The second episode of the UK’s favourite period drama gets down to the business of war. There are great changes afoot. Sybil inadvertently admits to Branson that she could never go back to her previous life after taking up nursing. The lid is off Edith as she goes to help at the local farm – naively getting herself into far more trouble than is befitting of a lady.
Meanwhile Mary is sticking to the traditional role of marrying well and doesn’t even get very far ahead with that. Introducing Sir Richard Carlisle to the family, he as much admits that his aims are social advancement rather than love. Lady Rosamund Painswick discusses the issue with the Dowager Countess of Grantham explaining that her own marriage of convenience worked perfectly well. The Dowager Countess reminds her that “Marmaduke was the grandson of a manufacturer”, Lady Painswick retorts, “His mother was the daughter of a baronet”, Violet cuts to the chase with characteristic wit, “Maybe, but they were no great threat to the Plantagenets”.
As the sweeping changes of war begin to alter life around Downton, Major Clarkson is forced to pull his weight against the insidious demands of the Countess and Isobel allows the unthinkable to be considered as bed pressures at the hospital reach fever pitch. Could Downton Abbey be converted into convalescence home for injured soldiers? The Dowager Countess thinks certainly not and she is abruptly put in her place by the Countess.
The battle of the matriarchs has begun with access to money, property and control in short supply. The Earl of Grantham’s nose is similarly out of joint as he struggles to find a useful place in proceedings. He is unable to fight, but is able to use his connections to help find some information for Mrs Patmore.
William has joined up and the only footmen available are ailing as shell shock and overwork diminish the male staff. Another unthinkable prospect rears its head – could dinner at Downton be served by the maids?
Downton Abbey Season 2 Episode 2 airs on ITV1 in the UK on Sunday 25th September 2011, at 9pm BST.
- Lady Rosamund Painswick played by Samantha Bond
- Earl of Grantham, Robert played by Hugh Bonneville
- Lavinia Swire played by Zoe Boyle
- Lady Sybil Crawley played by Jessica Brown Findlay
- Lady Edith Crawley played by Laura Carmichael
- Mr Carson played by Jim Carter
- John Bates played by Brendan Coyle
- Lady Mary Crawley played by Michelle Dockery
- Molesley played by Kevin Doyle
- Vera Bates played by Maria Doyle Kennedy
- Sarah O’Brien played by Siobhan Finneran
- Anna Smith played by Joanne Froggatt
- William Mason played by Thomas Howes
- Thomas Barrow played by Rob James-Collier
- Tom Branson played by Allen Leech
- Mrs Hughes played by Phyllis Logan
- Andrew Lang played by Cal Macaninch
- Countess of Grantham, Cora played by Elizabeth McGovern
- Daisy Robinson played by Sophie McShera
- Mrs Patmore played by Lesley Nicol
- Ethel Parks played by Amy Nuttall
- Doctor Clarkson played by David Robb
- Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet played by Maggie Smith
- Matthew Crawley played by Dan Stevens
- Isobel Crawley played by Penelope Wilton
Written and created by Julian Fellowes
Executive Producers: Gareth Neame, Julian Fellowes
Producer: Liz Trubridge
Line Producer: Charles Hubbard
Director: Ashley Pearce