Lady Edith Put to the Test: “I Don’t Think It’s Working”

Spoiler alert! This concerns the latest episode of Downton Abbey, Season 3: Episode 2. As […]

Matt S / 1.15.13

Spoiler alert! This concerns the latest episode of Downton Abbey, Season 3: Episode 2.

edith cora

As those who have been watching this season of Downton know, this past week, Edith’s big day finally came to be wed to the affable, albeit much older, Sir Anthony Strallan. (“Finally something is going on in this house that’s about me,” Edith says.) The scene I most want to highlight is the emotionally charged one that takes place between Lady Edith and her mother Cora (Lady Grantham). Lady Grantham is trying to comfort her distraught daughter after Edith is left at the altar by Sir Anthony just as their priest began the ceremony, and in front of her family and servants. I’d share a clip of the scene with you if I could find it, but this will have to do:

Cora: You are being tested. And you know what they say my darling: being tested only makes you stronger.

Edith: I don’t think it’s working with me!

Your Ladyship, I know you’re nobility and all, but how about giving poor Edith a long hug rather than a minimizing cliché? Her biggest hope and dream has just been dashed against the rocks.

Perhaps the writers over at Downton Abbey have been taking notes from Conan O’Brien, who remarked of his own very public suffering: “Nietzsche famously said ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ But what he failed to stress is that it almost kills you. Disappointment stings and, for driven, successful people like yourselves it is disorienting.” Edith’s line, for me, is the gem of the latest season so far—perceptively in touch with inner turmoil amidst a world of (falsely) glittering images. You might say Cora has a theology of glory while Edith has one of the Cross.

By the way, have you seen this new site? It’s too ridiculous for its own good.


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5 responses to “Lady Edith Put to the Test: “I Don’t Think It’s Working””

  1. Mark Vruggink says:

    Matt, great insight into this scene! I was also thinking how Lady Cora could not have said a more cruel thing at that moment. The mercy I felt for the character was interrupted by the stern voice of a “theology of glory”.

  2. Matt Schneider says:

    Mark, so good to hear from you. Thanks for chiming in! I was thinking of you yesterday and your testimony of how Downton Abbey has pointed to God’s grace for you in the past. Also I so appreciated your insights on working with popular culture has a potential to reveal our sin and provide a bridge for the Gospel. We should really talk more about this–together and just in general.

  3. Kelly says:

    I just don’t get what Julian Fellowes has against Edith as he is always making a mockery out if her. Also funny how Anthony was an acceptable choice for Mary but when Edith is interested he’s suddenly the absolute worst choice ever. It’s basically a rule for this show if Mary does something it’s alright but if Edith does it is wrong.

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