Downton Abbey
Episode Seven

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 14 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
Oy, Again With The Birth and the Death?

...and then we cut to dinnertime, with a bagpipes player circling the table and playing -- loudly. Some of the guests (such as Edith) seem charmed, but Matthew looks like he has a migraine coming on, while the Dowager Countess looks like she's mentally cursing Isobel for not having to hear this. He does eventually leave them in peace, but when Lord Grantham proclaims the music "marvelous," Susan (that's Lady Flintshire) informs that he'll be back "to pipe us awake at eight o'clock." I would desperately try to get up before them, as offhand I can't imagine many more unpleasant ways to be jerked out of sleep. No wonder the Flintshires seem so irritable. After Susan throws a nasty enough comment her husband's way, Shrimpie tells Lord Grantham that they can practice shooting the next day, whereupon the Dowager Countess asks what's planned for the women. Rose pipes up that there's a picnic by the loch the day after next and then mentions the ball again, which she says is always fun. Susan: "As long as it's not too much fun." Seems like people using the last year to forget their grudges doesn't extend to Susan, not that that's a surprise even at this early hour. Edith then brings up Gregson and Rose suggests she invite him to Duneagle; while Lord Grantham tries to shoot the idea down, Cora takes the opposite position and Shrimpie makes the invitation formal, unless Susan has any objections? Susan: "Why on earth would I object?" On second thought, let's get the bagpipes player back in here. It'll be more pleasant that this conversation.

Carson is reading The Yorkshire Observer at the table when Mrs. Patmore comes in and announces to the group that Tufton gave her dry ginger instead of fresh, which is partially her fault, since the old supplier knew what she wanted and as such she didn't specify. Thomas says he's got a mind to go to the town where Tufton's store is the next day so he can take it back and Mrs. Patmore suggests that Alfred go with him, as he'd like the store, what with his interest in cooking. Carson is like, whoa whoa whoa, what about Branson's lunch, but Thomas declares that he'll hardly need an under-butler or two footmen and Mrs. Hughes makes it a moot point by saying Branson told her he'd get lunch at the Grantham Arms as Edna listens intently, probably thinking of filthy puns involving Branson's arms. I mean, we've been pretty like-minded so far. Carson gives them leave to go...

...while, speaking of Branson, he and his arms are over at Isobel's, and she tells him he's welcome whenever he likes, adding that it must be odd being alone at the house. Branson, however, points out that he's not alone -- there are people he knows well, but their social statuses are different now. Of course, he's talking to a woman who knowingly gave a job to Downton's Hester Prynne, so it's no surprise that she encourages him to spend some time with the below-stairs folk, adding that -- presumably referring to the way Downton is now run -- that he's "managed a very delicate transition superbly." He thanks her, but she goes on to caution him not to be too eager to please; he's the agent of the estate and as such, he has a perfect right to speak with anyone who works under him. Branson looks like he hadn't considered his position in quite this light before and smiles that that's quite a speech, but she tells him she means it and that he has a position now. "You're entitled to use it." Honestly, I'd be surprised if this is the first time these two have spent any time together, even without taking into account that Branson and Matthew are total bros.

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Downton Abbey

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