In the next to last (where has time gone?) episode of ITV’s Downton Abbey, a lot of things go down in the dramatic 70-some minute installment. Basically, it’s a lesson in Mary being a witch, but there is more to it than just her making herself (and everyone else) miserable.
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Chronicling the penultimate episode of Downton Abbey will be a task unto itself so I’ll jump right into last night’s episode with a recap of those busy events.
A decision has been put before Edith. She’s conflicted about accepting the kindhearted Bertie Pelham’s proposal. She tells her mother she loves him as they walk the grounds of Downton, but… there’s Marigold. How can she tell the truth and ask him to take on a child that resulted from an affair? Cora counsels her to tell Bertie lest they start their marriage on a lie. Edith isn’t so sure.
The rest of the household has opinions on the matter which they discuss among themselves out of Edith’s earshot. Rosamund believes as Cora; Edith needs to tell Bertie. Only, everything changes when they learn Bertie’s life has been upended…
Mrs. Patmore’s “House of Ill-Repute”
Elsewhere, a comical dilemma faces Mrs. Patmore. Believing her small bed and breakfast venture offered only the most genteel of folks a pleasant experience, Mrs. Patmore receives a visit from the local constabulary. Turns out, the last couple she lent a room to used her business to conduct an affair. Appalled, Mrs. Patmore is in shock, asking no one among the staff to spread the word among the household. Naturally, as everything at Downton is wont to do, news travels. Anna shares it with Lady Mary as the two women giggle over it. This then trickles down to the rest of the family prompting Cora to remedy a solution.
With Mrs. Patmore’s permission, she, along with Robert and Rosamund take tea at the house, silencing any additional bad press.
Daisy Graduates, Molesley Returns to School
After months of preparation and studies, Daisy finally graduates! She passes her test quite successfully while her champion, Mr. Moseley contemplates a new career.
He inquires again about the teaching position and agrees to take it on part time. Unfortunately for him, his first day goes badly. No matter his best-laid plans, he finds himself learning sometimes the most educated approach isn’t necessarily the best.
A Marquess and Marchioness of Hexham
Following the unexpected death of his wealthy cousin, Bertie, it would seem is heir to not just his cousin’s fortune, but also his title. Yes, should Edith marry Bertie, she would become a marchioness. Needless to say, this riles Mary’s feathers quite a lot (her sister obtain a rank greater than the rest of her family? Perish this thought!). Robert is pleased as pie at the thought of his Edith achieving such a social place while Edith is still on the fence.
Into this happy mess walks Henry after Tom plays matchmaker. Mary offers him nothing but a cold shoulder despite his best efforts to again make his case. Her continued refusal drives him away the following day. Sore from being rejected by him (rather than her having the final say), Mary takes her revenge. Unable to stand seeing her sister happy (on the verge of marrying Bertie), Mary spills the beans at the breakfast table. Yes, with Tom, Edith, and Bertie present, Mary cruelly tells Bertie that Edith is the mother to an illegitimate Marigold.
Hurt that Edith didn’t trust him with this secret, Bertie believes they now have no chance of a future. The couple says their goodbyes. Immediately after Bertie’s departure, Edith packs for London but not before she and Mary have quite a row!
Barrow’s Low Point
Meanwhile, following yet another rejection, Barrow takes the only route he believes is open to him. Feeling as if no one cares what happens to him, he makes a suicide attempt. Luckily for him, the one person who did befriend him (all the while he threw it back in her face), Baxter discovers him just in time. Between herself and Anna, the household nurses him back to health while keeping this tragedy quiet to preserve his dignity. All of this leaves Robert and an already emotionally spent Mary in a state of shock. Young Master George even comes to visit him in a really sweet scene between the future heir of Downton Abbey, Thomas and Mary.
A Goodbye and New Future
After being severely chastised by Tom (bravo, my man!) about her treatment of Edith and her handling of Henry, Mary takes a hard look at herself. It takes the return of Granny to break Mary down. You see, Granny isn’t fooled. She knows this façade Mary puts on is not the real woman. Also, wisely Granny advises her eldest granddaughter to make nice with Edith.
Understanding all she has done wrong, Mary sets about making things right. In an emotional scene, she visits Matthew’s grave to ask his forgiveness. Later, she phones Henry asking him to return… and the two make plans to marry right away. Then comes the difficult part; finding a way to make peace with Edith. Much to Mary’s surprise, Edith attends Mary and Henry’s wedding. Though the two don’t become besties, they do share a nice moment during which Mary asks Edith what she thinks Matthew would think.
The episode draws to a close with Henry and Mary tying the knot. A new era is about to begin in the Crawley family.
What did you think of last night’s Downton Abbey ? Are you happy to see some resolution between Mary and Edith? How about Mary’s choice to re-marry? If you have any thoughts about the next-to-last episode, comment down below. I’d love to read them.
Join me again on March 7th for the final installment recap. There will be thoughts!
Check out our other TV RECAPS including our earlier recaps of Downton Abbey.
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4 thoughts on “Downton Abbey Season Six: Episode Eight Recap – A Tale of Two Sisters”
Wow, that was quite an episode! So many things went down. I felt so bad for Mrs. Patmore. In a way it is a little funny, but I know it was very distressing to her. And I have to admit, Carson bugged me a little with that whole situation. He just kept harping on how bad it would make Downton look and wasn’t terribly sensitive toward Mrs. Patmore’s feelings. I know he’s proud of the house, but still…..
Ugh, I wanted to shake Mary. She has badly needed a reality check for quite some time and I am soooo glad she got not one, but three last night! I’ll admit there have been times when Edith has gotten on my nerves by feeling sorry for herself, but now I see just how much she’s been through and feel sorry for her and hope she finds happiness.
Thomas has done pretty terrible things and I couldn’t stand him in the beginning. He still isn’t one of my favorites, but I do feel sorry for him. I don’t think life has been kind to him (and vice versa) but it’s terrible anytime someone attempts suicide.
I love seeing Molsley and Daisy’s success! I think it is so great. It’s nice to see how well things are going for most of the staff. For all they’ve had to deal with working for the Crawley family, they deserve it! And I was totally shocked that Sprat was “Casaundra Jones.” Who would have thought?
This was a great episode. I’m excited to see the finale, but I’m sad and can’t believe that that will be the end!
I agree, Miranda – there was a LOT that went down in this past week’s episode. So many things I couldn’t keep them all in line, and more than likely I skipped out on discussing important issues – and I KNOW I glossed over a lot. 😉
Ah, Carson. As frustrating as he can be (loosen up, dude – or that’s what he SHOULD do), he does have the family’s best interests at heart, and I cannot help but love him for that.
Edith is just as bad as Mary in a VERY different way. I cannot forget all the horrible things she did to Mary way back when. That being said, much as I love Mary, I am not excusing her behavior in the least. Tom sticking it to her was epic. It was long overdue, and I’m glad it gave her pause.
I’ll be curious to know what you think of the end of Thomas’ story. 😀
SPRAT, yes! I forgot about that. What a humorous twist. 😉
I’m sad this series is over too. There was so much good in these. At least I’ll enjoy re-watches and hope for a (maybe) movie installment.
As always, really glad you shared your thoughts.
I have so many feelings!!! Tom and Granny are officially my favorites of the family because they see and tell it like it is. Tom has been so good for Mary because she’s needed his prodding to be with Henry and his chastisement when it comes to Edith.
I do feel sorry for Edith, but she is a tiny bit to blame for not telling Bertie about Marigold when she had the chance. I’m proud of her for standing up to Mary, though! I hope Mary will go after Bertie herself…Edith deserves it.
I’m happy for Mary and Henry! I really like them together (and I hope Henry knows what he’s gotten himself into with Mary). I agree with Granny’s estimation of him (I think it was Granny?) — he is strong enough to match her personality and stubbornness.
I’m going to be very sad to see this series end! But, I’m thinking everything will come together nicely with the last episode.
Tom and Granny are indeed amazing Crawley’s (plus I like their relationship too) – and perhaps two of the most sane… or at least Tom is. What a voice of reason and logic he has become. Oddly enough I merely “liked” him at first. Now He’s one of my very favorites.
Now that Matthew is gone, I love how Tom stepped into the role of keeping Mary honest. Or at least doing everything he could to ensure this.
Edith; wise words, friend. I do like Edith, and wish her only the best, but golly, she has a lot of issues when it comes to making wrong choices – and in a very different way, she’s just as bad as Mary. She stabbed Mary in the back way back when too. Either way, they’re now MORE than even and both need to GROW UP, get over themselves and act like family. Makes one miss Sybil all the more, doesn’t it?
I like Mary and Henry together now too. I was so-so, didn’t really care at first. But since he’s gotten a bit more characterization (thank you, writer’s), I see him as a good match for Mary.
Cannot wait to hear what you think of the finale. 🙂