Last week on Downton Abbey, we saw the Crawley house abuzz with preparations for Matthew and Mary’s wedding. This week, Lady Edith finally got her turn as the staff prepared for her wedding with Sir Anthony Strallan. Further reminding us that all she wants is to be loved (by somebody, anybody, for the love of God!), Edith said, “Something happening in this house is actually about me.” Pathetic, to be sure, but you can’t deny that the girl is self-aware.
Everyone in the family – but particularly Lord Grantham and the Dowager – was down on the planned marriage. Funnily enough, however, they didn’t seem to have any qualms about Sir Anthony when they invited him over for dinner in Season 1 and encouraged Lady Mary to get friendly with him. Is this a sign of the fickle nature of the Crawley family? Naw, I’m going to go with the hypothesis that it’s some sloppy writing on the part of Julian Fellowes. In any case, the wedding day arrived and nobody except Edith – not even Sir Anthony – seemed very pumped about it. Edith got ready, donning a sweeter gown than Mary wore (a rare victory for Edith). Speaking of Mary, she made one of the meanest “nice” statements ever, telling Edith that she was very happy for her today – but that she knew they’d probably go back to hating each other tomorrow. Sisterly love!
Edith made it to the church and down the aisle but, alas, no further. Anthony got cold feet, telling her that he wanted more for her than to be chained to an old man like himself for the rest of her life. Noble, perhaps, but wouldn’t it have been more gallant of him to come to this realization before she got all dressed up and was humiliated in front of her family and friends? In any case, Edith (understandably devastated) returned home and ran up the stairs with her gown’s train trailing behind her, pausing to dramatically throw her veil over the balcony (symbolism, guys!). And the next day, while refusing Anna’s offer to bring her breakfast in bed, Edith delivered one of the saddest lines of the series: “Spinsters have to go down to breakfast.” Womp, womp.
In other upstairs news, the Crawley family also had to deal with their impending poverty. For them, this meant donning their spiffiest picnic wear (seriously, they all looked damn good) and heading to one of their smaller estates, which Mary dubbed “cramped” (of course she did). To me, it looked like they’d simply be settling for living in a mansion instead of the mega-mansion they currently live in, but for the Crawleys, this was clearly devastating. I mean, they would have to downsize to only eight servants! Oh, the shame.
However, due to one of the show’s most contrived plot contrivances ever (and, though I love this show, that’s really saying something), the family was saved from the simple life. Matthew conveniently received a letter from the late Mr. Swire, indicating that he wanted Matthew to have his fortune even though he knew Matthew wasn’t going to marry Lavinia. Matthew, being Matthew and therefore infuriatingly noble, refused to read the letter. After some sneakiness by Mary, however, he finally came to terms with his new windfall and decided to save Downton. Hurrah!
Meanwhile, downstairs, the Thomas/O’Brien war was in full force. As I mentioned last week, I still don’t understand why these two are mad at each other, but their feud is pretty fun to watch. This week, they continued plotting against each other, dragging poor, hapless Molesly into the battle for this round.
And in other downstairs news, Daisy appeared to have quite the developing crush on Alfred, the super tall butler. Also, Anna continued to play detective and something happened to Mr. Bates in prison but, honestly, I’m so bored with this storyline that I can’t even bring myself to care about what exactly went down.
And, finally, after months of waiting for her test results, Mrs. Hughes went to the doctor, who (apparently) told her she’s cancer free. She looked understandably happy about this development, but it was good old Carson who seemed the most elated, cheerfully singing as he polished the silver. Seriously, when are those two crazy kids going to get together?!
Dowager Countess Quip of the Night:
Fashion Moment of the Night: The Crawley sisters at Edith’s wedding & Mary at the Downton Place “picnic”:
As mentioned above, I thought Edith’s wedding dress was prettier than Mary’s wedding dress – the train in back and the veil/headband were especially nice. However, Mary and Sybil also looked great for Edith’s wedding, getting their pastel on to fabulous effect. Their dresses were lovely, but I’m super obsessed with their hats.
Mary’s picnic wear was also awesome – I loved the brown dress and, once again, the hat totally made the outfit. I want to picnic with the Crawleys!
Acting MVP of the Night: Laura Carmichael as Edith. Girl totally sold Edith’s despair and made (yet another) cheesy plot twist into something poignant.
Best Moment: Cora’s Awesomeness
Is it just me, or has Cora become one of the – if not the – most likeable characters on this show by far? From the way she immediately promised to take care of Mrs. Hughes to her comforting Edith, Cora provided two of the sweetest moments last night.
Worst Moment: Look, we all know Downton’s bread and butter is ridiculous plot turns and twists and improbable contrivances. But Matthew receiving a letter from the beyond has got to be the all time most ridiculous of ridiculous coincidences on this show. Plus, his never-ending sanctimonious attitude toward not taking Lavinia’s “tainted” money is just so old. Yes, Matthew, we know – you have such noble principles and ideals. Vom.
Burning Questions for Next Week: Would life really have been so bad at “tiny” Downton Place? Will Edith stay a “spinster” forever? And are we sure Mrs. Hughes doesn’t have cancer? Something about the way she had Mrs. Pattmore deliver the news to Mr. Carson makes me suspect she’s not out of the woods yet.