Has The Time Come For Punting Bunting?
While Tom considers his future with Sarah Bunting, Rosamund noses around Edith's relationship with this farmer's daughter she's heard about, and Simon Bricker is back to photograph Cora's Della Francesca...and maybe more.
DialogueSome man has opened a nudist colony at Wickford in Essex -- it's called the Moonella Group.A man's opened a colony in Essex?Not that sort of colony, Mama: it's for people who want to take all their clothes off.In Essex? Isn't it terribly damp?
Plot Lightning Round
Hey, Rosamund's here for a visit! And after hearing all about Edith's special interest in this farmer's daughter when Mary was in London for the fashion show in the last episode, she's hoping Edith will bring her over to meet this child! Sounds like a great idea!
Rosamund's going to be staying a week, and Lord G hope she won't mind his not being there for part of it because he has some dinner to attend and feel like a big man at! No one cares or expects to miss him, from what we see!
Oh hey, what's Isobel heard from Lord Merton lately, The Dowager C would like to know? Apparently nothing! Boy, when this bro gives a lady her space, he does not fuck around! The Dowager C takes the privilege of her advanced age and nosily asks Isobel what her answer to his proposal is going to be! Twinkling, Isobel asks whether The Dowager C doesn't think Lord Merton should hear it first? "Ellen Terry has nothing on you when it comes to stringing out a moment," sniffs The Dowager C.
It's The Wealthy Barber, Not The Wealthy Butler
Alert Type: Inheritance Alert.
Issue: One of Mrs. Patmore's aunts just died and left her a few hundred pounds -- more than she's ever been able to save on her own -- and she'd like Carson's advice on what she should do with it.
Complicating Factors: Mrs. Hughes, who is present at the request, suggests that Mrs. Patmore ask Tom or Dr. Clarkson, since people like Mrs. Hughes herself, and Carson, "live so out of the way here" -- a characterization Carson objects to, since it makes it seem as though he doesn't live in the modern world. Oh, like how all the upstairs people in this episode keep bringing up your oft-stated disapproval of cocktails and cocktail parties? Got it.
Resolution: To prove that Mrs. Patmore was right to approach him about investment advice, Carson pricks up an ear when Lord G mentions a good local building firm in Thirsk and says everyone should be putting their money in construction right now. However, when he takes this intel back to her (passing it off as his own, of course), her questions about whether it's publicly traded are more informed than he can answer and he has to scurry away. Later, Mrs. Patmore admits to Mrs. Hughes that she really only asked Carson's advice because he's a man, and now she doesn't want to hurt his feelings by going against his advice.
Spoiler: Though they both think it's ridiculous, Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore stage a whole production, basically, in order to spin Mrs. Patmore's decision to buy a cottage (to rent out for now, and maybe eventually live in with boarders later) as her totally doing what he thought she should, and Carson gets to continue thinking he's great.
How To Lose A Lord In Ten Days
Alert Type: Meddling Alert.
Issue: The Dowager C is so determined to stop Isobel from marrying Lord Merton that she's gone to Dr. Clarkson's office to enlist him in her campaign.
Complicating Factors: I would say one is that Dr. Clarkson already almost proposed to Isobel before she kindly stopped him, but that doesn't really come up. He does ask The Dowager C whether she's opposed to the marriage because she resents the idea of Isobel ascending to such an elevated position in the county. The Dowager C answers so eloquently -- "Do you wish to see her live a life devoid of industry and moral worth?...And when the glitter is tarnished, you know, what then? A hollow existence in a large and drafty house, with a man who bores her to death" -- that her issue with all of this becomes clear: she doesn't want Isobel to make the mistake a young VIOLET did and have VIOLET's regrets. So the biggest complication here is The Dowager C projecting her own issues on Isobel in a way that may ruin her life.
Resolution: Dr. Clarkson agrees to come to lunch at The Dowager C's, with Isobel and Lord Merton, in a secret ambush to make Lord Merton look like a dumb medical dilettante just faking an interest to impress Isobel, I guess? But then Lord Merton acquits himself well and knowledgeably.
Spoiler: The Dowager C's going to have to find a new hobby: spending more time with Isobel and Lord Merton just convinces both The Dowager C and Dr. Clarkson that Lord Merton and Isobel are actually pretty well matched.
A Smother's Love
Situation: Having figured out and confronted Edith about going behind her back, screwing over Marigold's adoptive parents, and stealing her back to England to park her with the Drewes', Rosamund has asked Edith to bring her by to "meet" Marigold.
What makes it awkward? In addition to all of the above, there's the fact that Mrs. Drewe is so over Edith that she's no longer even bothering to pretend to be polite anymore, and when Edith shows up with her aunt for no possible explicable reason Mrs. Drewe can think of, she is really unwelcoming.
How is order restored? For the moment, Mrs. Drewe cuts short the visit by saying Marigold has to go take a nap (and when Edith offers to put her down, Mrs. Drewe shuts her down with a quickness). For the longer term...well, we'll get there.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
"Let's Continue Not Seeing Each Other"
This is weird, because Tom and Sarah Bunting were never really an item, exactly, but now they're breaking up? Not only that, but he basically puts all the blame on her: "You despise the family, but I think you forget my wife was one of them. My child is one of them. Where does that leave me?" She's like, But come on, they're not here: you hate them, right?, and he's like, FOR THE FIVE HUNDREDTH TIME, NO! But nice. He softens the blow of his dumping her by saying, "Look, I'm not going to pretend I haven't enjoyed knowing you. In fact, I'm relieved to know I'm not the only socialist left on this earth. But maybe we should call it a day." She seems a lot less confused about this whole conversation than I am? But okay, sure, these two generally no-more-than-cordial acquaintances are going to...stop being acquainted? Tom just better make sure he also tells every non-employed woman who lives in his house so that they stop throwing Sarah Bunting in his path.
An Inspector Calls
Name: Inspector Vyne. Age: Early 50s. Occupation: Detective. Goal: To continue devoting more resources to tracking down the maybe-murderer of this house servant than anyone would have thought possible OR PLAUSIBLE in 1924 (or now, frankly), up to and now including interviewing a member of the gentry and her lady's maid about where they were on the day Green was murdered -- which, it turns out, they both were, and when Willis reports that Carson had said he'd thought Anna was at Downton that morning, Anna very innocently says she's sure he just made a mistake and wasn't trying to cover anything up because there isn't anything to cover up. (For her part, Mary, in her interview, says that Anna was shocked when she learned that Green had been killed, and that she has no reason to think that Bates was anywhere other than York at the time of the accident/murder.) Sample Dialogue: When Mary says that, when Anna found out about Green's death, she was shocked: "Was she. Was she indeed."
Putting The Pieces Together
Isobel and The Dowager C are adorably spending the afternoon assembling a jigsaw puzzle, and after The Dowager C invites Isobel to the aforementioned lunch, the subject turns to The Dowager C's former (and future?) rival, The Princess.Shrimpy thinks he may be on the trail of Princess Kuragin.Oh! I am pleased.He's heard a rumour of some Russian nurses working in...Wan Chai?And that's in Hong Kong?Well, nearby, I think.Well, if it's true, it sounds much better than it might have been.Yes, the idea of Princess Irina scrubbing the sick and emptying bedpans is a cheering one.Will you tell her husband?No, I'll wait until Shrimpy is certain. These things must be managed carefully.Yes. Sounds like this must be managed very carefully.
The Man Who Came For Cake
Name: Atticus Aldridge. Age: Late 20s. Occupation: Entry-level banker. Goal: To court Rose, and do well at the bank or whatever. Sample Dialogue: "I love cake!"
Bye, Bitchy Bunting
Apparently the first thing Sarah Bunting did after her weird breakup with Tom was find another job, immediately take it, and pack up all her shit so she could leave Yorkshire for Lancashire IMMEDIATELY. Leaving aside the question of whether jobs were either acquired or resigned that quickly in the era before email: Daisy is heartbroken both on her own account, and on Tom's, and she lurks by the back stairs waiting for Tom before dinner to tell him to figure his shit out and stop this from happening.You're making the biggest mistake of your life.Is this Miss Bunting, by any chance?She's an extraordinary person, clever, and kind--She's all of those things.Then why turn your back on her?Daisy--I mean it. She's leaving tomorrow, but I know she loves you. I can tell whenever she speaks of you!She's leaving tomorrow? For good?Why don't you stop her? You're not a Crawley. You belong with us! We're the future, they're the past!Well, I can hear her voice in that.
When Ladies Push Their Luck Too Far
Who called the meeting? Edith.
What's it about? Oh God, FUCKING GUESS.
How'd it go? Apparently the ass-chewing Mrs. Drewe gave Drewe after Rosamund and Edith left went on and got even more furious, because she's finally given him an ultimatum: Edith is banned from the farm, and if she can't manage to respect that, then THE DREWES ARE GOING TO MOVE AWAY. Holy shit! That's an extremely ballsy move in a time when...well, I was about to say "people had less mobility in their jobs" but I guess Sarah Bunting just finished showing me how wrong I was about that. Anyway, Edith tries to tell Drewe, "I won't allow it," forcing Drewe to remind her, "What would you suggest? We bring her up to the Abbey and leave her in the library?" I mean, honestly. I get that Edith has regrets and that her upbringing didn't really prepare her for setbacks of ANY kind, but if she had thought about this plan for five consecutive minutes, she would have realized it was doomed to failure. So there's nothing for Edith to do but her usual -- freak out and run away crying -- leaving Drewe to some hilariously angry pitchforking!
Here's An Idea
Have The Occasional Conversation With Your Spouse?
Anna and Bates are dicking around with shoes when Bates is like, Oh hey, what happened with that cop you were talking to yesterday? Okay, (a) cop. (b) YESTERDAY. I get that these fucking toffs have both Bates and Anna running around with their busywork all the time, but there have been at least two servants' meals between now and then and they never talked about it until now?! Whatever, my suspension of disbelief aside, this is supposed to shore up the Perfect True Love Story Of The Bateses for us again, as Bates is all "Nothing bad is ever going to happen to you again" this and "surrounded by children" that, and when Anna playfully says she's not sure she wants to be "surrounded" by children, I assume it's to set up Bates finding The Thing she hid for Mary and assuming Anna doesn't want to have his babies because she still thinks he killed Vera or doesn't want him to pass down his war injury to the next generation or some other stupidity.
My point is: this is a long goddamn time not to check in with each other on AN INTERVIEW WITH A POLICE OFFICER FROM LONDON who's INVESTIGATING THE MURDER OF YOUR/YOUR WIFE'S RAPIST.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
"I Said, LET'S CONTINUE NOT SEEING EACH OTHER"
I'm sure Sarah Bunting is really grateful to Daisy for putting her relo plans on blast, because here's Tom AGAIN to tell her AGAIN that he wants to end their un-relationship, in case she forgot. At first, she tries to be casual, telling him she hopes he'll miss her "a bit," but when Tom warmly says he'll miss her a lot, she gets bold and declares, "I've loved you, you know. I could have loved you more, if you'd let me." This seems excessive given the interactions between them that we've seen, but sure? I would love to think that when Tom tells her, "I'm glad we met. You remind me of who I am, and I'm grateful, and I won't lose touch with that again" that's the end of the constant repetition of the whole "where does Tom belong???" meme that's been annoying us for the past season -- he and Lord G had a whole exchange about it earlier in this episode that I just skipped because WE FUCKING GET IT -- but somehow I doubt it. And then she really has to go or else she'll miss her train, and they kiss.
It's actually sweet. Her outfits have really been on point in this episode and her pain seems very real. Too bad she made this happen by being such a pill at so many dinners.
Get The Look: Dilettante Soldier
Lucky Simon Bricker arrives for his latest visit just in time to see Lord G in his cute costume, on his way to some official dinner or other! In case you're planning to be Cosplay Lord G for Hallowe'en, let's break it down.
Red Coat: Only for regimental reasons would Lord G wear a colour so daring -- and with his complexion?
Trompe L'Oeil Pants: That stripe down the outer seam gives Lord G legs for days.
Pissy Expression: You don't have to have solid evidence of planned shenanigans to give a visiting art historian the hairy eyeball. Later, you may regret that it wasn't hairy enough!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Rostov vs. Atticus
Atticus has remembered Rose's schedule at the good old borscht kitchen she's been running and has come back to see her one last time before he heads to London to start his job at some bank. Rose is happy to see him for the usual reasons, but also excited to introduce him to her pet Russians, Prince Kuragin and Count Rostov, because of the Russian connection in his ancestry that Atticus had told her about when they first met. But Rostov clocks Atticus as soon as he hears that his family came to England from Odessa, some in 1859, and then the rest in-- "1871," Rostov finishes. With a lot more attitude than you might expect to see from a homeless toff living on the kindness of strangers, Rostov spits, "He's not a Russian." "He's not Russian now--" Rose attempts, maybe thinking it's a language thing, but Rostov presses the point: "They were not Russian then." Rose still doesn't get it, which forces Atticus to explain, awkwardly, what Rostov means: "I think he said we're not Russian because we're-- We're Jewish." Rose -- no student of history like some Daisies we could mention -- has no idea how Rostov could know, because she's never heard of a pogrom before, and even then, she's all, "You're English now but you're still Jewish: what's the difference?" (I can't decide whether it's more believable that Rose has been so sheltered from life's harsh realities that she can't even understand what anti-Semitism is, or that she would have been exposed to some form of this bigotry from her rotten bitch of a mother.) At any rate, Atticus is touched by her childlike/childish open heart and asks her out on the spot. Go 'head, Rose!
Not So Sure About This Cure
Okay, Thomas has to knock it off with whatever patent medicine he's using to try to straighten him out; he looks so bad that The Dowager C already has already noticed and asked him about it, and now Baxter is trying to push through her antipathy toward Thomas to get him to look after himself. It doesn't work...yet.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP ABOUT BAXTER'S SECRET
Oh, for Christ's sake: with the perfect timing we've all come to expect from him, Molesley comes over just as Baxter is begging Thomas to stop endangering his health, allowing Thomas to peel off, just so that he can ask Baxter if, now that Cora knows the story of why she went to prison, can he hear it too? Baxter told her that LIKE TEN YEARS AGO, DUDE, MOVE ON DOT ORG. (She tells him; he thinks she's innocent; enough.)
On The Menu
What's On The Menu For Mary's "Friendly" Date With Charles?
Boy, Mary really has ditched Tony if she's willing to go all the way to London just to have dinner with Charles. As we'll see, at least he makes it worth her hassle.
Ambush's Baked Beans: Charles hasn't told Mary that he invited a third party on their date, nor did he tell said third party: Mabel Lane Fox! Neither woman is very happy to see her rival, but Charles has a good reason for bringing them together: now that Mary's done with Tony, maybe Mabel would like him back?
Sour Lemon: Mabel is disgusted by the idea of taking Mary's hand-me-downs and stomps out just as their meals are being delivered -- but Charles expected this and assures Mary that it's just part of a scene they had to play out, I assume to give Mabel time to warm up to the idea and decide it had been hers all along.
Roast Beef: Charles: "Now, I like my beef pink, but not raw." Good man.
Grabbing The Baby Out Of The Bathwater
Situation: Edith has a secret baby.
What makes it awkward? The Dowager C forced Rosamund into telling her that Edith brought the baby back from Switzerland and installed her with the Drewes, and now The Dowager C and Rosamund have arrived at their own solution to Edith's issue: they want to send her to a nice, discreet boarding school, like maybe in France! Edith can even visit if she never ever tells Marigold who she is! SOUNDS PERFECT! Edith is both embarrassed by how badly she fucked things up with the Drewes, and horrified at the idea of sending Marigold to another country.
How is order restored? It isn't, and Edith's being pushed to some kind of breaking point of even crazier craziness.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Lord G vs. Simon Bricker
Oh shit, you thought that Sarah Bunting/Lord G dustup last week was rough? You don't even know. Simon Bricker -- who apparently is an old hand at making plays for old hands -- waits for Baxter to leave Cora's room...
...before creeping down the hall and just straight busting in. I would put Cora's shock level at about a medium? Coming around her side of the bed, she firmly tells him he has to leave...
...while downstairs, Lord G -- who was supposed to be gone for the night -- has come back early instead! Carson, letting him in, tells him that he's just seen Baxter come down so he's sure Cora will still be awake!
Upstairs, Bricker importunes Cora -- "When did someone last cherish you? When has someone even listened to you? I've seen you with your family, ignored and passed over" -- but there is zero sign that she's receptive to his overtures, and she tells him again that he has to leave. And then, before you know it, there's Lord G, walking in on them. At least it looks like exactly what it is -- Bricker's advances going totally unreciprocated -- but...you know, it's still not cool. Lord G tightly explains that the dinner ended early and it seemed easier to come home early: "I'm sorry if it's a disappointment." Cora, exhaustedly: "It's not." Bricker gallantly (I guess) says, "I'm not here at Lady Grantham's invitation--" "Then will you please leave at mine," snaps Lord G. Bricker makes to leave, but then decides that standing in the doorway of this man's bedroom after having just tried to stick it in his wife is the perfect place and time for some #RealTalk: "You can't be surprised. When you chose to ignore a woman like Cora, you must have known not every man would be as blind as you." Lord G:
I don't know how Bricker failed to duck when Lord G telegraphed that backhand for like twenty minutes before it landed, but anyway, grappling ensues, which looks as wussy as you'd expect from a couple of upper-class Britons but is loud enough to attract Edith and force Cora to go to the door to cover. After that, no one really has the heart for any more fisticuffs. Bricker takes off, and when Cora tries to put on a cheerful face -- "Golly, what a night!" -- Lord G is not in a conciliatory mood and says he's going to go sleep in the guest room. He should maybe skip the eye mask since I wouldn't put it past Bricker to try his luck at a different door later.
Winner: Lord G.
More Like An Awk-Tail Party
What's the occasion? Cocktail parties are the new thing, so the Crawleys are throwing one, just 'cause.
What are the refreshments? ...um, cocktails?
Whose embarrassing public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? As Cora and Lord G stand off to the side greeting people, Cora tries to make normal conversation with Robert, who 100% ignores her, drawing the notice of both Mary and, later, The Dowager C. I smell a Parent Trap setup!
Wrap It Up
Late at night after the party, Daisy shows she's pushed through her disappointment about Sarah Bunting's departure and is continuing her studies! At this rate, she's going to end the season an engineer!
Edith makes a rare appearance downstairs and is surprised to see Daisy and Mrs. Patmore still up! She explains that she wants to make a private phone call, and is already in such a state about it that she's super-testy shading into rude! THEY'RE JUST TRYING TO READ ABOUT THE NORMAN INVASIONS, EDITH, JESUS!
Left alone, Edith goes into Carson's office and places a call! It's to someone in London! GEE, WHAT A WEIRD TIME TO CALL UP AND DICTATE YOUR NEXT COLUMN, EDITH, I MEAN WHAT ELSE COULD SHE BE CALLING ABOUT, RIGHT?!