Downton Abbey
Season 4, Episode 3

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

Oh, here are Edith and Gregson at the end of their evening… OR ARE THEY? Well, they're not, but first Edith has to tell a boring story about the sleeping arrangements at an estate her parents used to visit, after which she asks if there's anything she can do "to keep things running" while he's in Munich. He tells her he's got a paper for her to sign that will give her "some authority" with respect to his affairs, and I don't know if he's actually going to die on German soil, but on a show with so much soap in its DNA there's no way that paper isn't going to be front and center at some point. Also, after she signs the paper and he talks about possibly writing a novel, they get with the sex, and two things about that: One, she starts to say "Michael, I…" in a way that suggests a feeble protest; this says to me that this is their first time doing it together. Two, with most of the rest of the episode focused on maybe-pregnancies, you have to wonder if maybe we should throw this one into the mix. It'd be SO Edith to get knocked up on her first "try," wouldn't it?

In Mrs. Hughes's office, Anna is using Edna's departure as the awaited reason to move back into the house as A) Edna's room will be empty now and B) Anna's going to be on double duty with Mary and Cora. Unfortunately, Carson is present so Mrs. Hughes can't speak freely, so she simply sighs that if that's what Anna really wants, she can have it. Anna wordlessly departs, whereupon Carson shuts the door and says he's sorry about the disruption Edna's departure is causing. Mrs. Hughes promises to tell him the whole story one of these days -- on camera, if you please, Mrs. Hughes -- and after adding that they were "mad as hatters" to let Edna back in the house, she produces a present for him, wrapped in tissue paper, that she says is for his desk. He opens it to reveal a picture frame that presumably has a photo of Alice in it, and when he asks what possessed her, she tells him it'll be nice for him to be reminded of when he had a heart, "and it'll reassure the staff to know that you belong to the human race." She hasn't minced words all day; no reason to start now. Carson grandly accepts the gift while intoning that "the business of life is the acquisition of memories; in the end, that's all there is." He thanks her, and then we get a look at Alice, who… well, I'll just say in an Elaine Benes tone that she was quite a handsome woman.

Upstairs, Lord Grantham asks Bates if he knows anything about the circumstances of Edna's departure, but he of course does not; Lord Grantham then remarks that he hopes the extra work won't be too much for Anna, and Bates's back is to him but there's no missing the way his posture stiffens at the mention of his wife. Lord Grantham asks what's up, so Bates confesses that Anna wants to move back into the house, claiming she needs to in order to perform her duties properly. Lord Grantham asks if something's wrong between them, and Bates continues to be frank as he says there is -- but he doesn't know what. "It must be my fault, because she is incapable of fault." These two certainly have found the dark side of idolizing one another. Lord Grantham offers that there is no such thing as "a marriage between two intelligent people" -- I guess he's read about this -- "that does not sometimes have to negotiate thin ice." He goes on that it'll be okay since Bates and Anna love each other so much, and then is like, whoops, where'd that come from, I forgot I'm British for a second!

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Downton Abbey

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