Sad though it was, we all knew Lang wouldn’t be long for the Downton world. As I predicted last week, the arrival of so many convalescent soldiers pushed the shell-shocked valet right over the edge, inducing increased clumsiness, night terrors, and finally a full-on public breakdown. Tragically for Lang, PTSD was poorly understood at the time and virtually untreated (too bad canine therapy was many decades in the future—Isis the Downton dog would have been perfect). Like many others in his situation, he was sent on his way with a good reference and two months’ wages to face a highly uncertain future—the vast majority of those with PTSD are suceptible to other psychiatric disorders, including major depression, and are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. Hopefully Lang will manage to pull himself together and live a semi-normal life; I doubt we’ll ever get a difinitive answer regarding his future.
While we’re on the subject of mental health issues—what’s up with O’Brien? This woman’s all over the map, showing kindness and sympathy for Lang but none for other soldiers, holding a grudge against Bates for absolutely no reason at all, manipulating her mistress at every turn. Does she have some sort of personality disorder, another mental health issue or is she just a rather poorly written character? I’d love to have your thoughts.
In other news, Branson the revolutionary chauffeur who sets many a heart aflutter (including the fetching Lady Sybil’s) finds out his own heart is keeping him out of the service: he has a heart murmur. More specifically, he has mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which the mitral valve fails to close properly. It usually isn’t serious, although in some rare cases it can lead to infective endocarditis or mitral regurgitation, which are worth worrying about. Of course, if he finally manages to win over Lady Sybil, he’ll have a nurse around the house to keep an eye on his health!