Monday, September 30, 2013

Downton Abbey series 4, episode 2 – Matthew Crawley’s message from beyond the grave (SPOILERS)

Downton, episode 2 - What you missed

By Alice Wright
September 29, 2013

After last week’s opener we are fully back in the swing of life at the Abbey. I’m not sure how anyone can suggest it was off to a slow start after all that happened in the first week! But we are now already onto Episode Two and there is plenty more scandal and housekeeping to report…

What happened in the house this week?

The show began with the improbable news that a box of Matthew Crawley’s belongings has been unearthed. This mystery box contained an odd straw stuffed dog and a letter to Lady Mary informing her of his wish that she be his sole heir, rather than baby George. Of course her father, Lord Grantham, is rather sniffy about it and argues that it might not stand as a proper will and wants to rush it off to his lawyer to have it discredited immediately.

Dowager Countess Violet suggests that his Lordship is only questioning the letter because he doesn’t want to ‘share the crown with Mary’. Mary herself is rightly indignant that everyone has read her private letter before she gets her hands on it but starts taking even more interest in the estate.

Everyone else in the family is thrilled that Matthew has spoken of his intention from beyond the grave, and it seems Branson is relishing the thought of spending more time out and about on the land with not-so-merry widow Mary. But during a family dinner Lord Grantham embarrasses Mary by exposing her lack of knowledge after asking her opinion on using empty farmyards as a source of new revenue. Harsh, your Lordship, harsh.

Edith and editor Michael’s affair is continuing apace with more talk of him becoming German so he can be free to divorce. After declining his invitation to spend the night with him in London Edith admits ‘it is getting harder and harder to say no.’ Racy!

The plot line of Carson’s old chum Mr Grigg is resolved when Isobel finds him a job in Belfast. Mrs Hughes and Isobel try to persuade Carson to see his friend off but they don’t know that the pair fell out over a woman years ago. Maybe this goes some way to explain the butler’s aloof manner? All hope of a reconciliation seems lost until Carson relents and emerges from the steam on the train platform, like something out of the Railway Children. Grigg admits that their joint love picked the wrong man and always preferred Charlie anyway. Maybe the knowledge will mean a thawing of cold Carson is on the way?

The show ends with Matthew’s letter being declared ‘testamentary’ meaning Mary owns half of the estate, which delights everyone apart from his Lordship who obviously doesn’t agree with women running anything? Even Edith admits her father is so old-fashioned that ‘if the servants left he’d be found in a passage dead, arms stretched out looking for the kitchen’.

I See Trouble Ahead – my weekly worries

Unable to keep out of trouble Thomas Barrow is now in cahoots with new lady’s maid Edna (who we already know is a bit of a wrong-un). After she ruins a favourite piece of the Mistress’s clothing he comes up with a plan to blame the blameless Anna instead. Lord Grantham asks Bates to tell his wife to ‘back off’ from trying to get Edna into trouble, alerting Bates to the fact that his long-running feud with Barrow is far from over…


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