Whoo-hoo! A town fair! I was hoping for a Tilt-A-Whirl to shake up some of the overly rigid staff, but no such luck. There’s no telling what a ride on that would do for O’Brien; that woman could use some fun. That scene with her and Bates and the new driver Branson in the kitchen was funny and painful. O’Brien is just so MEAN! I wish she’d get punched, or get a boyfriend. Having a date certainly brings out the girlie part of Mrs. Hughes. She and her old boyfriend looked so happy at the fair – remember when our dates would win us prizes at the fair and how awesome that was? Yeah, I don’t either. Of course, there is the wrong kind of fair date, which is what Daisy was having with Thomas. Thomas pulled an amazingly bastard move (Bates’s words, not mine) by asking Daisy out just before William did.
Mrs. Hughes’ date must have gone well, because she received an offer of marriage, which she ultimately turned down. Is it just me, or are there hints of a non-working relationship between her and Mr. Carson? Perhaps having a “work husband” is enough for Mrs. Hughes.
Sybil’s mentoring of Gwen and her blossoming interest in politics and reform show a much more interesting side of her than we’ve seen. You can see the setup for a romance with the socialist chauffer Branson coming from a mile away. But I think we can all agree on Sybil’s most interesting moment in the episode: the unveiling of her new “dress”. Thank goodness there were no paparazzi around then because she would have gotten more flack than Princess Beatrice and her headwear at the royal wedding last year. Sybil’s parents’ reactions were priceless, but I sure would like to see their faces when flapperdom hits their part of England. Short dresses, short hair, and most horrifying, no corsets! I deeply apologize for not having a full-length shot of her outfit, so we’ll all have to be happy with two pictures.
Mary and Matthew started out seeming to get along, and there was even a handshake reminiscent of “Pride & Prejudice” (the most recent movie), but Mary’s claws come back out when her ongoing rivalry with Edith is sparked by Edith’s interest in Sir Antony. I don’t know why Mary was so surprised that Matthew left that dinner early. Did she expect him to watch her flirt with a man that she had just been mocking at dinner? But after Matthew “rescued” Sybil at the rally, he was rewarded with a declaration of affection liplock with Mary. That must have been a good kiss, because he proposed to her. Mary, as usual, does not follow the ageless advice of Sasha Fierce to put a ring on it, and puts off an answer. WHY?
Daisy, as expected, was not able to keep from leaking information that lets O’Brien and Thomas realize she knows something about Mr. Pamuk’s death. O’Brien is like Perez Hilton with a tip and manages to put Edith and Daisy together so Edith can learn about the Corpse Relocation Affair. Edith is in a thorough snit after not only hearing her mother and sister talk poorly of her and her prospects, but then watching Mary pay attention to Sir Antony just to spite her. Edith sends a letter to the Turkish ambassador detailing what happened at Downton Abbey. I felt badly for her when it came back to bite her in the ass after it became known that she sent it. Mary’s revenge on Edith is something that O’Brien would be proud of, although you’d think Mary would rather have Edith married and out of the house. The Dowager Countess took the news of the Corpse Relocation Affair well overall. I wish she had been at the house to help move the corpse. What a sight that would have been!
Lady Cora’s pregnancy was a huge shock. I loved the Earl’s response when she told him the news, although Matthew isn’t as pleased. Of course, he’s just crabby because Mary still hasn’t answered his proposal. And who can blame him? She can’t decide and that can’t be making him feel secure about her feelings. I was proud of him when he finally cut her loose at the garden party.
O’Brien certainly outdid herself with her nastiness after thinking that Cora was going to replace her. I never thought she’d actually put Cora in danger (yes, I know it was just soap on the floor, but look what happened!). The guilt that she was showing after the miscarriage was strange to see, but I did enjoy seeing O’Brien being told that the new maid was for the Dowager Countess. I hope O’Brien doesn’t start being nice to people!
My absolute favorite part was William finally punching Thomas for being such a first-rate jerk about the loss of the baby. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person cheering him on! I can’t believe it took that for Daisy to finally see what a vile person Thomas is. She’s not the smartest bulb in the chandelier, is she? At least she apologized to William for being mean to him.
The season ended with news of war, Matthew rescinding his proposal to Mary, Edith not getting the proposal she was hoping for, Thomas finally leaving Downton, O’Brien getting some karmic payback, Gwen getting another job, and Anna declaring her love for Bates and helping clear his name (again). Whew! I can’t wait for season two!