Everyone was crying on last night’s episode of Downton Abbey — even Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham! It was an emotional hour full of wrenching twists and turns. Even yours truly got a little misty-eyed at times. Nothing good can come of war, I tell you! Nothing at’all!
The big news this week was that Matthew and William both wound up wounded on the battlefield, an incident sensed both by Daisy and Mary, the latter of whom dropped a teacup amidst her psychic premonition. This double dose of ESP was a tad ridiculous, and it seemed rather out of character for Downton Abbey to dabble in the supernatural. Nevertheless, Matthew and William were both carted back to England, which hopefully means we’ll no longer be subjected to silly, shaky “recreations” of WWI battles.
Alas, the news was super bleak for our returning soldiers. Matthews, as it turns out, had been paralyzed, which not only was a tremendous setback to him but to Downton Abbey as a whole because now it appeared as though he would not be able to ever have sex. You know what that means: the lineage ends with Matthew. He’s about as useful as EDITH now.
Given that Matthew’s little man rifle was now broken, he did the kind thing: he told Lavinia to leave him so she could find a man who could put it in her real good. Lavinia refused to leave her fiancé’s side, but Matthew insisted that someday she’d want some loving, and he didn’t want to deprive her of that. And so off she went, which meant that Mary could now swoop back in! Right? Eh, not so much.
You see, the spectre (note the British spelling) of Mr. Kemal PaMUK once again raised its beautiful head — and it was all because O’Brien, naturally. Angry that Mr. Bates had returned to Downton, O’Brien wrote to his evil wife to say that he was now shacking up with Anna. This obviously did not sit well with Vera, who journeyed back to the estate to say that she was going to run to the press with the story of Mary and Mr. Kemal PaMUK after all. But hadn’t Bates paid her off to keep quiet? Yes, but Vera didn’t care. She’s evil you know. No SCRUPLES.
Anna, of course, told Mary about Vera’s plans, and Mary knew she had only one option: she headed to London to see Sir Richard CarLISLE and plead for his protection. Sure thing — he would shut down Vera if Mary agreed to marry him once and for all. Mary, never one to avoid whoring herself out, said yes, and so Sir Richard CarLISLE bought the story from Vera, locked her into an exclusivity contract, and then killed the piece entirely. Fantastic!
The only problem was that now if Mary decided she wanted to call off her engagement to Sir Richard CarLISLE, he could now destroy her in ways far more devastatingly than Vera could ever hope. Damn you O’Brien and your meddling ways! Did you learn nothing from The Great Soap Incident of 1914?
Meanwhile, Vera was so pissed about all this that she threatened to have her revenge in some manner or form. I feel like this will not end well. Perhaps the abduction of a first born? A Sleeping Beauty spell?
Speaking of sleeping beauties, let’s not forget about poor William, the cute, lovelorn footman turned soldier. He wanted to fight so badly, and now here he was, on his deathbed with deteriorating lungs. I felt bad for the poor guy, which is why I will NOT mention how it seemed like with every passing episode, William was, er, filling out his uniform just a tad more. Was I the only one who noticed that?
Anyway, poor William still thought Daisy loved him, and so he decided that he wanted to marry her before he died. Daisy was all “Helllll no!” but Mrs. Patmore was all “DAAAAISSSY!!!” and lo and behold, Daisy was guilted into a sham marriage. This led to a rather heartbreaking scene of practically the entire cast watching the nuptials, chins quivering with emotion. Even Violet shed a tear or two, even though she explained that she merely had a cold. I can’t act like I wasn’t rather caught up in the moment as well, but there was a significant part of me that thought William would stage a miraculous recovery, thus trapping poor Daisy in this unfortunate marriage scheme.
But he didn’t. William died, and then the episode just ENDED. Well. That was sufficiently wrenching. Heavens!
“I haven’t been this pale in a fortnight. HEAVENS!”
“What will we do?”
Mary: “I haven’t been this alarmed since my one night of passion with Mr. Kemal PaMUK.”
“Granny, I mustn’t say this for I know it to be incredibly vulgar for me to do so, but I believe that was our last teacup.”
“Don’t be silly, Mary! There shall be many more teacups at Downton Abbey! Why would you say such a thing? HEAVENS!”
“Have Branson fetch the motor for me. I must be off to the Bed, Bath, & Beyond of Leeds.”
“Father, tell us about the telegram.”
“Is it about the teacup? Have we found a replacement?”
“It’s from Matthew. He’s found a novelty coffee mug shaped like a Prussian, but no teacups. I’m afraid there’s a shortage, wartime and such. Also, William might be dead.”
“Heavens… that’s terrible.”
“I know. Who would have thought there’d be such a run on teacups?”
“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if Matthew were hurt, not to mention the ramifications of having an incomplete tea service. Heavens…”
“Mr. Bates, will you come pray with me in the church?”
“I’m afraid no amount of praying will bring back that teacup, Anna.”
“Oh, Mr. Bates. WE DON’T KNOW THAT!”
“Doctor Clarkson, surely you could spare a teacup from your hospital. We would take extraordinary care of it. The plain girl over here would dote on it every night!”
“The plain girl?”
“She wishes to be a farmer. Imagine THAT!”
“Just wait ’til I tell the newspaper men that Downton Abbey is one teacup short of a full service. You’ll be the laughing stock o’ London, you will!”
“Hello. HELLO? Is this an instrument of communication or torture? This is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, and I am calling in regards to teacups. Hello? This your teacup department, yes? What do you mean you don’t have teacups? Is this Pier 1 of Chippenham? What? Dick’s Sporting Goods? HEAVENS!”
“Yes, hello. This is the Dowager Countess of… Hello? What is this hideous sound? It’s like a dozen foreigners belting out their native chants.”
“I believe you called a fax machine, Granny.”
“Hello, is this the housewares department of Sears? Yes, this is the Dowager Countess of — yes, I am calling about teacups… yes, I’ll hold… I’m on hold, Edith. You give these little people the slightest bit of power, and it goes STRAIGHT to their heads! Heavens!”
“Yes, operator, please connect me with the WalMART. And do hurry. We’re having a teacup emergency. Oh, and my granddaughter would like to add that if one should need anyone to drive a tractor, she’s more than happy to assist.”
“Look at those rich folks, crying over teacups. I should have served them cow poop when I had the chance.”
“It may be just a teacup to you, but it is the singularly most exciting thing that has happened in my life; so please respect that.”
“Nnnnnggh… I can’t feel my peepee.”
“Thomas, this teacup will be the end of us!”
“It’s your fault!”
“How could you say that?”
“Ask whatever questions you want, O’Brien, but it’s your fault!”
“You’re at fault!”
“I came as soon as I heard!”
“I’m sorry, Lavinia. There’s nothing more we can do. The teacup has been destroyed.”
Mary: “We tried glue. We tried tape. We’ve lost the teacup, I’m afraid.”
Lavinia: “Yes, but what of Matthew?”
“Oh. Well, he’s paralyzed.”
“I can’t feel my legs… strange. But at least when I’m healthy again, I can have hours and hours of sex! Right? Right?”
“I’m glad you told me this, Mary. If news ever gets out about this teacup, you could be ruined. RUINED!”
“Matthew, how are you feeling?”
“Lavinia — my sweet, plain Lavinia — you need to go. Be with a man who can marry you properly, if you catch my drift.”
“Properly? But you can marry me properly. Just because you’ll be on wheels doesn’t mean you can’t go to the church and–“
“No. Properly. Wink wink.”
“I don’t understand.”
“We can not have a PROPER marriage, as in the post-marriage activities will not PROPERLY align with what’s expected.”
“Do you mean gardening? I always imagined I’d have a garden once we’re married. Why can’t I garden?”
“My dear, you may always have a garden. But I will not be able to sow any seeds in your garden, if you know what I’m saying.”
“I should hope not! You are a soldier! Not a farmer!”
“You really don’t get it, do you?”
“Did you want to plant something in the garden? Rhubarb? Parsley? Because you can! You can Matthew!!!”
“This isn’t about your garden. It’s about PROPER man-women marital THINGS. That happen in the dark! At night! PROPERLY!”
“Telling ghost stories? I find them so frightful Matthew! But we can tell them! If that’s what it takes to have a proper marriage!”
“I’m talking about sex, Lavinia. We can’t have sex.”
“Well I should hope not! Not while we’re still looking for a new teacup! HEAVENS!!”
“Lavinia, what’s wrong?”
“Matthew says we cannot be properly married.”
“What? Like have sex?”
“So was I the only one who didn’t know what ‘proper’ meant?”
Mrs. Hughes: “My Lordship, I just entered to see if—“
“WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING, STANDING THERE POLITELY?? HEAVENS!!!”
“You are needed in the drawing room, NOT the parlor! What is this world coming to!?”
“My lordship, please accept my humblest apologies and let this conversation serve as my formal resignation.”
“Now, now, Mrs. Hughes. It’s quite alright. Just a minor misunderstanding… but please know that you are on probation now.”
“Matthew… come, let’s go for a walk.”
“I can’t, Mother.”
“Why ever not?”
“I can’t walk, Mother.”
“Well, if I can’t be helpful here, then I must go where I’m needed! I’m off to Paris again!!!”
What did you think about this episode? And if you’ve already seen the second season, please refrain from spoilers.