Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Downton Abbey” recap (2.05) — Bleak House

The other downstairs drama this week is cooked up by Mrs. Bates who has been saving the Turkish diplomat for a rainy day. Seriously, she’s got Mr. Pamuk’s body on ice in her basement and she’s been waiting to drag it out and have it photographed for the paper. Nah, not really. She’s just got her story and some kind of wackadoodle obsession with Mr. Bates. She cheats on him, beats him with his own walking stick, probably poisons his breakfast for giggles, but she’s determined not to let him marry Anna. She shows up at Downton to let Mr. Bates know she’s going to sell the Mr. Pamuk gossip to the tabloids. Frankly, it isn’t really worthy gossip when even King George knows about it, but whatever. Anna gives Mary a heads up about how she’s ten minutes away from ruin, and Mary sighs, “Well, I guess we know both what I must do.”

But first what she must do is find out what’s going on in Matthew’s pajama pants. For the last several years, Mary’s war effort has consisted of sending her lucky stuffed donkey to the frontlines with her beloved and watching Edith and Sybil do war things. But as soon as she learns Matthew is coming to the officer’s hospital, she takes a crash course in nursing and empathy and keeps constant vigil at his bedside. When his clothes need to be cut off, she’s there. When he needs the truth about the fact that he’s paralyzed, she’s there. When he needs to have a pity party, she’s there. When he needs to have a vomit party, she’s there. The only thing she’s not there for is his admission to Lavinia that he’s going to be impotent forever, but Lavinia let’s Mary in on that little secret as quick as she can. Later Matthew also tells Mary and she’s like, “Sex? Meh.”

While Lord Grantham holds individual conferences with everyone in the house to see what they think about Matthew’s inability to sustain an erection, Mary travels to London to ask Sir Richard to buy off Bates’ wife to keep her from ruin. His glee at finding himself on equal footing with Mary — As if he too can walk on water! Incorrect, sir! — is the stuff of cartoon villainy. After their meeting, he takes it upon himself to publish his nad Mary’s engagement announcement in the paper. When Lord Grantham reads the morning news, he’s like, “Seriously, Mary? Is it because of Matthew’s penis?”

Matthew breaks up with Lavinia, but I’ll bet she’s not going anywhere. Sir Richard buys off Mrs. Bates, but I’ll bet she’s not going anywhere either. The only person who really does go somewhere is William. And that somewhere is heaven. He dies peacefully in his sleep with Daisy and his dad at his side. (Why, oh why couldn’t it have been Branson?!)

Oh, man. I almost forgot: That uppity maid Ethel had an ENORMOUS baby and now she’s hiding out in the village trying to get Major Mustache to write her back. In the meantime, Mrs. Hughes is feeding her from Downton’s kitchen and saying “I told you so” at every turn. On anyone else, it would be insufferable, but Mrs. Hughes and Carson can do no wrong in my eyes, so, you know, I also told you so, Ethel!

I don’t know what to expect now that the war’s over, except for the inevitable part of the story when Matthew gets a Mary-specific erection at the most inopportune time. Which is something we can all sympathize with, I suppose.

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