Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Downton Abbey 3.07 : Trapped In The Closet

Bates is free, y'all!!!!!!
He and Anna couldn't be happier and neither can anyone else at Downton...except Thomas. Bates' exoneration isn't a good thing for Thomas, considering he was only promoted to footman because they needed to fill the gap left when Bates was imprisoned. It also doesn't help that Bates is a favorite of Lord Grantham's.
Lord Grantham is so happy that Bates is out of the pokie that he offers to find a cottage for he & Anna since he feels it is no longer suitable. Lord Grantham also promises that the situation with Thomas occupying his position will be sorted out very soon.

Uh oh!
As if we didn't need any more proof of just how much Bates is loved and appreciated, Lord Grantham suggests that he stay in bed, read books, and not worry about working for the foreseeable future.

Suck  it, peasants!

The editor in London is still very interested in having Lady Edith writing for him and has asked her to come to London to meet with him. Lord Grantham is still insisting on being a complete turd and tries, yet again, to discourage her. Thankfully, Edith has no plans to listen to him.

Edith wants this so bad that she asks the Dowager Countess to talk with her father. She lets Edith know right away that she agrees with Robert. When she suggested Edith find something to do with her time, she expected her to paint watercolors not become something as common as a journalist.
But, in true Dowager style, if it's something she can use to her advantage, she will. She agrees to go to bat for her as long as she does her a favor.
This change in stance is so out of character for the Dowager that it prompts Isobel to ask if she has switched her pills.
It works and Lady Edith takes her trip to London where she meets with the editor. Things go very well for her and he asks that she make up her own mind regarding the opportunity. He seems to be smitten with her and Edith decides to take the job.

The Dowager Countess decides to pay Isobel a follow up visit from the luncheon she hosted for Cora & the girls. The Dowager was not pleased at all with Isobel's decision to hire Ethel and only stayed in support of the girls when Robert demanded that they leave. In fact, she thinks that Isobel's new pet project is bringing scandal upon the family.
Alfred finally gets up enough nerve to ask Ivy out to a movie. Apparently, it's improper for them to go alone so Mrs. Hughes only gives them the thumbs up if others go along.
They have a great time but Ivy only has eyes for James and Alfred can't persuade her to think otherwise.
Alfred can't win with the ladies and he can't win with the guys either. Thomas and James have taken a liking to busting his chops. When Mr. Carson chastises him for his teasing, James thinks he's playing favorites.
While Isobel has been treating Ethel with the utmost respect, everyone else is giving her hell. Not only is she being heckled but business owners are refusing to serve her. While it's something that she says she's gotten used to, Isobel isn't OK with it. She doesn't think Ethel should ever get used to being mistreated and vows to take their business elsewhere.
Isobel is none too pleased when she learns that the Dowager has placed an ad for someone to replace Ethel. The Dowager uses Lady Edith to talk up the idea as a good think to Isobel. Now we know what favor The Dowager expected from Edith.
When Isobel still won't budge, Mrs. Hughes is enlisted. She agrees that it's best for Ethel to find some place where she can truly start over without the stigma of her past. Now that she has worked for Isobel, she will come with a recommendation. Isobel is a bit angry but agrees to talk with Ethel about it.

Matthew is eager to get the ball rolling on changes that need to happen at Downton but Robert still isn't happy about it. When Matthew is finally able to coordinate a meeting with Robert and Jarvis, everyone is butting heads. Neither of them is willing to give Matthew the respect due to someone who just kept the estate from going bankrupt. Both think that there is no way Matthew can know what he is talking about because he is so new to their way of life.
This causes Matthew to finally reach his breaking point and he reads them for filth! He reminds them of the state that Downton was in before he invested and that Robert's been bailing Downton out with Cora's money for years.
Matthew tells them flat out that the old way of doing things will no longer work. Downton must be self-sustaining to survive. Jarvis admits that the past isn't a model for how to run Downton & resigns when he feels he's been accused of mismanaging the estate.

Lord Grantham gets the joy of trying to figure out what to do with Thomas now that Bates is back. Luckily for Thomas, Cora is there to urge him to have Carson find a position for him, rather than just giving him the boot.
Robert is also wondering when Branson will leave. Why he is in such a rush is beyond me. Cora reminds him that they have an obligation to Branson now that Sybil is gone. If Branson leaves, so does their grand baby.
Branson is busy trying to be a father to baby Sybil and trying to find a way to move on with his life. He has already made arrangements with the local Catholic church for the christening. Mary and Matthew are the only ones he expects to be there since they are the only ones who have supported him. He shares a really sweet moment with Lady Mary when he asks her to be the baby's godmother.

Commercial Break:
Branson has plans to move on from Downton soon and move to Liverpool. His brother has a garage there and has asked him to help run it. He has also asked him to be baby Sybil's godfather so he is invited by Lady Mary to stay at Downton during the christening. When he shows up, he wants to hang out with the servants and no one thinks this is proper. Branson is quick to put him in his place in front of everyone downstairs. He's way more rough around the edges than Branson and even Mr. Carson has to acknowledge this. Carson is very impressed with the amount of respect for the family Branson has shown in that moment.
Matthew and Branson go over the plans he has for Downton and asks his opinion about them. Branson agrees with what he wants to do with the place. His grandfather was a sheep farmer so he knows a little about land and making it profitable. Once again, someone is acknowledging that Branson is a human being so Lord Grantham isn't pleased.
To every one's surprise, Branson would like everyone to be at the christening because it is what Sybil would have wanted. For once, we have something that Robert can't argue against.
In a surprise move, the Dowager suggests that Lord Grantham keep Branson on as overseer. After all, he knows his way around the land better than any of them and they owe as much to Sybil.
Thomas is concerned about his job security while still jonesing for James. While he's doing that, O'Brien is sitting back in the crack plotting her revenge.
She gets into Thomas' head by telling him that he and James make a cozy couple and tells the lie that Alfred says James goes on and on about him. Thomas tells her that he thinks Alfred is making all of this up but deep down he's buying what O'Brien is selling.
Thomas decides to sneak into James' room & kisses him while he's asleep. Alfred walks in as it is happening and James wakes up.
Both men are beyond pissed and the ruckus wakes up Mr. Carson. The next day, you can cut the tension with a knife and the entire staff is wondering what is going on. O'Brien, in the relishing in the final phase of Operation Annihilate Thomas, decides to put the final nail in the coffin and encourages Alfred to speak up. She tells him that Carson will be mad if he finds out about it from anyone other than him. Needless to say, Mr. Carson is not pleased at all.
Mr. Carson forbids Alfred from speaking of it and tells him he will handle it. When Carson confronts Thomas he admits everything.
It seems that this type of thing is a criminal offense and Thomas is lucky that James hasn't gone to the police. Carson sends him off while he figures out what to do next. I wonder what that will be.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Downton Abbey 3:06 : Can't We All Just Get Along?

As mad as I'm sure all of us are at the Downton God (Julian Fellowes) for calling our Sybil home, I'm so thankful we weren't forced to sit through a funeral. I don't think I would have been able to handle it.
Poor Branson is just beyond heartbroken and all I want to do is hug him. Everyone, with the exception of Lord Grantham because, frankly, he he could give two craps, is trying their hardest to comfort Branson and deal with their own grief at the same time. Tom doesn't think there is anything they can do. He's lost the love of his life, after all.
As expected, Branson has no intention of staying at Downton. Once he is able to secure a job, he plans to leave and will have one of his cousins move in to help care for the baby. Matthew and Ethel would love Tom to stick around. There's no rush for him to leave and he is family, after all. Lord Grantham is the only one who is OK with him getting on with his life so quickly.
The topic of the christening comes up and Tom says he would like to name the baby Sybil because he wants to think of his beloved every time he looks at her.
You would think there wouldn't be a person on the planet that would have a problem with this but nooooooo! The Grinch of Grantham aka Robert thinks that would be entirely too morbid. It gets even better when Tom mentions that he wants the baby baptized in the Catholic church.

Lord Grantham's face:
Thank heavens Tom has Matthew in his corner. Tom confides in Matthew that he doesn't hate Downton he just knows he doesn't belong there. Matthew brings up the idea of him leaving baby Sybil at Downton when he leaves but Tom could never do that. She's all he has left in this world.

Thomas is still taking Lady Sybil's death hard but he's not letting his grief keep him from groping James every chance he gets. All of this is making James feel really uncomfortable. He's so serious about wanting it to stop that he tells O'Brien he's willing to go to Mr. Carson or even the police. O'Brien is not quite ready for her diabolical plan of bringing Thomas to his knees to come to a head so she urges James not to say anything.

Courtesy of Mrs. Patmore:
Cora is still blaming Lord Grantham for Sybil's death and she's still got him sleeping on the couch. It's her belief that it was Robert's elitist attitude that lead to Sybil dying. The only reason he believed Sir Tapsill over Dr. Clarkson is because Sir Tapsill has been knighted. She can't forgive him for putting pageantry before the life of his own child.

While Lord Grantham isn't any one's favorite person at this point, he is still reeling from Sybil's death, in his own way. Not only does he feel guilty about decisions made that night, he also believes his marriage may not bounce back from this. The Dowager was really quick to call BS on that one.
She suggests that they take some time apart. We get to see a much softer side of the Dowager and Lord Grantham when he calls her MaMa & she refers to him as her dearest boy. She knows her son is hurting and no mother wants to see their child in such pain.
Daisy has been spending time with Mr. Mason, a local farmer. Part of her is still pining after Alfred  but she's trying very hard to play it off.
Daisy hooking up with Mr. Mason is equivalent to her hitting the lottery. He owns a working farm and all the equipment on it. Oh, and he wants to leave it all to Daisy someday.
Mr. Mason urges her to think of the future. Sure, she figured she would always have a life devoted to serving others but how long can vast estates like Downton continue to survive?
It's not all heaviness for Daisy, though. She gets to have a really sweat moment with Alfred where she teaches him to foxtrot. James joins in to show Alfred how the steps are suppose to go but around the corner comes Carson to fuss at them about playing around on the clock. Alfred doesn't say a word in their defense to Mr. Carson so now he's got to deal with Daisy & James being angry with him.
Isobel feels horribly about all the Crowley's have been through and decides to throw a luncheon for Cora and the girls. It sounds like a fab idea until she realizes that Ethel can't cook to save her life.
Ethel wants to make it special for all involved and asks Mrs. Patmore for help. This could be an issue considering Ethel's reputation as a lady of the night and the small fact that Mr. Carson has forbidden everyone at Downton from being within 500 feet of her. But, as Ethel points out, why should Isobel and the Crawley women have to suffer just because Isobel has chosen to be kind to her? Mrs. Patmore agrees and begins sneaking around in order to help Ethel.
That only lasts so long because eventually Carson sees Mrs. Patmore leaving Isobel's house. When he confronts Mrs. Patmore, Mrs. Hughes doesn't side with Carson and of course he is not pleased. Much like a mirror image of Lord Grantham, he's was to used to getting his own way.
Lord Grantham decides to invite Mr. Travis the Anglican minister to dinner and his reason for being there is so obvious.
Old dude isn't there 5 minutes and he attacks Branson's faith. Apparently God isn't pleased with Catholics and he wants Tom to know just how far into the depths of hell he has been damned. Even the folks downstairs have an opinion about Catholics.

Robert's plan of sabotage backfires and Ladies Edith, Mary, Matthew, and Isobel call come to Tom's and the global Catholic population's defense. Mr. Travis is backtracking his butt off at this point and Tom comes in for the kill: baby Sybil will be baptized in the "tribe" of her father.
Lord Grantham tries to protest but Lady Mary shuts him down really quickly. Sybil told her on the day she died that she intended for the baby to be Catholic.
Losing Lady Sybil so suddenly has Matthew and Mary thinking about how you can't take anything for granted. Matthew thinks Lord Grantham is taking Downton for granted. Things aren't the way they used to be and they can go about life as though they are if they intent to keep Downton alive. Lord Grantham is still avoiding business talk with Matthew. When Matthew brings up the subject for the millionth time I'm not sure what makes Lord Grantham more angry: It being done in front of Tom, who he sees as a nobody, or that Matthew points out that he's been mismanaging the estate.
The Dowager is really concerned about the state of Robert & Cora's relationship and she asks Dr. Clarkson over to talk. Cora is absolutely convinced that Sybil would have lived had Dr. Clarkson been able to intervene. The Dowager thinks that if Dr. Clarkson would just tell them that Sybil would have died either way, this would end their division. Dr. Clarkson can't say that for certain and he lets the Dowager know that he can't lie to the Crawleys.
All of that worrying Isobel did about the luncheon turned out to be pointless because Ethel pulled everything together beautifully. Everyone is impressed. The subject of Edith being offered a newspaper column comes up and Isobel mentions hearing that Lord Grantham is against the whole idea. Cora makes an excellent point when she says that Lord Grantham makes decisions based on things that are no longer relevant.
Just as Mary is remarking about how she and Matthew are supportive of Edith, in walks Lord Grantham. Mr. Carson snitched and he is highly miffed that they are under the same roof as a known prostitute.
Isobel defends Ethel and her decision to help her rebuild her life. The Dowager is sitting on one side of the table throwing shade under her breath while Cora gives Robert the double FO: They aren't leaving with him. When all of the Crowley women side with Cora and don't get up from the table, Lord Grantham has to leave with his tail between his legs.
Back at the house that night, Lady Mary confronts her father. She believes that he's acting out because he's no longer getting his way. Lady Mary lets him know that on the issue of baby Sybil's christening, he will lose. She's on his side but she wants to respect what Sybil wanted for her child. Lord Grantham reflects on missing Lady Sybil and all that he has been going through since she died. Mary begs him to tell Cora all of this but he thinks she won't want to hear it.

Anna is concerned because it's been a while and Mr. Murray has yet to meet with Mrs. Bartlett to get her statement. Lady Mary urges her to not lose hope. Things will work out. When Mr. Murry does finally meet with her, Mrs. Bartlett changes up her story.
Bates is convinced that she was bribed and one of the guys on the inside had something to do with it. Bates jacks up one of the prisoners who is keeping Mrs. Bartlett from talking. If Mrs. Bartlett doesn't talk and talk soon, Bates will get him in trouble with the governor.
Bates putting ole dude in a headlock works because, shortly after, Anna gets a letter from Mr. Murray saying that Bates will be set free.
Dr. Clarkson makes a visit to Lord and Lady Grantham in hopes of giving them a little bit more insight into what happened with Lady Sybil. He has done some research and, due to Sybil's condition, there was only a slight chance that she would have survived. He doesn't give Sir Tapsill's actions a pass but he does say that there were no guarantees where Sybil was concerned. Now, Cora and Robert can stop blaming one another for Sybil's death and begin the healing process.

I'd also like to give a special shout out to Mrs. Patmore for calling Ivy a hussy because she was wearing blush.
Until next time...