Tonight was very stressful because the Giants’ game went into overtime, which means my mom INSISTED on watching American Idol even though Downton was on AT THE SAME TIME. As if American Idol can possibly compete against Downton. Whatevs. It’s so annoying when football interferes with anything, but most especially Downton Abbey. Grr. In other news, I hope Branson and Sybil get together in this ep. I confess I have a weakness for chauffeur/rich girl plotlines.
It’s 1918. Time moves fast in the Downton Abbey world! The Abbey’s still a hospital and Mary hates keeping people’s spirits up, totally unsurprisingly. She can barely keep her own spirits up, how can she be expected to give what little reserves of cheerfulness and hope she has out to others? Meanwhile, Lady Grantham has taken control of Downton by being passive-aggressive, ignoring Mrs. Crawley whenever she’s in the room and changing her timetable when she’s not around. Mwahahahaha.
“It would be too much to accuse you of being unprofessional, since you have never had a profession in your life,” Mrs. Crawley tells her. Oh snap! Now we finally know where Matthew got that self-righteous streak from. Mrs. Crawley threatens to leave–several times–and Lady Grantham tells her not to let the door hit her in the arse on the way out. Fine then! She’s joining the Red Cross! And no one appreciates her. *sadface*
Lady Violet suspects Sybil’s in love with someone inappropriate. She has the instincts of a bloodhound, I swear to god. The Home Office should employ her as a spy. Are her and my grandmother related?
In point of fact, Branson has apparently gotten over his moodiness and is back in love with Sybil despite their difference in stations. “I’ll stay at Downton until you want to run away with me… You’re in love with me, you’re just too scared to admit it,” he declares. Branson gets all the best lines.
Sir Richard has written to Lord Grantham asking for Mary’s hand in marriage, despite the fact that he’s been refused. What is with the passive aggressive asshole behavior in this episode? Mary thinks she should marry him, because he wants to buy her a proper house. Well la di da, Mary! I think you missed a lesson in the How To Live class, girl. But at least her dress is very nice! Just bordering on flapperish. She’s filling Matthew in on all the family gossip via post. Matthew is of course in France, with William! I forgot William was there. He talks a lot.
Some things never change, namely O’Brien and Thomas plotting. Thomas can’t help but notice Lord Grantham has no valet. But he’s not a footman anymore, is he, so he can’t fill the void… so to speak. Too bad!
Meanwhile, the Crawley’s servants are depressed, since they no longer have anyone to serve. Moseley’s so bored he’s volunteering at Downton. A beggar comes around the Crawley house asking for food. He’s quite cute for a beggar. This gives Mrs. Bird the idea to start a soup kitchen for soldiers, since she’s so bored.
France! Matthew’s on patrol with William. They’re getting shot at! My mom is upset Matthew’s wearing a rain coat, I don’t know why. They disappear! Or at least William’s disappeared, which is odd. Lord Grantham FINALLY gets a phone call that William and Matthew are MIA. Cheerful as always, O’Brien reminds the staff that this means they might be dead. THANKS.
Rumor has it Mr. Bates is working in a public house. Not that kind of public house, get your mind out of the gutter. Thomas had it in a letter, I don’t know why, and Daisy read it and then she told Mr. Carson, who told Lord Grantham. Does Anna know?!? Grantham is slightly disappointed that she does, but on the plus side this means she can pass along more gossip.
In Downton’s kitchen, O’Brien wants to borrow bacon. Why, does she want to perform voodoo with it? She happens to hear about Mrs. Patmore’s “special storage area,” which is where she and Daisy are keeping extra food for Mrs. Bird’s soup kitchen. O’Brien smells a rat, and blabs about it to the housekeeper, who doesn’t care. She’ll find someone who does care if it’s the last thing she does!!!
While O’Brien’s plotting, the gentry are dining. Lady Violet is still worrying over Sybil’s upper-class purity and starts off a most awkward dinner conversation gambit with, “So, Sybil, what are you up to, dear?” Sybil: “I’m not up to anything!” Doesn’t Lady Violet know one of the sure ways to get a young woman to do something is to warn her again it? Or him, rather.
Ethel (the maid) is also doing someone she shouldn’t do: the Major! The housekeeper catches them in flagrante delicto in Ethel’s room! What. An idiot. They could at least have gone at it outside the house. Ethel’s let go without a reference and hopefully not preggers.
Lord Grantham has traveled to Yorkshire to beg for Mr. Bates’ return. It went something like this: “Mr. Bates, this show isn’t half as interesting without you! We need your mysterious yet noble presence. You also need to shave.” Actually, what happens is he tells Bates Matthew and William are missing. Mr. Bates to the rescue! He will use his mysterious powers and war connections to bring honor back to the earldom, and return Matthew to Downton. *angels singing*
Back at Downton, after the awkward dinner, Mary feels the need to console Sybil that Granny’s just being Granny and she shouldn’t be so upset about it, which leads to Sybil finally confessing to Mary that there IS something between her and Branson. But they haven’t kissed or anything! Mary is HORRIFIED. “What did you think, you’d marry the chauffeur and we’d all come to tea?” What a bitch she is sometimes. Hey, she sounds exactly her aunt. Mary makes Sybil promise not to do anything stupid, not that she has any room to talk. *coughTurkishdiplomatcough* I’m disappointed that Sybil neglected her duty as a younger sibling to point out the irony of this.
Mr. Bates is back to save us all from WWI. I’m sure he will be the key to ending hostilities, and finding Matthew. In the meantime he’s doing a fine job of sneering at Thomas. Everyone is happy to see Bates except Mr. Moseley, who was hoping to be the next valet to the earl; and O’Brien, who takes a moment to threaten Bates with the ominous warning that Thomas is in charge. WHAT IS HER PROBLEM?
Back to the days of Sybil and Branson’s lives… Branson looks very handsome in his chauffeur’s uniform when Sybil comes by to tell him she told Mary about them, even though there IS no “them.” How many times does she have to say that?! He insults her job, which loses him some points, but he gets them back by saying it just comes down to whether or not Sybil loves him. He’s a dreamer, our Branson. I’m actually not sure she’s that into you, dude; this could end really badly. Anna and Bates are also having a romantic interlude. L’amour!
Lady Grantham finds out about Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Patmore’s soup kitchen. From O’Brien, of course. O’Brien and Her Ladyship are roped into service.
Mrs. Hughes gets Thomas’ boss to give him a dressing-down for rudeness. But O’Brien thinks it was Bates, and she’s plotting something to get rid of him. Again, one has to wonder what her problem is. Does she think Lang will be re-employed if Bates goes? Not likely.
Finally everyone knows about Matthew being MIA. Edith told Mary and Lord Grantham told Lady Grantham. Mary’s having a little spaz, but Lord Grantham gives them the “Keep Calm and Carry On” speech, and they all go down for a concert. Mary and Edith are performing! Is Mary going to cry while singing a touching a song? “If you were the only girl in the world, and I were the only boy…” Sing along!
WAIT! IT’S MATTHEW! HE’S ALIVE! Oh, we never knew how much we liked you until we thought you were dead, Matthew. And now he’s singing too! This is like Downton Abbey: The Musical! Matthew can actually sing, that’s amazing. I want a musical episode NOW, Julian Fellowes!!!! I think my mom’s actually starting to get into this show; she wandered in to find out why they were singing.
Afterward, Matthew explains his disappearance was just stupid army bureaucracy, more or less. He confesses to Mary that war is starting to seem more real to him than Downton, which is not a good sign. Then they exchange uncomfortably intense “You take care of yourself,” wishes and part. Yes. YOU TAKE OF YOURSELF, OKAY???? *STARE*
Meanwhile, Anna and Bates are making zee plans, and Thomas and O’Brien are making zee plans to ruin their plans, whatever they happen to be. Thomas and O’Brien are like nega-Anna and Bates.
Ethel has returned begging for forgiveness. She is pregnant. Naturally! Mrs. Hughes better get her gun so she can force the Major to marry her.
Annnnd that’s the end. That was a pretty good episode. It was all about zee lurrve, which naturally I enjoy; and Bates came back, even though he wasn’t in the show that much. The scene with Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery (Matthew and Mary) singing together was priceless. I hope that gets posted on YouTube. Stay tuned for next week when Matthew gets blown up, Vampy Vera returns to ruin Mary’s reputation, and Bates ends the war. Keep calm and carry on!