Sunday, January 19, 2014
I found tonight's episode of Downton Abbey as satisfying as last week's was unsettling.
The show opened with a striking image of a woman walking, in profile, toward the castle. This set the stage for an episode about women and secrets.
Anna has chosen to keep the rape secret from Mr. Bates. As a result, there is tremendous tension between them, and she has decided to move back to the servant's quarters since she feels unworthy of him. Mrs. Hughes knows, but is keeping her secret. I hope that Anna will decide to tell Mr. Bates everything, and if she doesn't, I hope that Mrs. Hughes will intervene. Mrs. Hughes does try to talk to Anna, but Anna is not ready to listen. I was waiting for Mrs. Hughes to say that Lord Gillingham's valet should be reported because not only has he committed a violent crime, but he could do this to another woman, since he is clearly a dangerous and disturbed person.
There is also tension between Edna Braithwaite and Tom Branson. I am not sure if she actually slept with him when he was drunk, or if she pretended to in order to blackmail him. Tom is very troubled and feels guilty about what happened, and he also confides in Mrs. Hughes. She calls Edna out on her behavior and her schemes, and Edna leaves in a huff. Before she exits, there is a wonderful little sniping conversation with Thomas. And then she leaves -- good riddance to bad rubbish! This was one of the highlights of the episode for me.
Edith has gone off to London to see Michael Gregson before he leaves for Munich. She signs a paper for him. I believe he says this gives her control of the paper. I must admit that the signing of the paper made me nervous -- what else is she agreeing to by signing it? I still do not trust Gregson. Edith has a walk of shame back to Aunt Rosamunde's house, and Rosamunde calls her on coming in at six a.m. Rosamunde says what I have been thinking -- that Edith is risking a lot for a man they don't really know. I want Edith to be happy, but something about Gregson doesn't add up for me. I hope I am wrong.
Mary is visited in London and at Downton Abbey by Tony Gillingham. He has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her, whenever she is ready, whether it is a year or two or three. There is a scene in the gardens where they talk and he kisses her. He has told her that she fills his brain. She says that her brain is still filled with Matthew, and she wants it to stay that way, because she isn't ready to let go of him yet. Gillingham leaves to move on, as originally planned, with the woman he was about to propose to. Later, when Mary is talking to Branson, she says that she has done something that she thinks she will regret for a long time to come.
In other news, Mrs. Crawley is volunteering with the doctor (whose name I always forget!), and it seems like they might get closer. I hope so. There is also a sweet scene between Mrs. Crawley and the Dowager Countess, who are surprisingly becoming friends.
There is a lovely scene between Mrs. Hughes and Carson, when she presents him with a framed picture of his lost love, Alice. He has one of the most poignant lines of the night: "The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is."
There is much more back and forth with the younger servants working at Downton (the quadrangle of Alfred, Daisy, James, Ivy). These young folk with their electric mixers and cloakroom intrigue! Yawn.
Rose is continuing to look for fun, including a brief flirtation with a family friend in London, and sparks of interest with a jazz bandleader, Jack Ross, who happens to be black.
Thomas informs Lord Grantham that he has an older woman to recommend as a new maid for Cora. It will be interesting to see who she is, and what Thomas's angle is -- because I'm sure there is one.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you think Mary made the right decision about Tony Gillingham? Do you think we have seen the last of Edna Braithwaite? What do you think about Edith and Michael Gregson? What about Anna and Mr. Bates -- can this marriage be saved? What storylines interest you the most?
I hope you'll leave a comment and share your thoughts!