Downton Abbey – Episode 3-4 Review – “Farewell, Ireland”
by Jill Mader on October 15, 2012

I love being able to watch Downton Abbey as it airs in Britain, but with so many other shows on Sunday nights it can be easy to forget to blog about it afterwards. (Probably because I like to watch Downton from the comfort of my bed, with a snack and a napping cat. And then I just fall asleep.)

A review of the fourth episode is coming up, so don’t click through if you haven’t seen it!

The Anna and Bates storyline is the only thing that’s been lagging a little for me this season, but I think it’s about to pick up. This week, Bates experienced the hardships of prison in the 1920s – he fell out of favor and all his letters to and from Anna were withheld. I’m ready for Bates to return to Downton, but it looks like Anna is about to figure out that Vera framed Bates by committing suicide, and that should make things more interesting.

The Ethel storyline was wrapped up this week, when she told Violet that she was ready to give up her son and let him live with his grandparents. I wasn’t super invested in Ethel as a character, but I liked seeing Violet and Mrs. Hughes interact, and their differing opinions reflected the lives they’ve each had.

Branson and Sybil

The big storyline this week was Sybil’s. Branson fled Ireland after a noble family was thrown out of their fancy home, a revolt that he was involved in. The problem was that he fled without his pregnant wife. Sybil was OK and arrived at Downton the next day, but her husband was a wanted man. I’ve always kind of been on the fence about Branson. I like him, but he’ll always put his political beliefs above Sybil. When he found out he wouldn’t be able to return to Ireland without getting arrested, it seemed obvious that he wouldn’t comply – despite Sybil’s protestations.

Robert reads Edith’s letter

Edith is picking up the pieces of her life after being jilted, and I liked how the Dowager Countess threw down a truth bomb and told Edith to find a way to fill her time. I’m glad she’s not just helping Violet reform prostitutes, because that’s a bit boring. I loved her letter to the editor in the newspaper about women’s rights, and how it ruffled Robert’s feathers.

Uh-oh. Trouble in paradise already?

Matthew’s new role as co-head of the household has responsibilities, and he thinks Downton is being mismanaged. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes, and Mary’s terse reaction to the idea of having children may cause some problems between her and Matthew.

Downstairs, a handsome new footman has been hired and all the ladies – and Thomas – are happy about it. Everyone except Carson, who appreciates hard work and is helping Alfred become better at his job. And Mrs. Hughes bought a toaster, which was basically the best thing ever. Carson’s reaction was priceless.

Carson: “I was worried that Mr. Branson might take it into his head to burn the house down, but I didn’t think that you would.”
Mrs. Hughes: “No? You should never take anything for granted, Mr. Carson.”

I think Mrs. Hughes does have cancer and is hiding it from Mrs. Patmore, Carson, and the rest of the household. That’s why she treated herself to a toaster.

Great episode, right guys? I’m really looking forward to the next installment.





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