’m going to be miffed.