Monday, February 11, 2013

Downton Deliberations - Season 3 Episode 7

In this, the penultimate episode to this exciting third season, the big news of course is that Bates is free! 

But the men at the center of the action this week are Thomas and Robert. Thomas’ role at Downton may be changing. The seemingly evil Thomas is clearly struggling with his sexuality and his loneliness. In his attempt to curry favour with James,

Robert is still twisted about his lesser role at Downton. Although he delivers a very short but cordial greeting to Bates, is preoccupied with facing Matthew, Tom, and Edith’s non-traditional challenges. Robert challenges Matthew’s suggestions for updating Downton.

Frank talk brings tempers forward. Mr. Jarvis – 'the old broom' – steps aside, resigning after 40 years of service. “I wish you luck with your sweeping.”

Thomas gives James some unsolicited advice on getting ahead of Alfred. When James tries to trip up Alfred, Carson sees what's going on and advises James, “Don’t waste a chance once it is given."  Being dressed down in public was as humiliating then as it is today. Thomas puts a gentle move on James. Noticed by the nosy Miss O’Brien, she lies, stirring up the pot, telling Thomas that Alfred says he thinks James may like Thomas. His strong visceral attraction to James gets the better of him. He makes his move; Alfred catches him, and the tensions rise.

Miss O’Brien puts Alfred in the spot of having to fess up to Carson. Alfred explains what he saw to Carson. Carson replies, “The world can be shocking place, Alfred. You are a man now, and must learn to take it on the chin.” Carson then speaks to Thomas harshly but with a bit of compassion. Thomas admits his feelings for James to Carson and comes clean that James is innocentCarson remarks to Mrs. Hughes, “Human nature is a funny business, isn’t it?” 

Tom’s role at Downton is reconsidered. Tom puts his "diamond in the rough" visiting brother in his place, finally gaining some favor with Carson. Despite Robert's stupidly rude comments about Catholic Church services, Tom quickly changes his mind, assuring him it is Sybil's wish as the reason the child is to be christened as Catholic. Tom shows he has no tolerance for being bullied by the likes of the aristocracy, nor does he allow them disrespect, especially Lady Grantham.

Parallel to charting a new course for Downton, Matthew is trying to chart a new course for Mary and him to start a family; however, he is downtrodden about his potential virility challenges. Matthew explains to Mary that she must believe in him and his ideas for Downton, winning her over convincingly - to my view for the first time!

Let's see what next week brings. Thomas is bound to a central figure - wouldn't you agree?

The Etiquette Guy

Finally!  Bates & Anna are reunited as he is released from prison.  Perhaps now their storyline can get back on track and they can have a real honeymoon.  How sweet was their drive to the Abbey?  Awww they are so happy!  I am sure it will be an adjustment for both of them but with Robert’s sage advice to bates to stay in bed and read some books, I am sure they will find their way.
Edith plans to make the journey to London so see about advancing her writing career.  Robert is not best pleased and is sure to make sure his opinion is known.  She meets Mr Gregson who takes her to lunch.  Could he be her next suitor?  
Ethel is being treated very poorly in the village and even though she is working hard to change the course of her life, she doesn’t seem to be able to shake the stigma of her past.  Isobel feels one much stand up to bullies but in the end a solution is found.  

Oh Thomas.  When will you learn?  Of course Jimmy was going to lose his mind when he found you trying to kiss him in the middle of the night!  When will this boy learn?
Tom has decided Baby Sybil will be baptized in the Catholic church in Ripon and asks Mary to be the godmother.  His brother, a ‘rough diamond’ will be the godfather.  A lovely moment between Tom and Mary as she tells him she likes diamonds.  I can imagine Mary, Sybil, Matthew and Tom would’ve been great friends has things turned out differently.  When Kieran arrives we get a glimpse into the life Tom came from.  Rough diamond is an understatement!  He promptly installs himself in the servants’ hall and Tom has to order him upstairs.  At dinner, Tom’s plan to live above his brother’s garage with the baby goes down like a lead balloon and the conversation carries to the subject of the christening.  Fortunately Robert agrees to be there but only after comparing mass to a gymnastics event.

Robert and Matthew meet with the estate manager and it doesn’t go well.  Matthew’s ideas are too progressive for the other men and the estate manager resigns, leaving them at loggerheads and without someone to run the show.  Fortunately Violet, always the puppet master, suggests Tom.  All the pieces are falling into place!

Cora and Robert have obviously made up and she suggests he leave downstairs issues to Carson.  Thomas is still an uncertainty now that Mr Bates is back.  There is no doubt Robert will have Bates as his valet again, where will this leave Thomas?  He has been up and down this ladder so many times in the last three seasons, it’s hard to keep up with where he ranks in the house!  Cora also insists Tom be allowed to stay as long as he wants.  There is no way this grandmamma is going to be parted from her daughter’s baby.

In the end the christening is a family affair and Robert isn’t recruited by the Papists.  A series of lovely photos are taken and we know they will all stay together at Downton.