Sunday, January 20, 2013

Episode 3 Season 2 – Downton Abbey Episode Summary 2.3

Lavinia Swire's secret
Synopsis: Downton Abbey has been turned upside down with it being altered into a convalescent home for recuperating wounded soldiers.  Lady Cora and Mrs. Crawley find themselves in shaky ground as they struggle to establish authority.  Meanwhile, Lady Violet and Lady Rosamund have discovered something about Lavinia, and puts pressure on Lady Mary to divulge her secret to Matthew.  Anna makes a discovery of her own, and learns that Mr. Bates had secretly returned to Downton.

Episode Summary: There is bustle at Downton Abbey as it is turned into a convalescent home.  Lady Cora quickly finds the change to be an intrusion with some rooms once enjoyed only by members of the family extended for the use of the patients.  Moreover, Mrs. Crawley managing the convalescent home infringes on Lady Grantham’s authority on her household and causes confusion among the servants as whose orders to follow.  The only Grantham that welcomes the change is Lady Sybil.  A trained nurse, the young woman finds fulfillment in looking after the patients, and much to her surprise learns that Edith envies her for having found a profession.  Sybil did notice that Edith seemed to have found fulfillment in helping out on the Drakes’ farm, which Edith confirms to have brought her enjoyment.  Unfortunately, now that her help is no longer needed at the farm, Edith finds herself feeling like a spare part.  Sybil has faith in her sister’s talent, and believes that she will soon find her calling.Continue reading...

Lady Violet becomes curious of the relationship of Richard Carlisle and Lavinia Swire after seeing the man intimidate the young woman.  Lady Mary, however, thinks nothing of it, but the incident has piqued Lady Violet’s curiosity so much so that she decided to have Lavinia for tea when she visits London.  The tea was more to inquire about the young woman’s relationship with Carlisle rather than a social call.  Lavinia informs her and Lady Rosamund that Carlisle was a friend of her father and uncle, Jonathan Swire, the Liberal minister, but the men had a falling out.

Branson has received the dreaded letter of being called up to serve in the army.  This worries Sybil, and Branson’s plan of publicly objecting service concerns her even more.  Branson prefers having a permanent record of his nuisance than his life taken away from him for a war he does not support.  Mr. Lang having served the war would probably have done the same if he knew beforehand what his experience would be.  Although already far from the battlefield, the gruesomeness of the war is still fresh in his mind; and is in his mind every second of the day.  He finds a confidant in Mrs. Patmore who informs him that although she does not show it, she is very much aware of the unkindness of the war for it has claimed the life of her nephew.  To add to her heartache of having lost a family member, the army has informed her that her nephew was shot for cowardice, an act that she believes her nephew has done out of sheer fear.  Mr. Lang provides comfort to Mrs. Patmore telling her that her nephew is not to blame for any soldier could have done the same including him.

Sensing the tension between Lady Cora and Mrs. Crawley with the latter overstepping authority, Miss O’Brien takes the opportunity to manipulate Lady Cora into making Thomas the manager of the convalescent home.  Knowing that her suggestion would materialize, O’Brien informs Thomas of her proposal, one that would make him the boss of Mr. Carson.  Thomas could not help but become curious as to why the woman was helping him, but O’Brien claims to have done it to stop Mrs. Crawley from stepping on Lady Cora’s toes.  This surprises Thomas even more for right before he left Downton, O’Brien was bent on putting Lady Cora to her knees, and now the woman declares that she will not let anyone hurt her ladyship including herself.  Thomas agrees to O’Brien’s plan despite not knowing the real reason behind it.

True enough, Lady Cora has taken the bait, and has proposed to Doctor Clarkson of making Thomas, now known as Corporal Barrow, be the manager of Downton Abbey.  This is a shock to everyone including Lord Grantham who not only is annoyed at the intrusion at his house, but now also has to deal with the problematic former footman he once wanted to let go.  Doctor Clarkson, however, finds that Corporal Barrow’s medical training puts him in the position to manage the convalescent home, and has already put in a good word for him to his commanding officer who agreed to promote him to acting sergeant to give him the proper rank over the wounded soldiers.  So it seems that Lord Grantham is merely being informed for the decision has been made, Sergeant Barrow is to manage the day-to-day tasks at Downton, while Doctor Clarkson oversees the whole hospital.  There is, however, still one decision left to be made, and that is who will be in-charge of Thomas.  News of Thomas managing Downton has reached Mr. Carson, and this troubles him.  He confronts Lord Grantham about it reminding him of the young man’s transgressions before he joined the war, but the decision has been made, and not even Lord Grantham has the guts to change it.

Branson, always an activist, keeps himself informed of the war, and shares with his fellow servants the news of Kerensky being made Prime Minister, and how Lenin denounces the bourgeoisie, and desires a People’s Revolution.  Branson declares support for the People’s Revolution, and shows delight at the news of the Tsar and his family having been imprisoned at the Alexander Palace.  This is troubling thoughts for a person working for aristocrats, but Branson believes that the Tsar and his family will be spared.  He is more interested in the idea of having the monarchy overthrown.  Mr. Lang does not share the same faith as Mr. Branson, and believes that no one can know how things will turn.  Mr. Lang makes an example of Mrs. Patmore’s nephew who was shot for cowardice unaware that the woman has not shared her story with anyone else but him inadvertently embarrassing the cook so much so that it brought her to tears.

Thomas returns to Downton Abbey, and pushes Mr. Carson’s buttons the moment he stepped through the front door.  Having made manager of Downton, a title Mr. Carson has no choice but to recognize, Thomas puts on airs and demands to be called Sergeant Barrow.  Mr. Carson not one to be subservient to anyone except the aristocrats puts him in his place.  Meanwhile, Lord and Lady Grantham watch before their eyes as the invasion of their house is made complete by the arrival of the wounded soldiers on their way to recovery.  However, there is one soldier that the Granthams would not mind dropping by, and that is Matthew Crawley.  Matthew was given some time off before he and General Strutt tour Yorkshire and Lancashire.  Everybody pitches in to help at the convalescent home, including Lady Mary, which surprises Matthew who has not seen the young woman at work.  He is, however, very much aware of his mother’s drive for authority, and supposes that the woman must be causing trouble to Lady Cora, the woman who heads the household before it was turned upside down.  True enough, Lady Cora finds Mrs. Crawley arranging household duties with the servants creating an awkward situation between the two women in front of the servants.

Lady Cora truly a lady contains his anger until they are away from the servants, and confronts Mrs. Crawley.  Lady Mary’s arrival interrupts her reproach, and her request of having Evelyn Napier being transferred to Downton Abbey from the Middlesborough General only added to the growing rift between the two women.  Lady Cora agrees to have Evelyn in Downton, but both Doctor Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley who argue that Middlesborough would have already made arrangements on where their patients convalesce questioned her authorization.  Lord Grantham has had enough, and puts his foot down declaring that Downton is their house, and they will receive any guests they want, and if anyone chooses not to accept this then Doctor Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley can find another place to use as a convalescent home.

Branson goes to his medical exam eager to report for duty that he may shout his objections while on parade only to learn that the army has found him unfit to serve the war due to a heart murmur.  His condition is not fatal, but is enough cause for a rejection.  This gladdens Lady Sybil who is very much concerned of Branson either being killed in the war or being sent to prison for his public objection.  Branson, however, is disappointed, and plans on making his point sooner or later.  The Irish young man’s hatred stems from knowing first hand the injustice in Ireland having lost a cousin in the Easter Rising.  His cousin was shot dead by an English soldier for no reason other than a presumption that the young man was a rebel.

Lady Violet returns to Downton, and relays the information she learned to Lady Mary.  Moreover, she has tasked Lady Rosamund to find out more about the falling out between Carlisle and the Swires.  Much to her surprise, Lady Mary is sympathetic to Lavinia in spite of the young woman being an obstacle to her happiness.  Lady Mary finds no benefit in taking Lavinia out of the equation, because getting rid of Lavinia does not guarantee Matthew’s return.

Edith seems to have found a new purpose as she attends to the numerous needs of the recovering soldiers, while Ethel acts as a private nurse to Major Bryant.  Mrs. Hughes sees this, and becomes concerned.  There is reason for concern for the gullible young woman has made herself believe that Major Bryant is genuinely interested with her.  Ethel continues to believe this despite of Anna’s warning and incredulity of the Major’s true intentions.  Anna, on the other hand, is preparing for her day off.  A few days ago, she thought to have seen Mr. Bates at the village, but the man she saw disappeared before she could approach him.  Learning of this, Lady Mary asks Richard Carlisle to check Mr. Bates’ whereabouts, and through his help discovers that Mr. Bates has indeed left London for Downton.  He is now working at a pub called The Red Lion in Kirby Moorside.  With the urging of Lady Mary, Anna has planned a day off to see Mr. Bates.  Anna arrives at the pub, and confirms that Mr. Bates truly is working there.

Lady Rosamund arrives at Downton eager to challenge Lavinia having discovered that the young woman stole secrets from her uncle, the Liberal minister that she then gave to Carlisle to publish.  The result of her act led to the Marconi scandal that exposed the corruption in the Cabinet where half of its members were found trying to get rich by buying shares before a government contract was announced.  To the astonishment of her aunt and grandmother, Lady Mary comes in defense of Lavinia, and even going to such lengths as commending her for revealing the politicians who broke the law.  Lady Rosamund could not agree with her niece for her principles are guided more by appearance than justice.  She holds Lavinia responsible for tarnishing the honor of Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Lady Violet, on the other hand, questions Lavinia’s loyalty, and wonders why the young woman betrayed her uncle.  The reason Lady Rosamund is so eager to declare is that Lavinia and Richard were lovers.  To her aunt and grandmother, this gives Lady Mary reason enough to keep Lavinia away from Matthew.

Face-to-face with Anna, Mr. Bates has no choice but to speak to her, and he confesses that he was the one whom she saw at the village.  Mr. Bates knew that Anna goes to the village on a Wednesday, and has been going there if only to get a glimpse of her.  The man who once broke the poor woman’s heart by leaving her did not want to break it again by coming back to her life before his marriage is dissolved.  Mr. Bates, however, has found proof that Vera has been unfaithful to him, which gives him cause for a divorce.  He, however, has to prove that the affair has broken their marriage, and leaving the house where they live is a step into achieving it.  This also gave him the opportunity to live and work near Anna.  Mr. Bates is confident that his divorce will be granted for the only reason for it not to be is if Mr. Bates is found guilty of cruelty to Vera, because for husbands adultery is not enough cause for a divorce.  Moreover, Mr. Bates is prepared to offer her money that Vera won’t be able to refuse, the amount of which will be so much more than she’ll ever receive from selling information to the newspapers.  Anna is prepared to be Mr. Bates’ mistress, but Mr. Bates loves Anna entirely that he wants nothing less for her.  He wants them to be legally married.

Edith has taken her job at the convalescent home seriously that she knows the patients by name.  Moreover, the patients have come to know her to be the person to ask for help, which is why Captain Smiley seeing her checking on the patients one evening had asked her to help him write a letter to his parents.  The poor man has lost the hand he uses to write, and hoped that Edith would write the letter for him.  Lucky for him, the young lady is more than willing to lend a hand.

Captain Crawley has succeeded in convincing Sir Herbert Strutt, hero of the Somme, to come visit the new convalescent home at Downton Abbey.  News of this reaches Branson, and somehow delights him.  Knowing that Mr. Carson no longer has a footman in his employ, Branson offers his services assuring him that he had once waited a table before.  This gladdens Mr. Carson who wants nothing less but to provide a proper service for a grand dinner.  Nothing seems to be going well for Mr. Carson for although he gained a footman, he is about to lose a valet.  The servants are awakened in the middle of the night by Mr. Lang’s screaming.  The man drenched in sweat has had a terrible nightmare where he was asked to return to war; the dream was so real to him that he thought it to be true.  It was not until Mr. Carson and Miss O’Brien made it clear to him that he was only having a bad dream that he realized it to be so.

General Strutt arrives at Downton, and receives a military welcome.  Captain Crawley introduces him to the Granthams, and her mother who does not require an introduction for she has made a point to present herself for everyone to witness.  Seeing this, Acting Sergeant Barrow takes the opportunity to repay O’Brien for creating the path that made him the manager of Downton, and speaks to Doctor Clarkson about the troubles of working with Mrs. Crawley.  Lady Rosamund and Lavinia are there as well, and the young woman could sense that the Lady Rosamund is up to something, and she asks Lady Mary about it.  Lady Mary tells Lavinia the whole truth.  She tells her that ever since Lady Rosamund saw Richard threatening her, the woman has gone out to investigate the reason for it, and learned that Lavinia caused the Marconi share scandal.  Unable to fathom how the young woman could betray her uncle who was one of the people involved in the scandal, Lady Rosamund is convinced that Lavinia and Richard are lovers.  Lady Mary is shocked to learn that Lavinia did not deny any of this.

Having received a letter from William a few days ago informing her that he will be dropping by Downton Abbey before he is sent to war, Daisy becomes anxious as to the real purpose of William’s visit.  Daisy sensed that the young man will be proposing to her, and she confides this to Mrs. Patmore who tells her that she will have to accept even though it is clearly not want she wants.  Mrs. Patmore argues that Daisy must not dash William’s hope especially with him going to war.  Daisy can change her mind when the war’s over.  Mrs. Patmore believes that William will welcome death if Daisy rejects his proposal.

General Strutt makes his rounds when Captain Smiley calls his attention.  This troubles Mrs. Crawley who wonders if the man is complaining to the war hero, but Edith knowing him very well is sure that the Captain has not an unkind bone in his body.  Now, Lady Cora is worried when they see another patient, Major Holmes, speaking to the General that prompted Strutt to call upon Matthew.  Edith having taken the time to get to know patients is not the least bit concerned.  Indeed she is right.  General Strutt commends Lady Grantham, the nurses and her staff for the care the convalescent home provided the wounded soldiers.

William arrives at Downton, and is received by Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore, and Daisy.  Mrs. Patmore sees in him her own nephew, Archie, and is again brought to tears.  Mrs. Hughes knowing the sadness and shame for the fate the woman’s nephew ended up with tells Mrs. Patmore that Archie is a fine young man who bravely chose to go to war before he had to, and one who gave his life for his country.  Daisy knowing what’s coming to her tries her best to avoid being alone with William.

Mr. Branson assuming the role of footman makes his way upstairs to the dining room carrying a silver bowl.  At around the same time, Anna tidies the bedroom of Lady Sybil, and finds a note the young man had written to the young lady.  Anna reads the note, and rushes to Mrs. Hughes who then hastens to Mr. Carson.  Mr. Branson had written the note to Lady Sybil to ask for her forgiveness for what he is about to do, one that would result in his arrest.  Mr. Carson arrives in time to prevent the young man from fulfilling his plan.  Anna is right behind them to take the silver bowl back downstairs.  No one’s the wiser at the dining room except Lady Mary who had observed the tension between Mr. Carson and Mr. Branson as he silently forced him out of the dining room.  Downstairs, Mr. Carson and Anna confront Mr. Branson about his plan to assassinate General Strutt, an accusation that shocked the young man.  Opening the silver bowl, they soon learn that Mr. Branson only meant to throw a concoction of oil, ink, cowpat, and sour milk over the general.  Down again with a footman, Mr. Carson now figures out a way to continue the dinner service.  Lucky for him, William was there, and was more than willing to serve as a footman.  Lord Grantham announces to everyone that William will be serving their dinner one last time before joining his regiment, which explains why he is in uniform instead of a livery.  This pleases General Strutt who commends William, and states that there is no livery so becoming as a uniform.

Dinner resumes smoothly, and General Strutt takes the opportunity to express his gratitude to all of them for the help they extended to the wounded soldiers.  Moreover, he paved the way to settling who is left in charge of the convalescent home when Dr. Clarkson is at the front, and is pleased to hear that both Mrs. Crawley and Lady Grantham will take his place while Dr. Clarkson is away.  General Strutt makes another announcement that surprised them all, and that is to praise Lady Edith for quietly attending to the needs of the patients.  This he knew through testimonials from the wounded soldiers he conversed with whose overwhelming gratitude to the young woman’s care made it difficult for her generosity to pass unnoticed.  With General Strutt’s prompting all toast to Lady Edith’s health.

Matthew’s statement of gratitude to the Granthams for being gracious hosts to Lavinia gave Lady Violet an opportunity to hint that they have unearthed something about the young woman, and puts Lady Mary on a precarious position to divulge to him what they had learned.  Though Lady Mary showed no sign of saying anything to Matthew, Lady Violet’s comment prompted Lavinia to explain herself to Lady Mary.  Lavinia tells Lady Mary the truth about her father owing Sir Richard Carlisle a lot of money that would have caused his financial ruin.  In exchange for Lavinia’s father’s debt, the Swire’s agreed to provide Carlisle evidence of the Liberal Minister’s guilt, which led to Lavinia  stealing the damning proof from her uncle’s office.  Seeing the young woman at Downton, Carlisle threatened her into divulging her secret to Lady Mary, which she ironically ended up doing so.  Having gotten the hint from Lady Violet, Matthew asks Mary what they had uncovered, but Mary assures him that Lavinia is quite perfect.

With dinner service over, William finally has the time to speak with Daisy.  The young woman hands him the portrait he had asked for, and begins to ask her hand in marriage.  Unfortunately for Daisy, Mrs. Patmore was in the room, and in a way accepted the proposal for her.  Remembering what a broken heart might do to the young man about to go into war, Daisy was left with no other choice but to confirm their engagement.  Things appear to be going well for William whose meekness has touched everyone including Lord Grantham.  Learning that Matthew is in need of a servant at the front, Lord Grantham asks him if he could take William as his servant.  Knowing the concern of everyone to have William return safely from the war, Matthew agrees, but makes it known to him that he cannot promise his safety.  The thought that Matthew will be looking after William is enough for Lord Grantham.

With General Strutt well on his way out of Downton, the servants can rest easy.  William makes the announcement to his former colleagues that he and Daisy are engaged to be married.  Meanwhile, Mr. Carson makes a decision to forego Mr. Branson’s misdeed believing that alerting the police on his foiled plan will not do them any good.  He, however, has decided to let go of Mr. Lang who once again made a scene while seeing off the general.  Seeing the general and his officers, Mr. Lang has somehow gotten into his head that he is being called to the front, which filled him with terror.  Clear that Mr. Lang is not yet ready to get back to work, Mr. Carson was going to ask him to resign, but the footman already knew this, and had taken the liberty to tender his resignation.  Mr. Carson provides him severance pay, and offers his referral when he is once again fit to go back to work.

Seeing how Mary and Matthew has mended their fences, and are once again friends, Lady Cora could not help but feel dismayed that the two have note gotten back together.  To Lord Grantham, that ship has sailed, and asks his wife that they must accept that Matthew has moved on.  Just as the war has made a reality of things, they too must wake up from their dream to recognize that things have changed.

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