Downton Abbey
Episode Three

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

Downstairs, Alfred has told everyone what he saw and Daisy speculates that he's on the run from the police; Thomas and O'Brien are of the same mind, which means you can probably take it as the gospel truth. His tray in hand, Daisy eagerly (she and I are seeing things eye to eye more these days) asks which room Branson is in, but Carson spoils her fun by sweeping in and saying he'll take care of it, and when he's gone, Thomas notes, "So, there'll be no more gossip on that subject tonight." Well, maybe not for you...

...but here's Branson to tell us what happened -- revolutionaries in Dublin turned Lord and Lady Drumgoole and their family out of their castle and then burned it to the ground (or as far to the ground as a castle will burn). Edith thinks it's a tragedy, but the Dowager Countess bright-sides that the house was in fact hideous. Heh. Matthew, however, asks what precisely Branson's involvement was, and Branson is like, who says I was involved and I know he's had a rough night and day, but I still think that is not the indicated play, particularly since it allows Mary to point out that he knows an awful lot about the affair for someone who had nothing to do with it. Branson tells them that while Sybil wasn't involved at all, the authorities think he was one of the instigators, which is why he had to fly immediately. Cora's like, let me get this straight -- you left Sybil to face the music by herself? Branson thinks they won't hold her and if they do, he's prepared to go back. Cora tells Lord Grantham he needs to go see Home Secretary Shortt, and Lord Grantham is holding his temper at about a five on the scale of righteous aristocratic indignation, but when he learns Branson was, in fact, present for the crime, it ratchets up to about an eight as he asks if Branson was there "for the fun of seeing private property destroyed?" Branson, that wild, haunted look still in his eyes, explains that he doesn't see "charm and gracious living" in places like that, but something horrible. The Dowager Countess is like, I am at pains to impress upon you how right he is, but Lord Grantham gets her to can the vaudeville act (that's a mental image, right there; she's even got the cane) so Branson can go on that when he saw the Drumgooles turned out, watching their home burn, he found his stomach for such things quite a bit weaker than he thought -- he wants a free state for Ireland, but he's sorry for what happened. Edith asks about Sybil, and Branson says they agreed he'd flee at once while she closed the flat and why that was such an urgent errand I don't know. I could see the value of them traveling separately, for sure, but if their liberty is at stake, who gives a crap if their rathole of an apartment sits untended? When Branson adds that he got the last boat, so there's no way Sybil will make it until the next day (maybe it was a hotel lobby we saw her calling from, then), the Indigno-Meter goes to eleven, and the words "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!" are uttered as proof. He chews Branson out for abandoning his pregnant wife "to shift for herself" while he went on the lam, and Branson looks like Lord Grantham is only verbalizing stuff Branson's already been thinking. Rather than pile on, Cora tells Lord Grantham that he has to go to London, for Sybil's sake if not for Branson's, but the aristocratic head of steam isn't go easily stifled, as Lord Grantham barks that he doesn't have to do anything before ordering Branson to go to bed, adding that he'll give them his decision in the morning. Branson leaves us for the evening with about the most attractive cry-face I remember seeing in some time...

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Downton Abbey

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