Downton Abbey
Season 4 – Episode One

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 115 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Choose Life (How Mary Got Her Groove Back)

Ivy is not looking so great, and after she admits to Anna that she's "not wonderful," she leaves the room and Anna giggles about how they were all young once, but Bates smiles that Anna stayed young. "That's the difference." It's meant to be sweet, but there's a seventeen-year age difference between the actors, so it's actually kind of weird?

Rose and Cora are meeting with Edith over tea, and Cora is sure she's seen Edna before, so Edna admits that she worked at Downton for a short time, but left because she was only a housemaid "and I was starting to feel it was time to move on." Adding "in bed" doesn't really work, but it's still hard not to think it. Edna goes on that she took a course in hairdressing to add to the sewing skills she already possessed; after that, she got a job as a lady's maid, but her employer passed away so it ended after a few months. It doesn't sound like anyone checks up on that story, so I'm guessing it's a lie. Edna makes a strong play, saying she's a hard worker and how much she enjoys Downton (mm-HMM) and producing the glowing reference Mrs. Hughes wrote her under duress. With Rose egging her on, Cora hires her on the spot, even ignoring the fact that Edna gets tripped up on the cover story about her aunt that she herself supplied. If she can't even keep track of that lie, than no worthy successor to O'Brien is she.

At the Dowager Countess's house, Spratt (played by Jeremy Swift, who's been in loads of things in the UK, but you might recognize him best from Gosford Park) is suspicious of Molesley, clearly thinking he's got designs on his job, and Molesley is too clueless/guileless to set him at ease, so you can see where this is going. At the lunch, Lady Shackleton (I already sang her praises, but Harriet Walter is one of the best things about Bedrooms and Hallways, which is saying a lot because it's hilarious) is lambasting David Lloyd George for cutting farming subsidies, and the Dowager Countess then wonders if George isn't German pretending to be Welsh. Heh. The Dowager Countess, aided by Edith, then starts talking up Molesley, but Spratt quickly sabotages him by A) yelling in his ear to be careful, which nearly causes him to drop some sauce, and B) intentionally heating up a tray to scalding temperatures and then dropping it in Molesley's bare hands. Lady Shackleton's reaction is to compliment the Dowager Countess on giving Molesley a chance when he's quite unsuited for such work, the rather obvious implication being that she herself will not be doing the same, and she unwittingly adds insult to literal injury: "I hope you'll soon get back to…whatever it is that you're trained for." Lucky thing Molesley got some searing physical pain to distract him from the disappointment.

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Downton Abbey

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