'Downton Abbey' Series 3, Episode 3 (2012) // Words: Tara Joshi
SYNOPSIS: "Edith's big day finally arrives, but will the family be convinced that Strallan's age does not matter? Mary takes matters into her own hands - but the price could be high." (itv.com)
We missed out a review of last week's 'Downton Abbey' episode (apologies) but it’s fair to say that you could consider the somewhat poor second episode of the series as being a filler episode that was necessary in order to facilitate the exciting plots of 'Episode Three'. Spoiler-free review follows below.
There seemed to be something a bit lazy about 'Episode Two''s script, and while things did seem to be coming together by the end of the episode it all felt a bit like it was too little, too late. While it was a comical highlight to see the occupants of the house forced into throwing a rather unconventional form of dinner party, ultimately the episode as a whole fell a little flat. The events seemed dragged out, and the characterisation and dialogue were unusually below par.
The main story of the episode revolved around the wedding of Lady Edith to Sir Anthony Strallan. Edith – often referred to by my friends as “Edick” – is not a character who has often been subject to sympathy. Series one and two have established her as a spiteful telltale who always feels sorry for herself and makes up for it by having affairs with questionable men (the married farmer, Edith? Really?).
In spite of the fact that everyone thinks her future spouse is too old for Edith, she is genuinely smitten, and in the absence of any other young men post-war you can’t help but feel a bit sucked in to Edith’s story; certainly the end of the episode is surprisingly emotional. Elsewhere, Matthew finally comes to a decision what to do about Swire’s will, though – as with all storylines pertaining to the Swire family – it does feel a little bit contrived and convenient.
Meanwhile downstairs the battle between O’Brien and Thomas continues, with a dark series of one-upmanship that must be leading somewhere exciting. There is a growing concern over Mrs. Hughes’ health as she waits on the doctor’s results, and there are, accordingly, some sweet interactions between her and various other characters at Downton. Daisy appears to have a love interest on the horizon and, as ever, I can barely understand the disjointed story of what Bates is up to in prison, though the episode does, again, make you question his innocence.
After an arguably slow start, this 'Downton Abbey' series is picking up - true to over-the-top, emotional form. Hopefully it will continue to captivate and leave behind some of the more bloated storylines; in any case, the preview of 'Episode Four' seemed very tantalising indeed.
Watch 'Downton Abbey' for a limited time at itv.com. Find more of Tara's work on Twitter and Don't Watch Me Dancing.