Downton Abbey
Season 4 – Episode One

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

In Carson's office, Mrs. Hughes tells Carson and Branson she didn't know what to do, and Branson says it wasn't Mrs. Hughes's duty to spill that she only wrote the reference at Branson's behest -- he'll tell Cora himself. Carson, however, no-no-nos that Cora's been severely tried without getting any notion that "Lady Sybil's husband was unworthy," and I don't think that's the most charitable way of looking at it, nor am I sure that they're doing Cora a favor by keeping Edna in her employ. But what Carson decrees is happening -- she's got some proper training, at least, and they'll have to make sure she behaves herself; turning to Branson, he adds, "And I hope we may rely on you to make sure Edna doesn't step out of line." I mean, his terrified look suggests that he'll try, but I have the feeling she's got a sixth sense about when his shirt's off.

Upstairs, Cora is heading to her room when she hears one of the children crying and Nanny West's voice; it's unintelligible at this distance, but remembering Thomas's warning, she creeps forth to investigate. Reaching the ajar door, she sees Nanny West holding Master George fondly -- and telling him not to let "that chauffeur's daughter" disturb her. This is bad enough, but Cora senses more damning evidence is coming and indeed, Nanny West turns to Sybil in her crib and spits for "you wicked little cross-breed" to go back to sleep. At this, Cora wastes no further time in sweeping in and ringing downstairs before turning to a flustered Nanny West and informing her in no uncertain terms that she will pack that night and leave first thing in the morning. She adds that she's not to touch the kids again, and when Mrs. Hughes appears, Cora quickly tells her to find Nanny West a bed for the night and to get one of the maids to sleep with the children. Nanny West tries to cut in, but Cora practically hisses that her values "have no place in a civilized home," and with that, a distraught Nanny West withdraws. Cora then sits down to guard the kids personally while Mrs. Hughes, looking pretty thrown herself, receives her instructions again. Too bad this didn't happen before the Edna interview, because I have the feeling Downton's hiring practices are going to get a little less trusting.

Downstairs, Lord Grantham and Mary are the last two up, and Lord Grantham asks Mary if Edith's relationship with Gregson is serious. Mary: "Well, he's not bad-looking, and he's still alive, which puts him two points ahead of most men of our generation." There's at least some gallows humor in her delivery, but Lord Grantham isn't interested in levity as he intones that Edith could do a great deal better, and if that's true it's not because of anything you've done, sir. Mary then mentions Matthew and the conversation predictably grinds to a halt, so Lord Grantham suggests she go to bed. She starts to shuffle off, but turns back to ask if he'd like her at the tenants' lunch. This was mentioned at the dinner from which she fled, so it's not out of the blue, but Lord Grantham of course tells her not to bother her fragile little head about it. Mary shows some signs of life, putting a note of challenge into her voice as she tells him she has ideas and she and Matthew used to talk about the estate, but Lord Grantham as usual doesn't really hear a word she's saying as he kisses her goodnight.

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Downton Abbey

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