Being Edith sucks, but it’s better than being … actually, there’s no way to end that sentence. Being Edith sucks. That’s the entire premise of the latest Downton Abbey episode.
Do I feel bad now that I gleefully posted the Edith With Googly Eyes Tumblr everywhere I could last week? No, because if she weren’t such a DAMN BRAT she wouldn’t have been…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind a little bit.
Episode Two opens with Downton preparing for yet another wedding. Flowers are being arranged, carpets are being cleaned and Edith wanders joyfully around the house, making exclamatory statements more or less to the effect of, “Something’s happening around here that’s finally all about me!”
Brat Edith: 1, Sympathetic Edith: 0.
In the middle of her doing wedding things and gleefully saying, “Me! Me! Me!” while making out with herself, everyone else shuts their mouths and looks resigned every time they have to suffer through her and That Old Guy She’s Marrying being coupley and altogether ewwww. Lord Grantham winces, the Dowager Countess glowers and the rest of the household holds the attitude of, “well, if it’s the best she can do…”
Brat Edith: 2, Sympathetic Edith: 0
Matthew and Mary arrive after their honeymoon in a car that is apparently modern, but to my actually modern eyes just looks as vintage as everything else in the show. They, of course, are bickering. In between the arguments, they’re in a we-just-got-married coital frenzy.
Their subplot throughout the episode can be summarized by the following bullet points:
Mary: Let’s live at Downton.
Matthew: I don’t wanna.Mary: What if you inherit Reggie’s money?
Matthew: SHUT UP Mary, I don’t want to talk about it! Let’s make a baby (kiss kiss kiss)
Mary: You inherited it! Why won’t you save us????
Matthew: SHUT UP Mary, LAVINIAAAAA…what did she look like again….LAVINIA!!! Baby making time! (kiss kiss kiss)
Mary: We found a revelatory letter because Daisy was useful!
Matthew: SHUT UP Mary—wait, for real? Oh. Ok. Downton can have the money. And we can live here too. I love you Must Implant Next Heir in Your Uterus Now (kiss kiss kiss)
In between all that, Sybil is pregnant, Branson goes around looking sulky, the Dowager Countess makes quips, Shirley MacClaine fails to deliver hers and Lord Grantham is understanding with just about everything. He understands why Edith is marrying her Old Guy and why That Old Guy Edith’s Marrying is, well, marrying her (even if it grosses him out). He understands when Matthew doesn’t want to give him the money. He understands when Matthew does give him the money and then nobly offers the role of co-estate manager person to Matthew for saving his ass from grass. Matthew agrees. They shake hands. Lord Grantham is being progressive!
Yeah. We’ll just see how long that lasts.
Down in the servants’ quarters, everyone is not particularly excited about Edith getting married, but hey, it’s a wedding and it’s our job so let’s carry on in a British way about it. Thomas and O’Brien continue their war by Thomas letting loose the rumor O’Brien is quitting. Much confusion ensues before it’s cleared up. Thomas smiles smugly. O’Brien puts a curse on him with her eyes. War continues.
Carson finds out Mrs. Hughes may or may not have cancer. He pretends he doesn’t know, but tells everyone. They all pretend they don’t know. Mrs. Hughes finds out, everyone knows and is cross, but then touched because they all care so much! Then it turns out she doesn’t have cancer. Good-bye, useless storyline.
But back to who this episode belongs to: Edith! She’s getting married! It’s all about her! Her dress is suitably silky/beautiful but not as beautiful as Mary’s. She gets in a jibe how hers is simple and less expensive, and she doesn’t need that sort of thing like Mary does.
Brat Edith: 3 Sympathetic Edith: Still 0
Mary and Sybil congratulate her, with Mary being far more gracious to Edith than Edith was at her wedding. Everyone, including all the extras getting the British version of their SAG/AFTRA card by being “the village,” go to the church. Edith walks down the aisle. That Old Guy She’s Marrying looks like he’s going to have a heart attack annnnd…he doesn’t!
BUT HE LEAVES HER AT THE ALTAR!
Brat Edith: 3, Sympathetic Edith: 3 (It really sucks being left at the altar. In front of everyone you know. That’s worth 3 points)
That Old Guy She’s Not Marrying mumbles something about being really old and runs away. Edith tries to grab him and make him marry her, but the Dowager Countess doesn’t let her be an idiot. Edith flees, in tears.
Brat Edith: 3 Sympathetic Edith: 2 (Points taken away for her trying to force That Old Guy to Marry her and then not standing up to the Dowager and not managing to actually Make That Old Guy Marry Her. Just sayin’. Mary could’ve done it.)
Lord Grantham looks horrified and stunned. Everyone looks horrified and stunned but is clearly thinking, “well…if it were going to happen to anyone, it would be Edith/thank God I can get the visual of that wedding night out of my head now.”
Edith manages to make it back to the house before everyone else (how?) and locks herself in her room, crying hysterically. The rest of the household trickles back, muttering “poor Edith,” etc, etc. Lord Grantham makes the servants take ALL THE WEDDING DECORATIONS down in like, an hour, to spare his poor rich daughter the pain of looking at ostentatious flower arrangements.
Cora, Sybil and Mary go to comfort Edith. Edith kicks Sybil and Mary out because, “they’re married and they’re happy and pregnant/Mary probably got pregnant by Matthew looking at her on their wedding night and they’re prettier than me and I HATE THEM!”
Brat Edith: 4, Sympathetic Edith: 1
Cora tries to comfort her, but Edith continues to cry and say how her life is over! Over! Just Over! OVER, and she wants to DIE!
Brat Edith: 5 Sympathetic Edith: 0
In the real world, where people have terrible problems and don’t stay locked in their room for two days because That Gross Old Guy Didn’t Marry Them, Anna and Bates continue to love and persevere through the bars of wrongful imprisonment. Bates has some trouble with his cellmate and a guard, but we really don’t care about it since he’s Bates and he can whip anyone. Anna thinks she finally has a lead to free him. She visits an old neighbor of Vera’s, and unearths evidence that dead Mrs. Bates might have actually committed suicide in order to spitefully frame Bates for her murder!
Anyone else think that is probably the stupidest reason to kill themselves, in the history of television/the earth?
Anna tells Bates, and he gets excited but wait: his cellmate and the corrupt guard exchange a glance which means Bates won’t be getting out probably until the end of the season.
Edith Episode Final Score:
Brat Edith: 5, Sympathetic Edith: -1 (Nope. I haven’t forgotten what she did to Mary in Season 1 with the Pamuk Rumor Spread. Karma’s a bitch you spoiled rich white girl brat).