Monday, January 7, 2013

Downton Abbey 3.01 : For Richer or For Poorer

Oh, Downton Abbey, how we have missed you!

For all of you newbies (yes, Jillian B., I'm talking about you), I have included this handy-dandy flowchart to help you keep up. You're welcome!

Season 3 picks up in the Spring of 1920 just in time for Mary's wedding to good ol' cousin Matthew Crowley. How convenient for Mary that she won't have to go through the trouble of changing her monogram or her name on her driver's license since they are both Crowley's.
Robert still has his panties in a wad about Lady Sybil falling in love with and marrying Downton's favorite chauffeur Tom Branson. It seems that Sybil can't make it to the wedding since she let that Grantham money go. Mary's even willing to plead with Robert to get her sister there but he's not having it. Lord Grantham will never let go of the idea of the importance of keeping up appearances.
Back at the crib, the servants are enjoying breakfast and Mr. Bates is heavy on the minds of many. Thomas is still being an ass and is the only person who thinks Mr. Bates is capable of the murder he is accused of committing. Gotta love that Mr. Carson doesn't take to kindly to Thomas' attitude and puts him in his place.
Isobel Crawley has to be the messiest old broad in the county because she stays in other people's business...and sometimes, that's a good thing! She feels so strongly about Branson not being treated like a pariah and Sybil attending the wedding that she's willing to enlist the Dowager Countess herself. This chick is so bold that she's even willing to go behind Robert's back & send Sybil & Tom the money to make the trip. Never to be outdone, The Dowager Countess is the one who comes through in the clutch and sends Sybil the money.
Speaking of balls of steel, O'Brien must have a big set too. After being told by Mr. Carson that he doesn't have time to bring on her nephew and train him as a footman with all the wedding stuff going on, she does over his head and brings it up to Lady Grantham. If there is one person you do not want to cross in that house, it is Mr. Carson.

Taking on Alfred as the new footman was not only bad timing for Mr. Carson, but it also puts the breaks on hiring a new kitchen maid so poor Daisy can finally get promoted.

Sooo, Lady Mary wants to live at Downton after she and Matthew are married, rather than get her own place? I'm with Matthew on this. Nobody wants to do what newlyweds do a few doors down from their parents.

Meanwhile, Lord Grantham sneaks off to London to meet with the trustee of the estate. Now we know why he was being so secretive: Robert has lost the bulk of Lady Grantham's fortune in a railroad deal gone bust and HEISTHISCLOSE to having to sell Downton.Of course Robert has waaay to much pride to go down without a fight.

He does confess the money troubles to Cora, who vows to stick by him through it all. They hope to find a way to make it work but agree to not mention it to her mother, Martha Levinson, who is making her way to Downton for Lady Mary's wedding.

Bates is still in the clink but he hasn't lost his sense of hope. Anna has agreed to help him gather information to help prove his ex-wife committed suicide and exonerate him from his murder conviction.
Poor Edith couldn't catch a break if she paid for it! 1920's answer to Jan Brady has gone and fallen in love with Sir Anthony Gray but the elders aren't happy about it. What could be so wrong with Edith finally finding love? Well, it's because Sir Anthony is quite a bit older than Edith (he looks to be in her father's age group) and they feel she would be throwing away her youth on an old man. Why can't they just let Edith be great?
Everyone's long lost favorite Crawley sister Sybil finally returns to Downton & she is preggo!
Unfortunately, attitudes toward poor Tom haven't changed at all and many from Lord Grantham to Mr. Carson take the opportunity to go in on Tom about being of a lower class, Irish, & not agreeing with their brand of politics. One dinner guest goes as far as to slip Tom a mickey to give the others the illusion that he is a drunk and embarrass him. Fortunately, Tom finds a comrade in Matthew, who treats him with respect and even asks him to be his best man.

We finally get to meet Lady Grantham's mother, Martha Levinson, who has come all the way from the States for her eldest grandchild's wedding and we learn as soon as she gets out of the car that she is not one to hold her tongue. I would even be willing to say she throws even better shade than the Dowager Countess because, unlike the Dowager, Martha has no filter and doesn't give a single damn what any of them think. She read every last one of them for filth and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Matthew finds out Lavinia's father has left his entire estate to him. It's an obscene amount of money and, considering how Matthew broke Lavinia's heart after admitting he was in love with Lady Mary, he considers not taking it. Lady Mary feels as though this would be a betrayal, since the money could be used to keep Downton off the auction block, and threatens to call off the wedding. Tom reminds Matthew that he could never be happy with anyone other than Lady Mary and that using the money to save Downton is the right thing to do. Matthew's change of heart makes Lady Mary the happiest woman this side of London & Tom's part in it forces Robert to give Tom the respect he is due.
The wedding goes off without a hitch and it's an affair that the entire county is celebrating. Lady Mary made a beautiful bride (even though she could use a cheeseburger or two) and it was actually kind of nice seeing Mr. Carson well up with pride like a proud papa. He has been there since before she was born, after all.

I would love to read your thoughts on this week's episode and the show in general, so leave your comments below. Also, be sure to vote in the poll to your right!

Until next time....

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