What did you think of the first episode of Downton Abbey?
Last night’s second series of Downton Abbey started with a bang – throwing the residents of Downton into the heart of the First World War. But will this series live up to the drama of the first?
With Matthew and Thomas at war – and the rest of Downton helping with the war effort in their own ways – the scene was set for more upstairs-downstairs drama and intrigue.
Below stairs, Bates and Anna finally agreed to marry – but then Bates’ conniving wife turned up to throw a huge spanner in the works.
Meanwhile, the family and servants were busy working to get the house ready for a fund-raising concert to equip the village hospital to take more casualties from the front. Fiesty new housemaid Ethel made herself unpopular with grim-faced O’Brien who played a series of cruel trick on her to show her who’s boss downstairs.
When Matthew returned to Downton from the front, he brought his surprise new fiancée, which made poor Mary run the gamut of facial expressions from horror to sorrow and back again – not helped by sister Edith sticking the silver-plated knife in at every opportunity.
To try and save face, Mary informed the family that she had met Sir Richard Carlisle, the owner of scurrilous newspapers and a war profiteer. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well with her father…
Meanwhile, the ‘nice’ sister Sybil decided to trade in her comfortable life to train as an auxiliary nurse in York – fending off a last-minute declaration of love from her chauffeur.
In the final reel, former Downton footman Thomas engineered to have himself shot, presumably to be returned home from the front so he can cause more trouble at Downton…
The first episode managed to re-introduce us to the characters (for the benefit of the small minority who didn’t see the first series) and was packed with drama and the seeds of conflict to come.
When Sir Richard Carlisle turns up at Downton, will the secret of Mary’s liaison with the deceased Turkish ambassador come to light? (probably, if Mrs Bates has anything to do with it).
And will Bates be able to wriggle out of his commitment to his wife and claim the tremulous hand of Anna by the end of the series?
With most of the male staff serving at the front, Carson, finds himself under pressure to ensure the duties are carried out to his exacting standard, which causes him undue strain. Much to his horror he finds himself forced to accept help in the dining room from the female staff.
With Bates gone, Robert has hired a new valet, Lang, who has just returned from the war. Something isn’t quite right with him and uncharacteristically it is O’Brien who shows a more compassionate side of her nature when she is the only one to recognise the problem.
However, O’Brien’s true nature is never far from the surface and she is determined to get her old ally Thomas a job back at Downton by whatever means she can, even if it means manipulating her Ladyship…
William is delighted when he receives an important letter and Mrs Patmore learns some devastating news about her nephew that rocks her to the core.
Having returned from the front under dubious circumstances Thomas begins work alongside Lady Sybil in the local hospital. When a patient comes in suffering from gas blindness Thomas finds himself becoming attached to the handsome young Lieutenant. But his admiration soon turns to despair when events take a turn for the worse.
With Bates out of the picture the Crawley’s butler Molesley takes an interest in Anna. Will she be tempted to try to find love again?
In the trenches, Matthew (now a Captain) is informed of his temporary transfer back to England for a recruitment drive in the north. A visit to Downton will certainly be on the cards but new visitors to the house will open old wounds for Matthew.
Elsewhere, Rosamund (Samantha Bond) and Violet take a dislike to Sir Richard Carlisle and after hearing him argue with Matthew’s fiancé Lavinia in the gardens, Rosamund endeavours to discover just how they are acquainted…
What did you think of the first episode? Will this series live up to the first? Let us know below.
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