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The Downton Abbey Dish Season 3 Episode 6

British television maven and blogger Deborah Gilbert keeps you in the know with entertaining recaps of each Downton Abbey Season 3 episode. Count down the most memorable scenes from each episode, including the Dowager Countess' best zingers. New episodes of Downton Abbey Season 3 air Sundays at 9pm through February 17.
THE DOWNTON ABBEY DISH – Downton Abbey Season 3 Recap: Episode 6 (aired 2/10/13)

The nation breathes a collective sigh of relief as our erstwhile hero Mr. Bates comes home. There will be no more prison sewing circles, no more burlap cigarette smuggling, and who knows…you might be able to get one of those ‘Free Bates’ t-shirts on clearance…

Free at last! Reunited And It Feels So Good
Bates is released into the loving arms of the long-suffering Anna and our long, national nightmare is over. Will this be a happily ever after? Of course it won’t. In a recent interview Julian Fellowes said “Nothing is harder to dramatize than happiness…When two people are happy, that’s it," he said, “That’s why in the old movies, they don’t kiss and marry in the middle – they kiss and marry at the end, because in a way that’s it." Translation: If these heirs and heiresses didn’t have their tsurises, we’d have no story and Downton Abbey would have been a travelogue that ended after an hour in Season 1. But not to worry—for now we’ll be happy and we won’t borrow trouble. Trouble will find us soon enough and in the meantime, as Anna & Bates are driven home, we are treated to a gorgeous panorama shot of Downton from a vantage point we’ve not yet seen: The road at the top of the hill. Simply glorious! So Bates is back, baby, and the first two post-prison issues to address (aside from learning his and Anna’s new theme music?)— where to live and what to do. Lord Grantham seems happy to see him, though he quickly leaves him standing in the hall as he scuttles off to do whatever it is the idle rich rush off to do—but not without first promising him a vacation, a cottage and a job. Bates thinks replacing Thomas is sweet revenge, not realizing that the person most responsible for his recent troubles (i.e. incarceration) is, in fact, O’Brien. Bates is happy to see Thomas go until he realizes he is being unjustly given the bum’s rush—then the old noble Bates re-emerges. Against Anna’s wishes they lure O’Brien to their newly redecorated abode for tea and arm twisting, under the guise of borrowing their Ikea catalogue. Then after she leaves they (smartly) smudge the place to clear their chi with some sage that Shirley MacLaine left behind. But before she goes, they try to reason with her about Thomas, but she’s having none of it. There is no one more self-righteous than a hypocrite. But, as they used to say, if you want to get someone’s attention, whisper – and what did Bates whisper in O’Brien’s ear? The very deliciously cryptic (to them) ‘Her Ladyship’s soap’. So the secret has bubbled up at last. They don’t know what it means but it’s out there, and given the way Anna shares things with Mary, will they put two and two together? With Anna’s newfound detective skills it’s just a matter of time, isn’t it? Will O’Brien be caught in a lather? I must say it was fun to see her terrified, and she must know that it was Thomas who gave her away. What will she do now to try and keep him from spilling more?

Doctors Appointment of the Magi: Love is Strange
This week Lady Mary Crawley gave her granny a run for the money in the quotable department when she said, ‘You’ll make me untidy.’ While that kind of talk might be a turn-on for some guys, it’s kind-of tough to make babies when your wife comes to bed in a hazmat suit. One supposes it doesn’t help that they are under a lot of pressure to produce a boy, (look at what that pressure did to Anne Boleyn), and it also doesn’t help that Lady Mary cannot talk about her lady bits with her husband; but they are both quietly panicking and secretly running to London to see a specialist. And who do they discover there? Each other! What are the odds? They’re told they’ll be up the duff within six months, and while we have learned not to have any faith in any of the doctors who turn up here, now at least we know why Mary has been putting Matthew off. And speaking of big babies, the ever-sympathetic Lord Grantham who’s only interest (aside from cricket) is getting this succession business on the road, is still stalking off in a snit whenever Matthew tries talk about the running of the estate. While the bromantic Branson and Matthew look to be planning the Normandy invasion in the drawing room, Lord Grantham, instead, wants to invest with this Ponzi fellow who promises to double your pleasure, double your fun in ninety days. What could possibly go wrong? And why not? Matthew’s plan is too much like work. Why should someone ordained by God have to work when they should just be able to sit back and have someone hand them a bag of cash whenever they need it? To add insult to injury, Robert had to suffer the indignity of attending baby Sybil’s christening when Tom deftly plays the guilt card. But not to worry Dowager and Lord Archie Bunker! As a photographer familiar with such things, I can tell you there was no film holder in that camera the photographer was using to make the family pictures at the christening, so there will be no record of you posing with Father Dominic! A small detail. A small comfort. Tom does eventually talk some sense into a dumbstruck Lord Grantham when he rhapsodizes about how each person who marries, or is born, into the family needs to avail it of their unique gifts: And a chauffer shall lead them. Speaking of leading, I do not have the slightest clue what went on with that cricket game, do you? At first I thought that PBS should have preceded this episode with a special about cricket, but then I searched online for an explanation and found this video on YouTube featuring a 10 year old boy trying to explain it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h-ux22wi9Y. I still have no clue. All I know is there was no joy in Mudville with Casey Molesley at the bat, it seems that the Yankees could use Branson in the outfield, and given the look of our Three Musketeers at the end, the house finally won one (but that’s only a guess).


That Girl: You’re Gonna Make it After All
Despite the fact that Lord Grantham doesn’t want anyone to encourage her, and her granny is encouraging her a little too much (with the argument that maybe she should be allowed a career because she isn’t marriage material), Lady Edith is trying to make her mark. She has a new hairdo, she finally stopped dressing like her mother, and after her trips to London, she has a newfound spring in her step. Running up the stairs to get changed for dinner, one could easily mistake Edith for Carrie Bradshaw running up the steps of her Perry Street brownstone. Is there a Mr. Big in her future as well? Mm…not so fast. This is Edith we are talking about so, no doubt, even new and improved she is still as much Murphy as Bradshaw. The old Edith is still in there, and rises up whenever Mary is in the vicinity (or merely mentioned). Mary is her Niagara Falls. When Mr. Editor Charming complimented her on her glamorous sister, she just about ground her teeth down to little nubs. Worse, married Mary isn’t content to have breakfast in bed; now she has stolen Anna from her as well, leaving Edith to dress herself (how very uncivilized!) And, of course, her losing streak with men continues. Turns out this flirty, jolly nice editor is married. True, he has a story. It’s the old ‘my wife’s in an asylum’ excuse. Oh, that one. Is this even true, or is this just story that gullible mummy-loving Edith will fall for, only to have her heart broken yet again? And given that he is married, a broken heart could be just the start. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it was poor Edith who ended up with a public scandal of Pamukian proportions? And speaking of which, whatever happened to Sir Rupert anyway? After his threats we never heard anything more from him. Can we assume he’s keeping Mary’s secret permanently? Will he return to haunt in the future? Sorry, here we are borrowing trouble again.

Downton Abbey 90210: Flap on, flap off, the Flapper
That cousin Rose (AKA Cousin Oliver) had trouble written all over her from the moment she stepped out of the car. But who could have ever imagined it would lead to Matthew, Edith and Aunt Rosamund taking a ride in the Tardis and stepping into a different world? Standing in that doorway, it was like the Crawleys had gone to Kellerman’s. That wasn’t the Grizzly Bear they were dancing. And there were black people! Finally! One could hear the cheering! And then they were gone as quickly as they came. And the married man dumb, spoiled Rose was dirty dancing with was neatly disposed of as well. My, people come and go so quickly here! And just like that Rose was shipped off to Siberia, or maybe Scotland. Please, do put her in a corner. Her departure leaves us with but one vexing question: Will we ever get to meet this “Shrimpy” we keep hearing about? Rose isn’t the only fallen woman the Dowager wants rid of. In the fallen department, no one has suffered as much as Ethel, but her redemption keeps hitting speed bumps – now the butcher’s wife refuses to serve her. And worse, just when we thought the Dowager surprised us with her pudding-induced tolerance, she revoked the surprise by plotting to wipe notorious Ethel from the village. But does Violet also have some sympathy for Ethel? Sometimes it looks as if she does. And it seems we were right about Mrs. Bryant; she has a conscience, so Ethel prepares to move to another position near little Charlie. Will this be a happily ever after for Ethel? What have we learned Downtonians? If Ethel stays, she will have tsuris written into her – but she’s leaving, which means there is a chance she might be happy.

Doubting Thomas: He’s here, he’s queer, get used to it!
O’Brien gleefully stirs the cauldron with Thomas and JimmyJames, knowing full well what she is steering them into. True, the sneaking into the bedroom was not exactly a smooth move (clearly he’d forgotten how that went for Pamuk), and he could have at least woken Jimmy up first before he planted one on him (or was he awake before Alfred barged in? It was hard to tell), but why is Jimmy so contra mundi? Why does someone that good looking think the world is against him? Sorry, but I think he doth protest too much (though, given the times, one can understand why). But that awkward post-kiss attempt to compliment to ‘tasty’ Ivy pretty much made my Gaydar go ‘ping’. I can’t help but think there will be more to this story. But as for now, as O’Brien tries to have her old pal hanged, drawn and quartered, Jimmy is falling in line. Fortunately Carson is, in his own way, sympathetic to a degree. I’m not sure why he could be blackmailed by Jimmy. Why couldn’t he have just given Thomas a reference but told Jimmy he didn’t? But it is a testament to the yarn-spinning abilities of Lord Fellowes that we now feel sympathy, and root for, this person who was so despised as evil incarnate for the first two seasons. When Thomas, in a moment of simple dignity, says, ‘I’m not foul, Mr. Carson. I’m not like you but I’m not foul’ he speaks from across the decades. Fifty years before Stonewall, what Thomas was faced with in being outed was frightening—prison, commitment to a mental institution, lobotomy, ruin. But yet he doesn’t deny who he is. While it’s still not perfect, the more free society we have today stands on the shoulders of people like Thomas who took quiet stands despite the costs. When he tells Bates he envies him we can see the loneliness in Thomas. Maybe we have been wrong about Thomas all along. Maybe he was never as evil as we thought. Maybe he was only lonely and desperate for companionship and the only friendly hand extended was O’Brien’s. She was always the one with all the ideas. He was not twisted by nature into something foul, but maybe he was twisted by O’Brien into the Thomas we first met, the most evil-looking smoker ever committed to film. Maybe, maybe not. But it seems that her friend Thomas became disposable once she had family there at Downton. And her nephew Alfred is a little creep, isn’t he? Anyone who watches EastEnders knows, you don’t grass to the Old Bill, but Alfred calls 911 to report the stolen kiss. That’s not cricket! Thankfully Thomas is good with the bat, and Lord Grantham and Carson are able to evade the cops like a couple of veteran thieves, humiliating Alfred in the process. But it’s Carson who gets the biggest shock when Lord Grantham goes off-script and promotes JimmyJames. On the Carson’s Shocked Expression Scale I’d give it four toasters (our highest rating).

Dowager Countessdown

With this being a double-episode, it was incredibly tough to narrow the Countessdown down to the top six (and impossible to cut it to five). Though, number one was easy: It’s my mantra…

6. ‘And is poor Ethel to be the cudgel with which you fight your foes?’

5. ‘I knew you wouldn’t agree. I know how you hate facing facts.’

4. ‘You cannot want your only grandchild to grow up in a garage with that drunken gorilla.’

3. ‘You’ve been reading those Communist newspapers again.’

2. ‘Edith isn’t getting any younger. Perhaps she isn’t cut out for domestic life.’

1. ‘That is an easy caveat to accept because I’m never wrong.’

I know I’m leaving out some doozies here. Are there any you’d like to add?

Downton Dish is written by Deborah Gilbert, a British television maven and editor of the E20 Chronicles, a free, weekly Eastenders e-newsletter, and an Eastenders column in the Union Jack Newspaper.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/maryann.loiacono Maryann Loiacono

    2 fabulously enjoyable hours of TV! Can it really be getting better? Lots of great quotes, laughing out loud, tearing up once or twice, and actually feeling a little sorry for Thomas after hating him for 2 seasons. WOW

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      @Maryann: I know! It is a testament to the quality of Lord Fellowes storytelling ability that he can create the layers that make us root for someone we had spent so much time loving to hate.

  • CatKinNY

    Another fabulous synopsis, Deborah! Poor Edith. The instant the editor started flirting with her, I simply KNEW he had a wife in the madhouse (I apparently read Jane Eyre one too many times during my impressionable youth). But when did she grow such scruples? After all, this is the girl who made hay with a farmer right under his wife’s nose.
    It’s good to have Bates out of jail at last, not that I ever doubted it for a moment, once they declined to hang him. How ironic that his sense of fair play has led him to save his old nemesis, Thomas, and that Lord Grantham’s increasingly incoherent character development has led him to elevate a poufter to a station above him in the household, ostensibly for the sake of a cricket game. Bates, of all people, should know that no good deed goes unpunished. Look what happened when he tried to give Vera his inheritance to make her go away? Still, I’m glad Thomas will still be with us. Will he be grateful to Bates, or will he resent his savior? I’m going with grateful, for the simple reason that he’s got no friends and needs to form alliances with someone, and Anna has already laid the groundwork.
    I’m confused by Thomas knowing about her Ladyship’s soap. There were several occasions on which he expressed bafflement to O’Brien about her newfound devotion to Cora. Am I missing something? Does anyone have any thoughts?

    • pitter47

      As far as I know, there hasn’t been any evidence that O’Brien told Thomas about the soap–and that seems very far-fetched to me too. I also don’t know why Thomas doesn’t use that for himself, but rather Bates has to twist it out of him. It seems as though Bates, or Fellowes, is exploiting Thomas’s situation to reinstate Bates as Downton’s household saint.

      • CatKinNY

        I was very surprised when Bates revealed it to Anna at the end. Why would O’Brien, a devious, self protecting, self serving creature tell Thomas something like that? She wouldn’t. The only person she would have told was Cora herself, as she very nearly did when Cora had the flu. Like many a secondary character in soap operas, she doesn’t make much psychological sense and often seems to exist merely to move the story along. Why would a woman who felt genuine grief and guilt over what happened to Cora, who was so kind to that poor shellshocked footman, who felt the same as Mrs Hughes did about how her words on the witness stand were used against Bates at his trial goad young James into demanding that her erstwhile best friend be ruined or sent to jail? Would she have really been so hostile to Thomas’s unwillingness to help her push young Alfred to the head of the line in the first place? She is rightly proud of her own position below stairs as her Ladyship’s maid, a position obtained through years of work. Alfred, brand new to service, simply lacks the skills to be anything other than an underfootman, and she KNOWS it. That Thomas, who worked and schemed his way to being Robert’s valet (and who’s position depends on Bates’s continued absence) would find it offensive that the young twerp was immediately given charge of Matthew’s care would not have surprised her. None of it bears up under scrutiny. I’ve said it before: this is not ‘Brideshead’, it’s a first class soap opera.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        I think that back in season 1 & early season 2 it was perfectly believable for O’Brien to share that info with Thomas. And we don’t know that she felt bad about having to testify against Bates. She said that she regretted having ben a part of it but that could have easily been self-preservation there because she set the whole thing in motion to begin with and stood to lose the most if anyone found out her involvement. I’m not sure her animosity towards Thomas is entirely to do with Alfred. There were some cracks showing between them at the end of last season before he arrived.

      • CatKinNY

        The actors who play both O’Brien and Thomas are absolutely among the best on the show, and it’s possible that O’Brien’s reaction while on the stand and later, when talking with Mrs Hughes to Mrs Crawley about how they both felt that their words had been twisted by the Crown was a result of a fine actor creating an inner set of emotions that were not intended by the script writer (and not corrected by the director? – that’s very bloody unlikely), but the script had her tell Thomas that she was sorry to have been a part of it. Why would she lie to her coconspirator (they were still thick as thieves then) about regretting her involvement unless she actually felt badly? It just doesn’t add up for me. Many of those cracks that started appearing last season were the result of O’Brien’s having gotten soft where Cora is concerned, after all. The fact that they were no longer united in their resentment of the toffs (presumably what threw them together to begin with) is the only thing that I could see to have driven them apart. It made Thomas’s shocked grief over Sybil all the more touching. Oh, and I agree with you about the duo of Anna and Mary eventually sussing out the meaning of the cryptic phrase ‘Her Ladyship’s soap’. Anna’s unlikely to keep such a secret from her best friend – and they are best friends, though they’d be shocked to hear it. They share confidences and value one another’s opinions and advice over most others, after all.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        They ARE brilliant!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks! And you’re right about Edith and the farmer! As for the soap: While we never saw O’Brien tell Thomas about the soap I think it’s perfectly believable that he did. And when Thomas was questioning her newfound devotion to Her Ladyship, I interpreted that as him just not understanding why she changed her mind. There have been other things that have happened off-stage (even though Violet hates Greek drama where everything happens like that).

  • chs

    Best line of the night goes to Bates “don’t be such a big girl’s blouse”.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      I’ve heard that expression used numerous times on EastEnders and I love it!

      • Leigh

        You know, actually I was wondering if that expression was not one of Julian Fellowes’ notorious historical inaccuracies, similar to, for instance, “sucking up” (Mathew warns his mother that Lavinia is “sucking up” – no one could convince me that this phrase was current in 1918). This “big girl’s blouse” expression sounds too much like the modern “don’t get your panties in a twist,” or, “put on your big-girl pants”—there is a suggestiveness to all of this language that I really cannot imagine acceptable in the twenties.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        I tried looking the origin up online and I’ve seen two things: One that the origin is lost, and two that it was popularized in the 1960’s because a TV sitcom character used to call his brother that. So unless the writer of the sitcom made it up, it is possible it existed earlier.

      • Leigh

        “It is possible it existed earlier” than the 1960s without a doubt, but do you really think it goes as far back as the 1920s? I think not. Consider how Fellowes has Lord Grantham choke at the vaguest mention of female internal anatomy; I strongly suspect that because of the proximity of a “big girl’s blouse” to a big girl’s bust, this phrase would have made anyone who heard it in 1920 gag on his sherry, just like Robert Crawley.

  • northernguy

    Season 3 in a nutshell, Branson becomes a toff, Bates is
    freed from prison, Lady what’s her face (the middle daughter) is jilted at the
    altar. Lord Grantham almost loses the estate (twice) Mrs Hughes doesn’t have
    breast cancer and what else? Oh yeah Lady Sybill dies of eclampsia, Lady Mary
    gives birth to a baby boy and Lord Matthew dies a horrible death in a car
    wreck on the day that his son is born. Serves you right PBS for not airing the series
    in more timely fashion … all of this is old news to the rest of the world.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maryann.loiacono Maryann Loiacono

      Thanks killjoy!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Those were unfortunate remarks someone posted (now removed) but don’t let one O’Brien-type ruin your fun!

    • sabete2002

      Way to spoil it for us!

  • ALB

    It was an hour EVERY day!

    another great Dowager line

    • Leigh

      Agreed! Violet often seems to be far more perceptive than the others, a privilege of age; but, here, her myopia about her own mothering skills is tremendously amusing.

  • Barbara

    I so enjoyed those two hours that went by too quickly. This coming Sunday will be devastating to realize that the end came. Hopefully Season 4 will arrive quickly.

    • epic22

      I have been a huge fan. However killing off Matthew has ended Downton Abbey for me. Wonder how many other viewers feel the same way.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        I don’t. I still want to see what comes next. I think the only character who is irreplaceable is the Dowager.

  • Checko

    For zingers, how about Anna’s sweet one to Bates how poet’s could learn from him? That was a beaut from a beauty.

  • Janice

    I think the comment by Mathews mother “Have you changed your medication? stood alone.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      There was also a funny one when Isobel didn’t even speak at all: It was her reaction when Violet said that the way to handle dinners is to smile and not let anyone know you disapprove, and Isobel immediately pasted on a big fake smile.

      • CatKinNY

        “Have you changed your medication?” is another one of those anachronysms,btw. Violets reaction to “But it was an hour every day” was priceless too.

    • Leigh

      “Have you changed your pills?” I was waiting for someone to quote that! Laughed out loud! And thought it was even funnier that the remark escaped Violet’s grasp entirely!

  • Kaycee

    Just found this site. Wonderful! Am terribly embarrassed to say the I don’t know what the reference to “her Ladyship’s soap” meant. I thought I had seen every episode but somehow I missed that story line. Help please or I will have to start at S1E1 to track it down.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      @Kaycee: In season 1, O’Brien thought that Cora was going to replace her so to get back at her she put a wet bar of soap on the floor under where she would be stepping out of the bath tub. Cora stepped on it, slipped and lost the baby she was carrying.

      • Kaycee

        Thank you so very much! You do a terrific job here and have found a new fan in me.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

        Thank you!

      • Forever 31

        @Gotham Tomato: Actually, while Cora was bathing she accidentally dropped the soap and it broke in two. O’Brien picked up the one piece, but intentionally left the other on the floor, partially hidden under the clawfoot tub. In a moment of clarity, O’Brien finally realized the potential consequences of her vindictiveness (she even had a brief, but emotional exhange witherself in front of a mirror where she said something like, “Sarah O’Brien, this is not who you are”) and was just about to go in and retreive the other piece of soap when Cora got out, slipped and fell. I think it’s important to add the part about O’Brien coming to terms with her actions and having a conscience. It was a major storyline for her in Season 2 and you can tell (albiet it’s subtle) how the incident has changed her. While she’s still manipulative and self-serving, she’s a bit more soft around the edges and is especially devoted to Cora.

      • Leigh

        F 31 – thank you for clarifying that O’Brien didn’t actually put the soap there, she left it there – I was debating whether to split that hair and add in the correction. Now I don’t have to!!! But I do not agree that the moment of clarity where O’Brien looks in the mirror and says ‘Sarah – that’s not who you are’ has any lasting effect at all. However she may behave towards Cora subsequently, her demonish pursuit of Thomas bespeaks a very cold heart.

  • Tomar

    Dowager to the doctor who expressed scruples about lying, “I thought we had more in common.” And on the ride home after reuniting Ethel with little Charlie, responding to Mary’s suggestion that she’d just as soon have him cut up for stew if it had served her ends, “Thank God it didn’t come to that.”

    • lilybet

      So very glad someone else noticed this, but let’s get the setting right. The exchange was between Dowager Violet and Isobel at the Cricket match.
      Violet: “I’m glad everything is settled with Ethel, but I trust you can find another cook without too much difficulty.”
      Isobel: “Preferably one with a blameless record so my house ceases to be a topic of gossip. Which is really what this is all about.”
      Violet:(small moan) “If Ethel wants to be part of her son’s life, even a little part, who are we to stand in her way?”
      Isobel: “Of course if you had had to sell Charlie to the butcher to be chopped up as stew, to achieve the same ends, you would have done so.”
      Violet: “Well, happily it was not needed.”
      One of the best verbal duels the two have enjoyed, as did I.

  • Jill

    Who thinks that Lord Grantham’s accepting and forgiving attitude toward Thomas is inconsistent to the times and the character? I am surprised that he would be so tolerant of Thomas’s lifestyle while being so unforgiving of Ethel’s situation.

    • CatKinNY

      I’m with you, Jill, though there actually was widespread tolerance of gays provided they weren’t too out. Everyone knew Oscar Wilde was gay and no one cared, except for the father of young Alfred Douglas, who insisted that he be arrested. The Crown provided him ample opportunity to escape, which he refused to do on principle. I don’t think Lord Grantham is unsympathetic to Ethel, actually, but he was terribly angry at Matthew and Tom (and the fact that the life he loved, and the power he held, are gone) when Carson (who is scandalized by Ethel’s presense) dragged him out of luncheon to inform him that all of his women folk were being waited on by an ex prostitute.

    • JE

      There was that great justification about being approached many times at his school (Eton) by other schoolboys! Hope someone has the exact quote …

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      It’s that old double-standard!

  • Marlene

    Is no one shocked that Lord Grantham said Thomas is going to be Under Butler–and he will be elevated in status over everyone except Carson? (Did I dream this? I thought I heard Bates say it) If this happens Carson had better watch out; as should the rest of the staff if they don’t grovel sufficiently to Thomas satisfaction. There will be no talking to him then.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Yes, but Lord Grantham has never met a bad decision he didn’t like!

    • Leigh

      Must say: like the Thomas Barrow character so much, and was pleased to see how deeply affected he was by his gaffe with Jimmy-James. Frankly, I’d come away last week with the idea that Thomas would accept the promotion (why he was promoted is not answerable, save that Lord Grantham did the same thing a lot of organizations do: promote the loose canon and cross your fingers the problem disappears when you look away) with an ample measure of humility and gratitude, after staring into the abyss. Clearly (to me at least) the misunderstanding had a profound impact and it would be quite shallow to maintain Thomas as his old alienated, antagonistic self. To me, the character, having wept at the death of Sybil, and again at his own downfall, appears to be headed for convincing maturation (i.e., connectedness, and consideration for his fellows).

  • Diana

    Just read the synopsis and conversation for the first time and I have to say it’s great to finally meet Downtonians who are enjoying this series as much as I am!

    Is it my overactive imagination or did Thomas loose O’Brien’s money as well as all of his own savings when he tried to enter the black market upon his return from the Big War? That, along with not helping Alfred, is a lot of motivation for O’Brien to take down Thomas, although I think she is just plain mean.

    I agree that Thomas is a wonderfully written character. He has been ambitious, manipulative, and jealous. He has also felt “different”, and alone and lonely. He was frightened so badly in the war he was willing to wound himself to get out of it. He made a very good hospital orderly because he understood the soldiers and, of course, he was touched by Sybil’s goodness. I like Thomas despite his faults, but I still can’t find a reason to like O’Brien!

    • CatKinNY

      No, she wasn’t in on that disaster with him. Remember when she showed up at the shed where he’d stored all of his fake foodstuffs right after he’d wrecked the joint? She asked him how much money he’d lost, and he told her everything, and then some, and she asked if he couldn’t go to the man who’d sold him the counterfeits and demand his money back; he had to tell her that he didn’t know how to find him – he’d only met him in the pub the one time. That scene would make zero sense if she’d been in on the deal with him.
      I like Thomas, too. He’s one of the most psychologically well fleshed out characters on the show, and the actor who plays him is marvelous.

      • Diana

        Thanks for the clarification about O’Brien in that scene. I certainly felt sympathetic to Thomas when he suffered that loss. Can’t wait for next week’s episode even thought I hate the season to end.

  • Mel Di Giacomo

    no doubt about it.youse is a great writer.

    signed,lo strillone

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks Mel!



    • JIM DEE


  • Barbara

    I was rather at a loss for words when, towards the end of the episode, suddenly everyone including Robert “knew all along” that Thomas was gay – Mrs. Patmore said it just wasn’t “official”. Really??!!

    • CatKinNY

      Mrs Patmore has definately know all along. Don’t you remember her telling Daisy, in Season I, that he ‘wasn’t for her’ and trying to steer her towards William, who was clearly in love with her, while Thomas was just as clearly encouraging her purely to be mean to poor William?

  • jrs18

    Anyone notice that the baby that Mary held earlier in the show was not the same baby that was shown at the end?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      We’ll have to check that out when it’s rerun. It is common for a baby character to be played by at least 2 baby ‘actors’. On EastEnders, there was one baby who was played by 2 different babies; one very beautiful Gerber baby, and the other looked like Phil Mitchell.

  • sylvia

    I love your recaps. They are so funny and make me laugh out loud. I’ll miss them after next week and will look forward to season four. I also get them on my E20 Chronicles e-newsletters.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Thanks! I’ll be writing one or two Downton-related blogs, Dispatch From The Downton Abbey Diaspora’, posted here again during the off-season this year.

  • Julie

    Robert, Lord Grantham: “If *I’d* screamed every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton, I’d have gone hoarse in a week!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryah.haidery Maryah Haidery

    I agree with ALB – classic line – classic delivery. I also smiled quite a bit when she said “If he’s the agent we can go back to calling him Branson”

  • Forever 31

    Isobel and Violet exchanged so many great zingers this episode. Another one of my favorites was Isobel saying in a deadpan voice, “That must have been very tiring,” in response to Voilet’s “Yes, but it was an hour *every* day.”

  • purple angel

    I do wish Edith would stop meeting with situations that will only cause her to suffer further . I do wish that Fellows will stop making her a loser in every way.
    Time for her to win a little.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/downton-dish-season-3-episode-1/ Gotham Tomato

      Don’t you think she is slowly growing into her own?

  • jj

    So perhaps I’m focused on irrelevant details, but what was up with Rose’s necklace in the scene when the Dowager tells her she’s being sent to the castle in Scotland (or wherever)? One shot they were caught on the left-side buttons or something, the next shot they were hanging straight, the crooked, then straight. A shocking lack of continuity given the overall quality of the show (someone else’s comment about two different babies makes me think perhaps the continuity staff was given the night off).

    Also, I’m glad to hear there is another episode coming; this one seemed to tie up too many bows too neatly. Hopefully some will be left untied for next season.

  • PBSfan

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned O’Brien’s zinger to Anna, ” Get back in the knife box Mrs. Sharp”…loved it!!!

    I am considering sending hate mail to Julian Fellows with regards to Ethel, give the girl a break already! Mary has gotten everything and based on the previews for next week, she continues to get everything.

    • PBSfan

      Oh I meant to say Edith not Ethel

  • kate

    Cannot remember this quote from Mr. Carson when he speaks to Mrs. O’Brien in the 2/17/13 episode — something about him being the leader….and wearing a crown…..” can you find out for me? He is just so precious and formal and so damn good!

  • Guest

    did anyone notice that Bates closed the door when the Lord and Lady Grantham went to visit mama and hear what the good doctor had to say… while Bates is still in prison…

  • http://twitter.com/BadManFromTEXAS mr niceGuy

    did anyone notice that Bates closed the door when the Lord and Lady Grantham went to visit mama and hear what the good doctor had to say… while Bates is still in prison…

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