The assertive women of Downton Abbey learned their fate. Where did they get this strength of will? It's in their blood.
In the latest episode of PBS' award-winning drama Downton Abbey, we saw how the Crawley women outshine the men in the spunk and will departments.
The Crawley girls have it in their veins. Their parents, Robert and Cora instilled it in them, but it comes straight from Granny, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet.
Lady Mary saves the day.
Thank goodness for Lord Grantham, that his eldest daughter Mary is wired that way.
But for her poking and prodding the situation about husband Matthew's inheritance, Downton would have been lost.
Mary isn't a schemer who lies about her actions. She just acts and lets the consequences unfold. She learned the hard way after her sexual indiscretion of some years earlier.
In this instance she was fighting for her way of life, her father's pride and reputation as well as her future family's comfort.
Had she not and Downton been sold, It also could have put an end to her marriage, which she was holding together in an amazing display of self-restraint.
When Matthew received the "letter from the grave" as it was described in the PBS summary of the program, he wouldn't read it.
Mary read it for him and she discovered that the inheritance, about which he was guilt ridden was coming to Matthew after all the facts were known about his engagement to Lavinia.
Mary convinced him it was safe to accept the fortune and then turn it around for the good of all the Crawleys.
She needed to do some fact checking with the downstairs staff to determine that Lavinia had absolved Matthew of any fault regarding his love for Lady Mary. A very modern woman indeed.
Lady Edith learns that strength of will isn't a cure
Just as steely as sister Mary, Edith's assertiveness finally got her to the altar with Sir Anthony.
But for her taking matters into her own hands with a reluctant fiance', he wouldn't have had the guts to make it to the day of the wedding. Unfortunately it couldn't take him further.
Knowing his father-in-law to be didn't like the match because of Sir Anthony's physical disability and advanced age, he bowed out in the cruelest and weakest way possible.
At the altar he admitted he was skittish from the beginning and that he knew he was dooming Edith to a life she would regret.
In stepped the original steel-spined lady, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
Lady Violet leaped into the fray at the altar, physically separating her grieving and humiliated granddaughter from the man perpetrating the deed.
"Let him go. Let him go. Don't stop him from doing the only sensible thing he's come up with. Don't drag it out. Wish him well and let him go," she implored Edith to allow her to have some sense of pride.
Edith's grief knows no bounds. Her family knows much time will be needed for recovery.
The other modern and assertive woman on the property, Matthew Crawley's mom Isobel believes that giving Edith something to do to benefit others will help her heal. Maybe Edith can join Isobel in the fight to save women driven to prostitution?
Not that it's going so well for any of the women in the program she runs, who mock her behind her back.
Stay tuned as more new episodes of Downton Abbey's third season are aired each Sunday night on PBS at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Image: PBS/Downton Abbey