Downton Abbey
Episode Six

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

Rose sits down with the Dowager Countess and we didn't see it, but I wonder if the words "won't you come into my parlor" prefaced that act. For, you see, the Dowager Countess tells Rose that instead of going back to dusty, horrible London, they're going to have Duneagle (Rose's family's Scottish estate, I presume) opened early and she's to go there to stay with her aunt Agatha. Rose repeats, "Alone in Scotland with Aunt Agatha" like it's her fifth time saying "Candyman" to the mirror and freaks as she wonders who told on her. The Dowager Countess silkily says she has no idea what Rose is on about and hilariously, Rose apologizes, which I hope the Dowager Countess gets on the phone to Rosamund about posthaste. The Dowager Countess tells her that she can stay for the cricket match, but then her maid will personally accompany her to Scotland and Rose at least figures out that she's beaten. Might as well get used to it if you intend to have a further relationship with the Dowager Countess.

Speaking of looking beaten, in his room, Thomas quietly notes that prison has changed Bates, as there was a time when nothing was too bad for Thomas from Bates' point of view. Bates concedes the point before asking if Thomas is aware that O'Brien is behind all this and Thomas acknowledges that he at least knew someone was. Bates asks if it doesn't bother him, adding that he'll never work again, but Thomas is beyond the ability to fight and his voice stays quiet as he says he has a cousin in Bombay he might go see. Bates asks if there isn't something he can leverage against O'Brien, but Thomas is resigned to his fate, lacking the energy this battle would take. Bates, however, offers to fight it for him if Thomas will only supply him with a weapon. "What can I say that will make her change her mind?" And it's no surprise after all the time they spent as co-conspirators, but the push-in on Thomas' revelatory expression suggests that there is something after all.

Matthew has apparently told Lord Grantham about his plan and Lord Grantham is characteristically barking at him and Branson as a result. Mary and Cora are present as Lord Grantham wonders if they could buy some time by investing Matthew's money. "I hear of schemes every day that will double whatever's put into them. There's a chap in America -- Charles Ponzi!" HA! I mean, it's super-cheap, but you can hardly blame the show for taking what's right in front of it. This conversation is giving Matthew a headache and as I mentioned earlier, when he decides he's had enough bullshit, he lets everyone know it and here he stands and yells that the last time Lord Grantham took an interest in investing, the loss of Cora's fortune was the result. Cora, however, won't let Matthew talk to her husband that way, saying that he's entitled to some respect. Mary tries to mediate by telling them that Matthew didn't mean to be rude. Lord Grantham sniffs that he's doing a good job of seeming otherwise, but Branson and Mary both pipe up in support of Matthew's plan and when Cora asks if the most important thing for both them and the farmers isn't to maintain Downton's existence, Lord Grantham can only ask if she's against him, too. I mean, when all else fails, why not try a little emotional blackmail, but it doesn't seem to me to be super-likely to work on a mother who's recently endured what Cora's been through and she stands and soberly tells her husband that it sounds to her like his plan is to carry on as if nothing's changed, which will only result in the loss of Matthew's money as well as hers. "So yes, I believe Matthew is right." So we can add one more person to the "beaten" category in this episode, but Lord Grantham is an aristocrat and as such needs to save face, so he tells them he'll be taking a back seat in the running of the place from now on and exits. I'm not sure "you can't fire me, I sort of quit" is the greatest parting sentiment, but I suppose he didn't have a lot to work with here. Lord Grantham stomps past Edith, who's on the phone with the Daily Telegraph asking for information about her editor. Seems like a bit of an intrusion, but then again, she is a journalist now.

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Downton Abbey

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