Thursday, February 07, 2013

Anyone Who Has Use of Their Limbs Can Make a Salmon Mousse

Proudly serving up another piece of Downton Abbey recap (and fancy Russian-Franco dessert) is Lady Gillian! Enjoy!

Hello, Anglophiliacs! Observant folks will notice Jessica Brown-Findlay's name is now gone from the opening credits. Maybe she'll make a joint appearance with Lavinia's ghost in some future Ouija board session, but for now, we mourn.

We open with Robert bidding farewell to the funeral guests. Tom Branson, unsurprisingly, is completely lost. Matthew offers his and Mary's help, but Tom responds that he's beyond help. True dat.  He's going to have to contend with a disapproving father-in-law who doesn't want his granddaughter baptized Catholic or named after her mother. Godspeed. Things are still pretty poisonous between Cora and Robert, and agreeing (for once) that they'd like to get away from the awkwardness, Isobel and Violet leave Downton together.

The new maids downstairs are very silly pieces of work, and Anna nicely explains to them that they're all very sad about Lady Sybil's death, so stop giggling and find something to do. Carson wears his usual disapproving glare and walks out. What do they care, harumphs Carson to himself. I'm sure they'd all rather be out smoking and listening to that new jazz music! He complains to Mrs. Hughes who tells him that perhaps their mothers don't want them going into service anymore.


Thomas has been quite affected by Sybil's death, but he's still hot for Jimmy and gives his leg an affectionate squeeze. Jimmy squirms. Does Thomas's attention make Jimmy more uncomfortable than educating the working classes or votes for women? Or is it that he doesn't want to be found out?  Hmmm.

More intrigue, after the jump!

Over at the house of ill repute, Ethel's managed to mess up soup this time (seriously, how clueless is this girl?). Ethel can sympathize with Cora over the loss of a child, but at least she can comfort herself with the fact that Charlie is still alive. Isobel, who wants to host a lunch party, isn't showing a ton of foresight, given the fact that her cook can't, well, cook.

Back at Downton, Mary still hasn't figured out how to braid her hair. Fortunately, she has Anna, who updates her about the Bates situation. Mrs. Bartlett is reluctant to testify on Bates's behalf, since we remember there's some convoluted plot involving Bates's cell mate and one of the prison guards. Super sleuth Anna, however, is on the case.

Upstairs, Cora doesn't want Robert sleeping in their room. Robert at least can admit that they should have listened to Dr. Clarkson. Cora berates him for being blinded by Tapsell's knighthood, London practice and social position, and tells him he allowed those things to block their last chance to save Sybil. Robert leaves the room and chokes down a sob. I still don't feel sorry for him. He's got a lot to make up for. At breakfast, Edith asks after Cora. Branson, employing his usual habit of making things more awkward just by entering a room, enters the room. Edith asks about the christening and asks Branson what he'd like to call the baby. He wants to call her Sybil (duh), and of course Robert disapproves. Edith says she'll go see Mr. Travis about the christening, and Tom announces that Lil Sybil is Irish and will be Catholic.

"It's straight to the IRA for my little Colleen..."

In the village, Mrs. Patmore is approached by Ethel. Mrs. Patmore's uncomfortable because Carson has given a direct order that Downton staff are to stay away from Crawley House and Ethel because prostitution might be catching or something. Ethel asks for Mrs. Patmore's help with Isobel's luncheon. Ethel asks Mrs. Patmore why Isobel should be punished for being nice to her, and…match, set, point.

Over at Azkaban, Blabbermouth guard lets Bates know that he's plotted against Bates to keep him in prison, apparently forgetting that Bates has stuff like a highly competent lawyer and social connections. Those still count, even in these degenerate times.

Robert approaches Mary about Tom's plan to turn Lil Sybil into a left-footer. Gracious Providence! There hasn't been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation, and we imprisoned her in the Tower! Harumph. Papa, says Mary, you've interrupted my reading for this BS? Oh, how Victorian you are! It's not your choice to choose Lil Sybil's religion or her name, so chill out already. Modern Times: 1; Stodgy Disapproval: 0 Violet meanwhile tells Robert he must think about what his plans are for the baby – and soon, before she starts her own chapter of Sinn Fein. Robert tells Violet that he and Cora are going through a rough patch, and Violet lets him know that among their people, that simply doesn't do. Granny does not speak much of the heart (since it is seldom unhelpful to do so), but she realizes both Cora and Robert are hurting.

In the kitchen at Downton, Mrs. Patmore is gathering up her things to pay her clandestine call on Ethel. She shoos Jimmy and Alfred into the servants' hall, where Jimmy tells O'Brien and Thomas that Ivy was "bothering" them. O'Brien, somewhat lacking in gaydar, asks Jimmy if he doesn't like Ivy. Jimmy says she's not his type.  What IS your type, Jimmy? Inquiring minds want to know. Ivy is kind of a dink, so that’s not any indication of which way he leans.

Isobel's gone over to Downton to invite Cora and the Hons. Mary and Edith to lunch. Isobel doesn't see that Violet is in the study as well. Cora politely declines, but before Isobel can leave, Mary and Matthew enter. Mary thanks Isobel for her invitation, and Cora can't protest without looking rude, so the whore-lunch is on! Isobel is invited for dinner, and stays even though she's not properly dressed, buoyed by Violet's assertion that Travis won't know the difference.

Lady Violet is EVERYWHERE!  

Vicar Travis might not know much about the modes of ladies' fashion, but he does find Catholics un-English. In case we've forgotten that Branson is Irish, Branson is Irish and doesn't give two figs about what's English and what's not. Pagan folderol is not pleasing to God, and Travis is convinced that his God is better than Branson's God. The Crawley ladies and Matthew back up Branson, and I bet Edith is pretty glad at this point that this douche didn’t conduct her wedding ceremony. Violet isn't anti-Catholic, though. One of her best friends is Catholic! Mary's heard quite enough, and she takes this opportunity to let the family know that Sybil told her the day she died she'd be happy to have the baby baptized Catholic if it would please Tom. Robert is shocked  for some reason that his radically liberal daughter didn't go in for organized religion. Whouda thunk it?

The awkwardness continues into the servants' kitchen. Jimmy has apparently swallowed Daisy's dictionary and tells everyone that he doesn't believe in orthodoxy. Alfred's glad to be Church of England, even though he has no idea why. Sensible Anna says she doesn't want to talk about religion, but Carson's glad Alfred is an idiot and doesn't have opinions about important differences between Catholicism and Anglicanism, like transubstantiation. Makes no difference to Alfred. Catholics are weird.  

During snuggletime, Matthew asks Mary if he thinks Sybil knew she was going to die. Given that she was going to deliver a baby at home in 1920, I'm guessing the thought crossed her mind. Matthew and Mary swear to love each other until the last breaths leave their bodies. 

Might want to get to work making an heir, Matthew. Foreshadowing doesn't look good on you.

Murray calls on Mrs. Bartlett and she lies to his earnest face. Later, Murray talks to Bates about their next step. Mrs. Bartlett can't legally lie if questioned by authorities, and Murray is convinced that they can get her to testify honestly.

Have I mentioned how much I like Mr. Mason? Mr. Mason is awesome! He offers Daisy his farm and asks her to leave service and come live at the farm, and this blows Daisy's mind. He tells her that Downton Abbey isn't going to last for another 40 years (it will if Julian Fellowes has his way) and she's got her future to think of. In regard to Alfred, Mason says, "He's seen a diamond and he's chosen glass." Truer words. Ivy wears rouge and knows the fox trot! Shocking!

Clarkson appears at Violet's at her behest. She asks him about Sybil's death and wants to know if Clarkson could have saved Sybil if he'd been allowed to operate. He tells her that there was a chance that she might have lived, , but the likelihood was small. Violet tells him she wants him to explain that to Robert and Cora. She asks him to review the case, but he refuses to lie to make the Crawleys feel better. "Have we nothing in common?" asks the dowager.

Bros Matthew and Branson survey the estate, and Matthew discovers that a poor person would have some knowledge of rural affairs. They discuss important matters like sheep and managing the estate. Branson tells Matthew he doesn't hate Downton; he just doesn’t belong there. Mathew hints that Branson would be welcome to leave Lil Sybil at the estate. Hmm. More foreshadowing!

In the lady is a tramp news, Carson sees Mrs. Patmore leaving Crawley House after giving Ethel a final lesson and pep talk pre-luncheon. Of course he saw her! Much like Lady Violet, Carson is EVERYWHERE! He upbraids Mrs. Patmore for associating with a PROSTITUTE. Mrs. Patmore informs him that she was not frolicking with PROSTITUTES and that Cora, the remaining Hons. AND the dowager are attending this luncheon prepared by the streetwalker, and this nearly gives Carson apoplexy.

Luncheon conversation turns to Edith's newspaper column. Mary and Matthew are for it and Cora is for anything that is against Robert. The salmon mousse may have been a success, but the lunch is a total fail. Robert walks in and orders all the ladies to leave. The ladies discover from Isobel that Ethel was a PROSTITUTE and everyone except Lady Violet mugs a comically shocked face. Ethel enters with an ill-timed dessert. Is anyone coming with Robert? Not when there's Charlotte russe! And now with zero arsenic! 

Seriously. Charlotte russe is a real thing and not a typo. I KNOW, RIGHT!?!

Bates has a shiv! Who knew crochet hooks were so…sharp? He tells his dolt of a cell mate to stop blocking his attempts to get out of prison, or Bates will cut him. Clearly, Bates shouldn't be locked up with violent and dangerous criminals!

In the study before dinner, Mary calls Robert on his being mad because things aren't going his way. Understatement of the year, Mary. Mary tells Robert he's not going to win the argument over the christening and reminds him that Sybil loved Branson. Mary urges Robert to share his grief with Cora, but Robert is reluctant. Upstairs, Branson is with Lil Sybil and Mary and Matthew enter. They are really into the kid, and Tom can see it. It must enter his head that Lil Sybil would have a good life with Mary and Matthew.  

And they called it Ragtime! Jimmy is playing the piano and proto-flapper Ivy is discovered wearing rouge! The trollop! Thomas gets touchy-feely with Jimmy and O'Brien tells Thomas he's been summoned by Robert. Jimmy tells O'Brien he doesn't like Thomas's Roman hands and Russian fingers and Jimmy threatens to tell Carson, or maybe the po-pos. O'Brien's thrilled. She tells Thomas that she thinks Jimmy has a crush on him. She thinks this is her ticket to getting rid of Thomas. Doesn't she know that super sleuth Anna has been making progress on getting Bates released from prison? With whom will she plot if she gets Thomas thrown in jail for buggery? Think ahead, O'Brien!

In the kitchen, there is Godless social dancing! Alfred wants to learn the fox trot to impress Ivy and her flapper ways, and Daisy agrees to give him a lesson. Jimmy enters and lets little Daisy know that Alfred's only using her to impress Ivy. Jimmy is a way nicer person, and a way better dancer. Carson, WHO IS EVERYWHERE, enters and tells Jimmy off. Alfred was dancing, too, but he doesn't speak up and lets Jimmy take all the blame. Daisy realizes Alfred is a prat and SO TOTALLY stops liking him right that second.

Anna runs across the Downton lawn to where Mary and Edith are fulfilling their promise to get along better, and we're to assume that because they're walking by the road instead of throwing each other in front of automobiles. Anna has great news! Mrs. Bartlett has changed her testimony, and Bates will be set free! Hurray! 


Cora and Robert have been invited over to Violet's for a short visit. Clarkson is there. Prompted by Violet, he tells Cora and Robert that Sybil's death was likely unavoidable. He leaves, and Robert and Cora reunite in their grief.  As a side note, the only cure for preeclampsia/eclampsia is to have the baby and the afterbirth expelled from the body, because the baby's presence in the body is what causes pre-clampsia. Magnesium sulfate was known to work on preeclampsia/eclampsia as early as 1906. A Caesarian could have saved her life if they'd gotten her to the hospital before the final stages. Is Clarkson lying on Violet's orders or does Fellowes simply not know any better? Is he just bending the truth a little as a favor to Violet? If he is lying, does it matter in the long run? After all, a rift between Cora and Robert isn't going to bring Sybil back, now is it?

Next week, it looks as though we have a genuine flapper in the family, and Branson is hanging up his Fenian cap in favor of a jolly game of cricket! Smell ya!


arsenic pie said...

HAHA! Where did you get that awesome picture of Bonnie Hugh Bonnie with the "Free Bates" shirt? Effing classic!

Maggie Cats said...

Finally the end to the LONGEST PLOT IN THE HISTORY OF MAN.

Seriously, thank God that Bates mess is over. Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Great recap! Hilarious as always!