Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trouble Brewing Upstairs and Downstairs at Downton Abbey


As the last of the mourners leave Downton Abbey, a somber Lord Grantham and Carson seemed dwarfed by a house filled with tragedy. As I said in my last post about DA, dark days are ahead. Perhaps the only tiny glimmer of light is that it looks like Bates will soon be returning home. Thank God, because I don't think I can stand any more of those dreadful prison scenes.

In preparation for tomorrow night's episode, a brief review of last week's episode is in order. Lord Grantham is destined to continue his desperate attempt to hold onto the past while the world is quickly changing around him. With Tom's announcement that he will name his newborn daughter Sybil and that he will christen her a Catholic, Lord Grantham has just about had his fill. And just when you think he might explode if he has to take any more, his wife, daughters, and mother attended a luncheon at Isobel's house which was prepared by her new kitchen maid, Ethel, who was previously making a living as a prostitute. He storms over there demanding his family leave at once, only to have to tuck his tail between his legs and run home alone. And let's not forget that Matthew keeps pushing for him to review new ideas on how to make Downton Abbey profitable. Even Mary is not agreeing with her father these days. It is she who announces at the dinner table in front of everyone that Lady Sybil confessed she wanted the baby to be christened Catholic. It is she who tells her father that it is nice Tom wants to name the baby Sybil and who isn't afraid to tell her father that the reason he's angry is because things aren't going his way. Prior to Lady Sybil's death this conversation might have been between Lady and Lord Grantham, but Cora is still avoiding him like the plague, blaming him for not heeding Dr. Clarkson's advice to bring Sybil to the hospital.

That brings me to my one bone with this episode. Poor Dr. Clarkson. Even when he's right, he's wrong. The Dowager Countess, concerned for her son and daughter-in-law asks Dr. Clarkson to tell Lord and Lady Grantham that even if Lady Sybil had been brought to the hospital she probably would have died anyway, in the hopes this will help Cora forgive Robert and allow them to grieve for their loss together. At least he sticks it to Sir Philip Tapsell when he informs them of this news destined to start the healing of their marriage.

Downstairs, Mrs. Patmore sums it up nicely, “You know the trouble with you lot is that you’re all in love with the wrong people.” While Daisy pines for Alfred, Alfred hopes to catch the eye of Ivy, and Ivy thinks Jimmy is a dream. Problem is so does Thomas, who is being set up to take a huge fall thanks to O'Brien. This can't end nicely for those involved.

Daisy does get some grand news, however. When she visits Mr. Mason, he tells Daisy he wants her to come and live at the farm and learn the trade because he plans to leave it all to her some day. Hmmm...from servant to land owner. How do you like them apples?

The picture above is from perhaps the most touching scene of the entire episode. Mary and Matthew come up to check on Tom and Baby Sybil. Here, we get a glimpse of how these three adults and perhaps Tom's daughter might hold the key to the future of Downton. It is obvious at this moment how much Matthew wants children; and for the first time, I feel viewers get a glimpse that Mary might really be changing her mind about waiting.

The previews of Sunday night's episode include Rose, so we'll have to get used to another new character making her way to Downton Abbey. I can't help but feel her addition is in some way a replacement for the loss of Lady Sybil, but only time will tell.

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