Kirsty Capes reviews the third episode of Downton Abbey season 3…
Thank the lord! The first episode this season that doesn’t include a wedding. About time too! There’s a lot going on both upstairs and downstairs this episode, so bare with me as I run you through it.
First off, Sybil’s back again, yay! Our favourite Downtoner by far. Although it’s not on good terms. Turns out that as the Irish war for independence heats up, Branson’s been getting into trouble and burning down an aristocrat’s house. Not really the best move you can make when you’re married to an aristocrat’s daughter and her whole family aren’t overly keen on you already. Obviously Lord Grantham is furious (and understandably too), but for the sake of Sybil and the baby, he calls in some favours and Branson manages to narrowly avoid arrest, but only if he stays out of Ireland forever. This seems like a fair deal to me (and the family), but Branson isn’t having it. I mean, really, how selfish can you get? Branson really doesn’t do any favours for himself this episode. Anyway, eventually Branson agrees to stay at Downton and have the baby there. What a pillock. He has majorly gone downhill since series two.
Meanwhile another possible felon is Bates and he’s getting worried because he hasn’t heard form Anna for a while and he’s a bit worried and kind of hurt too. But Anna hasn’t heard from Bates either. Turns out, Bates’ new evil cellmate who’s got a grudge against him is in cahoots with the guards and they’ve been hiding all his incoming and outgoing mail. Poor Bates and Anna! Elsewhere downstairs, Daisy is chuffed because finally after some pushing and shoving a new kitchen maid, Ivy, has been hired – meaning Daisy gets to be second in command in the kitchen. But it’s not all good as Alfred has now taken a shine to Ivy, which means Daisy is giving her a super hard time. Another love triangle.
All the hiring has come about because finally Matthew has decided to invest in his wife and future and hand over his inheritance to Downton. He’s getting pretty broody but Mary doesn’t seem so keen. As a benefactor he gets to have much more involvement in the running of Downton, and he uncovers some money mismanagement by Robert in the books. But Robert, who is shaping up to be really bad with money (and an all-round plonker), dismisses Matthew’s claims and suggestions and makes out he knows everything. I’m really not liking Robert this series. And trust me, he only gets worse.
Meanwhile, Ethel is still knocking about and she’s finally ‘fessed up to Isobel her big secret. She’s given up her son to his grandparents because she wants him to have a decent life (eg one where he doesn’t know his mother is a prostitute). Isobel disapproves, but what can you do? Isobel needs to stop poking her nose into everyone else’s business.
And for me the biggest triumph of this episode is that Edith has finally caught a break. She’s written to a newspaper about women’s rights (or lack thereof) in the 1920s. Girl power, Edith! And the letter’s gotten published – something that was super rare for the time period. Obviously Robert disapproves, but he would, wouldn’t he? Edith is definitely going up in my esteem this series. And I’m so glad her luck is changing, hopefully we can say the same for Daisy soon, too!