TV Review: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 3

Unions and reunions at the abbey with tears and laughter in this week’s Downton.

The episode opened with another tug of war and more plotting between Team Violet and Clarkson and Team Isobel and Cora, resulting in high tensions amongst all involved, making last week’s stressful wedding preparations seem like child’s play. With the venue sorted, the remaining problem involved what the bride-to-be should wear. Mrs Hughes’ brown day dress was voted by her wing women Mrs. Patmore, Anna and Baxter as terrible, and the issue only intensified when Cora’s anguish concerning the hospital spilled over into the angriest her character has arguably been in the series and it was poor Mrs. Hughes who was in the firing line.

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A tender moment of reconciliation set their discord to rest however when Cora handed an olive branch, or rather a fur coat, to Mrs. Hughes, along with her apologies. The two women together form the backbone of Downton both upstairs and down, so their resolution ensued the household’s harmony once more. As far as servant and master relations go, Lady Mary and Anna’s rapport jumps from strength to strength with each episode; “Oh how exciting!”, Mary gushed, when Anna hinted that she may be expecting a child. Here’s hoping that her long awaited pregnancy closes the door on hers and Bates’ misery and brings them the joy they deserve. Please be nice to them Julian!

It seems as though Edith’s unluckiness may finally be taking a turn for the better as well, as in London she showed her boss who is boss by becoming an eleventh hour editor with the help of friend Bertie Pelham, who was a knight in shining armour as they worked through the night to get the magazine to print. “Am I a country woman or a townie?”, Edith mused when they had finally finished and were sipping coffee in the small hours. Although she may as of yet be undecided, one thing is for certain is that she has developed a sure and confident streak, and showed more of her bourgeoning independence this episode by even accepting a drink with Bertie. Watch this space!

It may be Carson and Hughes who are the star servants of episode 3, but Denker and Spratt formed quite the devilish duo; them and the fugitive nephew in the potting shed. Contrary to their usual quips and tiffs, this secret created somewhat of a truce between them, a change which surprised even the Dowager Countess. It’s official, they are next on my couple-I-want-to-see-get-together list. Change has not only manifested itself in staff relations, but also is present in the dilapidated state of the manor where Thomas hopes to find a new job. The owner, Sir Michael Reresby’s nostalgic monologue about the house in its glory days (accompanied by haunting violin music) as he showed Thomas around was poignant and touching and yet another reminder of the moving times.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is Carson and Hughes’ feelings for one another, as the viewers were finally treated to seeing their wedding. After the pomp and circumstance of Mary’s and Edith’s (almost) wedding, Carson’s and Mrs. Hughes’ (or Mrs. Carson as she now is), was a simpler and more muted affair but just as loving and tender. Exiting the church accompanied by bagpipes and a flurry of confetti, the celebrations moved to the school house where the reception was held. Here, Carson gave a heart-warming speech about his new bride, proclaiming himself “the happiest and luckiest of men”.

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And as it turned out, the party had two unexpected guests; yes, you’ve guessed it, Branson and Sybbie are back! Back, it would seem, for good, as Branson discovered that just like the viewers throughout the series, he just couldn’t get enough of Downton and was given a hero’s welcome upon his return by the family and servants alike. The children’s’ greetings upon being reunited were endearing, with George’s chirp of “Hello Sybbie” and the tots’ group hug leaving everybody with a smile on their face, both on and off screen. Whereas Thomas may be concerned for what the next few years will have in store, ominously saying that none of us can see the future, one thing is clear. Tom’s future is back at Downton, the place where it must unquestionably be said, that he belongs without the shadow of a doubt.

All images sourced from Pinterest.

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