Cora Crawley and Simon Bricker
Simon Bricker is the curious art historian played by Richard E. Grant, who has featured in the last few episodes of Downton Abbey and is apparently head over heels with Lady Grantham.
In fact, he is so in awe with her that when he first stays at Downton as a houseguest he tells Lady G: “I think everything about Downton is beautiful.” He obviously means Lady G as well.
Lord Grantham thinks that Bricker is flirting with his prized pet dog Isis and gets annoyed and tells Cora to tell her friend Simon to stop flirting with Isis.
In another scene, as Cora (played by Elizabeth McGovern) looked up as they strolled the still castling street: “Oh yes, Mr Bricker! I spent my first season in Newport dancing under the romantic gazes of Sargent’s portraits. Seeing some of his best work took me back!”
Simon Bricker slightly touches Cora’s arm, “His work is brilliant, of course but I dare say he is remiss in one thing.”
“Oh, and why is that?” she asked politely.
“He never painted you. It would have been his piece de resistance, surely!”
Cora laughed awkwardly and looked at her feet, a blush spreading over her cheeks. She could feel his intense gaze upon her.
In last Sunday night’s episode Cora is out for dinner with Bricker, not knowing that Robert had come to London at the last minute intending to have dinner with his wife. Robert, aka Lord Grantham, is crestfallen and angry when she returns to the flat where he is waiting alone on the sofa. Although nothing happened between Bricker and Cora – not even a peck on the cheek – Robert is incandescent with rage and when Cora pleads that she was talking “art” with Bricker, Robert implies that she knows little about the subject.
He had forgotten quickly that it was the “della Francesca” that Bricker had come to Downton to examine.
On another romantic front, there could be a romance between Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) and Isobel Crawley (played by Penelope Wilton) despite
Maggie Smith’s (Dowager Countess) best efforts to muddle in the middle of it all.
As for how Isobel’s feeling about being the “quarry” in this particular hunt, she seems to be leaning toward turning down her suitor even if the Dowager wasn’t meddling.
But should Lord Merton decide to propose, I think it would be more for companionship and there don’t seem to be any other parties involved.
But what is more worrying however, is Simon Bricker and Cora Crawley’s friendship – and how that develops in the coming episodes.
Week after week, I wonder what it would be like if a couples counsellor or marital therapist were around the corner so that Robert and Cora would be able to go for weekly therapy sessions and talk things through.
I was rather uncomfortable when I watched him “bark” at her and put her down; however, later in the episode she was able to hit back at him, although it wasn’t done in private and in the earshot of others in the room.
There are many couples in the series that could benefit from counselling, and I keep, week after week, thinking to myself “If only….”