I hope Mrs. Crawley wasn’t too surprised by being bested in her power struggle with Cora. After Mrs. Crawley’s behavior last week, I think we all expected it! If she’d been smarter, she would have worked with Cora to determine the best way to incorporate the recuperation facility into everyday life at Downton Abbey. And I was so surprised that Mrs. Crawley actually tried to use leaving Downton as a threat; didn’t she realize that was what everyone was hoping for? Apparently she didn’t realize that, and looked awfully shocked when she was essentially “voted off the island” and had to follow through on her threat to leave Downton and go to France to work for the Red Cross.
News of Bates’ employment at the public house spreads like wildfire throughout the staff, and finally Lord Grantham finds out not only that Bates is working at the pub, but also that he had to resign because he was being blackmailed. Feeling guilty about the giant snit he tossed at Bates when Bates left, Lord Grantham makes up with Bates and asks him to resume his valet duties at Downton. I half expected Lord Grantham to give Bates the one arm side to side Bro-Hug, but no such luck. At least we were able to see Bates zing Thomas a couple of times upon his return. O’Brien and Thomas were so proud to announce that Thomas is a Sergeant now, and not a servant. If he is no longer part of the household staff, then why is he always hanging out in the kitchen, ordering Daisy about as if he were a member of the Earl’s family? Why isn’t he spending more time with the officers?
With Mrs. Crawley’s departure for France, Moseley and Mrs. Byrd have nothing to do at Grantham House. Luckily for them, right at the moment when they are complaining about having nothing to do, and a soldier comes in looking for spare food. I guess he’s jobless now that he’s home from the war? They feed him, and just like stray cats, more soldiers show up the next time and the next. O’Brien sees the line of men going into Grantham House one day and cannot wait to tattle to Lady Grantham. However, whatever fantasies O’Brien had about getting the Soup Kitchen Gang into big trouble get squashed when Cora insists they use Downton food for the men and announces that she AND O’Brien will help. Hah! O’Brien accidentally did a good deed – that can’t make her happy.
Sybil and Branson’s tepid romance is still stuttering ahead. I don’t feel her passion; she was more excited about politics last season than she’s been about Branson lately. Branson, after learning that he has been rejected for duty, asks Sybil to run away with him. To do what? And where? And how will they live? Why do I sound like her parents? Sybil spends time walking prettily in the meadow pondering this proposal, and hopefully will seriously think about it before accepting. Mary cottons on to the entanglement, and advises Sybil to cut him loose if she is definitely not in love with him. Mary also promises not to tell their father, upon Sybil’s word that she won’t do anything foolish. I think that agreement reeks of foolishness.
We finally see Lord Grantham receive bad news from a source other than a telegram! A phone call informs him that Matthew and William are missing on the front. I can’t believe Daisy was the only one who noticed that William (and Matthew) had not returned on leave. You’d think the Earl’s family would be more involved with the heir’s status during wartime. What if they had to train another heir? Dame Maggie actually gave voice to the fear that the next heir would be a “chimney sweep from Surrey”. If he sang and danced, he could help with the show!
Why are you singing, dear?
By far the most entertaining part of the episode was the show that is put on at Downton to cheer the men. Mary and Edith even manage to stop sniping at each other long enough to play and sing a song together. Mary finally learns that Matthew is missing and wants to cancel the show, but the Earl informs her that the show must go on. Mary stiffens her upper lip, and is singing while Edith is playing when who should appear but Matthew! Oh, and William, too. Matthew joins in the singing and finishes the song with Mary at the front of the audience. Why are they marrying other people again?
Did you catch the reason for Matthew and William being missing? They got lost. I can’t believe they admitted to it! Everyone is happy, the episode is finishing, then Ethel returns to Downton after being fired for providing too much service to an officer. I’m pretty sure it was the magician from the show. Too bad he can’t make this situation disappear!
Ethel has returned to tell Mrs. Hughes she needs help because she is pregnant, then follows that up with the statement, “I’m having a baby.” Mrs. Hughes got it the first time, Ethel. And the episode’s over!
What did you think? Feel free to comment below!