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Downton Abbey Review: I Don't

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Episode 302 of Downton Abbey greeted us with worries about Mrs. Hughes and her health... a war between the domestic help... wedding preparations... and the plan to sell the manor, even though Matthew might be sitting on a huge inheritance.

In a variance of the true soap opera form, most of these issues were wrapped up by the end of hour.

Mary and the Dowager Countess

Many have wondered why the wedding of Mary and Matthew was such a blip in the opening of Downton Abbey Season 3, and that may be because of the impending wedding of Lady Edith to Sir Anthony. At some point, the misbegotten sister needed her due and we shared in the preparation of her big day with dinners and talks of dresses and the entire family speaking disparagingly behind her back.

Seriously, there was less meddling in Sybil’s affairs with Tom than there was with Edith’s choice in marrying Sir Anthony. She fell in love with an older man and you’d think the word was coming to an end. Even women years his senior found it an odd match and were hoping against it. In the end, Lord Grantham went too far in his persuasion by asking Sir Anthony repeatedly call it off - because it worked.

If ever there was a scene I didn’t want to see, it was of Edith’s one day of happiness being crushed, especially coming at the hands of her own family. Edith was left to listen to her mother tell her she was being tested and it only makes you stronger. That would be much easier to hear if the tests weren't coming from the people who were supposed to love you the most. I cried when she told Anna the thing she could get her was another life, only to rebound with the comment that spinsters get up for their breakfast.

Edith was always a little bit difficult to understand and rally around, but she has my full support now.

Elsewhere around Downton, Thomas went a bit overboard with Mrs. O’Brien by telling Molesley that she was leaving Downton. He started an all-out war. Sadly, the two most annoying characters are cracking each other’s heads and it’s really difficult to care. If only they would have a dual at sunrise and both shoot to kill.

Word of Mrs. Hughes’ illness got around and Cora offered that if she were sick, she would be cared for and need never worry. It was, as Mrs. Hughes said, quite touching, especially given that the family is in dire financial straights. Well, as dire as they can manage while still living out their lives at a grand mansion with “only” seven or eight servants. 

Once again, the shining ray of light shone down upon Matthew, and in turn, Mary. Lavinia told her father that Matthew was giving up his happiness to be with her and it was with his full knowledge that he named Matthew an heir.

Matthew rode in on his white steed and saved the day, saved Downton and saved the family from retiring to the wretched country home where they would have to live a cramped existence. 

The upside to his playing savior again was the staff we all love so well remain; they are truly the heart and soul of Downton Abbey. It would have been difficult to have had to choose only seven or eight to take along, and even though I knew it would never come to that, I’m glad they didn't even come close to the decision-making process.

I did discover that I don't understand much about the ownership of Downton at the moment, because I thought Matthew and Isobel were there because he had inherited it and was to be the new Lord Grantham. Or something. Wasn't that how he came into their lives in the first place? So why did he have to buy a part of it to become partners with Robert? Well, he is now, so Mary should be delighted.

Finally, in the love department, we had Anna and Bates. Anna was still scouring the city trying to find clues to Bates' innocence in his previous wife's death and Bates was making enemies in prison. As much as I adored their love story as it first played out, there is nothing even remotely romantic about any of what's left. They're going to have to give us more to keep their tale alive and kicking.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
  • 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer and managing editor for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Much as I enjoy this series, I didn't like this particular episode. I guess it's because of what happened to poor Edith and although I do feel they were mismatched, he was a cad for waiting until the last minute. For those of you keeping score, that's three daughters and three weddings we didn't get to see (and BTW, what WAS that bitchy dig from Mary as they were going into the church? What THAT really necessary?). The letter from Swire absolving Matthew of his guilty conscience was just a tad too convenient, but I'd be curious to see how this "co-master" thing works out within the household. As for Thomas and O'Brien, I'm with the reviewer--shoot each other and leave the rest of us in peace. Sooner or later their little shenanigans are gonna make Cora and/or Robert look stupid and they'll both end up with permanent footprints on their butts. As for the big mystery surrounding Ethel, out with it already. And REALLY Mrs. H--you really have NO idea that it was Mrs. P who (inadvertently) told Carson? Have you MET Mrs. P?

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Matthew inherits at Robert's death (because of the entail). However, there is no money attached to the property because of Robert's bad investments. So, the family has no liquid capital... only the land and the house, so they have no money to run it. Matthew's inheritance is the liquid capital the family needs to keep the estate running. He is not really a "co-master." Legally. That is Robert's way of respecting Matthew's decision to save Downton. He can have a say in how the estate is run since the only reason it is still running is because he put ALL of his money into it as opposed to taking Mary away for a new life, etc.

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Matthew inherits at Robert's death, but I do not understand what Robert means by co- masters. Any ideas?

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Oh Edith. She finally got her moment and was crushed. I was really hoping she would get her happiness finally. I was glad to see Mary and Sybil go to her aide, but I understand why Edith sent them away. They're just a reminder of what she doesn't have and what she doesn't think she will ever have. I do hope they have something amazing in store for her. While I understand Matthew's reluctance, although both Mary and my roommate did not, I'm glad that it worked itself out correctly instead of Mary forcing him to do something he didn't want to. I like how it was pointed out that the smaller house was still huge. I find Thomas and O'Brien's little war to be funny considering how they conspired against everyone at the beginning. However I'm wondering what the big deal with Ethel is. What does she need help with?

Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 2 Quotes

She'll be a nurse, Cora, and by the time she's 50 she'll be wheeling around a one-armed old man.

Robert

Something happening in this house is actually about me.

Edith
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