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)

The sun peers through the clouds the next day and downstairs, Lord Grantham runs into his wife, who's like, Thomas is now essentially royalty in my eyes thanks to the warning he gave me about Nanny West. Lord Grantham, in his inimitable way, is like "Not another one!" when he hears Nanny West is departing, but Cora assures him it's for the best as Thomas shoots the nearby Bates a triumphant look. Cora personally thanks Thomas again, who plays it for all it's worth as Bates looks on like "Grrrrrrrreat."

It's time for the tenants' lunch, which as you'd imagine is a complete banger party, but that changes when Mary -- wearing lavender instead of black -- enters. All the men stand, and as Mary turns on all her old charm, Branson (joined by Carson) looks delighted and insists she take his seat at the middle of the table. Even Lord Grantham does not appear nearly as put out as he might as he mildly asks if she's got time for this, but Mary breezily replies that she's been looking forward to it before engaging one of the farmers in shop talk. Lord Grantham shoots Branson a look, but Branson continues to beam and that's a lovely enough sight off which to pull back and out. Onto…

PART TWO

Downstairs, Mrs. Hughes tells the crowd she's gotten a letter from Gwen -- you remember, the maid from Season One who bought a typewriter and took a postal course in shorthand, and wasn't aware that either of those actions was illegal -- announcing that she's married. The bell rings and Mrs. Hughes is like, that's for you, Edna, before going on that Gwen's mother-in-law is ill, so they kept the wedding quiet, but she hopes to be able to introduce him to the people at Downton. (I don't watch Game Of Thrones, but the actress, Rose Leslie, has a recurring role in Westeros.) Anna offers to get her a card that they can all sign, which just might be important (or at least relevant) later, while elsewhere, Thomas chats a bit with Edna and they seem to bond over the fact that not everybody likes them. Anna then catches Edna on her way up and cautions her that now that she's a lady's maid, Thomas will try to curry favor with her for political reasons and she should be wary of him, but Edna seems neutral as she heads upstairs.

Jimmy James brings a box into the kitchen, and when Carson and Mrs. Hughes examine it, they see that it's addressed to Mary -- and is from Matthew's office. Mrs. Hughes wonders if an intermediary shouldn't open it in case it contains anything that would upset Mary. Carson sees the wisdom in that, which is fine, but he decides to bring it to Lord Grantham, which is asinine. If you're worried about the emotional consequences, wouldn't Cora be a much better choice? Regardless, later on Lord Grantham opens a strongbox that was apparently in the package; there's a small stuffed dog (I think; the features aren't that clear) and a book -- out of which drops a piece of paper after Lord Grantham picks it up. Plot in motion and all, but another conveniently-appearing letter determining Downton's financial future? I think that's your series quota, mates.

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Downton Abbey

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