Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Season 2: Episode 6

The Great War is finally over, and Downton Abbey is learning to cope with all of the changes the end of war can bring. 

Though the entire Downton family is still haunted with the tragic death of William, this episode also seems to move the viewer past the horrors of war, and into the future of the estate. Lady Mary is still taking good care of Matthew, and it seems as if the two have reignited their mutual fondness for one another. This paired with Lady Mary’s constant dedication to Matthew’s recovery forces one to question whether fate will play a role in the growth of their relationship. In one of the best scenes from the episode, Mary and Matthew seem to compare their relationship to some of the greatest love stories of all time. 

But the relationship between Mary and Matthew is constantly challenged in this episode as Sir Richard Carlisle fully intends on making Lady Mary his wife. Though I still have not warmed up to his character, Sir Richard Carlisle proves to be a huge threat to the Downton family since he seems to be against all the values and beliefs the Crawley family holds dear. Even Lord Grantham is troubled by the fact that he may have to give away his favorite daughter to “a man of publicity”. Nevertheless, Sir Richard Carlisle fully plans to separate Lady Mary from Matthew, as he announces his desire to purchase the 12,000-acre Haxby Park estate. If this isn’t enough proven motive to ruin the entire Downton family, Sir Richard Carlisle also asks the beloved Carson to leave Downton forever to serve Lady Mary in her new house.
However, not everyone is thrilled about the changes war has brought to Downton Abbey. Daisy, the kitchen maid, is still tortured by her decision to marry William. To make matters worse, the new housemaid, Jane (played by Clare Calbraith ), has told Daisy that she can now identify herself as a war widow. Daisy rejects this label since she firmly believes that her marriage to Matthew was forced. She not only blames Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes for her rash decision, but she also blames herself for lying to William about her true feelings. I am hoping that in future episodes Daisy finds some closure to her decision to marry William. 

Amidst all of this drama, a badly burned Canadian soldier by the name of Major Patrick Gordon also comes to recuperate at Downton Abbey. Though the Crawley family quickly welcomes his request, he soon declares to be the long lost Patrick Crawley that was killed during the sinking of the Titanic. If you remember from the first episode of Downton Abbey, Patrick Crawley was a distant cousin of the Crawley’s, and he was assumed to be the heir of the Downton estate. Unfortunately, this unlikely surprise throws the entire future of the Downton estate into question once again as Matthew may no longer be the true heir to the Downton fortune. Though Lady Edith believes Major Gordon’s story, the rest of the family seems to question the validity of the soldier’s claims. Though Lord Grantham does his best to verify Major Gordon’s identity, the soldier mysteriously leaves one morning saying that proving his identification was simply too difficult. Though Major Patrick Gordon’s arrival at Downton was short-lived, this episode left me wondering whether the Grantham’s will still be haunted by the soldier’s claims in the future.

These critical elements of mystery bring the viewer to question what will everyone at Downton do once the war is over. Carson has decided to leave Downton to take care of Lady Mary, Lavinia has returned to take care of Matthew, Lady Sybil will continue as a nurse, and Sir Richard Carlisle will make Lady Mary his wife. All of these changes will clearly change the dynamic of the Downton estate in future episodes to come. What was once a warm, energetic, and productive home may very well turn into an empty wasteland.  To follow these changes and see what happens to the estate in the future, be sure to watch the next episode of Downton! I know I’m really curious to find out what Jane’s true role in the show will be!