Raise your hand if you watched Downton Abbey instead of the Super Bowl last night! What, you watched the Puppy Bowl instead? I suppose I’ll allow that. However, if you DID eschew both the biggest sporting event of the year AND a program devoted entirely to puppies, come sit by me, and we’ll go back almost a hundred years and check in with the Granthams.
We open with Mary pushing Matthew in a wheelchair across Downton’s grounds. Matthew mourns William’s death–he knows William sacrificed himself partially to ensure Matthew’s survival. But also, war is hell and all. Sir Richard and Robert watch Mary and Matthew through a window, and Sir Richard asks if he ought to be jealous. (Answer: YES YOU IDIOT.) Sir Richard is interested in Haxby Park, a neighboring manor. He would like to buy it, remodel it, etc.
Doctor Clarkson enters, and asks Lord Grantham if it’s alright if they accept a wounded officer who claims to know the Grantham family. He’s a Canadian named Patrick Gordon, and has been horribly burned and disfigured.
Downstairs, New Maid Jane, O’Brien, Anna and Mr. Bates are discussing the impending wedding of Anna and Mr. Bates. O’Brien doesn’t want the marriage to “break us up” and Bates points out that, you know, O’Brien’s been nothing but horrible to him since day one. O’Brien still feels guilty for writing to Mrs. Bates, I believe.
At tea at Cousin Isobel’s, Cora, Violet and Isobel discuss the end of the war, which seems to be coming soon. Cora expresses relief that she’ll have her house back, and Isobel resists, trying to turn Downton into a permanent recovery home. Violet and Cora clearly strongly objects, and Isobel pushes hard.
At Downton, Edith meets Patrick Gordon, the wounded officer who claims to know the Granthams. His “Canadian” accent is hard and jarring compared to the gentle British we’re so used to hearing. Gordon is badly burned and heavily bandaged. To be honest, he’s a little hard to look at. Gordon claims that he and Edith have met before, a long time ago.
Meanwhile downstairs, Jane is trying to give Daisy information on war widow’s benefits. Daisy wants nothing to do with it.
And upstairs, Sir Richard offers Carson a job. He wants Carson to come and run the household at Haxby, knowing that Carson is fond of Mary, and offers him a big raise. Carson is reserved as usual.
As Violet leaves dinner that evening, Robert and Cora discuss with her Isobel’s plans for Downton, and Violet thinks they must come up with some sort of other distraction for Isobel, paving the way for one of my favorite conversations of the series, to take place later this episode. Get excited!
Back downstairs, everyone’s talking about after-the-war plans. Mrs. Padmore points out that supplies are getting tight, and everyone ought to be hoarding food. Carson catches Mrs. Hughes giving Ethel supplies. Oh dear.
Mary and Sir Richard are at Haxby, and it’s huge and echoing and empty. Mary laments the family she knew that used to live there, but Sir Richard is focused on the future. “I suppose one has to live somewhere,” says Lady Mary, regarding the huge house and 12,000 acres her fiance is contemplating buying for her.
Carson takes Mrs. Hughes to Cora, and makes her confess that she’s been giving food to Ethel. Carson is quick to judge Ethel, but Cora points out that Ethel’s already paid the price: she’s got a baby and no father. Cora suggests that they invite Major Mustache back to Downton, in the hopes that Lord Grantham can get him to acknowledge his child.
Poor Robert is having lunch all by himself, and because Carson’s dealing with the wine delivery, Jane is serving the lunch. Robert asks her about her son, and offers to put in a good word for the boy as he applies to a more selective school. Jane is excited by the prospect, but Carson comes in, and somehow manages to chide both Jane and Robert for talking to each other.
Mrs. Hughes visits Ethel for an update. Lord Grantham may get involved, but let’s make it clear, it is completely Ethel’s fault and Ethel’s fault alone for getting pregnant, men can’t be helped or expected to behave, etc. Ethel’s broken society’s rules and she must pay.
Mr. Bates has a call from his lawyer, which O’Brien goes to eavesdrop on. Upstairs, Edith has another interaction with Gordon. He says he came to Downton all the time growing up. He says he’s Patrick! Patrick, who downed on the Titanic. He was hoping Edith would figure this out on her own.
Oh dear. Mrs. Bates has told the judge that Mr. Bates paid her to agree to a divorce. Which, you know, he did. Which basically undoes the entire divorce proceeding. Anna, steadfast as always, maintains that they’re going to be together. O’Brien overhears.
Upstairs, the man who says he’s Patrick says he was on the Titanic, but pulled a Rose and got fished out of the water. He had amnesia, and was sent to Canada by mistake. He somehow remembered his first name, but not his last, so he “took his name from, a gin bottle,” which, fist-pump for all of us who happen to have a plastic jug of Gordon’s gin sitting in our fridges at the moment. Anyway, he joined the army, sustained another serious head wound, and everything came back. Also, as it’s been hinted, it was Edith who loved Patrick, not Mary, so it’s especially hard for her to be confronted with all this.
Mary and Matthew discuss Sir Richard’s impending purchase of Haxby, and whether Carson would come with them or not. Mary points out that she doesn’t have to marry Sir Richard, but Matthew says yes, she does, and it’s only her engagement that lets him feel comfortable spending time with her; he doesn’t want to get in the way of her leading a full life. Sir Richard, AGAIN watching Matthew and Mary through a window, now complains to Cora about Matthew. Sir Richard, bastard that he is, literally says that if Cora wants Mary to have children, Lavinia ought to be brought back. Ugh.
Oh hey Sybil! She goes to ask Branson to wait until the war’s over before she has to decide whether she’ll forsake family and fortune to run away with him or not. He agrees, the single least pig-headed thing we’ve seen him do in quite some time.
In the Evil Smoker’s corner, Thomas and O’Brien discuss rationing and the black market. Thomas has pretty much decided to enter into black market speculation. Awesome.
Edith goes to her father, presumably to tell him about maybe-Patrick. Mary talks to Carson about his coming with them, and Carson won’t decide until Robert weighs in. Robert, at the moment, is visiting maybe-Patrick. Maybe-Patrick has little to no proof, except he knows things that only the real Patrick would know. Maybe Patrick gives Robert a written detailed account of his story, so some lawyers can look at it, and makes some sort of hand gesture across his face. Robert starts, and asks him where he learned to do that. (Speaking of the Romanovs from last week, is this an “I cough when I am frightened” moment?)
Yay! Isobel is at Violet’s and Violet is trying to find another cause for Isobel to latch on to so she’ll leave Downton in peace. Sickness? Nope. Women losing their jobs to returning soldiers? Nope. Refugees? Bingo! Violet tells Isobel that Isobel’s experience makes her perfectly suited to help the refugees, and that it must be a far more important purpose than whatever plans she had for Downton.
Robert’s called everyone for dinner, he has an announcement. There’s a patient who claims to be Patrick Crawley. Mary’s very distraught, and instantly decides that this Patrick is a faker. Matthew bitterly points out that if the patient is indeed Patrick, he can walk around and sire children, far more than Matthew can currently do.
And now for randomness: Major Mustache has been killed. Damn. Speaking of randomness, Jane once again stumbles in on Robert by himself.
Maybe-Patrick and Edith are out walking, and Patrick and Edith reminisce about hiding from a mean governess, and Edith says that she recognizes Patrick. Patrick says that Edith hasn’t changed a bit (which isn’t true, in a good way! Edith is far less horrible than she used to be! She has improved greatly, and changed for the better!)
Mrs. Hughes goes to visit Ethel, and again with the lecturing that Ethel is a very bad ruined woman without any hope. Okay. We get it.
Mr. Bates tells Robert that he needs to go to London to deal with Mrs. Bates. Robert urges Bates to be sensible and not lose his temper.
Robert comes and interrupts the servants’ dinner to say the war is over! Cheers and wine for everyone!
Cora, Violet, and Isobel meet again, and Isobel explains, with much apologizing, that she can’t run Downton after all, she has to go and help the war refugees. This is a hilarious scene, as Violet and Cora urge Isobel to do what she thinks is best, while secretly cheering that she’ll be out of their hair. Violet, it seems, promised to be a patron to some sort of foundation, in order to get them to take Isobel aboard.
Maybe-Patrick is having some issues dealing with the fact that the non-Edith parts of the family aren’t exactly welcoming him with open arms. He yells and throws things a bit, which isn’t exactly useful when trying to prove you’re a member of the aristocracy.
Downstairs, Daisy is now explaining to the entire staff her reservations re: marrying William and why she’s not claiming widow’s benefits. We get it, dear. You feel guilty as hell. Oh, Mr. Bates is back! Things did not go well with Mrs. Bates, and he’s got a cut by his eye.
And now, for some news on maybe-Patrick! The fished-out-of-the-Titanic-wreckage story bears up, but also, there was a Peter Gordon who worked with Patrick Crawley and then emigrated to Montreal. Violet thinks that Peter Gordon, who must have been friends with Patrick and heard lots of stories, is trying to fool everyone. Robert is clearly unsure, and Mary is still adamant that it’s all bullshit.
Edith updates maybe-Patrick, who is either losing hope or realizing that no one’s buying his story except for Edith.
Carson, it seems, will be following Mary to Haxby Hall. Mrs. Hughes will miss Mr. Carson, and I yelled “make out!” at them. They did not.
OH SHIT SIR RICHARD BROUGHT LAVINIA SQUIRE BACK WITH HIM! Cora’s pleased to see her, but everyone else is shocked. Lavinia has come back determined to look after Matthew, and he can’t frighten her away. Cora tries to justify this to Robert, and Sir Richard manhandles Mary, pushing her up against a wall, and threatening her that if she breaks off their engagement, he’ll tell the world about Mr. Pamuk, so she must never ever cross him. Gee, who wouldn’t want to marry that man?
Maybe-Patrick has departed abruptly without saying good-bye, though he leaves Edith a note, signed P. Gordon. Edith thinks they drove him away, Sybil thinks he was a fake.
And now, for the end of the war! Everyone gathers in the great hall as the clock strikes 11. Possibly better than that, MATTHEW MAY HAVE FELT SOMETHING. IN HIS PANTS. He is not sure.
From that high, we go to a new low: MRS. BATES IS DEAD. Oh dear.
“Because we’ve always been such good friends” – Mr. Bates to O’Brien, re: SHE IS THE WORST
“Your lot buys it, my lot inherits it” – Mary, to Sir Richard, re: furniture and pictures.
“The trick of business is to MIND YOUR OWN.” – Anna, to O’Brien, see above.
Things to fight out in the comments:
WAS THAT PATRICK CRAWLEY OR NOT?
Was it really necessary to spend so much time shaming Ethel? She’s screwed. We know.
How do you feel about Cousin Isobel? Is her altruism to be respected or mocked?
As a reminder, out of respect for the law-abiding American citizens who have not seen the rest of the season, please make an effort to keep the comments spoiler-free for them!