(Series 4, ep.2) I sat through this second episode of series four of Downton Abbey with a smile on my face throughout. I don’t think there’s another programme that I watch with such pure enjoyment – it really is the televisual equivalent of having a big box of choccies all to yourself.
This week, Matthew Crawley made his wishes known from beyond the grave via a letter he’d written to Mary, naming her as his sole heir. It was a lovely letter. He’d written it when they were in Scotland and she was still pregnant. “I don’t know if the baby will be a boy or a girl, but I do know it will be a baby,” he wrote. And, hence, no good at all at running Downton if he should die before he managed to write a proper will.
Everyone clapped their hands and said how wonderful it was that Mary was now partly in charge of Downton. Her father, however, thought he’d better send the note to his solicitor to get it checked out. He’d quite liked the idea of grasping the Downton reins again and stopping these smart juniors in their modernising tracks. Sadly for him, the solicitor agreed that the letter was valid, so Mary’s eyebrows are now in charge and she and Tom have already driven around the perimeter of the Downton estates Making Plans.
I didn’t think I was going to like Cousin Rose all that much, but she was good value this week when she persuaded Anna to go with her to a tea dance in York, where she attracted the attention of a young man who assumed she was a servant rather than a m’lady. Her attempts to hide her accent under a bit of Yorkshire was quite amusing. It was a tad silly and implausible when he turned up at the Abbey asking for her and she quickly popped into some parlour maid clothing to tell him she was sadly stepping out with another honest chap from t’village, but I don’t really mind implausibility on Downton. For me, it’s part of the fun – though I know there are those who differ.
With the departure of O’Brien, Thomas found himself without a sidekick. He seems to have already filled that post with the new lady’s maid. I’ve forgotten her name, but she has a similar cat-like appearance to Thomas and when she ruined one of Lady Cora’s best scarves she was only too happy to go along with Thomas’s plan to pin the blame on The Saintly Anna.
Mr Bates proved he’s a fitting husband for The Saintly Anna, when he contrived to give some money to Mr Molesley who’s fallen on hard times since Matthew died. He’s now had to take a job resurfacing roads, which must be so humiliating when you’re used to the high life of fastening someone else’s cufflinks for a living.
There was a conclusion to the odd sub-plot that started last week about Mr Carson’s former showbiz pal who’d fallen on hard times. Had we heard about Mr Carson’s former showbiz life before? I don’t remember hearing anything about it, and anyone less likely to have been a song and dance man is hard to imagine. Perhaps the reason for his present curmudgeonly demeanour is the lost love who was the reason for his falling-out with the other man.
And Lady Edith wants to start integrating her married, soon-to-be-German, boyfriend into the family. They’ll love him, she reckons. I’m sure they’ll be just cockahoop.