Monday, February 9, 2015

‘Downton Abbey’ recap - **** makes her escape!!! (SPOILERS)

By Joe Heim February 8 at 10:00 PM


After a dully-dull Downton last week, the show returned Sunday night with its best episode in ages, filled with intrigue, nasty sniping and a number of critical plot revelations.

Where to begin? Well, Mr. Bates almost certainly didn’t kill Mr. Green. Edith is officially a pre-marital widow. Lord and Lady Grantham are back to sharing the same bed. Horse races don’t always end with the death of a rider even when you think they will. And Lady Mary has all the sympathy of a mongoose. Not bad for a 50-minute episode.

(Ooops, wrong Mr. Bates)

The show opened with a telegram arriving for Lady Edith. Stop. Telegrams were the text messages of their day. Stop. This one informs her that the business partner of her lover, the missing Mr. Gregson, is coming to Downton with news. Stop.

Everyone at the Abbey assumes, correctly it turns out, that the news is bad. Mr. Gregson, the father of Edith’s child, has been offed by Adolf’s gang of Brownshirt thugs in Germany. The news confirms Edith’s fears and she is understandably upset. Her sister Mary? Not so much. “Well of course it’s terrible,” she says to Anna. “But what did she think he was doing? Living in a tree?”

Oh Mary, you are a dear.

I’m afraid that’s just the beginning of her awfulness this week. In Edith’s moment of despair (admittedly, she has a lot of those), Merciless Mary sharpens her heels for an extra kick or two. More about that in a bit.

The Dowager Countess hears from beanless Shrimpy that he may be close to finding Prince Kuragin’s wife alive in Hong Kong. The DC, who had a fling with the noble Russian refugee many moons ago, decides she should travel to his rundown tenement in York to tell him the news about his wife. Kuragin is not exactly elated to hear it. I think he would have been happier if his wife met the same fate as poor Mr. Gregson.

The randy Russian is much more interested in rekindling the magic with the Dowager Countess. He tries to work his charm. “I wanted you from the moment I first saw you. More than mortal man ever wanted woman,” he tells her. It’s a good line, Kuragin, but the DC isn’t that easy.

Downton Abbey Maggie Smith animated GIF

Lord Grantham is still feeling quite frosty toward his wife. He found another man in their bedroom, after all. Even though she claims nothing happened, it’s not the kind of thing you just casually dismiss. Cora wants to patch things up, but she’ll need quite a bit of super glue to put this all back together. She visits him in his dressing room to ask him to return to their bedroom. Lord G refuses, but Cora is having none of it.

“If you can honestly say that you have never let a flirtation get out of hand since we were married, if you have never given a woman the wrong impression, then by all means, stay away,” she tells him.

“Otherwise I expect you back in my room tonight.” Tell him, Cora! Grantham huffs and puffs and then pulls himself out of the tiny, tiny bed, tucks his tail between his legs and heads off to join her.

Speaking of sad puppies, I’m worried about Isis. I don’t know what’s going to happen to her, but I think we’re in for an Old Yeller moment later this year. Get your hankies ready.

Big news this week: Mary is off to York for haircut. It’s a mod bob! Now she’ll no longer have to go upstairs to take off her hat.

The haircut sets the scene for another splendid showdown in the Downton drawing room (which I believe was designed to look like the office of Congressman Aaron Schock). No, Bunting is not involved. But it turns out the regular crew is perfectly capable of creating their own drama. Edith is still mourning Gregson, but Mary seems to think this is a swell time to show off her new do. This causes a stir. Grandma gets in a dry dig. “Ah, it is you,” she says. “I thought it was a man wearing your clothes.”

Edith can’t comprehend how inconsiderate Mary is being. “I’m amazed that even you would choose the day after I learned the man I loved is dead to try out a new fashion,” she says. “And if that weren’t enough, you’ve planned a jolly picnic for Saturday. Am I really expected to join in?”

“Hopefully not, as you usually spoil everything,” Mary replies icily. Mary will have her own wing in hell.

(Again, these very rude pictures were provided by Karen V. Wasylowski, not the distinguished Washington Post)


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