Downton Abbey — S2 Ep4

Alright, so. We’re just going to pretend that my recaps for episodes two and three are currently up on the site, and that WordPress is not holding one hostage, and that I definitely didn’t spend so long trying to get it back that it pushed back the other until yet another episode was airing, and I abandoned that one (half-finished!) for the time being to start this and get it up in a reasonable amount of time after the airing. Also, I had no problem with screencaps, and this recap is just chock full of pictures that aren’t promo shots!

Right, we’ll just pretend that. We’ll also pretend I didn’t cry at all this past week!

Speaking of tears, you might shed a few this go ‘round, unless you have no heart. But that’s getting way ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

(On a complete aside, I do really wish that Downton Abbey named its episodes. It’s the one thing about the show that really feels lacking to me, and it’s such a silly thing. But there you have it.)

Edith really has grown into her new job, hasn’t she? Dressed in a very no-nonsense style, she bustles through the house sorting mail, and when Mary walks into the room, she asks her in that way that really isn’t asking if she’ll please perform during a concert that the convalescing men are putting together. They all really want to see Edith and Mary perform together, see, because they are sadists. After being admonished by Cora that it’s the very least she can do to help them in their recovery, Mary acquiesces and promises one song.

Isobel has arrived, inquiring about when Doctor Clarkson’s rounds are. Cora blows her off as only Cora can, explaining that they’d already been done earlier (despite the fact that Isobel is hardly late), and then turning around and walking off while Isobel pleads for her attention. “Please, can it wait, I’ve got a mountain to get through,” Cora asks over her shoulder, before turning the corner and disappearing. Well then.

Downton Abbey S2E4

Violet is the best comic-relief any show has seen in years.

Outside, Mary’s arguing with Violet, who seems to have Richard Carlisle’s number, which Mary of course doesn’t like. I mean, when your defense of the fact that Carlisle was blackmailing Lavinia after lending money out to her family and using that against her is that he “lives in a tough world”, uh. Mary, he is no Captain Matthew Crawley, let’s just say that. Anyway, Mary makes it clear that the only thing she cares about regarding Carlisle is the fact that he’s rich, and considering her options, that’s what she’s focusing on right now — securing a future, versus love. Love is Matthew, and she knows it.

Violet asks next about Sybil, and how she doesn’t have a beau in mind, which seems queer for someone her age. I almost expected this to turn into a “Sybil may be gay” conversation, but they didn’t quite go there, and I don’t think it was between the lines, either. Instead, its more of a “hope she doesn’t fall in with someone beneath us because the war makes people do crazy things” sort of chat. Lovely.

Meanwhile, inside, Isobel is in the kitchen trying to give some orders, but nobody is listening to her. The scheduling has been entirely re-arranged, which is Cora’s doing, and was done without input from Isobel. If you recall, it was supposed to be the two of them co-managing, but it would seem that Cora decided to be a little passive-aggressive about things. I’m not sure whose side I’m on in this — Cora’s being a right prat about the whole thing, but Isobel’s tendencies for control-freaking her way through life is pissing me off, as well. I think I’m just grumpy this week in general, hm. Either way, the conversation escalates, with Isobel throwing out a barb about Cora never having worked a day in her life, and then Cora retaliating by none-so-subtly suggesting that the world would be all puppies and rainbows if Isobel would just shove off. In fact, World War I is Isboel’s fault, hadn’t she heard? The conversation ends with Isobel threatening to leave if she’s not wanted, and Cora telling her that’d be grand, thanks. Cold.

If Cora and Isobel are passive-aggressive, Sybil is entirely the opposite. She goes to Branson, who has promised to not stage any more protests to Carson, and asks him why he’d promise Carson but not her. Mary comes up on them talking, but she’s too far to hear Branson declaring that he’ll stay at Downton until Sybil is ready to run away with him, and that Sybil is of course in love with him. I don’t know quite what to make of this storyline so far. I thought it was obvious last series that Sybil sort of liked Branson back, but so far she’s been acting very oddly about him. It’s as if she doesn’t really have feelings for him, but is morbidly curious about his feelings for her. I think they may be trying to pull off the “she’s so in love with him she doesn’t even realize it” angle, but if so, I don’t think it’ll work.

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