Downton Abbey
Episode Six

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B+ | 8 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Branson The Bridge-Builder

In a restaurant, Edith arrives and apologizes for her tardiness, explaining that the errand was a family matter. He notes that she's very family-oriented, with talk then turning to Mary's wedding, at which Gregson says Mary looked glamorous. (Edith: "People say so.") Edith then gets it over with and tells Gregson about being left at the altar, but while he apologizes for bringing up the subject, she tells him it's actually a relief that the news didn't spread all over the globe. She then accepts the job, which is great, except I hope she knows that if she gets jilted again, her position will make the news rather likelier to have an extended reach.

Murray has made it to Downton and he asks Lord Grantham if he questions Matthew's goal to make Downton self-sufficient. Lord Grantham says no, of course not, but he wonders if things can't evolve more slowly, as they did in the past? Murray, however, details the checkered financial history of the previous and current Earls of Grantham and while Lord Grantham sighs that when he told Murray to speak his mind, he didn't mean him to be quite so frank. He does, however, seem much more inclined to listen to Murray, probably because he can't very well lecture Murray on the halcyon days of yore when he's as old as Nebuchadnezzar. However, when Matthew mentions how "wastefully" the estate has been run, Jarvis stands and protests being accused of, according to him, "malfeasance and corruption," and even though Lord Grantham himself tells Jarvis that they have to concede some measure of progress, Jarvis tells him he's no longer the man for his job before "I SAID GOOD DAY"-ing his way out of there. When he's gone, Matthew gets that awkward look on his face that appears when he's offended someone, which is moving closer and closer to being his default setting.

Giggling is coming from the servants' area and we can't have any of that, so Mrs. Hughes goes and summons Carson, who comes out to find a mustachioed brute who can only be Kiernan, emphasized by the fact that he remains seated when everyone else stands. Upon hearing Kiernan's identity, Carson asks if perhaps they could fetch Branson, but the man himself appears with Mary in tow and unsmilingly asks his brother to come upstairs. Kiernan grandstands that he'll stay down below with the servants and when Mary invites him to come up and get changed, he cracks a joke about changing into a pumpkin that gets some more laughs and I'm sorry, but I don't buy that any of the servants hired by Carson would be laughing as this rube tries to score a point off Mary. Of course, Carson and Mrs. Hughes are aghast and when Kiernan sees how the line fails to go over with his brother, he asks if they can't eat with the downstairs crowd and wonders if he's too good for them now. Branson, however, says they know he's not, but Cora has been kind enough to invite him to dine, "and I'll not let you snub her. Now get a move on." It's probably not particularly warm there, but I'm guessing at least some people present are resisting the urge to fan themselves after this display of Branson's steely temper. Kiernan silently obeys, trying to save face by doing so with a sardonic smile, and when the upstairs crowd is gone, Mrs. Hughes sighs that she knows -- Carson always said Branson would bring shame upon the house. But Carson zigs when she thought he would zag, saying that the way Branson respected Cora's invitation was "exemplary" and I wasn't thinking of him when I said people were probably turned on there, but he's not exactly disproving my point.

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Downton Abbey

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