I FINALLY got to watch the xmas special of Downton Abbey recently after being outnumbered this christmas. I did read a lot of people complaining that it was boring, even though the same people complained it was too much during that infamous rape scene. I however did not find it boring, it wasn’t Game Of Thrones exciting but the costumes were really beautiful.
There’s going to be a game of cricket, everyone is very excited and the men are all very competitive about it. Downstairs the end is nigh for Thomas, hes rather a broken man at the fought of all hes losing and to add insult to injury, O’Brien convinces Jimmy it would be best if he told the police, god forbid Thomas should attack again! :/.
There’s a new visitor to Downton, lady Rose, or rather the dowager Countess’s house as the young, naive 18 year old will be staying with her auntie.
Anna and Bates meanwhile finally begin to enjoy there marital bliss with there own, rather dingy house, which they soon make up to shape. As a wife, Anna can no longer work at the great house and is replaced by a new maid, yet shes so unimportant we never get to see her. Mr Bates in all his martial bliss doesn’t forget what he has so recently left and can’t help but feel bad for Thomas as he watches him go further down hill, and soon sets himself to task to find out what is really going on.
Edith meanwhile is blossoming in to the perfect journalist and is attracting the attentions of her editor, yet perhaps secretly enjoying these, like the shrewd detective goes on a mission to find out all about his life. Alongside her trampling’s through London, Lady Rose decides she wants to come as well, to create a “surprise” or something along that line for her Mother. Edith isn’t so convinced that she is the sweet and innocent girl she makes herself out to be and is glad when Matthew wishes to come as well on his own business for a bit of support. So they all go happily trotting off to Aunt Rosemond’s and leave Lady Rose to her own devices.
In the meantime Matthew visits a doctor as he is still convinced that he is the reason the they are not conceiving, however, surprising bumps in to Mary there, who admits all her secret excursions to him. Turns out she is the problem and after a small operation should be perfectly fine to conceive, to the great relief of Matthew. However on another, much seedier part of town, Lady Rose is rumbled after leaving her scarf in a cab with a married man in a jazz club by Edith, Matthew and Rosemond. Matthew demands that she return or he will tell all, so Lady Rose leaves as swiftly as she came leaving her lover to his “horrid wife”.
Back at Downton Bates convinces Thomas that they can take down O’Brien together, Thomas stunned that Bates would want to help him discovers help comes from a man who also knows what it is like to be out of control of your life. Thomas tells Bates a secret, and if you have been watching since season One you will instantly remember one particularly terrible thing O’Brien did will her ladyships soap. O’Brien of course horrified, returns and convinces Jimmy that to ring the police would be the wrong thing, however Alfred is listening and decides to take matters into his own hands.
At the all important game of cricket, Robert has convinced Tom to play, only in exchange for agreement in the updating of Downton’s house management and all goes swimmingly on the lovely summers day. Mosley has been boasting all episode of his knowledge of cricket, yet sadly it turns out that that is the end of his experience of cricket as he is a terrible player. Thomas, Matthew and Tom all do very well everything looks to be going perfectly until the police show up. Alfred has rung them and Robert has to save the day, agreeing that Thomas should stay and having a very cavalier attitude to something of a hot topic pre-1960’s. Alfred is convinced in the end, Thomas becomes under butler, Jimmy 1st footman and Bates is back in his position of valet; Tom has confided that he wants to stay at Downton and let his daughter grow up there, to the great delight of the Countess.
It all ended on such a lovely, happy note that i am sure there will be dumps along the Xmas special, i soooooo hope Edith gets it on with the Editor and will get to see little Sybil a bit older. But for the meantime i am just have to content myself with the season three box-set and screen capturing all the lovely costumes.
WOOOH BATES IS FREE, all is good in Downton with justice restored, of course everyone is happy, some of the staff are awkward round Mr Bates, but does he care, hell no, he’s free. As life carries on Alfred asks Ivy out on a date to the cinema, of course not alone as that would be improper and without the written consent of all the staff… Matthew’s still harping on about the management of the house, Tom is on his side but is a little bit scared of Robert, can’t imagine why, its not like they’re interfering with his lifes work or anything.
Edith is still flirting with the idea of writing in the newspaper and Matthew supports her new occupation, of course Robert doesn’t and demands that Matthew stops encouraging her, Edith seems more determined than ever at this slight and goes to meet the Editor. While Back downstairs Jimmy is convinced Mr Carson doesn’t like him and neither does anybody else (he’s obviously just mentioning the men!) and confines his troubles to Thomas who’s more than a willing shoulder to cry on.
But, later on as Alfred, Ivy and the others return from their jaunt to the cinema, Thomas chooses exactly the wrong time to go into Jimmy’s and Alfred’s room and kiss Jimmy on the lips. Sadly he is interrupted by Alfred bashing through the door in his shining armour, sadly he doesn’t need rescuing and Jimmy threatens to beat up a very disheartened Thomas as a very bemused Alfred watches.
As the drama unfolds downstairs Edith gets on jolly well with her editor and accepts his offers but she also causes other mischief when she places an advert for a job for Ethel on the Dowager’s bidding without Mrs Crawley knowing, of course this doesn’t go down very well with Mrs Crawley, yet Ethel might do anything to get away from the taunts and remarks from the villagers.
As the christening for little Sybil approaches, Tom invites his brother who is asked to stay with the family, yet makes an impromptu stop downstairs to the amusement of the staff and Tom’s dismay who quickly sends him upstairs.
Jimmy finally comes to the decision that he should tell Mr Carson what happened with Thomas and if Carson hadn’t read the bible i am sure he would have never heard of such sodomites. Poor Thomas admits to his faults, in the eyes of the law anyway and his job now hangs in the balance.
The christening is a solemn affair and Tom gets his way in the end and has a catholic ceremony, while everyone poses for pictures the tension and sadness is evident and poor Robert is not so convinced about posing with this catholic chap.
It starts very sober, everybody dressed in black leaving Sybils funeral, i am kinda glad we didn’t get to see it, it would have been too sad; however things look on the up for Bates, Anna’s trying desperately hard to free him and it looks like one of Vera’s friends is the answer. Back in the house Cora is the one struggling the most while pinning all the blame on poor Robert, she makes it clear she blames him and cannot forgive him.
It becomes evident that poor Robert is at war with everybody in the house and he is on the losing side, Tom makes it clear he wants his daughter to be a catholic like him, and intends to name the little girl after her mother (I had so hoped he would) everybody but Robert agrees who thinks it would be morbid.
Back downstairs Mr Carson has made it clear that nobody is to visit the Crawley’s house or be tainted by Ethel’s disgrace, of course Mrs Patmore ignores him and helps Ethel prepare a meal for all the Downton ladies which, to Mrs Crawley’s surprise turns out very well. Of course Mr Carson finds out and informs Robert who is livid and storms round there to demand that everyone leave, least be subject to scandal. Sadly for him he is outnumbered and eventually ignored for the prospect of a delicious dessert and storms out the house.
Back in the kitchen, hormones are flying everywhere, i actually struggled to keep up with who likes who and what, but Daisy ends up doing the foxtrot with both the footman and getting a good telling off afterwards while Ivy’s intentions are misdirected at Jimmy, who apparently has his eyes on someone else, i haven’t figured who yet. Also downstairs tensions are rising when Jimmy is getting upset at the frequently over friendly Thomas and informs O’Brien of his worries who takes on a sinister eye to the information, no doubt concocting a plan against Thomas. Daisy’s may be getting in trouble in the kitchen but her fortunes are looking up when Mr Mason offers to leave his farm to run and everything he has, Daisy’s shocked and didn’t imagine she’d ever leave service.
Back upstairs the Dowager Duchess is not content to just watch Robert and Cora’s marriage fall apart so takes it upon herself to bring them back together; she demands that Dr Clarkson confess to his lack of understanding in this difficult field and basically lie to save them both. He of course is against lying however the Dowager doesn’t quite see it as that and expects him to research and the study the case again to get a better understanding of whether Sybil really would have died either way. In the end Cora and Robert except Dr Clarkson (slightly forced) confession and begin to grieve for their daughter together.
I must warn you now that somebody dies, so if you do not want to know then i will warn you just before i mention it, i have to say i was gutted.
This episode starts of with early ‘false’ labour paths for sybil, everyone is a bit on edge for her but all she seems to be worried about is the future for her little family. Ethel starts working for Mrs Crawley, the thought of working with a women who use to be a prostitute is so disagreeable to the cook that she leaves, informing the other staff at Downton. Mr Carson is mortified and bans anyone for visiting the Crawley house. Back in the kitchen the new footman is settling in very well with everyone being friendly, a little too friendly on Thomas behalf. The new kitchen maid Ivy however is having a hard time of it from Daisy, now assistant cook to Mrs Patmore, though perhaps some of this stems from jealousy thanks to her budding friendship with Alfred, the first footman.
Anna makes a breakthrough with evidence from one of the late Mrs Bates’ friends, who is not on Mr Bates’ side so Anna must extract her evidence cunningly so the old lady does not no she is helping Bates. Edith receives some good news as well, she has been asked to write a newspaper column once a week on anything that she likes, Matthew is thrilled for her but Robert comments enthusiastically on it, bringing Ediths spirits down.
Robert invites a specialist on childbirth to come and help Lady Sybil, yet Cora is convinced that Dr Clarkson, who has known all the girls since they were children will be perfectly fine. Eventually both Doctors come to blow when Dr Clarkson thinks Sybil could be suffering from pre eclampsia, because she has swollen ankles and her baby is small. The other is convinced he is talking rubbish and tells him to keep quite, eventually the house is divided and Cora and Tom want to take Sybil to the hospital yet Robert gets his way in the end and the baby GIRL is born and everything is fine and everyone is happy, though Dr Clarkson still has a worried face.
SPOILER – everyone is woken in the night as Sybils condition gets worse and she starts having fits, the other doctors is mortified that he has to admit Dr Clarkson was right and it is pre eclampsia, Dr Clarkson states that once they start to fit their is no hope. Sybil struggles to breath and with everyone by her sides dies, rather painfully it looks. I have to say i was taken completely aback by this, they did say a well known character would die but i never thought it would be sybil. Tom is broken, Robert is so shocked he can’t except what is happening and Cora eventually blames Robert and shuts herself away from everyone else. The staff are woken and informed of what has happened, showing true grief in the news and demonstrating how deep the relationship between employer and employee can go.
While everyone comes to terms with what has just happened, Mr Murray comes to talk to Anna about her evidence for Mr Bates, while at the same time Matthew gets a word in about the management of the house which Lady Mary overhears and is greatly insulted that Matthew could mention any of this just after her sister has died and while her father is not there to discuss it with them.
I can’t stop thinking of Lady sybil’s fate, obviously its fiction but is based on a very real fact that women did very often die in childbirth and i even know of this from my own family history, makes childbirth seem like a very scary thing indeed.
So, i was so absorbed with sewing that i forgot to post the latest episode of Downton, woops :D. Anyway, Anna is waiting patiently for letters from Bates, yet they never seem to arrive, she’s worried that Bates is being honorable and letting her forget about him, of course she’s not going to give up that easily. On the other end Bates is also having a shortage of letters, perhaps they’ve got lost in the post, yet he has been condemned a dangerous prisoner and the prison has stopped Anna from visiting him.
Ethel arrives at Mrs Crawley’s hoping to receive some help for her and her son, yet the shame of her current situation is too much and she leaves before Mrs Crawley can do anything, yet she’s determined not to give up either. Ethel sends a letter in the end, asking for help, not for her but for her son and hopes Mrs Crawley will arrange a meeting with the child’s grandparents, she wants to give him up so he has the chance of a better life, Mrs Crawley doesn’t agree, yet Mrs Hughes believes Ethel would be doing the right thing.
Back upstairs they receive a strange call from Sybil, she’s OK and she thinks that they are not following her, confused the families questions are soon answered when Tom arrives at the front door seeking sanctuary. He has run away after being implicated in the arson of a wealthy families house, Tom feels bad for what they have done yet is sticking with his principles and his dissatisfaction with the wealthy. Robert is livid that he could leave a pregnant woman alone in a strange country and when sybil does finally arrive, their passionate welcome is soon subdued when they realise that they can’t go back to Ireland or Tom will be arrested.
Quietly on the side Edith is beginning to come into her own and reads with dissatisfaction the situation on women’s right to vote and decides to write to the newspaper with her opinion, Robert thinks its a stupid idea and that they will not be interested, yet Matthew rallies behind her and Robert is eventually put in his place when the newspaper header reads ‘Lords daughter condemns voting bill’, Edith is overjoyed with her little win.
Back in prison it comes to light that the officers had been hiding Bates’ letters from Anna and not delivering his, they are both overjoyed when the bundles arrive and their spirits rallied. We also have the arrival of two new staff, Jimmy the footman and new kitchen maid Ivy.
I had the thought that their might be a Xmas baby at Downtown, of course i am writing this after i watched the next episode and know the outcome, i was wrong.