‘Downton Abbey’ Recap: ‘A Miasma Of Scandal’

February 13th, 2013 // Leave a Comment
Downton Abbey

In this week’s extremely lengthy episode of Downton Abbey, some pretty insane events went down. However, the writers presented us with an alternative universe from what we’ve been dealing with and as farcical as it seemed at times, it was delightfully a breath of fresh air.

Bates was finally set free and everyone was happy about it except Thomas, who will now be jobless until Carson can find a position for him. Bates and Anna move into a little cottage and begin fixing it up.

Edith accepted the columnist job with the rogue editor after the Dowager finally supported her during dinner. The editor is very fond of Edith and proceeds to flirt with her before she finds out that he is married. But apparently it’s a Mr. Rochester situation and his wife is in the looney bin. We’ll see how that love triangle plays out for Edith.

The Dowager put an add out for Ethel to work in a different town, so she would be able to start anew and so Mrs. Crawley would cease having a scandal at her house. The add led to Ethel taking a job near her son and her son’s grandmother was happy to help. Yay for Ethel! 

Matthew has been trying to get Robert to see the error of his management ways at Downton. He finally approaches Robert’s manager and the dude freaks out and quits. Robert and Cora decide to make Tom Branson the new manager because he comes from a family of farmers. Robert also attended little Sybil’s christening and even posed for a photo with a Catholic priest. He is coming along nicely and Cora is loving it.

Mary and Matthew snuck to the same baby doctor behind each others’ backs in secret, but discovered one another and Mary admitted she had a small surgery would should correct their baby problems.

O’ Brien has been telling Thomas that Jimmy has a thing for him. Because Thomas just seems sad and alone anyway, he decides to act on his feelings and he approaches Jimmy in his room at night. Alfred got back from a film with Ivy and walks in on Thomas trying to kiss Jimmy on the mouth. James goes agro rage on Thomas and freaks out. Thomas immediately feels terrible.

When the news that something went down gets to Carson, Thomas readily admits the details and does not blame Jimmy. Carson is a bit harsh, but understanding and decides to give Thomas a good reference for ten years of work as long as he moves on. He can use Bates’ return as his excuse.

But then O’ Brien stirred the pot and told Jimmy that he should put up a fuss and threaten to call the cops because otherwise people will think he is gay. Jimmy tells Carson that he doesn’t want Thomas to have a good reference. Thomas is crushed and spent most of the time crying throughout the episode.

For some reason after all Thomas did to Bates, the dude still feels badly for him now that he is out of prison and decides to help Thomas. He finds out a terrible secret about O’ Brien (most likely her soap on the floor debacle) and threatens her with it in order to get her to persuade Jimmy to drop the drama. It works and Lord Grantham even takes the news pretty nicely. He wants Thomas to stay on working in the house, which places him above Bates as under-Butler. Bates is a little annoyed, but he seems happy with life nonetheless.

My only qualms with this episode was how pretty everything was painted with Thomas’ situation. Thomas has been a shithead to everyone the entire series and somehow everyone came out to bat for him when his chips were down. I find it hard to believe for this time period that Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Bates, and Lord Grantham would be cool with the gay thing.

Grantham even stood up for Thomas with the police when Alfred spilled the beans. And he said something along the lines of ‘you didn’t choose to be this way’. As lovely and amazing as the support for Thomas was in this episode, I found it unbelievable and more relevant to current social issues. There are people now that refuse to accept that Thomas’ condition is inherent and think it is still a choice. After all the fuss Grantham gave Edith for the feminist column, Tom for the Catholic christening, and Matthew for the new management, it was uncharacteristic for him to accept homosexuality as a genetic inheritance rather than a choice. But it was nice to watch regardless of the historical accuracy.

By Michael Prieve

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