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'Downton Abbey' recap, Branson's revolutionary war

January 20, 2013|By Jordan Bartel, assistant editor, b

Oh well. The new staff is at least interesting. We meet the new footman, the ridiculously handsome Jimmy Kent (who looks like Simon Baker's younger brother). Mary urges Carson to pick him because it will "cheer us up a bit. Alfred looks like a puppy who has been rescued from a puddle."

Oh, Mary! Making fun of the servants is such fun! Alfred's not as handsome as the rest of us!

Despite him disapproving when Carson insists he be called James now, Jimmy seems to equip himself well. Thomas, of course, takes notice of Jimmy and actually offers to help him ... with anything he needs. Wink Wink. O'Brien picks up on this and starts planting the seed in Thomas' head about how awesome Jimmy is. She's up to no good, right? Right. It's Mrs. O'Brien.

We also meet the new kitchen maid, Ivy, who immediately grabs Alfred's attention — much to the dismay of Daisy who was thisclose to telling Alfred how much she liked him. Sure, Daisy. Like that would happen.

Mr. and Mrs. Bates

Anna spent most of this episode super-sad, which is not pleasant to watch. She hasn't been getting any letters from Bates and is being denied visitation, which makes her think Bates is trying to "set her free."

Bates wouldn't do that, would he? Nope. Turns out that after the whole debacle with him hiding the drugs of his cell mate, he's on the Scary British Prison bad list. One of the guards is in cahoots with his drug-dealing snarly cell mate, so they're holding the mail and such. Which is better than beating him, I guess.

So he hatches a plan with another prisoner to set up his cell mate's drugs to be discovered by one of the honest guards. He's rewarded by finally getting a packet of Anna's letters. Anna gets a bunch of his, too.

The cutest scene: watching Bates, alone in his sad cell, laugh and smile as he pours through Anna's letters. At the same time, we see Anna cry tears of joy reading his letters alone in her room.

These two are the best.

And Edith ... does something

Ah, Edith. The jilted shall move on! She appears at breakfast with the men of the house and learns Americans are about to give women the right to vote.

When she suggests she'll write to the editor of the London Times about female equality, Robert suggests she, instead, talk with her mother about what's on the menu for dinner that night. Ouch.

Edith is now trying to occupy her time with running errands for her grandmother, who is done with her granddaughter's whining (now she's done?)

"You must find something to put your mind to" the Dowager urges.

"What, gardening?" is Edith's offer.

"No you can't be as desperate as that," the Dowager says. "You're a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do."

Yes, please. So Edith decides that her "something to do" will be writing that letter to the Times — and they publish it!

"Earl's daughter speaks out for women's rights!" Robert says angrily, reading the headline.

Carson doesn't approve either. But it seems like Edith might have a journalism career in her future. Or perhaps she'll garden.

More highlights from Season 3, Episode 3

Best line from the Dowager Countess: "No lady writes for a newspaper."

Most confusing stance: Branson says that "I was always against personal violence. I swear it." But arson? OK!

Wonder how he feels about butter and jam: Carson does NOT approve of Mrs. Hughes newfangled toaster. Sure, she almost burns down Downton, but ... fast toast!

Most obvious display of attraction: Thomas walks by Jimmy as he's changing shirts ... and immediately starts to smile as wide as we've ever seen him smile.

Line that seems like it should belong on a movie poster: "No family is ever what it seems from the outside" — Dowager Countess

A serious amount of spoons: Carson goes over spoons with Alfred. In order: teaspoon, egg spoon, melon spoon, grapefruit spoon, jam spoon and bouillon spoon. What, exactly, is the difference between a melon spoon and a grapefruit spoon? Discuss.

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