Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey S2E2: Lady Edith Is Just What The Doctor OrderedKate Spencer

It’s only Week 2 of Downton Abbey recaps and I’m already late! My apologies, dear Granthamites. But in my other life, I cover entertainment for VH1 and Sunday night I was enjoying myself at the Golden Globes. (By enjoying myself, I mean typing away on my computer for 9 hours and snarfing down the delicious free cheese. It was spectacular!) Now I am here, 0n my couch, fully present and properly sweat-suited and ready to TALK DOWNTON.

Let’s start by giving credit where credit is due. Lady Edith made it through an entire episode without doing a single deplorable thing. In fact, she’s downright lovely in this episode. After lamenting to Sybil that she feels like “a spare part”, she begins to find herself by helping the soldiers who have come to reside at her home. From fetching books to writing letters home to worried mothers informing them that their sons got their hands blown off, Edith is too busy being kind and helpful to say one spiteful thing to Lady Mary. And oh, how I love this sweet side of Edie, in which her insecurities are downplayed by her actual ability to be a human, for once.

Did you love it when the General praised her at dinner, right after almost being doused in ink by Bronson? Because I so did.

Bronson. Tormented, angry, heart-murmuring Bronson. The poor guy rightfully is desperate to take a stand against the British Army, but when his plans to be a conscientious objector are foiled by his less than perfect heart, he decides to dump a mixture of ink, oil and shit on the visiting General in the middle of a formal dinner. If only it was 100 years later and he could just start a blog, ya know?

And like, you can just feel the pain in poor Bronson’s heart, can’t you? The people of Ireland are suffering, Lady Sybil is being all wishy-washy on that whole “I’m in love with you, marry me” thing, and now he can’t even fight back without being foiled by the Edwardian version of Scooby-Doo and friends. (Okay, you want to go there? Anna is Daphe, Mrs. Hughes is Velma, William is Fred and yes, of course Carson is Scooby.)

Now is probably a good time to mention that Ethel the maid is H-to-the-ORNY and wants to bone a soldier with a solid comb-over who looks like he’s up to no good.

Meanwhile, Anna spots Bates in the village and Lady Mary helps her dig up info on his whereabouts via her boyfriend Sir Richard, who is the Rupert Murdoch of olden times, apparently. It’s important to note that right after Mary very graciously offers to help Anna, she criticizes her hair curling skills. Always establishing class lines, that one!

Bates is working at a pub and Anna goes wearing a hat borrowed from my grandmother’s Florida beach condo in 1992. Bates is still in love with her! Vera has cheated on him so now he’s confident he can get a divorce. Anna offers to be his mistress but Bates is all, “You’re too good for that,” i.e. “I want to take your virginity on our wedding night, not here on a table in this pub after it closes.” Admirable, as always.

Also engaged: an over-eager William and a hesitant Daisy, who was unable to get out “I just like you as a friend” in time and awkwardly accepted sweet William’s hand in marriage. I have faith she’ll come around and realize a genuinely nice guy is a good catch – as long as he works on his romancing skills. Too much hugging, William! I know it’s 1917 and no one touched back then, but at least drop some secret finger-entwining action.

Speaking of people I want to entwine fingers with…THOMAS (hngggg, fappp, etc) is now in charge of managing the hospital side of Downton, thanks to O’Brien’s masterful manipulation of Lady Puppet of Grantham. Isobel, who will later be reincarnated as Tracy Flick, is none too pleased to be sharing duties with Thomas or Lady Grantham, who insists on having some say in how Hospital Downton is run.

UGH. Lord Grantham, let me go on record and say that you sir, are a real jerk what with your shouting and your refusal to eat in the same room as soldiers who have been to the frontline and THAT SHOUTING. Just, don’t. His assholery is only highlighted by the struggles of poor Mr. Lang, who is battling post-traumatic stress disorder. As much as I wish O’Brien’s kind words and very long braid could cure him of his trauma, they do not, and he swiftly leaves his post at Downton.

How soon until Carson and Thomas duke it out? Because I want to see Carson and Thomas lay some hurt on each other. It will not be pretty and that will be just fine with me.

Also not pretty: the straight up cattiness going on in the war between the Dowager and Rosamund VS. Lavinia. Ugh. These two give rich women with too much time on their hands a bad name. After encouraging Mary to dig up dirt on ol’ Lavvie and then trash her to Matthew, Mary actually does the honorable thing and go straight to Lavinia. Turns out she served as a source for Sir Richard to save her family from debt. She’s an admirable human! As is Mary – who says not a peep to Matthew.

Here’s something important: Rosamund was married to a man named MARMADUKE. Like she has any right to say anything bad about anyone! Also jokes on her, because now that’s a name reserved solely for dogs. Woof.

Okay, you know what to do – I like to chat Downton so comment away about your favorite moments, favorite outfits and favorite Dowager disses and I’ll be sure to reply. Until next time!

Love,

Laura Linney

(JK, It’s me, Kate)

[Photo: GPB.org]

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  1. I can’t get enough of Downton Abbey… it’s just the best show. I’ve about had it with Matthew’s mother and Thomas. She’s too pushy and doesn’t respect ANYTHING, and Thomas is a coward and a scoundrel. Anna and Mr. Bates’ relationship is so refreshing… I hope Vera doesn’t make anymore trouble for them. I’d love for them to settle down… if anything ever can settle down in Downton. I can’t imagine when the season’s over. What will I do???

  2. I agree that this episode was kinda boring, but necessary. It set up something wicked with Ethel shagging an officer or something like that. Also nice to see Edith show another side. Glad to see there are other DA addicts out there! I rewatch every episode 2 or 3 times, with subtitles, to catch all the dialogue that I can’t quite get the first time, especially amonst the servants with their respective brogues. Entirely missed the dialogue between Violet, Rosamund and sweet Lavinia about Rosamund’s husband being recently polished the first time through.

  3. Anna surprised me in this episode when she said she would be Bates’ mistress. I literally shouted “NO!” to my tv. Thank goodness Bates was the gentleman we know he is and changed her mind. Phew. Close one. Also, I am just ready for Mary & Matthew to be together but I love how Mary is doing the right thing and not throwing Lavinia under the buss just so she can live happily ever after with Matthew. Can’t get enough of Downton! I rewatched the first season this weekend…I’m an addict & love to discuss this show with my grandparents and I am desperately trying to get my friends to tune in but alas they are being stubborn and won’t give in to a great show! Love your DA recaps:)

  4. This episode was sort of boring. But I love Branson and I hope there’s more of him this season! He has a right to be angry – Ireland was going through a huge upheaval at that time, like the Easter Rising that he mentioned in the episode.

  5. ugh i can’t STAND thomas!!! he’s such a slime-ball!

  6. Sorry…I can’t love Thomas. He is a jerk, and he’s up to no good, even if he is wounded. Can anyone not see this? As for Branson, the Irish side of me says he was in the right to try doing what he was going to do, because the Irish people were oppressed back in those days. I like the new side of Edith as well, and I can’t wait to see what the fallout is with Ethel and that soldier who were caught in flagrante (if you caught the preview).

  7. Edith did Mary dirty in the 1st season but I’m Team Edith, all the way. She’s not as beautiful and doesn’t have the social graces as Mary and she’s not as charming or has the exuberance of Sybil, she’s the underdog and I think she would be more than content with a dude who appreciates her and a house of her own, so I can’t help but root for her. Also Mary sabotaged Edith and Sir Anthony’s relationship, let’s not forget that, real talk. FYI it’s Branson, not Bronson

  8. Am I the only one that can’t stand Lady Mary? Granted, I find her more bearable in this season, but last season she was such a snobby twit! And poor Edith, she only acts the way she does because her parents treat her like the ugly duckling and Mary is snotty to her.

    I’m pretty sure I cried when poor Mr. Lang finally had his melt down.

    Am I the only one that doesn’t find Matthew attractive? Like…at all? =/ He just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s the blonde hair…I don’t know.

    I LOVE Branson and Sybil. I think their story is so sweet…and you really can’t beat Mr. Bates and Anna. <3

  9. My favourite moment of this ep was when Bates noticed that Anna’s hair was different… whilst she was wearing that awful hat that covered her entire head! Brilliant!

  10. I don’t think the sweet side of Lady Edith will last. It was also nice seeing Lady Mary do something nice for Anna, even though she went and criticize her right after. Also she acted like a real Lady with the “Lavinia” situation. I don’t know how I feel about Lord Grantham and all the shouting he did this past episode, he did have a point when Isobel was acting like she owned the place, maybe he didn’t handled it the best way possible, but I kind of see where he was coming from. I can’t wait till next Sunday, not only for the new episode but your recap too!

    • I think Lord G feels out of place with the war going on and him not participating, so so he is lashing out. The great thing about the writing (and acting) on Downton is the characters are layered, so you see both their good and bad sides. This week Lord G was a straight up jerk. But then he goes and does stuff like fixing Mrs. Padmore’s eyes! There’s good in him too.

  11. Isobel needs to take a chill pill or two and realise she can’t control everything. In the first season, her challenging everything was refreshing, but now she’s butting in every which way and making a bother out of nothing. :/

  12. As a UK dweller I cannot wait for a new series of Downton as sorrow of sorrows it has finished here. Edith definitely grew on me during the 2nd season.

  13. So I have to admit that once my Downton addiction starts up I can’t stop and I’ve been watching the series online since it’s already played in the UK and this episode still stands out to be as the best of Edith.

    I find that at time I resemble Mary’s personality and so I often can’t stand anything Edith does but she seems to be growing on me, I am intrigued too see if she stays nice or if she gets awful again.

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves Thomas despite his jerk-wad nature…

  15. Edith is my favourite character because she just keeps you guessing. Much like Paul on Neighbours and Ian Beale on Eastenders, I love the ones who are nasty one minute and lovely the next. More Lady Edith, please Downton makers!

  16. Just you wait…the sweet side of Edith does NOT last long.