Downton Abbey
Episode Three

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 8 USERS: A+
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When Irish Eyes Are Crying

Everyone is dressed for dinner, but the pre-course news is unappetizing for Branson: if he ever returns to Ireland, he'll be put in prison. Cora thinks they should have proof to cast a man out of his country, but Lord Grantham announces that they have more evidence than Branson has told them -- Branson is known to have attended meetings in Dublin at which the attack on Drumgoole Castle was planned. This is obviously (most unwelcome) news to Sybil and the air really goes out of the room, but Branson explains that he was always against any personal violence. To change the subject, Matthew asks for details on the bargain Lord Grantham struck, and Lord Grantham confesses that the Irish authorities don't want to make a martyr of Branson. "And with Sybil, they think they could have another Maud Gonne on their hands, or Lady Gregory or worse if they're not careful." The Dowager Countess wonders why the Irish rebels are so well-born, which sounds like it could be the title of a university thesis of the time, but Lord Grantham has had his fill of sociopolitical issues for the day and declares that the bottom line is that if Branson stays away from Ireland, he'll be left alone. Branson doesn't want to accept that and his convictions would seem pretty feeble if he did, but Lord Grantham warns him he'll be arrested the moment he touches dry Irish land...

...while downstairs, issues of equal importance are being discussed, as Alfred gets into a snit about which footman carries what. Daisy tries to stick up for him, but Mrs. Patmore doesn't have time for such nonsense and shoos them away. She is happy that they're running at full strength again, leaving Daisy open to point out that hello, still no kitchen maid. Mrs. Patmore tells her all in good time, which would sound more patronizing if she didn't mean it. Something to work on, Mrs. Patmore.

Upstairs, Edith has apparently announced that she took Matthew's offhand suggestion and wrote in to a newspaper, an action the Dowager Countess condemns as unladylike. Edith counters with the example of Lady Sarah Wilson, but the Dowager Countess replies that the Churchills are different. Mary, reliably on Edith's side when it comes to matters of free thinking, wonders if they have no Churchill blood, but Cora thinks the Dowager Countess is right. The Dowager Countess: "Could somebody write that down?" Hee. Cora thinks there's a fine line between strong views and notoriety and it's a testament to how beaten-down Branson must feel that he keeps out of the discussion. Edith informs them that she's already sent the letter, but Lord Grantham replies that it won't be published and his confidence in that statement is disconcerting, but it's probably also the only thing keeping the Indigno-Meter in check, so I'll take it. Carson then introduces "James," the new footman, and even the Dowager Countess gives him an appraising look that runs from head to toe. When he's gone, Mary smiles to Carson that Jimmy must have cheered up the maids and the Dowager Countess offers her opinion: "He looks like a footman in a musical revue." If that signals that Downton: The Musical is even a gleam in a Broadway producer's eye, put me on the pre-order list. Edith, speaking from painful experience, thinks they mustn't allow Alfred to be completely overshadowed. It's a nice thought, but I don't think they're quite ready to perform a Face/Off surgery and otherwise I don't see how to avoid it. Carson, however, sees it Edith's way, offering that hard work and diligence are worth more than beauty in the real world; when he's gone, the Dowager Countess is like, isn't he just the cutest?

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Downton Abbey

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