Downton Abbey
Episode Three

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

Good Lord, Anna, get it together. Mrs. Hughes interrupts her silent suffering to tell her she thinks everything's under control, but stops when she sees Anna's face. Anna confesses it's been weeks since she's had a letter from Bates, and she worries that he's "being gallant" in trying to set her free. Yeah, that's not how I'd define "gallant" either, but the Brits often use words differently. Also, Anna seems to be under the impression that it's Bates who stopped her visiting rather than the prison authorities. I'm not sure if she was given that information or if she jumped to the conclusion, but it does seem tenuous, especially given Bates having mentioned his cellmate to her. Mrs. Hughes doesn't know anything about that, but she is sure that Bates hasn't abandoned Anna, and Anna nods gratefully at the encouraging words...

...while Bates, on work detail, gets the news from that same Good Samaritan that Craig (that's the cellmate) knows Bates tricked him -- brilliant deduction there -- and that he has powerful friends on the outside, I think, who were in on the set-up (the details are unclear to me and I honestly couldn't care less, so no email clarifications necessary), and they're the ones responsible for stopping his visitation and mail privileges, having reported him to the governor as a dangerous prisoner. Bates is just thrilled to learn that Anna hasn't actually abandoned him, but Bates' guardian angel tells him not to celebrate until he finds out what else Craig et al. have in store for him. Bates does not launch into an answering speech about how his and Anna's love will conquer anything that life throws at them, which means that I owe a lot to the guard who just barked, "Stop talking!"

Carson is quizzing Alfred on several different types of spoons; he does pretty well, but has to get help from Carson on the bouillon spoon, an assist witnessed by Thomas. After Carson sends Alfred off, Thomas tries to be ingratiating as he tells Carson he's quite jealous of all the time Carson's taking with him. Carson: "I don't know why. He asked for help. You never did." Thomas doesn't have an answer for that, which is rare, yet hardly surprising in this particular instance.

At Crawley House, Ethel tells her audience that what she has to say is hard, but Mrs. Hughes is like, I have a dinner to see to, so work through the pain? Ethel screws up her courage and asks Mrs. Hughes if she'd write to the Bryants again, saying that she knows she initially took the position that she could raise her son best, but she sees now that she was being selfish. Isobel counsels her not to do anything until she's absolutely sure, which is fair enough, but in an episode that deals with a fair number of gender issues, the larger point to take from this is that, as a woman, she feels she has no options despite Isobel's ongoing attempts to convince her otherwise. Speaking of, Isobel tells her that they all know the route she's taken -- hard to miss it, Isobel, with you shouting it from the rooftops every chance you get -- and Ethel tells her it's good of her even to have her in her house, but Isobel's point is that she'd love to work with Ethel to try to find a way for her to keep Charlie. Ethel, however, thinks that regardless of whatever efforts they might go to, she still could never offer Charlie the opportunities that a life with the Bryants will afford him. Mrs. Hughes doesn't actually look at her watch but is still like, so, the resolution is? Isobel asks her to write to the Bryants requesting a meeting, but to keep the purpose vague. Despite Ethel's assertion that she won't change her mind, Mrs. Hughes sees it Isobel's way: "Then there'll be no disappointment, whatever comes." Not that I disagree with the course of action, but I'm pretty sure she's being optimistic with that prediction. Mrs. Hughes then makes to hightail it out of there...

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Downton Abbey

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