Downton Abbey
Episode Six

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B+ | 8 USERS: A
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Branson The Bridge-Builder
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

With the opening and closing of many doors within, it's all appropriately dramatic, but the point is that we start with Bates' release from prison. Anna, awaiting him anxiously in a car, jumps out and runs to him when she sees him appear and while I've seen scenes of this nature play out countless times in movies and on TV, I think this is the first when the ex-con appeared in a three-piece suit and bowler hat. They embrace tearfully, he thanks God and Anna for his release and they kiss. Well, just Bates and Anna; despite all their piety, I'm not sure God needs to see this up close. Cut to the car, and when Bates sees Downton in the distance, he smiles...

...while inside, Alfred wonders how they should speak to Bates upon his return and Mrs. Hughes is like, uh, normally, maybe? Jimmy James, probably in an attempt to clarify Alfred's question, asks if they should pretend like the whole prison thing never happened, but Bates -- having just appeared in the doorway -- tells him that won't be necessary. I'd wonder why there isn't a bell at the servants' entrance to eliminate dramatic entrances such as these if I hadn't just answered my own question with my use of the word "dramatic." Everyone greets Bates warmly enough, with the exception of Thomas, who looks like someone at a will reading who got left nothing but the deceased's iguana. Bates greets "Thomas" with an appraising look and notes he's still there, and Thomas corrects him that it's "Mr. Barrow" now, but yes, he's still there and as busy as ever. Carson starts to say that there have been some changes and it sounds like he's going to address the matter of who's going to be valet to Lord Grantham, but he changes his mind and turns the subject to Sybil and he's got to be feeling awkward about the staffing decision if he'd rather bring up a tragic death than discuss it. Bates says he wrote a letter to Cora and then thanks the kitchen staff for fussing over him...

...while upstairs, Edith tells the breakfast crowd that the editor has written to repeat his offer and invite her to meet in London, and Matthew suggests she make the trip as she could see Rosamund and also go shopping. Lord Grantham, however, already having stiffened like he just found a servant's hair in his strawberries and cream, scoffs that the editor is just trying to convince Edith to write for "his horrible paper." Although Edith understandably declines to get into it with her father, she does say that she's going to make the trip, not least because she hasn't been to London in ages. Once she's gone, Lord Grantham asks Matthew not to encourage her before noting that Matthew has "trapped poor old Jarvis" into a meeting. Matthew replies that it won't take long, but since Jarvis is the agent, there are things they need to get straight, if Lord Grantham is with him? Lord Grantham snits that he's glad Matthew things there's a role for his agreement and honestly, I hope these two start to see eye to eye soon as their fights are not exactly the stuff of ticket sales. Branson evidently is of the same mind, as once Lord Grantham is gone he asks Matthew if he's sure he wouldn't rather "cut and run" like him and the answering look on Matthew's face suggests he's considered it... and not only one time either.

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Downton Abbey

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