TV: Downton Abbey S3 – Episode 2 Summary + Review

“No shirt, no service”

(“Stop saying ‘Mary, Mary, quiet contrary’…”)

Airing on: ITV

Genre: Family, Slice of Life, Drama, Age: All ages

Released: 16th September 2012 – onwards (UK Version)

From the previous episode, Mrs Levinson continues to harass the dinner participants, and the family can’t wait for her to leave. With financial trouble over the house, and Mary’s husband not willing to share his money, it’s up to other schemers to save Downton Abbey.

Warning! May contain spoilers!




In the kitchens, there is trouble with the ovens heat. Mrs Patmore isn’t concerned about trivial matters like this when there are important guests to be served upstairs.

(“Someone burned their underwear in here. Are we allowed to cook over that?”)

Mary confesses to the Countess of Granthem that their only hope is to ask the visiting Mrs Levinson for money. Being the Crawley Sisters’ grandmother, surely she will obliged to help them in keeping the house.

(Assassination plots had to be traded for sweet-talk)

Matthew is meanwhile attempting to give an explanation, of why he should give the money away rather than give it to Lord Grantham.

(It isn’t wise to relay honeymoon experiences to your wife’s father)

Mrs Hughes has discovered a lump in her breast, which she is afraid in cancer. She confides in Mrs Patmore, who suggests that they should wait for a doctor’s analysis before panicking.

(“First William, now you. We’re slowly losing all our staff”)

The doctor, Mr Clarkson, sends the fluid away for analysis, and tells Mrs Hughes that she should rest easy in the meantime.

(The doctor can’t write sick notes for potential death)

Alfred has trouble with a stain on Matthew’s coat, but doesn’t know how to remove it. Thomas gives him the wrong advice intentionally, which results in a hole being burned through the cloth.

(“Why are you being friendly? Are you hitting on me?”)

The Countess Grantham is shocked to find that Mrs Levinson thinks that traditional should be scrapped, and big houses like Downton Abbey are a thing of the past. Seemingly, this shows that she will not help the financial woes of the Crawley family.

(Countess Granthem would rather live in a ditch than a smaller house… Wait.)

It’s been busy days at the house, and Mr Carson has been snapping at Mrs Hughes often. He isn’t aware of her condition, and Mrs Hughes forbade Mrs Patmore from revealing it. Mrs Hughes does snap back however, and the two are at a standoff.

(“Mrs Hughes, can I remind you that you are not human, and must work”)

Mary’s plan to get Mrs Levinson to donate money is to throw a big party, where she can demonstrate all of the good points of Downton.

Lady Cora Grantham disagrees with Mary’s plan to ask their grandmother for money, saying that it was this family that got into financial difficulties, and others shouldn’t have to pull them out. Mary however, wants Downton Abey for future generation of her house.

(Mary’s daylight robbery should go well, unless Karma interferes)

Mrs Isabel Crawley has begun working in a shelter for prostitutes, to lead them to a better life. She spots Ethel Parks, a former mid from Downton, who fell on hard times after having an illegitimate baby. Ethel claims to have something to tell Mrs Crawley, but runs away without explaining anything.

(“Nevermind, I’ll come back next episode with more courage”)

After forbidding Sir Anthony to court his middle daughter, Edith is afraid that she will be alone and loveless for the rest of her life. she begs her father to allow them to be together, and eventually Lord Grantham agrees.

(Edith fans are screaming fro their sofas)

Anna visits Mr Bates in prison, where she breaks the news of Downton’s downhill journey. Mr Bates is still having problems with finding witnesses to probe him innocent. As well as that, his cellmate and him do not get along, often threatening each other.

(“I don’t think you’ll be able to ask for your old job back, but we can try…”)

Matthew’s dinner jacket was sent away to be repaired, after Alfred caused a hole, but doesn’t return in time for the dinner party Mary has organised to awe Mrs Levinson.

(Matthew does some exercise to tone his muscle, before making an appearance downstairs)

Thomas finds out that someone, he is not aware it is O’Brien, has hidden Lord Grantham’s shirts. This was in revenge for the prank on Alfred.

(“You hid the shirts. Don’t mess with me…”)

Thomas and Alfred both get in trouble when Matthew and Lord Grantham turn up to the snazzy party in informal dress. To add to the disaster, the oven finally breaks down, just as the guests are arriving.

Alfred is sent to find cold food from the larder. Mrs Levinson’s maid has been eyeing up Alfred for a while, and finally succeeds in making him notice her.

(Alfred was looking for food, but found a girlfriend)

Mrs Levinson, meanwhile, has taken over the traditional party upstairs, and made everything informal. Guests are allowed to sit, or stand, and eat where they please. A piano is added and everyone sings along to songs.

(“Yes, this song is rather jolly.”)

Edith confronts Sir Anthony about his feelings for her. Both feel the equal amount of affection, and decide to marry soon.

(Sir Anthony suggests eloping… by throwing the grandest wedding of all time )

The party ends on a high note, with many of the guests appreciative of how nontraditional it was. Mrs Levinson, though, cannot promise any money to Downton, claiming that her husband tied it away from her, and she has little to no access to it.

(“Next time, we should have a disco. I’m very ahead of my time.”)

Overall, if you want a light story, with much fluff and less characters, then Downton isn’t for you. The cast is large, and seems to be ever-growing and changing. It’s hard to take stock of the multiple storylines that run and often overlap each other.

I loved this episode though. The financial woes of a large house isn’t normally my interest, but the borderline scandals and scheming characters make it very enjoyable.

Mary is showing her shrewd side in this episode, in which she is very similar to the Countess Grantham. Mrs Levinson, turns out a modern forward-facing woman, rather the ratty spoiled woman we met in episode 1.

Will Lord Grantham ever find the money, or will they really have to move to a smaller house? It’s not nail biting anticipation, but I am genuinely curious of how the series moves forward.

Rated 4/5 – Slowpaced drama with good characterisation.

See the next episode!

See the previous episode!

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