Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x4

Grab your smelling salts, dear readers, because this one's a doozie! And they only get doozier from here on out! At the beginning, a fair is coming to town. Wandering around the fair grounds, Anna goes up to Mary to ask how she's doing after Pamuk's death (oh yeah, him). Mary says, "Haven't you heard? I don't have a heart. Everyone knows that." It's not true, Mary! Anna responds with a simple, "Not me, my lady" because she's fabulous and she knows what's up (smelling salts +1). Next it's- AHHHHH!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BRANSON! THE NEW CHAUFFEUR!!!!!!!!!!! (smelling salts +3 because I am overwhelmed with a tidal wave of ALL CAPS FEELINGS!!!)
*attempts to climb through TV screen*
Ahem... I should mention that there's only one man I love on this show more than Cousin Matthew and that man is Branson. And that is saying something! Did I mention he's Irish? BECAUSE OMG HE'S IRISH! He expresses his interest in books because he's perfect to Lord G who invites him to help himself whenever he likes. Asking what his interests are, Branson notes history and politics. We have a smarty pants on our hands, people! Lord G's impressed and so are we. In the middle of a brainstorming session with Lady G, the Countess decides she needs to find a lawyer, a decent man, in fact, to help break the entail. She realizes she knows the right man for the job and I think we can all guess who it is... At tea Mrs. Crawley tries to diagnose a sort of rash on Molesley's hands. Mrs. Hughes is taking the night off, which is new, and Anna is sent to bed with a cold. Mrs. Crawley shows up at the hospital to get medicine for Molesley and the nurse isn't too happy about it. The Countess pays, you guessed it, Cousin Matthew a visit. Next, the question 'Does O'Brien always have a sour puss face?' is answered with a big fat yes. Cousin Matthew is asked if he thinks Lord G threw the towel in too early with the entail and the Countess has a slight, but hi-larious mishap with a swivel chair (smelling salts +4). The scene is so uproariously funny that I really just need to relive it this instant:
William shows an interest in taking Daisy to the fair, but Thomas immediately cuts him off and ask her himself. Even though he has no interest in her! Gah! But reliable Mr. B is right there to call him a bastard (smelling salts +5)! Lady G, Edith, and Sybil are running so late to meet the Countess that they have no time to change. Sybil says "she can jolly well wait" and Lady G responds, "So women's rights begin at home. I see." Branson gives a little smirk from the front seat and OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS, OH MY GOSH! And I spy an OTP (one true pairing)! Carson's missing wine bottles and at the fair Cousin Matthew pays for Mary to play a round of a game. She reveals that she envies that he has an occupation and when he alludes to her opinion of his social class she says, "You should learn to forget what I say. I know I do." Oh Mary! She prattles on about how dissatisfying her life actually is and he apologizes for making her angry. But she says, "My life makes me angry. Not you." Is he breaking down those walls around your heart, Mary? Because that's what it looks like to me (smelling salts +6)! 
Eye contact! The gift that keeps on giving!
Later, Mary tells Lord G that Cousin Matthew wants to see him to talk about his visit from the Countess. Lord G instructs her to sneak him into the house that night without the Countess knowing. In the evening when they're all walking to the drawing room, you hear a little tidbit of a conversation revealing that Sybil wants to go to a proper school. But of course she does! She's Sybil, darling! Mrs. Hughes meets an old flame at the fair. Matthew successfully slips into the library without getting caught and then O'Brien is an O'Bitch to Branson downstairs. He doesn't care, though, because he's the man! He and Mr. B have a little chuckle and then Mr. B asks if Anna's still in bed recovering. Mr. B!!! Can't fool me!! Carson spills the beans to the Countess that Cousin Matthew is in the library with Lord G and she rushes over to break it up. And then... and then! Anna's reading a book in bed when she hears a knock on the hallway door. It's Mr. Bates coming to see her! But she says no one can open that door apart from Mrs. Hughes. He coaxes her to open it herself and there he is holding a dinner tray (with a vase of flowers) for her! Repaying the favor/showing her how much he cares! No words are even necessary between them and it's just so sweet that I- (smelling salts + 7). 
If only being sick was this precious.
Back at the fair Mrs. Hughes is spotted walking around with her man by the other servants. Daisy is short with William and he storms off. Daisy, no! Mrs. Hughes' old flame basically asks if she'll marry him, but not in so many words. At the house Cousin Matthew tells Mary that they'll need a private bill in Parliament to break the entail. Nuts! He says she means a great deal to the business of the entail, but I suspect he's really saying she means a great deal to him. Eeep! The tension in the room is palpable!
JUST KISS ALREADY!!!!! But this will do!
Carson and Cousin Matthew have a moment since Cousin Matthew wears his heart on his sleeve over how troubled he is over the great matter. Oh Matthew! The servants come back from the fair and Thomas makes fun of Mrs. Hughes' fancy man and Daisy joins in with him. Mr. B tells her being nasty doesn't suit her. Listen to him!! Then we see William praying by his bed and hear a knock at the door. It opens and without turning William tells Mr. B to go away. You see? Mr. B is so kind hearted that William doesn't even have to look to see who's checking up on him (smelling salts +8)! I can't even! But it gets better! Mr. B throws Thomas up against the wall in the hallway and threatens him (smelling salts +9)! The next morning Thomas is a jerk to William again. Gahhh I hate Thomas!! Gwen goes to see Sybil. When O'Brien leaves the room Sybil calls her an "odious woman," because Sybil knows all, you guys! Anyway, Gwen has received a letter asking her to interview for the secretary position. But she'll never be able to get a day off to do it. Sybil concocts a plan to have her play sick and then sneak her out of the house. Because she has a heart of gold (smelling salts +10)! Outside Mary confronts her father, the honorable Lord G. "The only one who never sticks up for me in all this is you. Why is that?" He explains his duty to the men before him who created this "dynasty." 
He tells her this could all be resolved if she married Cousin Matthew. Unfortunately (I really hate that word right now) she says, "I'd never marry any man that I was told to. I'm stubborn. I wish I wasn't, but I am." On the bright side, she didn't say it was because she hates Cousin Matthew, so that's something! THEN OH MY GOSH WE'RE IN A CAR WITH BRANSON AND SYBIL! MY TWO FAVORITE PEOPLE! IN UNBEARABLY CLOSE PROXIMITY (smelling salts +11)!
I vote we run away together!
I can't even begin to process how good this is, so I'm just going to include the dialogue...
Branson: Will you have your own way do you think? With the frock? Only I couldn't help overhearing yesterday. And from what her ladyship said it sounded as if you support women's rights.
Sybil: I suppose I do.
Branson: Because I'm quite political. In fact, I brought some pamphlets that I thought might interest you about the vote. 
Sybil: Thank you! But please don't mention this to my father. Or my grandmother. One whiff of reform and she hears the rattle of the guillotine... It seems rather unlikely. A revolutionary chauffeur. 
Branson: Maybe. But I'm a socialist, not a revolutionary. And I won't always be a chauffeur.

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! That last line (smelling salts +12)! At the hospital we find that remedies aren't working for Molesley's hands. But the Countess points out that he's been treated for the wrong thing and correctly diagnoses him with a plant allergy. She's simply tickled pink to stick it to Mrs. Crawley. Cousin Matthew is walking around town with Lord G and admits that now he does want Downton to be his future. The cook, Mrs. Patmore, tries telling Daisy that Thomas isn't right for her. But seeing that the girl is still so innocent and won't understand, she doesn't tell her why exactly. As they get ready for dinner, Edith makes some snarky comments directed at Sybil. THAT IS CROSSING THE LINE, EDITH! After dinner Lord G keeps referring to Cousin Matthew and Mary gets so upset that she has to leave the room, pretending to have a headache. Lady G runs after her and finds her sobbing in her room. She says he's found a son in Matthew and won't fight for her, his own daughter, anymore. Poor Mary!
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes gives William a pep talk and he says he doesn't know what they'd do without her. The next day Sybil's new frock arrives and as she admires it, Gwen tells her that they cancelled her interview. She's upset, but our golden girl Sybil is ready with words of comfort i.e. "No one hits the bullseye with the first arrow." Sybil! You always know just what to say! Mrs. Hughes tells Carson about her former beau and how she's refused him again. She dwells on the fact that she seems to have changed so much. Carson replies, "And what would be the point of living if we didn't let life change us?" Epiphany (smelling salts +13)! Upstairs everyone is waiting for Sybil to come downstairs in her new frock. We flash to her bedroom and from what I can tell the dress is gorgeous and I really want her headdress. She and Anna are super excited. Finally she comes down to show off her new dress...
Except it's not really a dress! It has frilly pants! Because heart-of-gold-Sybil's amazing and she's all for women's rights (smelling salts +14)! Everyone's completely shellshocked.
Gentleman callerrrrrrrr!!!!!!!
And then we see Branson peering through the window, smiling and shaking his head because he's got it bad! THIS IS PASSION/POLITICS INDUCED TRUE LOVE (smelling salts +15)! And then it ends! Ah! SO GOOD!!!


  1. I have so many thoughts/swoons/smelling salts moments in this episode, I don't even know where to begin!

    BRANSON IS MY SECOND-FAVORITE, TOO! (we should start having Twins +1 moments!) I sense that he and Sybil are meant to be!!!!!

    O'Brien, my loathing for you just continues to grow... As well as my loathing for Edith. BLAH

    Cousin Matthew, look, Mary may be playing hard-to-get, but, really, she wants you!

    THE SWIVEL CHAIR. One of the all-time greatest scenes ever.


  2. From what I can remember of my first two times watching this series, Branson was my favorite by the end. So unless something changes, he's my #1. I'm sorry Cousin Matthew! I'm not sorry! Third time's the charm? I don't know! Branson has a very strong hold over me!