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'Downton Abbey' recap: Episode 3

Posted on

Nick Briggs/PBS

Downton Abbey

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
6
performer:
Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter, Maggie Smith
broadcaster:
PBS
genre:
Drama

We gather here, on this glorious day, to celebrate the recapping of the third episode in Downton Abbey’s final season. It is a happy day, as two characters whom we have loved for many years are finally becoming man and wife. If anyone here objects to this blessed union, go read a different recap and forever hold your peace.

The day we’ve all been waiting for since that one time in Brighton when Carson held Mrs. Hughes’ hand has arrived. The butler and the head housekeeper of Downton Abbey are tying the knot. No more postponements. No more discussion about how much sex they’re going to have. But there is still time for plenty of arguing.

Specifically, there’s the issue of the reception. Mrs. Hughes was vocal from the beginning that she had no intention of getting married in the halls of Downton, no matter how generous of an offer it is. That wouldn’t be a wedding for her, and that’s a very valid argument. But you know who doesn’t care much about valid arguments? Mr. James “This Is a Man’s World” Carson, that’s who. Elsie’s future hubby steam-rolled her at the end of last week’s episode, and when the action picks up, she’s resigned to a wedding in the main hall. It’s not the big breakfast wedding that she wants, but she guesses that’s okay. And so is her old, sad brown dress. “You’re not wasting money,” Mrs. Patmore says. “That’s for sure.” Whatever. It’s just her wedding. Who cares? C’mon, Mrs. Hughes. Stand up for yourself!

So it’s up to Mrs. Patmore to take the initiative. While the cook is discussing the wedding menu with Cora, she brings up Mrs. Hughes’ dissatisfaction with pretty much every aspect of the ceremony. This doesn’t sit right with the lady of the house, who more or less sets up a sting to bring out the truth in a very public way. After dinner, she asks Carson to go fetch Mrs. Hughes, letting a lot of hard facts out into the open. Elsie wants a breakfast and maybe even some music. Gasp! Could you imagine something so scandalous?

It was so cathartic to hear Cora insist that Mrs. Hughes answer for herself. Between his slavish loyalty to the house and his understanding of a woman’s place in the world, Carson has become a bit of a villain, at least for this story line. He still is a good guy, though, finally agreeing that he doesn’t mind the schoolhouse all that much. Not helping matters is Mary, who accuses her mother of giving a s—- about what Mrs. Hughes wants simply because she’d rather not have a servant’s wedding in the hall. Projecting much, Mary?

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Now, guys. I don’t want to get your hopes up. It’s a little early, but I have a good feeling about this. I’m almost too nervous to say because I don’t want to jinx it, but here it goes.

Downton Abbey might finally be done kicking the crap out of Anna!

I know. I’m excited too, but we must not get too excited. As Anna tells Mary, it’s still too early to really tell if she’s pregnant again, but the fact that she’s even possibly knocked-up means one thing: Mr. Bates’ sperm swim very well. I never imagined we would learn this fact about the valet in 1 million seasons of Downton Abbey, but there we go. Maybe it is time for the show to end.

On this week’s installment of The Spratt & Denker Show, a dark family secret threatens to change the working dynamic forever. The matter starts when a mysterious late-night caller interrupts Septimus Spratt during his greatest hobby, stamp collecting, and immediately, Denker can tell something is not right. If that wasn’t suspicious enough, Spratt sneaks out later with a blanket in hand. So what the heck is going on? Well, Sergeant Willis stops by a little later with a few questions that actually serve as answers. Have either of the servants, Willis asks, seen a man named Wall Stern, who is both Spratt’s nephew and an escaped prisoner. Since Denker is Denker, she connects the dots rather easily, but she tells the police officer that, no, she hasn’t.

And there is nothing scarier than the idea of Denker having some dirt on you. If anyone knows how to keep that in her pocket until just the right moment, it’s her.

NEXT: Edith is boss[pagebreak]​

Anna wasn’t the only one having an up week. After many angry phone calls with her editor Mr. Skinner, Edith heads back to London once again to deal with the man. But! BUT! She also happens to run into Bertie Pelham, the agent from Brancaster Castle on the streets of London. He is very charming, thinks Edith is “incredibly modern,” and asks her to meet him for a drink. She agrees and goes off to deal with Skinner.

Lock it down, Edith. Lock. it. down.

At the magazine office, Edith finds the editor is making some questionable decisions—namely repeating cover looks and missing copy—about the next issue, which is due to the printer at 4 a.m. the next morning. There’s no other choice but to fire the slob, but that leaves Edith without a magazine. There’s a ton of work to do, so she promptly rolls up her sleeves, gets to work, and nearly forgets all about her drink with Bertie. When Edith does remember, she runs off to meet the guy that’s totally into her, and he’s really cool about the whole situation. “I can make coffee. I can make sandwiches,” he says. “I can carry pieces of paper around, and then we can kiss.”

Everyone else heard that last part, right? That wasn’t just me.

There’s a moment in this episode that’s truly special. It only last for a few seconds, but the clip demonstrates how perfectly terrible Mary is. If she wasn’t literally the laziest person in the world, we could have avoided an entire, nasty plot point.

Setting the stage a bit, we’re in the library. Edith has just returned from London with the early proofs of the completed magazine, and Cora is back from a meeting with the hospital peeps in which every one of them was horrible to everyone else. (And Isobel got in the nastiest Clarkson burn. I weep for Dr. Clarkson.) Cora, tried from the stressful conversation, is heading upstairs to lie down, but Mary has something important to tell her. If Mary doesn’t mention this something, it could mean an awkward bit of business for a number of characters. But as Cora leaves the room, this is the best effort that her daughter can muster.

If she put even the slightest effort in telling Cora that Mrs. Hughes was trying on her coats, Mary could have helped us dodge the very unpleasant scene that followed. Of course Cora was upset about what she found in her room, but she quickly came to her senses and understood. She even went the extra mile to set things right by giving Mrs. Hughes the coat to wear at her wedding and keep! “I’m not sure when I’ll wear it again,” Mrs. Hughes says, “but you never know.”

I guess that’s one way to accept a gift, Mrs. Hughes.

After all of the pain and minor annoyances that let up to the nuptials of James Carson and Elsie Hughes, things went off without a hitch. Actually, the day was pretty perfect. Mary even apologizes to the happy couple for all of her butting in. “Mr. Carson would forgive you if you attacked him with a brick,” Mrs. Hughes said, quite ominously. (Is this how Downton is going to end?) And just to make sure that things were insanely delightful, Branson showed back up with Sybie in tow, which means “Donk” is back!

I love Donk.

Oh, and Barrow visited a ghost house. It was too sad to even talk about.

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