Tag Archives: bates and anna

Downton Abbey: Series 3 Predictions

Lately I’ve been submerged in the 1920’s as I conduct research for my next novel.  So imagine my giddy excitement when Downton Abbey released its first major promotional image.  Those gowns, the hair!  The third installment of the series takes place from 1920-21, as Europe tries to pull itself from the wreckage of World War I.  And everyone wants to know–how will the family and staff of Downton Abbey manage this enormous task?

The show is set to air in the UK this fall, while we poor Americans must wait until January to find out the answers to the questions that have been nagging us since series 2 ended (well, those of us who are patient and do not look up answers that can easily be found on the web).  So before it airs, I wanted to put out some Downton predictions/questions that I hope will be answered in this latest installment.  Warning: there are a few spoilers in here for those of you who haven’t read any of the teaser material out there about season 3.

1.) How much longer will the Mary & Matthew “will they/won’t they?” be dragged out?

From what I’ve gathered from the limited information that’s been released, it’ll go on for at least a bit longer.  You know, I really had hoped we had finished with this one.  We left Matthew and Mary hugging in the swirling snow after a perfect Mary/Matthew-esque proposal.  But Fellowes isn’t quite ready to let it go.  Apparently a bad investment on Lord Grantham’s part is going to be a major plot device for this season, and the problem is going to weigh more heavily on aristocratic Mary than on Matthew, who is used to earning a living.  My guess is the situation will bring to the forefront the fundamental differences in the way Matthew and Mary see the world.  Do I think love will win the day?  Probably.  But it looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride (but then, what else can we expect from Matthew & Mary?).  And as a side note–if and when they do marry, are we going to get to see some happy honeymoon scenes between them?  After having to see Bates and Anna’s night together, I think it’s the least Fellowes can do for us.

2.) And speaking of Bates and Anna…

Will Bates ever get out of jail?  My theory: yes, and it may be thanks to Richard Carlisle.  He was the one who heard Mrs. Bates’s rather blatant threat against her husband, after all.  But I can’t imagine that Richard would provide a favor for the Crawley family so easily after being jilted by Mary (and I’m still wondering if the Pamuk scandal is going to resurface yet again).  And what will Anna’s story line look like, with her husband in the clink?  This is just a guess, but based on the picture that was released of the entire cast, it looks like Anna may become a ladies’ maid.  She seems to be dressed the same as O’Brien.  And of course that makes me think that Mary and Matthew do indeed get married, and Mary’s new marital status allows for a promotion for Anna.

3.) And speaking of promotions…

At the end of last season we finally saw Daisy grow a spine and confront Mrs. Patmore, asking for a promotion to assistant cook.  Wonder how that’s going to work out?  And who will replace Daisy as scullery maid?  According to this article, she’ll be replaced by a doe-eyed girl named Ivy.  You know, I hope Daisy finds a man this season, one she actually loves and isn’t guilted into marrying only to become a widow hours later.  I’m pulling for you, Daisy.

4.) What will the downstairs dynamic be like?

So many changes!  We’ll need a replacement footman for the deceased William, and a new scullery maid to fill Daisy’s vacant position.  Plus, if the estate is in financial trouble, what will it mean for the hardworking folks downstairs?  Job security will surely be on everyone’s minds.  And will O’Brien and Thomas continue their conniving ways?  Who am I kidding, of course they will.

5.) What does the future look like for Sybil and Branson?

The relationship between Sybil and Branson was boring in season 2, in my opinion.  But now that they’re married, and Sybil’s pregnant, and Cora’s insisting they be allowed to come back to Downton, my interest has perked up.  How on earth are these two “rebels” going to fit in around the dinner table?  Branson, the former chauffeur, dining alongside his former employer?  Should be interesting.  And what will Granny have to say about the whole thing?

I’m concerned about Branson’s safety, and not just because of Granny’s barbed one-liners.  He’ll most likely be involved in the Irish political movement, which was at times violent (though the civil war did not begin until 1922, which will be after the time period of the upcoming series).  Speaking from a story/plot perspective, it makes sense in some ways for Branson to leave Sybil behind at Downton, and she and her “crazy” progressive notions will have to fend for themselves in a house full of traditionalists.  Now, whether this “leaving” is in the form of taking off to fight in Ireland, or perhaps a more…permanent exit, I don’t know.  One thing’s for certain, there’s going to be a lot of head-butting when these two re-enter the scene.

6.) Will Edith finally find her place?

Poor Edith.  I hated her the first season, but mostly just pitied her the second.  However, the war seemed to help her realize she had more valuable contributions to make to society besides sending off letters about her sister’s improper behavior in the bedroom.  At the end of season 2 she went to see Sir Anthony Strallan, the man who almost proposed in season 1 until Mary intervened.  He didn’t want to court her due to his crippled condition, but Edith didn’t seem inclined to take no for an answer.  My prediction–she’s going to wear him down at some point and the two will be married (unless long-lost cousin Patrick Crawley somehow makes his way back into the picture–and boy I hope not, as that was one of the more soap-opera-ish plots in season 2 I could have done without).

Finally, an overall thought about the upcoming season.  I think that the money issue will divide the house between the aristocrats (Lord Grantham, Mary, Lady Violet) and those who don’t quite “get” the English obsession with tradition (Cora, Sybil, Matthew, Cora’s mother, who will be played by Shirley Maclaine and who I can’t wait to see).  I think this is where the main conflict is going to stem from.  And I think (hope) it will reflect what was going on throughout England during this period of enormous change after the First World War.

So now it’s your turn–what are your Downton predictions for season 3?  And what do you hope will happen?

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Downton Abbey Season 2, ep. 6 recap

This episode opens in 1919, as Edith watches the last medical vehicle leave the property of Downton, signalling that the home can finally return to normal.  Downton Abbey’s definition of “normal,” that is: this two-hour episode was packed with drama, culminating in a wedding and a funeral.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Now that the war is over, the inhabitants of Downton are ready to move on, or rather, move back to the way things used to be (much to Lady Sybil’s dismay).  As Cora goes about looking for new work to put her energy into, her husband continues to mope about, feeling his life no longer has purpose.  He apparently finds that purpose in one of THE oddest hookups in Downton Abbey history with the housemaid Jane.  Honestly, I know the man’s lost, but this seems so far out of character for Robert that I just couldn’t buy into it.  And his wife is in the other room battling for her life no less!  Who is this man and what has he done with the Earl of Grantham, caring husband/father/lord of the estate?  Fortunately, Jane decides it best for both of them if she turns in her notice, but not without giving Robert a goodbye kiss to remember her by first (in the library, really?).

Of course, that’s not the only social-barrier-crossing romance that reaches its conclusion in this episode.  After much deliberation (and a great deal of patience on Branson’s part), Lady Sybil finally decides that she cannot go back to her life before the war.  We see her sitting in the grand drawing room, staring off into space while others chat around her.  The wheels in her mind are turning, and she goes to Branson, telling him she’s made her decision, and he’s her ticket out of her old life.  Her statement left me feeling that Sybil is using Branson just as much as Branson seemed to be using Sybil in previous episodes.  But I had to respect the resolve of the couple, which never wavered despite a botched elopement and retrieval by Edith and Mary, and a large amount of blustering by Papa (who apparently is okay with double standards).  So maybe there’s love there, after all.

But of course the big news of the episode (besides the fact that Dr. Clarkson made a mistake in his diagnosis of Matthew’s spinal injury) is the development in the driving “will they/won’t they” plot between Matthew and Mary.  The dance scene between the two of them (the one that Lavinia unfortunately witnesses) is one fans have no doubt been waiting for all season.  Thanks to Granny’s advice, Matthew has been left to mull over the unsettling thought that he is marrying the wrong woman, but out of obligation and duty he feels he must marry Lavinia, who sacrificed everything to be with him.  Even though he doesn’t really want to.

And what of poor Lavinia?  It is somewhat disheartening to see your fiancee embracing his former fiancee just days before your own wedding.  She takes to bed with a case of the Spanish flu (of which Cora and Carson are also afflicted), and has a heart-to-heart with Matthew, and even she has to admit that Matthew and Mary are a better match than the two of them. She takes a sudden turn for the worse, and lives up to her predictions from previous episodes that she will not be able to live without Matthew.  On her deathbed she informs him that it is better this way, and she wants him to be happy.  I’m sure her intentions were good, but her words left Matthew wandering around the estate, wracked with guilt.

Matthew and Lord Robert discuss funeral arrangements

After the funeral Matthew informs Mary he feels certain that Lavinia died of a broken heart (while I yelled at the TV “NO!  It was the Spanish flu!”).  Because of her parting words he knows he and Mary can never be happy together.  A devastated Mary leaves the graveside on the arm of skeeze ball Sir Richard (you know, the one who tried to bribe Anna to spy on Mary for him).

"We are cursed, you and I."

Amidst all this, Bates and Anna’s relationship is taken to the next level when evidence surfaces of Bates’s possible involvement in his wife’s death.  Anna refuses to let him go through it alone, and basically orders him to go ahead and marry her, which he does.

The two get one night of happiness together before he’s carted off to prison on the charge of willful murder.  I’m still of the opinion that Mrs. Bates’s demise was self-inflicted, and she set up the letter and other evidence in order to frame her husband, but I suppose the upcoming trial will shed some light on what really happened.  Poor Bates and Anna, will these two kids ever catch a break?

Bates being handcuffed, with a helpless Anna watching on

Hard to believe it, but next week wraps up season 2 with Christmas at Downton.

Interested in learning more about the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-19 featured prominently in this episode?  You can read my post about it here.

Miss any of the other episodes?  Read my recaps here:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

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Downton Abbey Season 2, ep. 4 recap

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Last night Downton Abbey did not end with a cheery song and the return of an unscathed missing man.  Instead viewers were hit with one piece of depressing news after another.  This was the darkest episode yet (except for a few light spots with the Dowager Countess, such as when she calls the telephone an instrument of torture.  Oh Granny).

Two of my Downton Predictions proved accurate in this episode.  During the battle of Amiens (which was the beginning of the end of the war and was a major success for the Allied forces), Matthew and William are wounded by a nearby shell explosion.  William sustains a serious lung injury that will slowly kill him, while Matthew’s injury leads the doctor to suggest that he will never walk again, and will never have a “proper marriage.”  Now the future of the entail is called into question again, as well as Matthew’s engagement to Lavinia.  He tells her to leave, refusing to tie her down to a cripple who won’t be able to give her any children.

Lavinia pours her heart out to Lady Mary, then promptly departs for London, leaving Mary to care for Matthew.  Given Lavinia’s meek and mild nature, someone with Mary’s strong resolve is probably what Matthew needs (and of course I’m rooting for them to reunite).  Mary devotes herself to Matthew’s care, and seems to finally have found her place among all the change occurring around her from the war.

But Mary has other problems to tend to.  Vera Bates returns (thanks to O’Brien) and has every intention of revealing Mary’s secret, and plans to bring Anna down along with the Crawley name.  Anna tells Mary, who goes to see Sir Richard about the matter.  You know you’ve made a mistake in your choice of fiancee when he says he’s happy to help, but it also pleases him to know that he’ll have something on you and you’ll be in his debt.  As we can see from next week’s preview, it looks like Sir Richard plans to play the “Pamuk card” to get what he wants.

Mrs. Bates is paid off by Sir Richard, who then promptly announces his engagement to Mary (again, not a good sign, given that Mary had no knowledge that he would do so).  This news infuriates Vera, and she swears that she will get Bates back another way.  This woman is on an entirely different level than O’Brien and Thomas in her one-dimensional vendetta against Bates and Anna.  O’Brien and Thomas can be nasty, but who knows to what lengths Vera will go to get back at Bates.

Meanwhile William is dying at Downton (after a few strings are pulled by Lady Violet to get him there) in the largest bedroom he’s ever slept in.  Daisy is basically peer-pressured into marrying William in order to receive a widow’s pension.  You can’t help but feel badly for her, and I know the guilt is going to eat away at her as that pension starts coming in.  The marriage, quickly followed by the death of William, left us reaching for the tissues (if Lady Violet is allowed to shed a tear, so are we!).

There were a few odds and ends tucked in throughout the episode.  Lady Edith quietly nurses William, keeping him comfortable during the final days of his life.  A  few short scenes between Lady Sybil and Branson show that he seems to be chipping away at the barrier she’s put between them (really, this relationship grows creepier each week, like Sybil is some sort of trophy that Branson’s trying to win).

Lord Grantham is being ignored by Lady Grantham, who is busy running the convalescent home, and like some sort of spoiled child he pouts with his newspaper, and then takes an all-too keen interest in the new maid (did anyone else notice that lingering look he gave after she left the room?).  Mrs. Hughes has been looking out for Ethel and her illegitimate child, who the father wants nothing to do with (is it just me or does this thread fall somewhat flat–I didn’t have enough time with Ethel to become emotionally invested in her).  And Isobel Crawley returns at last, and the look Matthew gives her before breaking down when he sees her was enough to make me bring out the tissues again.

So what next?  Nothing was resolved in this episode, and it looks like several story arcs are getting ready to hit their critical peaks.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

Miss any of the other episodes?  See my episode 1, episode 2, and episode 3 recaps.

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