Downton Abbey: Complications

Hoo, boy we had a lot going on this week. A little action, a little intrigue, and quite a lot of character stuff, which is really what we’re watching for (well, that and the pretty clothes). Mary, who’s already been established as a frigid bitch, can now add stupid and possibly evil to her list of unpleasant character traits, Isobel gets more awesome and is joined on the Roll of Sweet/Awesome by Mrs. Hughes the housekeeper and youngest Crawley daughter Sybil. Plus, we find out that Carson actually had a life before working for the Crawleys! Who knew?

Hey, we’ve got credits this week! Unseen servants go about their duties, dusting, laying table, etc. And, of course, the dog frolics out on the grounds. That dog really needs a name—anybody want to suggest one?

SSH. William brings Carson a letter and shoves off, leaving Carson alone to peruse the missive, which gets a surprised reaction from him.

Bates, out for a walk in the village, spots Carson heading into the pub, looking a bit shady. Bates frowns a little, puzzled, but continues his walk, moving past the hospital.

Inside said hospital, Isobel has arrived for her visit. Now, this is a spot where PBS mucked up a bit. It seems they did a little re-editing and some scenes got moved around considerably, this being one of them. So, when I saw the PBS version, we got this scene at the beginning of episode 2, which made it seem like this was Isobel’s first visit to the hospital. The reason that confused me was because we saw her heading out to the hospital at the end of PBS episode 1. This can’t possibly be a continuation of that scene, because she’s wearing a totally different outfit, so I figured it was a continuity muck up. Not so—it seems this scene was supposed to take place before that scene tacked onto the end of episode one. I have no idea why PBS found it necessary to screw around with this, but thanks a lot, PBS, for making things strangely confusing.

Anyway, she’s being shown around the hospital by the doctor. It’s not really what you’d think of when you think “hospital”—it’s clearly an old building that’s just had beds put in the rooms. The walls are still paneled and everything, and there are rugs on the floors. The doctor’s actually heard of her husband and admires him. Their pleasant conversation is interrupted by the swift exit of a weeping young woman. The doctor explains that she’s the wife of a farmer named John Drake, who came in with dropsy. Yikes. Not how I would want to go—when you have dropsy part of your body essentially starts to fill with fluid until some major organ or another fails. Isobel asks to see the man and is led behind the curtains where Drake lies on the bed, his legs swollen, coughing up blood. She asks what the dropsy’s affecting and learns it’s dropsy of the heart.

Later, as the doctor leads Isobel outside, she asks what’ll happen to the Drake family. The doctor says the wife’ll probably try to keep the farm going, but she’s got young kids and no help, so it’s unlikely things will go well for them. Isobel asks what she can do to help.

Bates is paying a visit to Mosely, who’s bemoaning the fact that Matthew dresses himself and waits on himself at the table and basically makes Mosely feel useless. I wasn’t aware that these two even knew each other. Ok, we’ll go with it. Bates sympathizes with the fact that Mosely is essentially a glorified laundry maid now. Mosely sighs that he can’t really see the point in all of it.

For those of you attempting to keep track at home, the scene where Violet and Cora come for tea originally came soon after this one, making Moseley’s frustration and perturbation in that scene make a lot more sense.

Back at Downton, Anna’s in the kitchen, washing a dish or something when she hears a ruckus in the pantry and sees Carson chasing down some runaway apples. He looks up and spots her and she asks if he needs a hand. He says no, tries to recover his dignity, and heads out.

Mrs. Crawley’s back at the hospital, fully committed to getting her hands dirty and actually using her nursing skills. She’s got an apron on and a stethoscope, which she’s using to listen to Drake’s heart. The doctor observes and says he’s surprised, since he thought she might be too fine for real nursing and would faint at the sight of blood. Isobel totally ignores that and says the heart can barely be heard at all. She’s heard about a new treatment that involves draining the fluid from the heart and administering adrenaline to get it going again. The doctor, who’s probably out in the middle of the countryside and not in a big hospital in London for a reason, thanks her for her enthusiasm, but he’s not up for the task, since injecting adrenaline is a pretty new process. Isobel says she knows, but she’s seen her husband do it and she knows how. The doctor says they’d be setting a bad precedent by saving a patient, because then everyone in the village would be demanding the latest, most innovative treatments. Yeah, we wouldn’t want that, now, would we? Leeches have worked perfectly well for us for centuries, why should we change that? Isobel sharply reminds the doctor that they’re talking about a man who’s dying and has a young family depending on him. The doctor—who, by the way, isn’t being mean or jerky here, just a little backwards and old-fashioned—asks her to just be reasonable about this.

SSH. O’Brien’s bitching about how she has standards, like we haven’t heard this idiotic song-and-dance already. Give it up, woman, what do you care who the earl is? Once Matthew inherits, you won’t be working there anymore anyway, most likely. Anna comes in and murmurs to Bates that she’s just seen something really odd. O’Brien raises her voice and bleats that she won’t be bowing and scraping to this Mr. Nobody from Nowhere, and at that exact moment, Cora comes in and asks if she’s talking about Matthew. O’Brien owns up to it and Cora asks her if it’s her place to do so. Finally, finally someone’s calling O’Brien on her crap! Thank you, Cora! O’Brien, stupidly, says she has opinions, just like anybody. Yeah, but most people have the sense to keep them to themselves, O’Brien. Mrs. Hughes comes into see what the deal is, and Cora hands over a button from one of her coats, which she found in the front drive. She also tells Hughes that she’s just heard some distressing talk, then, addressing O’Brien again, she reminds the hateful woman that Matthew is Robert’s cousin and heir and she will accord him the proper respect. O’Brien still doesn’t know when to just shut her trap and reminds Cora that she doesn’t like Matthew either. Ok, this is starting to stretch credulity a bit. No servant would talk back to their employer like this. If you’ve managed to get as high as lady’s maid (and that was a pretty high position), then you’ve learned when to just button it, drop a curtsey, and say “yes, milady.” Bitch all you want to Thomas, O’Brien, nobody else wants to hear it. Cora tells her to mind her tongue and sweeps out. As soon as she’s gone, Thomas complains about her coming down to the servants hall and O’Brien (oh, God, can she just go mute already?) sniffs that if Cora was a real lady she wouldn’t have come down to the SSH. How does this woman still have a job? Thomas says the SSH isn’t Cora’s territory, and they can say what they like down there. Actually, Thomas, it is her territory—her husband owns the house and was able to keep it because of her money, so shove it. Hughes says, essentially, the same thing and sends everybody back to work.

The new Crawleys have come to dinner, and Isobel’s reporting on her activities at the hospital, admitting she and the doctor don’t see eye to eye on the John Drake situation. Robert expresses sympathy over the Drake situation but says he’s sure the doctor knows his business. Violet snarks at Isobel’s expense and even Isobel gets fed up and is about to speak out, but Robert diffuses the situation by steering the conversation to horses, offering Matthew the use of his stables. Mary sneers that Matthew doesn’t ride, and he says he does, actually. He admits he doesn’t hunt and Mary guesses he’s more interested in books than country sports. He says that’s probably true and guesses she thinks that’s not terribly healthy. Mary sniffs that’s not unhealthy, it’s just unusual among their kind of people. Even Robert looks like he wants to kill her now.

Hughes is mucking around in the adjoining china room, and when Carson comes in and gives her a questioning look she says she’s just shifting around the dessert service. He’s looking for a sugar sifter. Glad we got all that sorted out. Hughes mentions she was talking to Anna earlier, and Carson looks a little panicked, surely thinking Anna told Mrs. Huges about him pilfering food from the pantry. Hughes is surprised by his slightly aggressive reaction, because all Anna said was that Thomas seemed to be bullying William. Carson calms down, says Anna might have a point, and finds the sifter he was looking for.

Back in the dining room, Mary is pointedly telling the story of Andromeda, who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. Luckily, she was rescued by Perseus, whom she later married. She’s the original damsel in distress. Matthew realizes this is a total jab at him, because let’s not forget, Mary’s family is chaining her to a rock and offering her as a virgin sacrifice to Matthew, the thing with Patrick not having worked out so well.

SSH. The servants are relaxing (they seem to have an unusual amount of time on their hands to do that, I must say). Daisy’s looking through a dance book while William plays the piano, and she sighs that she wishes she could dance like that. Thomas offers to teach her and actually rather cutely dances her around the room while O’Brien looks on, seeming more than a little bit jealous. But as we know Daisy can’t enjoy herself for more than ten seconds before Mrs. Patmore comes in to yell at her to stop dancing before she puts her joints out. Daisy breathlessly thanks Thomas and dashes off to do Patmore’s bidding.

Out front, Violet and Matthew are heading for their cars, and Violet’s apologizing for Mary’s bitchiness. Matthew doubts that he and Mary will ever be close friends, and he doesn’t even blame her, since her father’s house and her mother’s money will go to Matthew, which is a bit galling for the whole family. Violet asks Matthew what he would say if the entail was broken and Mary named heir. He tells her he’d try to accept it with good grace. Well, that’s big of you. Just last episode you were whining to your mother about how much you wanted to refuse it all, have you gotten a tad used to the high life, Matthew?

SSH. Hughes goes to say goodnight to Carson and asks if he’s ok, since he seemed jumpy earlier. He says he was just tired. She asks how dinner went and Carson said it was fine, although if the family’s aiming to make a Mary-Matthew match they’re probably out of luck. Carson’s indignant on Mary’s behalf over her being passed over and says the law’s absurd.

The next day, O’Brien goes out to the back courtyard, where Thomas is fixing a clock, apparently because his father was a clockmaker. She plops down next to him and asks if he really wanted the job at the Crawleys’? He reminds her that he’s not interested in being a footman anymore and she snorts that she’d rather be a footman than wait on such rabble as the Crawleys. She’s never even met these people, has she? How does she know what they’re like? She bitches a little more about Cora and how much she’d like to smack her around or something—once again, why does this woman still have a job? Thomas asks if she’ll quit, but O’Brien won’t, because she figures Cora would give her a bad reference. Why should she ever do that?

The doctor’s gone crying to Violet, who, it turns out, is president of the hospital. She’s aghast at Isobel’s nerve, instructing the doctor in his own practice. The doctor plays it down a tiny bit but says that Isobel isn’t being realistic. Because she thinks he’s actually there to heal people, not put the odd band-aid on a scratch. Violet orders him to get rid of Isobel. How do you get rid of a volunteer? The doctor worries that it’ll be awkward to do so, since Isobel lives in the village now, but Violet smirks and says she may not be staying long.

Up at Downton, Robert and Matthew are out on the estate, where I guess Robert’s getting a bit of shooting in. Matthew looks back at the house thoughtfully, and Robert observes that Matthew doesn’t love the place yet. Matthew tries to cover himself, but Robert knows his business. Matthew only sees a house, which could have a million things go wrong with it. Robert sees his whole life in the place. Matthew asks if Downton was ever in danger, and Robert chuckles that it was, back in the 1880s, but Cora came along and saved it.

SSH. Bates comes into the staff dining room to find only Anna sitting there. She explains that everyone else has gone to the village to see some traveling salesman down at the pub. Life at Downton must be dull indeed if everyone races to the village to see a traveling salesman like he’s the latest Christopher Nolan film. “Alone at last,” says Bates, no doubt setting Anna’s heart all a-flutter. He mentions that they shouldn’t be without both footmen, which’ll be important in a few minutes. He settles down next to her with some garment that needs polishing (I’m going to guess it’s Robert’s regimental jacket) and comments that, as she’s head housemaid and practically ladies’ maid to all three daughters, she should put in for a raise. She’ll have earned a raise for a hell of a lot more before this episode’s over. Their nice interlude is interrupted by the ringing of the front doorbell, and Bates darkly says that this is why both the footmen shouldn’t have gone. Anna tells him he’ll have to answer it, because Carson won’t stand for a maid answering the door. What strange rules these houses had.

Bates goes up and opens the front door, facing a man in a slightly too-loud suit with an attitude, who immediately asks to see Robert. We know right off the bat he doesn’t belong here, and so does Bates, because he blocks the door and asks if Robert’s expecting the man. No, of course not, but the man insists he has information Robert would like to hear. Bates tries to give him the brush-off but the man won’t hear it, because he knows Bates isn’t the butler, the butler’s Charlie Carson. Bates asks if the man’s business concerns Carson and the man says it might. Bates asks him to wait, closes the door, and tells Anna, who’s hovering nearby, to go fetch Carson. The obnoxious man strolls right on into the house uninvited, checks out Anna as she dashes past, and refuses to follow Bates to the SSH, instead going into the library like owns the place. Bates follows him in, unsure what to do. And really, what do you do in this situation? Potentially making things even worse, Sybil comes in, fresh from a ride by the look of her, and gives Bates a questioning look when she sees this strange man in her father’s house. Bates gives her a quick rundown and she offers to stay in the library with him, in case explanations need to be made. Well, that’s rather sweet of her.

Anna runs down the drive as fast as she can, finally running into Carson at the front gate. She tells him he’s needed back at the house.

Before Carson can get there, however, Robert arrives home, and he’s totally thrown when he hears a strange voice loudly and obnoxiously asking how long he’ll be expected to wait. Robert goes into the library and asks what the hell is going on. At precisely that moment, Carson dashes in, trailed by Anna. Carson hastily apologizes to Robert and tries to dismiss Anna and Bates but Robert tells everyone to stay put and explain what’s happening. Carson confesses he knows the obnoxious guy, whose name is Charles Grigg. He and Carson used to be on the stage together as a double act—the Cheerful Charlies. HA! Robert’s shocked to hear Carson was on the stage. Grigg claims they did well, until he got a little greedy. The last part is added by Carson. Carson’s utterly humiliated but gives the whole story: Grigg showed up demanding a place to hide from the law and some money. To make sure Carson played along, Grigg threatened to expose his past to the others at Downton. Carson gave him almost everything he wanted—hid him in an empty cottage on the estate and gave him pilfered food (which Anna partially witnessed). For lying and stealing, Carson immediately offers his resignation. Robert tells him to chill out and stop being so dramatic, since he’s “not playing Sydney Carton.” Heh.

We do birthday parties!

Robert turns his attention to Grigg, asking why he’s at the house, since Carson gave him everything he wanted. Grigg says Carson didn’t give him everything—he hasn’t forked over any cash. Carson’s worried that, if he did, Grigg would just come back for more once it was spent. Valid. Robert informs Grigg that he’ll receive £20 and clear out of town and never come back again. Griggl checks out his fingernails and says they’ll have to see about that, thus confirming Carson’s suspicions. Robert will not be trifled with, though, and assures Grigg that, if he returns to the area, Robert will see to it that he’s convicted and jailed for theft and blackmail. Grigg starts to get insolent, saying that just because Robert’s a lord he thinks he can do anything. Actually, Grigg, it wasn’t uncommon for the highest-ranking lord in a particular area to be that area’s magistrate, so when it comes to convicting you, he can actually do anything, and you should probably keep that in mind. Robert forks over the cash and sends Grigg on his way. Grigg goes for the cliché exit, as befits a bad former actor, I guess, declaring that the aristocracy won’t be on top forever. Robert takes that with equanimity and says that, fortunately for Carson, that day hasn’t come yet. Well done, Robert. Grigg finally leaves, and Bates and Anna make their escape. Carson hesitantly asks Robert if this means his resignation hasn’t been accepted? Robert, with a little smile, says they all have “chapters they’d rather keep unpublished.” Plus, Robert’s actually a bit impressed that Carson once sang and danced in front of an audience. Carson says it’s true that he did, but he’ll never do it again.

Later, Anna and Bates are heading down to SSH, and Anna’s commenting they’ll have to treat Carson like a god for a month just to calm his nerves. Bates says this’ll undoubtedly change the way they think of Carson but Anna doesn’t see why and says that nothing she ever learned about Bates, for instance, would alter her opinion of him a bit. I have a funny feeling that’ll be tested at some point.

Dower House. Violet, a little hysterically, tells Cora that they’re running out of options. She’s written to all sorts of lawyers who keep telling her the same thing—the entail can’t be broken, and meanwhile she has to watch Isobel parade around the village as if she owns it. Cora generously says that Isobel means well, and in fact she spotted her heading into the hospital a little earlier, looking fierce.

At the hospital, Isobel holds up a tiny vial and tells the doctor she has the adrenaline. How’d she get that? Was there some sort of mail-order service for that back then? Eh, whatever, wife and daughter of doctors, she’s probably got a supply hookup. Isobel asks the doctor straight out if he’ll really deny Drake the chance to live? The doctor hems and haws that he wishes he were more familiar with the treatment. Isobel won’t hear such nonsense and asks him if that’ll be his excuse if Drake dies? That helps the doctor make up his mind, and he calls a nurse to prepare Drake for his procedure.

At Drake’s bedside, the doctor informs him (and Drake’s wife) that part of his heart is filling with fluid and will have to be drained before his heart is jolted with adrenaline. The wife asks if it’s dangerous, and the doctor admits the draining could stop the heart, and the adrenaline might not be able to get it going again. Isobel breaks in and tells Mrs. Drake that this is actually a pretty simple choice: if he has the procedure, he may live; if he doesn’t, he’ll certainly die. Yup, sounds pretty straightforward to me. At this moment, of course, who should show up to screw things up by Violet, who busts in and tells the doctor not to let “this amateur” influence him, like Isobel just read WebMD and suggested this treatment, and then tells Mrs. Drake to just let her husband die. That’s right, she tells a woman to throw up her hands and watch her husband expire slowly and horribly. What’s Violet’s problem, exactly? I have to say, I think she’s kind of a poorly written character, because she goes all over the place. She’s urging Mary to marry Matthew in one scene, then still going on about breaking the entail in the next (and telling Matthew that’s what she plans to do), and getting along with Isobel in one scene and then fighting her the next. Is she going crazy? Are there two of her? I’m confused.

Mrs. Drake isn’t so keen on being a young widow and tells the doctor to do what he has to. The doctor rolls up his sleeve and hooks up a wicked looking needle, which he injects into the man’s chest and starts draining a huge amount of fluid, right in front of Isobel, Violet, and Mrs. Drake. Isobel goes to Mrs. Drake to comfort her, while Violet weakly says “as president of this hospital, I feel I must bring this to the attention of the board,” but nobody’s listening, thankfully. The draining stops Drake’s heart, but the adrenaline, naturally, gets it going again, and Drake draws in a deep breath, probably for the first time in days. His wife’s face lights up and she goes to him, crying and smiling. Isobel somehow manages to resist turning to Violet with a smug smile—she’s just delighted it worked.

The doctor, probably wisely, goes right to Robert, who reassures him that, while Violet is president of the board, Robert’s the patron, so the doctor’s job is safe. Matthew, who’s come along for the meeting, is happy to hear that his mother was right and the man’s life was saved. The doctor tries to say that he and Isobel were both right. No, doctor. You were content to sit by and let this man drown in his own fluids. Isobel was right. Robert decides to give Isobel something to do by making her Chairman of the Board of the hospital. Oh, man, Violet’s gonna be pissed! Matthew’s sure she’d love that, but the doctor looks a bit terrified.

Later, Robert shows Matthew out, and they discuss some scheme Matthew came up with for restoring some of the estate’s cottages, which Robert approves of. It’s nice to see Matthew starting to take an actual interest in this place. Thomas hands Matthew his bicycle and makes himself scarce just in time for Matthew to bring up the subject of Mosely with Robert. He asks Robert if it would seem ungrateful if he gave Mosely the heave-ho, because he doesn’t know what to do with the guy. Robert asks if it’s fair to deprive a man of his job for no reason, like he didn’t just almost do the exact same thing to Bates just last episode. And what does Matthew plan to do when he inherits Downton, dismiss everyone there as well? Robert’s basic message: get used to it, kid, and stop whining. Matthew actually seems to take this advice to heart. Maybe he’s starting to become less of a dick.

A few days later, the three Crawley sisters are heading out to the hospital, where Isobel’s being instated as Chairman. Robert’s insisting on the whole family being there. Edith whines about having to go and Mary chimes in, as she does, about how awful it is for everyone to have to deal with these new Crawleys: their grandmother now has to share power with Isobel and Mary’s got to marry Matthew. Edith guesses Mary won’t go for Matthew at all and Mary giggles over the idea of marrying a “sea monster.” Sybil mildly chides the two elder girls for laughing. Edith sort of volunteers to take Matthew instead and Mary tells her to go for it, because she has someone else in mind. Edith asks if this has anything to do with the Evelyn she saw the letter from last episode. We learn the mysterious Evelyn is Evelyn Napier, son and heir to a viscount. Mary calls him Perseus although I wouldn’t think she’d consider a future viscount to be such a catch. Viscounts are pretty low on the aristocratic ladder.

Apparently all the servants are going to the ceremony as well. Carson appears at Mrs. Hughs’s door, dressed in civvies (as is she) and asks if she’d like to walk down with him. Apropos of almost nothing, Carson, looking sad, asks her if she thinks he’s ridiculous, putting on airs he has no right to assume. She asks what’s eating him and he tells her it’s nothing, he just wonders sometimes if he’s a fool. She tells him he’s pretty awesome and she won’t hear otherwise.

Out in the hall, Thomas finds Daisy and nervously starts to ask if she’d like to walk down to the ceremony with him. She interrupts him to ask if Thomas is going, and he sadly says everyone is. Then he walks away. Aww, poor William. Patmore comes along and tells Daisy to stop flirting. Daisy says she wasn’t, and Patmore says that William’s not a bad kid, which Daisy agrees with, it’s just that William isn’t like Thomas. You’re right, Daisy, he’s not a vindictive asshole. I don’t really understand Thomas’s appeal with her. He’s ok looking, I guess, but he always looks mean and angry. He’s got an unpleasant look about him. Patmore agrees that he’s not like Thomas at all. Heh.

Crawley House. Mosely stands by while Matthew buttons his waistcoat and opens the box with Matthew’s usual cufflinks. Matthew, evidently having taken Robert’s words to heart, which gives me hope, says they’re a little dull for a festive occasion. Mosely’s so shocked it takes him a minute to realize what’s happening, but he almost immediately suggests another pair and presents them instead. Matthew approves, then asks for help with them. Once he’s linked, Mosely helps Matthew into his jacket and Matthew commends him on having managed to get a stain out of the sleeve. Mosely’s so happy it’s kind of touching, and almost sad. See, Matthew, it wasn’t so hard, was it?

As the servants make their way to the hospital, Carson sends Mrs. Hughes ahead so he can have a word with Bates. He thanks Bates for keeping Carson’s secret from the other servants and Bates tells him it’s no big deal, really. Carson says he hopes Bates won’t judge him too harshly, and Bates reassures him he doesn’t judge Carson at all, since he has no right to. They smile and go in.

Inside, the doctor, Violet, and Isobel take seats on a dais at the front of the room. The doctor welcomes everyone and goes into a little speech about what a great day this is, as Matthew smiles proudly at his mother and Mary looks bored. Everyone applauds, and Violet looks slightly murderous.

Yeah, this'll go well

Morning in Downton. Bates goes into the post office, where the postmistress hands him a paper that arrived for him that morning, as expected. Bates thanks her and goes to leave, nearly running smack into Gwen, who’s come to post something. Bates says he would have done it for her, but she gets nervous and says she prefers to do it herself. Bates says he’ll wait for her outside.

Back at Downton, Anna’s in the bedroom she shares with Gwen, trying to move some big, heavy case from the top of the dresser. Gwen comes in, scaring Anna, and asks what Anna’s doing. Anna says she was just trying to make some extra room on top of the dresser and asks what’s in the big, heavy case. Gwen asks her if she could just let it go, but Anna’s senior to Gwen and demands to know what’s in the case.

Mary’s sitting on a bench out in the park, reading a letter from Evelyn. Cora approaches her and asks what’s up and Mary tells her he’ll be in the area for a hunt the following month and wants to know if he can swing by and have some tea. Cora offers to do more than that—she’s willing to put him up right at Downton Abbey. Mary rolls her eyes and tells her mother Evelyn will know why she’s asking him. So? Cora tries to play it off by claiming to be a good friend of his mother’s, which of course is impossible, because his mother’s dead. Oh, ha ha, silly Cora and her silly little lies.

In Anna’s and Gwen’s room, the two girls are looking down at a typewriter, which was, of course, the contents of the case. Gwen’s been taking a correspondance course in the hope of leaving service and becoming a secretary, which was much better paid work, less hard on the body, and actually a very decent step up. While they’re having this discussion, O’Brien bursts in, and why does it not surprise me that she isn’t even polite enough to knock? The two girls manage to hide the typewriter behind them, but they have “totally guilty” stamped across their foreheads, so I’m sure that won’t fly. They manage to get rid of O’Brien and Anna asks Gwen what her parents had to say. Gwen’s waiting until she has a job to tell them, because they won’t support the plan. Anna does, though, because she’s one of the nicest people in this whole county, as far as we can tell.

"Nope, nothing to see here, nothing at all!"

Topside, Cora’s sharing news of Mary’s involvement with Evelyn with Robert and Violet. Robert says that Evelyn’s pretty boring but other than that he has no objection. Violet’s all for the match, because it’s high time for Mary to be settled. Cora asks if the family’s an old one, although I’m pretty sure she knows, since she’s aware that they have plenty of money. Violet pretends to be surprised by that, but Robert calls her out on having already looked Evelyn up.

Robert heads out and Cora observes that Violet doesn’t seem pleased. Violet tightly says she is, even though the match isn’t a brilliant one. Violet’s afraid that, if Mary marries, Robert won’t fight the entail. Hasn’t this been settled already? Cora tells her for about the eightieth time that he doesn’t plan to fight the entail at all, and even Cora doesn’t much feel like fighting. Violet’s determined, though, because she has nothing else to do and everyone needs a hobby.

Down in the village, Matthew, riding his bicycle, comes across Edith, who was just on her way to Crawley House to see him. She says that he mentioned an interest in seeing some of the local churches, and she offers to take him on a tour that Saturday. Matthew politely accepts.

Oh dear. The typewriter has somehow appeared in the staff dining room, where Daisy, Thomas, and Willliam are messing around with it. O’Brien comes in with Carson, who hilariously tells everyone to back away from the typewriter, like he thinks it’s possessed or something. O’Brien, of course, was the one who tattled about it. She knew they were hiding something so she apparently went back to Anna’s and Gwen’s room and rummaged around until she found it. Mrs. Hughes, who has come in as well, reminds Carson that Gwen’s on her staff, so she’ll discuss the matter with her. William, naturally, doesn’t see anything wrong with Gwen having a typewriter if she wants one.

Gwen and Anna come in, fresh from setting the dining room table, and Gwen demands to know what her typewriter’s doing downstairs.  Hughes asks Gwen to have a seat, but Gwen’s rightfully worked up, saying that whomever went sifting through her room had no right to do so. Hughes reminds Gwen that none of the rooms in the house are hers. Right, but the property inside at least one of those rooms is hers and nobody had any right to meddle with it, now did they? Anna correctly guesses O’Brien’s behind this. Carson says they just want to know what Gwen wants with a secret typewriter. What do you think, Carson? It’s a little too expensive to act as a paperweight. Anna sticks up for her roommate, saying Gwen wasn’t keeping the thing secret, she just wanted to keep it private. Gwen, still pissed off, swears she’s done nothing wrong, she just bought a typewriter and took a correspondance course because she wants to leave service amd become a secretary. Both Carson and Hughes react like she just told them she wants to become a stripper. Carson indignantly says that there are plenty of girls who would love to have a job like Gwen’s, and Gwen tells him that, when she hands in her notice, she’ll be delighted for one of them to have her job. “What makes you think we’ll wait until then?” O’Brien sniffs. Anna, thankfully, shuts her up, and I’m so glad people are starting to call her on her crap. Carson calls an end to the discussion and gives Gwen her typewriter back, which is pretty nice of him.

Topside, the daughters are getting dressed. Sybil asks Edith which churches she plans to show Matthew. She’s not sure, but she rattles off a few, looking happier and dreamier than we’ve ever seen her. Oh, dear, I don’t think this will end well for her. Mary, of course, has to rain on her parade and asks if she doesn’t think she’s being a bit obvious? “Coming from you, that’s rich,” Edith flings back. Heh. So glad someone’s starting to call Mary on her crap too. Cora pokes her head in to say that a letter from Evelyn came in the evening post. He hasn’t quite accepted their invitation to stay, in part because he’s not traveling alone, he has a friend with him who works as an attaché at the Turkish Embassy, a Mr. Pamouk. Cora decides to invite Pamouk as well and orders Mary to accompany the gentlemen on the hunt. Mary whines about that but Cora just tells Anna to make sure Mary’s fully kitted out.

Bates makes his way into a shop in a larger town that certainly isn’t the village near Downton. The place is filled with all sorts of prosthetics, and the proprietor is working on some kind of prosthetic hand. Bates saw an advertisment for the man’s shop in the paper he got from the post office and came in to ask about a limp corrector. The rather surly proprietor shows it to him—it’s a leg brace, essentially, with metal bands that hold it tightly to the leg. The proprietor explains how it works and Bates asks how much it is.

"This here is the comfort model."

Cora has extended another dinner invitation to Matthew and Isobel, asking them to join them the night Evelyn and Pamouk will be at Downton. Isobel reads the invite out to Matthew as they relax after dinner. Isobel correctly guesses that Evelyn is to be flung at Mary and Matthew snarks that Mary’s quite capable of doing her own flinging. Heh. You know, I’m getting to like him more and more.

At Downton, Anna sets out Mary’s riding clothes, fussing over them and failing, for a little while, to notice that Gwen’s looking pale and teary. She finally does notice when Gwen starts to cry, and she asks her what’s wrong and helps her sit down. Bates passes and gently asks her what’s up. Gwen says she’s just being silly, but Bates, like Anna, knows better, so he comes in and closes the door and asks her what’s wrong. Gwen is sure she’ll never get out of service and become a secretary and fulfill her hopes and dreams because she’s just a farmhand’s daughter. Bates tells her not to talk like that, because she can change her life if she wants, he should know. He just manages to get that bit out before grimacing in pain. Anna notices and asks him if he’s all right, so he forces a smile and tells Anna to take Gwen to their room so she can calm down. Back out in the hall, he meets Hughes who also asks him what’s wrong. He swears he’s fine, but she knows better and watches him go, concerned.

Hunt day! In SSH, the servants scurry to fill hunt cups and take out trays of cake. Out front, the hunters are mounted up and happy to take some refreshments. Mary’s in their midst, looking around for Evelyn. She spots him and greets him politely. He apologizes for being a little late and says Pamouk will be along soon, he’s taking his time getting ready, because he’s a bit of a dandy. Mary gets a little racist and assumes Pamouk will be all pomaded and gross and foreign. Evelyn corrects her assumption and points the man out. Of course, he’s quite hot, and his appearance shocks Mary, who stares like an idiot. He greets her by name and apologizes for being disheveled. Mary flirtily says he doesn’t look disheveled. What was that about being too obvious, Mary?

"Llllllladies."

The hunt sets off, and we get obligatory beauty shots of hunters and hounds galloping over the fields. Mary and Pamouk exchange flirtatious glances as they ride along, and at one point, when the hunt slows down so the dogs can get the scent again, Pamouk breaks away, and Mary joins him, asking if the hunt is living up to his expectations. He tells her it’s exceeding them in every way. The hunters start up again and he and Mary follow, taking a nearby jump nicely and galloping through a giant mud puddle.

It's not a period drama without a hunt, you know.

Edith, meanwhile, is showing Matthew around the neighborhood churches and trying to flirt, but Matthew won’t bite and only talks about the church’s side aisles. Sexy! At some point, he randomly wonders how Mary’s getting on. Since when has he been interested in Mary? Poor Edith, what a slap in the face. Needless to say, this date isn’t going well.

The hunters return, mud spattered, and are quickly greeted by Cora and Robert. Mary introduces Pamouk and presents Evelyn, and Carson and Thomas step forward so Carson can introduce Thomas, who’ll be waiting on Pamouk. I’m sure Thomas feels like he just won the lottery with this one.

As the hunters head upstairs, O’Brien, Gwen, and Anna watch Pamouk walk by from behind a slightly opened door. The ladies all admire Pamouk’s beauty, but are then disbanded by Carson.

Later, as he’s getting dressed for dinner, Robert asks Bates if he’s seen Pamouk, saying the man’s quite a treat for the ladies. Bates agrees, and also guesses Thomas cheered up when he saw Pamouk. Heh.

Pamouk is also getting ready, attended by Thomas, and the scene quickly gets uncomfortable as Thomas starts purring about how much he’d love to visit Turkey. Yeah, I’ll bet you would, if you thought all the men there looked like this one, Thomas. Thomas mistakes Pamouk’s request for assistance with his tie as encouragement, I guess, and then reaches up to stroke the side of Pamouk’s face. Pamouk slaps his hand away and jumps about three feet backwards, like most people would. Thomas apologizes and tries to tell Pamouk he misunderstood, but Pamouk’s not a moron. He is a sleeze, though. He offers to make Thomas a deal: he won’t breathe a word if Thomas helps him out with the “geography of the house” later that night, because he may want to pay someone a visit.

At dinner, the topic of conversation is Gwen’s typewriter training, which I find very unlikely for a couple of reasons. For one, how would they even know about that? I guess O’Brien told Cora, but why would Cora tell everyone else? What do they care what the maids get up to in their free time? They certainly wouldn’t structure an entire dinner conversation around it, particularly not on a night when they have guests.

Anyway, Violet can’t dream of why Gwen would want to become a secretary, but Matthew gets it. Mary’s too busy flirting with Pamouk, who’s seated next to her, to pay much attention to the conversation, but she does wonder why they even care. Cora says it matters whether or not the people who work there are happy, and Sybil agrees, adding that they should help Gwen if this is what she wants. Isobel chimes in that they should certainly always help those less fortunate than themselves improve their lot if they can. Mary asks Pamouk what he thinks and he wonders why the English are so involved in other people’s lives, if she wants to leave, let her go, what’s the big deal? Violet thinks only they know what’s best for their maid, and Isobel sharply asks if she hankers after the days of serfdom. Violet says she yearns for a simpler time, but let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a simpler time. What we tend to look back on as a simpler time wasn’t usually at all simple when we were actually living it.

"Mmm, creeps with accents always turn me on."

Mary and Pamouk go back to their chatting, talking about dentists, of all things. Pamouk says he has an awesome dentist and Mary should ocme out and see him if she ever needs work done. Mary asks if the journey will be a little painful, and he grins and says that sometimes one must endure a little pain to achieve satisfaction. Oh, please you two! Who talks like this? Matthew watches the two converse, looking a little jealous.

Later, everyone’s gathered in the drawing room, where Mary’s holding court with Pamouk, Matthew, and Evelyn. Matthew asks if she’d ever go out riding with him, and she tries to get around really answering. Evelyn launches into a hunting story but all Mary can pay attention to is Pamouk, who’s moved away and is now gesturing for her to join him in the next room. She breezes over to him, interrupting poor Evelyn’s story. Evelyn and Matthew commiserate over being abandoned and Evelyn observes that he was foolish to bring Pamouk along. No you weren’t, Evelyn, you saved yourself from the terrible fate of possibly marrying Mary. You should travel everywhere with this guy so you can weed out all the shallow idiots. Edith comes over and  Evelyn hastily retreats. Matthew politely thanks her for showing him the churches, then totally dumps on her by saying that next time they should bring his mother along. I’m not sure if he’s being totally thick here, or if he’s really not interested and trying to put her off gently, it’s hard to tell.

Mary and Pamouk meet up in the next room, where they start talking about a painting, and then he lays a hell of a kiss on her and asks to come to her tonight. Mary tells him to forget it, but he gets pushy, so she gets serious and tells him there’s no way in hell, and if he’s not careful, she’ll tell her father what he just said. She leaves him and goes back into the drawing room, and Pamouk smiles briefly in a “they always play hard to get” kind of way. Creepy.

Later, the house is dark and quiet, and the only things stirring appear to be Thomas, leading Pamouk down the hall to Mary’s room. Double creepy. She told you no, dude! Pamouk heads right in and Mary freaks out, as any right thinking woman would. She orders him to leave, saying she’ll scream, and he smugly says he won’t. Mary amends that to “I’ll ring,” but he points out that nobody’s on duty at the moment. I’m getting really uncomfortable watching this scene.

Mary reminds him that she has a reputation to consider and he tells her she can just fake it on her wedding night. God, what a dick. What does Mary see in him, anyway? This seduction isn’t sexy at all. It’s so unsexy I wouldn’t even classify it as a seduction. All he’s done is kiss her really hard once, and then show up unbidden to her room in the middle of the night to tell her he wants to get laid. Not sexy. And you know what? The more I look at him, the less attractive I find him. Mary, be sensible! Yes, the double standard sucked, but that’s the way it was. Do you really want to be a social pariah? Because you will be if this ever gets out.

Pamouk moves in and starts kissing her neck, and Mary weakly tells him to go once more, as they fall backward onto the bed. He kisses her, and calls her darling, and I guess that’s all it takes, because she asks, in quick succession, if it’ll hurt and if it’s safe. The answers to that, Mary, are yes and no, in that order. Most definitely no. But Mary actually falls for the same line that’s tripped up many a teen even today, “trust me.” Oh, dear, you two. Quinn Fabray can tell you that those two words are not an effective form of birth control. Mary’s an idiot.

Anna’s peacefully asleep in her bed when Mary suddenly comes in, shakes her awake, and gestures for her to follow. Out in the hall, Mary tells Anna that Pamouk’s dead, and she doesn’t know what happened. So having sex with Mary apparently kills people, now? I think that means she’s actually evil, doesn’t it? Poor Anna can’t really process this so soon after waking up in the dead of night, but she quickly pulls herself together and says they need to get him back to his own room. Mary says they’ll need help, because the guy weighs a ton. Anna quickly runs through all the options and settles on the only one that makes sense: Cora. Just curious—why not Carson? You know he’d never spill this secret. And speaking of secrets, how did Anna become this whole household’s secret keeper?

Not good. Not good at all.

Back in Mary’s room, Cora takes in the scene of a naked dead man sprawled in her daughter’s bed, so shocked she hardly knows what to do with herself. She asks how he came to be there, did he force himself on Mary? Mary shakes her head and Cora gasps for air, looking sick for a second, then says they’ll discuss this later, but in the meantime, they have to figure out what to do. Anna tells her they have to move him, but Cora can’t even bring herself to think of that. Mary starts to cry, wailing about how bad the scandal would  be and how she’d be ruined, and it’s worth pointing out that a scandal of this type would taint the other daughters of the house as well. If one’s got loose morals, surely they all do, right? Cora bends, and then we see her, Anna, and Mary carrying Pamouk through the halls as daylight starts to stream through the windows. At one point, Mary drops his feet and his head lolls, and Cora makes a pretty funny grossed out sound. They get him back to the room, but Daisy’s seen them moving him, having come up to light the bedroom fires.

Once they have him in his bed, Mary tries to close his eyes, but they gruesomely keep popping back open. Cora tells her to forget it and get out of there. Mary cries that he was so beautiful, and Anna gently leads her away. At the bedroom door, Cora fiercely tells Mary she’s pretty sure she’ll never be able to forgive her daughter for what she’s put Cora through. She also asks Anna to keep quiet about this. Anna better get a HUGE Christmas bonus this year. And that raise Bates was talking about earlier.

Later, Thomas enters Pamouk’s room with the man’s tea tray and sees him very much dead. Thankfully, he doesn’t do the cliché tea-tray drop.

Mary heads downstairs, dressed mostly in black, I notice, and runs into Evelyn, who says it’s really too bad what happened to Pamouk. He feels guilty that her parents will have to deal with this. Mary’s barely keeping it together, but she’s trying to be polite. He asks her if she might show him the gardens before he goes, so they can get a bit of fresh air. Mary begs off, and he apologizes again for everything and says Pamouk was a pretty nice guy and he wishes he’d known him better. Seems he was only traveling with the guy as a favor to the embassy. As he talks, he looks up at Mary in a way that I find really interesting. I think he’s being sincere, but he’s also definitely gauging her reaction. He may be dull, but he’s not stupid.

Mary quickly goes to pieces, starts to cry, and runs upstairs. Ok, Mary, may I point out that you knew this guy for less than a day! Romeo and Juliet had a deeper relationship than that! And yet you were willing to sleep with him, despite the fact that he was completely charmless, and now you’re falling apart over him. But she couldn’t be bothered to shed a tear for poor Patrick, a guy she’d known her whole life and who was, by all accounts, fairly nice. Was he a complete troll? Because I can’t quite fathom how one person could have these two reactions otherwise.

Belowstairs, the servants are talking about how fast one can expire and how you should treat every day like it was your last. Thomas snarks that Pamouk certainly did that, but he won’t elaborate. Gwen peels off and goes to head topside, but Sybil suddenly appears and pulls her aside to show her an ad she found for a secretary in a new firm. Sybil supports the whole thing wholeheartedly and urges Gwen to apply, offering to act as a reference. What a sweetie! She can join Isobel on the Roll of Awesome.

Cora’s outside, getting what I’m sure is some much-needed fresh air. Evelyn comes out to bid her farewell before he heads off to the station. She asks him if he’s said goodbye to Mary and he says he did. Cora nicely asks if he’ll be back soon to visit, and he starts to give a typical brush off, but then stops and asks her forgiveness for being impertinent, because he just wants to be quite clear. He knows he’s a bit dull, but he doesn’t want his future wife to find him so, because if she did they could never love each other, and he believes a marriage should be based on love. Wow, what an ahead-of-his time and self-aware statement that is. Well done, Evelyn, I’m sorry to see you go. Can you start hanging out with Sybil or something? Cora agrees with him, smiling warmly, and wishes him luck before sending him off.

Inside, Carson brings Robert some coffee and reports that Evelyn’s hit the road and the undertakers have taken Pamouk away, to everyone’s relief, I’m sure. Robert nicely asks if the servants are ok, and Carson admits it’s been a bit of a shock for everyone, particularly the younger maids. I’m kind of surprised Daisy didn’t go practically catatonic at the sight of three women toting a dead body around, but maybe I’m not giving her enough credit.

In SSH, things are quiet for once. Patmore’s working on menus or something, and Bates is bent double in pain in one of the hallways. Hughes finds him there and insist he tell her what the problem is. He tries to play it off and says he just twisted his bad leg. She says if it’s not better in a day or two she’s calling the doctor.

Topside, Violet comes to call, unable to believe such a terrible thing happened. Naturally, she puts it down to Pamouk being a foreignor, because no Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house. Sybil points out that that’s not exactly something one has control over, but Violet’s on a crazy roll and says they certainly are in control of themselves, at least. Yeah, that wasn’t a setup line at all. Of course, Mary freaks out, saying they aren’t in control of anything at all, and then runs out. Cora tells Edith to fetch her back, but Violet tells them to let Mary go and have a rest. Fortunately, Carson arrives with tea, which Violet declares is just the thing they all need.

In the kitchen, Gwen corners Thomas and asks him again what he meant about Pamouk living like each day was his last. Thomas wriggles away but O’Brien warns him she’ll be asking the same thing later. I’ll bet she will. And I bet she’ll end up using any info Thomas has to blackmail the family into keeping her on at some point, won’t she?

At Crawley House, Matthew wonders if they should go up to Downton and see if everyone’s ok. He’s primarily worried about Mary, because apparently we’re supposed to think he’s got a thing for her now, or something. Isobel says she sent a note but didn’t want to be in the way. And that’s pretty much the whole scene.

At Downton, O’Brien’s helping Cora get ready for bed and asking if they’ll be seeing more of Evelyn. Cora says she doesn’t think so, and O’Brien reassures her that Mary will have other suitors.

Carson, meanwhile, makes his way to Pamouk’s room, where he finds Mary sitting around, brooding. She muses about how strange and unfair life can be and asks Carson if he’s ever felt like his life was slipping away. She admits that she felt, for a little while, what it was like to be really happy, and now she’s not sure she’ll ever be happy again. Oh, relax, drama queen. I repeat, you knew this guy for less than a day! He never even really complimented you! Carson reassures her that she’ll be happy again and things’ll work out. He tells her the whole staff is on her side and she thanks him sincerely and recalls that he’s always been on her side, even when she was a little girl. She asks him why that is and he says that even the butler has his favorites. She smiles through her tears, and then when Anna comes in she departs, bidding him goodnight.

The following morning, Robert’s getting dressed and marveling that someone who seemed so young and fit could just drop from a heart attack like that (heart attack is what the doctor said happened.) He wonders if there might be something more sinister in it, but Bates doubts it. Further discussion is put aside as Bates once again cringes in pain. Robert asks him what the problem is, assuring him he won’t be in any trouble. Bates tells him everything’s fine, so Robert heads out, passing Mrs. Hughes in the hallway. She goes into Robert’s room, where Bates is now bent over the footboard of the bed, nearly weeping in pain. She insists, once and for all, that he tell her what’s going on. Finally, he sits down and lifts his trouser leg. The leg brace has cut into his flesh horribly, wherever the bands wrap around his leg. Hughes covers her mouth in horror.

Mary’s outside strolling, and out comes Matthew, trotting to catch up with her. He’s come by to check up on her, since he didn’t see her at church the day before. She says that none of them were feeling up to it. I guess not. He expresses his sympathy and offers to help in any way he can. Mary smiles a little and thanks him.

Hughes and Bates head down to the lake, where Bates moves to throw the brace into the water. Hughes stops him and asks if maybe they should say a few words. Bates offers “good riddance,” and she makes him add a promise not to try and cure himself in the future. He resigns himself to accepting the taunts and slings and arrows of the others forevermore. Aww, Bates! Sing it with me, everyone: you are beautifuuuul no matter what they say! Words can’t bring you dooooooown! He chucks the brace, and Hughs adds “good riddance.” Heh.

Thomas has given O’Brien the whole story about how he helped Pamouk to Mary’s room the night he died. O’Brien points out that the missing piece is whether or not the guy got back to his room under his own steam. Thomas worries about getting into trouble over this, but O’Brien promises his secret is safe with her.

The chyron tells us it’s now May. Robert’s in the library and Carson comes in to announce the new chauffeur’s come for inspection. His name’s Branson, and he’s young and Irish. Robert welcomes him to the house and Branson compliments Robert on his library. Robert invites him to help himself to any book he likes, as long as he signs it out in the ledger. Branson looks like he’s just hit the jackpot. Robert asks him what he’s interested in and Branson reels off history and politics. Robert looks impressed and bids him farewell, observing to Carson that he seems like a bright young man.

Cora and Violet are having tea out in the park, wondering what to do with Mary. Violet suggests sending her off to some house parties, and Cora counters with a proposal to send Mary to Cora’s aunt in New York. Violet sighs that the problem with Mary is that things aren’t settled for her. Nobody knows if she’s an heiress or not, which I guess means the fortune hunters are keeping their distance. That’s…a shame? Violet says they need a lawyer who feels honor bound to look into the matter of the entail, and she thinks she knows just the man. I guess we’ll have to wait to find out who that is.

Next week: things heat up between Thomas and William (not in that way), Anna and Bates (maybe in that way) and Mary and Matthew (certainly in that way), and gossip about Mary’s indiscretion with Pamouk starts to get out.



6 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: Complications

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