Things seem to be getting rosy at the halls of the Crawley family estate. Everything is pretty and going swimmingly, which for a change is nice to see resolution rather than friction. But it wouldn’t be Downton Abbey if there wasn’t something that goes amiss…
A Dismayed Cora and Charles Blake’s Plan
The episode opens with Rosamund’s return to Downton at the behest of her mother (Violet). The two women are the only Crawleys who know Edith’s secret. Violet also knows that Edith didn’t just dash off for a quiet getaway. With plans to tell Cora the real reason behind Edith’s disappearance (which has to do with Marigold being kept away from her), their plans are foiled when – uh-oh – Mrs. Drewe shows up at the house. Cora’s feelings are not just hurt when she learns that she has a third grandchild, she feels betrayed. This causes a confrontation with her mother-in-law as well as Rosamund.
Meanwhile, during a walk of the Abbey’s grounds, Charles takes a moment to try and convince Tony that Mary’s wish is to break up. He’s not convinced. Charles then tries to tell Mary to let Tony go. She needs to tell him in no uncertain terms her mind is made up.
Without knowledge of where Edith might be, the women take advice (oddly enough) from Rose’s beau Atticus Aldridge (who is a guest of the family along with his parents – we’ll revisit this later on): his suggestion? Call the newspaper office (which she does own); someone there is bound to know how to get ahold of her. In between other events and goings-on at the abbey, Cora and Rosamund set off to London to find Edith and bring her home. Once in London, tracking down Edith proves to be more challenging than they expect. While inquiring about her daughter at the newspaper offices, Edith appears in the lobby and much to her dismay makes a plan to meet her mother at a tea room. (Really I have to say that I admired Cora not backing down. Edith clearly wanted to pass off her decision without any conversation. Bravo Cora for getting her daughter to open up and listen! It’s about time someone make Edith realize her family cares.) Believing that she cannot be happy at home, Edith resolutely claims she’ll stay in London, but Cora has a different plan. She wants Edith to come home and a story will be spun. Something that sounds like this: the Drewe’s cannot raise the child anymore. But since Edith has become fond of the child, Edith decides to take the child in and raise her.
While Edith is occupied with her mother and travelling back to Downton, Charles Blake rings up Mary with an invitation. He wants to take her out and help her shake Tony for good. He takes the two of them out to a moving picture show and surprising Mary he times things perfectly and locks lips with her. This is of course meant for Tony to see – who is also out with Mabel at the same event. The ploy works, with a seemingly crushed Tony leaving with Mabel and perhaps walking towards his happy ending. Mary is not so lucky. With Charles about to head overseas, she seems as if she’ll miss him. What could that entail?
Downstairs: Baxter’s Offer
For the moment, Anna and Bates seem to be enjoying some happiness. Post the no-baby misunderstanding, they’re back to a “better place” in their relationship. They’re talking about purchasing a nice little cottage to run as a small hotel and eventually retire in. More trouble pops up for the couple though, as was bound to happen. Baxter attempts to smooth things over with them after she was “forced” to talk with the police. Thomas is quite the rascal! She offers to lie to the police if necessary – offering the one thing Bates seems to need most: an alibi. The Bates’ don’t seem to take too kindly to her either way.
Meanwhile, Tom seems to be leaning more towards heading to America. He has a cousin there and he believes that with a support system already in place, he and Sybil could have a good life. There is a darling scene between him and little Sybbie during which he asks her if she’d like to go to another place. Much as I want Tom to stay (he’s the one character I’ve seen the most change in and it’s been all uphill from there), a decision needs to be made. America has been in talks for too long now. Either send him packing or keep him content in his life with the Crawleys.
Family Dinners and Wedding Bells
The Crawleys host Atticus’ parents, the Sinderby’s, where the families clash over the Sinderby’s Jewish roots: Lord Sinderby believes that the Crawley’s lack of Jewish faith makes Rose inadequate for his son.
Isobel, as we learned in last week’s episode, has made a decision: she is accepting Lord Merton’s marriage proposal. (I’m shocked to say the least, but not disappointed.) Now the time has come to tell the family. The news inspires a family dinner which includes Mary’s godfather, Lord Merton and his two sons. One of which once had feelings for Sybil. Briefly, there are concerns that hosting the Merton sons with Tom at their table isn’t the most ideal situation, however plans move forward. Along with Rose’s young man, Atticus, the family plans a perfect congratulatory dinner for Isobel. Conversation does not follow the ambience.
Larry Merton manages to insult not just the Crawleys, he also isn’t shy about sharing what he thinks about his father marrying a woman beneath their station. The jovial mood is dampened by Larry’s words. Losing his cool, Tom demands the guest leave. Embarrassed on behalf of his son, Lord Merton doesn’t stay much longer. Before leaving, he does speak with a devastated Isobel. He hopes that his son’s appalling behavior won’t change her mind.
Fortunately, before the episode wraps, there is a ray of sunshine! It would seem Atticus is madly in love with Rose. As everyone is dispersing and leaving, he pulls Rose aside and asks the simple question: He wants to marry Rose. Whirlwind though this relationship has been, I’ve loved every second of these two. It’s been a ray of normalcy and sunshine in an otherwise upheaval (looking at you Bates subplot).
Downton’s Random Tidbits + Questions:
- Mrs. Hughes questions Mary about the train ticket: Mary has to confess she burned the ticket assuming it was proof of his guilt, when in fact it was proof of his innocence.
- Below stairs, Mosley continues his offer of helping Daisy with her studies. With her persistent reluctance, Mosley concocts a plan to have her father-in-law help his cause.
- I’ve found it particularly curious this season to watch Robert lose it on multiple occasions. Sarah Bunting brought the worst out in him (and she does it with the precision of a surgeon) then last night also. I’m wondering if this is leading up to anything or if it’s more just to do with seeing a different side of Robert.
- Atticus’ father is less-than-pleased about his son courting Lady Rose. His starchy, traditional ways don’t appreciate his Jewish son marrying into a non-Jewish family, and he believes no marriage should end in divorce. This means that Rose and Atticus have to hide the fact that her parents are swiftly heading towards a dissolving marriage.
- Isis, Robert’s loyal dog grows weak and sick. By the end of the episode, Robert plans to sleep with the dog in his own dressing room, but Cora insists that the dog sleep in-between them where he’ll know he’s loved.
Do you have any thoughts, speculation or theories? Sound off below.
Photos: ITV/Masterpiece Theatre
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