Downton Deliberations – Season 3 Episode 4
In this episode, completing the first half of this very exciting third season, emotions amongst the men are running at a fever pitch. For all the romantics, we get a glimpse into Bates’ inner sensitivities to feelings of abandonment brought on by a corrupt prison system withholding letters to and from Anna. Oddly enough, a perfect stranger, who, in his contempt for Bates’ cellmate, helps Bates keep hope alive. Beautifully crafted by Mr. Fellowes, we see Anna’s heart breaking simultaneously, and then once the letters are delivered, we can’t help but be happy for television’s favorite couple.
The beginnings of inadequacy, both as a fertile spouse and as a competent heir, enter Matthew’s mind, whilst stifling his resistance to the old ways of Carson and Robert. Robert skillfully puts off any discussion on changing the way Downton is managed. Matthew brings his concerns to Violet, who supports him but cannot solve the noses out of joint inevitability. Robert also airs his biased views on the Irish Catholics, which neatly aligns with Tom’s newest revelation. Tom sees a slight crack in his own revolutionary eye, but is met with tremendous anger by Robert and is ashamed. Carson chimes in his two bits also, indicating he has never accepted the move of Tom from chauffeur to squire. The rebellious Sybil thankfully safely returns and defends Tom, but she is shocked to find out just how deeply rooted his allegiance to Ireland is. Is old blood thicker than new family? Ireland is coming of age and so is Tom. He is showing a reasoned approach, and makes a stand stating to his father in law, “We all live in a harsh world, but at least I know I do.”
Thomas continues carrying his misery on his shoulders, but has taken a new interest with Jimmy (quickly renamed James by Carson). I imagine there will be more ahead for these two.
The gruff, insensitive Mr. Bryant is enamored with his grandson Charlie, who Ethel decides to hand over to he and his wife to give him a chance for a better life than she could provide. The irony is how such a boorish man really is compassionate.
Happy Monday! This week’s episode covered a lot of topics and storylines. It’s amazing it can all fit into one hour!
Mr. Bates’ cellmate seems to have interfered with letters from Anna and we are witness to some fine acting from Brendan Coyle (known as The Face) when he says more with one sad look than could have been written in a hundred pages of script. Anna feels Bates has cut off contact with her in an attempt to, once again, be gallant and set her free. Proving the enemy is a very good teacher, Bates manages to turn the tables on his cellmate and contact with his beloved is resumed. Why, after everything these two have gone through, does either think the other will give up?
Carson is busy trying to plan for a dinner party but doesn’t know who is in charge now. I predict Matthew’s money will cause some complications in his relationship with Robert and Mary. Matthew assures Carson Lord Grantham is in charge but his fresh, young ideas will no doubt cause friction. True to the old ways, Robert and Mary aren’t always the easiest to bring around to new ideas.
Edith finds herself with little to do after being left at the altar and writes to a newspaper about women’s rights and the vote. With a little encouragement she could fill her life with something meaningful. Robert is less than impressed but might soon realize he has lost all control of the women in his life.
Out of the blue, in the middle of the dinner party, Tom shows up at the door sans Sybil. A phone call from Sybil and we are assured she is alright, but no one, including Tom, knows where she is. It turns out there was some trouble in Ireland involving Tom’s attendance at the razing of a castle, putting a family out in the cold. Knowing he would be arrested he has fled Ireland with Sybil meant to follow him back to Downton. Robert is livid that Tom would ‘abandon’ Sybil in a country that isn’t her own which makes me wonder if he has ever met the girl. Sybil is more independent and capable than the rest of them and no doubt she thought nothing of their plan to escape Ireland and saw it as a bit of an adventure. Tom has strong ideas about his future child but the Crawleys lay down the law and insist they stay at Downton until the baby is born.
Ethel, Isobel, and Mrs Hughes arrange a meeting with the Bryants to discuss Charlie’s future. Ethel needs to make some very hard decisions for her little boy, ones no mother ever wants to have to make. My heart broke for her as she waved goodbye to her son and walked down the street with nowhere to go, nothing to do. It’s a shame things aren’t better for her and the Bryants were so harsh at the beginning. They all want what’s best for Charlie so let’s hope this means Ethel finds her way back to him.