Downton Abbey
Episode One

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

Downstairs, Alfred offers that he found the family very down on Branson, but Thomas replies that that's only because Alfred doesn't know anything, and Carson agrees, biting out that Branson was certainly at least as down on them as they were on him. Mrs. Hughes, however, thinks that it must be hard for him to sit up there with people he used to drive, a sentiment that the man himself -- having just appeared in the doorway -- confirms. Carson immediately jumps to his feet and everyone follows despite that obviously being the last thing Branson wants; he asks them to sit back down, but Carson ignores that in favor of stiffly asking if there's something they can do for him. Branson, with none of his earlier fire, says that he just came down to say hello and Mrs. Hughes tells him that's nice, earning her a withering look from Carson. Anna, of course, expresses her hope that he and Sybil are well, and Branson thanks her and says they've been following Bates' story. "Mary keeps us informed." Even I flinched at his failure to refer to her as "Lady Mary," so it's no surprise that Carson looks like he's chewing the insides of his cheeks; with British teeth, that's no joke. Branson tries not to overstay his "welcome," but Mrs. Hughes thanks him for coming, earning her a grateful smile from Branson -- swoon -- and another reproving look from Carson, who can't wait to go off about the "Mary" thing as soon as he's safely out of earshot...

...while upstairs, over cards with Lady Cora, Sybil and Isobel, the Dowager Countess laughingly suggests that the next day, they ask the servants to come up and dine with them. You know, I seem to remember you being ushered about the dance floor by Thomas not too long ago, Countess. Speaking of modes of address, Mary calls to Sybil that she has to get Branson to stop calling the Dowager Countess "milady," and Isobel muses that they need something that doesn't sound too stiff and grand. Lord Grantham pipes up that he can address himself and the Dowager Countess as Lord and Lady Grantham, to which Sybil replies that that's not at all stiff and grand. But Mary, dropping her voice, cautions her to take one step at a time before following her father to the sitting area, joining Edith and Matthew, the latter of whom she asks about the lawyer's visit. Matthew does admit that Mary was right and it concerned the will, but declines to reveal anything further, asking instead for her to tell him all about the relatives who are coming for the wedding. "I want to unscramble them in my head." Matthew dear, there's only one among them who matters and if you don't mind my opinion it's past time she showed up.

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Downton Abbey

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