Thomas in charge of Downton Abbey! I’m surprised that hasn’t done it for Mr Carson. Still appearances must be upheld and thus far Thomas has been entirely overshadowed by the rebellious Branson. With the arrival of Major Bryant comes, not murder, but a cowpat and some sour milk. Still, that’s plenty shocking enough for poor Downton.
In other news, Bates makes a welcome reappearance with new plans to overthrow his controlling wife. The misogynistic divorce laws prompt the best line of the show: “Isn’t that a bit unfair to women?” “I don’t care about women, I care about you!” Swoon! How long can it last this time? It seems to me that the convenient solutions to Anna’s heartache are appearing all too frequently.
Mary’s heart is not to be mended just yet – as hard as Rosamund and the dowager try to expose Miss Swire’s murky past it transpires that she’s all heart, exposing state scandals to save her father’s skin. The Mary of 1912 would have jumped on such tarnish but the 1917 Mary is frustratingly compassionate. Still, Lavina wears such dowdy dresses that on almost every occasion Matthew speaks to Mary before acknowledging his fiancée. Hurrah!
On the subject of scandal, was anyone else surprised at the blazé way in which Mary asked whether Evelyn Napier could come to stay? Lady Mary, don’t be so sure that Miss Swire will see your scandal so kindly.
In day to day developments, Downton the convalescent home is causing all manner of trouble for the usual inhabitants. The usually rational Mrs Crawley has been possessed by the heady taste of power which personally I found a little disappointing. Be the bigger woman Mrs Crawley! The Earl of Grantham also is more obtrusive than I would have expected, but I supposed he’s never had an invasion of his library before.
The real winner is Isis the Labrador, who’s doe eyes and soft yellow fur means he gets access all areas.
And so to finish: Matthew 3, World War One 0. But … next week … missing in action?!
Words by Claudia Rowe