TV: Downton Abbey S3 – Episode 4 Summary + Review

“Beauty Pageant at Downton Abbey”

(“No I have not been crying my eyes out….Why?”)

Airing on: ITV

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

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

From the previous episode, Anna has lost communication with Mr Bates for weeks. when her letters don’t receive a reply, she begins to worry that he may be trying to end their relationship.

Warning! May contain spoilers!




Edith is comforted by Countess Grantham about her wedding. Edith is recommended to find some hobby to occupy her mind.

(Knitting is a great way to start off spinster-hood)

Ethel meets with Mrs Hughes and Mrs Crawley about her state of poverty, and the decision to meet with her son’s grandparents.

(“When shall we three meet again…”)

A dinner at the Downton Abbey is interrupted late at night, and Tom makes at appearance. He is on the run from police after he was at an arsoning of an aristocratic house. Abandoning Sybil, who will the decoy, he made his escape to England.

Lord Grantham is furious at his leaving of Sybil, particularly as she is without food and shelter, and is pregnant.

(“I gave her some bus fair, she’ll be fine…”)

A new footman is hired by Mr Carson, who catches the eyes of the maids, as well as Thomas’s.

(“Am I the only one standing in the Handsome Line?”)

After refusing an offer for money, Ethel gives up her son to be raised by his grandparents in far better situations than she can provide.

(“I might come back in the series, Mommy….”)

Mr Bates finds out the reason he hasn’t been receiving letters is because he is under scrutiny from the prison guards. His roommate has spread rumours about his keeping substances in his room.

Mr Bates plans to have his cellmate framed for the same reason, and the plan is pulled off successfully.

(Just when you’ve got your bed the way you like it, prison guards mess it up)

Sybil arrives in the morning after an exhausting journey, and both husband and wife are wanted by the police. Lord Grantham is forced to go to London to clear matters, and returns with the condition that Tom must never enter Ireland again, or he will be arrested.

Sybil and Tom’s baby will have to be born and raised in England, which Tom finds frustrating.

(Sybil is fine, now everyone can move on)

James, the new footman, is introduced to the rest of the household. He seems to be a likable character,  but uses his looks to get at higher positions.

Only Daisy defends Alfred when James is bumped into first footman position.

(Everyone approves of the new eye candy.)

Edith sent off a letter to the national newspaper voicing her opinions about women’s rights. Despite not being a journalist, she manages to secure space for her letter, and is pleased at having accomplished something.

(“The newspaper likes me! It really, really likes me!”)

Daisy is about to confess her feelings for Alfred, when Mrs Patmore interrupts with the arrival of a new kitchen maid. Ivy Stuart, the new maid is very bright and polished looking, and immediately secures Alfred’s attention, much to Daisy’s dismay.

(“Daisy, here’s your competition. Good luck.”)

Matthew Crawley confides in Countess Grantham that he plans on changing aspects of Downton’s management.

(Matthew is worried Mary will run away with the new footman)

Now that the suspicion has been lifted from Mr Bates, he finally receives the letters from Anna, and vice versa. The two read the letters with emotion.

(The Adventures of Anna in Downton Abbey were very interesting to read)

Overall, only Ethel’s heartfelt separation from her son had emotion. The rest of the sub-arcs were very insubstantial and lacked depth of emotion.

The addition of the new “handsome” footman and “pretty” kitchen maid added next to nothing to the staff. In fact, the leering that started as soon as someone pretty walked through the door was creepy.

Thomas’s expressions were meant to convey appreciation for a handsome face, but came across as sinister and creepy. James should have run a mile.

Edith, once again, becomes a great spokesperson for women’s rights. It’s been shown in the previous series that she was willing to put aside driving conventions (women learning to drive), and social class boundaries (affair with a farmer), but does she really have to be a suffragette too…?

Mrs Crawley is incredibly annoying as a self-righteous person that wants to retrain all prostitutes. It’s a worthy cause, but her tone of voice strikes me as very unsympathetic. It’s almost like she believes women are prostitutes, because they are too lazy to be anything else.

Hopefully the next episode will be meatier.

Rated 3.5/5 – Slightly superficial, but still entertaining.

See the next episode!

See the previous episode!

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