Last night’s episode was one of the better of the season as plot lines that have been building started to play out, leaving enough in question to make me eager to see next week’s conclusion.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead!
Everyone upstairs and down are preparing for the church bazaar, which will be held on the grounds of Downton Abbey. With Lord Grantham still in the states sorting out his brother-in-law’s involvement in the Teapot Dome Scandal, the planning falls to Cora, who finally has a use this season.
After the pig incident, Charles Blake and Mary have warmed up to each other. So much so that Lord Gillingham makes a trip to Downton to check up on the two of them, telling Mary quite frankly that he doesn’t want to leave them alone together. He also informs her that, after some soul searching in the Highlands, he’s decided to call off his engagement with Mabel Lane Fox, and that he still holds a torch for Mary (for reasons I still do not understand). Charles Blake also announces his intentions to Mary, telling her he won’t give up without a fight. Mary tells both men she’s not free, even though she wishes she were. I have a hard time believing her, given that no mention of Matthew has been made for quite some time now, and Mary seems to very much enjoy the attention of both suitors. I’m sure Mary’s resistance will eventually give way, and then maybe we’ll get to see a duel at Downton! And I hope Charles Blake wins.
Love is in the air for Rose as well. Well, love, or an entirely selfish need to express her hatred for her mother through her choice of husband. “I want to watch Mummy’s face crumble when I tell her the news” isn’t exactly the best reason to say yes to a marriage proposal. But it seems to be Rose’s. Mary finds out about her secret affair with Jack Ross through Tom, who sees them together having tea. Mary tries to impart some wisdom on Rose, who wants none of it, and becomes engaged anyway. This spurs Mary into action, and after a visit with Jack Ross, she convinces him that Rose may love him a little bit, but he was more likely being used as a point to be proven. Ross agrees, and bows out of the engagement. And hopefully this boring, hackneyed sub-plot is at an end.
Much more interesting is the developing relationship between Tom and the town school teacher, Sarah Bunting. They seem perfect for each other, have good chemistry, and Tom finally seems to be in a place where he’s ready to move on. He’s actually able to laugh when he talks about his dear late Sybil and what a character she was. Sarah’s got spunk, and I hope we see more of her.
Lady Violet shows us that one good turn deserves another. Or perhaps she just wants Isobel out of her hair. Either way, could she potentially be playing matchmaker, setting up Isobel with Mary’s godfather, Lord Merton? Certainly seems possible.
And then there’s poor Edith. Aunt Rosamund comes to Downton to help Edith make a decision on what to do next. Edith’s idea is to have the baby and give it to one of the local farmers (Mr. Drew, from a previous episode), feeling he can be trusted with her secret (and she’ll still be able to see the baby). But Aunt Rosamund isn’t so sure, and instead decides the best thing to do is to go abroad until Edith delivers the baby, and then adopt it out to “some childless couple.” Cora is apparently so busy with the bazaar that she doesn’t see through the hastily constructed plan to visit Switzerland so Rosamund can learn French, but nothing gets by Lady Violet. She’s been around the block a few times and knows why many unmarried young women go abroad at the spur of the moment. Edith confesses all, and Lady Violet shows a bit of grandmotherly compassion, agreeing that this is the right decision for Edith, and even offers to pay her expenses, so Edith isn’t further in her aunt’s debt. Whether Michael Gregson is still alive or has fallen off the face of the earth remains to be seen, but it looks like Edith will be booking passage to Switzerland pretty soon.
Downstairs the love square (which I guess we can call a triangle now that Jimmy’s out of the picture) finally, FINALLY came to an end. Apparently Ivy’s warm greeting during his last visit was misinterpreted a touch, and Alfred writes her, asking her to marry him and move to London. Ivy likes Alfred, but she’s young and isn’t sure what the world has to offer, so she declines. Mrs. Patmore tries to keep the whole thing a secret from Daisy (can’t say I blame her given Daisy’s usual reaction regarding the Ivy/Alfred relationship), but she eventually finds out. Daisy goes to visit Mr. Mason when Alfred comes to Downton in hopes of avoiding him. But Mr. Mason, ever the wise man, tells her she should part with him as friends. And in a very touching scene, Daisy does just that, making her the most mature person downstairs (for this episode, anyway). Here’s hoping Daisy visits Mr. Mason more often. Mrs. Patmore means well, but Mr. Mason seems a bit better at handling Daisy’s affairs.
An unexpected spark developed between Molesley and Baxter. Somehow Molesley comes off much less pathetic when he’s around her, so this could be a good thing. We still don’t know much about Baxter, though, only that perhaps she doesn’t come from the best family or the community she once lived in shunned her (based off her telling Molesley how lucky he is to live in a village where people respected him). When Thomas returns from America, he asks Baxter if she has anything to tell, to which Baxter lies and says no. She then walks off on Molesley’s arm. But later we see her continuing to listen in on the conversations of the Crawley family (specifically in relation to the Anna & Bates issue). I just hope the feelings she’s shown toward Molesley are genuine, because one “Edith” character is enough on this show!
And then there’s the Anna & Bates story line. Anna finally reveals to Mary the name of her attacker when she learns that Lord Gillingham is staying at Downton. Again. Mary wants to go to the police but Anna tells her she mustn’t tell anyone. Anna bears Green’s presence as best she can at dinner, during which Bates learns where Green will be staying in London. When Bates finds out that Anna has to go to London (to accompany Mary while she sorts out the whole Ross/Rose debacle), he asks for the day off to visit York. Why? Oh, you know, “This and that.” Sure, Bates. Sure. Maybe he just wanted to visit some old prison pals?
Mary can’t hold her promise to Anna for long, and informs her that she must tell Lord Gillingham to sack his valet, reassuring Anna that Bates won’t question why he shows up with a new valet next time he visits Downton. Anna reluctantly agrees. Mary meets Lord Gillingham for lunch while she’s in London and asks him to fire Green, though she can’t give a reason. Since Lord Gillingham would stand on his head and quack like a duck if Mary asked him to, he agrees. But then he arrives at the bazaar with the startling (well, to the characters, not really to us) news that Green is dead, pushed out into the street and run over by a bus. Mary immediately goes to Anna about it, and while there were plenty of witnesses, and Bates has his York alibi (let’s hope he does, anyway), neither of them can help but notice that Bates looks happier than he has for weeks.
So, did Bates kill Green? Or was it just a purely coincidental accident? Anna tells Bates she hopes he hasn’t done anything foolish, anything that might jeopardize all they’ve built together. Bates’s answer: “You know me. When I do a thing, I like to have a very goo reason for doing it.” Neither Anna nor the viewer seems to feel very relieved by this statement.
Next week’s finale features Rose’s coming out into society, and another visit from Cora’s mother, who looks like she’ll be bringing along Cora’s brother for us to meet for the first time. Will Mary pick a suitor? Will Edith ever find Michael? And will we have yet another murder trial to attend (and if we do, how will we ever get through it without Matthew the solicitor there to explain it to us!)?
What were your thoughts on this week’s episode?