Downton Abbey recap: Week 2!

Previously on Downton: Matt and Mary got married. Anna is contacting everyone in Vera’s address book to see whether she was suicidal, in hopes of exonerating Mr. Bates. Matt is Reggie Swire’s heir, but doesn’t want to profit from Lavinia’s death. Shirley Maclaine popped in and out, was American. Edith gave the Crypt Keeper his life back.


The house staff are preparing Downton for Edith’s wedding. Flowers are being arranged, floors are being scrubbed, a carpet is being rolled up. Edith twirls around the house, smugly observing the goings on. “Something happening in this house is finally about me!” (Marsha Marsha Marsha! etc.)

Mrs. Hughes is worried, Carson overhears her talking with Mrs P about how she hasn’t heard anything from the doctor. Carson haz a concerned.

Thomas suggests to Poor Molesley that O’Brien will soon be vacating her job as Lady Grantham’s maid, in retribution for O’Brien’s dress shirt shenanigans. I want there to be a Downton spinoff, a sitcom called, “Oh, that Thomas!” imagesThe opening credits would be jaunty, with cuts of him looking cheeky and mischevous, sneaking out of cupboards and whatnot interspersed with O’Brien looking annoyed and/or cunning and Carson looking vexed. The end of the opening song would end with a female chorus chiming, “Thom-as!”

The upstairs folk talk in the library about putting Downton on the market and taking over a smaller adjacent property in the village. “Let’s take a picnic to Downton Place!” chirps Cora. Poor Molesley wants to put forward a candidate for O’Brien’s spot; of course, none of the staff will have jobs soon! *sad British trombone*

Tension between Matt and mary about the Swire fortune. *yawn*

Lord Grantham and Cora talk about Edith’s upcoming marriage to the Crypt Keeper. Cora sees the bright side, natch, and LG gripes that she’s giving up her life to nurse a one-armed corpse old man.

Downstairs, Daisy is on a fishing expedition about Alfred’s attitude toward progressive, modern women. “That Eyebrows sure was forward, eh?” “Sure,” sez Alfred. “I liked that so modern. She said what she thought even though she was a woman.” “Maybe I should be more like Eyebrows,” says Daisy. In a conceit I am blatantly ripping off from my friend Pete, I give this scene 1 out of 5 Gloria Steinems. Image

Meanwhile, Carson pumps Mrs P for information on Mrs Hughes by suggesting that they lessen her workload. “Don’t say anything,” says Mrs P. I WONDER IF CARSON WILL SAY ANYTHING.

LG intimates to the Crypt Keeper that he ain’t so thrilled about the upcoming nuptials. The subsequent exchange between CK and Edith underscores their age difference. Edith exlains that she loves CK because of his disability, and that she intends to make caring for him her life’s work. I give this exchange half a Gloria Steinem.

The disgraced maid comes to Mrs Crawley’s Shoppe of Fallen Laydeez. Boring, for now. This storyline will obviously develop further, later, but forr now, whatevs.

Picnic time! But first Mary must shame Matt some more about the money, honey boo boo child. Carson hips Cora to the fact that Mrs Hughes is ill. UGH. This is like an unfunny Three’s Company episode.

Bates-gate continues apace. Anna pays off some fishwife who knew Vera. (For a split second I thought the fishwife was Judi Dench, but no such luck.) In the prison yard, a prisoner tips Bates that he’s due for a cell check and he needs to stay a step ahead of the guards because he’s being set up. The fishwife tells Anna that Vera was acting frightened and strange aheard of Bates’ final visit, that she was about to post a letter, and had just made a pastry (arsenic pie!) and was scrubbing her hands vigorously. Dun dun DUN! Fishwife heard the next day that Vera was dead, so she was sure it was Bates what dunnit.

At the Downton Place picnic, the family discusses how the new, smaller (but still palatial) home will only require eight servants and will be more economical. Violet reckons she’ll open a shop and trade in good manners and lively conversation. “You’ll do a roaring trade in minutes,” says Mrs Crawley, whose hat I LURHVE.

Back at DP, Carson confronts O’Brien about her imminent departure. Thomas escapes, having successfully sown discord betwee O’Brien and Poor Molesley. “You’re in the soup,” says Daisy somberly to Poor Molesley. “I wouldn’t be in her bad books for a gold clock.” Poor Molesley is gobsmacked. Oh, that Thomas!

ImageEdith gloats about her upcoming honeymoon to Italy. Violet advises her to go to bed so she won’t look tired and slutty on her wedding day. “I won’t sleep a wink,” says Edith. “Tonight or tomorrow,” Sybil says slyly, slurping tea. “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit,” chide Violet. “You started it,” smirks Sybil. I give this scene two Gloria Steinems.

Meanwhile, Mary took it upon herself to read the letter from Reggie Swire that Matthew got from his lawyer. Turns out, Lavinia had written a letter to her father from her deathbed, letting him know that Matthew had been willing to marry her even though he didn’t love her. Regardless of that fact, Reggie wanted Matthew to be his heir because deus ex machina. Matthew refuses to believe that Lavinia wrote any such letter, and Mary refuses to believe that her husband is such a drama mama. As such, she goes downstairs to see if any of the help had mailed Lavinia’s letter for her (recall that Lavinia died at Downton). No one knows anything, but WAIT! Daisy comes in and is all, oh, “I mailed that letter. Me and Lavinia were tight.”

People are heading out for the wedding, and Carson is being particularly, obviously solicitous of Mrs. Hughes. “I wish people wait to find out if I’m dying before boxing me up!” she cranks.

Edith looks very pretty in her wedding dress. “All of us married, all of us happy, and the first baby on the way,” she coos. “I know, let’s preserve this AUSPICIOUS DAY via the Imagephotographer!!! WE’RE ALL SO EFFING HAPPY, RIGHT?? RIGHT?!?!!?” Meanwhile, the Crypt Keeper is at the altar looking like, well, he’s “waiting for a beating from the headmaster,” says Violet. Edith walks down the aisle and adorably greets the Crypt Keeper with a breathy, “good afternoon!” “Good afternoon, my sweet one,” creak the Crypt Keeper’s jawbones.

We all know where this is going. The Crypt Keeper peaces out, knowing that marrying Edith is, as we say in our house, a “bad choice.” Edith leaves, weeping, and later, when Cora, Mary, and Sibyl enter her room to console her, we see that marrying the Crypt Keeper wasn’t really about loving him, but about having internalized the marriage plot, so to speak. “Look at them,” she sobs through her tears, her hair askew. “With their husbands! Sibyl pregnant, Mary probably pregnant! Go! Get out!” I give this scene negative one million Gloria Steinems.

I’ll just leave this here.


LG goes for a walk while the house staff unroll the carpet and replace the furniture. Matthew catches up with him and lets him know that he’s going to save Downton with the Swire fortune because of course. Bro hugs!

At dinner, Matthew wonders how to help Edith. “You can help her by giving her something to do,” says his mother. Cue thoughtful looks.

Downstairs, Daisy and Anna are having a talk about women’s role in society. Daisy wonders whether women should be able to speak their minds about romance and stuff. Anna reckons that the times, they are a’ changin’, and the vote won’t be long now, so they might as well get used to the wimmins and their infernal mouths, but Anna, we learn, is a bona fide Rules girl and warns Daisy that boys don’t like to be courted. (Cue Alfred popping in and snitching something crunchy and delicious.) (He really is adorable. What’s not to love about a too-tall ginger?)

Upstairs, Edith has decided to embrace her role as a spinster, and spinsters get up for breakfast. So, I think what I’m picking up here is that, in some ways, feminism and equality is more of a reality for the downstairs women because they aren’t quite as

Imagebeholden to the rigid social structures imposed upon the upstairs women? Am I understanding that right? I think I will award myself a Gloria Steinem in a bunny suit.

Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. P go to the village to learn the test results. A grim-looking nurse escorts Mrs. Hughes in to meet her doom, who prefers to go in without her buddy.

O’Brien swears to Thomas that she will have her revenge, one way or the other.

Mrs. Hughes doesn’t have cancer. Carson is happy and sings. The end.

Leave a comment


  1. Sally

     /  January 15, 2013

    The thing I think is uncharacteristic about Anna being a Rules girls is that she TOTALLY PURSUED BATES!!! He was all, “I’m not available. I’m an old cripple,[where have we heard this before?]” and then, “I’m not available. I have a mean wife,” while Anna did all the work, as far as courtship goes.

    • boxingoctopus

       /  January 31, 2013

      Yeah, and somehow they are supposed to be this swoony couple straight out of Anne of Green Gables. Blergh.

  2. oh how I love your wit…bravo!


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