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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coming up on Downton Abbey

Mary (Michelle Dockery) gets knocked on the head during a fox hunt and develops amnesia, eventually getting a job as "The Thin Woman," in a traveling sideshow.  Matthew (Dan Stevens) searches valiantly for his wife, but is hampered by Mary's mother (Shirley MacClain) who suffers from chronic overacting.  Mathew and Mary are reunited, but moments later, Matthew dies, succumbing to fatally toxic levels of smug self-righteousness in his bloodstream.  Meanwhile, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) says something dry and sardonic, sniffs haughtily, and makes a comically sour face.

John Bates (Brendan Coyle) manages to escape from prison by bluffing dim-witted guards with a gun carved out of a potato (the bullets were carved out of green peas) unaware that his beloved Anna (Joanne Froggatt) has found conclusive proof that not only did Bate's deceased wife deliberately poison herself, she isn't even really deceased, and that moreover, she's not a woman.  The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) says something comic and haughty, sniffs dryly, and makes a sardonically sour face.

As this is going on, below stairs the evil O'Brian (Siobhan Finneran) and the erstwhile partner of her schemes Thomas (Rob James-Collier) continue their personal vendettas against each other.  Thomas manages to sneak a deadly black mamba snake into O'Brian's bathtub, which bites the lady's maid as she is shaving her bunions.  The snake dies.  The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) says something sour and comic, sniffs sardonically, and makes a dry, haughty face.

Meanwhile the middle daughter Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) is killed by an exploding scone planted by Irish radicals.  Seeking to bring his wife's murderers to justice, Tom Branson (Allen Leech) seeks out the Irish guerrilla fighters, but owing to a misunderstanding, winds up among a band of Irish gorillas, whose very existence was unsuspected by all but the most imaginative naturalists.  He is held captive by the head gorilla who wishes to be taught to use silver and wear a morning coat so that he can fit into polite society.  At the news of this the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) says something sniffly, sours with sardonic commentary, and faces haughtily.

Middle daugher Edith (Laura Carmichael) still unable to find a potential husband, mopes.

The widowed Mary returns to Downton to discover that Pemal Pamuk, whose sudden death in Mary's bed during the first season threatened the family with scandal, is back, that he had faked not only his death but his orgasm.  Also, Matthew's mother Isobel (Penelope Wilton) believing Mary to be dead, had cloned her, and now the clone, hiding somewhere on the estate, is attempting to assassinate the original Mary and take her place, but since she's using Bates' gun, she doesn't have any ammunition more effective than green peas.

At the end of the season Barney (Ruffles) the dog whose hindquarters the camera follows at the opening credits, wakes up, and we learn this has all been a canine nightmare, brought on by eating salted herring.  Learning of this, the haughty Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith), sardonically dries out and says "F'shizzel."

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