My gosh, the tiff between the Dowager Countess and Lady Isobel Crawley gains more headway with every episode. Maggie Smith, who I have a fantastical appreciation for, never fails to captivate the Downton audience, especially when she’s acting like a stern old bat, which is all the time. She says things like, “simply ghastly” and “good heavens” when she disapproves of anything (which is everything) and sometimes her voice even slips into a severely low masculine tone. It’s like the opposite of a pre-pubescent voice crack that makes me shiver in fear.
This week, the D C of G loses her ivory envelope opener and her temper with Isobel Crawley. Sassy bell-ringing, eloquently worded cat fights and extreme nose flaring ensues. Let’s just say this one goes to Maggie Smith, “game, set and match.”
While Edith is falling apart because she is pregnant (holy cow) and literally lost her boyfriend (no! Michael Gregson!), Mary pushes Branson about whether or not he will go to America. His reply? “Oh, don’t worry. I won’t go until the pig business is up and running,” which does nothing but vaguely reassure me of his eventual exit from the show.
Meanwhile, Rose planned a surprise birthday party for Lord Grantham involving a “band from the city,” but we all know how he and Mr.
Evelyn Napier (a potential suitor!) brings his friend Charles Blake, who wants to dismember the aristocracy and take the Grantham family down with him. Not the most suave decision, on his part. The last time he brought a friend to Downton, he ended up dead in Mary’s bed. Mr. Blake better watch his back.
Cora’s half-American, half-English accent makes me cringe. However, strange accents aside, she did save the day when Anna and Bates had a typical can’t-get-a-restaurant-reservation-Seinfeld-moment.
Mary, Tom and Isobel shared a tender moment when they reminisced about their dead partners. Mary isn’t “unhappy, but not ready to be happy,” and they take pleasure in knowing the love that they had was real.
A simple walk downstairs takes us to the usual thieving, conniving and wit of the servants’ quarters. The absolute best part of the entire episode is when Mrs. Patmore is talking about the Italian movie star Rudolph Valentino and says, “He makes me shiver all over,” then the camera cuts to Mr. Carson’s face immediately after the fact. Carson, old boy — you kill me. It’s the little things about this show that viewers need to pay attention to, because they truly make it.
Julian Fellowes trying to tell us something about 20th century gender roles and the treatment of women — and how prevalent they still are today. Ivy, a kitchen maid, is shamed after Jimmy, the snotty footman, tells her he deserves her “services” because he took her out on a date.
Anna has moved back into the cottage with Mr. Bates, and they both try to make new memories and move on from her violent rape.
Alfred has achieved his life goal of going to cooking school so it’s goodbye to him. Daisy’s heart is broken but they share a tender goodbye. When is Daisy going to find love?
Thomas the horrible head butler is still blackmailing Mrs. Baxter and physically intimidating everyone around him. Carson is blatantly racist and Mrs. Hughes remains saint-like.
The night ends with the upper class dancing to Jazz and genuinely enjoying it, and Mary walking in on Rose’s snog-fest with the lead singer. As usual, the orchestra’s music chimes in at just the right moment.
“Aren’t we the lucky ones.” – Isobel Crawley