In lieu of a standard recap, we’ll be doing a Monday morning b*tch rank for the rest of the 6 episode run of “Downton Abbey” 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 3 of the PBS version of “Downton Abbey.” But, before you do, here are this week’s b*tch rankings.
5. Mr. Bates’ Cellmate…I Think?: Is anyone truly following and/or caring about this plotline? I used to cluck and fret over every bruise on poor Mr. Bates’ mangled leg and now I cannot be bothered to understand the finer workings of this Jazz Age version of “Oz.” Why does Bates’ cellmate hate him? How does that translate to guards hating him and withholding his letters? What did they find in the cellmates’ bunk? Damn if I know or care. But if we’re talking b*tches, I don’t suppose we can afford to overlook the prison set.
4. Turny Button Things: Was there anything more delightful than Carson’s shock and horror at this bit of technology Mrs. Hughes brought into the house? After the cancer melodrama of the past few episodes, here was a lovely bit of domestic comedy. Carson’s fuddy-duddery can be less hilarious when he applies it to ideas of class and gender (see: Lady Edith below), but his toaster-related consternation was simply amazing. At any rate, that turny button thing lied to Mrs. Hughes. Same as it ever was.
3. Mr. Bryant: The man even had a mustache to twirl. It’s not that I adore Strumpet Ethel, but the Slutty Major’s father was pretty clearly a dyed-in-the-wool villain. The logic behind giving poor Charlie away appears to be that he’ll receive all the advantages of the upbringing his late father had. I’m not sure that’s wise, the Slutty Major wasn’t exactly a model citizen. I didn’t love Isobel Crawley’s fussy judgmental attitude either. But, then again, I rarely do.
2. Lord Grantham: Someone’s on a roll! Having just ruined her marriage prospects, Edith’s father proceeds to sneer at and then explode over her burgeoning writing career. I understand time and place and gender roles, but when your daughter is inconsolable and self-pitying, let’s not rain all over any and all parades that might come her way. Thank goodness Edith has such lovely and supportive brothers in Matthew and Tom. In fact, I much prefer “Matthew the brother” to “Matthew the lover and husband.” And, lest we forget, Lord Grantham said some super bigoted things about Catholics. That was fun.
1. Tom Branson: That being said, Branson tops the list this week. I’m usually a Branson sympathizer and I know he honestly cares for Sybil, but leaving your pregnant wife to get her own *ss out of Ireland? Not okay. I hate that Branson made me side with Lord Grantham. So yeah, cry your little b*tch eyes out, Branson, that was a horrible move. To add insult to injury he had the effrontery to fling a petulant “well I never told you I didn’t” at Lady Sybil when she asked him why he hadn’t told her about attending firestarter meetings. Bad form, Branson.
All I’m saying is that getting a WTF-face from Lady Mary is par for the course, but when Matthew starts throwing shade at you, you might want to look at your life and look at your choices.
“There must be something you can put your mind to.”
“Like what, gardening?”
“Well, no, you can’t be as desperate as that.”
Most Heartbreaking Moment: Like I said, I’m not a huge Ethel fan, but this goodbye reminded me too much of this scene, and, thus, my heart was broken.
Best Dressed: Why, new footman Jimmy/James of course. Even Thomas approves. Purely on a sartorial level, of course.
Joanna Robinson is not prepared to call the new kitchen maid a b*tch, but she will, for Daisy’s sake, give “timing” an honorary b*tch mention. Daisy+Edwardian Landry 4ever.