Downton Abbey
Episode One

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 13 USERS: A+
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Blame Canada

Presumably concerned about his performance as a footman so far, Alfred laments the fact that he didn't go into cooking -- he used to watch the food being prepared at the hotel. Thinking about how a male kitchen helper would hit the spot right about now, Daisy asks why he didn't, but O'Brien tells her it's a hard ladder for a man to climb and for every success story, there are a thousand grunts "taking orders from a cross and red-faced old woman." As it happens, a cross and red-faced old woman is standing in the doorway at the moment, and she asks about whom O'Brien might have been speaking; when that's been pleasantly settled, Alfred goes on that it's been suggested to him that he'd do better as a butler, so that's what he's going for. Daisy tells him he's right and on her way out of the room shoots in Mrs. Patmore's direction, "I'd rather be giving the orders." Mrs. Patmore calls that she's sure she would, "to a cross and red-faced old woman! Yes... we know, we know." I am such a bigger fan of Mrs. Patmore now that, instead of abusing Daisy, she patronizes her.

Upstairs, Anna has helped Edith with a slightly saucier hairdo and Edith is pleased and hopes Sir Anthony will notice. Answering an unasked question, she says that she knows everyone thinks he's too old for her, but he isn't and points to Anna and Bates as an example of a loving relationship with an age difference. Anna agrees that while her situation with Bates is hardly ideal, at least at the moment, they're very happy together, and Edith smiles that that's all that matters. I mean, in many ways an older, established gentleman is ideal for Edith, not the least of which because she's characteristically going to get shafted on her family paying for her wedding.

O'Brien is waiting to talk to Thomas, but he blows past her, saying he doesn't have time. However, she informs him that Lord Grantham hasn't come up yet, so he asks her what's up in a tone that's at the other end of the spectrum from "inviting." O'Brien asks Thomas if he'd help Alfred learn to be a valet, as he's looking after Branson now, although she does concede that having been in service Branson probably doesn't need much help getting dressed. Thomas wonders what the rush is getting Alfred trained, so O'Brien eagerly tells him that since Matthew is leaving Molesley behind, he's going to need someone. Thomas wonders if she remembers what he had to go through to become a valet and tells her he's not convinced Alfred's ready. Looking exceedingly pleased with himself, he takes off and this ever-widening rift between the two has an awful lot of potential.

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Downton Abbey

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