Downton Abbey: Kidnapped!

Mary at the fair, photo by Nick BriggsPreviously on Downton Abbey: Anna was having fertility issues, Mary assigned herself the job of estate agent, Edith snatched her kid back from the farmer she handed her off to, then went on to kinda suck at this whole ‘career woman’ thing because apparently she left her spine behind at the Drewes’. Carson and Hughes are getting married, there’s some dreary nonsense with the hospital that absolutely nobody cares about, and Daisy stupidly mouthed off to her father-in-law’s new landlord and got him kicked off his farm. Nice going!

The music is super excited that it’s breakfast time and everyone belowstairs is really fakely rushing around and gathering breakfast trays and ironing newspapers and the like. Upstairs, there are letters from Tom and Rose that include absolutely nothing interesting, other than the fact that Rose may return for the series finale a visit in August, but it’s not settled yet. Mary assumes this means Rose is expecting, though she uses the far more anachronistic (for her class and time) term of ‘pregnant’. There’s some chatter about the hospital business, which Cora is being shut out of. Carson appears and tells Mary that there’s a Mr Finch there to see ‘the agent’. Apparently he has no idea that Mary is the agent now, even though she’s allegedly been doing the job for months. Mary tells Carson to have the man wait in the library while she takes her time finishing breakfast.

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Upstairs Downstairs: Lady Marjorie’s Lover

s1n07Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Lady Marjorie and Richard Bellamy had really bad luck when it came to hiring staff. Or they’re just lousy at it. Lady Marjorie came from a wealthy background, while Richard most certainly did not.

It’s summer 1906. Richard returns home and Lady Marj immediately asks him about how he plans to vote for an upcoming education bill. She quickly gets annoyed with him for failing to reject the bill outright (he plans to abstain, because he doesn’t actually think the party’s line on this particular bill is right). Not that it’ll matter, because the bill will be thrown out anyway, thanks in part to Lady Marjorie’s father.

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Upstairs Downstairs: Childish Things

s1n04Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: The servants threw a party while the master and mistress were away, and got busted by James Bellamy, who then went on to make the moves on Sarah, who responded by quitting. For real, now.

It’s May 1905.

Hudson complains that everything happens all at once. He’s stressed out because Elizabeth Bellamy, the daughter of the house, is coming back from her time abroad being finished off. Meanwhile, he has to go tend to his mother, who’s doing poorly, though he doesn’t seem all that concerned about it. He goes, after firing off some last-minute instructions to Rose and Alfred, re: that afternoon’s tea. Alfred seems to think he can chill out with Hudson away, but Bridges makes it clear that’s not happening. They chat a little bit about Elizabeth, who apparently was a picky eater.

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Downton Abbey: Many Unhappy Returns

Previously on Downton Abbey: Matthew and William disappeared for a little while, but then came back, as did Bates, once again spouting promises of divorce from Vera the Terrible. Isobel left too, in a childish snit, to take up a position in France.

Amiens in 1918 looks like a barren, postapocalyptic wasteland. In the trenches, William helps Matthew get ready for the big push. Matthew’s nervous, and William’s sweetly trying to put a brave face on the whole thing. The other men are undergoing their own pre-battle preparations: smoking last-minute cigarettes, checking their weapons, etc. Matthew gives them a brief but reasonably rousing speech, then checks his watch, orders them all to fix bayonets, and over the top they go.

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The Pallisers, Part I: The Marriage Game

It’s a beautiful summer day, and on the grounds of a magnificent estate (actually, I’m pretty sure this was filmed at the lake at Stourhead, which is, indeed, a magnificent estate) members of Britain’s upper crust are frolicking, flirting, and playing croquet, as they do. A pair of old biddies in black glare a young coupe off a bench and take a seat to watch events unfold. Meanwhile, a tall man in an even taller hat strides purposefully through the party while a young blonde woman plays tag with a young man.

Off in a totally separate area near a decorative temple, presumably far from the fuss and noise of the party, sits the host, the Duke. He’s snoozing with a glass of champagne in his hand, and he’s gently wakened when his nephew, Plantagenet Palliser, arrives. Plantagenet Palliser has to be the most upper crusty upper crust name in literature. Plantagenet is the tall guy from earlier, and he’s a member of the House of Commons, as the Duke helpfully tells us. He sits for his uncle’s borough, so I’m sure there was no nepotism there, but he’s one of those rare rich boy MPs who actually takes the job seriously, instead of just treating it as a way to pass the time until he inherits his title. The Duke couldn’t care less about politics, he just thinks they should adhere to family tradition by having a Palliser in the Whig party, and to thank his nephew for doing so, he’s increasing his allowance considerably. The Duke just happens to mention that, when Plantagenet gets married to “the right kind of girl,” that allowance will go through the roof. Plantagenet bids his uncle farewell and moves off.

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