The Downton Abbey movie may be September's guiltiest pleasure at the box office. Fans of the series love the characters, their costumes, their props. It's as much about luxuriating in a time gone by when the landed gentry were still holding on to estates by their fingertips. Soon World War II would come and sweep many of them away for good. But for now, the drama of this period piece comes from the tension of the home, which is also a workplace. As the new Downton Abbey movie clip shows, no one who works there likes receiving a demotion.
But unfortunately, that seems to have been a necessity, at least for the moment. As the trailers keep reminding viewers, the King and Queen are coming to Downton. The household needs to get in tiptop shape for the event. But unfortunately, the Royal Butler, (David Haig) and the Royal Chef (Philippe Spall) have looked over the household ahead of the royal arrival and found none of it up to snuff. Time to call in backup.
For Lady Mary Crawley, that means begging Mr. Carson, the now-retired butler, to come back and help out by applying the calm and discipline he was known for. But bringing him back means displacing the current owner of that position, Thomas Barrow.
As fans will remember, the mercurial Barrow doesn't like to feel like he's second banana. In this clip, he takes the return of Carson exactly as well as would be expected.
This is unfortunate, as the Crawleys don't want to displace Barrow. It's just that with royalty coming, their backs are against the wall. A visit with the King and Queen, if successful, could help the Downton estate for years to come. And as Barrow's dramatics over the plumbing show, he doesn't have the unflappable demeanor to get through this. Carson, on the other hand, immediately goes back to the basics, proving he is the right man for this particular emergency.
The question is, how badly will Barrow take this? Obviously, he's not happy. But the last thing anyone needs is for his vindictive side to come out again. It's a quandary Lady Mary and the Earl will have to struggle to fix. If they can't, they may find when the King and Queen leave, and Carson goes back into retirement, they won't have any butler at all.
As for the other drama of the royal visit, the real question is if the staff can pull together and carry it off. One can only imagine exactly how badly Mrs. Patmore and Daisy are going to take finding themselves under the dictatorship of the Royal Chef. And though Carson may know how to smooth over the ruffled feathers of his long-time employers, one has the sense his response to the Royal Butler may not be quite as calming.
Fans can't wait to see how the Granthams pull off hosting such a grand royal visit. The Downton Abbey movie opens in theaters on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.