Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey 3.05 : Hello & Goodbye

Lady Sybil's due date is getting closer and the poor thing has to experience Braxton-Hicks. Considering this is the first birth at Downton since Lady Sybil, it's understandable that everyone would be a little bit nervous. Dr. Clarkson assures them that everything is going as planned but Lord Grantham isn't buying it. He calls in Sir Phillip Tapsill for backup. He's still a little hesitant where Dr. Clarkson is concerned since he was the one that misdiagnosed Matthew's spinal injury and failed to catch Livinia's illness until it was too late.
Lady Sybil is stuck in bed with swollen ankles and horrible headaches but she's busy concerning herself with the unborn baby's christening. Since the plan was to give the child a Catholic baptism, Sybil and Tom wanted it done in Dublin, far far way from Lord Grantham, whom you know will not be pleased.
Honestly, Sybil doesn't care for religion, one way or the other but wants to do all that she can to make Tom happy. Lady Mary promises to have her back in the battle that is sure to come against Lord Grantham.

There is plenty of tension downstairs, as Daisy isn't feeling the new kitchen maid at all. She cuts Ivy down every chance she gets.
She really gives her hell whenever she sees her interacting with Alfred. Who really knows if she's even interested in Alfred the way he is in her. Seems to me that she likes getting attention from males in general. Mrs. Patmore is the one that has to remind Daisy that Alfred won't like her any better just because she is mean to Ivy. To be quite honest, being mean to Ivy might end up making Alfred sympathize with her and be more drawn to her.
Could Thomas be any more obvious about his attraction to James?
 He is all in poor James' kool-aid and it seems like James has no idea Thomas has eyes for the boys. O'Brien uses this to her advantage and encourages James to seek out Thomas for on-the-job advice. James wants nothing more than to do a good job so he seeks Thomas out whenever he has a question. Thomas takes this as a sign that James is into him and begins to get all touchy feely. Of course this makes James uncomfortable but he's afraid that saying something will cause him to lose his job.
Isobel gets a visit from Ethel, who doesn't know where to turn. It seems that word has gotten around town about her former occupation and no one wants to hire her.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Isobel puts on her Captain Save a Hoe cape and offers Ethel a position assisting Mrs. Byrd. Mrs. Byrd isn't receptive of this idea at all. She says she can't work along side Ethel because her good name will be tarnished.
Isobel doesn't care what any one's opinions are and calls Mrs. Byrd's bluff. She offers Mrs. Byrd a month's wages and chucks her the deuces. From the look on her face, Mrs. Byrd expected Isobel to pick her over Ethel and was not expecting to end up in the unemployment line.
I guess Mrs. Byrd was a bit butt hurt about getting the axe, so she writes to Mr. Carson to let him know that she was gone & why she left so abruptly.
Now there is finally something that ranks more scandalous in Mr. Carson's mind than Lady Sybil running off with the chauffeur! Mrs. Hughes has always had a soft spot for Ethel and thinks that she deserves a chance. She suggests that they stay quiet for now and let the situation work itself out. Carson wants to avoid Downton being involved in this mess in any way shape or form and forbids any member of his staff from setting foot in Isobel Crawley's house.
Anna is finally able to visit Bates again. She's concerned about why she hadn't been allowed to visit but Bates is more concerned about questioning Mrs. Bartlett. He's figured out that Vera put the poison in the pie and waited to eat it when Bates was already on the train back to Downton. It was all a set up!
Anna seeks out Lord Grantham for advice on how to get the proof of their discovery on paper. It's the only way to get Bates out of jail. Lord Grantham believes in Bates' innocence so much that he calls in his own attorney. The lawyer informs them that they need to get a statement from Mrs. Bartlett before she figures out what's going on.
Lady Edith's letter to the Times has been so well received that the editor has offered her a position as a weekly columnist.
Now, this is what the scene at Downton should have been when Edith got the great news but the only person that was excited for her was Matthew, as usual. Like clockwork, Lord Grantham was there to piss in Lady Edith's Cheerios and take away her joy. He tells her the only reason they are interested in her is because of her title.
No wonder the poor girl feels like she is always seen as a failure in this family! Matthew tries to get Lord Grantham to see that this new opportunity is a good thing but he won't budge. Even the Dowager makes a hurtful comment when she's told of the opportunity. Why can't they just let Edith be great!
Matthew is determined to save Downton and make it profitable again and he is aware that he has an uphill battle against Lord Grantham. He is so set in his ways and, unfortunately. those ways have translated to bad estate management. Mary is all for saving Downton but she doesn't want Matthew to rock the boat too much with her father.
Matthew's plan is to begin working the farm land again that hasn't generated an income in 20 years. He wonders just how receptive Lord Grantham will be to this idea.

Sir Phillip thinks he is the end all, be all when it comes to delivering babies and isn't keen on the idea of Dr. Clarkson tagging along while he attends to Lady Sybil. It's very much a point of contention because Richard wants Sir Phillip to handle the birth but Cora only feels comfortable with Dr. Clarkson. Sybil is their baby girl and they want what's best for her so neither will back down.

While Sir Phillip is at the house, Matthew decides to consult him about his own health. He's concerned that he may be the reason Lady Mary hasn't become pregnant yet. Sir Phillip assures him that physically, he is fine. These things take time and he just needs to stop being anxious.
While the Crawley's are hosting a dinner for Sir Phillip, Lady Sybil's labor progresses.
All isn't going smoothly, though. Dr. Clarkson thinks that Sybil is showing signs of eclampsia & toxemia but Sir Phillip thinks he's just getting everyone upset for no reason. Dr. Clarkson insists that Sybil be brought to the hospital for a c-section. As a good doctor should, he let's everyone know that he can't guarantee anything but this would give her the best chance of survival. Lord Grantham sides with Sir Phillip and then has the audacity to not want to include Tom in the decision making since he's not the one paying for the doctor.
Poor Tom is torn but Baby Girl Branson gets there too quick to transport Sybil to the hospital.
Poor Sybil has been through hell and it seems as though she knows that something is wrong. She asks her mother to support her wishes where Tom and the baby are concerned. Not long after, Sybil begins to seize and NOW that dumb ass Sir Phillip admits that it's eclampsia.
The cost of this doofus not letting go of his pride and doing what was in the best interest of the patient, Lady Sybil dies.

Every one is devastated, including the staff. The news hits Mr. Carson especially hard because he has been there with Lady Sybil since the day she was born and she's very much like a daughter to him. Cora is so heartbroken that she won't leave Sybil's side. She promises to look after Tom & the baby for her. She blames Sybil's death on Sir Phillip and Lord Grantham, so guess who gets to sleep on the couch for the foreseeable future.
Tom....there are no words. For the first time, we get to see a barely composed Dowager Countess.
Matthew is sad too but not sad enough to have a pow wow with the family lawyer when he stops by the house. Mary is understandably pissed. She feels as though Matthew is taking advantage of her father at his weakest moment. I know business needs to be taken care of but....
Until next time...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Downton Abbey 3.04 : Time For A Revolution

Now that Matthew has finally stopped making excuses and accepted Reggie Swires' millions and invested in Downton, he's painstakingly going through the task of trying to figure out what roll he'll play in this crazy world of Grantham. Even though he saved the place from ruin, Matthew sees himself only as an investor and Carson is as pleased as punch that he won't have to call Matthew Lord Grantham any time soon.
This isn't the only thing that Carson has to smile about. Matthew's investment means Carson gets hire much needed new staff members, stop playing footman, and go back to being the butler that he is.
Since making the investment, Matthew has been crawling through the books and he thinks that Downton needs a complete overhaul in how it does business. Of course, when he mentions this to Lord Grantham, Robert changes the subject.
Matthew asks the Dowager for advice on how he should handle things, as not to step on any toes. As always, the Dowager shoots it to him straight: Matthew needs to do what he has to do and not worry about stepping on any toes. Folks are going to be mad either way it goes.
Like any good rich man's wife, Lady Mary is occupying herself by spending the chick she stole Matthew from her husband's money on redecorating. She's decided to change the nursery into a sitting room. Kind of weird since most people don't turn nurseries into lady caves until the kids go off to college and, last I checked, she and Matthew got married all of 20 minutes ago. Matthew mentions something about her being preggo but Mary shuts that down real quick.
Carson is just as eager to spend Matthew's money as Lady Mary is and wastes no time hiring new staff. Jimmy Kent shows up to interview for the footman position that is open. He's so handsome that every one of the servants is rendered speechless at the sight of him. Thomas is staring him up and down harder than anyone else in the room and is practically tripping over himself to get in the man's face. Is there something you want to tell us, Thomas?
Lady Mary asks Carson about the candidates that he has interviewed and he remarks about the staff being enamored with Jimmy's good looks. Lady Mary thinks picking the handsome dude over the other dude would be good for the house. It would cheer everyone up and put poor Alfred, who has been struggling to quickly learn the ways of a proper footman, out of his misery.

The female staff (and Thomas) when Jimmy walked in
Speaking of Thomas, he's still picking on poor Alfred.
This fool even has the gal to question Mr. Carson about the amount of time he's spending to give Alfred one-on-one training. Carson knocks him down a peg or two when he lets him know that he's been so willing to give Alfred extra help because he was man enough to ask (unlike some folks).
Jimmy Kent does, in fact, get the job and it doesn't take long before Mr. Carson's ways rub him the wrong way. Mr. Carson demands that Jimmy be address as James from here on out and Jimmy isn't feeling it...AT ALL! The whole staff is abuzz about the new addition and Mrs. O'Brien has noticed the way Thomas has been looking at James.

Home girl is still hot about the way Thomas has been trying to punk her nephew Alfred. She will put this little gem in her back pocket for use at the proper time. Trust me on that one!

Daisy is finally ready to stop being a punk and admit her feelings for Alfred but, as usual, things don't go as planned. Right as she was about to spit it out, Mrs. Patmore interrupts and announces she's hired a new kitchen maid. Considering that this is what Daisy was waiting on so she could finally be promoted to assistant cook, this should have been a happy moment for Daisy but not so. Alfred had to go and ruin it by flirting with the new chick as soon as she is introduced. After Daisy is done dogging her out, Ivy Stuart will regret the day she accepted a job at Downton.

Isobel is still into helping ladies of the night and Ethel Parks decides to take her up on her offer to help but not in the way that she thought she would. She asks her to get a letter she's written to Mrs. Hughes and Isobel obliges.

Mrs. Hughes had no idea what had become of Ethel after she left Downton and can't even bring herself to tell Mr. Carson about Ethel's new occupation. Ethel wants to meet with Mrs. Hughes but refuses to come to Downton. Honestly, who can blame her? During their meeting at Isobel's, Ethel asks Mrs. Hughes if she will write to the Bryant's on her behalf. After what happened during Ethel's last encounter with the Bryant's, Mrs. Hughes is reluctant but agrees, in the end.

Poor Anna doesn't know what to do with herself. She hasn't received a letter from Bates in weeks and he hasn't been allowed to have visitors. She's beginning to think this is his way of freeing her to move on with her life. Thankfully, Mrs. Hughes is there to remind her that Bates would never do such a thing.
Meanwhile, Bates is sitting in jail thinking that Anna may have given up on him because she hasn't responded to any of his letters. Another inmate informs him that his cell mate is trying to set him up and that someone has reported him to the warden for violence. Now it makes sense why he hasn't received any visitors. Bates is a bad ass and sticks it to his roommate before he can stick it to him. Roomie is mad but he'll be stuck in solitary thanks to the contraband Bates planted just in time for a cell inspection. Bates finally gets the stack of letters from Anna that have accumulated and he couldn't be happier. Neither can Anna, since she receives a stack from him.

                                                      Made on Mrs. Hughes' new toaster:
Mrs. Hughes was able to convince the Bryant's to see Ethel. Mr. Bryant thinks Ethel is lower than pond scum and takes every opportunity he can say it. He's had her followed and he knows what she has been up to.
Mrs. Bryant is a little bit more amiable and actually tries to speak to Ethel like she's a human being. She offers her money so she can give up her day job. Ethel won't take it because she knows it will barely be enough to keep them fed and she wants better for her son. She asks the Bryant's to raise little Charlie since this is the only way he will have access to the best education and resources. Neither Mrs. Hughes or Isobel are particular about the notion but they support Ethel regardless. My heart broke as little Charlie waved to his mommy through the window and Ethel fell to pieces.
Big props to Isobel for confronting her housekeeper about being rude to Ethel.

Lord & Lady Grantham have decided to host a dinner for a priest, even though Robert is straight up and down anti-Catholic.
During the dinner, Lady Sybil calls and tells Lady Edith that she is ok, she's out of the flat, and nobody stopped her. The entire family is confused by the mysterious phone call and things get even more weird for them when Tom shows up on their doorstep in the night rain, without a coat. Oh, and pregnant Sybil is nowhere in sight.
Just when you thought Robert couldn't hate Tom more, this happens. There are few things more vicious than a daddy who feels like his daughter's husband has abandoned her and put her in danger. That anger is only compounded when it comes out that the residence Tom is accused of torching belongs to some friends of the Crowley's. Tom feels guilty about leaving Sybil and about the fire. He has attended meetings but never participated in the destruction of someones home. While he never wanted harm to be inflicted on anyone, he is still sticking to his belief that this revolution needs to happen.

Even though he really doesn't want to, Robert agrees to go to London on Tom's behalf for Sybil's sake. Eventually, Sybil shows up unharmed, to everyones relief. In spite of her family's protests, she defends their decision to leave Ireland the way they did and Tom's belief in the cause that he stands for.
As much as Tom and Sybil would like the baby to be born in Ireland, neither Cora nor Richard will allow them to leave Downton. Tom will be put in jail if he goes back to Ireland and, since there is a risk of Sybil becoming a martyr in the public eye, the government will not pursue an extradition. For the sake of their unborn child, Sybil agrees with the idea of staying so Tom is stuck.

Poor Edith is still reeling from being dumped at the alter. Her bitterness has caused her to forget her filter and she has taken to saying whatever, whenever and she really doesn't care what anyone thinks about it.
Matthew pours salt in the wound by asking why she doesn't just have breakfast in bed. Silly rabbit, that's reserved for married ladies and Edith isn't one.
The Dowager recommends that Edith stop whining about her situation and find something to do with her life. Thank you, Dowager for being the first person in 3 seasons to acknowledge that Edith, indeed, does have a brain.
With all  the talk about the ratification of the 19th Amendment in the United States and the fact that those types of strides aren't being made on that side of the pond, Edith's wheels begin to turn. She decides that she is going to write to the newspaper and no one takes her seriously. Her own father even has the nerve to tell her, in front of everyone, that she will not get published.
Edith doesn't let any of this deter her, though. She writes to the newspaper and she get's published. Lord Grantham just about crapped his pants when he opened the morning paper and saw it for himself. Matthew is so giddy about it that he all but high fives Edith across the table.
Me thinks that this is the beginning of Edith being a complete bad ass and turning this family on it's ear.

Until next time...