Have you heard of Mapperton? No? Really? Well, let Julie Montagu introduce you to it for the thousandth time! Hear ye, Hear ye! Let it be known throughout the kingdom that Mapperton is a magical place of stables and gardens and
struggling gift shops, the hopes of which reside precariously upon the shaky shoulders of the future Sandwich Countess! Er, Countess of Sandwich. Otherwise known as Julie, the unofficial Ladies Of London town crier.
Although Julie is quite impressed with her estate and the aristocratic glitter dust that comes with it, Caroline Stanbury is certainly not – nor is she impressed with those who do pledge allegiance to Julie’s schemes and delusions. Thus, when the ladies visit Mapperton this week, Julie and long time (soon to be former?) friend Adela King are caught in the cross hairs of Caroline’s wrath.
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After the difficult birth of their daughter, Sadie, Marissa Hermer and hubby Matt are enjoying their time at home. Marissa is wondering where home is though, because apparently Matt has dreams of moving to California. Marissa is not down with these plans. She attributes Matt’s desire to “cut and run” to his semi-failing nightclub business and family drama. It’s all taken a toll.
But Marissa has other plans to achieve a new normal. She’s throwing a caviar-laced tea party for the ladies! ALL of the ladies? Hmm.
At Baroness Caroline Fleming’s home, she’s kneading bread (is that challah?) and hosting therapist Caroline Dolby for another session. She must process the Denmark SNAFU
which she totally caused. When she was asked why she was spending so much time in Denmark by the paparazzi, Caroline spilled the beans of her father’s poor health. Now her father’s wife is mad at her about the bad press. (Or what they deem as bad press.) It’s not about the press, though, as Caroline admits her relationship with her family is forever fractured by their long held perceptions of her.
When Caroline got divorced in 2007, her family took sides with her ex, which she thinks was more about money than familial loyalty. She’s been grieving the loss of her father for quite some time, but now that he’s actually in danger of dying, she’ll need to decide whether to hold out hope anymore for reconciliation.
In a cab on their way to Marissa’s, Caroline S allows Caroline F to touch up her makeup. Shocking! They are excited to meet baby Sadie, although Caroline S admits she likes having babies…but then likes letting them “go away for a few years” before engaging with them again. Nice. #MotherOfTheYear
As Sophie Stanbury makes her way to Marissa’s, she gets a call from the very woman herself. And it’s troubling news: Marissa is back in the hospital with Sadie, who woke up listless and gray-ish that morning. Through tears, Marissa expresses her raw fear while Sophie assures her all will be okay – and that she loves her. She then calls Caroline F to deliver the sad news. Both Carolines are troubled to hear about Marissa’s ordeal. It’s every parent’s nightmare. But they do agree to do lunch together before heading home.
Sophie then heads to Julie’s home after giving her the bad news, where they discuss Marissa. Julie is sympathetic – in her typical frenzied way. But when Marissa calls to tell Sophie and Julie that Sadie is showing improvement, Julie stops spinning a bit. They both feel relieved for their friend. Then, like clockwork, Julie instantly makes Marissa’s actual drama her own imaginary drama by whining that not having Marissa at an event makes her life harder! Whah! And everybody already knows how hard Julie’s life already is – what with her crumbling castles and bicycle peddling and amazing balls and tea towel hawking and sensitive person disorder-ing! <eye roll>
Then, in an attempt to prove her loyalty to Julie, Sophie vows that she will never make the mistake of passing gossip between Julie and Caroline S ever again. She doesn’t want to put Julie in a more awkward position. (Does this chick not understand that “awkward position” is Julie’s middle name? Her life is one giant effort in struggling out of said position.) Speaking of awkward, Julie is inviting Caroline S to her weekend “retreat” at Mapperton. Because she’s the bigger person
in her mind.
After the hospital scare, Marissa and Matt walk home processing what happened. “It’s too much, you know?” laments Marissa, breaking down in exhausted tears. Matt assures her that their priority is family, no matter what. Matt wins best husband edit this season, hands down! (Truly, he does seems like a dedicated hubs.)
Time to make the trek to Mapperton! Adela King and Sophie drive together with no idea what’s in store for them. But while they make plans to whoop it up for the weekend, Julie is at Mapperton decidedly whooping it down. Starting with her big plans of toast for their first girls’ breakfast together. Oh wait – apparently eggs and salmon will also be involved. So. There’s that.
Andrew, Julie’s butler, is not just a butler. He’s a butler’s butler, dontchaknow? And he’s polite enough to listen to Julie’s “Lady of the Manor” instructions – or lack thereof – with a smile and a wink. Julie is grateful for his
total leadership help.
In another ill-fated car, Caroline S, Caroline’s makeup artist/constant companion, Luke, Caroline F, and random friend Kim all suffer through listening to Juliet Angus bust out a Mapperton rap. “I hate this trip already,” deadpans Caroline S. They are also very late. For a very important date! At least they are being spared from Adela and Sophie’s fate, which holds them hostage to Julie’s scintillating story of how the moniker of Sandwich came to be. This is a School House Rocks video waiting to happen: How a plebe becomes a sandwich!
Also, there is better food in the car than on the sad little table Julie has laid out before her guests. But when the crew does arrive – three hours late – they are at least served champagne. Caroline S also serves up some truth (at Julie’s prodding): She grew up on an estate much like Mapperton and wants nothing to do with that sort of lifestyle anymore.
Cue Anthea! Gift shop
hater lady, Anthea deigns to take the ladies on a guided tour of the estate. She also decides to tell them about the “ghost room.” Adela is freaked out. Is she supposed to SLEEP in there? No matter! For there are scarier things afoot – like Julie’s new house rules. She doesn’t want to see the same “abominable behavior” from these heifers she bore witness to last time, so she lays down the law. 1) No complaining about the food or passing plates around the table! 2) No smoking on the lawn! 3) Be at dinner, 8 o’clock sharp!
Julie’s all, “It’s MY manor!” on them. Caroline S comments that Julie is turning into her own personal nightmare, snarking later, “Julie, I’m not here for your amusement. You’re here for mine.” She ain’t afraid of no ghost. Or no Lady-come-lately.
But wait – what’s this setup? Only Adela and Sophie are staying at Mapperton overnight? In any case, Caroline S, Luke, Kim, Caroline F, and Juliet are whisked away to a seaside resort for their stay. Maybe the house rules pushed them over the edge? Oh, no. Apparently, Julie chose this hotel for them – which is 30 minutes away. And which Caroline S uses as an excuse to be very (purposely) late to dinner.
As Caroline S and crew arrive two and a half hours late, Julie gets the sinking feeling that her “rules” basically had zero effect. It’s game on. Reveling in her pointed rudeness, Caroline S turns her back on Julie to chat it up with Adela, Juliet, Kim, and Sophie before dinner, while Caroline F is left to act as janitor, sweeping up the shards of Julie’s crushed ego. But Caroline’s ego is being poked a bit now – this time by Adela.
Julie shockingly (or shrewdly?) places Juliet and Caroline S flanking her at dinner. Keeping her enemies close, perhaps? As dinner progresses, Adela notes that Caroline S is increasingly acting like a child – which she definitely is, given her icy silence and side-eye throughout the evening. Julie thought that breaking bread with Juliet and Caroline S would smooth the waters, but she’s not feeling the love reciprocated. Caroline smells bullsh*t. She sees Julie as a braggart who wants to prove she’s above them all.
Sidebar – is Juliet wearing a costume reject from Little House on the Prairie in homage to her really real American-ness? Because home girl looks HIDEOUS.
As Julie lays out plans to go boating the next day, Caroline S says she’s basically not interested. At all. (It’s nearly the first thing she’s said since sitting down to dinner!) Adela is horrified at Caroline’s bad manners. “You are being very spoiled,” she says to her old friend, noting how whiny and petulant Caroline is acting. But Caroline isn’t up for this criticism, nor is she up for Julie’s house rules, which automatically put her off. She wants to escape this life, not relive it with a royal wannabe. Juliet chimes in that this fake aristocratic sh*t is cray-cray, and she’s done with it too! Sigh. Juliet’s role of sidekick must pay well, because she’s taking this act way too seriously this year.
As Caroline F looks on with displeasure at her two friends popping off at the dining room table, Caroline S decides to get into it with Adela, who is putting Caroline on blast for being a brat. “I’m so sick of you, Adela. You really are being a pain in the f–king a$$!” accuses Caroline before storming out of dinner and into the waiting car Luke already has warmed up. After he probably just smoked a contraband cig on the lawn.
Next week previews Julie running after Caroline, but something tells me she is on yet another fool’s errand. These women will never be friends. Maybe a new house rule about not inviting people to dinner who hate you is in order?
TELL US: IS JULIE TOO OVERBEARING WITH HER RULES, OR IS CAROLINE S JUST A SPOILED BRAT? WILL THIS BE A PERMANENT TURNING POINT FOR ADELA AND CAROLINE S?
Photo Credit: Bravo