The latest episode of “Downton Abbey” left us feeling just sick — be warned, spoilers ahead. Don’t keep reading if you don’t want to know what has happened.
Over a dozen guests have arrived for a house party, bringing with them their various maids and valets. Lord Gillingham’s valet Mr. Green takes a liking to Anna, but when she rebuffs his advances, he beats and rapes her in the servants hall while everyone else is upstairs listening to the singer perform.
It’s a hard scene to watch, as the juxtaposition of the crime with the music is both unsettling and tragic. What’s even worse is Anna begging Mrs. Hughes not to tell anyone, for fear of what will happen to Mr. Bates when (not if) he goes after Mr. Green. Joanne Froggatt really knocks it out of the park — we were crying right along with her.
In other downstairs happenings, Mrs. Patmore has a panic attack (we think Dr. Clarkson said it was that and not a heart attack) from being so overwhelmed, while Carson is still being dragged kicking and screaming into the 1920s. A foreign singer at the dinner table? The horror.
The aforementioned Lord Gillingham takes a liking to Mary, despite his currently being involved with some other heiress named Mabel — Mary literally gets back in the saddle with him. He seems like a good man and while she has politely told him she’s not interested, she does admit that his interest is a nice pick-me-up.
It pains Isobel to hear Mary even talking to another man, as she is still struggling to move on from her son’s death. Part of the problem is how alone she is — we’re glad Lady Violet guilted her into coming to the party.
One of the party guests is a Mr. Samson, who is quite the card sharp (read: cheater) and takes all the men at the party to the cleaners, Robert and Edith’s Mr. Gregson included. But Gregson is on to him and takes him on a second time, winning back all the money Samson took from the other men and returning it to them. Robert is quite impressed, so Gregson’s got his blessing.
The only person who really does not seem to be enjoying the party is Branson, who feels so uncomfortable hob-knobbing with the friends of the Crawleys. We can see how he’s feel at ease with their family, but completely out of his element with others of their ilk whom he doesn’t know. But his drunken pity party turns into a nighttime dalliance with that horrible maid Edna Braithwaite. Oh, Branson.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- We do not like this Branson storyline one bit. Seeing him move on would be one thing, but going back to Braithwaite? Even if drunk? Ugh, no. We expect more from you, Tom.
- Cousin Isobel is really killing us this season. She’s far outstripping Lady Mary for how much we want to give her a hug and make her feel better, especially when she says things like, “I have this feeling that when I laugh or read a book or hum a tune, it means that I’ve forgotten him, just for a moment. And it’s that that I can’t bear.”
- Poor Mr. Molesley, acting as second footman when Jimmy hurts his wrist. But anything to keep him around, he’s a delightful character. Find Molesley a job, show!
- The Anna and Bates storyline just took such a jarring and sickening turn. We are intrigued to watch it play out — not out of delight, of course, but Froggatt and Brendan Coyle do such a nice job on the show that we expect this plot to be wonderfully done.
What did you think of the latest episode of “Downton”?