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Friday, 14 August 2015

Downton Jihadi - episode 5...

 Previously on Downton Jihadi...

Sybil informs Gwenda that she has applied for a position at the Daily Telegraph on Gwenda’s behalf. Gwenda is thrilled to discover she has an interview and fakes a head wound in order to sneak out of the house. Sybil takes the governess cart and together with Gwen speeds off towards the town, tomato ketchup streaming from the roll of bath towel she has unconvincingly wrapped around her forehead. Although the interview goes well - they're impressed with her until she makes the silly mistake of mentioning the well-known editor who had resigned over the, as he saw it, alarming degree of influence wielded over content by the paper's advertisers. Having resigned, he wrote a damning opinion piece about the matter for a rival publication. Incensed, the Telegraph's owners described the piece as 'ridiculous - an incoherent conflation of the self-justifying, the bigoted and the biased, completely devoid of truth, evidence or accuracy - in short, exactly the kind of journalism that made him such a fabulous Telegraph contributor.' The interview over, the pair run into problems on their return journey when they are denied entry into a compartment on the train - they are told it's against the railroad's regulations to bring a governess cart onto a mainline commuter service. They have to walk the governess and her cart the rest of the way home and, with the family worrying about Sybil’s whereabouts, they arrive at Downton late, wet, covered in sticky red condiment and miserable.

Daisy is unable to get over what she witnessed on the night of Pamuk’s death. 'Psycho' is just one of those films that stays with you, I suppose. Like 'Honey, I shrunk the kids'. Edna O‘Brien-O'Edna-O'Brien O'Edna and Thomas suspect that the girl knows something. When questioned, she replies Le Paz, which is indeed the highest airport above sea level in the world. O’Brien-O'Edna deliberately hints to Edith that Daisy is hiding what she knows and that it may be harmful to Mary. This indeed turns out to the case. When asked 'What is the nickname of Association Football team West Ham United? She eventually gives up her ridiculous attempts at concealment and replies, 'The Hammers'.

In the village hall, they are preparing for the summer flour show. Isobel learns that Violet always wins the Grantham Cup for Best Wholemeal , despite Molesley’s father, Bill, growing the best self-raising. Violet denies that any outside influence is ever brought to bear but Isobel isn’t convinced but it all becomes a moot point anyway when Bill is discovered pouring a fresh bag of MacDougall's into his pestle.

Cora informs Robert of a rumour going round London questioning Mary’s virtue - she has none whatsoever, people are saying. Who could be spreading it? And what kind of man spreads things on a woman who patently has no virtue whatsoever? A pervert?? Surely not Evelyn Nappier-Rash? Although he was spotted leaving Mary's bedroom bearing a tub of Bovril and a spatula just the other evening. Cora wants Mary married so she suggests a local landowner, Sir Anthony Strallan. Robert Peston is unconvinced. Call him old fashioned, but if there's any marrying to be done around here, surely it's best left to the local priest or vicar? Or Imam? Strallan is too old and stuffy, so maybe there's still hope for him if he can do a crash course in theology and pull a few strings to get a stipend somewhere local. Mary rejects the plan. She tells Cora to concentrate on Edith’s martial art prospects, as she needs all the help she can get with her ju-jitsu. Edith is listening, which is a start, but she'll need to do more than just cop an ear when the blows start raining down on her torso.

Mrs Patmore seems fretful. Nothing is right, and Mrs Hughes notes to Carson that Daisy is bearing the brunt. At least, she hopes that's what she said. Her increasingly erratic hearing and advanced cognitive impairment have led to several highly embarrassing exchanges of late. Cora has the recipe for a pudding that she’d like to give to Sir Anthony. Sir Anthony, a complete botcher when it comes to anything cullinary, would much rather she just baked the ruddy thing herself and just gave him the pudding. Mrs. Patmore will have none of it and shouts at Daisy when she suggests she could read the new recipe to her. However, later, as pudding is served, Sir Anthony splutters in disgust. The whole thing is covered with salt instead of sugar - I told you he was a botcher, a ban-jaxed bollocks of a cack-handed clot when it comes to anything to do with the kitchen. Mrs Patmore is quick to blame Daisy but when she is alone with Carson, she confesses she thinks she’s going blind. Carson reveals this to Mrs. Hughes and although she sympathises, she makes it known that this behaviour cannot continue.

Thomas is almost caught stealing wine by Bates and when Thomas’s bullying of William continues, he has now progressed to episodically beheading him having drawn a dotted line around his neck during the last crucifiction and is now hacking away at the dots every so often with a special mail order scimitar he saw advertised in the Downton Gazette, the boy has an ally in Bates who foolishly hints to Thomas that he might reveal the latter’s stealing of the wine to Mr. Carson. He never would, but Thomas looks to O’Brien for help and they embroil a naive Daisy into their plan.

One of Robert Peston’s snuff boxes has gone missing and Carson rounds up the servants, dresses them in demeaning orange boiler suits and has them incarcerated in a Cuban prison camp without even the courtesy of a trial. Anna realises that Thomas and O’Brien O'Edna are involved - they have been secretly dying the boiler suits orange for years and desperately hoping for a cataclysmic event such as the disappearance of a snuff box to act as justification for an aggresively expansionist foreign policy and the suspension of Habeus Corpus. She warns Bates and sure enough he finds the missing box has been planted in his room along with a 'dodgy dossier' based on a thoroughly inaccurate failed Ph.D thesis that attempts to prove that the servants have also been using the snuff box to conceal chemical weapons. But, although he enjoys watching O’Brien and Thomas fret when Carson demands a room search, in the end he replaces it without giving them away in the vain hope that this clemency will be enough to deter Thomas from crucifying him. Anna tells Bates how she feels about him - he makes her skin crawl, but she finds the sensation strangely arousing - but he cannot allow himself to respond. Something in his past is preventing him, quite possibly a historic bout of lumbago which makes any form of sexual intimacy acutely painful and prone to flatulence.

( be dis-continued....)

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