Downton Abbey
Episode Six

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

Having been summoned, Edith comes into Mary's bedroom and after complaining that her maid isn't working out and that she misses Anna, she asks what's up. Mary asks by what train Edith will be returning from London and when Edith names a time of 3 PM on Thursday, Mary asks her to make sure Matthew doesn't catch an earlier one. Edith, with her usual impatience when dealing with one of Mary's schemes, doesn't see how she can promise that, but eventually gives in, though not without complaining that everything with her sister is so complicated. In Mary's defense, she did warn you that Sybil dying wasn't going to make you two get along any better.

Lord Grantham tries to worm information on Matthew's plan out of Branson and when Branson keeps mum, Lord Grantham complains to Cora that Matthew has "some ghastly scheme" for the estate about which he's being kept in the dark. Meanwhile, downstairs, over a drink, Mrs. Hughes is telling Carson he can't allow Jimmy James to blackmail him and when Carson apologizes for her having had to hear about it, Mrs. Hughes is like, do you think Thomas is the first man "of that sort" I've come across? Carson's eyes go wider than I've ever seen them at the thought of Mrs. Hughes having hagged it up, and Mrs. Hughes continues to shock and awe by suggesting that Jimmy James might have led Thomas on. I'm not saying I agree, but I did note earlier that Jimmy James certainly had no problem getting emotional support from Thomas even though he clearly knew what he was all about. Mrs. Hughes kind of is of the same mindset, saying that she's not saying it was deliberate, but Jimmy James is "a vain and silly flirt," and it would have been easy for Thomas to misread the situation. The hits are coming so fast that it's taking all Carson's restraint not to start chugging spirits straight out of the decanter, but Mrs. Hughes goes on that she's not going to sit by and let Jimmy James ruin a man's livelihood. "Not a man who was wounded in the service of king and country!" I mean, I'm with Mrs. Hughes a hundred percent, but it's unfortunate she chose that particular incident as evidence of Thomas' character. Carson points out that they may have no choice, as "these practices with which you're apparently so familiar" (hee) are against the law and if they defy Jimmy James, the result could be that Thomas gets sent to prison. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hughes has no pithy reply for that reality...

...so let's check in with Bates, who's having a look at the exterior of his cottage when he hears a noise and realizes Thomas is standing nearby watching him. Understandably, Bates misinterprets his presence and steps forward for a confrontation, but Thomas tells him he envies him -- he and Anna are the happy couple and everyone's so pleased for them and he can't imagine what that's like. Bates suggests he try being nicer, but Thomas thinks it's being nice that got him into trouble and I don't really have time to dissect that thinking, but it's intriguing enough that Bates asks what he means. Thomas, however, declines to explain, merely saying he'll be gone soon and Bates will be glad of it. Bates agrees, but when Thomas walks off like someone who's been stripped of his soul, Bates looks a bit more concerned for his fellow man.

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Downton Abbey

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