“Sybil is entitled to her opinions.”
“No. She isn’t until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.” (Lady Crawley and Violet)

For an upstairs-downstairs type show, this episode of Downton Abbey spent a lot of time with the layers’ seperate quarrels. On the one hand, there was the Sybill-conflict; on the other the whole questionable affair with Mr. Bates and the wine. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

It’s nice to see Sybill’s story unfold a bit. We all knew that of all the daughters she was the bearable one, but of course being bearable doesn’t make for nice plot. So we find out she’s a tad naive. This episode served the purpose of literally hitting her over the head with reality’s harshness. For the first time, we found out Robert Crawley can be pretty angry when push comes to shove – but of course, Sybill can hold her own. The fate of Tom Branson, the chauffeur, was left unexplored – even though it was massively hinted that firing him would be Sybill’s worst punishment. Like many conflicts in Downton Abbey, it was left unresolved with a stand-off.

Let’s get to the other side of the coin: Mr. Bates. Of course it was obvious Bates had a dark past. But as Ms. Hughes said: that can’t be the whole story. Where does Robert fit in, for example? Bates is leaving something out, something substantial, something I reckon we’ll find out in the next episode. But boy, Thomas and O’Brian are just completely ridiculous. Can’t we flesh them out just a little bit? I can see it coming: in the next episode, the World War will break out and they’ll be against Britain just because they can.

Thoughts and things

  • What a cute romance between Edith and Mary’s leftovers. Said leftovers seem to have quite a fancy for a man named “Bill” who can only be Kaiser Wilhelm. Something tells me this relationship isn’t going to last.
  • Speaking of Bills, he was something like the episode’s Messiah. First he fixed the horse, then he fixed guilt-ridden Daisy.
  • Oh right, I forgot: there’s the plot with the diplomat somewhere in there. This is going to go under in the outbreak of the War, no?
  • I liked the two kissing scenes brought in tandem. Nothing points fingers quite as strongly as a set of “You get to kiss, you don’t” scenes.

In all…

It’s obviously leading up to something, but with the outbreak of the war imminent, I’m not sure I care about anything. There’s a dark cloud hanging over the abbey and these peoples’ lives will be thoroughly shaken. So why care about Mister Pamook or all the romances? They’ll be in the Belgian trenches sniffing mustard gas and then they’ll go home looking like Richard Harrow.

Eugh. I hope they don’t.


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