RECAP: Rebellion's in the Air on DOWNTON ABBEY's Episode 3
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by Lauren Robbins
In case you missed the eventful third episode of the widely popular UK series Downton Abbey last Sunday, here's everythihg you Need to Know before this Sunday's show. Downton Abbey airs Sundays on PBS. Check local listings.
As a dark figure darts furtively across town in the pouring rain, Lady Edith receives a cryptic phone call from Sybil at Downton Abbey. Later, the mystery continues when a dinner with the Archbishop of York is interrupted by pounding on the front door. Branson, soaked, meets Mary in the hall and, giving little information, asks that she keep his arrival a secret from their guests.
He later explains himself and Sybil to the entire family. Their fears of accepting an Irish Socialist into their world have finally come to fruition. Tom is running from the police, accused of being an instigator of an attack on an estate in Ireland and he left Sybil behind to close their flat while he escaped. Needless to say, the Crawleys are appalled that he left their pregnant daughter to fend for herself, though the Dowager Countess seems comforted by the fact that such a "horrible" house had been burned by the rebels.
Once again, Lord Grantham bends to his wife and daughters' wishes and arranges for Tom's freedom, but not without a price; the pair must never return to Ireland. I'll go out on a limb and guess that Tom won't have an easy time of this when he is so eager to be part of his country's "coming of age." For the moment however, his love for his wife and her pleas to consider the health and safety of their unborn child will keep him at Downton.
The world of Downton Abbey is moving further into the twenties and drastic changes like the rebellious stirrings in Ireland are becoming increasingly pervasive. As the corsets loosen, so too does the Crawleys' grasp on the world to which they've become accustomed. And it seems as if the new co-owner of the estate is going to be a primary source of such change. Matthew, after reviewing the books, is concerned that Downton is being mismanaged. His efforts to discuss the matter are evaded by Mary and Robert so he is forced to turn to an unlikely ally, the Dowager Countess. Dare he suggest such radical modifications as using the same spoon for soup and bouillon?
Meanwhile, Lord Grantham finds yet another of his daughters acting against tradition. Edith, upon the recommendation of her grandmother, seeks distraction from her recent abandonment at the altar, and takes interest in the women's suffrage movement. Her letter on the topic is published in the newspaper, much to the chagrin of Robert and Cora.
Downstairs, Daisy also feels the spark of female empowerment and spends the episode mustering courage to express her feelings to Alfred. When finally the moment comes to speak to him, Mrs. Patmore interrupts and introduces them both to the new kitchen maid, Ivy, who immediately steals Alfred's attention, and once again Daisy loses her nerve. I guess the promotion to Assistant Cook will have to suffice for now.
Ivy is joined by two other new hires, for while Robert Is still Earl of Grantham and Carson his butler, Downton will run at full force. Most notably, a new footman, Jimmy, arrives and beats out the competition on the merit of his good looks. He immediately captures the hearts of the female staff, and it seems of Thomas as well (O'Brien is already scheming how to use this to her advantage). Jimmy poshes up as James for his duties upstairs and his presence does not go unnoticed. Even Granny thinks "he looks like a footman in a musical revue."
Anna is officially promoted to Mary's Lady's Maid upon the arrival of a new housemaid, but Bates' imprisonment is weighing too heavily on her mind to pay notice. She has not received a letter in weeks and suspects he is trying to free her from the burden of supporting him. As it turns out, Bates has not received any letters from his wife either. Bates' "informant" tells him that his cellmate, Craig's, complaints have landed him labeled as a dangerous prisoner, explaining the lack of communication with Anna. In an attempt at redemption, Bates gives Craig a taste of his own medicine and plants the same mysterious item he had found hidden in his bed under his cellmate's mattress while his friend calls the guards for an inspection. When the contraband is discovered, Bates is back in favor with the guards, but makes a bitterer enemy of Craig. At long last, Anna and Bates each receive a bundle of "missing" letters and the fire to persevere is rekindled as they read their spouse's words.
Things are far bleaker for the former housemaid Ethel Parks, who finally meets with Isobel and Mrs. Hughes. I can't understand why she won't accept Mrs. Crawley's offers of help. It seems to be a trend of the people at Downton to let pride, or perhaps in Ethel's case, self-pity, prevent them from saving themselves. Regardless, Ethel does want the best for her son Charlie, so she cedes custody to the boy's grandparents, the Bryants. It may be the best option for him, but I can't help agreeing with Isobel, that with her help, together with the support of the money the Bryants had offered, Ethel could well have raised the boy herself.
What will go down at Downton Abbey next week? Will the insubordinate Branson be confined within the walls of Downton? Will Anna discover the key to Bates' freedom? Will Mrs. Hughes master the art of the electric toaster? Tune in Sunday, January 27 at 9 PM ET/CT on PBS to find out!
Photos courtesy of PBS