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Desperate for Downton

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Treason and Toasters

I hope you enjoyed last night’s showing of Downton Abbey. We had a great live chat online during the show, and one of our chat members who is television-less made do by video-chatting with a friend and watching it on that friend’s TV! That is a mark of a true fan!

Anna is the first person we see on the show, lamenting her lack of a letter (and letters, as it turns out) from Mr. Bates. He is sharing that same feeling, because he’s not getting any letters from Anna. While it occurred to everyone on our chat that she should just go to see him, Anna suffered through at Downton. It turned out that Mr. Bates’ cellmate, Mr. Craig, was having Anna’s letters held from Bates. After Bates planted contraband in Mr. Craig’s bed and Mr. Craig was caught and taken away (solitary, the Tower, Briarcliff?), Bates was handed all of the letters that Anna had sent them, and all of his letters to Anna were finally mailed. We saw Bates and Anna each relieved to get their packet of letters, and each reading them with tears and smiles, and women all over the world sighed happily.

Remember how Edith was going to get married to the geezer, but was dumped at the altar? Well, so does Edith, but she has at least quit with her talk of spinsterhood, but is still spinning her wheels at the beginning of the episode. Finally, after a pep talk from her grandmother Violet, “stop whining, and find something to do”, Edith begins to come out her shell and finds something to do. She writes a letter to the editor of the newspaper condemning the limitations of the women’s suffrage bill, and the letter is published, much to Robert’s (and apparently Carson’s) chagrin. This could prove to be an interesting move for Edith.


Ethel, the former servant who we recently learned had turned to prostitution to earn money for herself and her son, Charlie, writes to Mrs. Hughes, asking for her help. Ethel has decided to offer Charlie to his paternal grandparents to raise, seeing as how they can give him many more opportunities that she ever can. There is much debate between Ethel, Mrs. Hughes, and Isobel about the merits of a decision, with Isobel being in favor of helping Ethel to find better work to keep her child. Finally, the decision is made, and Ethel sacrifices her own happiness to ensure her child’s. The grandparents are overjoyed and promise to write to Ethel. I hope she is able to see Charlie again.

In what was the most confusing storyline, Sybil and her husband Tom were forced to flee Ireland after an uprising against the royal family there. I was not aware they were in Ireland in the first place, so I spent a while in a state of “huh?” before I finally put the pieces together. Apparently Tom was at the uprising at the palace, was suspected of being an instigator, and fled Ireland with the clothes on his back, leaving the very pregnant Sybil to follow him. You can imagine the outraged reception Tom received from Robert when Robert realized that Tom left Sybil to fend for himself and that they were in danger due to Tom’s actions.


We were treated to some comic relief in Carson’s response to Mrs. Hughes’ purchase of an electric toaster for herself. After she tells him that if she likes it, she is going to recommend the purchase of one for the upstairs breakfasts, he replies, “Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Mrs. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?” I guess he’s not much of an early adopter for new gadgets!


Robert went to his friend the Home Secretary to plead for help for his daughter and son-in-law, and was able to gain immunity for them as long as they don’t return to Ireland. Luckily, Sybil arrives the in the next few days, safe and sound, and immediately kisses her husband, much to the consternation of everyone in the chat room. We thought Tom should have been on the business end of a hissy fit! When Robert is telling Tom and the family that Tom and Sybil cannot return to Ireland, he also tells them that Tom was also attending meetings in Dublin were the attacks on the Anglo-Irish were planned, much to Sybil’s surprise. Tom maintains that he was always against personal violence, and they settle into a truce.

Two new servants were hired, throwing the delicate balancing act downstairs off. The first is the handsome new footman James, who was able to strike dumb all of the female staff members and earned quite a huge grin and warm welcome from Thomas.


The second is a replacement for Daisy (she is being promoted to assistant cook), a young woman named Ivy who immediately sparks Alfred’s interest, just as Daisy was ready to confess her feelings for him! As you can imagine, poor Daisy wasn’t quite up to giving a warm greeting to the new girl. I hope she doesn’t treat her as badly as Mrs. Patmore did Daisy when she started.

Don’t forget, we’ll have another live chat next Sunday night!