Sunday, January 27, 2013

Episode 4 Season 2 – Downton Abbey Episode Summary 2.4

Matthew and Mary singing
Synopsis: Mrs. Crawley leaves Downton, while Mr. Bates is found to have returned to Yorkshire to work in a pub.  Daisy gets a letter from William informing her that he will be paying her a visit, and becomes concerned when William and Captain Crawley failed to show up at Downton during their leave.  Ethel’s flirtation with Major Bryant becomes so noticeable that even Lady Edith though busy preparing for the concert found it difficult not to say anything.

Episode Summary: It’s 1918, and Downton Abbey remains a well-functioning convalescent home.  Lady Cora has become adept at running it that Mrs. Crawley is starting to feel left out.  Learning that her instructions have not only been ignored but were altered without her knowledge, an upset Mrs. Crawley decides to confront Lady Cora.  Although Lady Cora’s alteration were made with good reason, Mrs. Crawley failed to see this for she is overcome with a feeling of not being appreciated.  Their confrontation turns into an argument that leads Mrs. Crawley to threaten Lady Cora with rescinding her services at the convalescent home.  Unlucky for Mrs. Crawley, Lady Cora did not challenge her threat.  In fact, she welcomed it.Continue reading...

Lady Violet is unconvinced that Lavinia has told Mary the truth, but her granddaughter is absolutely sure that Lavinia gave Sir Richard the evidence to settle the debt of someone she loved.  However, Lady Violet is unsatisfied with her answer, and is now concerned that Mary is in a relationship with a man who lends money for blackmail.  As expected, Mary comes in defense of her boyfriend whom she finds suitable for her though it begins to show that she is marrying for money.  Lady Violet is still rooting for Matthew, but Mary makes it clear that the man has moved on, and they must too.  Concerned for their family’s lineage, Lady Violet takes interest on Sybil, and finds it odd that the young lady does not have a gentleman in mind.  Little did they know that Lady Sybil has her sights on Branson, the activist chauffeur.  Lady Mary soon senses of this when she sees the two in a serious conversation.

Lady Sybil having learned that Branson had promised Mr. Carson of not staging any protests wonders how the young man could make a vow to the butler, but not to her.  Clearly, she was unaware of Branson’s foiled attempt to humiliate General Strutt, which could have led to his arrest if Mr. Carson had decided to inform the police.  Lady Sybil is convinced that Branson will not be content at Downton, and the young man confirms this declaring that he is ready to join the fight for Ireland when the time comes.  However, Branson confesses that he is willing to stay at Downton until Lady Sybil decides to run away with him.  The young man boldly makes it known to Lady Sybil that although she would not admit it he is sure that she is in love with him.  Later, Mary concerned at what she witnessed between Sybil and Branson confronts her sister about it.  Her suspicions appear to have been verified based on Sybil’s defensive reaction to her questioning.  Mary tells her sister that she is on her side.  Days later, Lady Violet takes interest on Sybil, and although Mary has not told her anything speaks as if she has gotten wind of her growing friendship with Branson.  Their conversation during dinner made her feel ill at ease.

Mrs. Crawley turns to Dr. Clarkson hoping to find an ally, but unfortunately fails to find one.  Dr. Clarkson found her argument of Lady Cora not having medical training to run the convalescent home insufficient reason to make Lady Cora less qualified in running it, because to the doctor a convalescent home is more about good food, fresh air, and clean sheets.  Having found herself without an ally, Mrs. Crawley decides to move to France to offer her services at the Wounded and Missing Enquiry Department.  Dr. Clarkson finds Mrs. Crawley’s decision to join the Red Cross to be a drastic move, but Mrs. Crawley has made up her mind; she longs to go to a place where she is needed, and finds that Downton Abbey is no longer that place.  Mrs. Crawley wastes no time in leaving Downton.  He bids farewell to her servants, and tells them that she will try to get a hold of Matthew to explain to him what had happened.  She asks her servants to take very good care of him while she is gone.

The patients at the convalescent home have decided to organize a concert.  Edith is more than willing to perform for them, and with some urging has convinced a reluctant Mary to sing while she plays the piano.  Lord Grantham interrupts their practice eager to speak with Mary after learning that Sir Richard Carlisle had proposed to her.  Although Mary has not yet given him her decision, the man has asked Lord Grantham for permission to marry his daughter.  Lord Grantham is surprised to hear that Mary has decided to accept the man’s proposal, unsure that his daughter is marrying Carlisle for the right reasons.  As a last resort to dissuade his daughter from marrying Carlisle, Lord Grantham brings up Matthew, but this only annoys Mary who knows very well that her former beau is now in love with someone else.  Lord Grantham believes that Mary should write to Matthew to inform him of her plans with Carlisle, and although he does not find any reason to do so agrees to her father’s wish.  Mary does as she is told, and writes to Matthew about her decision to marry Carlisle.  Soon after Matthew reads her letter, he decides to go on an unsanctioned patrol bringing a concerned William with him.  William’s concern is not unjustified, and this they quickly learned when they both find themselves in enemy territory.  Soon after the Germans spot the two of them, and start firing at them.

With Mrs. Crawley, and Captain Crawley away, Mrs. Bird and Mr. Molesley find that there is nothing much left for them to do.  Mr. Molesley is alarmed at the sight of a beggar in their kitchen.  The man has broken through their front gate, and had come to ask for some spare food.  Mrs. Bird turns him away, but Mr. Molesley takes pity on him.  The man used to work on the farm, but due to his war injury he could no longer do farm work.  His story melts Mrs. Bird’s heart, and they invite him in that he may eat.  Later, Mr. Molesley bored out of his wits comes to Mr. Carson to volunteer his services, and the butler is more than happy to have him helping out at Downton Abbey.

Daisy becomes worried that William has not dropped by for a visit when he had written to her about his leave, and his plan to pay her a visit.  Mrs. Hughes assures her that the young man’s leave must have just been canceled, and that she should not be concerned.  It is not uncommon for people to vanish and turn up again in the strangest places during wartime.  Daisy finds that Mrs. Hughes reasoning is not farfetched with Mr. Bates working in a pub.  This surprised Mrs. Hughes who knew nothing of this, and brings her to Mr. Carson that she may relay the information she overheard from Thomas.  Mr. Carson is in disbelief that a trained valet such as Mr. Bates would be working in a public house, and he wonders whether Anna is aware of this.  Mr. Carson speaks to Lord Grantham about this who ends up reprimanding Thomas for not informing them of what he had learned.

Knowing very well what Mr. Bates means to Anna, Lord Grantham personally informs Anna of what he had learned about Mr. Bates.  Lord Grantham is surprised to learn that Anna already knows exactly where Mr. Bates is.  Moreover, she had seen and spoken to him.  Anna informs Lord Grantham of the reasons as to why the man has not returned to Downton.  Mr. Bates is hoping to settle his divorce with Mrs. Bates, and the other reason is that he and Lord Grantham parted on bad terms.  Knowing that Mr. Bates did the honorable thing for the Granthams, Lord Grantham humbly acknowledges that it is he who should be embarrassed about the latter.  It is because of this that Lord Grantham has decided to personally pay a visit to the public house where Mr. Bates now works.

Mrs. Patmore and Daisy are in the village when they find groups of men entering the Crawley House.  Mrs. Bird knew that the day would come when she will get caught running an unauthorized soup kitchen, but is glad that it is Mrs. Patmore who found out.  Mrs. Patmore and Daisy help Mrs. Bird serve the hungry men, while Mrs. Bird tells them how her soup kitchen started.  The woman has not informed Mrs. Crawley of what she had done, and apart from her concern of being shut down, Mrs. Bird who has been using her own money to buy the food is close to running out of resources.

In spite of Mrs. Hughes urging that she should not be concerned, Daisy could not help but become worried about William.  She turns to Lady Edith to inform her that William had written to her about his leave where he and Captain Crawley were supposed to spend a few days at Downton.  Not one of them turned up, which Daisy finds troubling.  Lady Edith goes to her father to ask his help in finding out what has happened to William and Captain Crawley.  Lord Grantham does so, and receives a telephone call from the War Office informing him that Matthew and William are indeed missing.  Lady Edith happens to be the one passing by when he received the news, and became the first one to know of the news.  Lord Grantham asks her to keep the news to herself until they become sure of their fate.

Ethel’s flirting with Major Bryant has become so noticeable that even Lady Edith found it difficult to ignore, but does nothing more other than to make it clear to Major Bryant that she is aware that the man is playing with the young woman’s heart.  Mr. Molesley having stayed late at Downton Abbey mending one of Lord Grantham’s coats is relieved to hear from Mrs. Hughes of her opinion about him being Lord Grantham’s valet.  Their chat also gave him the opportunity to inform her of having seen an officer by the maid’s quarters.  He did not think much of it, but figured the governess might want to know.  Having an idea of what it might be, Mrs. Hughes is overcome with dismay at confirming her suspicion.  She checks the maid’s room, and finds that Ethel is not on her bed.  She then hears giggling, and barges inside the storage room where she finds Major Bryant and Ethel naked under wraps.  She orders Major Bryant to go downstairs, and terminates Ethel right then and there.  She is to leave Downton Abbey before breakfast.  Anna finds a distraught Ethel packing her bags, and wonders what the young woman could have done to deserve an immediate dismissal.  Anna offers to speak to Mrs. Hughes in her behalf, but Ethel fully aware of what she has done is certain that Mrs. Hughes will not listen.  Anna nonetheless tries to speak to the governess, but Ethel is right, Mrs. Hughes mind is made up.

Mr. Molesley returns to the Crawley House, and shares with Mrs. Bird what Mrs. Hughes has told them.  Mr. Molesley could not hide that he is thrilled with the prospect of being an earl’s valet, and Mrs. Bird has a good feeling that he will indeed get the job.  They are not aware that Lord Grantham has paid a visit to the pub where Mr. Bates now works to personally apologize to his former valet.  Mr. Bates converses with Lord Grantham, and tells him that he found his wife to have been unfaithful to him, which gives him undeniable reason to divorce her.  Lord Grantham’s concern is the threats Mrs. Bates had made that involved the Granthams, but Mr. Bates is certain that Mrs. Bates will not push through with her threats since he had promised her money in exchange for her silence.

Mrs. Hughes once again tries to appease Daisy who confirmed that William and Captain Crawley are indeed missing.  Miss O’Brien, on the other hand, has a different approach, and although she does not hope the worst for the two men, she wants Daisy to be ready for the worst.  The reality is even Lord Grantham is concerned of the men’s fate, and confides to Mr. Bates that he may not be able to bear news of Matthew’s death.  Lord Grantham grew to love Matthew like a son.  He is at a point where he needs a friend more than a valet, and Mr. Bates has always been a friend to him.  Lord Grantham asks Mr. Bates to return to him to Downton Abbey, and the man graciously accepts.

Ever observant Miss O’Brien suspects Mrs. Patmore and Daisy to be in cahoots with something shady, this after hearing Mrs. Patmore instruct the kitchen maid to store some of the food in their special storage area.  She follows the two, and finds them hauling baskets of food in the Crawley House.

Mary is afraid that Sybil believes that she has tattled to Lady Violet about her friendship with Branson.  The truth is Lady Violet only guessed that Sybil must have a beau that she is embarrassed to introduce to the family.  Sybil’s answer hinting that there might be something deeper going on between him and Branson alarms Mary.  Open-minded Sybil has never been fretful about status, but Mary knowing very well the world they live in makes clear the reality of things.  Their family will never approve of Sybil marrying a chauffeur, but marriage is far from Sybil’s mind because the young lady is not even sure if she likes the young man.  She does tell Mary that Branson had told her that he loves her, and that he wants her to run away with him.  Although alarmed at the young man’s bold proposal, Mary vows not to betray Branson to Lord Grantham, but only if Sybil promises not to do anything stupid.  Sybil agrees to Mary’s condition.

Mr. Bates returns to Downton Abbey and receives a warm welcome from Mrs. Hughes and Anna.  Mrs. Hughes is thrilled to have him back, and presents him to the rest of the servants who all with the exception of Miss O’Brien and Thomas are happy to see him.  Another man who is not so pleased to see Mr. Bates back is Mr. Molesley.  He arrives at Downton Abbey out of breath afraid that he has arrived late for the dressing gong on his first night as Lord Grantham’s valet.  He could not be more disappointed to learn that Mr. Bates has resumed his old job as the valet of the Earl of Grantham, a position he so much desired that he even bought a new kind of shoehorn for Lord Grantham.  Much has changed in the world, and Mr. Bates found that Thomas has changed for the worse.  The man who now calls himself Sergeant Barrow has been lording over the servants.  There is one thing that has not changed, and that is O’Brien is still a conniving woman.  Shrewd as she is, O’Brien tells Lady Cora that Mrs. Patmore and Daisy have been selling food to Mrs. Bird for their own benefit.  Although Lady Cora finds it difficult to believe O’Brien’s accusation, she is nonetheless curious as to what the cooks and the kitchen maid are doing.  Lady Cora instructs O’Brien to bring her to the Crawley House the next time this happens.

Lady Sybil confesses to Branson that she has told Lady Mary about their last conversation.  Branson is convinced that he will soon be out of the job, but Lady Sybil assures him that Lady Mary will not betray them.  Be that as it may, Branson knows very well that Lady Mary will not encourage them.  Branson’s reaction surprises Lady Sybil for instead of being furious with her, the young man is happy.  This is because this is the first time Lady Sybil acknowledged that they are a couple.  However, Lady Sybil is not entirely sure for she really only did not want the young man to lose his job.  Branson sees it another way.  Lady Sybil still finds Branson’s request for her to leave her world and work for him to be high a price to pay for their love, but that is the real question.  Is Lady Sybil truly in love with Branson? This is a question Mr. Bates does not have to ask Anna for the woman is ready to give Mrs. Bates everything just so she and Mr. Bates can live in peace.  Mr. Bates has written to his wife that there is no way for her to win the case against her, and that he will be generous if she will cooperate.  Mr. Bates assures Anna that he will never leave her again.

Edith harboring the secret her father asked her to keep from Mary could no longer bear the thought of her sister not knowing.  Edith informs Mary against her father’s wishes that Matthew has gone missing after going on patrol.  Given the bad blood between them, Edith assures Mary that she has told her the news not to upset her, but because it is the right thing to do.  Mary, for once in her life, believes her.  Mary finds it difficult to contain the tears at the thought of Matthew’s fate.  Anna sees her, and immediately recognizes that the young woman has been made aware.  The truth is everyone knows about Matthew and William missing except for Lady Cora.

Lady Cora may have been left out of the loop from news about Matthew, but she certainly has been informed of the curious activity at the Crawley House.  Daisy, Mrs. Patmore, Mrs. Bird, and Mr. Molesley are shocked at her arrival.  Lady Cora makes it clear to them that Miss O’Brien had informed her that they seem to be engaged in a commercial venture of some sort.  Mrs. Bird denies the accusation, and Mrs. Patmore explains that they have been feeding men and are not ashamed of it.  This may be true, but Lady Cora is concerned that the food comes from Downton Abbey’s kitchen.  Daisy argues that they only take food from the army supply, since the men they are feeding are soldiers too.  Much to their surprise, Lady Cora tells them that she prefers that they feed the men with food coming from the house to avoid the army from accusing them of mismanagement.  On top of this, Lady Cora joins them in serving the men, and orders O’Brien to do the same.

Dr. Clarkson gets wind from Mrs. Hughes of Thomas lording over the staff, Daisy in particular, that he reprimands him about it, and puts him in his place.  Thomas tells O’Brien about his encounter with the doctor, and the woman immediately points a finger at Mr. Bates.  O’Brien, however, seems to be convinced that they now have the upper hand on the valet.  He is no longer someone they should be afraid of.

Just like Lady Edith, Lord Grantham could no longer bear the secret he has been keeping from his wife.  He tells her the news about Matthew going missing, and supposes that he kept the news from her, because he himself much preferred not knowing.  Lady Cora is not ready to give up hope, and so does Lord Grantham, but he tells her that they must prepare themselves.  Lady Mary overhears her mother asking her father if she has been informed, and answers her question herself.  It was the night of the concert, and with this on her mind, Lady Mary finds it difficult to push through with it, but Lord Grantham urges her because the concert means a lot to the men.  Whatever happens, they must all keep going, and help each other weather the storm.

The concert has begun, and Lady Violet is there for it too.  She, however, spends most of her time conversing with her son especially after learning that Matthew has gone missing.  Although she does not seem terribly concerned, she admits to have grown fond of Matthew, and finding undeniable proof that the man is in real trouble would truly bother her.  The time has come for Lady Mary and Lady Edith’s double act.  The young woman confesses to the audience that the two of them performing together is a rarity, but wartime has put things in perspective that they are willing to put differences aside in order to work together.  The Crawley Sisters begins their performance with Lady Edith on the piano, and Lady Mary doing the vocals.  During the chorus, Lady Mary encourages everyone to sing with her, and everyone does.  The song, however, stops abruptly when Lady Mary fails to utter another word for Matthew with William had entered the room.  All look behind them to find him standing there, and a relieved Lord Grantham stands up to welcome him.  Seeing that he had interrupted the concert, Matthew walks to the front to join Mary in her song.

After the concert, Matthew informs Mary and Lord Grantham that he and William got lost, and found themselves trapped behind some Germans for three days.  They were fortunate to have escaped them, and to have found a field dressing station where they were admitted.  Because they were unscathed and away from danger, the field dressing station did not find it necessary to inform their unit hence no one knew where they were.  With Lord Grantham away attending to the Dowager Countess, Matthew tells Mary of having received her letter about Carlisle.  Mary hopes that he will approve of him even though she is aware that he does not favor him, but Matthew assures her that he is sure to like him if he is good to Mary.  However, if the man does not treat her well then she can count on him to protect her.

Lady Cora was right, the concert is essential in keeping the spirits up, and it was successful in doing so that reticent Mr. Bates who has been living in misery for quite some time now could not help but confess to Anna that the amateur concert has brought him joy.  With them close to ending their troubles, Anna tells the valet that they must get used to being happy.  Unfortunately, Miss O’Brien is still holding a grudge against Mr. Bates, and still planning on getting back at him.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Patmore is overjoyed to see that William is alive and well, and the young man wonders if Daisy had given up hope on him.  Little did he know that it was Daisy who first grew concerned of him not turning up during his leave, but he makes it clear to her that it is the thought of her that keeps him going.

Mrs. Hughes has been informed by one of the maids that she has a visitor.  She excuses herself from the festivities, and goes downstairs only to find Ethel waiting for her.  Although the personal lives of her staff is not of her concern, Mrs. Hughes blames herself for not putting a stop to the flirtations between Ethel and Major Bryant before it escalated.  However, the damage is done for Ethel has come to ask for help, because she is now pregnant with Major Bryant’s child.

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