The seventh episode of Downton revolves around Mary and her men, Edith and her baby, Bates’ anger, and Rose’s engagement — all set while Cora and the Crawleys prepare for the annual church bazaar. (How many of these things do they have in Yorkshire? In season one, there was a fair in the village; in season three, they all traveled to one in Thirsk. It feels like a summer in New York City, where there’s a street fair every weekend.) Oh and Robert comes home from America, having saved Harold from the clutches of the Teapot Dome Scandal.
An exchange between Tom and Mary over Tom not wearing tails to dinner when Violet will be there — “No, don’t change. It’s time she learned about the real world,” Mary says. “Well that’s a phrase with more than one definition,” he replies — encapsulates Sunday’s theme. They are all learning to live in a the “real world,” although it has many meanings. One where Mary has three men chasing after her. One where Edith is pregnant, and her intended paramour nowhere to be found. One where Rose wants to upset her family by marrying a black man. One where Anna has been raped and her husband wants revenge. But one where they still have to put on an idyllic fair for the estate workers and people who live in the village.
It’s clear Mary has become fond of Charles Blake. She even defends him to her grandmother. But Tony is around, lurking in the wings. He visits Downton, and tells Mary he plans to end his engagement to Miss Lane-Fox.
At dinner, Blake and Gillingham all but pull it on and lay themselves on the table to be measured over Mary. The tension is palpable, and the entire family pays close attention to the love square unfolding before their eyes. (Maybe I’m giving too much credit to Evelyn. It’s definitely more of a love triangle. Evelyn struggles to get any foothold he can with Mary, even telling Cora he would prefer to spend as much time at Downton as possible. Evelyn, you’re not going to make yourself happen.)
After the three men take their leave from Downton, Mary is teased over her predicament.
“I’m sorry to see them go,” Cora begins.
“Not as sorry as Mary. What’s a group noun for suitors?” Rose asks.
“What do you think, a desire?” Cora says
“A desire of suitors. Very good.” Rosamund answers.
“If you’re going to talk nonsense, I have better things to do.” Mary reprimands. You know she loves the attention, grieving over Matthew or not.
The episode finishes at the bazaar. Both Blake and Gillingham have shown up, and Mary walks them to their car when the festivities have finished, with her family watching in delight — or confusion, in Robert’s case.
“What sort of menage has this turned into while I’ve been away?” Robert wonders aloud. Cora and Violet simply smirk, while Rose, Edith and Isobel do their best Sheryl Sandberg, leaning in to watch Mary, Charles and Tony.
Mary plays both men well, leaving no hint as to who she prefers. (Although personally, I’m Team Gillingham.) Would that we could all be Mary, who tells both Charles and Tony that she isn’t ready to be with anyone, and they both still chase her anyway. Maybe playing hard to get really is the way to go.
Meanwhile, Anna finally confesses to Mary that it was Mr. Green who raped her. Mary tries to keep Gillingham from visiting, but it’s too late, she cannot reach him.
Green arrives, as smug as ever. While the servants eat their dinner, Bates asks where in London Green lives with Gillingham. Uh oh.
Knowing that Anna will be in London with Mary, Bates asks Carson for the day off to visit York. We see him leave that morning, ominously walking away from the Abbey with a murderous look on his face. I don’t think he went to York.
While in London, Mary tells Anna that she’s going to tell Gillingham to fire Mr. Green. Anna balks at that suggestion. Marry assures her that Bates will never question Gillingham on why he has a new valet. Mary, don’t underestimate Bates.
Mary meets Tony for lunch, and tells him to fire Green. He agrees, but wants to know why. She says she cannot reveal the secret, only that he would find it horrible and agree that Green should go.
Back at Downton that same night, both Bates and Anna have returned. Carson remarks that Bates took his time in York. Anna looks worried. We are all worried, too.
The next day at the bazaar, Tony tells Mary that Green has been killed. He was pushed into the street and caught under a bus or a car. Mary runs to tell Anna, who freaks out a little bit. Anna asks Bates if he would ever do something to risk the life they have built together. He says of course he wouldn’t. But he totally killed Green, right?
NEXT: More thoughts and the Dowager’s best lines