Downton Abbey
Episode One

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

Oh, here it is! With all the servants lined up expectantly, a red car pulls up to Downton and Alfred opens the door and out comes -- sporting heavy makeup, bright red permed hair and a coat of fur trim and elaborate design with a hat to match -- Shirley MacLaine, who grandly announces in a flat American accent (stark contrast with her daughter) with metronome-time syllables that through war and peace, Downton has survived and the Crawleys are still in it, which has to make Lord Grantham feel slightly less than eight inches tall. Martha's daughter and son-in-law greet her and then she walks over to say hello to Carson and Mrs. Hughes, to whom she points out that the world has changed since they last saw each other. Carson assures her that they've changed as well, and Martha offhandedly pretty much says that the idea of Brits embracing change is hilarious before introducing her maid, Reed. Next on the greeting list are Martha's granddaughters and she knocks them over in quick succession -- she tells Sybil to give her details on the birth (I kind of forgot Sybil's pregnant and this is the only reminder we'll get), adding that "we do these things so much better in the States," and then moves on to Edith, who she kind of advises to embrace being single. She then gets to Mary, who's obviously her favorite -- even she has her limits when it comes to nonconformity -- and asks her to tell her all her wedding plans "and I'll see what I can do to improve them." Even Mary gets an overmatched look on her face, but there's nothing for anyone to do except head inside and watch the show... I mean, "have tea."

Downstairs, Daisy has her arms folded like a petulant child and when O'Brien asks what she sat on, Daisy replies that Mrs. Patmore knows. Reed then appears and tells Mrs. Patmore about Martha's dietary requirements -- goat's milk in the morning and she only drinks boiled water. Mrs. Patmore is surprised at the latter, so Reed clarifies, "In England, that is." Heh. Anna asks if Daisy shouldn't be handling all this, but Mrs. Patmore ignores her and walks off with Reed as Reed goes on that Martha will have "no fats, no crab and nothing from the marrow family" (cucumbers, squash and others). Too bad -- I would have like to witness her eating crab, just to see if she bothered with the cracker.

Speaking of eating things alive, it's tea time, and Martha is interrogating Matthew on how he's related to the rest of them. It's been a while and I surely didn't remember, so maybe you don't either: His great-great-grandfather was the younger son of the third Earl of Grantham. Martha's like, that's awesome, now I totally understand why you'll be inheriting my late husband's money, and the camera at least doesn't cut to a guilty Lord Grantham. And look Martha, I'm enjoying you batting Matthew around like a cat with a ball of yarn as much as the next person, but you didn't sit through an entire season of people trying and failing to explain the entail, so if you don't mind don't let's dredge it all up again. Isobel offers that it doesn't really matter now that Matthew and Mary are getting married and since the wedding is the next day, Mary realizes that she should be getting rid of Matthew right about now for superstition's sake. Many of those in attendance exit the room to see Matthew off, leaving Martha free to chat with Branson, whom she seems to approve of far more than Matthew, particularly when she hears Branson's a journalist, or "journie," as she calls it. Lord Grantham doesn't look impressed, but that might be covering his fear that he's going to have to ask Branson for a job of work soon.

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Downton Abbey

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