Just as Lady Mary seemed to be moving past her grief for Matthew Crawley on “Downton Abbey,” the repercussions of the horrific crime Anna Bates was a victim of in last week’s episode seeped throughout the estate.
In Season 4’s Episode 2, as the residents of “Downton” enjoyed some opera, Anna (Joanne Froggat) was violently raped by Green, the valet of the visiting Lord Gillingham, and from Sunday’s opening scene (Episode 3) the series spotlighted the harsh realities of a rape survivor in the 1920s.
Here’s what happened to the “Downton Abbey” characters in Sunday night’s episode:
Anna, Mr. Bates & Mrs. Hughes: Unable to tell her husband, Mr. Bates, about the assault, Anna left home early, walking to work by herself. Running into his wife as she polished her shoes downstairs, Bates (with a pleading look in his eyes) asked, “Why didn’t you wait for me?” and questioned what he’d done. “Nobody’s done anything,” Anna replied, abruptly ending the conversation.
But there was nowhere to escape. With no authority figure to turn to, Anna found herself seated next to her rapist at breakfast. Making some excuse about needing to start work, she left the downstairs table in a frazzled fashion that caught her fellow staff members’ attention. Lord Gillingham’s departure took Green out of the picture, but not before he told Mr. Carson, “I shall remember this visit for a long time to come.”
Turning to Mrs. Hughes later, Anna asked to move back to one of the empty servant’s quarters at Downton, to save her husband shame after blaming herself for the assault. “He is without fault and that’s the point. I’m not good enough for him. Not now,” Anna said of Mr. Bates. Questioned about what she would do if she were to discover she is pregnant from the rape, Anna showed her dire state of mind. “I’ll kill myself,” she said. She went on to insist that no one tell Mr. Bates for fear he’ll kill Green and then be sentenced to death. “Better a broken heart than a broken neck,” Anna said.
“Kiss me please, or tell me what’s happened. One or the other,” Mr. Bates begged of his wife, when he saw her in the household. She refused either, but he vowed to find out what happened.
Lord Grantham, one of the many upstairs residents who noticed something different about Anna (Lady Mary commented on it too), approached Bates about his wife. Confiding in his employer, Bates revealed Anna wants to move back into the house. “She say says it’s nothing I’ve done, but how can I believe that because she is incapable of fault. I don’t know what to do,” he told the Earl of his beloved wife. Pulling from his own marriage experiences, Lord Grantham told Bates to hold on and weather the “thin ice.”
Lady Mary & Lord Tony Gillingham: Engaged (to another woman) Lord Gillingham put the charm on Lady Mary in Sunday’s episode. Canceling on his fiancee, Lord Gillingham, instead, turned up at the home of Mary’s London-based aunt, Lady Rosamund, and escorted the half-owner of Downton to a jazz club where he convinced her to take a spin around the dance floor, as Jack Ross (the show’s jazz singer) performed. But, she wasn’t quite ready to see him again following their night out. “You’ve told me you’re engaged to be married,” Lady Mary said. “And even if you weren’t, the truth is, I’m not ready, and I won’t be for some years.”
Her words didn’t stop Lord Gillingham from later visiting Lady Mary at Downton. “I’ve made a long journey to ask you a short question – will you marry me,” he proposed. “We’ll be good together, Mary. And we could be so very happy if you’d let us,” he added. But before he could get an answer, Jimmy from downstairs came into the room.
Walking the grounds of Downton in the afternoon, Lord Gillingham pressed Mary for her answer. “It’s no good, Tony,” she sighed. “I can’t. I’m not free of him. Yesterday, you said I fill your brain. Well, Matthew fills mine. Still. And I don’t want to be without him, not yet.” Although not her hand, Lord Gillingham did get one thing from Mary before departing – a kiss!
And, as Mary and Tom Branson prepared to travel to York on estate business, she suggested to her brother-in-law (who did not know of the proposal) that she had just done something she might regret for a long time.
Tom Branson & Edna Braithwaite: Scheming lady’s maid Edna Braithwaite did her best to get her claws into former Downton chauffer-turned-widower Tom. After getting him drunk in Episode 2 this season, and entering his bed chamber, this week she worked on trying to land him properly. “Suppose I’m pregnant. What’ll you do then?” Edna asked Tom as she tried to pressure him into marriage. Brushing it off by telling her she won’t know if she’s carrying his child for weeks did little good, and his comment that he regrets what happened between them
Tom thought about confessing his sin – sleeping with the help – to Mary, but decided not to. Instead, he took her advice to tell someone about what was troubling him. That someone was Mrs. Hughes, who was still mad at Edna for her first go around pursuing Tom, and for returning to the estate rather sneakily by getting hired directly by Lady Cora in the Season 4 premiere.
Called into Mrs. Hughes’ office where she was confronted by the woman who runs the downstairs help and Tom, Edna suspected they wanted her silence. “I know now why you sent for me… You’re going to gang up on me and try to pay me off,” she told them. Mrs. Hughes had her number and it wasn’t one with dollar (or pound) signs. “I wasn’t planning to make an offer,” was her witty retort as she pulled out Edna’s stash of 1920s books on how to get a man and confronted her with them. She then went on to accuse Edna of not being pregnant, but gearing up to take anyone into her bed to trap Tom (by making him think the child was his)!
In the end, after Mrs. Hughes threatened to hold her down for an examination with a doctor to prove she wasn’t pregnant, Edna decided to go away quietly (and without telling Lady Cora about Tom) so she could get a decent reference out of Mrs. Hughes.
But, before she departed Downton for good, Edna took the time to engage in mudslinging with Thomas Barrow. “You are sly and oily and smug and I’m really pleased I got the chance to tell you before I go,” she slammed him with.
“Well, if we’re playing the truth game, then you’re a manipulative little witch,” he whipped back.
Lady Edith & Michael Gregson: There wasn’t a huge amount of material for loved up couple Edith and Michael, but there was still scandal.
Before he departed for Munich (he’s going to become a German citizen in order to divorce his wife who is in an asylum), Edith stayed the night, and was spotted by her Aunt Rosamund’s maid doing the walk of shame.
“You’re gambling with your future, my dear… A lot may be changing, but some things will stay the same,” Rosamund warned her niece.
-- Jolie Lash
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