Scandal, gambling and other vices hit Downton

My dear Kathleen,

When Mr. Carson bemoaned the "topsy-turvy world" he'd landed in, I thought we'd experienced the pinnacle of disarray at Downton for the night. Sure, Alfred ended up cooking; Lord G. deigned it OK to talk wine with a singer; and the maids got to listen to some opera. But, as we now know, that is all just the tip of the iceberg, now that we've seen what happened to Anna.

I'm truly stunned by that sequence of events. She was firm with Gillingham's man; she indicated no interest in his shenanigans; I really thought Bates was just being an old grump about the card game and seemingly harmless chat between Anna and Gillingham. It would seem, though, that Bates remains an excellent judge of character (indeed, as he said, prison changes a man). There's no way in holy hell Anna will be able to conceal her feelings from Bates in the aftermath of such a horrible, violent episode. I just wonder if she's right: when Bates finds out, will he be implicated in another murder? Better dust off those "Free Bates" T-shirts...

Bummed,

Marisa

***

Dear Marisa,

Topsy-turvy indeed. Quite the turn of events — upstairs and downstairs. Mary is smiling, and Lord Grantham has taken a liking to Lady Edith's editor beau. Mrs. Crawley feels she's betraying Matthew if she laughs but knows life must go on. Branson is lonely and feels he doesn't fit in, although he did have a dance with "an old bat who could be my granny." I think the little servant girl was "cheering him up" later that night, though. The servants are letting loose and having a grand old time playing cards with the visiting servants. But geez, poor Anna. Don't see how she can hide it from Mr. Bates. In those days, and unfortunately even today, many think rape is the woman's fault — she was asking for it. But now we know better — rape is about power, nothing to do with sex or saying no. We'll see what kind of man Bates is.

Yours in saddness,

Kathleen

***

Dahling,

Listen, if Edna the Annoying turns up preggers with another little Branson, I'm going to personally picket PBS. I hate everything about her return to Downton. Not sure what bugs me more: her accent; her permanent cat-who-ate-the-canary expression; or her insistence that Branson...I mean Tom maintain his station of servitude. Yes, Tom isn't gentry, but he's presented with a real opportunity for comfort and advancement as the land manager at Downton. He could end up as proper as the good doctor (or something), so we don't need her luring him back to downstairs living. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that in England's near-caste system at the time, one must strike while the teakettle is hot to make one's way in the world.

Not unlike Mr. Gregson, who sort of confuses me. I don't believe he's technically gentry, but apparently his loads of money make him acceptable company at Downton? Which is fine; it's a changing world, as pretty much everyone said last night. I thought it fabulous that he won back everyone's money, but that whole scene when he was collecting from Samson felt a bit scumbaggy. Here's hoping Lord G. learns that he might as well have the word "sucker" printed on his forehead, and therefore never play poker again.

Haughtily,

M.

***

Dear Miss Haughty,

I think Anna is going to turn up pregnant. And she won't know whose baby it is ....

And yes, Mr. Gregson is a bit of a cad. If he's so good at cards, or can cheat so well, why didn't he do it the first night they played? And how much do you think the gentlemen lost? Sizable, eh? I can see disaster coming a mile away for Lady Edith. She's going to sleep with Gregson. He's never going to Germany to get a divorce. She'll be disgraced. The Dowager will have to swoop in and comfort everyone — again.

On a lighter note, were not the clothes again fabulous? Even Cora's black and white frock was fetching. And Lady Edith is looking better and better — they've given her quite the fashion sense. I like it.

There were also some good one-liners:

"We can always rely on Puccini." Dowager Countess

"A grown woman screeching like a cat in a bonfire." - Gillingham's valet, on Dame Nellie's opera singing.

"I'm sorry, Mr Molesley, you're not the butler here. That is my job. You are a footman and a footman wears gloves." Mr. Carson to Mr. Molesley

"Mr. Clever Cloggs here." - Mrs. Patmore to the slip and slide moves of a footman who hurt his wrist and couldn't carry a tray.

"I'd go with the diamonds." - Edna to Lady Cora

"I'm told she has some dingy little house north of the park" - Mrs. Hughes regarding "Poor Lady Raven."

I'd love to live north of the park.

Ta-ta,

k

***

Ms. K,

OK, now I'm even more depressed now that you mention the possibility of an accidental spawn as a result of the Anna rape. I can't handle the thought, so I'll move on to Gregson and Edith's impending shag-fest. You're right: it's so happening and she's so in over her head. If only Edith had a better relationship with Mary, perhaps then Mary could point out the big flashing red "Danger" sign that pops up every time Edith and Gregson embrace.

And honestly, I really thought it odd that Gregson's poker winnings and subsequent release of IOUs is what ultimately endeared him to Lord G. Just further evidence of his Lordship's lack of scruples; you'd think the Dowager Countess would've instilled in him her own keen eyes and ears. Ah well.

One final note on inappropriate pairings: I think Lord Gillingham, "the glamorous pirate," is quite the looker. I know it's wrong, but I'd love it if he and Mary get together. Screw his engagement to Lady What's Her Face. Mary has substance!

Impetuously,

M.

***

Dear M.

So, if Branson is moving on ... going back to Ireland ... or whatever, I will be disappointed. Although I think he's slid a little too easily into the landed gentry life. Now he's close to money and he's settling? I thought he was a fighter for Everyman? Besides, I think the Dowager has a real fondness for young Tom. It’s a good story line follow. We shall see. If he's gone because Julian Fellowes writes him off, I'm going to be mad.

Yours in repressed anger,

K

***

Good Lady K,

Here's a glimmer of hope: like the Dowager Countess, I, too, have developed an affection for Tom. Remember how much I used to dislike him? Well, in particular, him and Sybil? They were way too starry-eyed for this jaded journo. Now that he's got some gravitas, I'm moved to root for him. So there. If anything, he'll be helpful to Mary, as she learns the ropes of land-lording. Wouldn't it be fabulous to watch Tom and Mary vs. Lord G.? A woman and an Irishman up against the patriarchal establishment?! Now that's a fight Tom should hang in for.

We are, once again, agreed. Because we're awesome.

Yours in solidarity,

M.

We're on Twitter: @edgecombday and @TheMDesk.

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Network sours on 'Honey Boo Boo'; one of us is surprised

From: m.nadolny@theday.comSent: Friday, October 24, 2014 11:57 AMTo: Edgecomb, Kathleen

'Walking Dead' is back with a bang

Dear Marisa,If a show is so disturbing it leaves you tense and shaking and unable to sleep, is that good television?

Move over Miss Marple, 'Walking Dead' is taking over Sunday nights

Friday: 9-ish a.m., TV-head and blogger Marisa Nadolny texts her colleague and partner in crime, Kathleen Edgecomb: