Downton: Ethel-ution

4474 4474_ () 4474 4474 What a great episode!Mr_Carson

Of course, anything seems low-key and delicate after last week’s GUT WRENCHER. The likes of which I will not soon overcome.

Right off the bat, let me just say this: Carson really showed his behind tonight. Mr. Carson, we never knew thee.

I get it, he’s sticking to the old school train of thought, and if he doesn’t get on board (with kindness, with compassion) he’s going to get left at the depot. That was the overriding theme this week — love, kindness, compassion. The girls showed it. The staff showed it. Everybody showed it but you, Mr. Carson. With Lord Grantham getting sucked into the crazy.

To be honest, we’re both (Paul and I) a little stupefied at the attitude toward Ethel by Carson and Lord Grantham. It would be one thing if she was still in “active service” so to speak. But her season of ill-repute has come and gone and what else would you have her do, sirs?

When the Grantham gals all stood up for Ethel, that was a happy moment. Oh my goodness I’m so happy for her, and proud of them all. She is really doing good. Kudos to Ethel for asking for help. Kudos to Mrs. Patmore for stepping up. This week’s True Winner Award undoubtedly goes to Mrs. Patmore. She’s just so good. (Full disclosure: I realize this last paragraph makes me seem like a nut job, like I think these folks really exist. Which they do.)


I like how Mrs. Crawley asked Ethel to just make “a small salad.” I was tickled by how nervous she was to smell food in the oven. Oh Ethel, I can identify! I have those same thoughts and emotions — about myself!

As for the Bates situation, hooray! What a thrill that we’ll no longer be On Location at the local prison. Every time we cut to the prison scenes (cue the sound of me snoring), I keep remembering that glorious mid-summer afternoon way back when, back when John Bates took his leg brace and cast it into the waters of the glimmering lake on Downton grounds. Wasn’t that beautiful? Wasn’t it a lifetime ago?

john bates

As for Anna, I really wish they’d let her wear some lipstick. Just a tad. Maybe she could borrow some from Ivy?

Paul’s takeaway: “Bates is on the self-help plan this week.” He was making it happen. Nice work, John.

My bulleted list:

  • Edith looked really pretty in this week’s episode.
  • Can we just get the Thomas/Jimmy-James debacle behind us? Let’s make the big reveal slash beat-down slash moving-right-along happen fast. Like a band-aid. RIGHT OFF.
  • I’m glad Lord and Lady Grantham found peace between them. True wisdom, that they must face this heartache together, unified and strong.
  • Should Daisy leave for a better life? Would it be a better life?
  • That kitchen love triangle is so confusing. It’s really more like a love rhombus. Four people and all slightly askew.
  • Very nice dinnertime discussion of Catholics and Christianity though I won’t lie, between the accents and my boys eating some crunchy snacks during that scene, enough of the dialogue was lost on me that I’m not bold enough to hash out my opinions here.

Another fine episode, and much less traumatic this week. Thank you Mr. Fellowes. We will enjoy it whilst we can.

mary matt 4474″



  1. Definitely a “calmer” Sunday than last week. But all great! Loved the scene where Lord Grantham bursts into the dining room during the lunch. Although I feel a bit sorry for him – seems like ALL his authority is just being washed down the drain as he becomes more and more ineffective at managing his family and his estate. He needs to get on the progress train.

  2. And how about the short little scene with Mary and Matthew? It was a relief to see them all cozy and vulnerable and lovey dovey. Finally!

  3. But I became nervous when the scene ended with , ” I will love you with my last breath”. No, Mr. Fellows, don’t torture me after Synil’s death. Don’t you set me up to over analyze every line in an effort to prepare myself for the worst. Make me wonder, keep me hanging’, but dont’cha even think about it. Just don’t. Anyone else feel a little panicky here? Especially after Sybil’s baptism comment the week before?

  4. I cheered on while all the servants/ladies stood strong in supporting Ethel walk that hard path of humility out of the gutter – Carson and Lord Grantham disspoint me, but I chalked it up to the audience needing to understand the ‘menfolk’ during this part of history.
    The lovey dovey scene with Mary and Mathew made me happy and seeing that we can do away with Bates and the prison is a mercy. Edith looked smashing, I was so glad!
    The best, absolute BEST part of the whole episode though (to me) was the Dowager Duchess intervening to bring harmony back to Lord and Lady Grantham. Well done Mr. Fellowes, well done!

  5. I would love to be able to watch Downton as it airs. Alas, with the Thomas-Jimmy storyline, only one tv and an 8 year old, I’ll have to wait until Monday and watch online. Sigh. I kept flipping between football and Downton last Sunday. I don’t think I can get away with it again.

    I was happy to see lovey-dovey Matthew and Mary! Thank you Mr. Fellowes!

    Are you all aware there’s a Downton Abbey Cooks website? Just in case you want to whip up Ethel’s wonderful pudding….

  6. Check out Downton Abbey Facebook. It is hysterical!

    And now, I take my leave. Three replies in one day. What nerve. But I love your blog Rachel. Keep it rockin’!

  7. agree, as always, with all of your thoughts. Chuckled at love rhombus. #clearlyhasteenagersingeometry. (if you don’t, I may have to tease you for that later 🙂

  8. I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the the “Down with Downton” post. The love rhombus slayed me. Still love me some Carson, though…he’ll come around.

  9. I am way behind on my blog reading and just read over a month worth of your posts. I did not realize you had Downtown Abbey posts! How fun! (I just posted my own thoughts of Sunday’s episode on my blog.) I could relate to not understanding everything being said. We ALWAYS watch the show with closed captions, otherwise forget it. Lol. I also thought Mrs Patmore was a gem this week. Her lines riveled the Dowager’s. (DO I look like a frolicker?) Lol. Anyway, I loved reading your commentary!