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TV Recap

'Downton Abbey': What happened this week?

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Downton Abbey S02E07

© ITV

Season 1, episode 7

The war may be over, but if you think that means there's no more drama in Downton Abbey you're sorely mistaken. Yes, it was another absolutely crammed episode tonight, with everything from miracle recoveries to a failed elopement, so let's break it down - what exactly happened on everyone's favourite estate?

Read on to find out!

Matthew's moving!
Oh, come on, we all knew it would happen. After last week's tingle, Matthew wants to ask Bates a question - if he feels something in his legs, what could it mean? Dr. Clarkson thinks it's an illusion, but Bates is very wise and basically tells him to "wait and see". For now, anyway, this is their little secret.

But it's not long before it's all out - when Lavinia trips over a footstool (really), Matthew does the gentlemanly thing and jumps up to save her. That's right - jumps up! When the Earl hears the news, he's ridiculously happy and gathers everyone together to see the miracle in action.

Dr. Clarkson shows up to be all apologetic - turns out another doctor thought it could be a case of spinal shock, but Clarkson basically didn't want to build up Matthew's hopes. In fact, his spine wasn't broken at all. It'll still take a while for Matthew to recover, but he will have a proper, full life - heartwarming, isn't it?

Anyway, at dinner, Matthew has an announcement - he's going to get hitched to Lavinia after all, and at Downton. Mary's face is a picture, but she feigns happiness. Not much gets past the Dowager Countess, though. In fact, she ends up going to visit Matthew in his bedroom (scandalous) to tell him something very important - Mary's still in love with him.

She's not going to let it drop, either - as Matthew splutters all over the place, Violet asks him if he really can't love Mary again. It's all very well Lavinia caring about him even when they thought he couldn't walk, and Violet even says Matthew's a "man of honour" for sticking by her. But she has some sage words - marriage is a "long business" and people of their kind can't get out of it. So Matthew should make sure he picks the right woman. This was a proper Violet scene, and good fun.

It doesn't seem to have much of an effect, though - Lavinia and Matthew are soon deciding to wed in April. That means that Sir Richard and Mary settle on July, though Sir Richard points out that Mary doesn't sound too excited. "To quote you, 'That's not who we are'," she drawls, perfectly.

Downton Abbey S02E07

© ITV



The Earl's getting excited...
Oh dear, it seems there's trouble in paradise. After several moments that hinted at trouble between the Earl and Cora in the last few episodes, it definitely seemed to come to a head this week. Right from the very start of the episode, there's friction between the couple.

Later, the Earl goes for a walk - he's feeling all anti-climactic after the war, mumbling about wondering what it was all for. After all - so many deaths. He ends up burbling this all out to Jane, poor girl, whose only crime was to drop her shopping.

Of course, the glances between the pair have been leading up to something, and soon the couple find themselves in a cupboard together. Jane admits that his musings about the war made her sad, but he tells her not to listen to him - he's a "foolish man who's lost his way". But how to find it again? Um, the Earl lunges at Jane and kisses her. Blimey.

Anyway, Jane immediately forgives him, but rushes off in that way that maids do when something horrible has happened. It's only maids in period dramas that run like this, but I'm glad Downton managed to fit it in. She ends up offering her resignation, but the Earl refuses to accept it - but Carson's hovering and I bet he knows what's going on.

The trouble with Cora continues, too - she's not impressed that the Earl agreed to Matthew's wedding at the Abbey. Thing is, the Earl's got a point that Cora's a bit tactless. "Just because Matthew's been lame..." Ouch. What will happen here next week, do you think? Considering the Earl called Cora "unfeeling" last week and "stupid and selfish" tonight, we're guessing it's not good.

Downton Abbey S02E06

© ITV



Sir Richard gets slimy - okay, even slimier
Ugh. We are not fans of Sir Richard - had you guessed? And he's up to his horrible, horrible tricks again this week by basically asking Anna to spy on Mary - all under the guise of wanting to find out more about her interests, blah blah blah. Oh, and let's not mention this to Mary, eh? Luckily, Anna's not braindead and immediately turns down the offer.

Meanwhile, Mrs Hughes and Carson are having a cuppa - love it - but Anna comes down for a word. In fact, she's telling them all about Sir Richard's request. Not the best at keeping things quiet, are we, Anna? Well, Carson can't deal with this and tells Mary that he no longer wants to go with her when she moves in with Sir Richard - and then he tells her why. Of course, instead of running a mile from Sir Richard, Mary goes into "that's all fine" mode. Anyway, Carson then has to inform the Earl, while Mary scolds Anna for not telling her first. Tense, much?

Sir Richard continues his sliminess at dinner - hinting that they might sell Haxbey pretty quickly if it doesn't suit them to be close to Downton, yikes. Eventually, Mary asks why Sir Richard bribed Anna, and explains that all he has to do is ask her anything. So Sir Richard does - is she still in love with Matthew? Mary is ridiculously unconvincing: "Would I ever admit loving a man who preferred someone else over me?" Hmm.

Downton Abbey S02E07

© ITV



Sybil and Branson make a run for it - and then go back
Finally! A bit of a development! After weeks of: "I love you!" "I love you!" "Come with me!" "Not yet!", there was finally movement in the Sybil and Branson department. Sybil's fed up with everyone going on about the good old days, and it's helping to make her mind up.

Edith's also finding the return to normality hard, but what can they do? Well, Sybil's found a way to escape - it's drastic, but that's what she wants. Oo-er. She adds that Edith doesn't have to go back either.

Eventually, Sybil makes her decision - she's ready to get away, and Branson's her ticket outta here (charming). Branson's a bit shocked but he's unsurprisingly a little happy and kisses Sybil (finally) - but there'll be no funny business until it's all settled, alright?

Anyway, Mary wants to say good night to Sybil, who missed dinner because she felt unwell (yeah, right). The door's locked, and when they use the spare key they discover that Sybil's gone - and left a note saying she's eloped. ROAD TRIP TIME! Yes, Edith ends up driving Mary and Anna in an attempt to track down the runaway sister.

They end up seeing the car outside a pub, so they rush in to retrieve Sybil. It's all very well-behaved in the bedroom with no naughty business going on, but that won't appease Mary. She advises Sybil to come home - she has to give their parents enough time to get used to the idea and avoid breaking up the family. Don't start your new life under a black shadow, Sybil.

Branson thinks it's all a ruse to get Sybil home, but she eventually agrees to return to Downton - she doesn't like deceit. She'll still stay true to Branson, like. When Edith and Sybil have gone, Mary admits that she's going to try to change Sybil's mind. Unsurprisingly, Branson decides not to take the money she offers for the room.

Downton Abbey S02E04

© ITV



Ethel drops a bombshell
There are visitors at Downton! Yes, Cora announces that Major Bryant's mother and father are coming for luncheon - after all, the last time they saw him alive it was when he was at Downton. Anyway, Mrs Hughes thinks it's a good idea to tell Ethel about this. Of course it is.

Together, the pair hatch a plan (though Mrs Hughes seems very uncomfortable - well, why did you bring it up then?) Basically, Mrs Hughes will hide Ethel and baby Charlie in the larder with a blanket and tell Mrs Bryant about her grandchild, bringing her out if she wants to see him.

When the Bryants arrive at Downton, though, it appears Mr Bryant is a bit troublesome. Okay, he's rude and short and not very nice at all. And he doesn't want to stay long, either. Mrs Hughes tries to get some time alone with Mrs Bryant but it's not going to happen, so she goes to tell Ethel the bad news.

Ethel's not going to stand for that, though, and rushes past the kitchen - much to the dismay of Mrs Hughes. She bursts into the dining room and introduces Charlie as the Bryants' grandson, but when Mr Bryant asks for proof, she can't give him any. Mr Bryant reckons his son would never have shirked his responsibilities and storms out.

Mrs Bryant actually wants to meet Charlie, but she doesn't get a chance - her husband bustles her out and insists Ethel is lying, though several people at the dinner table think she's telling the truth. As she goes, Mrs Bryant apologises for her husband - he only acts that way because he's terrified of his grief.

The servants comfort Ethel in their quarters, but Carson is not so impressed with her outburst and asks her to leave at once. He's a tough one, Carson. So it's back to the bus for Ethel and Charlie. Oh dear... Upstairs, Sir Richard's causing a scandal by calling Charlie a "bastard" and shocking the ladies, while Mary's mumbling bitterly about being stuck with the choices we make. Gulp.

Downton Abbey S02E07

© ITV



Mrs Bates acts from beyond the grave...
We learn pretty quickly in the episode that Mrs Bates's sudden slump onto the floor last week was suicide, but it's not like Bates and Anna's problems will end there (of course not! This couple is more up and down than a yo-yo). In fact, the Earl sets Bates thinking when he tactlessly mentions that Mrs Bates must have got hold of her poison somewhere...

In fact, Bates later grabs Anna for another earnest, worried chat and reveals that he bought arsenic months ago to deal with a rat problem. Anna thinks he should tell the police - if it comes out it will look bad. But Bates thinks that would just be asking for trouble. Dilemma time!

Sure enough, Mrs Bates continues to cause problems. Bates's lawyer sends him a letter his late wife wrote to a friend just before he visited, going on about how angry he sounded and how she was afraid for her life. Yeah, so that doesn't look good...

Downton Abbey S02E05

© ITV



Thomas is in trouble
After putting the idea of the black market into Thomas's head last week, Mrs Patmore's moaning that there's no food about. Well, this is very interesting to Thomas, who sneaks out with O'Brien to reveal that he's going into business. I do love the pair together, like wicked witches over a cauldron.

Anyway, Thomas has found a dealer and will have the supply once he's paid - he's already sorted out a shed in the village for storage. He doesn't even think the police will get involved - the war's over, who cares about rationing? O'Brien's got a sour face on, but Thomas won't be deterred. In fact, he ends up taking her to his shed to show off all his produce - he thinks he's been smart by getting non-perishable stuff. But he still won't admit how much he paid...

The next time Mrs Patmore begins whining about the lack of supplies, Thomas uses the opportunity to offer her some groceries. Well, Mrs Patmore has a wedding cake to make, so she asks Thomas to supply her - and she'll pay if the goods are any, well, good. Meanwhile, Daisy asks if she can make the cake, and Mrs Patmore agrees to teach her.

The only problem is that when they taste the cake, it's absolutely disgusting. Daisy insists she did everything Mrs Patmore said, so they end up checking the ingredients Thomas provided. Sure enough, he's been had - the flour is mostly plaster dust and the peel has gone off. Yuk. Probably not good enough to give Matthew and Lavinia, then.

Obviously Thomas is told the news, and he goes to the shed in a rage, flinging flour everywhere and destroying his fake products. O'Brien comes to stand nervously in the middle of the destruction, and Thomas admits that he just met his supplier in a pub and has no idea where he is. He's been taken for a fool! Thomas spent every penny he had... and then some. "What are you going to do now?" O'Brien asks, but Thomas can only say: "I don't know. I don't bloody know." Uh oh...

Downton Abbey S02E07

© ITV



The Dowager Countess's Best Lines
  • The Earl admits he almost came down in a dinner jacket. "Why not a dressing gown? Or, better still, pyjamas?"
  • "I'll stick to the chaise longue."
  • Sybil asks if the Dowager Countess really wants things to go back to the way they were before the war. "Of course I do! And as quickly as possible!"
  • "All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite."
  • Cora explains that the Bryants want to spend time with the people who knew their son. "That lets me out, thank heaven."
  • "She looked like Juliet on awakening in the tomb."
  • "Marry in May, rue the day."

... And the rest
  • "When war is over, the first emotion is relief. The second, disappointment."
  • Are we glad the war is over? It all happened very quickly, but it's quite nice to see Downton both back to normal - and irrevocably changed.
  • Mrs Patmore put the idea of the black market into Thomas's head, then started murmuring about how everything is in short supply this week. Is she pulling the strings, or is it just coincidence? Is Mrs Patmore really a manipulative, Machiavellian mastermind?
  • I loved O'Brien pouring scorn all over Thomas's plans by describing him as a future "plutocrat".
  • Who else wants to see Mary with one of the "boys' haircuts women are wearing in Paris"? Raise your hand.
  • Carson tells Mrs Hughes: "I get about." Oo-er.
  • "To me, Lady Mary is an uppity minx who's the author of her own misfortune." Say what you mean, Mrs Hughes.
  • "More like making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I wish I had a sow's ear. It would be better than this brisket."
  • Cora makes a very obvious reference to Spanish flu. Next week's storyline?
  • Are Mrs Hughes and Carson meant to be together? Discuss.
  • Carson reminiscing about a young Mary was really quite cute indeed, no?
  • "You're far nicer than you were before the war, you know." Talk about a backhanded compliment.
  • "Of course mama and papa will hate it." "Why should they?" "Oh, pipe down." YES, MARY.
  • Branson is a bit whiny and annoying, isn't he?
  • "Butlers are two a penny now they're all back from the war." Mary can be wonderfully mean and chilling when she wants to be.
  • Ethel says she got the bus to Downton then walked to the house. Carson: "Then can you reverse the process as quickly as possible?"
  • "You won't mind burning your bridges?" "Mind? Fetch me the matches."
  • O'Brien calls Mrs Patmore "o mighty one". Amazing.
  • "Oh my God, she's eloped! She's on her way to Gretna Green!" Marvellous melodrama.
  • "You look as if you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders." "Not the whole world, Mrs Hughes, but quite enough of it."
  • Cora's helping Isobel with the refugees. Bizarre.
  • Matthew's still holding on to the little toy Mary gave him as a lucky charm. Hmm...

What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!

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