Downton Abbey
Season 4, Episode 3

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

We're at Rosamund's, and Mary's the last down for dinner and as such is the last one to learn that Branson isn't the only gentleman in attendance. Lord Gillingham hopes he's a "surprise and not a shock," and Mary stammers that he's unexpected, but Rosamund (love seeing her) takes command in that crisp voice of hers and says she thought she'd just get up a small and informal party, and Rose pipes up that it was just so clever of them to be free on short notice. Sir John smiles that the invitation came to his club, and he thought he was in for cards and whiskey for the evening, "so it was a very welcome change of plan." Mary, having recovered her usual slightly sardonic smile, tells Lord Gillingham she hopes his fiancée didn't mind him canceling on her, so he asks her not to punish him for wanting to see her again, and her amused nod suggests she thinks the request is fair. Sir John then suggests that after dinner he take them all to hear the new band at the Lotus Club, and Rose, perhaps as a nod to her checkered history in the house, tells Rosamund that she and Mary can be her chaperones, "so what could be more proper?" Despite what I said earlier, Rosamund seems to have a kindly enough attitude (you know, for her) toward Rose, so Rose next turns to Mary and begs her to go, but Mary defers making a decision for a moment longer by asking Branson if he's up for it. Branson thinks he'll stay with Rosamund, but Rosamund does me proud by saying that actually, she wants to go, so both Branson and Mary really have no choice. Which is fine! You're in London; live a little!

Cut to the club, which seems fun enough, but when the party arrives at an upstairs table, Sir John wants to get some more champagne and Mary replies in a "you're red-flagged" voice that she doesn't need any more. Sir John, however, pays her no mind, so Lord Gillingham takes Mary onto the floor to dance and tells her that the evening of cards and whiskey Sir John referenced earlier had already begun when he got the invitation. Heh. We then get a look at the singer, an African-American gentleman who I must say has this weirdly shrill and effeminate voice; maybe this was the style at the time but I find it frankly kind of dreadful, although the choice of song, Al Jolson's "April Showers," was mentioned last week by Rose and Sir John as a favorite. The actor, Gary Carr, appears to have been trained in music so I assume it's actually him singing, but it's not for me. Lord Gillingham hopes Mary doesn't mind his "ambush," but Mary correctly has inferred Cora's and Rosamund's influence, and besides, she's glad -- he's gotten her to indulge in a night away from the worries and cares of Downton, and she's thankful for it. However, when Lord Gillingham asks if he can see her again before she leaves, she tells him there's really no time open. Besides, nothing's changed on the subject of his almost-fiancée, nor is she likely to be ready for another relationship for some time. Lord Gillingham is skeptical of whether she really means that, but she does, and the song thankfully ending gives Mary a reprieve from having to discuss it further.

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Downton Abbey




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