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.
What served as the American Season 2 finale but is actually the British Christmas special aired last night, and we spent most of it thinking Julian Fellowes was a masochist for forcing his UK viewers to watch something so depressing on a holiday that’s supposed to be joyful. Downton Abbey redeemed itself in the end, though — and we’ll explain why after the jump.
Matthew and Mary: Things start off rough for Captain Crawley, who gets into a brawl with Sir Richard over Mary. Her plans, meanwhile, are to dump her awful fiancé and slip off to America to let the inevitable scandal pass, with her father’s blessing. But by the end of the episode, Matthew proposes in the snow and she forces him to do it properly and he does and… VIEWER, SHE IS MARRYING HIM. If that didn’t make your week, then why are you even watching Downton Abbey?
Sybil and Branson: They don’t even appear in the Christmas special, but we hear they’ve married, and now Sybil’s got a baby on the way. Mazel tov, kids!
Daisy: Sweet, mildly stupid Daisy is frustrated with her role in the kitchen. But then she reluctantly goes to visit William’s father and gains the parent she never had. Adorable! Plus, he gives Daisy some good advice, and Mrs. Patmore seems open to promoting her.
Lord Grantham: The man of the estate didn’t have an easy week — he had to endure Bates’ trial, in which he was forced to incriminate his trusted valet, and found out that his daughter had schtupped a visiting Turk to death. In the end, though, Grantham rallied, supporting Mary despite her misadventure and receiving the good news that Bates’ death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.
Thomas: He’s back in the footman routine, and Carson informs him that Lord Grantham isn’t keen on having Thomas as a replacement valet. So our man does an incredibly stupid thing, locking the family dog in a shed and planning to find her as soon as the Crawleys notice she’s lost. The plan backfires, but Thomas comes out on top anyway, returning to Downton disheveled after hours of searching for Isis and earning Grantham’s respect.
Dowager Countess: She was right about Hepworth, because she is right about everything. And she will be so thrilled to learn of Mary and Matthew’s engagement! For those that have been keeping track, as we predicted, Violet is the only cast member to show up on the “Winners” list for the entire season. Gangsta!
Bates: Convicted of murder, Bates is sentenced to death. It’s encouraging that his sentence has been reduced to life in prison, especially since that will give his lawyers the chance to appeal, but it’s hardly enough to drag this convict out of the loser pile.
Anna: Again, there were some small triumphs for our favorite maid this week. After Bates’ conviction, she gives notice and plans to accompany Mary to the US, but now that he’s still got a shot at freedom, she’s staying at Downton. But her man’s still in jail, making this a pretty unhappy week for Anna.
Mrs. Hughes: It’s a crap episode for the housekeeper, too, who’s forced to testify against Bates and feels terribly guilty afterward.
Marigold: In case you didn’t catch it, that’s the name of Lady Rosamund’s terrible maid, who does nothing but stir up trouble. First, she’s sowing seeds of restlessness in poor Daisy, and then she’s casting aspersions on Bates’ innocence. For a grand finale, she’s caught in bed with Lord Hepworth and dismissed on the spot. Good riddance!
Lord Hepworth: Although he pretended to be an honest fortune hunter, he turned out to be a lying fortune hunter. Big surprise. He’s on the next train out of Downton, too.
Rosamund: This poor lady. Someone find her a lovely a husband who truly loves her, or else just sit her down and explain that in 50 years someone will come up with the slogan, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Edith: She’s reunited with Sir Anthony Strallan, and things are looking up for a minute, but then he shoos her away with the excuse that he’s too old. So, Edith is a loser in this episode, but we’re sure there’s a good reason for Sir Anthony’s return.