Downton Abbey recap: Anna And The Footman

Fancy English people arrive at Downton for a house party; Anna is attacked by one of the visiting footmen
Ep. 02 | Aired Jan 12, 2014

UGH This is Bates warning Anna about Mr. Green -- he's not sure why, he just has a feeling.

PBS

To start this bluntly, Anna gets raped during the Crawley's Gosford Park-style house party. It's difficult to watch, and even more difficult to write about.

Here are the facts. Anna is friendly to her would-be rapist Mr. Green -- Lord Gillingham's footman valet. [Ed note: I'm such an idiot. He's a valet, not a footman.) She laughs at his jokes. She plays his silly card game. Meanwhile, a clearly jealous Bates helpfully mansplains to Anna that Green is no good (despite Bates' lack of evidence for this conclusion). And yet, his suspicions are justified when -- during Nellie Melba's performance upstairs -- Green follows Anna downstairs and rapes her, her screams poetically drowned out by the operatic high notes.

The dialogue leading up to the rape sounds like it comes straight from Robin Thicke's mouth.

"You look to me like you could use a bit of real fun for once. Is that what you want?" Mr. Green says.

"What I want is to go back upstairs," Anna replies.

"You're not telling me that poor old cripple keeps you happy," Green snarls.

"If you must know, yes. He keeps me very happy. Now let me by, please," Anna pleads.

"Perhaps you've forgotten what you're missing," Green adds.  And then…

As Green violently assaults Anna, Dame Melba sings "O Mio Babbino Caro." The aria from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi details the struggle the Lauretta has with her family and the family of the boy she loves, which threatens to tear the young lovers a part. A little foreshadowing for Anna and Bates' relationship, perhaps?

Mrs. Hughes finds Anna, helps her into a new dress, and encourages her to tell her husband what happened. Anna forces the housekeeper into one of those impossible to keep promises to keep everything a secret. Will Mrs. Hughes do the right thing? Time will tell.

At the end of the night, Bates finds his wife with a bloodied face and a new dress. He wonders what happened. Anna explains she fainted and hit her head. She shies away from him when he tries to touch her, and grits her way through a good night to Mr. Green when the footman valet engages with the married couple.

Apparently, this is the episode of sexual assault.  The horrid Edna gives Tom a glass of whiskey. She later goes up to (what I assume is) his room, and asks him if he's still awake. She walks in and closes the door. This can't be good.

What can be said about the rest of the hour, which is decidedly more lighthearted than the Anna storyline? Mary has a new, unexpected suitor in Lord Gillingham. Robert is still a snob. Edith tries to force her father and SASYB together. Poker is played, and Robert loses a lot of money. (Did we expect anything more from him?) Gregson wins the money back from Sampson, the guest who had been fleecing all the others at the card game by cheating. Aside from his interactions with Edna, Tom tries to fit in with the uppity guests at Downton, and feels like he let Robert and the Crawleys down when he can't.

Highjinks ensue downstairs. Jimmy hurts himself showing off for Ivy, prompting Molesley to fill in during the house party. When a crazed Mrs. Patmore takes ill with what can only be described as a panic attack, Alfred offers to cook the sauces for the dinner.

Random thoughts:

The Duchess whom Tom struggles to talk to -- who shares a nice moment with Branson nonetheless -- played Mrs. Gardiner in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice!

According to Downton, it's card sharp -- not card shark, a debate I've had for years.

Robert and Cora discuss the possibility of SASYB marrying Edith. Do they not realize that he's married? A crazy wife is a wife, nonetheless.

Anna and Bates had a happy season three, following all the time Bates spent in prison in season 2. It must be time to make them unhappy again.

NEXT: The weekly rankings and the Dowager's best lines.


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