Kirsty Capes reviews the second episode of Downton Abbey season 3…
It’s episode two and time for Edith’s wedding to Sir Anthony Strallan. Two weddings in two episodes, well aren’t we spoilt? Obviously Upstairs are getting geared up for the wedding whilst Downstairs is in chaos. And on top of all of this, we have Robert still fretting about what to do over the money situation and Mary still hounding Matthew to hand over his inheritance from Lavinia Swire’s father.
The big thing that happens in this one character-wise is the return of Ethel. She’s the lady’s maid from series two who had a bit of fun with one of the soldiers who had stayed at Downton after the war, who promptly died and left her with a baby. Isobel finds her working as a prostitute in the city and invites her to come to one of the centres Isobel works at, for rehabilitated street workers. Although none of the women besides Isobel seem to take the place seriously. Ethel visits but promptly leaves, indicating she’s got a big fat secret for Isobel to uncover. Elsewhere, Mary and Matthew return from their honeymoon in the South of France and Mary is still hounding Matthew about the money he may or may not inherit. Matthew does slightly milk the morality angle, just as Mary whinges about having to downsize. The whole family visit a smaller estate in the north that Robert is considering for a new home. Mary’s still moaning that she won’t inherit the big house and won’t be a Countess. Even Robert agrees that it’s up to Matthew where the money goes, causing major unrest between he three of them.
Mary continues to hound American grandmother Martha, who basically says the she’s not bailing Lord Grantham out again, and Branson seems to strike up a friendship with Matthew, despite struggling to fit into an aristocratic lifestyle he has spent his whole life resenting.
Downstairs, Mrs Hughes is worried about her test results and Carson tricks Mrs Patmore into telling him what’s going on. Within about five minutes the whole house knows, only to find out to all-round relief that Mrs Hughes is all-clear. As Cora says, “However will we manage without her?” Charming. Elsewhere, Thomas is still bitter about Alfred getting the job of the head footman, so he goes out of his way to make Alfred’s life a living hell. Mrs O’Brien bites back and an almighty prank war ensues: resulting in missing shirts, burnt coat tails and Mrs O’Brien making a fake resignation. Keep up! We also see Anna visiting a friend of Mr Bates’ late wife in a hope to get some information out of her about Vera’s death. She not very forthcoming and, to make matters worse, Bates has made an enemy out of his new cellmate and some of the prison guards – so now he has to be on his guard in case someone tries to frame him.
And finally – after lots of umming and ah-ing, and a whole load of will-they-won’t-they speculation, Edith and Sir Anthony finally make it official, plan and have the wedding – all in one episode! (told you they cover a lot of ground in an hours’ show). Edith is delighted at the mere fact that for once all the attention is on her rather than her two sisters. Except the poor thing gets jilted at the altar. Sir Anthony decides at the last minute that he’s too old for Edith and she’d be better off without him. What a pillock. And poor Edith is left to wallow in pity at another failed romance. Someone give this poor girl a break! Since the first series Edith has gone from being my least favourite character to one of my favourites. She really is the most unlucky in love character in the whole show. Although a little bird tells me that once she’s over her rejection from Sir Anthony (who, let’s be honest, wasn’t that much of a catch anyway), there will be a new romantic interest on the horizon for her. Only time will tell!