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B*tch Ranking 'Downton Abbey': Lady Mary Is, Miraculously, A Delight

By Joanna Robinson | TV | January 20, 2014 |

By Joanna Robinson | TV | January 20, 2014 |

Here’s a ranking of all the b*tches from last night’s episode of Downton Abbey. Not only does Mary escape the list, but also Robert gets a week off. We’d look at him askance for his Obamacare discussion at dinner were we not otherwise occupied with all the racists and rapists running around the joint. So here’s your b*tch ranking for episode four. Try to keep the comments spoiler free.

5. Mr. Green
Anna’s rapist, that colossal b*tch, Mr. Green, ranks pretty low this week only because we devoted so much energy to his b*tchiness last week. Also, he was only in the episode for a few scant minutes. But he certainly merits at least the #5 spot for the way he calmly sipped his morning culpa while Anna unraveled at breakfast. I’ll let Mrs. Hughes’ AMAZING b*tchface take this one, shall I?

4. Sir John Bullock’s Tolerance For Alcohol
This is a fairly victimless crime. After what happened to Anna last week it’s hard to muster sympathy for the second round of Poor Little Rich Girl Rose And Her Dance Floor Adventures With Drunken Louts. That being said, Sir John’s inability to hold his liquor and Aunt Rosamund’s indulgence of his dance floor dash serves to highlight that racism that swiftly follows.

3. Jack Ross’s Singing Voice
Now look, they have been marketing the crap out of Gary Carr’s appearance on Downton and I think we were all more than a little excited. He’s excessively dreamy. But when he opened his mouth and that singing voice came out? That moist sponge of a tenor? Ugh. Lady boner officially wilted. It may be period appropriate but it’s not at all attractive. If they can manage to not let his character sing again then we should be in good shape going forward.
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2. Aunt Rosamund
We could maybe (maybe) forgive her racism. It’s period appropriate after all. But that’s not really an excuse and in the incongruously liberal world of Downton, people are painted as villains for holding to historically accurate world views. But Rosamund had to go ahead and be a massive b*tch to my girl Edith and that shall not stand. Bringing up Lord Strallan and the jilting incident? NOT COOL. Rosamund may be entirely right. It’s not at all safe to bone your not-yet-divorced editor/boyfriend without contraception or a copy of that book Edna had, but Rosamund could have been less of an uptight, unmerciful wench while lecturing Edith. For good measure, I’m going to throw Rosamund’s maid on here for snitching on Edith.

1. Edna Braithwaite
Well at least that’s the last we’ll see of her. There’s a part of me that feels very uncomfortable siding with the male in this “woman tries to entrap someone with a false pregnancy storyline.” It’s just the kind of false accusation that was hurled at women for decades. But there’s no denying Edna’s ulterior motives here. Since Mrs. Hughes already took care of business so nicely at the top, we’ll let Thomas take this one.

Best Line
Weirdly I sort of loved Mary this week. Her sass was directed at all the right people instead of her usual innocent victims. She was kind but firm in shooting down Lord Gillingham. She gave Tom such sympathy and support. She took notice of and expressed concern for Anna. And even this Edith diss felt more loving than poisonous. Could she be coming around?

Most Heartbreaking Moment
This moment, of course, belonged again to Anna. I’ve read some reaction to the rape storyline that feel like the show is punishing Anna for harmlessly flirting. I don’t think, after this scene, we can attempt that claim. Anna’s heartbroken confession of “somehow I must have made it happen” is supposed to be taken as false and warped. Give the show a little more credit. I may have serious misgivings about this story in general, but Joanne Froggatt is nailing it.

Best Dressed
You know I love giving this award to Lady Edith (and her Walk Of Shame Stride Of Pride outfit was devastating), but I have to give it to Lady Mary here. We hated to see her leave, but we loved to watch her walk away.

Best Accessory
We used to have a “Best Hat” category but the times they are a-changing and headbands seem all the rage. So I’ve modified the category and hey, look, I managed to work Lady Edith and her sassy “I’m Getting Laid” arm band.

The undeniable MVP of the episode (and the series, in fact) was Mrs. Hughes who took care of everything and everyone. I was going to put Cousin Isobel and The Doctor in this category, but how can we resist Carson and Mrs. Hughes? Besides, they already gave Mrs. Hughes a Cancer Scare plot so they can’t kill her off now, right? RIGHT?!?!?!?! Right.