This week’s Downton Abbey had it all: a breakup, a makeup, wedding bells for one couple, the possible death knell of another, a secret being let out, and of course, what would an extra special episode be without someone calling out a racist, classist asshole and the message that reading is fundamental? And we bid a fond farewell to one of the mainstays of the Crawley family.
We start up a day after where we left off last episode. The family is very concerned about Edith, as they have heard nothing from her. Rosamund arrives to see what help she can be, and Granny meets her at the train. Granny is in damage control mode, and she thinks they need to tell Cora the truth about Edith and the baby. Out of the two parents, Cora would be far more forgiving and resourceful. Remember that time she helped Mary carry the dead body upstairs? Like that.
— Mrs. Patmore's Tart (@MrsPatmoresTart) February 9, 2015
Of course, in the middle of a crisis, the Crawleys are still going to entertain. Lord Merton, Isobel, and Atticus and his parents, Lord and Lady Sinderby, are coming over for dinner. We also have Tony, Charles, and Mabel staying at the house, so yeah, this is all sorts of awkward. The family has determined that Edith went to King’s Cross, but after that, she seems to have disappeared into thin air. The family is very concerned, but Mary doesn’t seem to give a shit. She’s too busy basking in the glow of the attentions of two men and enjoying the competition she has with Mabel.
Violet and Rosamund try to retreat to the garden to discuss the situation further, but when Tony, Mabel, and Charles think that they ought to go, too, Violet changes her mind. Well, she’s an old woman, she’s entitled to be mercurial. Especially since Mrs. Drewe has come to visit Cora. Some time later, Violet and Rosamund meet with Cora in her sitting room, and Mrs. Drewe has told Cora about how Edith took baby Marigold with her. Cora is super pissed that Violet and Rosamund knew about the situation and that they tried to pressure Edith into sending Marigold abroad again when Edith would not be parted from her daughter. Cora thinks they need to track Edith down and ask her what she wants to do, and then handle the situation from there.
Lady Edith, you may as well hit the road playing a piano forte and ACTING…. your family loathes you. #DowntonPBS
— Tangela Ekhoff (@tangelaekhoff) February 9, 2015
Mabel goes off by herself to explore the gardens a little further, leaving Tony and Charles at the folly in the garden to talk. They discuss how Mary has broken off the engagement with Tony, but how Tony isn’t giving up “because it’s a matter of honor.” Charles points out that it’s Mary’s choice and that he needs to accept it. Also, he’s probably figured out that the two of them totally boned and that Mary didn’t give Tony a 10 when it comes to his sexual performance.
At dinner, Rose confides in Atticus about Edith’s situation and how they can’t find her, and Atticus suggests that they try calling the publishing house to see if they know where Edith might be. The man is a regular Sherlock Holmes, all! Robert tries to make nice with Lord Sinderby, who isn’t too keen on Atticus marrying outside of the faith. The Crawleys are okay with the whole Jewish thing, as Cora’s dad was Jewish.
Lord Sinderby is like, “Hmm—and were you ever ashamed of your heritage?”
Cora replies, “We never changed our name.” We then find out that it was Atticus’s grandfather who changed their last name when he arrived in England. Because, you know, they just escaped Russia and the pogroms and they wanted to start out in England with a clean slate. Well, I guess you lose either way.
Mabel and Tony talk about this crazy situation they’re in, in which Mabel is chasing after Tony who’s chasing after Mary and round and round we go. This is rather reminiscent of Sartre’s No Exit, only Mary has made her exit and wishes the other two would just leave her alone and marry each other already.
— PBS (@PBS) February 15, 2015
Isobel and Lord Merton announce their engagement, and they all toast Isobel. Violet has the Edith look of gloom on her face when she hears this, so we know that runs in the family. The family decides to invite Lord Merton’s sons, Larry and Timothy, over for dinner the next night. Why? Why bother? Those guys are entitled little pricks. Remember what they did to Branson last time they were there? The family just doesn’t seem to learn its lesson when it comes to guests they should never invite to the house ever again.
Daisy, our little political observer, is bummed because things don’t look good for the Labor government. Why should she continue her education if things aren’t going to change for the little guy? Molesley tries to encourage her to keep at it, but Daisy needs encouragement from someone else. Molesley, Baxter, and Daisy decide to go visit Mr. Mason at his farm, which is doing well. The conversation turns to Daisy’s educational endeavors, and Mr. Mason tells her he is so proud of her and that she needs to keep at it. Daisy decides to not give up when she hears this, and when she tells Mrs. Patmore, it turns out our old cook did some meddling and told Mr. Mason about Daisy’s self-doubt. See, all the kid needed was a little encouragement. Stay in school, kids!
Now we’re back to the storyline that won’t die: the Bateses and Mr. Green. Anna and Bates have these grand plans about selling the house his mother left him in London and using the proceeds to buy a cottage for themselves and maybe even run a little bed-and-breakfast. The big, ugly shadow lurking over that, though, is the supposed murder of Mr. Green. Mrs. Hughes asks Mary if she remembers the untorn train ticket she gave her and Mary very snottily replies that she burned it. But Mary does feel bad that she did because it means that Bates never went to London. Baxter hears the conversation and goes to Bates and Anna, volunteering to say that she saw the train ticket and it hadn’t been torn, but that it can’t be found now. Bates and Anna are like, “Pssh—you already talked to the police. You’re the reason the cops won’t leave us alone to ride off into the sunset.” Or to go on a roadtrip à la Natural Born Killers. Come on, PBS, where’s Poirot when you need him? He’d have this all wrapped up before tomorrow night’s dinner and establish Bates’s innocence using the little gray cells.
Mary is still being a total bitch and running around saying, “I don’t understand why everyone cares about Edith. I certainly don’t.” Or something like that. Mary, Granny is getting real tired of your shit. “My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears,” Violet says to her. Mary changes the subject of the conversation and mentions that Violet seems a little upset that Isobel is marrying Lord Merton, since it means Granny won’t be Queen Bee anymore. Violet is honest with Mary and admits that she has grown close to Isobel and that she would miss her.
Rosamund and Cora, following Atticus’s suggestion, go to London and find Edith in her office. Edith is reluctant to see them, but Cora demands that Edith at least hear her out. Cora has the perfect solution for all of this: Edith should adopt Marigold and bring her to the house so she can be raised with her cousins. As a cover for the story, they’ll say that the Drewes couldn’t keep the little girl and that Edith, who was already so attached to her, volunteered to adopt her and take her in. Edith is okay with it, but they can’t tell Robert or Mary. This already is beginning to seem like a Catherine Cookson novel.
Edith comes home, at last, on the day of the dinner with the Merton boys. Problem? Mary is at the railway station to go to London so she can spend the day with Charles, and Edith sees her. Anna sees the whole thing wonders why Edith and Cora are staying on the train and why Farmer Drewe boarded the train. Farmer Drewe takes Marigold off of the train and later drops her off at Downton Abbey, where Mrs. Hughes overhears their conversation. When Anna tries to bring this up to Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Hughes cuts her off and says the only thing that matters is that the child is safe and will live in a happy home.
In London, Charles and Mary go see a movie together, and it looks like Mabel and Tony went to that same film as well. Charles and Mary leave the theater and stand close to the entrance so that Tony and Mabel and see him kiss Mary. Everyone is surprised, but Tony only wishes Mary the best, and it looks like he is going to go back to Mabel after all. Charles and Mary laugh over the whole thing, and Charles tells Mary he is going to be gone for some time in Poland helping with trade negotiations. They will miss each other, but Charles laughingly tells Mary that she’ll be married before he sees her again.
— Downton Abbey (@DowntonAbbey) February 16, 2015
Branson talks with Robert about leaving for America. His cousin in Boston says the opportunities are better there for Irish people, especially in bootlegging. Even as he plays pooh sticks with Sybbie, he is dreaming of the bootlegging empire he can build and how one day, he, Tom Branson, will be richer than the Crawleys.
Isis is very ill, and Robert takes her to the vet and is told that she has cancer, and that she is basically on her deathbed. As he is tending to Isis, Edith and Cora tell him about Marigold and how Edith wants to adopt her. Robert thinks this is a little weird, but he is so distraught over Isis that he leaves the decision to Cora. Cora acquiesces, despite the questions Mary asks, and that is that, for now. And for once, no one cares what you think, Mary. Even Tom disagrees with you. But remember, Tom is actually a nice person.
The Merton boys come for dinner, with the Sinderbys, and they don’t listen to their dad’s lecture to not be dicks. Branson tried to get out of it by volunteering to watch over Isis, since you know, the last time the Merton boys came over, Larry spiked Branson’s drink and tried to make him look like an asshole in front of Sybil, but Mary tells Branson he needs to be there because you know, family and all. First, the Merton sons make their displeasure over their father’s upcoming nuptials to Isobel clear, since she isn’t of the same social class as they are. Larry says the marriage is doomed because of the class differences. Even though Isobel’s son was Robert’s heir and she’s little George’s grandmother, as Robert gently points out. Then Larry picks on Edith, whom he says won’t be able to find a husband who will raise the adopted child, since men only want to raise their own kids. Oh, but Larry isn’t done yet! Atticus and Branson are his next topics, as Larry remarks on the “eccentric” in-laws. “You already boast a chauffeur and now you can claim a Jew.” Everyone is horrified, since first, the Crawleys were able to claim a Jew as an in-law before a chauffeur, and second, that’s just a plain shitty thing to say in front of the Sinderbys, Rose, and Cora. Branson has had enough and yells, “Get out of here, you bastard!” Robert agrees and tells Larry to GTFO, and Larry leaves in a huff. Then Timmy boy starts running his mouth. “What did you expect? That we would welcome you with open arms?” he says before leaving.
Isobel is clearly upset, and she is already having misgivings about the engagement now that she has met Lord Merton’s sons. Atticus steals Rose off into a room and proposes to her, because love will keep them together and they can take the whole world by storm because they can deal with anything. Of course Rose accepts. She lurves him.
Robert is still really sad about Isis, and he’s not sure if she’ll last until morning. He tells Cora he’ll have the bed in the dressing room made up so that he can be close to Isis when her time comes, but Cora insists that he lay Isis between them so she can spend her last moments with two people who really loved her. It’s a very touching way to show that Robert and Cora have reconciled their differences, especially when it looked like their marriage might fall apart. Nothing like the love for a family dog to tug at the heartstrings.