Screw Edith: How's Isis?!
As Rosamund and The Dowager C are forced to bring Cora into the cone of silence regarding Edith's escape, Isobel announces her engagement, Charles solves Mary's romantic issue. But the people problems pale next to the poor, poor pup.
The Many Men Of Mary And Mabel
Alert Type: Love Quadrangle Alert.
Issue: Tony is still refusing to accept Mary's having dumped him for -- we must assume -- being crap in bed.
Complicating Factors: Even though Charles is determined to peel Tony off Mary by sticking him to Mabel Lane Fox instead -- and when I say "determined," I mean this project seems to be consuming all his time; no wonder whatever job he's obviously neglecting is about to send him to Poland for a million months -- Tony is apparently convinced that the gallant thing to do, having boned Mary, is stay with her forever, regardless of the fact that neither of them actually wants that anymore. (Charles also tells Mary that this probably would have been over by now except that "Just as he's moving off, [she] tug[s] his strings!" I don't actually see how Mary's done that other than by failing to pretend she isn't hot shit whenever Tony's around, but whatever.)
Resolution: Mabel takes the opportunity of convenient dinner seating at Downton to make her marital intentions toward Tony known, and when that STILL doesn't make him give up on Mary, Charles has Mary come to London so that this can happen.
Uh, apparently there was, Overly Attached Girlfriend.
Spoiler: These four idiots' inability to get it together marriage-wise is going to look adorable by the time we get to Isobel and Lord Merton's first post-engagement dinner with his shitty sons.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Cora vs. Rosamund & The Dowager C
Even though Rosamund has come to Downton at The Dowager C's request so that they can brief Cora on the whole Edith-had-a-baby-out-of-wedlock thing, they didn't actually get a chance to before Mrs. Drewe showed up asking to speak to Cora about guess what (which: see below). Anyway, Cora is obviously furious with both of them at the start of the conversation, and only gets more and more angry the longer it goes on and the more colour they add -- for instance, that Edith was going to "get rid of it" but then changed her mind. SOMEhow, this doesn't make Cora feel better about the situation! They tell Cora about the Swiss adoption that Edith ALSO changed her mind about, but since that was so long ago, Cora doesn't know what could have finally made her crack. The Dowager C's like, might've been news of Michael's death, but also there's how we told her we were going to make her send Marigold to boarding school in France which probably had very little if not nothing to do with it! Cora's like, I guess I have to try to fix what you fucking idiots ruined, so great work, figure out where she is so we can find her and see what her plans are now. (Also: they all agree there's no reason to tell Lord G anything yet, and for once I agree as well.)
Mrs. Drewe The Short Straw At Her Agent's?
I'd love to tell you all about the conversation between Cora and Mrs. Drewe but I can't because IT ALL HAPPENED OFFSCREEN so that we could get fifteen scenes about Daisy's wavering commitment to her education instead? Fuck this show sometimes.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
"Oh No, The BATESES Are Mad At Me!"
So I kind of have no idea what's happening with the murder investigation this week? No cops show back up, but Mrs. Hughes asks Mary about the train ticket and gets told that Mary burned it. Meanwhile, after their tearful moment of connection over Bates not having killed anyone, Anna and Bates are spending their down time together discussing the house in London (whose tenant is about to move out) and whether they should sell it and, like Mrs. Patmore, buy a place in Yorkshire to retire to. But just because they aren't stressing about the investigation anymore doesn't mean they aren't still going to be TOTALLY PISSY to Baxter about her having been questioned about it. I feel like having Bates as an enemy is not that big a deal, particularly now that it's been confirmed that he hasn't killed anyone at all and therefore PROBABLY wouldn't kill you either. Like, oh no, what'll I do if I can't try to talk to you while you just half-smirk at me the whole time? Bates, go to hell. Anna, I'm normally cool with you but in this case he's just dragging you down.
What Jew Talkin' 'Bout, Sinderbys?
Situation: The Sinderbys have come over for dinner so that Atticus and Rose can eye-fuck each other at the table and also, secondarily, so that Cora and Lord G can get to know Atticus's parents.
What makes it awkward? Lord Sinderby is a self-hating Jew? Sorry, but there's no other way to say it! Though Lady Sinderby is very sweet and friendly and lets Lord G know she's all for a marriage between Rose and Atticus, Lord Sinderby is a dour jerk who's a terrible dinner-table neighbour to Cora, rudely asking whether she didn't think she had a weird childhood as the product of an interfaith marriage and whether she was ever ashamed. Cora, tartly: "Lord Sinderby, I would point out that we never changed our name." YEAH, DICK. Good point, Cora: it's kind of hypocritical to be opposed to the idea of Atticus marrying outside the faith while kind of trying to disguise your actual background.
How is order restored? As Rose later tells Lord G: "Daddy won't try and stop me...And Mummy hates everyone, so what's the difference?" So there you go.
Their American Ex-Son-In-Law
Remember how Tom was talking about moving to the U.S. about a million years ago? Well, now he's talking about it again.
Tom's Relo FAQ
Q: He didn't abandon this idea in the almost-entire-season since he last talked about it?
A: Apparently not.
Q: Where does he want to go?
A: Where all Irish people go!
Q: New York, to become cops?
A: The other one.
Q: What's he going to do there?
A: No idea. He has a cousin who's "done well there," so Tom's written him looking for advice.
Q: And are the Crawleys okay with it? Because the last time it came up, Lord G threatened to prevent Tom from taking Sybbie, HIS CHILD, with him.
A: Apparently now that Sarah Bunting's out of the picture, Lord G don't give a shit.
Q: What does Sybbie think?
A: Who cares.
I Knew Miss Sarah Bunting. Miss Sarah Bunting Was A Friend Of Mine. Molesley, You Are No Miss Sarah Bunting.
Alert Type: Disillusionment Alert.
Issue: Between the departure of Miss Bunting and the shitty performance of England's first Labour Prime Minister, Daisy has decided to abandon boning up on history and, I don't know, become a nihilist instead.
Complicating Factors: As we learned in the last episode (but which I skipped in my post because WHOOOOOOO CARES), Molesley also had his education interrupted for financial reasons -- he had hoped to become a teacher -- so he's volunteered to be Daisy's study buddy in Miss Bunting's absence. Daisy is not as into that as he is.
Resolution: At the suggestion of Thomas -- yes, THOMAS has a good idea to improve the life of another person -- Mrs. Patmore writes to Mr. Mason so that he can "spontaneously" invite her for a visit and remind her of why she's doing all this, and Molesley and Baxter are also going to go because...because? Mr. Mason encourages Daisy not to give up. PHEW (?).
Spoiler: No one tell Daisy that the Labour Party has even harder days ahead.
DialoguePerhaps you can change her mind.She wouldn't listen to me.Well spotted.
Situation: Off Atticus's pretty obvious suggestion, Cora, Rosamund, and The Dowager C have tracked Edith down at the publishing office.
What makes it awkward? Edith surmises that this means Cora knows Her Terrible Secret and is there to talk her into coming home anyway.
How is order restored? Gingerly. Edith, at first, will agree only to meet the ladies at a tea house down the block from her office, and when they get there, she refuses Cora's request to meet, you know, HER GRANDDAUGHTER. She tells them she'd been thinking about moving to the U.S. -- changing her name, inventing a dead husband -- but she wouldn't be able to run the company from there, and she still wants Marigold to grow up English. Her interim plan, for when she's in London, is to say that Marigold is her orphaned godchild, which seems like it would be a harder story to sell given that she's a peer? But Cora has a different plan: she should come home, with Marigold. She's even got a cover story: the Drewes took in a friend's orphan, but after a while, it became clear that they couldn't afford to raise her, so because Edith had grown so close to her, she stepped in to take Marigold as her ward. Rosamund, who has basically just wanted to throw Marigold in the garbage since before she was born, doesn't think this plan will work, and while Edith is potentially more receptive, she tells Cora that Lord G is never to know the truth. Cora tries to talk her into telling him, but Edith refuses on the grounds that he'd never look at her the same again, I guess because she doesn't know that Lord G eventually found about about Mary's adventure with Mr. Pamuk. Cora backs off and gives Edith her way on telling Lord G, whereupon Edith adds that Mary should ESPECIALLY never find out: "I couldn't have Mary queening it over me." Hee hee, she totally would, too. Rosamund, forgetting that there are no bad ideas in brainstorming, repeats that she doesn't think it will work, particularly not given that Mrs. Drewe is a possible loose cannon given her visit to see Cora in the first place (Remember? OH NO, YOU DON'T, AND ME NEITHER, stupid show.) Reluctantly, Edith agrees, and I can't really blame her: once she'd gotten used to the amenities at Downton Abbey, adapting to a life where she had to put her clothes on her own self must have been fucking unbearable.
ANYWAY, after a whole Benny Hill scene at the train station when Anna and Mary are waiting to go see Charles JUST AS Cora and Edith and Edith's Horrible Secret (a.k.a. Marigold) return, so that Anna sees Mr. Drewe hop onto the Crawleys' just-vacated car and sneak Marigold to the next station, Edith returns and presents Cora's ward cover story to the family. Surprise, Lord G and Mary think it's dumb!
Cora smoothly covers for a dumbstruck (and just dumb) Edith so that finally Lord G -- who's already distracted by A STILL-FAILING ISIS -- just says he's fine with whatever Cora wants, weirdly since she's obviously the soft touch in the house and would never refuse an idea like this even if the cover story were actually true. WELCOME TO DOWNTON ABBEY, MARIGOLD! I hope that you, unlike your dumb cousin, can pet a dog without looking like it's covered in nuclear waste.
Travelled Down The Road And Back Again
Who called the meeting? Mary.
What's it about? That look she saw on The Dowager C's face when Isobel announced her engagement.
How'd it go? After some small talk about said engagement and the upcoming celebration dinner with Lord Merton's shitty sons -- including a reference to the time Larry, jealous of Tom for having married Sybil, drugged Tom's drink on the eve of Mary and Matthew's wedding so that he'd make a drunken ass of himself and prove Larry's point that Tom wasn't good enough for Sybil due to his non-toff status EVEN THOUGH Tom and Sybil were totally already married by then so what he was even hoping to gain from it, Christ only knows -- Mary confidently announces that she knows why Isobel's engagement is difficult for The Dowager C: Isobel's always been The Dowager C's protégée and "looks up to" The Dowager C, but now their positions in the community will change and so will their relationship. The Dowager C's like, WRONG, STUPID: "I've gotten used to having a companion. A friend. Someone to talk things over with....Isobel and I had a lot in common, and I shall miss her." Aw! No more cheesecake on the lanai for
Dorothy and SophiaIsobel and The Dowager C. Mary, shocked, says she's surprised to see The Dowager C so sentimental, which is when the meeting changes from touching to stiff: The Dowager C sniffs, "You've made me regret my confidence. Do have some cake." And as a final button on the conversation, she adds, "And for your information, I don't think Isobel has ever looked up to me." Hee. It's kind of true.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Your Heart Is True, You're A Pal And A Confidant
When Baxter, still trying to make things right, meekly approaches the Bateses and offers to swear that she saw the intact train ticket -- which she did -- Anna primly says that the police have moved on (okay, but HAVE THEY? Not that I care but what is happening with this storyline?!), and Bates grunts, "We know how you like to be helpful, Miss Baxter, by talking to the police about us." After they've flounced off like a couple of Heathers, the new nice Thomas tells her (a) to ignore them, or (b) explain why she was forced into talking to the cops in the first place. Baxter nobly refuses despite the fact that of all people in the house, BATES should be sympathetic about the exigencies of being under police scrutiny. But that's beside the point: Thomas! So nice! To people who deserve it! And the way the Bateses are acting in this episode, it really seems like he was right to have a vendetta against them this whole time anyway. What a couple of dicks.
Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
Isis In Crisis
Look, Lord G. I know it's the olden days and you were kind of SOL if your local vet took a vacation or something. But when your normally spry pup looks like this poor girl...
...YOU PUT HER IN THE CAR AND DRIVE HER AS MANY TOWNS OVER AS IT TAKES BEFORE YOU CAN FIND SOMEONE TO EXAMINE HER. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
And If You Threw A Party...
Isobel has thanked The Dowager C for her kindness with regard to the engagement ("Well, it's too late to stop it" - The Dowager C), and asked about the Princess Kuragin matter (The Dowager C doesn't know if she will receive her in the Dower House if she ever makes it back from Hong Kong), and then Isobel's favourite show is on![Bursts into the parlor with a Krameresque explosiveness.]What is it now, Spratt?I'm sorry to bother Your Ladyship, especially when you have company. I'm afraid I must...hand in my notice. I have suffered as much as anyone can expect to suffer in the course of their duties; I can take no more, Milady. I can take no more. [He leaves.]Typical Spratt. He's as touchy as a beauty losing her looks.You don't think he meant it?Well, if he did, he'd have given his notice quietly, for a good reference in return! No, no, it is simply a demonstration of discontent.So you'll forgive his outburst.Anything rather than find a new butler.
So You WON'T Be Calling Her "Mom"?
What's the occasion? Isobel and Lord Merton's engagement.
What are the refreshments? The usual toff food for everyone except Larry, who's on a special diet and brought his own sour grapes.
Whose embarrassing public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Shocking a nation, Larry Grey is still a fucking prick. Actually, both of Lord Merton's sons -- the younger and more attractive one, Tim, is also present -- are real assholes, spewing out noxious opinions about whether Edith's "adoption" of Marigold is "baggage for an unmarried woman" and the potential dangers of Rose's as-yet-hypothetical interfaith marriage. But all of that is prelude for Larry's stemwinder of dickery he's obviously been DYING to uncork since he first heard about his father's engagement, to wit: "[Isobel] seems very nice and I wish you both every happiness....But that doesn't prevent me form seeing the wide disparity in class and background may prove your undoing....Mrs. Crawley -- a decent, middle-class woman with neither birth nor fortune -- is expecting to fill our mother's shoes as one of the leaders of the county! Is she capable of it? Or will her inevitable failure prove a source of misery for them both." When Lord G reminds Larry that Matthew, Isobel's son, was Lord G's son-in-law and heir, Larry is unimpressed: "Doesn't that just prove that everyone has cousins who are fairly odd?" GASPS.
Poor Lord Merton is, of course, hideously embarrassed, and whines, "Will you go, Larry?" But, of course, Larry isn't done, and also has to toss out "I know the choice of in-laws is eccentric in this family: you already boast a chauffeur and soon you can claim a Jew, but even so--" Tom leaps up, calls Larry a bastard (IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!!!), and tells him to get out. Lord G: "I do not endorse Tom's language, but that is how we all feel." And when Lord G says "we all," he's including Carson.
Well, at least that's over. Psych! Shitty Jr. is still here.
I'd love to criticize Lord Merton's child-rearing failures, except I think we all know he probably saw both his kids for a total of five hours a year throughout their childhoods. It's just a shame that he's still so weak with them that all the Crawley men had to Harry Larry for them. Since when is "Harry" a verb, you ask? Oh! Since Thursday.
Wrap It Up
After the disastrous dinner, Atticus pulls Rose into an alcove to tell her, "See, the thing is, it occurs to me that we're already having to defend ourselves...so let's have a real reason to -- that is, if you feel equal to it." Rose is like, "I'm not going to give you an answer until you say it properly," and because he's her bitch, he does! She starts with the negatives, all "The truth is that we haven't known each other very long" this and "They're right, there are bound to be problems" that, but he's hot as shit and they've probably got to get her off the show so she can go have a movie career, so obviously she accepts!
On their way out, Lord Merton checks in with Isobel to make sure that horrible display from his revolting offspring hasn't soured her on the idea of marrying him! A shell-shocked Isobel manages to choke out, "I can't talk about this tonight, nor for some time to come," adding presciently, "I think Rose and her young man will take up every scrap of attention we have for weddings." And then Tim comes in to whine at Lord Merton that Larry's getting sick of waiting in the car! Isobel very kindly tells Lord Merton not to blame Larry for his hideous exhibition, since he was close to his mother and can't stand the thought of replacing her. Um, that's a borderline okay benefit of the doubt to give a kindergartner, but Larry is in his thirties, so no. Lord Merton: "The boys take after their mother, in every possible way." I assume that if the Grey boys don't get murdered for their dickishness before they can reproduce, their own descendants will include this little gem!
Or maybe this one!
Had enough levity? Good, because it's time for the dog to die.
Lord G comes into the bedroom, Isis awkwardly cradled in his arms, to tell Cora he's going to sleep in the dressing room with her: "I'm pretty sure she won't last to morning, and I don't want her to be frightened." Cora, OBVIOUSLY, tells him fuck the dressing room: "Then lay her here between us. She'll know she has someone who loves her very much next to her." Lord G: "Two people who love her and each other very much on either side." "I only hope I can say the same when my time comes," sighs Cora.
Speaking as someone whose 85-pound pointer/Dane mix sleeps on the bed between his people every night, THIS IS ROUGH, and I demand redress in the form of AT LEAST ONE basket of puppies in the season finale!!!