'This Herr Hitler' Is Only The Latest European To Ruin Edith's Happiness
Elsewhere, The Dowager C gets more news about the princess, Rose gets closer to Atticus, and Mary gets a kicky new 'do.
Putting The "[Lord] G" in "Grudge"
Situation: Lord G has to come tell Cora that Edith's received a telegram warning that she's about to get "some very bad news." (Which is that Michael's definitely dead, duh.)
What makes it awkward? Since that whole thing where he caught another man in their bedroom, he's still giving Cora the silent treatment like a sullen teenager.
How is order restored? Cora finally comes to the guest room where Lord G's been sleeping for some #RealTalk: "If you can honestly say you have never let a flirtation get out of hand since we married -- if you have never given a woman the wrong impression -- then by all means, stay away. Otherwise, I expect you back in my room tonight." Lord G:
Bitchy Mary Is Back!
In a sense, Bitchy Mary never left -- she was still there, just wrapped in gauzy layers of sadness, and then horniness. But when Anna comes in to tell her what she missed by having breakfast in bed (as is her right as a married lady), Mary has exactly ZERO fucks to give about Edith's anguish: "Well, of course it's terrible, but what did she think he was doing, living in a tree?" Anna tells her not to make jokes, and Mary shrugs, "Only in here. I'll be as solemn as a church when I go down." She then softens...for about four seconds: "No, I am sorry, truly. He was a nice man. Though what he saw in Edith...." HAHA, God, she's the best. Mary then turns her attention back to a happier topic: herself! Charles and Tony are both coming to some hunt that Atticus's parents are throwing and then staying at Downton afterward. Though the situation, even after Charles's gambit with Mabel Lane Fox, is still kind of dicey, we know Bitchy Mary's back in full effect when she (rhetorically) asks Anna if she thinks Mary's looking a little frumpy, and when Anna says, "Certainly not, Milady," Mary muses, "Mmm, I'm tempted to remind them of what they're missing." "You'd never be that heartless," says Anna, amused, and apparently as happy as we are that the Bitch Queen has returned to her Bitch Throne!
Maid In Yorkshire
Name: Denker. Age: Early 60s. Occupation: Lady's Maid. Goal: To assimilate into the household of her new employer, The Dowager C, even though Spratt had The Dowager C's previous maid Collins all trained up the way he wanted her and he's furious about having to deal with this change. Sample Dialogue: Told by The Dowager C to ask Spratt which suitcases she usually uses when she (rarely) travels: "Oh, he'll help me, will he? [snort] That's good to know."
The Missing Mrs.
Who called the meeting? The Dowager C.
What's it about? News of Princess Kuragin.
How'd it go? Once Prince Kuragin gets over the novelty of having a lady like The Dowager C deign to set foot in his hovel, she gets to it: Shrimpy thinks he's close to finding Princess Kuragin, and has confirmed that she was definitely alive when she left Russia. As we found out last week, whomever he's been talking to is pretty sure she ended up in Hong Kong, but they'll know more. Prince Kuragin is a lot less interested in any of that than he is at hitting on The Dowager C, like, pretty hard for an old dude: "I wanted you from the moment I first saw you, more than mortal man ever wanted woman." Flattered but with her sense of propriety intact (I think that's the "sense of propriety" is what they call the fifteenth layer in her underclothes), The Dowager C tartly replies, "That is an historical detail." Oh, but my boy's not done: he says that if he knew that his wife were dead for sure, he would ask The Dowager C to run away with him. Oh shit! The Dowager C's like, "We can't run away when there's no one left to run away from!" Prince Kuragin can't stop, won't stop: "I love you more than I love her. Even today. Even this afternoon." Finally, The Dowager C has to tell him, "Please don't." "Why not, if it's true?" he would like to know. The Dowager C says that this kind of talk makes it sound like they were both unhappy in their respective marriages; she doesn't think he was, and she definitely wasn't. But Prince Kuragin has got her number and he's got no more reason not to let her know: "You won't admit it if it were true. You think to be unhappy in a marriage is ill-bred." At that, The Dowager C's like, WELL, YOU GOT ME THERE, AND IF YOU WERE TRYING TO MAKE ME AS DEPRESSED AS YOU, WELL PLAYED. In short: it's kind of a bummer for everyone.
"This Herr Hitler"
Look, whatever to references to minor historical figures like Ellen Terry or the nudist-colony guy that give a little current-events colour to the proceedings. But a 1924 reference from Cora to "this Herr Hitler" who's been sentenced to a five-year prison term for his part in, I guess, running the brownshirts that killed Michael, is so very corny. That said, congratulations to Lord G for getting to tell Cora, darkly, "He won't serve it": it must be a change for Hugh Bonneville to appear in a scene in which his guy gets to be right about one thing ever.
You Got Served
As if The Dowager C doesn't have enough problems (jk, she has one), now she's being made to preside over the power struggle between Denker and Spratt -- the former because she wants to send The Dowager C's lingerie to the big house to be laundered, which is a horrifying notion to the latter, who apparently had convinced Collins to do it herself at the Dower House. Worst of all, Denker and Spratt couldn't wait to make a federal case of this until after Isobel left.I do apologize.Oh, don't! I'm enjoying it immensely.Ugh, that's what I was afraid of.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Bates vs. Bates, Round 1
After spending the day getting dirty looks from Bates, Anna finally asks what his problem is, and he gives her both barrels about having gone to the cottage to try to find her button box and finding The Book and The Thing instead -- or, as he describes the latter, "a cunning piece of equipment to ensure there would be no Baby Bates." Anna, to her credit, not only doesn't throw Mary under the bus but reacts with zero guilt, spitting, "And I'm supposed to applaud your poking around in my things, am I?" Bates is like, you don't get to be mad at me, I am mad at you!, and she's like
Winner: Anna. People need to tell that guy to get over himself more often.
Bax In The Henhouse
So this cop from London -- who definitely was Inspector Vyne in the last episode but now is Inspector Vyner: FINE -- is back at Downton Abbey because it's Baxter's turn to talk about poor old dead Green. Why? Because the Inspector got a letter from someone who claimed that Baxter had insider information about the Bateses that would be useful to the investigation. This person (why be cute? It was obviously Thomas) also included the fact of Baxter's conviction and prison term, which a decorous Vyner only refers to obliquely before offering to speak to Baxter in private, but Mrs. Hughes doesn't think that would be appropriate, and Baxter's like, it's fine, so this is how Mrs. Hughes finds out that she's been employing an ex-con. There are still two years remaining on Baxter's sentence, and if it's determined that she isn't complying with police, she could go back to serve them out. She promises she doesn't know anything, and I finally figure out why this has been drawn out so long: "Green" was her co-conspirator, and she killed him...except wouldn't Thomas know him too?! UGH, THIS STORYLINE.
Anyway, after the cops leave, Mrs. Hughes tightly asks whether Cora knows about Baxter's conviction. When Baxter says she does, Mrs. Hughes firmly says, "Then we'll say no more about it." I'd like to believe that this time. I really would.
Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
Next time someone tries to tell you that extremist terrorists aren't the biggest scourge facing our society, please point them to Downton Abbey killing off poor sweet Isis just because a bunch of fucks in Iraq co-opted her name. (Isis isn't dead yet. But she's not looking too good. And Mary's suggestion that maybe she's so listless because she's pregnant is rejected out of hand, I guess because he never caught Simon Bricker with her.)
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Gay Men's Health Crisis
After finally letting his guard down with Baxter and shown him the inflamed injection site where he's been shooting himself up with snake oil (and not a moment too soon, apparently)...
...Thomas has let Baxter take him to Dr. Clarkson's office for treatment. Finally, we get the full story: Thomas travelled to London to get "electrotherapy"; the pills and shots he left with (the latter, apparently, containing a solution of saline that was almost certainly unsterilized) were supposed to continue the process. Dr. Clarkson gently asks what Thomas was trying to do, and Thomas euphemises, "To change me. To make me more like other people. Other men." Dr. Clarkson's like, GOT IT. He says he won't pretend not to understand, and that he doesn't blame Thomas, but adds, "There is no drug, no electric shock, that will achieve what you want." His advice? "Accept the burden that chance has seen fit to lay upon you, and to fashion as good a life as you're able." I appreciate that Dr. Clarkson isn't warning Thomas against sexual activity for "moral" (homophobic) reasons, or legal ones; nor is he anachronistically running out to convene a pride parade. There are a lot of ways to take what he said, I suppose, but I don't interpret it as Dr. Clarkson advising Thomas to resign himself to a sexless life or anything; really, making as good a life for oneself as one can is what we're...all doing, basically, right?
Place Of Interest
Shady Patmore Pines
Just days after coming into money and having the idea of buying a cottage for rental income and, eventually, a home to retire to, Mrs. Patmore has travelled to see it and brought Mrs. Hughes and Carson along to check it out before she decides whether to buy it or not. This is a big deal, given the Carson/Patmore flap over her nephew and the memorial, and even though Carson is kind of shitty about the modest kitchen and the "outdoor privy," there's not much fire behind his objections, and Mrs. Patmore still likes the house and decides she's going to take it. As she goes to return the key to the estate agent, Carson is left alone with Mrs. Hughes, looking around curiously, and finally asking whether she's ever thought about her own retirement. "Who says I'll live to retire?" she shoots back. WELL, THAT'S A CHEERY THOUGHT, WHAT A FUN DAY WE ALL HAD LOOKING AT OUR FRIEND'S FIRST HOME.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Bates vs. Bates, Round 2
When you're a servant, you have to have your fights in stages, so it's not until Anna and Bates have returned to their idyllic marital retreat that he has a chance to accuse her of not wanting to let him put a baby in her because she thinks he's a murderer, and I mean, who among us HASN'T had this exact fight with their spouse, right? Anna's like, we know how Vera died (remember HER?!), but he's like, "Not Vera. Mr. Green." This is kind of where the fight stops and a whole season's worth of conversations that SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BY NOW suddenly all take place in this one scene. Anna turns away sobbing, asking how he knew that Green was her rapist, and he says he's known since the day he found out about her assault. She doesn't believe it, but he's like, ...come on. Anna says she kept trying to tell herself he didn't know about Green's attack because it would lessen the likelihood that Bates had killed him, and Bates says he wanted to and actually planned to; he did go to York and buy a ticket to London so that he could go, get in a quick murder, and come straight back. But he never got on the train, because he knew if he ever saw Green again, he'd definitely kill him, and that if he did, he'd hang: "And I couldn't do that to you." "Thank god," says Anna, basically confirming Bates's suspicions about her suspicions, but never mind, I guess? When he heard the next day that Green had been killed, he thanked the universe for acting on his vision board (I'm paraphrasing), and was grateful that he did buy that ticket to London, because if the clerk at the York train station remembered selling it to him and directed a cop to look into Bates, the fact that the ticket was intact -- not ripped by a conductor -- proved that he hadn't actually gone. But now the ticket's gone along with his old coat and he's fucked. Anna:
Bates is like, why are you so happy, I MIGHT BE FUCKED, but Anna can't help it: she's just so happy he's not a murderer after all! You guys are having a really cool marriage so far. But also, she still hasn't outed Mary as the true owner of The Thing, so she's a good friend who may still have another round of this fight to have, assuming Bates doesn't actually get arrested.
What A Hunt
What's the occasion? Atticus's parents, Lord and Lady Sinderby, just want everyone in the county to have a good time outdoors, racing horses and trying to kill defenseless animals!
What are the refreshments? Strawberries, salad, daytime booze.
Whose embarrassing public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Between Mary's new hairdo and Mabel Lane Fox's brazen non-sidesaddle horseback riding technique, probably the degraded state of English womanhood! That, or how shamelessly Tony and Mabel were dying to get into each other's jodhpurs.
Exit Of Edith
Who's causing a family crisis? Fucking Edith.
How? She's lost all hope of being reunited with Michael what with him being dead and all; she's just inherited his publishing company, so she's going to have her own means; so she's leaving home after living alone for so many years.
Which relatives have a problem with it? I mean, if they're being honest with themselves, will any of the Crawleys really miss Edith? Mary definitely won't. But while the Drewes won't miss her, they're definitely going to miss Marigold, whom Edith snatches back on her way out of town after finally confessing her maternity to Mrs. Drewe and producing Marigold's birth certificate as proof.
Who's an unlikely ally? Tom, who skipped the hunt/horse race/picnic bullshit, walks into the library just as Edith is in the process of writing her goodbye letter, and while he implores her not to do anything until the rest of the family comes back, he also doesn't try that hard to stop her once he can tell she's serious -- in fact, it's important to her that he see her resolution, so that when the family returns, he can tell them she wasn't "hysterical."
Spoiler: Edith may yet rue the day she ever let Rosamund into her confidence, since apparently she can't keep any secret from The Dowager C.
DialogueI'm dying to ride astride.Why don't you?Not if my grandmother's watching.You surprise me. You seem more than able to choose which laws to keep and which to break.Don't be spiky when I only want what you want.Which is...?For you and Tony to walk into the sunset together.I do resent you. I resent your ability to take him off me, when I know how to make him happy and I certainly love him more than you do.I think that's all true.Then why turn up looking like a cross between a Vogue fashion plate and a case of dynamite?Well, I can't make it too easy for him.
"Lady Merton": Sounds Hot
As they wait for the latest heat of the horse race to begin, The Dowager C comment and Isobel on Mary: "I think she's cracked." "It's good to do some crazy things when you're young." "As long as you survive them," Cora throws in. "Some do crazy things all their lives," sniffs The Dowager C. This offers a nice segue to the crazy thing Isobel may yet do, and as Cora drifts away, Isobel screws up her courage and tells The Dowager C she's going to accept Lord Merton's proposal: "I know you'll think me foolish, but I feel it's my last chance of a new adventure before I'm done." Aw! The Dowager C, considering her own last chance at a new adventure, says she's happy, but looks like her strawberries and cream have gone down the wrong way.
Wrap It Up
Horse racing occurs! Mary, surprising no one, is the first-place finisher among the lady riders! Charles twits her about having smoked Mabel, to which Mary archly replies, "I don't believe in letting people win." "Even if it's in your own interest?" he presses. It doesn't seem to matter, as they glance over and see Tony and Mabel talking close and flirtatiously!
The Crawleys and the Aldriches are introduced, and invitations to dinner are exchanged! It's all suuuuuuupes WASPy!
As the older ladies look on, Isobel thinks it's nice that Rose and Atticus have been getting along so well, and that if things progress, she won't be expected to convert! The Dowager C is like, jigga-what? And then Isobel gets to tell The Dowager C that Rose is being courted by a Jewish boy! You can tell Isobel LOVES IT!
Oh shit, Edith's gone! WHAT?!
Downstairs, Carson and Mrs. Hughes discuss Edith's sudden flight, and then, totally randomly, he asks if she'd ever consider going in with him on a little house -- strictly as an investment! I guess this is the mid-'20s servant version of "If we're both thirty and not married, we'll just marry each other"? Anyway, Mrs. Hughes sends him out without answering, but privately looks surprised and pleased! Aw!
On her way home, The Dowager C has stopped to get the Drewes' version of the story! They promise they won't say anything but they also have no clue where she's gone! Mrs. Drewe is still furious, and honestly, who can blame her? Fucking Edith!
Speaking of fucking Edith, she's being ushered into a hotel room by a bellman and showering Marigold with promises of ice cream! So first you're going to snatch her away from the only mother she's ever known and now you're going to spoil her dinner? Even Marigold looks dubious about it! But never mind her: YOU ARE KILLING IT AS A PARENT, EDITH, EXCELLENT WORK A++++ WOULD PARTICIPATE IN SECRET OFF-BOOKS ADOPTION SCHEME AGAIN!