Greetings, Downton fans! Last night’s episode was a lovely welcome back to the world of Downton. So much happened! Let’s dive right in.
First of all, Matthew and Mary were finally married in what seemed to be Downton’s version of a royal wedding. Mary was wearing a lovely gown with the 1920’s “new” dropped waist and a lovely headpiece that looked like a laurel wreath. Her mother Cora tried to give her a pre-wedding night talk, but Mary correctly pointed out that she knew more before marriage than her mother did. Remember the handsome Mr. Pamuk?
Mary’s descent down Downton’s stairway to her father and Mr. Carson was a lovely moment. Both men had doted on her and watched her grow into the bride before them. I’m not sure who was more choked up – Carson or Lord Grantham! Mary and her father rode in a carriage to the church in the village, along a route that had been decorated for the wedding. Apparently every villager was out to wish them well as they passed. All in all, it was a lovely day; I just wish we could have seen more of it!
There was some discussion about whether Sybil and Tom (married and expecting a child) would be able to make it to England for the wedding, but someone mysteriously sent them the money to pay for the trip. Tom Branson arrived with a chip on his shoulder, bringing up Ireland and insulting England with alarming frequency. I understand that fighting for Ireland’s rights is his passion, but you would think he could stifle it when visiting his wife’s family. I did hate to see him get “slipped a mickey” by an old beau of Sybil’s. Poor Tom almost made a complete fool of himself before Sir Anthony Strallan realized what had happened and called out the offender in front of everyone. What a bizarre thing to do! In spite of all of that, Tom was able to help mend a pre-wedding tiff between Mary and Matthew, earning the thanks of the family.
The aforementioned Sir Anthony Strallan is still in a will they or won’t they situation with Edith. He feels he is too old for her, she doesn’t care, yada yada yada. Edith made no bones about how she felt about him, even after it appeared that he was pulling away. Lord Grantham intervened, asking Sir Anthony to break things off, apparently due to the age difference. Sir Anthony does just that, but Edith proves to be as stubborn as a bulldog, and they become engaged before the end of the episode. They plan to marry in a month; I hope so much that they make it! I would hate to see Edith’s heart broken again.
As in the first season, Downton Abbey is once again in peril of being lost to the Crawleys. Apparently Lord Grantham heavily invested in a Canadian railroad and lost a massive part of their fortune. He lost so much of it that the Crawleys may have to sell Downton Abbey. When he confesses his failure, to Cora, she is very supportive, but her comment of "I'm an American, have gun will travel" was an odd response. At about the same time he’s having his world crushed, Matthew learns that Lavinia Swire’s father, Reggie, left his sizeable estate to Matthew (as long as two other beneficiaries have died). Once again, Matthew has some incredible luck with an unexpected inheritance. If this were a TV movie, I would start to be suspicious! Matthew doesn't feel right accepting the inheritance (Downton notwithstanding) because he broke Lavinia's heart, but Mary doesn't care about that. She wants him to use the money to save the house. They are still "discussing" the situation at episode's end. Mary really gets strident with him and does not seem to appreciate that her new husband is a man of conscience.
Mr. Bates is still in prison, and Anna is tireless in her efforts to find some way to exonerate him. She found a diary of Vera's in the house she and Mr. Bates lived in before he came to Downton. Anna gives it to Bates for him to go through and identify as many people named as he can. Anna hopes to find someone to give them proof of some sort that Vera killed herself. Bates gets an unpleasant cell mate and has to resort to physical threats to get the new man to leave him alone. Bates does get intimidating when he has to, doesn't he?
Let's hit the high points of everyone else, shall we? O'Brien managed to get her very tall nephew hired as a new footman, angering Thomas (but really, what doesn't annoy Thomas?). An O'Brien/Thomas feud starts, and it promises to bring us all kinds of delightful backstabbing behavior this season. I get all happy just thinking about it! Mrs. Hughes may have cancer, but we don't know yet. We do know, however, that Mrs. Patmore might be the a bit too positive to take, bless her heart. Daisy must have read many newspapers since we last saw her, since she appears to have grown a backbone and learned a lot of new words regarding her rights as a worker. Moseley is very disappointed to learn that he won't be moving to Downton with Matthew after the wedding, as Matthew wants to live "a simpler life". What? Did he hit his head or something? Does he not remember who he married, and what she stands for? I see lots of conflict over that desire in the near future!
Wait, what? You were hoping to read about someone else? Oh, yes, the fabulous Martha Levinson, Cora's mother from America, played by the legendary Shirley MacLaine. Oh, she was such fun, and her scenes with Maggie Smith as Violet were even more so. Martha the American is going to get her own blog post - look for it on Wednesday.
What were your favorite parts? How many people did you want to slap silly? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.