Was anyone else surprised by the two hour episode of Downton Abbey last night? Was I the only one whose DVR failed them, and cut off right after Bates and Anna saw their cottage for the first time?!!!! Thank goodness PBS re-aired both episodes in the middle of the night, so I could finish this morning (almost) in time to get this post up!
What Happened Upstairs
Everyone continued to argue about the future of Downton, blah, blah, blah. Lord Grantham mentioned some chap name Ponzi, over in America, who’s got some great investment opportunities. Ha. For some unexplainable reason, the Dowager Countess decides to have a teenager come stay with her. Edith goes to town to meet the editor of the newspaper, and he’s an old guy who looks pretty much exactly like the other old guy who left her at the alter. Wonder what’s going to happen there… Matthew’s secretly going to a doctor in London to find out why he can’t make a baby, only to find out that Mary has also been secretly going to London, and has had minor surgery — so they can make a baby. Those two!!! Turn’s out Edith’s editor is a bit of a Rochester, and we can all see where that’s going, and the Dowager Countess’s teenaged guest sneaks off with a married man. This, of course, serves no purpose other than to show a swinging jazz club, and to give Matthew, my Matthew a moment to save the day in a way that only he could — by swooping in and escorting the teenager to the dance floor where he is oh-so-charming and suave while he blackmails her to behave. And here is where I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Matthew, in all his saucy, adorable glory. He’s earned a place alongside George Emerson and Westley as the only blonde men I’ve ever loved. Now back to the recap. Tom gives Lord Grantham an impassioned speech about how — in this family — they all need to pool their talents together to help Downton survive, so Lord Grantham finally comes around to Matthew’s ideas. Tom agrees to stay on and farm, and Lord Grantham shows that he’s perfectly capable of change (he just needs the idea of it to be introduced slowly) when he shows us he is not homophobic, on account of being introduced to the idea back at Eaton. While his support of Thomas was a cheer-worthy moment, I couldn’t help but wish they’d taught him a bit about finances at Eaton, too. The Dowager Countess arranges for Ethel to get a job near where Charlie is, and — after overhearing Edith tell teenager Rose to keep her pants on — orchestrates a lovely punishment: sending Rose to Scotland. Tom tells Lady Grantham that he and Sybil will be staying on at Downton after all. Then they all play cricket, and looked pretty dashing in their whites.
What Happened Downstairs
Bates is free! Bates is free at last! He looked so dapper in his suit as he was finally released from the clink, and his reunion moment with Anna was the sweetest. I actually found myself afraid something was going to happen at the last minute to destroy their happiness, until they were safely away in the car. O’Brien convinces Thomas that James has a crush on him, and Alfred convinces Ivy to go the the movies with him. She’s still hung up on James, though, and wouldn’t consider dating Alfred unless James himself tells her he’s not interested. Alfred, hoping to procure such a statement from James, walks in on Thomas, who’s snuck into James’s room and kissed him while he slept. James freaks out. Anna and Bates settle into a moldy old cottage that just needs some paint, so they do that. O’Brien convinces first Alfred, then James to report Thomas to Carson, so Carson tells Thomas that now that Bates is back, he should resign. Carson also tells Thomas he’s vile, and while that has been true for three seasons, it’s not because Thomas is gay. Carson really needs lay off the judgement, a point which Lord Grantham actually makes later. Yay Lord Grantham! O’Brien convinces James to threaten to go to the police if Carson gives Thomas a reference, but Bates steps in and — seeing Thomas finally broken — asks what he can do to get O’Brien to back down. Bates then has her over for tea, and whispers something in her ear that makes her retract all of her scheming, and get James to back down. Lord Grantham then decides that Thomas should stay on, and they make him junior butler. Thomas always seems to get a promotion by default. Then they all play cricket, and there’s only one thing left to say: Carson. In a cricket flannel.
Upstairs Winner: Lord Grantham
What what!!! Lord Grantham FINALLY came around! Thanks to Tom’s impassioned speech, the return of Bates, getting to handle the whole thing with Thomas, and cricket, he apparently finally felt potent enough to pull his head out of his ass for the win!
Upstairs Loser: Cousin Rose
Why was she introduced, anyway? I mean, I’d understand if it had been earlier in the season, but we’re nearing the end, here, people, and I just don’t care about the bad choices of this new idiot — not when Edith’s actually got something going on, and Mary had minor surgery!
Downstairs Winner: Bates! Also Thomas
Bates is FINALLY home! And does he revel in Thomas’s demise? Well, yes, a little bit. But then he changes his mind, and actually HELPS, so Thomas can get a reference. And of course, Lord Grantham can’t let his strongest cricket player leave the house, so Thomas is made junior Butler! Phew! I’ve been feeling feelings about Thomas for a few episodes now, and I’m not quite sure how they managed that. Now that everything’s all settled, we can go back to hating him.
Downstairs Loser: O’Brien. Oh, and also Mosley. Always Mosley.
While Carson just kept waving his arms around while all of the decisions were made for him in this episode, O’Brien’s carefully orchestrated plans fell around her ears — all thanks to that pesky bar of soap. And poor Mosley. Who saw that coming…
Best Maggie Smith Line
While the Dowager Countess had some pretty great lines this episode, thanks mostly to her sparring with Isobel, I’m going to break with tradition, because the best line of the show came from Lord Grantham! When discussing James’ O’Brien-fuelled insistence on destroying Thomas with Bates: “If I tried to shout blue murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton, I’d have gone hoarse in a month.”
Since I can’t just leave the Dowager Countess out of it, I’ll include “But you seem to have so many.” — possibly her meanest comment ever, made to Ethel, about her talents. That just barely beats out the title quote about Edith. And in response to Isobel’s assumption that her children had been raised by nannies, so that she only had to spend time with them after tea: “Yes, but it was an hour. Every. Day.”
Edith’s salmon-and-grey business dress with the peter pan collar and built-in tie was deeeelightful! She looked adorable in it.
Mary’s red dress at dinner also deserves a mention. It was simple, as a red dress should be, but gorgeous.
- Is Daisy going to take the farm?!!!
- Will Mary get pregnant now?
And now I turn it over to YOU!!! Let’s get talking.