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

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.

As we predicted, last week’s heartwarming episode was followed by the most depressing hour in Downton history. The estate was plagued by death, injury, and scandal — and there was not a dry eye in our household by the time the credits rolled. Check out who came out on top (spoiler: this is a short list) and who suffered worst on this week’s Downton Abbey, after the jump.

WINNERS

Anna and Bates: We learn early on that these lovebirds have, in fact, gotten married since we last saw them — but there was no fancy church wedding. Tragedy strikes when mean, old Mrs. Bates rears her head at Downton again, but Bates and his new bride come out on top after Mary appeals to Sir Richard to save her from scandal. Of course, the scorned missus still wants her ex-husband’s blood, so he and Anna aren’t entirely in the clear yet.

Dowager Countess: Violet is her usual gangsta self this week, but this time she’s using her powers for good. She works her connections to get William moved from an army hospital to Downton and then bullies the vicar into performing his marriage to Daisy. Finally, bless her soul, the almighty Dowager Countess dissolves into tears at their bedside wedding! “I have a cold,” she explains.

Sir Richard: The wealthy newspaper man is finally on even footing with Mary, now that she’s confessed to her, um, misadventure with Mr. Pamuk and he’s agreed to save her ass. While other suitors might be scandalized, he’s thrilled to no longer feel beholden to her aristocratic family.

Jane: OK, we’re reaching, because this was a week without too much good news. But hey, she got hired despite having kids! Score one for the war widows.

LOSERS

William: Fatally wounded in an attempt to protect Matthew in battle, he dies at Downton after marrying Daisy because he loves her so much he wants her to have his pension. While he certainly meets with a tragic end, he also dies with honor. We cried.

Matthew: Although his prognosis is better than William’s, Captain Crawley is seriously injured after leading his troops into battle. Recovering at the hospital, he learns that not only will he never walk again, but he’s impotent. This is a disaster. He releases Lavinia from their engagement, telling her, “Think of me as dead.”

Lavinia: After overcoming her initial shock at Matthew’s predicament, she insists that sex isn’t important to her and she wants to marry him anyway.

Mary: And who does Lavinia confide in but Mary, this episode’s ultimate good sport? She is by Matthew’s side from the moment he’s carried into the hospital, gently breaking the news about his spinal injury and even holding the basin while he vomits. Then there’s the whole Mrs. Bates/Sir Richard debacle, which she deals with like a total grown-up. Universe, isn’t it time to reward Lady Mary for her endless sacrifices?

Daisy: Not only is William dead, but she’s consumed with guilt over leading him on and then taking his pension. In our opinion, she did a kind thing, but we suppose it’s more complicated than that for religious types.

Ethel: Another disaster. Ethel is now a single mother who can’t find enough work. When she sends poor Mrs. Hughes with a letter for her visiting major, he refuses to read it and even implies that the housekeeper is behaving inappropriately. Nice guy!

Mrs. Bates: At least one of this week’s many downfalls was enjoyable. Who didn’t love watching her fly into a fox-collared rage after learning that Sir Richard deceived her?

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