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'Downton Abbey' recap: Episode 8

Mawwiage… Mawwiage…

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Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECE

Downton Abbey

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter, Maggie Smith

The thing about TV engagements is that there’s typically disappoint built right into them. Yeah, it’s great that Character A and Character B finally decided to tie the knot, but now we have to wait months or (I’m looking at you,The Office) more than a year for the damn nuptials.

To that, Downton says, “Screw it. How’s next week?” To which we all say, “Yes. Yes. Anything to take away the Isis memories.” The betrothal of Lady Rose MacClare and the Honourable Atticus Aldridge takes place exactly when everybody who watched last week wanted it: ASAP. But that means preparation, and there’s nothing that the folks of Downton Abbey do better than prepare for stuff.

Rose, days away from becoming Mrs. Aldridge, is having a bittersweet engagement, thanks to the absence of her mother and all-around bunch of sour grapes, Susan. The bride-to-be tries on her wedding ensemble—the first, a more modern frock and hat duo for their official wedding at the registry office—without her mother, who is still traveling back from India with her estranged and hilariously nicknamed husband, Shrimpy. Absentee parents, however, are just the beginning of the potential snags. There’s still the grumblingly traditional Lord Sinderby, who requires more than a synagogue blessing to be won over. But just when you’re thinking, “I sure wish that the dowager would chime in with some uplifting wisdom,” Violet lays this fat one on us. “Love may not conquer all,” she says, “but it can conquer quite a lot.”

Damn straight.

Before we can move onto the happiness of the ceremony, the residents and staff of Downton Abbey have to take care of all the usual preparations: baking a cake ahead of time, hiring an extra footman (poor, innocent Andy) for the guests, oh, and answering some questions from that nosey London detective, Mr. Vyne. Yep, this subplot just won’t go away. Baxter once again volunteers to swear she saw Mr. Bates’ return ticket to London in one piece, but that’s not going to help anyone. The detective reveals that a new witness testimony rules out Bates, so that ticket situation we obsessed about for weeks doesn’t actually matter. According to the witness, the person who argued with Mr. Green before his entirely deserved tumble in front of a bus was shorter than him. More than that, Mr. Vyne has also learned about Green’s status as a horrible p.o.s./serial rapist. All of which is to say, suspicion has shifted off Bates and directly onto Anna, who will have to come into Scotland Yard later in the week when everyone is in London. Some bad story lines just never die.

And yet some amazing story lines continue to blossom and grow, specifically those from the house of the dowager countess. Prince Kuragin has decided to drop by for a casual “I’ll leave my missing wife if you agree to run away with me” chat with Violet, totally unannounced. The least he could have done was telephoned and said, “Remember how you were having Shrimpy look for my missing wife? You can pump the brakes on that. Want to talk about it over tea?” That would have been polite, at least. Instead, he comes by, and it’s up to Denker to save the day by figuring out another outfit on the fly. But don’t give her too much credit yet. Spratt certainly isn’t. He goes as far as trying to ruin his Ladyship’s trip to London by “forgetting” one of her cases under the bed, but Denker sabotages his sabotage when she spots the missing case, which is an example of what is technically known as the Denker Double Dupe.

NEXT: Here’s Susan!