This episode was nearly the death of me! So many emotions!
It was weird how they skipped over 1915 and went entirely from 1916 but oh well…
I was so shocked by everything going on in this episode! Firstly, when Isobel announces that Matthew is engaged to Lavinia Swire at the beginning my jaw DROPPED! I was like…But when we actually met Lavinia and she was like all sweet like this…that put me in a good mood. YAY LAVINIA 🙂
Sybil also leaves for nurse’s college to contribute to the war effort. I applaud Sybil for not being the typical heiress, she wants to help people. When she arrives and says good-bye to Branson, he finally tells Lady Sybil his love for her, and that would take a lot of courage. If a chauffeur would have fallen in love with a lady back then it would not end up well for him. It would be “inappropriate” and unheard of. I also applaud Lady Sybil for keeping Branson’s confession about her a secret. I believe if it were Mary or Edith they would have had him fired on the spot, but Sybil is far to good of a person to fire Branson for his honesty.
The big thing for me in this episode was the Bates situation. As always Bates is in the line of fire for something that isn’t his fault but finally things start to look up for him and Anna. Basically Bates’ mother dies leaving him a small inheritance, so he believes with this money he can bribe his wife Vera into agreeing to a divorce. In Series one, O’Brien was corresponding with Vera, so Vera knows where to find her estranged husband. Just as Bates and Anna become engaged and begin to talk of plans for the future, Vera shows up to ruin everything. She blackmails Bates to come back with her to ruin his happiness and get his money too. What a chick.
In the 1910s it was way harder to get a divorce or even an annulment then is so now. It could take years to authenticate and have evidence for. Poor Bates, he can never just be free.
What made the Bates/Anna/Vera thing even better was the fact that Mrs.Hughes listened in to Bates and Vera’s conversation. Mrs.Hughes knows that Mr.Bates didn’t leave Downton out of choice so she can now be evidence of Vera’s blackmail.
William is struggling in this episode too. He clearly wants to go to war to fight for his country but his father won’t allow him to because William is all he has. The worst part is, people treat cases like William badly by saying that they are cowards. Yet Thomas who is in the trenches is the coward who gets purposely shot in order to go home. That makes me mad.
Dowager Countess Quote:
(Talking about Cora’s large flower display)
Dowager Countess: Anna. Help me do battle with this…monstrosity..looks like a creature from the lost world…