Downton Abbey
Episode Six

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

Upstairs, Edith seems upset as she tells the group she has to go back to London, but she clearly doesn't want to discuss the matter further, so Matthew asks about the cricket team and Lord Grantham curtly says they're still two short. Perhaps in an effort to smooth things over with his father-in-law, Matthew lightly leans on Branson to play, but Cora tells him not to twist Branson's arm, only to turn around and slightly soggily say how much she's going to miss him and baby Sybil when they move to the cottage. Edith points out that Cora's doing the same thing she just warned Matthew off of, but Cora thinks children are happier among family...

...but that's all we hear on the matter, as Lord Grantham is getting out of his clothes as he says he's glad everything's settled with Thomas, but now that he thinks about it, he should have Carson insist that Thomas stay on both for cricket purposes and as a means for Carson to reassert his authority over Jimmy James. That latter reason doesn't really hold up under scrutiny and Bates isn't thrilled at this turn as he asks if Thomas couldn't just stay until after the match, but Lord Grantham thinks that would be unkind. Bates manages not to mutter about how stupid cricket ruins everything...

...while, on that subject, Molesley is making a fool of himself yet again, and then Alfred pulls Jimmy James away from the spectacle to ask if he's really conceded in the case against Thomas. Jimmy James tells him it was dragging on, and at least this way they'll be rid of him, but Alfred doesn't look pleased. Of course, if he goes to his aunt, she'll have to back Jimmy James' play, but he looks like he's getting ideas of his own, which can't be a good thing for anyone.

At breakfast, it's only the three usual men, which means Edith must already have departed for London. Matthew rises and says he's going to check out some buildings on one of the farms and invites Lord Grantham to come with him, but Lord Grantham barely looks up from the paper as he says in his best "I'm not angry, just disappointed" tone that he's sure Matthew can manage without him. With a defeated look at Branson, Matthew leaves, whereupon Branson tells Lord Grantham that Matthew may put a brave face on, but he cries himself to sleep every night in Branson's arms because he wants Lord Grantham with him on the plan more than anything. Lord Grantham grunts that he doesn't have a mind for what Matthew wants to do and when Branson translates that as Lord Grantham not being a tradesman, Lord Grantham replies, "Your words, not mine." Heh. Branson commands Lord Grantham's attention, however, when he says that the way he sees it, everyone who joins the Crawley family by birth or marriage has to put his or her individual gifts at the family's disposal. He, Branson, is a hard worker and knows the land to some degree, Matthew knows business and the law and Lord Grantham understands the responsibilities they have to the people in the area. He concludes that if they all play to their strengths, Downton will have a real chance and Lord Grantham concedes that Branson is making a better case for Matthew's vision than Matthew has himself recently. Branson asks if that means he'll give them his backing and Lord Grantham tells him he'll think about it -- if Branson will play cricket for the house. "You said it yourself - we all have to do what we can do." Branson at least takes being hoist with his own petard with good humor and even Carson looks as amused as he ever permits himself to be.

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Downton Abbey

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