Downton Abbey
Season 4, Episode 3

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 62 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
The Proposal

Branson is waiting expectantly in Mrs. Hughes' office when Mrs. Hughes enters and says she's coming; Edna then enters and, in that innocent-victim voice she does so moderately well, supposes they're going to gang up on her and try to bribe her. Mrs. Hughes is like, what now, so Edna explains she meant they'd pay her off in the case of her being pregnant, but she wants to keep the baby. Mrs. Hughes, however, firmly says there will be no offer because there's no child. Edna asks how she could know that, but Mrs. Hughes disdainfully asks Branson, "Do you think she would have let herself get pregnant before she was sure of you?" Branson looks at Edna in a new light as Mrs. Hughes goes on that she knew how to prevent it; opening her desk drawer, she removes a volume she describes as a "book of instructions" that basically sounds like a how-and-how-not-to book on getting pregnant. Branson, playing the audience surrogate, asks what would have happened if he'd agreed to marry Edna, and Mrs. Hughes breezes that she's sure she had a candidate in mind for the side action that would ensure a child. And if not, there's always PORK BLOOD!

Edna, sounding exposed, asks what proof Mrs. Hughes has, but Mrs. Hughes is like, oh, none -- but if you persist in this fabrication, I'll summon Dr. Clarkson and have him examine you. Edna's appalled and says she can't do that, to which Mrs. Hughes replies, "Oh yes I can. First I'll lock you in this room; then when he's arrived I'll tear the clothes from your body and hold you down if that's what it takes!" I mean, yes, that's probably too far, but with everything Mrs. Hughes has learned about in the last day or so, I can see her not having a lot of patience left for diplomacy. Anna might be carrying her rapist's child; in context, it makes Edna's antics even more deplorable. Edna whispers that they can't stop her from speaking to Cora, but Mrs. Hughes also has one more card to play -- if she does, whatever Mrs. Hughes tells any prospective employer of hers will stop her from getting a job in "your natural lifetime." She returns the book and Edna leaves, thoroughly beaten. Branson is like, even with the book you couldn't have known, and Mrs. Hughes is like, right you are but we sure do now! After all the shitty poker played here recently, it's nice to see a pro in action.

Edna races upstairs in a tizzy, and when she passes Thomas brusquely, he notes her agitation and recalls that they were all supposed to be dancing to her tune. She rounds on him and asks if she ever wonders why people dislike him so much? "It's because you are sly and oily and smug, and I'm really pleased I got the chance to tell you before I go." Rich as it may be coming from her it's all true enough, but as we all know you need to be on O'Brien's level even to have a chance of getting the last word with Thomas, as he once again proves: "If we're playing the truth game, then you're a manipulative little witch, and if your schemes have come to nothing I'm delighted!" Having lost yet another battle, Edna rushes off, but Thomas calls after to ask if she really is leaving Downton, and when she asks what it is to him, he murmurs to himself that it's plenty. I thought at first he was only thinking of how he could use/the Edna/Branson news to his benefit, but as we'll soon learn he's got another iron in the fire.

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Downton Abbey

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