Sunday, August 12, 2012

Episode 2 Season 1 – Downton Abbey Episode Summary 1.2

Matthew Crawley and Isobel Crawley meets the familySynopsis: Matthew and Isobel Crawley arrive at Downton Abbey.  With a comment that was regrettably said within the earshot of Lady Mary, Matthew starts off on the wrong foot with Lady Mary.  Cousin Isobel, a trained nurse, begins asserting herself at the hospital suggesting an unorthodox treatment for one of its seriously ill patients.  Her imposition annoys Lady Grantham who is the president of the institution.  Meanwhile, someone from Mr. Carson’s past arrives at Downton Abbey, and this puts him on edge.

Episode Summary: Matthew and Isobel Crawley arrive at the Crawley House where they are to stay while at Downton Abbey.  Uninterested with becoming an earl, Matthew Crawley finds it hard to understand why he cannot just refuse becoming Lord Grantham’s heir.  His mother puts it plain and simple, there is no mechanism for him to relinquish his imposed duty.  Matthew, a middle-class lawyer, who was the son of a middle-class doctor, and now future earl of Downton Abbey is afraid that his new status would change him, and a butler meeting them by the gate to attend to their luggage seems to signal this change.Continue reading...

Though reluctant to have his lifestyle changed, Matthew has no choice, but to adapt to it starting with the number of servants within their employ, no matter how ridiculous he finds it to be.  Isobel argues that their noble relatives expect them not to know how to behave, and she prefers to prove them wrong.  Although he has agreed to the changes in his lifestyle, there is one thing that he will never agree to, and that is to have an arranged marriage.  Matthew believes that their relatives will match him with one of their daughters.  He is mortified to learn that he had made the statement within Lady Mary’s earshot.  The young woman has come to personally invite them to dinner upon her mother’s urging.  Matthew runs after Lady Mary to apologize, but the damage is done.

So it seems that aristocracy rubs on even to the nobles’ servants.  Miss O’Brien already looks down on the Crawleys for having come from the middle-class.  Nonetheless, all are anxious to meet the new family who are to be their future employer.  Lady Cora who hasn’t met the Crawleys are anxious about them too, but Lady Mary’s assessment of Matthew as an arrogant young man concerns her.  At last, the wait is over for the Crawleys have arrived for dinner. They receive a warm welcome from Lord Grantham, but Mrs. Crawley gets none from Lady Grantham who seems to look down on her and her son.  This seems to have given the servants the permission to do the same.

Lady Cora tries her best to be civil with their guests, but Lady Grantham has started to pick on Cousin Isobel after showing interest on Downton’s hospital.  There is good reason for her interest with her husband, father and brother being doctors, and she being a trained nurse during the South African War.  Matthew’s declaration of him taking a job at Ripon with the firm Harvell and Carter as a lawyer specializing in industrial law causes a stir.  Lord Grantham is disappointed to hear this having planned for Matthew to be fully involved in running the estate, but Matthew is confident that he can accomplish this on his free time especially on the weekend.  Funnily, Lady Grantham who most probably hasn’t worked a single day in her life has no concept of a weekend.  News of the conversations during dinner has reached the servants, and even they know that men of nobility are not supposed to work.  Miss O’Brien and Mr. Thomas have a growing disrespect for the Crawleys enough for Mr. Thomas to pity their butler Mr. Molesley, but this surprises Mr. Bates who knew that Thomas had applied for the job.

If there were classes for butlers, Mr. Carson would probably be an aristocrat.  This, the footman William learns when he was publicly chastised for having a rip on his jacket.  Mr. Carson takes his job seriously maybe even too seriously.  He believes that servants must retain a sense of pride and dignity so as not to embarrass the family they serve.  It surprises Mr. Bates to find Mr. Carson in the village shiftily entering “The Dog and Duck”.  He did this right after receiving a letter that seemed to have shaken him.  Meanwhile, Mr. Bates pays a visit to Mr. Molesley and learns that the man has hardly anything to do at the Crawley House for Matthew does everything on his own.  Mr. Molesley finds himself useless.

Mrs. Crawley’s interest with the Downtown Cottage Hospital is genuine that she wastes no time to visit it, and is pleased to know that Dr. Clarkson is familiar with her late husband’s work on the symptoms of infection in children.  Although the hospital is a simple one with only a few beds, the illnesses of the patients are not less severe.  The farmer, John Drake, catches her attention.  The young man is suffering from the dropsy of the heart, and his condition has progressed.  Mrs. Crawley feels sorry for the young man and his wife and children.  Although Lord Grantham is a considerate landlord, John Drake’s family stands to lose the farm with no one there left to manage it if he dies.

It is not only Mr. Carson who received mail for the housemaid Gwen received a package as well.  Anna, the head housemaid, finds her reading it, but the young woman is not keen to let her see it.  Anna supposes it to be a letter from an admirer, and warns her against Mrs. Hughes finding out about it.  Gwen wonders how they are to find husbands if they aren’t allowed to see men.  Finding a husband seems to be the one goal that applies to both servants and masters.  Thomas having overheard a conversation between Lord and Lady Grantham relays the rumor of the plan to match Lady Mary with Mr. Crawley.  Despite her reservations about Mr. Crawley, Lady Grantham believes that this arrangement is the best solution to their problem.  Marrying the heir will keep the estate and Lady Cora’s fortune within the family.  This was the same arrangement they had put in place before with Lady Mary marrying Mr. Patrick, but Anna is unsure about the young woman pushing through with the marriage had Mr. Patrick survived the Titanic.

Mrs. Crawley intent on being useful at Downton manages to persuade Dr. Clarkson to give her a job at the hospital.  Her performance surprises Dr. Clarkson seeing that she truly is an experienced nurse.  Having been exposed in the medical field, Mrs. Crawley suggests the unorthodox treatment of dropsy that involves draining the pericardial sac of the excess fluid and administering adrenaline.  His delight with his new hire starts to diminish when Mrs. Crawley insists that they try the new procedure, one she claims to know to do.  Dr. Clarkson is not too keen on performing the unconventional procedure on John Drake, afraid that villagers would demand the use of new treatment for their wounds and illnesses.

Miss O’Brien continues to criticize the Crawleys, and is publicly reprimanded by Lady Cora who has come down to the Servants’ Hall to hand the button that fell from her evening gown.  O’Brien is put in her place when her master orders her to never ever speak ill of the Crawleys again.  When Lady Cora has left, Thomas speaks in defense of O’Brien.  He believes that there is such a thing as free speech, and that the law and Parliament affords them the right to express their opinions.  Mrs. Hughes disagrees, warning him not to push his luck.

Matthew Crawley continues to dress himself and refuses any help from Mr. Moseley.  Moreover, he has insensitively insulted the man having ridiculed his profession.  Matthew catches himself too late, and apologizes to his butler and valet.  It is true that Matthew still has a lot to learn about having an aristocratic lifestyle.  Lady Mary claims this to be one of the reasons behind her aversion towards him, the main one being his taking the inheritance that is rightfully hers.  Lady Cora speaks to Lady Mary alone to tell her that she would not want them to feel obligated to dislike Matthew.  She has had a change of heart seeing that there is no end to their cause, and there is no point in creating a rift between their families.  Matthew is going to inherit Lord Grantham’s title and Downton Abbey.  Lady Mary finds it ludicrous that her mother is to lose her fortune to a distant cousin of her husband’s, and finds it even more preposterous to learn that her future lies with Matthew Crawley.  She is once again being matched to a man she does not love, even worse a commoner.  It seems that Lady Mary’s allies have thrown the towel for the arrangement her mother proposed came from her grandmother, the Dowager Countess.

This new development puts Lady Mary in an even sourer mood.  She continues to criticize Matthew for simple things such as not knowing how to hunt.  She seems to be bent on underlining the fact that Matthew is a commoner who is not accustomed to aristocratic life.  Lady Mary puts everyone on edge when she tells the story of Andromeda, which is a fitting allegory to her situation.  Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus, was sacrificed by her father to a hideous sea monster in order to appease the gods.  She, however, was rescued by Perseus, a son of a god.  Lady Mary finds it rather fitting that Andromeda ends up with Perseus instead of the sea monster, but Matthew does not agree arguing that he does not know much about Andromeda and the sea monster.

Down at the Servants’ Hall, William livens up the place with his piano playing.  Daisy wanting to learn the Grizzly Bear and Thomas willing to teach her adds to their merrymaking.  Leave it to Mrs. Patmore to spoil their merriment, but Daisy is absolutely delighted and her infatuation with Thomas grows.  Meanwhile, the rift between Matthew and Mary widened.  Surprisingly, Lady Grantham apologizes to Matthew for her granddaughter’s behavior.  Matthew is resigned that he and Mary will not be close friends, but does not blame the young woman for the way she treats him.  He understands the root of her aversion towards him, and it goes back to her family losing their home and fortune to a stranger.  This leads Lady Grantham to ask what Matthew would do if the entail was decided to be on Mary’s favor.  If the entail was to be challenged, and the law rules in Mary’s favor, Matthew will graciously accept the judgment.  The young man’s answer gains her favor.  However, Lady Grantham finds no favor with Mrs. Crawley.  Having heard of Cousin Isobel’s meddling at the hospital, Lady Grantham instructs Dr. Clarkson to get rid of her.

Matthew spends time with Lord Grantham, and witnesses the man’s dedication to Downton Abbey.  Looking at the Downton House he sees his life’s work, something Matthew has yet to grow to love.  Moreover, he learns that Lord Grantham almost lost Downton if not for Cora.  With everyone out including the servants who are at the village to see a traveling salesman’s set up at the pub, Mr. Bates and Anna are left alone in the house.  In Mr. Carson’s absence, and no footman at the house, Mr. Bates is left to answer the door only to find a man claiming to have something important to tell Lord Grantham about Mr. Carson.  Sensing trouble, Mr. Bates instructs Anna to find Mr. Carson at once, but the man invites himself inside the house, and chooses to wait in the library.  Luckily, Lady Sybil arrives and offers to accompany Mr. Bates in the study as they wait for Mr. Carson knowing that he will be asked to explain as to why the man is in the library.  Lord Grantham arrives and hears the stranger raising his voice to Mr. Bates in contest for making him wait.  Soon after, Mr. Carson arrives, and Lord Grantham demands an explanation.

Mr. Carson introduces the man to be Charles Grigg, the other half of The Cheerful Charlies.  So it is out, Mr. Carson was once on stage for a double act.  Mr. Grigg, a man on the run for the petty crimes he committed, turned up in the village looking for somewhere to hide and blackmailing Mr. Carson with a threat of exposing his past that would make him a laughing stock at Downton.  Mr. Carson gave in to protect his dignity, but oddly tarnishing it in the process for he confesses to have stolen food in the kitchens to feed his blackmailer.  Anna has seen him stealing food, but did not say a word about it.  Mr. Carson tenders his resignation, but Lord Grantham does not accept it.  Even after risking his job to feed him, Mr. Grigg is still not satisfied for Mr. Carson is unwilling to pay him money knowing that he will only come back for more.  Lord Grantham offers him twenty pounds with strict instructions that he is to leave Downton immediately and to never come back for if he does, Lord Grantham will personally see to it that he be convicted for theft and blackmail.  Mr. Grigg though furious at having been put in his place nonetheless takes the money and leaves.  Mr. Carson’s secret is out, and the opinion of him from the people who know about it would forever be changed.  Anna, however, insists that it should not make her think any less of Mr. Carson, and the same goes with whatever it is that he will learn of Mr. Bates.  Mr. Bates believes that Anna’s opinion of him will certainly change if she ever learned about his past.

Lady Grantham learns from Lady Cora that Cousin Isobel had a determined look on her face on her way to the hospital.  This prompts Lady Grantham to rush to the hospital at once resolute in stopping whatever it is that Cousin Isobel plans on doing.  Isobel has procured a vial of adrenaline, and makes a compelling case to Dr. Clarkson.  She finds it difficult to believe that the doctor would deny John Drake his chance of life, because he is unfamiliar with the treatment.  Isobel succeeds in convincing Dr. Clarkson to try the risky procedure.  The doctor informs the patient and his wife of what they are about to embark, and the risks that come along with it.  Isobel adds that the procedure though there is a risk that he may die because of it may save John Drake’s life, while their other option only assures death.  Lady Grantham arrives to dissuade Dr. Clarkson and the Drakes from agreeing to Mrs. Crawley’s suggestion, but Mrs. Drake has made up her mind.  She chooses to let the doctor save her husband’s life despite the risk.  All including Lady Grantham watch as Dr. Clarkson administers the unconventional procedure.  Lady Grantham informs him that as president of the hospital, she is required to inform the board of what they had done.  It is highly unlikely that Dr. Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley will be in trouble for they had successfully saved John Drake’s life.  Moreover, Lord Grantham is the patron of the hospital; he is on Dr. Clarkson and Cousin Isobel’s side, so much so that he makes Isobel the chairman of the board.  With that, the matter is settled, and the two should not be in trouble for administering the procedure.

Matthew seems to be coming around, and slowly begins to show interest on the welfare of Downton Abbey beginning with plans for the estate cottages.  This pleases Lord Grantham.  Moreover, he begins to ask advice from Lord Grantham.  He asks permission to dispense of Mr. Molesley finding his services to be superfluous to his family’s lifestyle.  However, Lord Grantham makes a compelling argument of depriving a man of his livelihood and self-worth.  Just like Mrs. Crawley who derives satisfaction from her work at the hospital, dismissing the services of Mr. Moseley consequently denies him the satisfaction of doing his job.  Lord Grantham believes that they all have different parts to play, and that they must all be allowed to play them.  Taking Lord Grantham’s advice, Matthew finally allows Mr. Moseley to play his part as his valet.  True enough, the man finds satisfaction at having served his master.

Lady Mary is surprised to learn that Lady Edith does not dislike Matthew, and pursuing him has crossed her mind.  Lady Mary is not in the least concerned of Lady Edith’s interest with Matthew, but is annoyed to learn that Lady Edith has learned about Evelyn Napier, which she found out having read a letter Lady Mary received.  Lady Mary has set her sights on the young man who is the son and heir to Viscount Branksome.

The discovery of Mr. Carson’s past and the actions he was forced to do to conceal it was a blow to his ego that he now finds it ridiculous to put on airs and graces.  Mrs. Hughes unaware of the incident assures him that he is a man of integrity and honor, and this reflects in the household he serves.  Mr. Carson thanks Mr. Bates and Anna as well for keeping silent about his past.  He finds Mr. Bates to be a good man for even with the embarrassing discovery, he finds no reason to judge him.

All, including some of the servants, prepare to attend to a gathering at the hospital.  The kitchen maid Daisy is anxious to walk to the hospital with Thomas inadvertently turning down William.  Mrs. Patmore teases her about flirting with William, but she makes it clear that it is Thomas she likes for William is nothing like Thomas to which Mrs. Patmore agrees.

All arrive at the Downton Cottage Hospital to attend the investiture of Mrs. Reginald Crawley as chairwoman of the hospital board.  The Dowager Countess of Grantham who is the president of the hospital, much to her chagrin, is now to share her duties with Mrs. Crawley.


Watch Episode 2 of Season 1 of Downton Abbey
Next Downton Abbey Episode Summary: Episode 3 of Season 1
Previous Downton Abbey Episode Summary: Episode 1 of Season 1
More Downton Abbey Episode Summaries

0 Pennies for your thoughts: