Before we start talking about Downton Abbey, I have to say that of course both my beloved pups, Barney Fife and Abby, watch the show each week curled up beside me. Barney, being a wise senior dachshund, usually agrees with Carson in all things Downton. Abby wishes to be referenced in all Downton posts here, since the title includes her name - sort of.
Also, this post contains SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! for Episode 2 of Season 4. Do not continue reading if you have not seen the episode yet.
Sigh. This was the episode I had heard whispers about. I had only heard that something bad was going to happy to Anna in this episode. I didn't have details, but figured it out early on tonight. Sigh. I hated this storyline. Absolutely hated how dark and dreary it was. Poor Anna. She's been through enough, with Bates' jail sentence and their separation.
Also -- I am ready for Braithwaite to leave already. She is up to no good with Tom, who is my favorite of the Downton men. He was already struggling tonight, feeling out of place at the formal dinner. (But wasn't he handsome in white tie?)
On a positive note, Lord Gillingham is charming, and it was nice to see Lady Mary connect with him on the basis of a longtime friendship. I hope, since it is so soon after Matthew's death, that this will remain just a friendship for a while.
Gregson did a good turn outsmarting the card shark to win back the money that Lord Grantham and the others lost. I still worry, though, for Edith, especially after seeing the trailers for next week.
As usual, the Dowager Countess had several wonderful lines. My favorite was: "If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper class." I was also delighted that she quoted Christina Rosetti when talking to Mrs. Crawley: "Better by far you should forget and smile/ Than that you should remember and be sad."
My favorite scene was at dinner, when Cora found that famed opera singer Nellie Melba would be dining alone in her room. After Cora left to smooth things over, Lord Grantham looked at Carson and said: "I blame you." Absolute perfection! They are both so enamored with the decorum of the past.
On a visual note, the glimpse of the garden was striking. I love the greenery arches!
One question from this episode -- why was one of the footman (James?) measuring the distance from each chair to the table? I'm sure there was some reason based on etiquette and vintage dining customs.
Overall, this wasn't my favorite episode, but of course I still like lesser Downton over anything else on television.
What did you think of this episode? I hope you'll leave your comments below (without any spoilers for future episodes, if you have already seen the UK edition). What do you think of Lord Gillingham? What will happen with Anna and Bates? How do you think the Braithwaite storyline will resolve?