Downton Abbey
Season 4 – Episode 2

Episode Report Card
admin: B | 83 USERS: B+
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House Paaaaaarty!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

A parade of cars heralds the advent of Cora's house-party weekend, and it's so reminiscent of Gosford Park that I hope no one slips and calls Violet "Lady Trentham." And speaking of movies I love, Tom Cullen hops out of one of the vehicles, and this will be the last time I'll mention this, but his performance was the very best of many great things about Weekend, which -- if you haven't seen it -- is in my opinion the best gay film of this decade thus far. (I wrote a little something about it here.) Anyway, Tom Cullen (okay, okay… his name is "Lord Gillingham") tells his man that the housekeeper used to be Mrs. Hughes, but he's not sure if she's still there, so apparently he hasn't been to Downton in a while… and also Mrs. Hughes is old. Inside, Lord Gillingham's man bumps into Anna and flirts with her a bit in aid of asking her for directions (or the other way around), and then we cut to upstairs, where several gracious lords and ladies are standing about with teacups in their hands. Lord Grantham asks a "Sir John" about his train trip and is told that it was jolly good; we then learn that a "Mr. Sampson" is there thanks to Lord Grantham seeing him at White's every now and then.

Seeing Lord Gillingham, Lord Grantham asks who the "glamorous pirate" (hee) is, and Cora asks if he doesn't recognize "Johnny Gillingham's son." Lord Grantham (after recalling that he used to be called "Anthony Foyle") replies he hasn't seen him since the father's funeral. He heads over to say hello, and Mary joins them not a few seconds later to note that the last time he visited, he was "a very superior young man who found three little girls extremely tiresome to deal with." Well, he might have just been taking his cues from your dad, Mary. Lord Gillingham looks amusedly chastened, but someone who's not seeing the humor in all this is Gregson, who's like, Edith, your dad doesn't liiiiike me! Also uncomfortable is Branson, who gets some tin-eared sympathy from an older lady over Sybil's death; it seems reasonable for him to seem awkward as he casts about for a change of subject, but the Dowager Countess worries to her son that "Tom's small talk is very small indeed." Lord Grantham actually defends Branson, saying not everyone can be Oscar Wilde, but the Dowager Countess replies that that's a relief, and I'm going to choose to believe she only doesn't like him because he might conversationally outdo her on a good day. Lord Grantham then invites the group to retire to their rooms and announces that they'll gather in the drawing room at eight. It sounds like such easy living, but I bet some of the attendees are going to have to allow twenty minutes for the walk from the guest bedrooms.

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Downton Abbey

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