Downton Abbey: Life’s like a box of chocolates

(Series 3, Ep.1)  Just how gorgeous was last night’s Downton Abbey? When it was over I felt like I’d just spent the last 90 minutes snarfing the best part of a box of choccies and a nice fat glass of wine. It was just sumptuous.

Opening on the eve of the wedding of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, everyone was agog wondering whether Lady Sybil and the former chauffeur would be attending the wedding and, thanks to a financial intervention from the Dowager Countess, they did. And there was much horror when it was discovered that Branson (though now he’s upstairs we must call him Tom) didn’t own a proper dinner jacket. Or any dinner jacket. There was also much mayhem when an unscrupulous male relative spiked Tom’s drink, which had the effect of making him even more rampantly Republican than usual. The blushes of the family were saved by a timely intervention from Matthew, who is far more than a pretty face. He’s diplomatic, loyal, honest and sensitive, which doesn’t sound all that exciting when listed out like that, but he’s a fitting match for the goddess-like Mary.  

She didn’t think so for a while. Not just pre-wedding nerves, either. Lord Grantham had apparently lost most of the family’s money in bad investments, so they were facing the unthinkable – losing Downton. Meanwhile, Matthew had come into an inheritance via his late fiancee. Being an honourable man, he didn’t want to profit from someone whose heart he had broken, but Lady Mary thought pragmatically that securing their future in the family seat was more important. There was a lovely scene where he came to her bedroom to plead for her forgiveness and they kissed – but Mary insisted they do it with their eyes closed so he didn’t see her before the wedding (which is bad luck). Mary couldn’t resist a tiny peep to see if he was keeping his side of the bargain, though.

What else was going on? There was Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson.  Her scenes with Maggie Smith were just brilliant. Anna was visiting Bates in prison and turning detective to try and get some proof his late wife was suicidal and he didn’t cause her death. Thomas was being as sarcastic and unpleasant as usual (while simultaneously being beautiful, because he’s Rob James-Collier), but his former sidekick O’Brien was preoccupied with getting a valet job for a young relative.  Daisy was working to rule because she wanted more recognition from Mrs Patmore.  Lady Edith was busily trying to get some romance going with the rather limp (I suspect in every respect) Sir Anthony Strallan, and somewhere, in the wilds of India, there might be a person who is actually the heir to the money Matthew thinks he just inherited.

And Poor Mr Pamuk wasn’t mentioned. Not even once.

Posted by PLA     (other Downton-related blog posts here)


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2 responses to “Downton Abbey: Life’s like a box of chocolates

  1. remotecontrolled (kopitron)

    Wasn’t it just divine! So glad it’s back. Tom is continuing to get on my nerves a little though, completely unbending despite all of the sacrifices poor Sybil has made. Good thing Maggie has him in check though!

  2. Kick Out The Jams

    Tom’s reaction to the drug was totally unbelievable. A proper drunken Irishman would have clambered up on the table, sang a chorus of The Bold Fenian Men and then burst into tears…