Sunday, 27 January 2013

Downton Abbey Series One, Episode Seven

July and August 1914. Tensions abound following the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The family returns from London after Sybil’s debutante ball, with the exception of Mary, who is staying with her aunt and has yet to give Matthew his answer. When, to everyone’s great surprise, Cora discovers that she is pregnant after eighteen years, Mary’s aunt, Lady Rosamund Painswick, advises her to reconsider marrying Matthew, since his situation would change completely if the baby turns out to be a boy. Mary learns from Evelyn Napier that it was Edith and not he who originated the rumours about her and Pamuk. While in London, Anna has discovered the details of Bates’ crime: while he was a soldier he stole the regimental silver. However, Carson and the Earl realise that Bates is keeping something back. After Mrs. Patmore’s condition worsens, Lord Grantham sends her to London to have cataract surgery.
 Anna goes with her and discovers from Bates' mother that he took the blame for his wife, as he believed that he had ruined her life, although his mother does not agree with him. Mrs. Patmore is temporarily replaced by Mrs. Crawley’s cook, Mrs. Bird, whose cooking she fears will be preferred to her own. Mrs. Patmore accordingly asks Daisy to spoil the family’s meals, but her actions are discovered. Mrs. Bird sympathises with Daisy's loyalty, and upon Mrs. Patmore’s recovery and return, Mrs Bird manages to win her over. Matthew is angered by Mary’s hesitancy following Cora’s pregnancy, declaring that her decision should purely depend on whether she loves him or not. Anticipating the war, Thomas finds a non-combatant role in the Army Medical Corps with the help of Dr Clarkson.

When Molesley finds Thomas trying to steal from Carson’s wallet, the Earl tells Carson to wait until after the upcoming charity garden party to act on it. Thomas opportunely hands in his resignation to join the Corps. Mary confronts Edith about revealing her secret and implies that she will exact revenge. Learning that Sir Anthony Strallan promises to propose to Edith at the garden party, Mary manipulates him into thinking Edith finds him old and boring, so he leaves in haste without explanation. O'Brien is angry when she mistakenly believes that Cora is going to replace her, and takes advantage of an opportunity to punish the Countess by leaving soap below her bath. She regrets it immediately but isn't able to warn Cora in time, who slips and miscarries. There is further heartache when they find out the baby would have been a boy. O’Brien is extremely upset but Thomas is callous. He ridicules William for mourning his mother so deeply, leading to a fight between the two.


A telephone is installed in the house, and Sybil manages to get Gwen an interview as secretary for the phone company. When Branson conveys the good news that Gwen has secured the post, his obvious friendliness with Sybil leads Mrs. Hughes to warn him against getting too close to her. Molesley’s interest in Anna leads Bates to imply that he returns her affections.

 Mary is now prepared to marry Matthew and is heartbroken when he tells her he cannot be sure of her motives and intends to leave Downton. In the final scene, during the garden party Lord Grantham receives a telegram and announces to all that the United Kingdom is at war with Germany, marking the beginning of World War I.


A very emotional episode! xx

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