Obviously, this does not go so well and it makes for a very interesting conversation on class. Matthew does not like having a valet--what is the point when he is perfectly capable of dressing himself? Matthew takes a job--a job!--to the displeasure of the whole family. (Very telling line, Maggie Smith aka the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey: What is a weekend?) His mother is more open to the idea of inheriting both a title and a fortune, but she is not the gold-digging schemer you might think. She is a war nurse and wants to make the world a better place. Also, she is every bit a match for Maggie Smith's character, who is very opposed to Matthew (a third cousin, once removed!) inheriting Downton Abbey.
The servants struggle to acclimate to this new presence as well. One scene I particularly enjoyed is when Cora, the Countess and American wife of the Earl (the one with the money now tied to the estate) walks in on a servant speaking of how Matthew is not fit to be an Earl. The Lady's Maid is not a particularly likeable character (she kicks Bates's cane out from under him in the first episode), but this scene gave me a lot of sympathy for her. She had taken the class system to heart and felt like she was defending her mistress, but her mistress--in front of all of the house staff--formally rebukes her for not respecting Matthew. Keep in mind that Cora herself does not respect Matthew, so she is basically putting the maid in her place for not realizing that she is waaaaaaaay down at the bottom of the totem pole. Then there is some conversation about whether they should be able to have their own opinions, especially since they were seated in the servant's quarters.
But just in case you thought this episode got smart and forgot the drama... there is plenty. Mary does not want to marry Matthew, even though her mother and grandmother are pushing the idea on her. Daisy, the lovable kitchen maid, fawns after Thomas (the gay footman with ambitions to be more), while William, the more likable footman fawns after her. We also get to see Carson, the very strict and uptight Butler, deal with some very hilarious drama from his past.
|Thomas, still attractive, but a little less scheming... for now.|