This episode is the beginning of something beautiful. Branson is a socialist and we see that Lady Sybil is now becoming more liberated thanks to his influence. There are few friendships amongst the servants and the family. It was only typical for the Lord and Lady to have their valet/lady’s maid as their companion. Otherwise friendship was unheard of with someone who wasn’t in your class. Lady Sybil is a very influential character because she is the only one in her family who is truly a free spirit. She does what she believes in, not what is expected of her.
Battle of the footmen really starts to show between Thomas & William. I always feel awful for William because being the second footman he constantly is being pushed around by Thomas. Most of this is because Mr.Carson ( the butler, in charge of male staff ) is usually too busy keeping the Granthams happy to pay attention to his staff’s personal lives. Everyone downstairs likes William better because Thomas is conceited and arrogant. Yet at the same time I also feel bad for Thomas because everyone dislikes him so much. Thomas and O’Brien are their own group, they are the baddies who no one likes and they are always plotting together. It is always Thomas and O’Brien against the world. I think Thomas and O’Brien act the way they do because they have been treated badly in their pasts. There is always a reason why a bully becomes a bully. Hopefully we find out why in their case.
Mary now more than ever has to deal with the fact that because she is not a male She can’t inherit her parents money. That is SO not right. Today, whatever would be put into someones will would be what would happen to their fortune. Cora & Robert both want Mary to get their house and money, but since the money is tied into the estate they no longer have a say in who it goes to. I can’t even imagine my parents passing away and everything they had going to my oldest, closest male relative.
Lastly, Mrs.Hughes was already engaged to Joe Burns when she first came to Downton, but because she did better than she expected to do she had to decline his offer. Now he is back again years later asking the same thing and she has to choose between her job and marriage. For working class women it must have been a really difficult route. Typically, a woman who worked wasn’t married or was a widow. Taking on a job as housekeeper like Mrs.Hughes would practically disable you of having a married life. All the servants at Downton are unmarried or widowed because their living at Downton is impractical for having their own family. In the first episode we hear Mrs.Hughes talking to Mr.Carson about how sometimes she wished she had gone another way by working in a shop and having a family. But I am so glad she stayed at Downton, we need more troopers like her.
Dowager Countess Quote:
Matthew: The question is, what do I say to Cousin Violet?
Lord Grantham: Oh don’t worry about that. I can handle her.
Dowager Countess: ( enters ) Really? Well if you can you must have learned to very recently.