Downton Abbey
Episode Two

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B- | 3 USERS: B
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Never A Bride

We're outside and apparently Alfred has improved his reputation with Carson, as he's sending him along to work the picnic. After a bit of instruction, the family starts emerging and Carson sends Alfred over to see to one of the cars before stopping Lady Cora and asking for a word. He says he knows it's awkward with the wedding the next day, but Mrs. Hughes is very tired, so would Lady Cora mind diverting some of her work to him? Lady Cora, however, won't accept "tired" at face value, so Carson, after some hesitation, tells her that Mrs. Hughes is ill -- possibly very ill -- and he doesn't want the wedding to... well, kill her. Lady Cora agrees, but wonders how they'll get on without her and O'Brien both. I suppose she's talking in a broader sense, because I'm not sure it's reasonable to fear that O'Brien is going to disappear before the wedding when it's literally the next day. (I really almost pulled something restraining a comment there.) Carson is like, O'Brien in the what now?, but Lord Grantham's twelfth impatient summons since the scene began is enough to finally get his wife into the car, and off they go.

In what looks to me like Council housing, Anna finds Mrs. Bartlett taking down some laundry from the line; she hands over the amount of money they apparently agreed on, only to have Mrs. Bartlett pocket it and smugly tell her she's got nothing to say. Well, at least the fact that she was friends with Vera isn't in question. Anna soldiers on and asks if "Mrs. Bates" (she starts by referring to her as "Vera," but that goes over like a lead balloon) seemed depressed or unhappy, and Mrs. Bartlett confirms that, because "her husband had left her and gone off with a trollop." That's what I said! Anna has the good sense not to react to the cheap shot and soon Mrs. Bartlett is ever so slightly less hostile, offering that Bates had changed by the end, and Vera was scared of him. And honestly, as awful as she was, I'm not sure I doubt that. I don't believe Bates killed her, because with his martyr complex he'd be only too happy to swing for it if he had, but I wouldn't put violence past him. Anna asks when she last saw Vera, but Mrs. Bartlett notices some inquisitive looks from the neighbors and suggests they go inside. Just keep your keys in your hand, Anna. With as many as you must have for your job, you could do some real damage if she tries anything.

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Downton Abbey

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