A lot of things happened on tonight’s episode, with several important turn of events woven together. I’ll attempt to break it down for you.
Matthew and Mary: Mary won’t sleep with her husband — and you can sense his disappointment after she gives him the old “I’m tired excuse.” But don’t fret you Matthew and Mary ‘shippers. It turns out that, despite Matthew’s worry that his spine bruise caused him to be infertile, Mary was the real problem. She reveals that she had a minor surgery, and they can now try to make a baby again. (That is polite speak for having a lot of sex.) Matthew is relieved. “I thought you’d gone off me,” he says to his wife. Oh, Matthew, how could anyone go off you? (Except for Jessica Chastain in The Heiress, but that’s a different story.) Furthermore, Mary begins to support her husband’s involvement with the estate, and understands that he’s trying to create a future for their children. They have a very sweet exchange at the end of the episode, too. “You can always count on me,” Mary says. “I know that. I don’t think it was possible to love as much as I love you,” he says, then they kiss. Awww.
The estate: Matthew wants to make Downton self-sustaining, and once again Robert isn’t happy with Matthew’s plans — and neither is his longtime manager Jarvis, who up and quits. Violet suggests that they make Tom the new manager. (I half expected Lord Grantham to do a spit take at the idea. Unfortunately, he’s too proper for that.) He soon relents, though, after Cora and his mother basically gang up on him. He makes them promise, however, that they will admit that they were wrong when things go south with Tom. Knowing Robert’s track record, I doubt this will happen. Matthew and Tom hope to turn some of the larger farms into profitable enterprises, but Robert worries that it’s too much change, too fast. He suggests that they invest with an American chap named Charles Ponzi, instead. (Yes, we know what Robert does not, but I think the writers are deliberately making him out to be an imbecile here.) It’s Tom who ultimately convinces Lord Grantham to get on board with their plan. “Shall I tell you how I look at it? Every man or woman who marries into this house, every child born into it, has to put their gifts at the family’s disposal. I’m a hard worker and have some knowledge of the land. Matthew knows the law and the nature of business,” Tom says. “Which I do not,” Lord Grantham replies grumpily. “You understand the responsibilities we owe to the people ’round here. Those who work for the estate and those that don’t. It seems to me if we could manage to pool all of that, if we each do what we can do, then Downton has a real chance.” Tom really should have stayed in politics.
Edith’s new job: Edith goes to visit London to meet with the editor who wants to hire her. (I’m going to call him Sir Anthony Strallan’s younger brother, or SASYB for short, because darn if those two don’t look alike.) She decides to accept the job after having lunch with SASYB. And at another meeting between the two, SASYB even flirts with our Edith. Since she’s a proper journalist now, she does her homework on SASYB and finds out that he is married. She visits him in London again to to resign. “I’m afraid I find the idea of a married man flirting with me wholly repugnant,” she tells him. (Edith, don’t you know that beggars can’t be choosers?) SASYB explains that yes, he is married, but his wife is in an asylum and he cannot divorce her. “It means that I’m tied for the rest of my life to a madwoman who doesn’t even know me. I can’t tell you how much it cheers me to read your column and to meet when we do. I hope very much you’ll consider staying on.” Who thinks Edith will continue writing her column?
NEXT: Bates to the rescue.