Downton Abbey recap: Part seven
Mary juggles her men, Edith tries to handle her pregnancy, and someone turns up dead
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
Other things of note:
Rose and Jack are no more. Sadface. Tom catches them together in Thirsk, and tells Mary. Mary, during her trip to London, visits Jack and tells him that Rose only wants to get married to piss off her mother. Jack thinks more of Rose, but agrees that he can’t marry her, because he doesn’t want to ruin her life. I will miss the jazz singer.
Edith really has a thing for Downton farmers, doesn’t she? She wants to have the baby, and give it to Thomas Drew — the tenant that Robert helped a few episodes ago — to raise. Rosamund does not like that plan. Rosamund offers to take Edith to Switzerland to have the baby, and leave it with a childless couple there. Violet also susses out the situation, pushing Rosamund’s agenda on Edith.
It’s terrible that Edith — who undoubtedly has the best wardrobe this season — is saddled with this pregnancy storyline. And where is Michael? Are we ever going to find out what happened to him?
They are really pushing Sarah Bunting on us, aren’t they? Tom runs into Sarah in Thirsk, where she insults his political values. He happens upon her stalled car on the road, and helps get it up and running — not before she insults his working as the estate’s agent. And he spots her setting up for the bazaar — where she insults him again for carrying chairs. I don’t like her.
It’s safe to say that Robert and Cora are in the best place they’ve ever been. Their reunion when Robert returns from the States is sweet. I don’t think he’s dreaming of house maids named Jane anymore.
Isobel has a new boyfriend! Kind of. Violet insists that Isobel come to lunch because Lord Merton — Mary’s godfather and the dad of the dude who poisoned Tom in season 3 — is coming. Merton and Isobel hit it off, and he even sends her flowers. (He does forget that she was Matthew’s mother. Some godfather to Mary he must be.)
In other potential love matches, Molesley and Baxter are getting along very well. He even stands up for her to Thomas. I like the idea of Molesley and Baxter, but we really have seen the maid and footman/valet love story before. (Anna and Bates, anyone?)
I’m glad the whole Daisy/Ivy/Alfred has finally been put to rest. And it was good to see Mr. Mason again, doling out wisdom to Daisy.
The Dowager Countess’ best lines:
Isobel: It’s only me.
Violet: I always feel that greeting betrays such a lack of self-worth.
My dear, please stop talking to me as if I were a child past hope.
Explaining the Teapot Dome Scandal: What is it always about? Bribery and corruption. Taking money to allow private companies to drill for oil on government land.
No life appears rewarding if you think too much about it.
Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts.
Then you have told me the truth. But I would like to hear it enunciated more clearly.
Isobel: I’m a feeble substitute for the entire Crawley family.
Violet: Ah yes, but you’re better than nothing.
Switzerland has everything to offer. Except perhaps conversation. And one can learn to live without that.
All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. First one, then the next and the next. Until at last we die.
The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate.