DOWNTON ABBEY “Episode 6” Review

Downton Abbey

DOWNTON ABBEY Season 1 Episode 6- Sybil gets involved in politics, Mary and Matthew bond, Edith meets a match and Bates finds himself, once again, the victim of O’Brien and William’s conspiracies.

And, oh yes. The year is 1914 and the world is on the cusp of war.

The time jump two years ahead was a welcome ploy. It heightened the dread or (in our case) the anticipation. This episode carried little of both and aside from a few mentions of the Kaiser. When told the Kaiser has “been in Austria and Germany,” Mary’s clueless response is “How interesting.” There was more going on about women’s rights and elections than the war.

Sybil is the sister I would hope to have been in 1914, though I very well may have ended up like Edith, clamouring after some fellow twice my age. She did little plotting this week, and seeing a softer, girlish side of Edith was both lovely-especially when she was bluntly chosen over Mary-and a relief. It was hard not to root for her after Robert and Cora concurred that “It seems Edith will take care of us in our old age.” What a ghastly prospect indeed.

Matthew and Mary’s relationship has grown considerably over the two years. Matthew is still working as a solicitor and Mary is still so insufferably haughty it’s entertaining. Rumours are still milling that Mary and the Turkish fellow had a relationship, which is so utterly scandalous that when Matthew proposes to her it solves all of their problems. Of course, Mary, who according to Violet, has been reading too many romance novels, decides that before accepting his proposal she must tell him the truth about the Turkish gentleman.

Violet, after finding out the entire truth about the Turkish gentleman, decides that Mary holds the trump card: she is family. Who knew she had a heart? Not that her heart will impede her calculating, as she decides to ship Mary off to Italy to find a less picky Italian suitor before scandal truly breaks out.

William and Mrs O’Brien, up to their usual brand of delectable villainy, frame Bates for stealing wine. William employs Daisy to back up their conspiracy but Daisy, finally catching on to William’s tricks, confesses to Carson that she lied. A little more of Bates’ past is revealed and he offers his resignation once he confesses to being a drunkard and thief in his past. This is not the most shocking thing though: the most annoying thing is that after two years he and Anna have yet to really go anywhere with their relationship. After confessing she loved him, they’ve danced around each other, presumably not even sharing a kiss, for two years. That sucks.

Sybil, the political one of the family, finds herself addicted to political rallies, her father and grandmother’s horror. My favourite quote was said at the dinner table by, of course, the one and only Maggie Smith. It was a single word and it was a glorious delivery: “Canvassing?” In the middle of a riot which she tricked Branson into bringing her, Sybil is knocked out by the rioters. Matthew comes to her rescue. I thought Sybil and Branson would cross class lines and start a relationship, but it seems Sybil is more interested in her cousin Matthew, though whether this is just a simple crush or an obstacle Branson may have to overcome (I refuse to give up on this relationship).

There were plenty of threads left dangling from another brilliant episode. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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