Downton Abbey
Episode One

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

After an establishing shot, we see Anna visiting Bates in prison; she hands him some papers, which she apparently found in a hidden book in the Bates Motel that sound like they came from a diary or calendar belonging to Vera. She asks him to make notes on and categorize all the names she's given him, as it will help her to figure out who's worth tracking down in an effort to clear his name. Bates asks if she hasn't anything better to do, which is a setup question, as it gives Anna the opportunity to reply that she hasn't, "because I'd rather work to get you free than dine with the King at Buckingham Palace." I mean, these actors are excellent, but I wish their storylines could involve something other than a sainthood competition. Bates then tells Anna that he has a new cellmate and he's "not sure about him," which is a real surprise when you're serving time for murder, I'm sure. Anna gives him advice that her mother gave her -- "Never make an enemy by accident" -- which, if not tongue-in-cheek (it's hard to tell with Brits sometimes, did you know?), seems like the kind of homespun "wisdom" that's actually completely nonsensical. But hey, I've seen kids turn out worse than Anna. She then asks if Bates can get the notes done by her next visit, and Bates doesn't look thrilled with all the homework, but Anna's like, your pessimism is not going to get in the way of me making a sweeping statement about how you'll be a free man soon. She concludes with an even grander metaphor about her devotion to Bates, but honestly I'm close enough to diabetic shock as it is.

Alfred is standing at attention, which is a mistake, as Carson sniffs that he's too tall -- a footman shouldn't be over six foot one. Alfred doesn't choose to make a "six foot twoman" joke in return, which is probably best for the work environment, but still strikes me as a shame. Alfred tells us he was a hotel waiter after he was discharged from the Army, and O'Brien sings his praises, adding that he's already got the job so he's hardly on trial. Carson, however, is like, "He's on trial precisely because he has a tough job, so can it?" And O'Brien, as much as I'm on your side, you already pulled a fast one getting the kid the job, so maybe see if he's cut out for it before you stick your neck out any further?

Matthew and Mary are walking the grounds and discussing where they might live; while Matthew doesn't necessarily want to go far, he would rather get to know Mary away from Downton, although he is amenable to returning to live there in the future. Mary pretty clearly would rather stay near her family; also, there's talk of, I think, Matthew carrying a naked Mary around in his arms? If that's the case, it is probably best not to live in so large a place as Downton. She's pretty light, but it'd still become a strain.

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Downton Abbey

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