Downton Abbey spent much of its second episode preparing for a house party that involved a weekend of tea, dancing and more. During the big party, a famous opera singer later unleashed her charms for members of genteel society and much of the staff, while belowstairs a servant got up to dire behavior indeed. While the lengthy, two-hour opener for Downton Abbey introduced us to a world post-Matthew, episode 2 opened up a can of worms in terms of new plots and brand new directions. It was a tough episode to get through and it means that Season 4 has quite a bit to resolve in the coming weeks. Here’s the top 5 things we think need to come to a head, and soon.
If you haven’t caught last night’s episode, there are some spoilers in the coming paragraphs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You’re A Mean One, Mr. GreenIn one of the most harrowing stories Downton Abbey has ever tackled, beloved ladies maid Anna was ravaged by a visiting servant who showed up as part of Lord Gillingham’s entourage. The series tackled the rape in a delicate manner, showing the fear and the violence of the interaction while leaving the actual act to be accomplished behind closed doors. Anna seemed frightened and wild-eyed after the attack, and obviously the emotional trauma of a rape will need to be explored in the coming weeks.
The obvious questions relate to Mr. Green. Will Anna keep his secret? Will Bates eventually deduce what occurred? And where does Mrs. Hughes fit in? Most importantly, I think we all would like to see how Anna fares in the coming weeks. She seems determined to keep her misfortunes a secret, but a secret like that should be a heavy burden to bear. It could very well cause problems with her capacity to work or even with good Mr. Bates. Unfortunately, since Mary has made a friend in Lord Gillingham, it seems likely that we haven’t seen the last of Mr. Green, either.
Will Tom Stick Around?Tom may have finally gotten into the correct evening wear, but he seemed more discomfited than ever during episode 2. He still hadn’t figured out the proper way to address the affluent and he lacked a skill in small talk. He spent much of the episode contemplating whether or not he belongs at Downton, and his conclusions were not sound, leading to another dalliance with the ladies maid, Edna.
Still, in recent episodes Tom has taken a keen interest in the estate and he has seemed more than capable of picking up Matthew’s mantle. Regardless, he dislikes being a member of the genteel population, and as Sybil’s death becomes less and less painful, it feels as if his ties to Downton might waver. We expect to find out whether Tom will stick around in the coming weeks, and we also suspect that Edna will have something to do with it.
Mary and A BeauAfter a quick stint in which she was greatly depressed, Mary spent episode 2 finding her feet again. She spent a good deal of time with a Lord Gillingham, talking about estates and other commonalities. She also laughed for the first time since Matthew’s untimely passing. While there was one unfortunate incident with a gramophone, Mary has been a much improved person, and it seems as if the show will next push her ever closer to finding a suitable suitor.
So, the hunt is on. Lord Gillingham is certainly an agreeable prospect, but we expect that a few other gentlemen will enter the picture during Season 4, as well. I’m not sure Mary will find the man of her dreams, but getting one step away from her grief should at least be interesting to watch.
Willkommen EdithEdith is typically not given one of the biggest storylines on Downton Abbey, but she has been causing a minor scandal in Season 4 by continuing a relationship with Mr. Gregson, a married man. Fans who have kept up with the series should know that the particulars of Mr. Gregson’s behavior are less shady than they at first seemed; however, his latest scheme to whisk himself and Edith off to Germany lack foresight. Maybe it’s just because I have the historical perspective to understand World War II will be coming along shortly, or maybe Mr. Gregson has given off the wrong vibes. Honestly, there’s been no real reason to dislike Mr. Gregson, but I do.
So, the question remains. Will Edith traipse off to Germany to begin a new life, or is she destined, once again, to lose a romantic prospect? It’s a little early to tell where Edith’s story is going, but I feel it will be a loss, either way. If Edith moves to Germany with Mr. Gregson, we will lose her wit and perspective, and if she stays at Downton, she will suffer a heartbreak that might, quite possibly, be worse than being stood up at the alter.
Will Downton SurviveOver the course of four seasons, Downton has changed hands on several occasions. It has suffered from monetary loss and Lord Grantham’s unwillingness to adapt to modern times and practices. While it has made some effectual changes over the years, Downton often feels as if it is on its way out of fashion. This season, Mary has taken on a main role in running the estate. However, Matthew’s wish to have her on board also means that the estate will have to make a major decision concerning taxes.
There doesn’t seem to be any right or wrong answer with the issue. Lord Grantham feels the family should sell of a portion of land, while Tom and Mary feel as if finding a different solution would support the estate in the coming years. There’s a lot going on with a change in ownership, and Season 4’s estate tax issues will need to be resolved in the coming weeks.
Downton Abbey airs on PBS on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.