Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey S2E5: The Night Of 1000 Stares

Let’s take a moment to appreciate this episode’s catalog of stink eyes and bitch faces, lustful gazes, scowls, snarls and mysterious stares – and that deer in the headlights look only Cora can give. The eyes have it, amirite?

Carson, giver of the stern stare and maker of the important decisions, must make the most important decision of his life…since he gave up his vaudevillian ways. Sir Richard has invited him to abandon Downton and join him and Mary at Haxby, the 1918 version of a McMansion which sits down the road from Downton. Mary is obviously into the idea, because who else will keep her in line and give her advice on how to escape her surely-to-be unhappy and verbally abusive marriage to a man who’s shaped like a ballpoint pen? And while Lord Grantham is not keen on losing a man whose moral compass points only to “Do the right thing, always, even if it means selling out Mrs. Hughes to Lady Cora over that whole ‘giving food to poor Ethel’ thing”, he seems at peace with the possible move.

Lord Grantham, he of the puzzling stare which seems to be landing on that chipper new maid Jane quite a lot. Like, a lot a lot. A LOT. And offering to help out her son by putting in a good word for him at the school he’s applying to. And staring at her some more. Allow me to get conspiracy theory-ish on your bums: is it possible that Lord Grantham is her child’s father? What with all of Ethel’s constant comparing the unfairness of the treatment she receives vs. Jane the Widow – could it be that Jane is indeed the same as she? And Lord Grantham and Cora have been so distant lately! But is he the kind of guy to step out on his mega-millionaire American wife? Am I reaching here? Tell me someone else had this thought. Please? Edith? Anyone?

Aw Edith, with her longing looks at the man who may be the cousin she so once desired in that sexy familial way that gives you a little bit o’ the creeps. Yes, with the arrival of a burned soldier claiming to be the Titanic-drowned cousin she once so desperately loved, we see a new side of Edith: the sweet side. The vulnerable side. The side that cries! A side I might even…LIKE? Something about Peter/Patrick isn’t right, and it’s not just because that terrible burn victim makeup makes him look way too much like the dude from Mask (tell me you’ve seen Mask, guys). Everything about his pushy personality is creepy-deeps, and Edith would be smart to listen to her sistenemy Mary for once, who is totally on to him.

Mary, she of the stern, stoic, stare who will protect her beloved Cousin Matthew at all costs, even if it means marrying my new least favorite person, ever – Sir Bleghhh. Let’s pretend we’re all girlfriends with Mary and we’re out together at that new hip place (but not too hip, it’s still got a down to earth vibe, just like us) and we’re wearing our Rachel Comey heels and Vena Cava dresses which is what Mary would do circa now and we’d do it too because, let’s be honest, she’d be the head of our clique and we’d all be her followers and would totally nod along to whatever she says – except when it comes to her relationship with Sir Richard. She’d take a sip of her Old Fashioned and would be all, “Guys, be honest…should I dump Sir Richard? He’s been acting a little…weird. Like, the other day, he grabbed my face and pushed me into a Grecian pillar and threatened to ruin me. And then he kissed me.” And we’d be like, “GTFO of that abusive, dysfunctional relationship NOW and wait – he kissed you after? He’s a sociopath, gurl!”

So yeah, she needs to get out of that mess. [If only Cora and Granny would make that their project instead of Operation Get Rid of Isobel.]

The problem is Cousin Matthew, he of the sad scowl, is not hitting on her and rekindling their love like he should be. Instead, he’s kinda in that pity party place that goes along with having something seriously sh*tty happen to you – like not being able to get free Amazon Prime or running out of paper towels right after you spill some Coke Zero, or you know – losing your ability to walk/have children, dumping your fiancee and then learning you may not be the heir to the gajillion dollar pound fortune you’ve thought was a sure thing for six years.

And then there is Bates, he of the possibly murderous stare! After traveling back and forth to London to deal with the one that won’t let herself get away and telling Lord G he wished Vera was his “late wife”, the woman ends up mysteriously dead. Duh duh duhhhhhon’t you worry – O’Brien is for sure snooping around to figure out what’s what.

Which brings me to the story that is almost too hard for me to watch: Ethel the single mom. Maybe it’s because I have an infant or a soul or possibly both, but Ethel’s suffering and ostracization (that might not be a real word) because of one night of mediocre Sargent sex is too hard for me to bear. She just wants to do right by her child and yet the entire world makes it impossible to do. Also, her baby daddy’s dead, which still sucks despite him being a Sir Richard-level douche. Here’s hoping Mrs. Hughes’s big heart opens up wide enough to offer Ethel a position back at Downton.

Speed round re-cap on everyone else!

Branson – still clingy
Sybill – still undecided
Moseley – still sad
Daisy – still guilty
Lavinia – still mousey
Mrs. Patmore – still sneaky
Anna – still the best
Thomas – still smoking (hot)
The Dog – still sitting at Lord Grantham’s feet

Dowager Countess Quote of the Week: “I don’t dislike him, I just don’t like him, which is quite different.”

Let’s talk Downton in the comments!

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