‘Downton Abbey’: This Week’s Winners and Losers

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Time to brew the tea and pop the popcorn — it’s Season 2 of Britain’s beloved Downton Abbey! The men (well, except for the rich ones) are fighting, the women are pining (and becoming independent), and much of the show’s relentless intra-Downton intrigue has given way to the human drama of life during wartime. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s pulling together for the common good. So, in the spirit of class-conscious competition and self-interested jockeying for position, we’re declaring winners and losers for each episode of Downton Abbey. See where your favorite characters stand two installments in after the jump.

WINNERS

Thomas: Not only did the scheming footman-turned-corporal allow O’Brien to talk him into managing Downton, but he was promoted to acting sergeant for his trouble.

Dowager Countess Violet: Oh, she’s not thrilled about housing convalescent officers and her scheme to lose Lavinia eventually failed. But Maggie Smith still got the best line of the episode (“You sound like Robespierre lopping off the head of Marie Antoinette”), which is good enough to cement her place on the winners list.

Isobel: Mama Crawley has more power than ever at Downton Abbey, even if she does have to share it with Lady Grantham.

Anna: Upon hearing that Bates is working in a nearby bar, she visits him — and learns that they still have a future together.

Bates: After discovering that his wife has been unfaithful, he has all the evidence he needs for a divorce. As long as he can keep her from spreading scandal, his wonderful life with Anna is back on.

Edith: Although she “feels like a spare part” after being dismissed from her farm-driver/husband-kisser gig, Edith finds her place caring for convalescents at Downton — and is recognized by the general for her efforts.

O’Brien: Look who appears to have grown a soul! (Or has she?)

Lady Grantham: She seems to see retaining partial authority over her household as a victory.

Ethel: At least someone’s enjoying having soldiers at the estate.

William: He’s engaged to Daisy, and as far as he can tell, she’s thrilled about it. Meanwhile, the general is commending him, and Lord Grantham is looking out for the poor, simple boy by setting him up as Matthew’s servant.

LOSERS

Branson: Hoo boy! You’re ruled unfit to go to war, so you decide your big political statement is going to be dumping a vat of poop on a general’s head? And you don’t even succeed at that?

Lang: The ex-soldier’s PTSD flares up in a big way, causing him to make a big scene in front of the general and be sent on his miserable way.

Lavinia: She’s forced to explain a past scandal to Mary, and although she makes it out unscathed this time, it’s likely to come back to bite her before the season’s over.

Mary: Oh, sure, she wasn’t very nice, but Season 1 Mary would have ruined Lavinia and reclaimed Matthew when she had the chance. Season 2 Mary is no fun at all.

Mrs. Patmore: The cook confides in Lang about her nephew, who was supposedly shot for cowardice, and he uses this knowledge to publicly humiliate her.

Carson: He isn’t thrilled, to say the least, to have Thomas back at Downton and in a position of power.

Lord Grantham: Not even his reading room is safe from the cursed ping-pong balls of convalescing officers.

Daisy: Acting under Mrs. Patmore’s orders, she (sort of) agrees to marry Matthew, but plans to call off the engagement when the war is over. Unfortunately for Daisy, he just can’t wait another moment to tie the knot.