'Downton Abbey' recap, Edith Crawley's big (bad) day

  • Not the best day for a white wedding, Lady Edith.
Not the best day for a white wedding, Lady Edith. (Carnival Film & Television…)
January 13, 2013|By Jordan Bartel, assistant editor, b

Just when you thought life couldn't get more depressing for Edith, it does.

Big time. Turns out the Gods of Aristocrats can't give poor Edith a break. Was her indiscretion with that farmer really worth so much karma?

Look, it's not like her living happily ever (old person) after with the so-fragile-you-touch-him-and-he'll-fall-apart Anthony Strallan was ever a safe bet. 1) He's nice enough but sort-of creepy. 2) He looks like a ghost from a Henry James novel. 3) His arm = busted. 4) The entire family is either indifferent to their union or totally against it.

Still, as Season 3, Episode 2 begins, preparation for the big wedding day is underway. I wonder what the village of Downton thinks about this quickie nuptial. I imagine they all were laughing at the pub when someone offered that, "Oy! Maybe's she's pregnant."

"At my age, one must ration one's excitement," the dowager countess says when she comes to visit. Not exactly a ringing endorsement (or showcase of grandmotherly love).

Edith: "Something happening in this house is actually about me!" Ugh. You had to go and marry a 60-year-old one-armed man for this to happen, Edith.

Lord Grantham, for his part, is doing his reserved daddy bit after reluctantly letting Edith and Strallan get back together. He dines with Strallan (Matthew and Tom, disinterested in the whole mess, quickly excuse themselves to play billiards), and assures Strallan that the whole, "Don't you dare marry my daughter!" thing was "never personal."

You know, you're just old. And can barely move. But "nothing personal!"

Later, Edith goes on and on about the honeymoon. "Two weeks in Rome, then Florence, then Venice." It was about at this point when one could tell that this honeymoon would never happen.

Before the wedding, the dowager and Lord Grantham talk again — again! — about how dumb this is. Still, the wedding is on — no cheers from the community as they ride to the church this time — and Anthony looks a mess. He doesn't smile. Nothing. Because he realizes he's, you know, marrying Edith. 

"He looks as though he's waiting for a beating from the headmaster," the dowager says when she spots Anthony at the altar.

And before she walks down the aisle with papa, Mary gives her sister the kiss of death. "I know we always haven't gotten along and I doubt things change in the future. But today I wish you all the luck in the world," Mary tells Edith, planting a kiss on her cheek. Oh, that Mary. The queen of the reserved nice remark.

The minister barely speaks before Anthony shouts, "I can't do this! I can't do it. You know it's wrong." Grantham is shocked but tells him that "it's too late." The crowd seems apathetic.

It's all like: "Really, we're supposed to care about the middle Crawley child now? What's her name? Elizabeth?"

Anthony: "I pray that you are going to be happy. As long as you don't waste your life on me."

Edith, refusing to give him up — even now. Really — tries to argue with him, until the dowager steps in and tells her to give it up. "He's doing the most sensible thing he's done in months. Let him go."

So he walks — no, runs — out. Cue Edith dramatically running back to the house, throwing her veil down the stairs and falling into bed.

Cora asks if there's anything she can do for her daughter. "Look at them, both have husbands. Sybil pregnant, Mary probably pregnant. Just go. I mean it, go," she says.

Cora mumbles something about her daughter "being tested." Tested about what exactly and for what reason is not clear. At all. But OK, mom. Go with that.

The most depressing moment in the history of "Downton": Anna asking Edith, "What would you like me to get you?"

Edith: "A different life."

See, Edith. This is why people don't like you. I mean, we all feel bad about about your marriage and, well, bad about your attitude and general being, but still, come on.

And in the end, she calls herself a spinster. "And spinsters get up for breakfast."

Well, at least she's getting out of bed. Maybe she can become the dowager's bridge partner for life?


There's nothing Matthew can do about the Edith situation because even he isn't charming enough. But he's still fighting with Mary about what to do with Reggie's money — and it's getting a bit tedious.

While the ill-fated wedding's being planned, the family talks about moving to one of their other properties. Perhaps they'll name it Downton Place! They talk as though it's going to be some slum, but we know better.

Matthew tells Mary that Reggie Swire's lawyer is visiting to hand over the death certificate and a letter. But he remains unmoved when it comes to accepting the money. "So this is the moment that you receive a huge fortune that could save Downton and you choose to give it away!" Mary repeats.

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