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Recap: The hits just keep on coming at Downton Abbey

By Kathleen Edgecomb and Marisa Nadolny

Publication: theday.com

Published 01/20/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 01/21/2014 11:39 AM

My dearest Kathleen,

So much to discuss about last night's episode, but I think I need to start with my favorite moments of the night. Though soap-y, when Mrs. Hughes busts Edna for her plan to ensnare Tom as a husband and the scenes that followed were Masterpiece gold. First, in shutting down Edna's dastardly plan and Edna's final protest of "But he seduced me!" Mrs. Hughes says, "You made a man drunk and you climbed into his bed. You call that seduction? Because I don't."

Zing! NOLA.com dubbed her "The Fixer," which I think is entirely hilarious.

This struck me as very un-Mrs. Hughes, but then again we don't really know who she was before she arrived at the Abbey. Maybe she was a serious scrapper? A card shark, perhaps? Prison matron? Don't know, but love this side of her.

Then, the following scene in which Thomas and Edna swat at each other on the staircase? As I noted on Twitter, I would watch an additional hour of those two plus Mrs. Hughes telling each other off. Here's some of it in gif form (scroll down a bit).

Triple zing!

Still, Edna's departure seemed all too tidy, and doesn't eliminate the possibility of her darkening Tom's doorstep with SOMEONE's baby in her arms. But I'm glad she's gone.

Contrast that with Anna's despair about her own possible pregnancy and you've got quite a show. "I'll kill myself," she says of the prospect of bearing a child of rape. She's a mess and it's bumming me out. She MUST TELL BATES.

Your thoughts?

Mixed emotionally,

M.

***

Dear M,

Excellent points. There were some grand bits dispersed throughout the episode, like when Anna explains why she can't tell Bates about the rape: "Better to have a broken heart than a broken neck." And when Mrs. Patmore urges Ivy to stay friends with her favorite footman: "Sometimes you can spend too much time on a one-sided love."

And Lord Grantham had a gem when he heard a clinic might open up in town: "What have we become? A nation of hypochondriacs rushing to the doctor for every twinge?"

Footman James also has a few good lines to help explain what he wants out of life: "I have dreams that don't involve peeling potatoes ... and ... We all don't have to live off battered fish and meat pies."

On the other hand, I think the story lines are moving way too fast. Like you said about the Tom and Edna mess — it was all tied up too neatly. Think Lady Mary and Lord Tony, from her childhood. "I've taken a long journey to ask a short questions," he says. He is so in love with her she inhabits his brain. He'll wait two or three years for her. And then he's gone. Maybe I'll be surprised and he'll be back. Mary did say she may have made a decision she'll later regret.

And for heaven's sake — Anna is walking around with looking like hell, suffering from what today we would call PTSD and hardly anyone notices. Oh, except for Lord Grantham at the very end — "You seem awfully quiet," he says to her. Really, what about the bruise on her face, notice that? What about how she cowers every time someone talks to her? Ever wonder shy she's ALWAYS crying? Arhhg.

I, too, am emotionally mixed,

k

***

Mdme. K,

As far as this Anna business is concerned, the sooner Mrs. Hughes blows the lid off of it, the better. Mrs. H. has been spectacularly nosey in the past, and she's going to have to do it again, because as you wisely noted, Anna has suffered a trauma and she'll only feel worse if she keeps it all bottled up inside as time marches on. She's moving back upstairs??! Too heartbreaking.

Speaking of broken hearts, the whole Ivy-Jimmy-Daisy-Alfred love quadrangle is one storyline that can hurry along as much as it wants. Soooooo sick of them. I want poor Alfred out of there ASAP; I support his career change!

As for Mary and Tony (and I do get a kick out an Englishman called Tony. Makes me giggle every time one of the gentry say it), I had to rewind that last scene before the kiss. He's in, then he's honor-bound to marry Miss Foxface, then his brain is filled with Mary and he's overcome with love and wants a kiss? Overload! Here's hoping that whole thing gets some air, although if Tony's intended dies off like Matthew's did, I'll be cheesed.

That said, I do like Lord Tony + Mary.

Sappily,

M.

***

Dear Sap, I mean Marisa,

Well, you can have the Mary/Tony maybe love fest. I'm hooked on Edith and the publisher. I knew he was going to seduce her. Loved how she sneaked into the house at, gasp, 6 a.m.! He'll be leaving for Germany soon, and alas, he will be bored to tears waiting to become a citizen so he can divorce his wife. Maybe he'll write a novel? Who hasn't heard before that line of seduction?

And loved the talking-to her auntie gave her the next morning after only two hours of sleep but looking fabulous. (Her upper arm bracelet was a nice touch.) "You're taking a great risk trusting him with your name and your reputation. ... You're gambling with your future, my dear."

But you know, the times are a'chang'n. Lady Mary had a man die in her bed, for goodness sake, and now she's set to inherit Downton. I'm cheering for Edith. I think she should dump the old publisher. He's showing more and more of a slimy side, don't you think?

Member of the Lady Edith Fan Club,

k

***

Dear MOTLEFC,

So then how annoyed were you when Mary later quipped, "Edith's about as mysterious as a bucket." Ha! Love those big-sister dismissals!

Now, allow me to change hats to naïve Marisa for just a mo'. So, are we to assume Edith and Gregson, um, sealed that deal? Here's hoping SHE picked up a copy of that "Married Love" book Mrs. H. found in Edna's room. I thought it was hilarious to see her sneak back into Auntie Rosamund's house, and thank you SO much Auntie for dropping some knowledge on this gal! (and yeah, how fantastic was that gown she was wearing in the yelling-at-Edith scene? The only way that dressing-down could've gotten better is if she had finished it Dowager-style.) What a return from obscurity for Rosamund! She hits the club with the kids; she dances; she nudges along the Mary-Tony date--she's all up in there and I like it!

Yet another red flag went up when Gregson asked Edith to SIGN PAPERS that would "give her authority over his affairs." #1, she didn't even read it and #2. What the hell kind of paperwork is that? Don't like it. I would love to relax in the motion of Edith nicely matched, but I just can't. (However, yet another fabulous dress for Edith in that scene. The orange and gold number? Exquisite.)

Overall though, I shall have to deduct points from Rosamund and everyone else except Rose's rudeness to Mr. Ross, the singer at the Lotus Club. His gesture was pure gallantry when that idiot Sir John ran off the dance floor after making "a show" of himself and abandoning Rose. Kudos to the Sir John actor though, because just watching him wheel around the floor made me nauseous. And well done Rose for not succumbing to snobbery. I can't believe Tom of all people was twitchy with Ross. What-ever! LOVED how the singer segued right into a number about "a Rose by any other name"!

PS. I want to go to the Lotus Club. Right now.

Neo-hipsterly,

M.

***

Dear M,

Please tell me you are kidding about being naïve? You do know Edith and Gregson did the deed, right? I predict, she's going to get pregnant. He's not getting a divorce or he'll never return from Germany. Such a tangled web. What will become of Edith? I think she'll be all right. Can't see the family abandoning her now, after all the other scandals they've weathered . Soon there will be three single-parent babies around the mansion. The next generation will be quite a handful, I think.

Off of a cuppa,

k

***

K,

Apparently I'm not used to such subtleties of camerawork! I'm so jaded! And yet, not so jaded: Edith becoming pregnant with a wee publisher is just too dreadful to consider. As the Dowager once said, "I forbid it."

One last question for you and I'll leave you in peace with your cuppa (which you should pair with that lovely apple cake you made. Perhaps you'd share the recipe with us?): while I agree Mary isn't ready for marriage just yet, if say the glamorous pirate shows up back at her door, would you support that union? Or so we not know enough about him yet?

Blissfully ignorant,

M.

PS. Also, I must share this image with you and the world. I want Mrs. Patmore to be my wise auntie.

***

M,

First off, why is Tony being called a pirate? When Lord Grantham called him a "glamorous pirate" last episode, I thought Tony would turn and have a patch on one eye ... or a parrot on his shoulder. Anyway, I don't mind the union, I just think it happened too quickly. But, if glamour boy is looking for deep pockets to support him and the lifestyle to which he is accustomed ... didn't he lose all his money and has to live in the house overlooking the park? So, if he turns out to be sinister, that would be a good story line.

The apple cake is from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. Glad you liked it!

K

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