Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 2 Recap: Nobody Loves Edith

Hooray, another episode that focuses on getting ready for a wedding, but not showing an actual wedding.
Publish date:
January 14, 2013
recaps, Downton Abbey

I would like to start this recap by saying that I take back all of the mean things I said about Edith last time around. I literally had tears in my eyes over her tragedy. NO ONE deserves to be left at the altar like that! But let’s start at the beginning of poor Edith’s tale.

Hooray, another episode that focuses on getting ready for a wedding, but not showing an actual wedding. As we all know, it’s not Edith’s fault that we don’t get to see this wedding, but maybe we can just blame her a little bit? (I’m just kidding! It’s hard to break the habit of hating Edith.) Here, I’ll prove I’ve reformed with a screen shot of Edith with a smile on her face and a nice dress.

The Dowager Countess is not excited about the wedding: “At my age one must ration one’s excitement.” I don’t think that’s a thing, Granny, you’re just saying that because you don’t like Edith very much.

Downstairs we have more of the same: O’Brien and Thomas hate each other, Mrs. Patmore is nosy and Molesley is clumsy. Oh, Molesley, you really are such a schlemiel. And I do love Mrs. Patmore’s concern for Mrs. Hughes health, but tone it down a bit, will ya? Here’s Molesley dropping stuff:

O’Brien and Thomas’s endless attempts to sabotage one another has made me realize that everyone Downstairs is totally perfect at their jobs and never makes a mistake! Only the best for Downton Abbey! Or, as my friend’s mom thought it was called, “Abbington Downtown.” I think we should all start calling it that. Let’s make it a meme.

This episode really outdid itself with beautiful clothes, don’t you think? I want to wear this to work tomorrow:

OK, so to get back at O’Brien for hiding the shirts on him in the last episode, Thomas made Molesley think that O’Brien was quitting! Molesley is now telling Cora about it because he wants his friend’s daughter to get the job. Wait, Molesley has friends? This is not good! Evil, evil Thomas! You’ve done it again! Side note: Lord Grantham and Mary blatantly say they don’t like O’Brien after this announcement is made. LOL.

While last week’s episode was spent trying to figure out whether Matthew or Mary was the stupidest, this week it is clear, Matthew is the stupidest. This glance from Mary says it all.

After overhearing Mrs. Patmore being nosey about Mrs. Hughes, Carson is on to them. Cut to him stopping the doctor in town to pry into her personal life. I know that you care, Carson, but haven’t you ever heard of doctor/patient confidentiality? I guess he can’t help using his butler smarts to figure it all out.

Meanwhile, Cora is trying to get O’Brien to tell her that she’s leaving while she helps her get dressed in some sort of beautiful “Far East” inspired gown.

She keeps saying how let down she is about O’Brien, which I’m finding a little unprofessional. The lines between staff, family and friend are so blurred with these upstairs/downstairs relationships! How do these people deal with the lack of boundaries? I guess she’s let down that she didn’t hear it from O’Brien first, which does make sense.

Even though everyone is putting a good face on for Edith, they are all concerned about the “old issue.” Lord Grantham says, “By the time she’s 50, she’ll be wheeling around a one-armed old man.” Except he says it like “,” and I totally thought he was going to call Anthony a “One-Armed Old!”

Oh, look, it’s Branson (I mean Tom) in tails like it’s no big deal! Look at him with Matthew, they’re like super hot besties now.

Also, can we talk about Sir Anthony’s cool tails appropriate sling? Keepin’ it classy!

Now we see Cousin Crawley working with the prostitutes again in her nonjudgmental way. She flings around the word “prostitute” so easily that even the prostitutes can’t all help but laugh at her. Ack! The mystery about Ethel, the old housemaid from Season Two continues! Yes, we know she is a prostitute now, but what is she really hiding?

The Crawleys are going on a picnic to their small mansion that they might have to move into, just to check it out! Before the picnic though, Carson approaches Cora about Mrs. Hughes' illness. He does not have the right! Cora just keeps receiving troubling information left and right about the downstairs staff. Now Carson is also confused about O’Brien leaving.

Also before the picnic, Matthew meets with Dead Lavinia’s Dead Father’s lawyer who gives him a letter from Dead Lavinia’s Dead Father. Of course he doesn’t open it right away, or this episode would be 15 minutes long.

Let’s cut to Anna trying to get some Bates evidence. Doesn’t her blouse look like a pretty tattoo chest plate? Also, cute coat.

So what’s the deal? Is Bates an evil murderer or not? Who can we trust anymore? The woman Anna talks to makes Bates sound like a scary murderer, but we know and love Bates! Also, the woman was Vera’s best friend and it kind of sounds like she’s lying. When she said that the streetlight over Vera’s head made her look angelic, I started to get suspicious. What’s the real story here?

We’re back to the picnic. Mary now knows about the letter that stupid Matthew is stupidly refusing to open. I need to take a Zen moment to notice the beautiful picnic clothes or else I’m going to start hating Matthew too much right now.

Meanwhile in the depressing jail plotline, Bates and his cellmate are total enemies now for no apparent reason. The cellmate hid some sort of contraband in Bates’s mattress to get him in trouble (it looked like tobacco?) but Bates found it in time. Snoozers. Moving on.

Downstairs, Thomas’s evil schemes are out of the bag. Look at Molesley’s stunned face!

Upstairs, it is the night before Edith’s wedding! Sybil makes the tamest reference to sex and the Dowager Countess says, “Sybil, vulgarity is no substitute for wit.” Hear, hear, Granny! Even though you started it.

Thank god Mary makes opening the letter her decision and does it herself. It turns out the letter says what we all want to hear! Dead Lavinia’s Dead Father knows all about his love for Mary and he’s okay with it. Don’t feel guilty, he says! It almost seems too good to be true (which is what Matthew thinks) but it can’t be too good to be true because we must save Abbington Downtown! Why aren’t you happy about this, Matthew? Who cares if it's true or not? There is anger deep inside of me towards Matthew and Matthew only right now.

Now Mary has to save the day once again. She asks the staff if anyone mailed a letter the day Lavinia died and just when we think no one has, Daisy comes to the rescue! Daisy did it!

Oh, beautiful Mary in your beautiful blue dress getting to tell Matthew the amazing story of the letter! And I couldn’t agree more -- if you try to find one more excuse not to accept the money, Matthew, I’ll have to beat you about the head! Huzzah, Abbington Downtown is saved!

Let’s get this wedding started already shall we?

What the hell, Olds? If you die at the altar, I will never forgive you.

Oh, look! Photography? At a wedding? What a novel idea!

It’s worse than dying at the altar. He’s leaving her! Anthony says, “I can’t do this,” and then Lord Grantham says, “WHAT!?” but you know he really wants to say, “WHAT THE FUCK!?”

Although let’s note the classy wedding sling.

Poor, poor Edith. Oh, Cora, you comfort her with such wise words. “You are being tested. And do you know what they say, my darling? Being tested only makes you stronger!” I see a marvelous future ahead of Edith. She just has to believe in herself!

Is anyone else’s mouth watering at the sight of the wedding cake or is that my New Year sugar fast talking? Um, holy shit, lobster display!

Back in the house, it’s pretty awkward. Matthew tells Lord Grantham that he can save Abbington Downtown and Lord Grantham insists that they will be joint Masters, and I have no idea what that means. Carson tells the family that they will give the wedding food to the poor and then the Dowager Countess says, “If the poor don’t want it, you can bring it over to me.”

But Cousin Crawley smartly says that the best way to help Edith is to “find her something to do.” And yet I will never love Cousin Crawley as much as I love the Dowager! All of my feminist ideals go out the window when I watch this show!

Oh, look! By poor, Carson meant the staff! Maybe he is a good liar. OMG, I want it in my belly.

They’re all talking about Edith, too, and Daisy says that if it were her, she would hide in a place where no one knew her. Like America, Daisy? Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please!

Okay, the final plot point that must be solved this episode: Does Mrs. Hughes have cancer?

The look on this nurses face is basically a spoiler alert:

But, thank goodness, it isn’t! Mrs. Hughes is cancer free! Let’s all sing a little song just like Carson did upon hearing the news.

Whew! Okay, that was a juicy episode! Abbington Downtown is saved and even though Edith thinks she has hit rock bottom, I have so much hope for her. And Mrs. Hughes isn’t going off to heaven just yet! Eff change you guys, let’s keep things happily chugging along like this in the sheltered Crawley’s amazing magical life. Just kidding. Then there’d be no story!