1912 – Robert, the benevolent Earl of Grantham, owes his wealth to his forward-thinking American wife Lady Cora. Now, to secure a future for his family and estate, he must marry off his three daughters: aristocratic, outspoken Lady Mary, socially conscious young Lady Sibyl and, adopted from America, silent, katana-slicing Lady Michonne.
However, suitors of these womens’ social class – and, it must be said, suitors not shambling the grounds, ravenous for flesh and blood – are few and far between in Year One After the Great Unquiet.
Thomas, a handsome but deviant footman, and Robert’s mother, the Dowager, covertly take the future into their own hands. Craving the company of breathing men who don’t merely want to bite him, Thomas sends word to fellow servant John Bates in prison. Thomas has heard that a band of diverse and formidable group of working-class survivors is garrisoned within. If he can lure them with promises of sanctuary…
Meanwhile, Ethel saves the pudding.
As for the Dowager’s dark secret, Thomas witnesses her commandeering the services of Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Pattimore to make stealthy nightly errands, carrying live chickens to the boarded carriage house doors of Downton Mews.
Meanwhile, love is in the air when the new chauffeur, T-Dog – handsome, well-read, politically aware – encourages Lady Sibyl to voice her conviction for equality for women and the lower classes and wins her heart.
At first, the landed gentry is cool to T-Dog’s Irish heritage, but when he cleans out a horde of snarling biters festering in the church sanctuary, he’s the lauded hero of the annual shooting party and picnic.
Upstairs and downstairs alike, everyone celebrates nostalgia for the old days as they plan a May Wedding!
Meanwhile, Glenn and Maggie get it on.
The wedding day: Thomas, sulking T-Dog’s rocket rise from employee to heir, drunkenly makes romantic overtures to Lady Michonne. She tries to ignore the soggy twit… until he teases her weakness, blurting out the Dowager’s hideous secret! Captive walkers in Downton Mews!
Lady Michonne upends the garden wedding to confront the Dowager, who upstages bride and groom and katana alike to order her extended family not to uncloak her secret. Throughout England, the Lady opines, perhaps even in the rest of the backward world, civilization is in twilight. One by one, we, the aristocracy, fade, becoming animal, becoming savage, becoming walking dead, just like everyone else.
From the Mews, as if on cue, come the moans… the gnashing of teeth… the scraping of brittle nails on old stone.
Soon, Lady Michonne comprehends the horror: the Dowager has penned all of the Unquiet of noble birth – the reanimated corpses of titled gentry, where the stables used to be! Her dream: that her Walker Elite may once more inhabit the great houses of empire.
Lady Michonne races to the carriage houses, breaking down the doors, katana arcing!
Just then, Rick Grimes, a deputy sheriff, and his gang of survivors breach Downton Abbey’s feeble defenses, joining Lady Michonne, T-Dog, Lady Sibyl, Mr. Carson and that Cute Kid From the Kitchen in dispatching the grisly inhabitants of the mews.
Till Mr. Carson wipes the blood and gore from his realizes that the prison gang was followed by a swarm of walkers from the village. Caught between ghouls from both town and country, will the last humans save civilization?
Yes, Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead are both on the DVR – only two shows my wife and I never miss, and always make sure we watch together. Oh, and special thanks to the handsome upper class walker captured digitally in Toronto last year.