Downton Abbey
Episode One

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

Downstairs, Carson announces Alfred's terrible shame to the rest of the staff, but after Carson leaves to have a quick cry in the wine cellar, Alfred fingers Thomas for the disaster, saying that the substance he gave him to clean the tails was corrosive. Thomas is like, whoa, I gave you soda crystals, but even if he didn't follow it up with a gloating statement to O'Brien, she (and we) would have pegged his "Who me?" tone easily enough. O'Brien looks like she doesn't know what to say, which, if I were in Thomas' shoes but not nearly so arrogant as he, would only make me fear her more.

Lord Grantham has apparently spoken to Sir Anthony, who replies that he understands completely and as much as I disagree with Lord Grantham, he obviously didn't say anything to Sir Anthony he hadn't already thought himself. Sir Anthony comes up with the idea of writing to Edith to tell her, essentially, to go away, and adds that he'll give the dinner next week a miss. Lord Grantham is like, well, that was easy. And one fewer meal to pay for!

O'Brien points to the supply shelf and shows Alfred the bottle he should have taken, but Alfred tells her that's not the one Thomas told him to use. O'Brien believes her nephew... well she might, given that Thomas is at this moment slagging Alfred off to Lord Grantham, saying he's not ready to be the permanent valet to Matthew. And wow, Thomas' little stunt with Isis showed even more profit than I thought if Lord Grantham is now consulting him on hiring decisions. Lord Grantham asks what Thomas would suggest, and Thomas has the bright idea for him to ask Molesley to join them, which I take it as Thomas' way of really sticking it to Alfred. It will be especially galling for him to lose a job to someone Matthew already said he didn't want...

...but it seems there's little choice in the matter, as when Mary asks about "that poor footman," Matthew tells her that honestly, Alfred hasn't been great, and he's going to have to send his coat away as a result. Mary tells him to get it back in time for the dinner, as it has to be "the grandest of the grand." Matthew expresses disapproval at the Martha-related rigmarole, but Mary replies that his refusal to donate his own vast fortune pretty much means he should shut up about any alternative plans; she says it more nicely than that, but not by a wide margin. Suitably chastened, Matthew asks if Martha will actually do it and Mary tells him that the Dowager Countess "intends to make her or die in the attempt." Let's not deem those mutually exclusive. Mary then tells him to shut up and kiss her and her commanding nature is just one reason you can't blame him for obliging.

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Downton Abbey




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