Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Series 1: Episode 3

Wow! In this episode, a little English hospitality proves to be far too much for the Downton household. After watching the first two episodes of Downton, I thought I was instantly hooked, but this particular episode was by far one of my favorites!

Gwen sends some mysterious mail, and Anna discovers her typewriter hidden inside a suitcase  while she is snooping around in her bedroom. As a result, yet another technological innovation is introduced into the plot of the show. The discovery of Gwen’s typewriter becomes controversial within the Downton household when she reveals that she secretly wants to leave her position as a maid to become a secretary. 

But Gwen is not the only female at Downton that does not recognize her proper position within the estate. Edith, the ugly but flirty sister of Lady Mary, invites Matthew Crawley out to see some churches and have a picnic. She naively mistakes the friendly occasion for a date, and quickly realizes that Mr. Crawley is more interested in churches and Lady Mary than he is in her.

While Edith desperately continues to flirt with Mr. Crawley, Cora finds out that Lady Mary has been secretly corresponding with Evelyn Napier, a Marquis’s son. Cora jumps at the opportunity to invite Mr. Napier to Downton, with the hope that he will make an offer of marriage to Lady Mary.

Thus, the excitement begins as the Downton home is thrown into chaos with the arrival of Evelyn Napier and his handsome Turkish friend, Kemal Pamuk. A hunt and an elegant dinner are planned, and the arrival of the two men becomes way too much for the Downton women to handle. Lady Mary is instantly attracted to Mr. Pamuk, and for a few minutes it seems as if she’s found her Mr. Darcy. I have to admit, that for a moment I was also smitten with the effortless charm of Mr. Pamuk. However, the mutual attraction becomes even clearer when Lady Mary ditches Mr. Napier during the hunt to spend more time with his friend. 

I just want to say that I was really impressed with the fact that Lady Mary accompanied the men on the hunt. I think it speaks volumes of her character since none of the other women at Downton even bothered to come. 

Anyway, when Lady Mary and the men return home after their hunt, the obnoxious, homosexual, Thomas reveals that the women in the house are not the only ones attracted to Mr. Pamuk. Yet Thomas simply embarrasses himself, as Mr. Pamuk makes it clear that he does not feel the same way. As the elegant dinner begins, the attraction between Mr. Pamuk and Lady Mary becomes painfully evident to the Downton family and to Matthew Crawley. Mr. Pamuk invites Lady Mary into a back room and the chilling excitement at Downton continues!

Though Lady Mary appears restrained at first, she cannot get enough of Mr. Pamuk. When he comes to her bedroom later that night, she by no means makes any attempt to make him leave. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happens, and he falls dead in her arms.

Lady Mary is instantly thrown into an emotional roller coaster when she is forced to ask Anna, the housemaid, and her mother to help her move Mr. Pamuk back into his bedroom. If the Downton family finds out that Mr. Pamuk was in her bedroom, then she will be publicly shamed forever. Though Lady Grantham is disgusted by Mary’s idiotic decision, she promises to keep it a secret from the rest of the Downton household.

Pamuk’s tragic death, however, proves to be too much for Lady Mary. In many ways, he taught her a great deal about being human. Although Lady Mary always seems to be in control of everything, he taught her that in other ways she is still also very immature. Another important lesson he taught her was that money doesn't mean everything, and it most certainly cannot prevent death. It is here that I think Lady Mary’s character will change for the remainder of the show. She can no longer be cold and mean to all of her suitors, and she must find meaning in her life besides simply marriage and money. 

But Pamuk’s death also has a profound impact downstairs as the servants debate whether Pamuk died of natural causes. The news of Pamuk’s death also troubles Lord Grantham, as he is worried that Pamuk’s death at the Downton estate will ruin his reputation. Mr. Carson, on the other hand, reveals a softer side of his personality when he tries to console Lady Mary by telling her that she is his favorite. Perhaps just like Lady Mary, Mr. Carson also finds status to be a defining factor in his life.

With status being a central theme to the show, it is also revealed that there will not be a romantic relationship between Mr. Napier and Lady Mary. Due to everything that has gone on during his stay at Downton, there is simply no hope for their future as a couple.

Overall, this was a wonderful episode. In my opinion, it sets the course for the remainder of the season. The tragedy of Pamuk’s death injects a theme of mystery into the British drama that gives it an even more addictive quality. Mr. Pamuk seemed like the epitome of a handsome and  healthy foreigner, and it will be interesting to see if he really did die from natural causes. Could there be some hidden agenda behind his death? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see...