Mon
Oct 7 2013 10:24am

Downton Abbey Season 4 (Series 4), Episode 3 Recap: Bust a Move

Tom Branson dances in Downton Abbey Season 4 episode 3The Crawley family and their devoted staff are back in Downton Abbey Series 4, now airing in the U.K. (U.S. viewers, stick with us! We'll be re-posting Naz's recaps when Season 4 airs on PBS beginning in January.) We're sure you're just as eager as we are to get to it, so without further ado...

Note for U.S. Viewers: Tonight's episode of Downton Abbey was aired as “Episode 2” on PBS but originally aired as “Episode 3” in the U.K. in September, when this recap was first posted.

Also, before you go, be sure to enter our Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Sweepstakes!

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Downton Abbey, including last night's episode. Enjoy!

The episode starts with a bevy of guests arriving for the house party. There’s an Anthony Foyle…er…now Lord Gillingham who Robert refers to as “the pirate.” Oh look! Gregson’s there. He seems a bit overwhelmed with all the “old money” folks at the house. Tom’s cornered by some tiresome old lady who asks him about Sybil, and of course, Violet overhears and comments that “Tom’s small talk is very small indeed.” Robert actually defends Tom and says that, “not everyone can be Oscar Wilde.” And of course, Violet doesn’t miss a step and quips back, “that’s a relief!” Oh Violet! When are you going to accept Tom as part of the family? I’m suspecting never!

Well, downstairs is a bevy of activity. Mr. Carson is worried that the ten guests don’t have enough staff with them (only three maids and two valets! Imagine that! Snicker) They’re gossiping about all the guests, and it turns out that Lady Raven has fallen on bad times and lost her fortune. She’s now living in “some dingy little house, north of the Park.”

Well, Lord Gillingham puts his foot in it, so to speak. Chatting with Mary, he tells her that he’s been close to getting married a couple of times (and is close again), and has no children, and then asks her about her situation. When she reminds him of Matthew, he gets embarrassed and tries to stammer his way out of an awkward situation. My first impression of the guy? Meh.

Mrs. Patmore and the downstairs staff in Downton Abbey series 4Downstairs, Mrs. Patmore is in a tizzy, wanting to make sure all the dishes are perfect. Of course, it’s been a while since the Granthams have had such a large house party, so it’s understandable. Lord Gillingham’s valet (who Mr. Carson insists they all call “Gillingham,” but whose real name is Green) is being cute with Anna. He seems like a fun chap, but he better watch out! I don’t think our Mr. Bates is going to take too kindly to someone flirting with his wife.

Aha! Finally, Edna makes her move on Tom. Well, sort of. She approaches him as he’s going down to dinner and wants to make sure that they can remain “friends.” Oh goodness. This isn’t going to go well. Tom tells her that he’s “walking a tightrope here” and that they can be friends. He tries to be gently dismissive, but it doesn’t look like Edna’s ready to give up.

Dinner is a grand affair with everyone dressed to the nines. Afterwards, Tom’s cornered by the same old lady, who actually turns out to be the Duchess of Yeovil. Violet is standing nearby and listening to their exchange (something about barley beer!). As soon as she leaves, Violet approaches Tom and gives him a little lesson in addressing the nobility at a social gathering.

Violet: “Don’t call her ‘Your Grace.’”

Tom: “I thought it was correct.”

Violet: “For a servant, or an official at a ceremony. But in a social situation, call her ‘Duchess.’”

Tom: “But why? I don’t call you Countess!”

Violet: “Certainly not!”

Tom: “There’s no logic in it.”

Violet: “Oh no. If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upperclass!”

Mary and Lord Gillingham plan on going riding together, and Mary tries to avoid it just being the two of them, but no one else seems interested. Meanwhile, Rose is flirting with another guest, a Sir John Bullock (good looking man!). The men decide to play cards, but Robert excuses himself, and Gregson decides to spend his time with Edith instead. We find out in the morning that Mr. Sampson (one of the guests) is apparently a very “skilled” player, meaning that he’s pretty much fleeced everyone else.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes start talking about the big finale to the party, which is Dame Nellie Melba’s performance. Mrs. Hughes wants to know where Dame Nellie and her pianist will eat, and when she asks if it would be alright for Dame Nellie to eat with the guests, Mr. Carson loses it. “An Australian singer? Eating with her ladyship, never mind the Duchess?” LOL. Carson cracks me up! The next morning, the kitchen is busy as usual and Molesley turns up delivering the groceries. Apparently, that’s what he’s had to do until something else shows up. The servants are all discussing the previous evening’s poker game, and Mr. Sampson’s skills.

Meanwhile, Mary and Gillingham are off on their ride, and we learn that Gillingham is courting the most eligible heiress of the season. He says that everyone wants them to marry, and they are fond of each other, but you can tell that his heart isn’t in it. Mary tells him not to dismiss these types of matches, and talks about how they threw her and Matthew together from the minute he arrived, and that in the end, they were “wonderfully happy.” Gillingham tells her that she’s very lucky to have had such a great love.

Mary: “I’m not sure. Matthew changed me. I loved him, but he changed me. If I were as tough as I was before I met him, I bet I’d be happier now.”

You know? She has a point. The old Mary wouldn’t have been so completely and utterly devastated. But, personally, I like this new Mary better. Any way, Mary confides in Gillingham about the death taxes, and how Robert won’t listen to her ideas, and he recommends that she meet with the tax people and negotiate with them, then bring the deal to Robert. His reasoning is that if she does this, then Robert is faced with something tangible that she brought to the table. Apparently, Gillingham faced the same challenges when his father passed, and they decided to rent out the mansion (which is now a girls’ school), and kept the land intact, while the family moved into the Dower house.

Downstairs, Green continues to flirt with Anna and compliments her skills. Bates walks in, and you can see that he’s not happy. Anna’s wondering what the problem is (can she really not tell that the guy is flirting with her?) and Bates tells her that something about Green just sets him off. I can feel something brewing here. Uh oh. In our little love quadrangle, Jimmy tries to show off, and juggles a jar of jam, which of course, shatters on the ground, followed by him falling on his back. Mrs. Patmore gets really upset with him, and rightly so! I have to be honest, I have a real hard time liking Jimmy. Or Ivy, for that matter. I just don’t really care about them. Any way, Jimmy’s really hurt his wrist with his little stunt, and can’t serve at dinner. Carson asks Thomas to step in and be the footman, which of course, doesn’t sit well with Thomas.

Cora’s really excited about having Dame Nellie Melba’s upcoming private concert at the Abbey, even thought it’s outrageously expensive. Meanwhile, Edith keeps trying to get Gregson and Robert to spend some time together, but Robert dodges every opportunity. It’s clear that he’s not interested in this new relationship of Edith’s at all.

In fact, Robert goes out of his way to avoid Gregson, going so far as to personally oversee the luncheon arrangements with Carson, under the auspices of confirming the wines for dinner. It turns out that Cora’s invited the entire downstairs staff to come see Dame Nellie’s concert, and while Carson agrees with Robert that it’s a rare opportunity, he doesn’t understand why the kitchen staff need attend. It’s fun to see the two of them try to navigate all the “new ways.”

That night, after dinner, Sampson arranges another card game and this time, Robert and Gregson join in. Gregson tells Edith that he hopes sitting at the card table will force Robert to actually talk to him. Meanwhile, Mary approaches Robert with her ideas, and while he listens to her, he tells her that he’s not going to change his mind.

Mary and Gillingham in Downton Abbey Series 4, episode 3Rose brings down a gramophone and starts dancing with Sir Bullock. The Duchess of Yeovil hints that she loves to dance, and Cora nudges Tom to partner with her. The look on Tom’s face is priceless! Clearly, the Duchess has no idea who Tom is, and keeps asking him about all these upper class Irish families, and whether or not he’s met any of them. Gillingham asks Mary to dance, and Violet gets her to accept. I have to be honest, it’s weird to see Mary dance with someone other than Matthew. While they’re dancing, Mary spots the gramophone and realizes it’s Matthew’s. Apparently, Rose found it in the attic and had Alfred bring it down. Mary’s completely disconcerted, and leaves the party.

Later, when Anna checks on her, Mary admits that she is sad, but she wonders if she’s sad about Matthew, or the person she used to be when she was with him. Anna tells her that she will be fine, and that she’s still a strong person.

At the card table, Sampson’s winning big, and both Robert and Gregson are worried about how much they’re losing. But they continue playing. I guess Robert doesn’t even really know this Sampson character, and was a bit put on to invite him to the party when they were at their club in London. Interesting.

Tom runs into Edna again on his way back to his room, and admits that he feels like a fool at the party.

Edna: “Alfred said you were dancing.”

Tom: “With an old bat who can be my granny, and who thinks I grew up in a cave. My clothes deceive no one.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarkson visits Isobel, and she’s as somber as ever, poor thing. She’s been invited to the house to hear Dame Nellie, but she doesn’t feel like going. Violet sees her in the village a few days later and tells her that sitting at home alone is not going to bring Matthew back, but Isobel feels that if she lets go of her grief, even for one night, it means that she’s forgotten him. Violet finally convinces her to come, and we see her out of her mourning dress at the Abbey that night. I really love the deep friendship between these two.

Carson asks Mr. Molesley to step in for the injured Jimmy, and Molesley is a little offended that they want him as a footman. He agrees to do it only after Carson points out that it’s better than being the grocer’s delivery boy. Poor Molesley! I wish they could find him a permanent job at the Abbey.

Well, the final night has arrived. Dame Nellie’s shown up (a little late for tea, but at least she’s there) and Cora and Robert are taking a few minutes to chat before dinner. Robert doesn’t want to invite Sampson again. He’s realized that the guy is really a swindler. Cora asks him about Gregson, and Robert lies and tells her that while Gregson was caught up in the card game and lost to Sampson, he was “more of a spectator.” Oy. You know it’s going to get ugly when Cora finds out the truth!

Carson and Cora in Downton Abbey 4x03Meanwhile, Cora finds out that Robert and Carson had made the decision that Dame Nellie couldn’t eat with everyone else and she’s livid.

Cora: “Robert, a world famous singer is in our house. A great artist, honored by the King. But you felt it beneath your dignity to eat with her? Am I the only member of this family who lives in the 20th Century? You will have her next to you at dinner, and you will like it!”

Robert: “But what do I say to her? What does one say to a singer?”

Oh, Robert!

During dinner, Robert finds out that Dame Nellie is actually a wine connoisseur. Violet is delighted to see Molesley serving, and Mary tells Gillingham that she’s made an appointment with the tax people and will be going up to London with Tom to talk to them. Gillingham takes the opportunity to ask her to have dinner with him while she’s in town. Isobel looks really uncomfortable at this exchange. Mary refuses, but is delighted with the offer. Tom tells Isobel that it’s the first time he’s heard Mary laugh since Matthew’s death.

Isobel: “I know. And I don’t want her to spend her life in sorrow, she’s not the Lady of Shalott. It’s just I find it hard to join in the merry-making.”

Tom: “We haven’t all been making merry.”

Isobel: “But you see what it comes down to in the end is this nice Lord Gillingham and Sir John over there, and him and him and you…you’re all alive. My son’s dead.”

Oh, my heart! Tom reaches out to her, and Violet nods approvingly from across the table. May I just say, that’s a bit of amazing acting on the part of Penelope Wilton. Brilliant. Brought tears to my eyes.

After dinner, Robert runs into Tom in the library, and Tom tells him that he’s really not one of “them,” even though everyone’s tried their best to make him feel welcome after Sybil’s death. Tom’s really feeling the difference between his social status and the rest of the family’s, and of course, Robert doesn’t understand what he’s saying.

Meanwhile, Green arranges a fun card game downstairs, and Anna is thoroughly enjoying herself while Bates sits in a corner and mopes. Mrs. Patmore’s still frantically running around the kitchen when she gets a sharp pain in her chest. Oh no! Alfred jumps in to make the sauces for the rest of the dinner. Bates comes back to the servants’ hall to tell Anna, but she’s still pretty involved in the game, and it takes him a few tries to get her attention. He tells her (in front of everyone) that their “racket is inappropriate” considering how ill Mrs. Patmore is.

Any way, it turns out that Mrs. Patmore just had an anxiety attack, and she’s fine, as long as she relaxes and doesn’t let herself get too worked up. During the concert, Alfred tells Mrs. Patmore that he really wants to cook. Anna has a bit of a headache and goes back downstairs to get something for it, and Green follows her. He traps her in the kitchen and won’t let her go upstairs.

Green: “You look to me like you could use a bit of real fun for once. Is that what you want?”

Anna: “What I want, is to go back upstairs.”

Green: “You’re not telling me that sad old cripple keeps you happy.”

Anna: “If you must know, yes. He keeps me very happy. Now let me by, please.”

Green: “Perhaps you’ve forgotten what you’re missing.”

And then he kisses her! Anna struggles, and he hits her. He starts dragging her into a side room off the kitchen, and oh my god! He rapes her! No!!!! Nobody seems to realize what’s happened. The party ends and everyone goes about their business. When the staff finally makes their way downstairs, Mrs. Hughes walks into her office to see a bruised and battered Anna huddled in a corner. Anna is frantic, and doesn’t want to tell anyone, especially Bates. She says that he’s a convicted felon, and if he finds out about this, he’d kill Green and would definitely get hanged for it. She makes Mrs. Hughes promise not to tell anyone, ever. She gets herself cleaned up and as she’s leaving Mrs. Hughes’ office, she runs into Bates. She makes up a story about how she fainted and hit her head on the sink, and ruined her dress. When Bates reaches out to her, she flinches and back away, but tells him there’s nothing wrong. Oh, Anna. This is absolutely horrific!

Gregson approaches Sampson and asks for another game that night. I think he hopes to win back what he’d lost the night before. Edith is a bit concerned, but Gregson, Gillingham, and Bullock sneak off during Dame Nellie’s performance and start their game. And look! They’re winning! Sampson’s confused by the turn of events. Gregson basically cleans up, and asks Sampson to return all the IOUs he’s collected, and to send him a check for the remainder. When Sampson demurs, Gregson tells him that if he doesn’t comply, he’ll tell Robert that Sampson’s been cheating the entire time, and would be banished from every club in London. Go Gregson! He tells Edith that he felt a need to revive some of his “dubious talents from [his] mis-spent youth.” Hah! Well, he certainly made a good impression on Robert! He admits to Cora that while he’s not exactly what he might’ve wanted for Edith, “it’s a changing world,” and he’ll learn to accept Gregson. I wonder if they know Gregson’s situation.

Oh great! Edna sneaks Tom some whiskey, and then sneaks into his room. It’s exactly like we thought: she’s there to seduce Tom. Next week’s preview shows Tom trying to back pedal his way out of whatever happened between the two of them. We also see Mary and Rose in London, being paid a surprise visit by Gillingham and Bullock and taken to a night club. And, it appears that Anna is pushing Bates away. Gah! I can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Editor's note: Downton Abbey fans, take note! The book Behind the Scenes of Downton Abbey may well be relevant to your interests—it's full of Season 4 goodness.

But wait, there's more! H&H is hosting a Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Sweepstakes! Learn more here and enter while there's still time.

***

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Naz Keynejad is an avid reader, copy/story editor, and is currently working on her Masters degree in English literature. She’s a self-professed literary nerd and has a “thing” for period dramas. She will watch anything as long as it’s filled with British accents, suppressed sexual tension, angst, and of course, period costumes. Oh, and there has to be tea. Lots of tea.

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37 comments
Jeri Huish
1. jerilyn11
Anna.... oh Anna. This was so horrifying. I've heard all the arguments that it's "relevant" and that this was probably appropriate for the period and that Jo Fro acted the scene really well but I hate to see scenes like this just for shock value. Downton has turned dark enough without wallowing in this sort of filth.
Naz Keynejad
2. nazkey
It was awful. Absolutely awful! And to see her afterwards, huddled in a corner in Mrs. Hughes' room. I'm really shocked that Mrs. Hughes agreed to not tell anyone, even though Anna's reasoning was sound. It was seriously horrific.
Canucks
3. Canucks
When there comes a time this year or next, and people ask: “What happened to that British show called ... downtown something” … people will most likely point to this very episode and say that this is where the beginning of its end started.

In this episode, DA basically meets Gosford Park, and I believe DA and Fellowes lose it.

Anna is not Sir William McCordle, and there is no mystery as to what happened here. But I believe grave and irreparable harm was done to DA and its sole remaining angel last night.

I believe, with this episode, DA is no longer a show in the realm of an old and graceful “English Period or Costume Drama” but has entered the commercial realm of the U.S. schlock & shock television, where the overarching objective has always been more air-time for more money.

I will be watching with interest how long the Marks & Spencer beauty range ... featuring scented candles and lip gloss and signature soap collection lasts in the days ahead …

What a pity.
Naz Keynejad
4. nazkey
It's funny that you mention "Gosford Park," because as the guests began to arrive, that's exactly what went through my mind. The episode certainly echoed that movie, in all respects.

I honestly don't know the impetus for the particular plotline with Anna. I feel that it was unnecessary, especially considering how much her character has already gone through. We needed some sort of lightness for her for a while, in my opinion.

What would be interesting to see is how Bates reacts when he finally finds out (as we know he will). And actually, how everyone reacts, given that Green is Gillingham's valet, and clearly, there's some sort of a romance brewing between him and Mary. I mean, how would Anna and Green deal with each other when they have to meet in London, etc.? And, how would Bates react to all of it?
Canucks
5. Carl Vehse
Yikes! Daisy, get out of Downton Abbey or you'll be next on Julian Fellowes' hit list!! Get out of that jinxed place or you will probably sever a limb or lose an eye. Go work for Mr. Mason.
Canucks
6. Carl Vehse
"Anna has a bit of a headache and goes back downstairs to get something for it." Could the headache have been an early symptom of pregnancy? Oh, swell. Now the kid's paternity will be in doubt. Maybe Fellowes will arrange for Dr. Clarkson to give Anna an abortion. More Downton Abbey downers.
Naz Keynejad
7. nazkey
@Carl - you know, I thought about that too, and it would be absolutely horrible if that actually happens. Another possibility is that the trauma might cause her to miscarry. Actually, I don't want to think about any of these things. Fellowes is doing a fine enough job of creating tragedies on the show all by himself!

BTW, your comment about Daisy made me laugh. It's funny that we haven't heard anything more about Mason's offer, etc. this season.
Canucks
8. Watson
I hope I don't need to remind everyone that Julian Fellowes won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Gosford Park", and if that is anything to go by, I think I'll wait until the end of this season before I say anything about whether Episode 3 was a horrendous mistake or not. No one knows what the remaining four or five episodes have in store - only when we've watched the entire season, and seen how the various plot threads come together, will anyone be able to make any reasonable judgements about this episode, or the entire show for that matter.

I've been watching DA since the very beginning, and while I appreciate the "picture" of gracious living during the early decades of the 20th century that the show presents, I also realize that the reality was that all was not as serene as it appears. Then, as now, women were vulnerable to sexual attacks, and female servants were especially at risk, whether we're talking about an attack from a fellow servant, from a member of the upstairs family, or even a male guest at a house party. And yes, unfortunately, terrible things do happen to good people - that's life. It may be unfair, but life isn't always fair.

I, for one, understand why Julian Fellowes made this difficult - and I am sure it was a difficult - decision to take the series along this road. It is because if DA has to remain a truly important production for British TV, it has to move beyond being simply a costume drama about well-dressed people and discreet servants in a beautiful castle. It's got to challenge both the actors and the viewers, and it has got to mature into a show that's got real depth behind the lavish costumes and the opulent settings, or it'll be nothing more than a light-weight, airy sponge cake beneath layers of icing - there's nothing much to bite into and precious little to chew on. In other words, DA has to evolve, just as British society - as it is portrayed in the show - evolved and changed. It is that, or remain stagnant - and ultimately, become irrelevant, uninteresting, and insignificant.
Naz Keynejad
9. nazkey
You raise very valid points, of course. There is nothing wrong with portraying reality, but it doesn't mean that as viewers, we have to like watching it. Watching an episode involving a beloved character's rape is never easy. And personally, my conjectures on what the possible outcomes might be are not necessarily a comment on Fellowes' abilities as a writer, but on the strong feelings I have for the characters themselves, which actually, speak very highly of Fellowes' abilities to draw us in.

If I were to critique the show within the context you bring up, I'd have to say that it hasn't actually been very realistic and removed itself from what was happening historically almost all of last season. We were in the nice "bubble" of the Abbey, with some very insignificant allusions to the "Jazz Age" through Rose.

Gosford Park is one of my favorite movies, by the way. :-)
Canucks
10. Carl Vehse
Any successful TV (or other) series dealing with fictional characters in some historical period is due in part to a successful blend of "reality" and "entertainment," which viewers normally expect to be maintained within a certain range. When the viewer is lead in one direction and then jerked into the other, or when the blend is inappropriately excessive in one or the other, viewer interest, except for a person exclusively interested in one or the other, will likely decline. Claims that rape (and this particular rape) since it is part of historical reality, should be displayed and included as part of any such story ignore the entertainment aspect of the blend in a successful TV series.
Canucks
11. Carl Vehse
If Fellowes is going to deal with the rape of Anna in upcoming episodes, it will be very difficult while maintaining a successful blend of reality and entertainment. Another problem with tossing in a "shock scene" like Anna's rape is, what does Fellowes do for an encore? Robert and Cora divorced? Carson and Thomas in bed together? Edith poisoning Gregson's wife to marry him? Daisy becoming a silent film porn star? Travelling down that "shock" road is dangerous.
Canucks
12. Canucks
I am not naïve as to what might have happened in the upstairs or downstairs world of the 1920s England, nor am I blind to what happens today in the side streets and main streets of this “unfair” world. But as one viewer on Twitter recently noted: “For family drama, Downton Abbey to use violence against women as a plot point is morally reprehensible.”

I agree without reservation.

If I have the taste for such “reality” TV, I am quite capable of finding them in one of its 500 channels or on the internet, Thank You! And I do not need to wait to the end of this season or the next to get a full “resolution” for such a plot line.

I now read that a Downton Abbey spinners have already started to defend S04E03, by saying that “The complex and loving journey of Anna and Bates has been central to the narrative of the show. The events in episode, we believe, were acted and directed with great sensitivity. Viewers will see in the forthcoming episodes how Anna and Bates struggle to come to terms with what has happened.”

What could possibly happen from now until the end of this series that could make it “right” for Anna or Bates? Is dealing with the outcome(s) of violent rape now a personal or social growth experience for the writers and viewers individually or collectively? If Anna’s story is next “written” with a perversely “happy ending,” will that then be the “model to be emulated” by other women and/or their families who are victims of rape?

We have already seen three seasons full of nothing but crushing sadness for Anna: First an unrequited love for a man she could not have, then to losing him to a hateful and vengeful wife, next to his arrest for murder, and then to his cruel trial and imprisonment and now … this!

And is “this” the joyful tension or drama for us all to cherish in the weeks and years to come?

I can already hear some folks saying “Well, my dear, if you don’t like the 'drama', just switch the channel!”

But that is a completely false premise to start or to end this discussion.

People in the TV lands (including Julian Fellowes) are all “artists” in that they do have the freedom to engage in creative writing and/or other artistic endeavors. But they also operate within certain (and thin) lines of a public trust given to them by us, the viewers.

And we, as the public, are the only ones who can collectively decide when that trust is broken and when we think they are out line.

And in this episode, I believe Julian Fellowes and all his colleagues are way out of line!
Canucks
13. Jerome
Now that Gregson is fleshing out, so to speak, and becoming a "decent cove," I could see him doing something Top Secret and vital during WWII, what with his growing mastery of German, and all that.

I found the fate of dear Anna so horrifying that I just had to find a discussion about it! Mrs. Hughes saw Green come back into the room, brushing himself off, so she can easily work out that he was the perpetrator.

Kindly and compassionate though she may be, she is not above eavesdropping, purloining discarded correspondence, interfering in private affairs, etc., so I don't see why she should then feel bound to keep Anna's confidence.

If Mrs. Hughes could not, for whatever reason, bring herself to denounce Green directly, she could devise a way to do it indirectly. She's a canny lass. I insist that the blackguard receive a fitting recompense for his wickedness!
Naz Keynejad
14. nazkey
I think that Mrs. Hughes knew Green was the culprit regardless. He's the only one who could've done it. I agree with @Canucks that no matter how they "resolve" this issue, it's never really going to be resolved. We can't have a happy ending for it, because frankly, it sends the wrong message. And any other resolution would just be tragic. Bottom line, Anna is now scarred for life. I still maintain that it was an odd plot choice for Anna and more importantly, for the show. It'll be interesting to see how they "handle" it.
Michele Argo
15. Argonut
Fellowes' white, male, conservative, aristocratic stripes are showing.
Michele Argo
16. Argonut
Isobel Crawley is a “progressive” thinker. She would be a good one to take up Anna’s case. Maybe this is what Fellowes has in mind. That would be a good story line.
Naz Keynejad
17. nazkey
That's a great conjecture @Argonut. I hope someone takes it up and addresses it, because no matter what, it's horrific and has long-term ramifications for Anna.
Canucks
18. Marten
Oh,Mr.Branson.
I understand you are alone in "that world".
But you are a father so Get ahold of yourself!
And even if it's hard,draw an obvious line between you and Edna.
It's the best way you can do!!!
Canucks
19. Madelyne
I'm still heart broken over this episode!!! i haven't watched the next episode yet but this episode has officially changed my view and love for the show. Sadly, I don't really have any more hope that Anna and Bates will ever be happy. This was a major setback to their relationship this season. Like I know that happy endings don't really happen, but you could atleast not let Anna get raped Mr. Julian Fellowes! I personally feel that the show is going down a different path now, especially with the death and removal of many lovable characters. So this post makes no sense what so ever, but that is how things are in my weird mind ^-^
Michele Argo
20. Argonut
I agree with Madelyne. This show has taken a turn for the worse and gone down in quality. I am losing interest. The new characters are a bore. I don't care about them.
Naz Keynejad
21. nazkey
I think that they're trying to make it more "realistic," but in doing so, they are alienating some fans. It's really sad to see Anna go through this. There is absolutely no happy ending here whatsoever. Even if everything works out, and Bates learns how to deal with it, this is something that will stay with Anna for the rest of her life. Truly tragic.
Canucks
23. Josephine99
I have stopped watching after this episode. Across the whole of the series and seasons, Anna was an oasis of peace, sanity and generosity.
Not any more.
Canucks
24. HelenaTS
Thank you thank you thank you!! I totally missed this episode, and didn´t understand why Anna was so weird and bruised, so I stopped episode 4 and went looking for the explanation; and here I found it!

THANK YOU!!
Canucks
25. julette
oh my goodness gracious!!! why!!! i just watched season 4 premier. my birthday is next sunday and i wont be able to watch DA so i thought i would read this recap. (been following since last season...love you!!!) thank heavens i didnt see this on my bday. so much going through my head. can we petition for a do over with this episode. like really? can we do a vote. impeach this episode. can we sue? (im sure theres a law here in the states that will let us sue for audience abuse) is there a machine to erase this from our memories and history all together. not cool fellowes.not cool at all
Naz Keynejad
26. nazkey
@julette - first, Happy Early Birthday! Second, it's a good decision not to watch it on your birthday, but you should definitely watch it at some point because the episode does have some good things in it too.
Canucks
27. Julie Bornes
Awful! Just awful! I watch DA to escape and look to fine drama. This is terrible. I'm quitting today!
Canucks
28. deeroma
This episode was so instense that I sat there with my jaw dropped open! I couldnt believe this happened to Anna and i am truly sad over it. I love her character and now i fear it will change her dynamic.
Canucks
29. Toranut
Downton has "jumped the shark." This episode was reprehensible. To use violence against a woman as a manipulative plot point went too far. I know this is just a soap, but I have followed avidly - until now. I am finished. No more Downton for me.
Naz Keynejad
30. nazkey
@Julie & @Toranut - I agree that it's a pretty horrific thing to happen, especially to Anna. I'm sorry you've both decided to quit watching the show, but I can tell you that while there are obviously repercussions, there is a resolution of sorts at the end.

@deeroma - It is very sad, and yes, it definitely changes her dynamic. She will have to live with this for the rest of her life.
Canucks
31. Travelover
I thought the beating and rape was totally UNNECESSARY. And I totally agree, it was a "jump the shark" moment. What? Run out of writing ideas, so beat and rape a female character? Whether or not it provides "meaty material" for an actress is beside the point. It did NOT fit the situation - a "public place" - the downstairs rooms where ANY servant could have entered at any moment and heard her screams and found him beating and dragging her. Why not have had Bates go check on his wife? Heck, with one hand he could have held the guy up by the neck and stopped it! THE RAPE WAS NOT NECESSARY. If they wanted a story for Anna and Bates, there are many others they could have come up with. IF the rape was meant as a means of showing the end of the fine and noble period and welcome to the disgusting "modern" 20th century fuggetaboutit. The "olden days" were not without violence and mistreatment of women. BUT THIS could ONLY be construed as an act of storyline desperation, "What do I do with Anna and Bates?". Oh, we'll get to see the truth come out, we'll get to see moments of Anna and Bates coming to grips with the assault BUT it wasn't necessary - there are OTHER ways to keep a couple on television "interesting".
Jamie Brenner
33. jamieloganbrenner
I, too, agree with Travelover. There is a difference between drama and melodrama. This episode was cheap and lazy.
Canucks
34. Travelover
Argonut, I see where you mention Mrs. Crawley championing Anna's cause. I foresee this coming too. BUT I STILL contend it was NOT necessary to rape Anna for them to go in this direction. One of Stephanie Lauren's historical Bastion Club novels deals with this topic. The heroine in To Distraction had a near rape and became a woman's advocate. The hero also took up her cause, and in this novel and subsequent novels in the series it was mentioned that maids and serving girls were often victimized by members of he aristocracy. BUT my point is - they didn't HAVE to rape Anna for the women in Downton Abby to take up the cause. "The times they are a changing", and just as we've seen many of the "hot topics" taken up throughout the series, they could have addressed violence against women WITHOUT raping one of the lead characters. NOT NECESSARY.
Michele Argo
35. Argonut
Travelover, I see that was from a much earlier post. I knew this was coming, as I read the episode descriptions after they've been shown in Britain, long before they are shown in the US. But seeing it, hearing it, not just reading about it, was horrifying. I totally agree with your comments. Completely UNNECESSARY. Julian Fellowes has "jumped the shark." Some resolution/closure is realized, if something like that can ever be resolved, but I don't want to spoil anything for the folks not reading ahead. I think we all so appreciate your insight.
Canucks
36. Annie of the Lakes
After the episode with Anna, we are no longer watching DA. Tonight we will watch a different show...
Canucks
37. Copper Payne
Actually writing in after a conversation with a friend who is (perhaps 'was' is a better term) a fan of the show. I'm not quite sure she'd jump in on the discussion, but the first words out of her mouth to me after this episode were "I'm breaking up with Downton Abbey." "Tick you off?" "Two rapes in one episode. One is a fan favorite and the other got fed alcohol to the point where he couldn't say 'no.'" Now, reading the recap, I'm not entirely certain that's what happened to Tom, but I trust her. I also find it interesting that Anna's the focus (rightly so, in my opinion) but none of the comments that I read made any mention of what happened to the *male* character that was put in the same situation. It might not be the *exact* same situation (no violence involved) but fact of the matter still stands that he was obviously coerced into *something* that is going to have grievous repricussions.

Maybe it perches on the edge of the double-standard when it comes to female vs. male characters. The rape of the female character has to be shocking and violent and make us feel sorry for her because she is the victim. Where is the sympathy for the male character? Where is the shock value there? Why can't a male character go through the same horrible experience and have it get just as much screen time, both during and in the aftermath (though apparently that aftermath is happening next episode.)

I do agree that a rape simply for shock value is a low blow for a writer. It has it's place in storytelling, because it is a real thing and has real outcomes. Making a claim that it's for character "growth" just rings false in my ears. Characters can grow without things like that. And harkening back to my previous paragraph, before putting something like that in, I think a writer really should ask themselves if a male character would have the same "growth" if the same thing happened to them. Yes, I understand this is a period piece, but these are subjects that are timeless and it's not like it doesn't happen, it just doesn't get talked about as much.
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