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Downton Recaps: Episode Seven, Season Two

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And we’ve come to the last episode of season two! Though it seems weird to watch a Christmas episode in February, I think the Christmas special redeemed many of the issues viewers and critics alike had with season two (I had my ups and downs, but overall, I enjoyed it.). Now we have Tasha giving her last recap of the season. Thank you so much to her, and to Lynn, for providing the excellent and funny recaps! Once again, the screencaps are courtesy of Downton Online.


Last week, you might remember, I was less than thrilled with how certain storylines were played out in Downton Abbey. But Evangeline assures me that I will enjoy the Christmas special. So here we go! Will Bates wind up in the hoosegow? Probably. I’m also looking forward to seeing Matthew punch Sir Richard in the face. It will likely be for naught, but still…

Downton's Christmas tree

Someone’s fetching a Christmas tree. Not Branson, obvs. It’s Thomas! The whole house is being decorated for Xmas. That’s a big-ass tree. And electric lights? I didn’t know they had those back then.

Anna’s still around. The staff is getting Christmas presents from the family. They’re not lame gift cards or fruit baskets, either, it’s stuff they might actually want. That’s sweet.

Something is up with a guy named Mr. Swire. Why do I care? Oh, it’s Lavinia’s father. Matthew says, “Forgive me if I’m casting a gloom.” YOU’RE ALWAYS DOING THAT, Matthew, do you expect us to kick you off the show? Oh, and Bates’ trial is fast approaching. Everyone but Sir Richard thinks he’s innocent. Sir Richard totally killed Vera.

Meanwhile, the servants are playing with the Ouija board. I wouldn’t find it surprising if O’Brien COULD summon the dead. Maybe they could summon Vera and ask who killed her. The Granthams, meanwhile, are playing charades, except Lady V doesn’t call it charades, she calls it The Game. Sir Richard isn’t keen isn’t keen on playing silly games. “Sir Richard, Life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.” Thank you, Yoda Violet.

Anna visits Bates in gaol

But Bates can’t play games, because he’s in a cartoonishly hellish prison. I felt suddenly transported to a French Revolution movie there for a second. He does look good in a prison uniform, though. Haha! He’s trying to get Anna to prepare for his murder conviction. Does he know about some evidence he’s not saying? Because buying poison seems really circumstantial.

Letter from Sybil! She’s in the show more now than she was before she left. She’s preggars, SHOCKING. Seriously, I’m amazed those two figured it out. Lord Grantham is distinctly disappointed. Apparently he was holding out hope she would change her mind and divorce Branson. Cora’s telling him he’s an idiot with her eyes. L’amour!

Suddenly it’s New Year’s Eve, and Sir Richard is upset he has to serve his own wine. It is difficult. The Granthams celebrate 1920 and Lady Violet predicts the worst is yet to come.

Annnnnd the fight for Lady Mary has begun. *rings fighting bell* Sir Richard starts bossing her around on the hunting trip, but Matthew intervenes. I guess Mary just stands around watching the guys shoot? Sounds fun. Matthew, of course, keeps missing whatever he’s shooting at. HAHA, ohhhhh sexual metaphors. Back to Mary… first she stands around Matthew, then Richard is angry she was laughing with him. Matthew overhears him shouting at her and wanders over to be like, “Oh, I say, is everything all right? Anything I can do? Diddly dum de dum.” This relationship is unraveling rather quickly. Then Mary and Matthew TALK DURING LUNCH! Whaaaaat. It sounds like they’re saying, “What will you be doing in London?” “Picking up Mr. Swire’s ashes.” and other such trivialities, but in fact they’re making hot passionate love with their naked toes under the table. Ohhhhh yeahhhhhh. No wonder Sir Richard looks so annoyed.

Edith pays a call on Sir Anthony

Meanwhile, at the house of that old bugged-eyed guy (Ed: LOL, Sir Anthony Strallan!) from season one whose name I can’t remember, he and Edith already dressing alike: dismally, like something out of the Great Depression. Before she can even start to work her wiles, he puts Edith off–dude, Lady Edith’s the best you can do. Then he calls her lovely! He’s never getting rid of her now. She disappears into his house for the rest of the episode. What are they getting up to in there for weeks and weeks? And will anyone notice she’s missing?

Back at Downton Abbey, after the hunting party lunch and naked toe sexxxoring, Sir Richard wants to set a date for the wedding. Mary’s like, “Mehhhh…” I like how every shot of her and Sir Richard somehow includes Matthew. Sir Richard gets a bit shouty and Mary storms off. Then Matthew chases after her and offers to help, adding, “You don’t have to marry him, you know.” Wait, flashback, weren’t “You have to marry him” your EXACT WORDS two episodes ago? Lord Grantham wonders why the hell Mary’s marrying Sir Richard, and Cora finally clues him in about the Turkish Diplomat Incident. I can’t believe he’s been in the dark this long! I honestly thought he knew but just wasn’t saying anything.

A bunch of the servants are being called to testify in Bates’ trial, but they don’t know what about. Is this really the proper way to go about a trial? Shouldn’t you know what people are going to say before you call them to testify for or against you? Somehow the prosecution knows all the bad things Bates has done all through the season and exactly who to ask about it, including the fact that he called his wife a… *whispers* bitch and said he wished she was “the former, or better yet, the late” Mrs. Bates. Quelle horreur. That’s what we here in Gun Country call totally not evidence of anything. Don’t worry, though, Lord Grantham shall declare him innocent, and that will settle the matter. HOLD UP, did they get all this evidence against Bates from Bates himself? Holy wiener dog in a handbasket, self-destruct much, Bates?

Bates in court

Bates is declared guilty. And he’s going to be hanged? Like, right that second? The British legal system sucks. YOU BASTARDS KILLED BATES! Oh, wait, Matthew and this other lawyer guy are explaining the death sentence is just routine. Wow, harsh. Good way to psych people out though. *glare*

Isobel on Bates: “He’s a decent man.” LOL Never read a murder mystery, eh, Isobel? It’s always the decent ones. Meanwhile, the servants’ hall is all a flutter. Just imagine the awkwardness when Anna comes back! Even O’Brien’s put out.

Mary goes up to her dad’s library and Lord Grantham’s like, “Hey, while we’re here, what happened to that Turkish diplomat?” Mary confesses she’s “damaged goods” (though not as damaged as Pamuk), so you see, she has to marry Sir Richard. Lord Grantham’s like, WHO CARES, Carlisle’s a dick. Go to America and have adventures! Lord G’s an awesome dad. I’m glad they had this talk. Hugs all around you guyyyys. ::sniffle:: I officially forgive you for that maid incident, Lord G. Come to think of it, what maid?

Thomas hiding Isis

Thomas is sad that Lord G won’t promote him. “He doesn’t trust me, does he, because of the stealing.” That does tend to put people off trusting one, yeah. So he follows O’Brien’s advice by stealing Isis and hiding her in a shed in the woods. Then he’s going to “find” her and Lord G will be grateful. It’s the perfect plan for idiots. Predictably, everything goes wrong. Isis disappears from the shed and Thomas can’t find her. Don’t worry, though, some village children found her and brought her back. But Lord G is touched by Thomas’ out-of-character concern and decides he’d make a great valet. Good gravy, how do these people survive?

Matthew is back from London with Lavinia’s dad’s ashes. Mary tells Matthew she’s moving away but not where or why. Even Isobel is telling him Mary is still in love with him, now! I didn’t think she’d even noticed. But Matthew says it HAS to be like this and he can’t say why, probably because it will sound stupid. Okay, here it is: he deserves to be unhappy, “and so does Mary.” HOLY CRAP WHAT AN ASSHOLE. You think Mary’s happiness hinges on you, Matthew? It does–getting AWAY from you, that is. Have fun being miserable ALONE. You’ll be the old cat lady of earls.

Anna goes to visit Bates in prison. He’s talking like someone who’s about to die. Oh Bates, so self-sacrificing. And for what? Anna’s going to quit OR go to America to escape the notoriety of being the wife of a murderer. Not only that, but the servants’ ball is being canceled. You’re destroying lives here, Bates!

Matthew is shocked by Mary's confession

Oh, I forgot Matthew also hasn’t heard about the Turkish Diplomat Incident. Mary finally spills the beans and he seems rather shocked. She compares herself to Tess of the d’Urbervilles. EYE ROLL (although Michelle Dockery would make a good Tess). Still, Matthew’s like, “WHO CARES, Sir’s Richard’s a dick.” That should be the title of this episode. Downton Abbey: Christmas Special, Who Cares Sir Richard’s a Dick. I don’t get Matthew. One minute he’s like, “We deserve our existential misery!” and the next he’s like, “Don’t marry Sir Richard, it will make you unhappy.” See what I mean? They need to be unhappy together.

It’s the night Mary breaks up with Sir Richard! It’s like the big dance of high school movies, but at Downton Abbey. Mary’s dress is awesome. She tells Sir Richard he must see that they’re not suited, but I don’t think Sir Richard does see that. He starts getting shouty again and in swoops Matthew. Things quickly devolve into the two men arguing about LAVINIA, though, which is like way beyond the point. Sir Richard knows exactly what buttons to push with Matthew. FACEPUNCH! Matthew’s moment of glory is short-lived; Sir Richard shoves him into a vase. Then Lord Grantham’s like, “What’s going on here? *grumble grumble grumble*” Everyone agrees there are too many people in the room to fight anymore, and Sir Richard should leave. Lady Violet is thrilled because she doesn’t have to see Carlisle again, AND her least-favorite vase was broken. Hugs all around, you guyyyys.

The next morning. Mary wants her and Richard to part on good-ish terms. Just be happy he can’t stalk you on FaceBook, Mary (you know he’d be one of those exes.) “I loved you, you know. More than you knew.” I think you’re confusing love with obsession, there, Sir Richard. Aw, it’s still sad to see him go, though.

Thomas dancing with Violet

Bates is reprieved; now he’ll only be spending LIFE in prison. Yay? Oh, but the servants ball is back on, that’s exciting! Matthew is going to dance with O’Brien, THIS I MUST SEE. Oh, no, he’s dancing with Mrs. Patmore, dang it. I knew he didn’t have the balls to dance with O’Brien. And Thomas is dancing with Lady V. It’s sooo sweet.

More talk about Sybil in the library. Babies bring people together; Cora wants to visit her grandbaby and vice versa, which means Lord G has to put up with “The Chauffeur.” THE CHAUFFEUR HAS A NAME. But anyway. I’m sure Grantham will figure out what his name is eventually.

Daisy and Anna are playing with the Ouija board, and receive an actual message from the dead: “May they be happy with my love.” Obviously that message is from Lavinia. Does she know something we don’t? Meanwhile, Mary’s standing in the cold and observing the snow. Her life is full of such entertainments. Matthew wanders out and tells her he doesn’t want her to goooo to America and marry a cowboy. He wants her to stay in England with him! Aw! Mary’s, like, actually making an expression. It looks like… she’s smiling! And Matthew proposes! Properly, on his knees and everything, because Mary orders it. Warm fuzziness. This is all so sudden, and I’m not entirely sure why Matthew changed his mind, but I DON’T CAAAAARE.

Mary and Matthew are engaged!

Awwww, that was such a great episode! I take back all those nasty things I said about the males characters’ masculinity. Well, not Bates’ and Matthew’s, but definitely Branson’s and Lord G’s. Can’t wait to find out what will happen in season three. Will we ever find out who murdered Vera? Will Bates start his own prison gang? (Can’t you just picture them as something out of West Side Story? That’d be awesome!) And will Mary and Matthew’s wedding will be as romantic as Bella and Edward’s in Breaking Dawn Part I? Is Matthew a virgin hero? Will Sybil and Tom attend the wedding with a bunch of radical flapper friends who INSIST on doing the Charleston???? I hope so!

Good lord, what am I going to do with all my free time now that Downton Abbey’s over? Hopefully the next season of Sherlock comes quickly…

Downton Recaps: Episode Six, Season Two

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Just in time for le jour d’amour (forgive my bad French), we have Tasha’s recap of Sunday night’s episode of Downton Abbey. As always, thank you to Downton Online for the screencaps!

Holy cannoli, Downton Abbey is going to go on forever tonight. Anywho… what would I like to see this week? It would be ever so nice if Branson and Sybil ran away together, Bates and Anna consummated their love, and Mr. Matthew Crawley finally GOT A CLUE. I’d also like to know who killed Vera. Shall we?

Edith watching the last of the hospital depart from Downton

It’s still 1919! Edith is watching the last of the hospital equipment leave Downton. Sounds like life is finally returning to normal. Everyone thinks Vampy Vera committed suicide, Lady Grantham wants to throw Matthew out, and Carson hopes the end of the war means the return of the footmen. I think he’s destined to be bitterly disappointed. Speaking of servants, Thomas needs a job now that the war is over. He’s going to be wheelin’ and dealin’ with his new black market “business.” He’s going to be a gangster!

Lord Grantham, meanwhile, is not so happy. Lady Grantham’s efforts to separate Mary and Matthew seem to infuriate him, so he has to take a stroll to calm his nerves (why doesn’t he just talk to Mary about Sir Richard?). Anyway, he’s walking along, minding his own, when whom should he happen to meet in a meadow but the new maid, picking flowers. Awfully suspicious if you ask me. Grantham waxes philosophical about what the war all means (obviously he hasn’t read Nietzsche, or he’d know there is no meaning), and Jane the Maid blinks sympathetically. He says, “Before the war I feel like my life had value.” Er, I don’t see an appreciable before- and after-the-war difference here, Lord G.

While Robert’s teasing Jane the Maid, Sybil’s teasing Branson. She shows up randomly in the garage, in her dinner gown, and wants to know what he’s up to all day. Yeah, it’s called working…? Then she starts whining about how bored she is. But she isn’t ready to get married yet!

This is Bates: “Hey, Bates, terrible about your wife! Does anyone know why she killed herself?” “Ermph, well, no…” *twitch twitch twitch*

Sir Richard's attempts to hire Anna to spy on Mary

Meanwhile, Sir Richard le Slimeball is staking his claim on ALL of Mary. He asks Anna a favor–IN HIS ROOM, gross–to spy on Mary for him. HE IS THE MOST HILARIOUSLY AWFUL PERSON EVER. Anna’s “too busy” to be his snoop, though, and immediately gives Carson and Hughes the 411 on his behavior. One would think this would inspire Carson to go with Lady Mary and protect her, but actually the opposite happens: he says he can’t leave Dowton for Mary and Richard’s new home because he won’t be employed by someone he can’t respect. Mary: CARSON FINDS SIR RICHARD SO LOATHSOME HE REFUSES TO BE EMPLOYED BY HIM. And you’re going to sleep with him? Excellent choice. /sarcasm When Mary hears about Carson’s decision, she’s so pissed she goes into Ice Queen Mode and tells Sir Richard, “Butlers will be two a penny now they’re all back from the war.” Girl, your bitch is showing.

Lord Grantham with the maid again! In some sort of closet space. “I’m a foolish man who’s lost his way.” GIVE ME A BREAK. Then he tongues the her, what a tool. Buy a sports car or something, sheesh.

More important news: MATTHEW CAN WALK! Lavinia drops the tray and he reflexively stands up to catch her. It’s a miracle, he can do the horizontal dance now! They send for Dr. Clarkson–I don’t know why, since he didn’t have anything to do with it. Clarkson gives the excuses of why he’s a terrible doctor. Matthew asks him, “But I will… HAVE a life?” If by life you mean sex, then yes. Lady Violet, meanwhile, seems oddly disturbed. The next day, Matthew announces that he and Lavinia are getting married. Most boring news ever. Matthew says he wants to marry at Downton Abbey to bury the darkest period of his life. Oho buddy, you’re in for it now.

One would think Lady Grantham would be happy about Matthew’s marriage, but Cora is upset Lord Grantham agreed to the wedding without asking her, since it will delay Mary’s wedding. Lord G is like, Shut your face bitch and speak when I tell you! Someone’s channeling Chris Brown this week. Lady Grantham should probably start throwing things at him, but she doesn’t. I bet in his head he’s thinking, “Jane would never question my authority.” AND HE’S RIGHT.

I bet you want to know more about Ethel, the other maid no one likes. Mrs. Hughes should have cut that one loose, but she didn’t. Ethel’s kid’s name is Charlie! I’m glad it has a name. Some people named Bryant have shown up at Downton to have lunch with the Granthams. They’re the parents of Major Dickish, and the housekeeper was going to arrange for them to see Charlie, but it didn’t work out. So instead Ethel takes matters into her own tentacles and dashes into the dining room with the baby.

Ethel forces Major Bryant's parents to see their baby

The Major’s father demands proof that Charlie’s his grandson. Yeah, because who wouldn’t want to be related to the Edwardian version of Vernon Dursley? Uhg, no wonder the major was such a dick with a dad like that. The Bryants storm out (well, one of them does), while Ethel just stammers uselessly.

Carson is all aflutter that lunch went badly and things aren’t in order. Back in the dining room, Mary and Richard are being snobby and self-righteous. “Ethel got what she deserved,” blah blah blah. Really, Mary? REALLY?! They are going to be a great couple. Two unhappy people, stuck together forever. Someone slap her.

After lunch, Lady Violet decides Matthew needs a talking to. I agree, he does. She tells Matthew that Mary is still in love with him, and he can’t love Mary once more? But he’s like, “Hee haw, Lavinia, hee haw.” So now we know why Violet was so upset when he could walk–it meant he could fulfill ALL of Lady Mary’s needs AT LAST. Now if only Matthew would get back his metaphorical as well as his literal virility.

Meanwhile, Richard and Mary are discussing their wedding, as well. I’ve never seen Mary look so consummately bored. She’s the perfect deathly pale bride. Richard asks if she still loves Matthew and she’s like, “I would never love a man who loves someone else over me.” First of all, that doesn’t answer the question. And second of all, if you’re riding the pride train to lonely town, Mary, have a nice trip. I don’t think I’ve been so annoyed with her since season one.

Sybil's elopement letter

So while ALL THIS has been going on, no one noticed that Sybil’s been missing. You didn’t notice because she’s not much of a character. She went to Branson’s garage after dinner, all dressed up again, and told him it’s time to move forward. Branson’s her ticket to paradiiiise, we can pack our bags and leeeavvve toniiight! And that’s exactly what they do. But Mary finally goes looking for her and discovers Sybil isn’t in her room. Instead, there’s a letter saying she’s eloped with Branson to Gretna Green–what is this, a Regency romance novel? Who knew Sybil was a Barbara Cartland fan. Edith and Mary go haring off in another car to stop her. How many cars does Lord Grantham own? In a hotel on the way to Gretna Green, they find Sybil in bed… and Tom (Branson) in a chair. Both fully-clothed. These two are so unimaginative! Mary actually manages to sound reasonable and logical when she argues that Sybil should marry Tom openly instead of sneaking off in the dark, and I agree with her. So does Sybil, who decides to return to Downton with her sisters. Tom gets all pouty. I swear to god every single man in this series is emasculated, except possibly Carson.

What’s up with Bates, I can hear you asking. Good question! Bates is very paranoid because he bought the poison for Vera that ended up killing her. Big deal? Anna wants him to say so to the police, which sounds like a really dumb idea. Bates is like Eeyore, always thinking of the bad things that are going to come his way.

Thomas destroys his useless black market goods

And Thomas seriously looks like a gangster and has collected quite the horde of goods, which he bought from someone on the black market and is planning to sell to Mrs. Patmore. She’s happy to have ingredients for Matthew and Lavinia’s wedding cake, but it soon turns out they’re all fake. Roh-roh. I guess Thomas is a bit upset that his stolen goods weren’t kosher, because he tears up his shed and looks generally pathetic. He spent his entire savings on the goods. O’Brien tries to help, but it doesn’t seem as if there’s anything she can do. Meanwhile, Carson and Mrs. Hughes are both pretty adamant it’s time for him to leave Downton. How will Thomas get out of this one?

In the intervening minutes, Branson has gotten a job as journalist, so Sybil thinks it’s a good time to bring him back to the house and tell Lord Grantham of their plans. Mary of course is being unsupportive, but Sybil asks him to come for her anyway.

Sybil and Branson

Now it’s time for the announcement, wheee! I’ve waited ALL WEEK. Branson shows up wearing a horrible suit (especially when compared to Lord Grantham), and like Lady Mary he seems to have aged a lot in the past season. They tell the whole family they plan to marry–in fact, that they ran off together, but Mary and Edith convinced Sybil to return. Lord Grantham is like, “Wonderful news! I’ve always wanted an mechanic in the family!” KIDDING. He makes the frowny face. The words “bowing and scraping to me while plotting to marry my daughter” may have been used. Just so we’re clear, Tom doesn’t bow and scrape to anyone, and especially not a tosser like YOU, Lord G.

Lady Violet is the one who saves the day by asking Sybil what her plan is. Of course Sybil has a plan; there’s hope for the future yet. She’s going to live with Tom’s mum in Dublin until they can get married, then get a job as a nurse. As plans go, it’s not THAT bad. Lord Grantham’s like, “I won’t allow it, blah blah blah,” but he and everyone else knows his opinion is irrelevant at this point. There was not enough shouting in this scene.

The reaction in the servant’s quarters when Tom announces he’s marring Lady Sybil, meanwhile, isn’t any better. Carson’s like, “HAVE YOU NO SHAME?!” Tom’s like, “Nope! I’m shameless, shameless as a man can beeeee…”

No one wants Sybil to marry Branson. Sybil’s being pretty reasonable, offering to stay until after Matthew’s wedding, but Lord G replies by saying he’s going to cut her off. That’s not an effective threat to someone who’s never been poor, duh. Lady Grantham, weirdly, is supportive of Sybil marrying Branson. But not of Mary marrying Matthew? I’m so tired of typing marry/Mary right now.

Edith arranging Lavinia's wedding presents

The wedding of Lavinia and Matthew approaches, like a dirge. Lavinia got a gramophone and a bunch of other presents Edith has to organize. She’s spiraling and feeling like she’s always going to be the bridesmaid and never the bride; except she’s not even the bridesmaid, just the gopher. All because she’s the plain sister. Honestly, Edith, one would think you have no powers of observation; men don’t care that much about what you look like. Violet rallies by telling her, “Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle-class.” That’s true.

Oh no! Carson’s sick. Lady G looks sick, too. Moseley has to step in for Carson and he’s horribly confused. Thomas is pouty because no one asked him. Oh dear, Moseley is hitting the wine pretty hard. Maybe Thomas might have been the better choice this time around. Moseley looks as pale as Lady Grantham and Carson. Jesus, everyone’s sick. Lavinia’s ill, too. After nearly everyone has left the dinner table, Lady Violet warbles, “Wasn’t there a masque ball in Paris where cholera broke out? Half the guests were dead before the night was over!” “Thank you, mama, that has cheered us up immensely,” Lord Grantham bites out. Can you imagine having Lady Violet for a mother? I don’t know how Robert turned out so normal. In any case, they go back to eating.

Meanwhile, Anna’s been thinking. She and Bates are getting married. Bates is like, “hee haw, but what about Vera, hee haw.” Starting to get annoyed over here, Bates! The man doesn’t recognize a determined woman when he sees one. OH, YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED.

While most of the women are sick with the Spanish flu, the guys are getting up to no good. Item the first: Matthew’s playing the gramophone after dinner and Mary’s observing, overcome by his manly beauty. It’s like watching lions in the wild. I sense a romantic scene approaching! Matthew invites Mary to dance with him. Let’s listen in, just like Lavinia, who’s hovering on the stairs:

Mary and Matthew dancing

MARY: You manage without your stick. (Is that a double-entendre? I hope so!)
MATTHEW: You are my stick. (Yep, it definitely was.)
MARY: We were a show that flopped. (It was that bad, huh?)
MATTHEW: God, Mary, I am so so sorry. You know how sorry I am.
Finally some emotion from him! But not from Mary, who says coolly, “Don’t be. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. And if it was, it was mine.”
MATTHEW: (paraphrasing) I can’t dump Lavinia after she bathed my lame self for half an episode, can I? …No matter how much I want to.
THEY’RE KISSING, FINALLY! Only to be interrupted by Lavinia. ::SIGH:: Lavinia has clearly seen the whole thing. If Matthew had any sense, he would apologize immediately, but methinks he doesn’t want to.

Item the second: Lord Grantham. That maid, Jane, is way overly familiar with him. She offers to help him overcome his sadness or something else that made my gorge rise. GAH I HATE HER SO MUCH. Bates interrupts them, though he doesn’t know it. Poor Bates. Even Lord Gingrich–I mean Grantham–is getting nooky, and he has a seriously ill wife down the hall! Bates saved the day, though; Lord G comes to his senses sends Jane off without too much bodily fluid being exchanged.

The next day, Lord Grantham pays a visit to Branson. He wants to know how Tom’s going to provide for Sybil, and Branson replies with the gentle version of mind your own business. So Lord G resolves to bribe him. Lord G’s like, “I want you to leave,” and Branson’s like, “If I leave she’s coming with me. She’ll come to me the moment I call.” Yeah, don’t make your daughter chose between you and the man she’s obviously going to marry. That’s Parenting Grown-Ups rule #12.

Preparations for Lavinia and Matthew’s wedding continue because it hasn’t been canceled. No other reason. Meanwhile, in a fevered haze, Lavinia has a revelation. She thinks maybe it’s a good time to call off her and Matthew’s engagement. This is the first time I’ve liked her since she showed up! Lavinia doesn’t seem that seriously ill, unlike Lady Grantham, who is throwing up and hemorrhaging blood out of her nose! This sucks! Now Lavinia’s in a bad way, too. With her dying words, Lavinia gives Matthew permission to marry Mary. Everyone knows that’s what she’s doing, even boneheaded Matthew. Annnnd… she dies.

On better news, Lady Grantham is getting better, yay! She apologizes for not paying more attention to Robert, as if he’s three years old and needs to be constantly entertained. But no matter–the point is, they make-up, and Lord Grantham decides not to chase after Jane the maid anymore. Jane has a similar thought; she’s given her notice and she’s leaving. GOOD IDEA, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Buh-bye now.

While Carson’s been sick, Thomas has moved into position of butler. At first I think he genuinely wanted to help, but he’s not one to let an opportunity pass him by. He is way too cheerful, and it’s very suspicious. Carson finds it very suspect, as well. You can never get rid of him! At least this will motivate Carson to get better quickly so he can check the silver. You never know, maybe Thomas has turned over a new leaf! (Nah…)

In other below-stairs news, the Bryants changed their mind and wanted to meet with Ethel to discuss Charlie. They would love to have Charlie in their lives; their only term was that Ethel had to give the baby up and never see or hear from him again, and he’d be told she died. I thought she’d give Charlie up, but no, she’s decided to keep him. Wow, respect girl, respect. Even Ethel knows Charlie shouldn’t be raised by that mustachioed asshole.

Bates and Anna are married

Annnnnd… ANNA AND BATES ARE GETTING MARRIED! Yay, so happy! They are so cute together. Ooooh la la, Mary’s helping Anna and Bates spend the night together! Let’s spend the night togethhhher, now I need you more than evarrrr. Bates has a serious farmer’s tan going on. Sexay sexay farmer’s tan.

Despite all these developments, however, everyone at Downton is so depressed, the camera filter has gotten noticeably cooler- and darker-toned. Now instead of a wedding, they’re having a funeral. Matthew is refusing to speak to Mary, or even hear her name.

FUNERAL. Matthew has a severe frowny face. It’s worse than it was when he couldn’t walk or have sex–that’s pretty bad. He blames himself for Lavinia’s death because he thinks she died of a broken heart after seeing him and Mary together. FULL OF YOURSELF MUCH, THERE, buddy? “We’re cursed, you and I,” he tells Mary. Well, maybe you should marry each other and keep your misery in-house, then. I don’t think you’re honoring Lavinia’s dying wishes very well, either, Matthew. Mary is showing a tiiiiny little sliver of emotion, but practically throws herself at Sir Slimey when he pulls her away.

Perhaps because of all the things that’ve happened at Downton, Lord Grantham has reconsidered his position on Sybil and Branson, and gives them his blessing. Sybil looks so happy! Even Branson doesn’t look as militant as he usually does in Lord G’s presence. Plus, Lady Violet is coming to the rescue ONCE AGAIN! What is this, the Lady Violet: Superhero show? She’s already plotting how to give Branson an aristocratic pedigree to save the family’s social reputation.

Everyone returns to the Abbey after the funeral, where two coppers are waiting to arrest Bates. He gives himself up AWFULLY easily. Man, I think he really might have killed Vera. Either that or he knows who did and he’s protecting them.

Bates led away by the police

Thus ends season two of Downton Abbey. Although I enjoyed it, I do think the first season was a lot better. There were a lot of plotlines that didn’t seem fleshed-out and would suddenly appear, then disappear, without any lasting affect to the plot or characters. Such as “Patrick Gordon” or Grantham and the maid. Plus, a lot of the characters I loved in the first season seem kind of cartoonish and stereotypical right now, like Lady Violet. As for Matthew and Mary, I am MONUMENTALLY annoyed with that storyline. They are thisclose to being the Pierre and Natasha of 20th-century England. I’m pretty sure Dan Stevens can handle a wide variety of emotions between smug and woe-is-me, you should give him a chance to show it maybe?

Anyway. Maybe after watching the Christmas special I’ll be less annoyed.

Downton Dragout: Lord Grantham

by

Robert, Earl of Grantham

Lord Grantham is superior to all other men, and has the listing in Debrett’s Peerage to prove it. Look at how debonair and handsome he looks in his evening wear, leaning against that Rolls with the right degree of “I’m king of this realm” but not too much arrogance. We can ding Robert for marrying Cora Levinson for her money, but unlike most fortune-hunting aristocrats, he fell in love with his American heiress bride and treats her as an equal!

Perhaps Robert may seem boring and settled, but why shouldn’t he? After all, he has a sharp-tongued mother to deal with, three unruly daughters, a valet who disrupts the entire household with his troubled past, a new heir who did nothing to mask his disdain for his position, and now the war has thrown everything he holds dear at sixes and sevens! It’s a wonder he didn’t chuck it all and go to France whether the Army wanted him or not. There’s much to commend a man who upholds responsibility and duty as necessary to the social order.

Compared to the other men of Downton, Robert is someone I’d trust with my life. I mean really–Branson, a controlling anarchist who, instead of arguing his political position, plots to dump muck on an English general’s head? Bates, who continuously lets down Robert and Anna, as well as the household? And lastly, Matthew, who cannot make up his own mind about anything, whether it be treating his own valet with respect to deciding whether he wants to be with Mary or with Lavinia? There are no comparisons! Leave a comment in support of the upstanding, honorable Earl of Grantham.

Or you can hold back your snickers while reading the arguments in favor of the lesser inhabitants of Downton Abbey:
Katiebabs from Babbling About Books and More – Bates
Pam from Bookalicio.us – Matthew
Tasha from Truth, Beauty, Freedom, & Books – Branson