I finally got around to watching Downton Abbey’s first episode of Series 4 and here are my two cents on the Nanny West plot. Though it’s actually more an angry rant, so please excuse that.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that Thomas got pissed off at Nanny West bossing him around.
Not only had the woman the audacity to neglect Sybbie, mistreat her (holding back the eggs when Sybbie seems to like them) and even call her a wicked girl (and even worse: ‘crossbreed’ as if she was a mule) just because her father happened to be a chauffeur and not the heir to the estate, but she also kept Isobel from seeing her grandson! Probably also because Isobel happens to be a member of the middle class and not the aristocracy. And you can see how shaken Isobel is by not being able to see her son’s little boy when the family told her that she can always come, no matter when, and just see him. She looks away from Carson as if to will away her tears. … Oh, I hate that Nanny.
Seriously. I liked Thomas before, because he is such a got villain and his character is developed so finely. But he also won’t take any shit when you mess with Sybbie.
Like Carson said: Every butler has his favourite. And for Thomas it is the little daughter of the young woman who served in the hospital beside him during the war, who became his friend and who was always kind to him. He mourned her death and you can see that he cherishes her daughter.
So no, it wasn’t a good idea to mess with the girl.
You might argue he only did that to spite Nanny West because she gave him orders, and it certainly played a big part, especially in the beginning. But you can see his behaviour change. When he watches Nanny closely as she brings in the children to see Tom and Mary and the way she holds on to Sybbie’s hand he appears to be conspicious (And the fact that the tea is late in the first place. Thomas deliberately served it later so he could be there when she brought the children). He picks up on something being wrong but he doesn’t know how wrong. And then you can see it getting more personal for him later when he asks her “and beside that, why can’t Miss Sybil have an egg to her tea?”
He takes an interest in the girl right there. He wonders why she can’t have what she probably really likes to eat and he did not pass the order on to both mess with Nanny and to let the girl get what she wants. Had Nanny answered the question with a good answer, that maybe Sybbie gets sick from it or too many eggs aren’t good, he’d still have messed with her, but maybe hadn’t voiced his concerns about her to Cora.
Though he might have just to mess with her. And the moment Cora had seen Nanny take good care of both the children she would have let it slide with no consequences and thought of her underbutler as just being concerned. But she found Nanny misreating Sybbie. Calling her a chauffeur’s daughter when she clearly is so much more than that. She is Sybil’s daughter. Cora’s first grandchild. She loves the girl just so much. And hearing her beloved grandchild being called a wicked little crossbreed – damn I just wanted to punch Nanny in the face in that moment – of course made her explode and sack her immediately. And boy, what a bamf moment.
It makes Thomas look like a hero - and a very smug one for that (Bates was so pissed off by it :D) – but it shows one important thing: There are people Thomas cares about. Cares about most fervently. And no one should mess with them because if they do, he will go and, excuse my klatchian, fuck them up.