What an odd episode, no? It was chock full of developments (Anarchists! Children Out Of Wedlock! Homoerotic Lust! Financial Misdealings! Women’s Rights! Crooked Law Enforcement!) but it felt like a table setting episode; you know, where everything is being set up for a climactic moment at the end of the season.
But that’s a long way’s away. So, cue the rainstorms, fetch a hot footman with washboard abs, break out the ledgers and want ads, and get ready for the Crazy Crawley Cavalcades!
- First up, who didn’t love the mysetrious opening with Sybil saying that she’s out of the flat and they haven’t stopped her. Then who should appear on the door but none other than Tom! And then we find out about the attack on the manor house of a British-sympathizing Irish lord. And while I can question the politics of these Jonny Foreigners (which is the term of the week to use), and the question of Irish politics, it does keep the Branson clan at Downton for the rest of the season.
- Meanwhile, Matthew has found out the sordid truth: Robert is an imbecile with money. And it’s an inherited thing. It’s interesting; Robert and Cranston seem to be the only ones who have no concept that things can’t go back to the pre-war ways. And how delicious was it to see Matthew going to Violet with his issues and she loving the fact that she gets to stir some shit up.
- Speaking of stirring shit up (and no, I’m not talking about Edith getting ready to break out into this number), Isobel shows that while she has all of the best intentions, her middle class values trip her up again and again. Her advice for Ethel about her kid was the wrong thing to say. As someone once said (I think it’s Brecht but don’t hold me to it), “Morals are only good if you can afford them.” And leave it to Mrs. Hughes to actually think more clearly than the middle class woman.
- Speaking of babies: That scene in the nursery just dripped with portent, didn’t it?
- And speaking of big babies: Robert’s flip-out at the breakfast table at our little suffragette in training was fabulous wasn’t it?
- And now a word about the new boy, Jimmy. I don’t know what stood at attention more over his six-pack abs; Thomas, or O’Brien’s Bangs. All I have to say is be careful Thomas; those bangs are waiting to foist evil upon the world.
- Finally, the caption for the photo up above… “Dear Mr. Bates. Your story is boring us all to tears. It’s a shame to see you and Anna wasted in a storyline that makes us Yanks cranky as hell. Please feel free to slap Julian Fellowes around till he makes it more exciting and more meaningful to the viewer. Sincerely, the Downton viewers.”