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B*tch Ranking "Downton Abbey": A Pudding Is A Terrible Thing To Waste Edition

By Joanna Robinson | TV | February 4, 2013 |

By Joanna Robinson | TV | February 4, 2013 |

In lieu of a standard recap, we’ll be doing a Monday morning b*tchcap for the rest “Downton Abbey“‘s run on PBS. Although many of you have somehow seen the rest of Season 3 already, I’ll ask that you refrain from spoiling any Americans in the comments section below. So please feel free to discuss everything up to and including Season 3, Episode 5 of the PBS version of “Downton Abbey.” But, before you do, here are this week’s b*tch rankings.

5. Mrs. Bartlett: First of all, if I were actress Claire Higgins, I would straight up murder everyone involved in taking this photo. More to the point, despite Mrs. Bartlett’s best efforts to block the investigation, it looks like Bates will go free. Which means no more unendurably boring prison plot line. Huzzah.
Mrs bartlett.jpg

4. Reverend Travis: It was mighty Christian of the local vicar (at Lord Grantham’s behest) to come bully a grieving widow about his religion.

At least this scene gave us the opportunity to see the younger family (and Cousin Isobel and even Granny) close ranks. I always love it when the family members who are not related by blood stick up for each other (e.g. Branson and Matthew defending Edith).

3. Carson: Listen, I get that Carson is a traditionalist and I understand his feathers being significantly ruffled over prostitute Ethel getting her smutty hands all over a Crawley Family Pudding, but he said the following to Mrs. Hughes: “I never thought of you as a woman with no standards.” Badly done, Carson. Badly done indeed.

2. Cupid/O’Brien: While everyone both upstairs and down was in mourning for Lady Sybil, there was also quite the romantic imbroglio brewing. It’s not an easy thing to untangle and there are Spanish Armada-level ships blossoming left and right. As Mrs. Patmore pointed out, everyone’s in love with the wrong person. Let’s try to straighten it out:

  • Daisy fancies Alfred

  • Alfred fancies Ivy

  • Ivy fancies Jimmy

  • Jimmy is fancied by Thomas

  • And Jimmy? It’s unclear. But we do know he’s awfully fond of his hair product.


I was highly disappointed in Alfred’s “and here I was thinking you’d want to dance with me” manipulation of Daisy. But, predictably, it’s O’Brien who’s the master manipulator here. Poor Thomas, the glove is not helping him come off as uncreepy.

1. Lord Grantham: Alright, Robert, you’ve ranked every week now. Remember when this series started and Lord Grantham was sort of the progressive one? He was all pro-Matthew in the face of other people’s snobbery and he supported poor limping Bates. But jeezy creezy he’s quite the piece of work these days. He was in fine form from rejecting Matthew’s help in improving Downton (yes I’ll take your money but none of your advice, thank you very much) to his part last week in the death of Lady Sybil, his poor showing in regards to Ethel’s pudding, his continued lack of support for Edith and his treatment of Branson. Basically, if mustaches had been in style in 1920, Robert would have been twirling his. I don’t know why they’ve had to rewrite his character as such an obstinate, backwards thinking man. Maybe Maggie Smith was way too charming to play the part of the heavy. It’s certainly a much more accurate depiction of a Jazz Age Earl than the warm-hearted Lord Of The Manner schtick Julian Fellowes was spoon-feeding us in Series One. Either way, if Lord Grantham’s not careful, he’ll start out-O’Briening O’Brien.
Ep3 Downton 15 Go To Bed.jpg

Best Line:
It’s a tie between Mrs. Patmore’s “Do I look like a frolicker?”

And the all-time champ with “Seems a pity to miss such a good pudding.” Basically, Robert? F*ck you.

Most Heartbreaking Moment:
Branson with baby Sybil. The heartbreak was enhanced when Mary and Matthew joined in on the cooing. Poor fractured family.

Best Dressed:
Of all the fine-looking ladies in mourning I actually thought Edith looked the slickest. That hat was gorgeous.

Honorable mention for Daisy’s fetching little beret. I hope she does inherit that farm.