Sunday, December 22, 2013

Episode 2 Season 3 – Downton Abbey Episode Summary 3.2

Mrs. Levinson sings to Lady Violet
Synopsis:  The honeymoon is over, and Lady Mary must face the fact of losing her home.  She and Lady Violet turn their sights to the wealthy American, Mrs. Levinson.  They plan to use the dinner party for the distinguished citizens of Downton Abbey as a means to their end.  Meanwhile, Anna manages to get a hold of the new address of Vera’s close friend, Mrs. Bartlett.

Episode Summary: Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary return to Downton Abbey after their honeymoon in their new AC sports car.  They are to stay at Downton in the meantime.  Thomas finds Alfred tending to Matthew’s shirt, since Mr. Molesley will be staying on at the Crawley house.  Thomas becomes upset at learning that Mr. Carson had assigned the task to the footman instead of him.  Thomas suspects that Miss O’Brien had something to do with this.  He, however, advises that Alfred must tend to the shirt in a dressing room to avoid it from being soiled.Continue reading...

Mrs. Levinson remains a guest at Downton, and its occupants feel that she is outstaying her welcome.  The servants have started to make fun of her voracious appetite including Alfred whom Ms. Reed notes Mrs. Levinson makes fun of as well.  With the spectacle of the wedding over, the Crawleys must now face the unfortunate fact of their financial ruin.  Lady Violet refuses to succumb to defeat, and sets her eyes on Mrs. Levinson as a potential source of money.  In fact, hearing of Mrs. Crawley’s new endeavor of helping women who have had to degrade themselves to survive, Mrs. Levinson is willing to contribute money to help her cause.

Lord Grantham learns of Matthew’s inheritance of Mr. Swire’s fortune, and becomes incensed at hearing Matthew’s refusal to accept the money.  Matthew is overcome with guilt with the prospect of keeping the money Mr. Swire bequeathed him for his fidelity unaware that Matthew had in fact betrayed his beloved daughter, Lavinia.  Hearing of this and seeing Matthew’s onus, Lord Grantham ceases to press Matthew about his decision not to keep the money.  Lady Mary has come to terms about her husband’s decision long before her father learned of Matthew’s inheritance.  She, however, asks Matthew that they stay at Downton until the time has come for them to leave.  Lady Violet, however, has not yet acceded to the idea of losing Downton Abbey.  She speaks with Lady Mary about convincing Mrs. Levinson to come to their aid.  Lady Violet sets up a plan to make Mrs. Levinson believe that it is her duty to save Downton.  She is unaware that there is another person who can save Downton.  In fact, Matthew has received a letter from Mr. Swire’s lawyer confirming him as Reggie Swire’s heir.  However, Matthew’s decision not to keep the money still stands for he remains in his belief that accepting it is akin to stealing for he is taking it under false pretenses.  Although Lady Mary has accepted Matthew’s decision, it does not mean that she agrees with it.  Matthew learns that the same is true with Lord Grantham.  Moreover, he did not realize that one of the reasons Lord Grantham did not press him about it is because the man was too ashamed to beg.

Fortunately, the Crawley women have no shame at all as Lady Violet and Lady Mary set in motion to get Mrs. Levinson to save Downton Abbey.  Lady Violet, however, forgets herself and criticizes America putting their plan in jeopardy at the onset.  Lady Mary reminds her grandmother of their task, and soon Lady Violet changes her tune.  Mrs. Levinson, however, sees right through Lady Violet having saved the Crawleys from financial ruin once before with Cora’s inheritance.

Anna pays a visit to Mr. Bates, and delivers news of two posts she sent out that returned undelivered.  Mr. Bates is disappointed at hearing that one of the people who did not receive Anna’s letter is Mrs. Bartlett for the woman was Vera’s friend.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes with Mrs. Patmore sees Dr. Clarkson soon after confiding to her friend about the lump in her breast.  Dr. Clarkson confirms of the cyst’s existence, but tests must be run in order to ascertain if it is cancerous.  The prospect of her having cancer has sunk in Mrs. Hughes and it has affected her work.  Meanwhile, Alfred has fallen into Thomas’ trap after naively believing that the valet was helping him when in fact Thomas had set on destroying him.  The tip Thomas gave Alfred bore a hole in Matthew’s tails instead of simply removing the stain from it.  Mr. Carson is beside himself, but does not hear of Thomas’ hand in Alfred’s failure.  Thomas argues that Alfred must have misused the soda crystals he gave him, but Miss O’Brien discovers that the valet had given her nephew something else.  The incident with the tails has given Thomas reason to recommend to Lord Grantham of having Mr. Molesley come to Downton to serve as Matthew’s valet.  The disappointment of Alfred’s failure and the disorder with the servants led Mr. Carson to a row with Mrs. Hughes who argues that they are understaffed.  Mrs. Patmore tries to explain Mrs. Hughes’ situation, but the governess prevents her from doing so.  News from Dr. Clarkson of the tests coming up inconclusive did not help appease her worries as the possibility of her having cancer remains uncertain.  Dr. Clarkson recommends her getting as much rest as she can, a notion that is not an option given the amount of work at Downton Abbey.

Lady Edith still has not gotten over Sir Anthony Strallan, and her fixation on the man many years her senior worries Lord and Lady Violet.  Sir Anthony tries to keep Lady Edith away not wanting her to be stuck with an old man, but the determined young woman could not be deterred, which is why Sir Anthony is the only guest at that night’s dinner.  However, the Crawleys are planning to have dinner with the locals sometime soon, which Lady Violet and Lady Mary will use as a vehicle for Mrs. Levinson to feel that Downton is worth saving.  Both women, however, has yet to practice subtlety for Mrs. Levinson is beginning to suspect of their ulterior motive.  Lady Mary lets Matthew in her and Lady Violet’s plan of showing Mrs. Levinson the value of keeping Downton Abbey.  Meanwhile, Lord Grantham decides to become forthright with Sir Anthony as he speaks to him privately to ask him to stay away from Lady Edith.  Sir Anthony sees the reason behind Lord Grantham’s request and complies with it without hesitation.  He, however, notes the difficulty of keeping Lady Edith away especially with her dropping by his house frequently.

Given the incident with the tails, Mr. Carson informs Alfred that he is no longer to attend to Matthew for Mr. Molesley will now fill that role.  Ms. Reed finds a downtrodden Alfred, tells him that she is on his side, and gives him a quick kiss on the mouth.  Daisy becomes witness to this, and becomes scandalized by it.  Meanwhile, Lady Edith receives a disheartening letter, and immediately knows that her father had something to do with it.  She runs to Mrs. Levinson who sides with her granddaughter.  She could not understand Robert’s disapproval of Sir Anthony when the man has the means and the title that Robert holds in high regard.  It becomes clear that the age difference is the one thing that led to Lord Grantham’s disapproval.  Lord Grantham, seeing how unhappy his daughter has become, agrees to welcome Sir Anthony as an acceptable suitor to Lady Edith.

Lady Mary apprises her mother of the plan, and learns that her mother does not agree with it.  Lady Cora finds it unfair for her brother to lose half of his inheritance to Downton especially when all hers was already used to save it.  Lady Cora is prepared to live more modestly than they are now, but Lady Mary, who is to become the Countess of Grantham, is not.  So different is her life from the women Mrs. Crawley hopes to help, and one of them is Ethel.  Ethel enters Mrs. Crawley’s center to ask her a favor.  Mrs. Crawley does not recognize her at first, but when she does, Ethel becomes frightened and leaves.

Anna informs Mr. Bates that she learned of Audrey Bartlett’s current address.  Mr. Bates, however, does not have much hope of getting Mrs. Bartlett’s help, knowing very well that the woman is a close friend of Vera.  Anna, conversely, believes that Vera and Mrs. Bartlett may have had a falling out for Vera had sent her a letter apprising Mrs. Bartlett of her worries instead of telling her in person.  Mr. Bates becomes doubtful that anything will come out of Anna’s meeting with Mrs. Bartlett, thinking that Vera could have done both.  In an attempt to forget his troubles, Mr. Bates asks about Downton Abbey and learns that Lord Grantham’s financial troubles may force him to sell it.  Later, he sees a prison guard passing something on to Craig in secret.  Having seen Mr. Bates witnessing the exchange, Craig threatens him about speaking a word of it.  Mr. Bates attacks Craig in a display of his refusal to be intimidated.

The preparation for the dinner with the townspeople that Lady Mary and Lady Violet are relying on to help them convince Mrs. Levinson to rescue Downton seems ominous.  It starts with Mr. Molesley informing Matthew that the coattail he had sent to the tailor to mend has not arrived.  Soon Thomas learns that someone had taken all of Lord Grantham’s shirts to get back at him leaving his master nothing to wear for the dinner party.  Guests have arrived, but dinner is still not ready, since the oven that Daisy has been complaining about for days has finally stopped working.  The Crawleys learn of their embarrassing predicament.  Lady Cora suggests of asking the guests to leave for there is no party to be had.  Leave it to Mrs. Levinson to save the party with her idea of an indoor picnic.  They are to serve whatever there is to serve and have everyone eat and chat whenever and wherever they want.  This is clearly not what Lady Mary and Lady Violet hoped the night would turn out to be.  Lady Cora, however, welcomes it especially if it puts an end to their scheme.

The Crawleys, unused to change, are pleasantly surprised to hear that the distinguished citizens of Downton Abbey find the informal dinner exciting.  Mrs. Levinson engages them more with her bursting into song by the piano.  Dinner is saved and proved a memorable one.  However, Downton is still not saved, and this Lady Mary and Lady Violet learns after Mrs. Levinson makes it clear to them that she is not going to rescue Downton.  She will help them with their other needs, but she will not give any more money to keep it running.  Mrs. Levinson believes that the Crawleys must move on for estates like Downton are outdated.  She apologizes to Lord Grantham for her unwillingness to save Downton.  Lord Grantham is surprised not because of her rejection, but because of the fact that she was asked to help at all.  Mrs. Levinson advises him to adapt for the world is changing.  For people who are accustomed to a certain way of going about things, change is not something they welcome.  Mr. Carson is one of these people, which is why he is ashamed to admit that the impromptu informal dinner proved to be a success.  Mrs. Hughes is more open to change especially with her predicament, which she still keeps it from Mr. Carson despite expressing his concern after noticing a change in Mrs. Hughes demeanor.  The woman, however, has accepted that she may surrender to death earlier than one would expect.

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