'Downton Abbey': Let's Dish the Drama in Series 4, Episode 7

Lady Rose definitely won the best outfit competition this week. (Photo: Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE)
Lady Rose definitely won the best outfit competition this week. (Photo: Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Downton AbbeyRobert has to go to America to help Cora’s  Plot Point Brother with some business no one cares about, Mary finds out what happened to Anna, Edith decides to have an abortion, but can’t go through with it at the last minute. Mary and Blake finally start liking each other after they spend a night saving pigs and getting covered with mud, the Dowager gets sick but luckily gets better fast, Tom met a girl at a political meeting. Super Stalker Lord Gillingham and his Horrible Rapist Valet return to Downton for a visit, and Bates looks like he’s totally figured out the Horrible Rapist bit.  Oh, and there’s some more pointless drama with Alfred, Daisy and Ivy, but I’m just going to pretend it’s not happening because we all hate it.

What will happen this week? Who can even say. Onward and let’s find out. 

Back to the Pigs! Mary, Tom and Edith go see the infamous pigs with Mr. Drew, that tenant that Robert helped keep his farm a few episodes back. The pigs all look fine, by the way. Team Downton has decided to ask Drew if he’d like to be their official pig man, since the first one almost killed the pigs with the no-water incident and is clearly not very good at his job.  Drew says yes, mentioning this is the second good turn the Crawleys have done for him, and he hopes he can pay it back one day. Edith suddenly looks very interested in him, which doesn’t bode well for anything at all. 

Violet in Recovery. Isobel shows up at the Dower House and wakes up Violet, who apparently has fallen asleep reading a book because the Dowager Countess is human just like the rest of us.  Isobel offers to take Violet on a walk up to the abbey later, so they can hear all about Robert’s Adventures in America. Turns out Plot Point Brother Harold has somehow gotten himself involved in the Teapot Dome scandal, a rather far-retching government bribery incident that took place during the Harding administration.  Violet does not seem to be a huge fan of the Plot Point Brother, so that’s awesome. 

Rose Makes Some Secret Plans. Cora comes upon Rose making some plans with an unidentified person on the phone (which we all totally know is Jack Ross). Cora, deploying the parenting skills for which she is hailed around the world, totally believes Rose when she clearly lies that it’s “just a friend” on the line.  Cora then tells Rose she’s going to have to pull her weight and help her put together the village bizarre, which should be super fun given half the village hates the other half.  Rose does not seem impressed. 

Baxter Sews and Digs for Information. Baxter is once again sewing in the kitchen because that’s her particularly identifying trait (like Rose and going to London), when Molesley stops by to admire her handiwork. He says he’s impressed she has a real skill.  They chat for a minute about how Molesley used to be a valet for Matthew and a butler for Isobel back in the day, but is now just a footman. Baxter says that people can work their way back up after life kicks them down. She says she’s struggled too and is now ladies’ maid to a countess. Molesley obviously wants to ask more about her past but Baxter heads that right off by asking him whether he thinks the Bateses are having marital problems.  Let’s hope she’s better at sewing than sleuthing, okay? Molesley says that doesn’t seem likely, and Mrs. Patmore interrupts them before this inelegant interrogation can go any further. 

Meanwhile, in the Kitchen. Thank goodness we’ve only had to wait five minutes to see what’s happening in this kitchen servant storyline! I was worried. Mrs. Patmore and Daisy are preparing the servants’ tea when Ivy gets a letter in the post, reads it, gasps and rushes off. Daisy sagely tells everyone to pay no mind to Ivy’s histrionics because she just wants everyone to think her life is interesting.  Which is basically the first time I’ve liked Daisy this season. 

Later, Mrs. Patmore corners Ivy and asks what’s going on, insisting that she’s been acting weird all afternoon and mooning about. Ivy confesses – to the surprise of literally no one – that she’s had a letter from Alfred. Turns out that his father has died and he has to come back to Yorkshire for the funeral. He also included – possibly as a postscript or something – a marriage proposal for Ivy. That this storyline twist is incredibly stupid is equally obvious and confirms my suspicion that Alfred is basically too stupid to live. Ivy says that her behavior toward Alfred during his last visit – actions such as smiling and looking at him directly, for example – apparently made him hope that things had changed between them and now he wants to marry her and have her move up to London to be with him. I guess perhaps a trip to the pictures or something was just a bridge too far? 

Edith is a Terrible Liar and Other Tea Time Events. Everyone’s having tea in the library. Isobel’s busy trying to convince Tom to run for political office in the county or, barring that, at least find some books on socialism so he can deal with his whole personal existential crisis regarding his belief system. Being BFFs now,  Isobel volunteers to hit up the bookstore with him. They’re so cute. 

Edith asks her grandmother if she’s improving healthwise. Violet archly points out that if Edith had ever visited her then perhaps she would know. Sighing, Edith asks her not to bully her because she’s just not up to it at the moment. Violet says she knows, because Rosamund told her. Edith immediately freaks out, asking what Violet knows about her, and she’s so unsubtle we might as well just hire a plane to write EDITH HAS A MASSIVE SECRET in the sky above the house. Violet looks at her granddaughter as though she is crazy, and says Rosamund only said Edith needed a little extra kindness at present. 

Mary’s busy telling Blake and Napier all about getting Mr. Drew to agree to be their pig man. In the midst of this she and Blake basically apologize to each other for their wrongheaded first impressions, and then the nanny brings in the children for our every other episode reminder that Mary and Tom have offspring. Blake ends up holding baby George, in a totally unsubtle bit of what I assume must be foreshadowing. Mary looks so impressed you’d think he’d just given birth to the baby on his lap, and Violet looks hilariously horrified at proceedings in general. The baby starts crying, and the Dowager takes that as her cue to leave. 

Stalker Gillingham…Well, Stalks. While she’s getting changed for dinner, Mary asks Anna to tell Mrs. Hughes that the Super Stalker is en route back for a visit at Downton because the house is basically his hotel at this point.  Mary says she shouldn’t encourage him, but that she can’t quite think of how to tell him not to come. Anna’s upset, obviously, and Mary tries to get her to talk about what’s wrong.  What follows is an awesome scene wherein Anna finally tells Mary that Horrible Rapist Green is the man who attacked her – but without ever actually saying so. Michelle Dockery’s expression of shock when Mary finally puts two and two together  is a thing to behold. Mary says she has to tell the police, or Lord Gillingham at least, but Anna refuses. She says that Bates doesn’t know it was Green, but the more the two of them are at Downton, the more likely it is that her husband’ll figure it out. Mary asks whether she thinks Bates will do something if he knows the truth and Anna has to explain the KILL KILL KILL leading to certain hanging theory for the fifteenth time. 

Tom Crashes Rose’s Date. Tom and Isobel head into Thirsk (did you know that’s the name of a village Me neither.) to the visit the bookshop and ostensibly look for some awesome socialist tracts to help him figure out his whole personal crisis of politics.  While Tom’s waiting for Isobel to post some letters, he spots Rose having lunch in a café with Jack Ross. Rose, who looks incredibly lovely in a truly darling pink dress, seems to be having a grand time, but Jack clearly doesn’t want her to get too affectionate with him in public, because he thinks that a black singer and the daughter of a Marquess out together in a small Yorkshire town are going to attract some attention. Rose declares that other people’s perceptions are their problem and that it’ll be good to show the townspeople that there are bigger and better things in the world than their small-minded values.  Jack looks worried, while Tom loiters anxiously outside. Sadly, he’s not mentally debating how to ask Rose to come to political meetings with him because of her progressive views. Later, in the car, Tom tries to ask Isobel for advice on what to do about what he saw, but without naming names or explicitly describing anything. It’s adorable. 

Molesley is Awesome. Molesley comes to see Baxter – who is still sewing – and asks if she’d like a cup of coffee. She says no, but Molesley’s persistent, insisting that it’s just a cup of coffee not the total loss of her independence. She gives in, and Molesley takes the opportunity to tell her that he, too, understands what it’s like to feel fragile, because he has his whole life. He says that no one on Team Downstairs likes Thomas, but he wishes she’d accept that they can all make up their own minds about her. Does Molesley have a crush? This is so cute! 

We Finally Learn Hat Girl’s Name.  Surprise, Tom and Isobel also manage to run into Hat Girl from his political meeting last week. It turns out her name is Sarah Bunting, and she is once again wearing a pretty cute hat, but a rather drab ensemble. They chat for a minute and Sarah ribs Tom about his mixed political views, particularly as she now knows that he’s the son-in-law of Lord Grantham. Tom doesn’t rise to this bate but, interestingly enough, Isobel does, calling him a “keen political thinker” (though I doubt any of us would go that far) who isn’t afraid to question his beliefs. Sarah smiles and says she’d stay to argue, but she’s got to go to work – and that’s how we learn she’s a teacher at a local school.  Tom smiles after her and the odds we’ll be seeing her again seem rather high. 

Ivy Makes a Decision. Ivy and Mrs. Patmore continue their discussion about Alfred’s Great Idiocy. Ivy declares that she doesn’t want to marry Alfred and, even if she did, doesn’t think it’s a good idea to tie herself down so young because life might have anything in store for her. She asks if Mrs. Patmore thinks she ought to write him with her refusal, but their conversation is stalled by the appearance of Daisy, who’s super suspicious and says she knows that something’s going on. Mrs. Patmore says no, and does that thing where she attempts to just lie and brazen it out. She’s quite good at it. 

Edith Has a Great Idea. (It Is Not a Great Idea.) Rosamund arrives at Downton, ostensibly to serve as a support system for Edith when she breaks the news to her mother about her pregnancy. Edith takes her aside to tell her about her latest brilliant idea – that she’s come up with a way to keep the baby. She explains to Rosamund about Drew the farmer who’s been at Downton for years, and says that he could be trusted to keep her secret. This is clearly a terrible idea. Rosamund says it’s reckless and offers an alternative solution, suggesting that she and Edith just go off on an extended trip somewhere and have the baby adopted by a childless couple in whatever country they happen to visit.  This idea of course means that Edith could never be a part of its life, and she wants to know what’s wrong with her original plan involving Drew. Rosamund lists all the flaws in her idea, mainly that it exists, that it’s Edith’s idea and that’s never turned out well in the past, that the farmer could talk to someone,  she could be seen visiting his farm, or the baby could look like Edith and people might notice.  Cora suddenly appears to interrupt them and Rosamund immediately starts laying down her trip plan, explaining that she’s always wanted to speak better French and visit Switzerland and maybe Edith could come with her. Cora’s surprised but not overly suspicious, because, as we well know, Cora is the worst parent ever.  However, it does seem a bit strange that through all of this no one mentions Edith’s missing boyfriend or anything to do with that – what about searching for him, what if he turns up while she’s in Switzerland, etc etc. Very odd.  Later, Rosamund points out that this plan means that they don’t have to tell Cora anything at all about Edith’s condition. Edith looks anxious. 

Bates Looks Ragey. Gillingham and the Horrible Rapist arrive at Downton. While Gillingham is upstairs getting jealous over Mary and Blake’s adventures in the pigpen, the Horrible Rapist is downstairs regaling the servants with tales of their trip to Scotland. Bates, who is sitting across from him, is glaring and basically snorting fire, but none of the other dozen or so people in the room seem to notice that he’s clearly about to stroke out. There’s a super obvious moment where apropos of nothing Bates asks Green where he lives which I am very sure is going to be something that comes back up again, but it’s covered over by Useless Jimmy gushing over the fact that the Gillingham household’s in the heart of London. 

Mary Tries to Give Rose Some Advice. Tom goes to Mary with the news of his Rose sighting with Jack. He tells her what he saw in the most awkward way possible and literally runs away as soon as he’s dumped this information on her. After dinner that night, Mary learns that Rose has been pestering Cora to go to London again, though literally no one thinks that’s a good idea at this point, and Mary decides to have a chat with her.

Mary tells Rose that she’s heard about her adventures in town that day with Jack Ross, She says that all she wants is for her cousin not to lose control of her life. Rose protests that she loves Jack, and that she’s not interested in hearing any imperialist nonsense about his race. Mary’s slightly offended that Rose thinks she would ever say something like that, but Rose just bulldozes along, insisting that she’s going to marry Jack. She says she doesn’t care what it costs and she won’t keep a secret, not once she’s told her mother, an action which apparently has a serious vindictive tint to it. Having said her piece, Rose storms out, leaving Mary staring after her. 

The Men Take Their Leave. The next day, Blake and Napier are saying their goodbyes to the Crawley ladies. Gillingham’s offered to give them a lift back to London and they have that whole government report thing to finish. Mary thanks Blake for his wisdom and pig rescuing prowess, while Gillingham looks on jealously in the background. He says it was a pleasure and they look flirty for a minute. Mary then thanks Gillingham for his generosity in giving her other guests a ride, and he says it’s a purely selfishly motivated action because he doesn’t want to leave Blake alone with her any longer. This is clearly meant to be some sort of compliment, but comes off creepy as heck, even though Mary blushes and smiles. He then asks for the seven hundredth time if he can see her when she’s next in London. Mary asks what the point of that would be and Gillingham says he’s made up his mind to call off his engagement to Mabel Lane Fox, even though he hasn’t bothered to tell his actual fiancée that yet. Mary tells him he should really reconsider that decision because she’s really not on the market at the moment, even if she sometimes wishes she was. Dude. Take a hint.

Everyone heads outside to see all the men off, and the Downton ladies hilariously make fun of Mary over the departure of her flock of suitors. 

The Never Ending Daisy and Ivy Fight. Ivy tells Mrs. Patmore she’s posted her letter saying on to Alfred’s proposal. She says he’ll probably still come by anyway, because he’s got to be in Yorkshire anyway for his father’s funeral. Daisy walks in in the midst of this, because she’s clearly got some sort of personal alert system monitoring whenever the other two are talking about Alfred.  She tells them both to just tell her whatever their secret is, and Mrs. Patmore tries to play it off like Alfred’s just coming for a visit because his father died. Daisy wants to know if he’s coming to see everyone or just Ivy and Ivy tells her about the proposal. Mrs. Patmore is quick to interject that Ivy turned him down, but Daisy just starts ranting about how Ivy’s broken his heart good and proper now blah blah blah who will save us from this meddlesome love triangle. 

The Dowager Countess is a Super Sleuth. Edith and Rosamund go have tea with the Dowager Countess. They chat about all the guests leaving and speculate about how long it’ll be before all three of them propose to Mary. Violet says she didn’t invite them to tea to discuss Mary’s love life – she wants to know what Rosamund is doing at Downton. Her daughter does a wonderful job attempting to play this off, but the Dowager’s not having it. She says that Rosamund called to tell her that Edith needs some extra attention, but doesn’t say why, then shows up at Downton and announces that they’re both going to the continent for several months when she has no interest in French. Violet, who is amazing and 100 times smarter than her daughter-in- law, says it’s probably time someone told her the truth about what’s going on. Edith says that if she told her the truth, Violet would never speak to her again. The Dowager says that she’s already told her, then, and she’d just like to hear it enunciated more clearly.

Weirdly, we never see the end of this particular scene – the next time we see Violet she’s trying to get Isobel to have lunch with her, which is a very strange bit of editing that I wish they’d chosen not to do.

Plot Developments Are Suddenly Everywhere. Cora’s busy freaking out over the upcoming village bazaar, so she’s had no time to notice that Rose is basically vibrating with excitement in the study next to hear. Mary comes into the library and offers to take over some of her mother’s planning tasks. Cora smiles gratefully, says yes and rushes off, oblivious as ever. Once they’re alone, Rose bursts out that she has to tell someone or she’s going to explode – she’s engaged! Mary’s face is stony.

A bit later, Mary suddenly decides that she has to go to London and is planning to take Anna along. Anna informs Bates of this in the Boot Room of Plot Exposition, and says she’ll be back the next night. After learning of this, Bates decides he needs to go to York the next day and asks Carson for permission to make a day out of it. There is clearly something going on here, most likely of the not good variety. 

Tom Gets to Rescue a Damsel in Distress. Tom’s out driving and comes upon a car broken down in the side of the road. Because there are only hilarious coincidences on this show, of course, it’s Susan’s car. But, hey, the countryside is gorgeous! She says her friend’s already gone for help, so there’s no need to trouble himself, but Tom doesn’t mind.  Probably because he can finally use all those skills honed back in Series 2 in the Crawley’s Why is That Car Always Broken Garage. Susan seems a bit anxious about him poking around under the hood of her car, but Tom tells her that it’s cool because he was originally the Downton chauffeur, so he knows all about this stuff.  She wants to know more about him marrying into the family, but Tom says that’s a long story.  They talk about Sybil for a minute and Susan says she’s sorry for his loss and admits that the Crawleys treatment of Tom after her death makes her think more kindly of them, since she generally doesn’t much care for their type. Because Susan appears to be every bit as bad as Violet about classism, just going in the other direction. Tom says he doesn’t believe in types, he believes in people and tells her her car’s fixed. Susan says she’s very grateful and drives off, with Tom staring after her. 

Violet Maybe Sets Up Isobel, Is Awesome To Edith. Violet forces Edith and Isobel to have lunch with her. She’s entertaining Lord Merton, who’s Mary’s godfather and also that guy from last season who had the drunk son who spent a lot of time insulting Tom over Sybil. Lord Merton is a widower and they all make small talk about how dull his life is now. He and Isobel chat about being widowers   and then he insists on seeing her home. Violet’s watching all of this with an incredulous expression on her face, because it doesn’t look like she intended to set them up, but that might just be what’s happening. She asks Edith to stay behind, because she’d like to talk to her. 

The two of them go for a walk in the garden, and we learn that Edith’s told her grandmother about her pregnancy off-screen already. Which is a shame, because that’s exactly the kind of scene you’d think viewers deserve to see, but whatever. Violet says she agrees with Rosamund that Edith’s idea about giving the baby to Drew is a terrible plan. She says the child would be a constant Sword of Damocles hanging over her for the rest of her life. Edith says she can’t bear the thought of giving it away either, but Violet extols the virtue of Switzerland and the Swiss generally, except for their poor conversational skills. She advises to just start over with Gregson if he ever manages to turn back up and let things go. She also offers to cover all of Edith’s expenses and doesn’t get judgmental even once, because Violet is many things that could be construed as unkind, but she is simply amazing where her family is concerned. 

Meanwhile, Isobel’s taking her own walk –because apparently Lord Merton didn’t mean he’d drive her home, he apparently wanted to walk with her.  They chat about his children for a minute before he makes the mistake of asking after Matthew. Isobel is forced to remind him that her son is, in fact, dead.  Awkwarrrdd. Merton is horrified at his mistake, but Isobel waves it off and they move on to talking about Mary. She tells him that Mary and Matthew were very happy, which of course made the parting worse, but the fact of that love ultimately gives you strength in the end. Merton disagrees with this and proceeds to get all True Confessions time with Isobel, telling her that he and his late wife had not been well suited or particularly happy together, and he questions the wisdom of them staying together as long as they had. But that was what people did in the old days. He says he envies Isobel her wonderful memories of married life, but he can’t match them. 

Mary Decides to Meddle. To the shock of no one that’s ever watched a TV show before, Mary’s sudden trip to London is because she wants to go see Jack Ross. (I don’t know why I feel compelled to always call him by his full name? Does anyone else do this?)  He’s down in the basement of the club working on a song when she arrives.   He doesn’t look surprised to see her at all, and says he wondered if it would be her that came to see him. He says Rose phoned and told him that she’d told Mary they were about to set a date. He offers to make her some tea, and says he assumes she’s here to tell him that Lord Flintshire’s not going to be crazy about having a black son-in-law and neither would Robert. Mary says that, to be fair, her father would likely have more of a problem with him being a band singer.  She asks Jack if he’s sure about this, because marriage is a challenge even in the best of circumstances, when everyone around you is praying for you to be happy. 

Mary asks if Jack believes Rose loves him. She says that she thinks Rose probably loves him a bit, but mostly wants to shock her mother because she hates her. Jack says his own mother made a similar argument, that Rose must be proving some point by being with him. Mary asks if he thinks he can survive what the family will do to him over this and he says she’s going to be relieved to hear that he’s not going to marry Rose. He says that he’s enjoyed her dreams and thinks she’s  a lot more than her family gives her credit for, but he can’t be responsible for spoiling her life. (There’s a serious post to be found somewhere in this season about women and letting them make their own choices, I mean honestly.) He says he can’t watch people point and laugh at her on the street for being with him.  Jack finishes by saying he loves Rose and wants her to be happy, and therefore he’s got to end it. Mary, who is sporting an admirably expressionless expression – seriously it wouldn’t kill her to look a touch sympathetic – asks if he plans to tell Rose it’s over or should she. Jack says he’ll write to her himself, but that doesn’t mean he thinks this is right. He says if they lived in even a slightly better world he wouldn’t give in. Mary says if they did live in a better world, she wouldn’t want him to. (Which I guess is all well and good in theory, but that’s not the world they’re living in, is it?) Poor Jack. 

So, that appears to be the end of the great Jack and Rose romance - ended by the Edwardian equivalent of a text message breakup. But honestly - if that's all we are getting out of this storyline, if Jack's not going to fight for Rose, if the point isn't their love story, if Rose is really supposed to be a selfish girl who's rebelling against her parents who doesn't grow at all, what on earth was the point? Why did we have to spend episode after episode watching them flirt, and Rose contrive ways to get to London, and then have them get engaged - for nothing? Ugh, frustration. Gary Carr's pleasant enough and I do like Lily James quite a bit, but what a complete waste of time for everyone involved. 

Okay, So Molesley and Baxter are Kind of Adorable. Carson tells Team Downstairs at breakfast that they’ve got to get all the stalls set up for the Village Bazaar and that anything that looks shabby basically brings dishonor and shame to their household.  Molesley asks Baxter if she’s planning to come, since the whole village will be there and it’ll be a chance for her to get to know some more people.  Baxter says Molesley’s very lucky to have grown up in a village where people know him and his family’s respected. She says there’s plenty of people who’d give anything for that, so if you haven’t started hearing the Narrative Story Alarms that Baxter must have some kind of shameful family secret yet, you just haven’t been paying attention.  Molesley makes that face he does when he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on and says he’s not used to feeling lucky these days. She says he should, and Molesley’s left staring after her.

Mary Decides to Meddle, Part Two. Mary tells Anna that she’s decided to see Lord Gillingham. She says she’s going to have lunch with him and just tell him straight out to dismiss the Horrible Rapist. This makes Anna really anxious, but Mary says she won’t tell the Stalker why she wants him to fire his valet, and apparently just plans to rely on the fact that he’s so obsessed with her that he’d do anything she asked.  Mary says it’s not like Bates is just going to ask Gillingham why he has a different valet the next time he comes to Downton and then Anna will never have to see the Horrible Rapist again. 

Mary and Gillingham go to an exceptionally posh lunch spot, where he agrees to sack the Horrible Rapist if Mary insists, because of course he does.  He says it’s only fair if she tells him why though, but Mary insists that she can’t say anything about the reasons for her request other than that what he did was abhorrent. Gillingham says he believes her and loves her, and if that’s just not the creepiest and most inopportune time to include a sentimental declaration. Men of the world: Please study this guy and do the opposite of everything he does.  She doesn’t respond to his love declaration and asks whether he’s spoken to his fiancée. Gillingham admits that yes, he has, and that Mabel took getting dumped with what could only be called style.  I hope this is code for “Set Gillingham’s personal possessions on fire Waiting to Exhale-style”, but somehow I doubt it. What a jerk. Anyway, Mary says she’s got to go to get back in time for the bazaar the next day, and Gillingham stalkerishly insists that he’s not giving up on her and their relationship, not until she walks down the aisle with another man and maybe not even then. What a winner! (It’s an interesting method, making me like Blake more by reminding me of how pushy and condescending Gillingham is, but it seems to be working a treat. )

The Bates Situation. Back at Downton, we see a long tracking shot of Bates striding away from Downton while that ominous tinkly music plays in the background. Just in case you were operating under any sort of delusion that he was off for a spot of shopping instead of something horrible. 

We don’t see him again for a good twenty minutes of the episode, when suddenly he’s back in That Stupid Boot Room (seriously, did you have any idea that the residents of Downton had so many shoes to be cleaned?). Carson, who has stopped by to drop off yet another pair of shoes, comments that Bates took his time on his trip to York, and Bates agrees that it was a very long day. Anna, who is also there cleaning the endless shoe parade, looks surprised, so we can probably assume he didn’t tell her anything about that particular jaunt.  She asks what he was up to, and Bates deflects really answering. DUN DUN DUN. 

Isobel’s Got an Admirer! Violet commands Isobel’s presence at the Dower House because she’s bored I think and to also to share the news that Lord Merton sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for her along with an apology for his tactlessness over his Matthew comment. Isobel’s surprised and it would seem a bit touched, while Violet’s clearly having the best time ever trying to get more information about her walk with Merton. Maggie Smith’s expressions are incredible. 

The Village Bazaar! The long-awaited village church bazaar gets under way. We see loads of people on the estate grounds, playing games, buying snacks and engaging in all manner of merry making. It’s all gorgeous in that perfectly manicured English garden way.  Rose is sitting at a table looking unhappy. Mary stops and asks if this means she got Jack’s letter. Rose says Mary’s a disappointment, claiming that she thought her cousin understood but all the while she was just like her mother. Mary says that if Rose is going to complicate her life she should do it for the right reasons. Considerint this episode is the first time we've seen any of Rose's reasons for being with Jack or not, that seems a bit rich, but whatever. 

Robert arrives home from America in the middle of the bazaar and all of Team Downton is happy to see him. Everyone’s shocked that Robert didn’t let them know he was back, but he says he wanted his return to be a surprise. Plot Point Brother Harold has apparently been reprimanded by the government and that whole mess is over with.  Robert tells Bates he’s missed him, Thomas tells Molesley and Jimmy that America’s very modern and Robert and Cora have a romantic reunion which seems quite over the top considering Robert's just returning from not drinking in America, not discovering America. 

In further news of an adorable nature, Baxter convinces Molesley to have a go at the carnival style strength game, and he actually manages to succeed at something for once and ring the bell when Jimmy couldn’t. (Yay for Molesley!)  Molesley also defends Baxter when Thomas starts harassing her about gossip from his time away, and leads her off on his arm to get her away from him. I’m so used to Molesley being miserable it seems almost cruel to hope that this could actually be a thing, but the two of them are seriously adorable together. Thomas looks smirkily after them and smokes. 

Daisy Goes to See Mr. Mason and He is Still Awesome. Now that we’re three fourths of the way through the season, Daisy suddenly remembers William’s father and how close they were last year.  She goes to see Mr. Mason because Mrs. Patmore gave her the day off in the hopes that she’ll be able to avoid running into Alfred.  The two of them go out on a picnic and Daisy remembers how much she loves visiting the Mason farm. 

Mr. Mason, because he is amazing, straight up asks Daisy if she’s only visiting him to avoid seeing Alfred. Daisy says that since Ivy’s turned him down again, he won’t be back at Downton  after this visit so that’s that.  Mason doesn’t approve of this plan – he says that there aren’t that many people you love in your life, and she needs to say goodbye to Alfred properly because of this. Daisy says she doesn’t know how she feels or what to say, but Mason promises that they’ll figure it out together and he’ll get her back to the house in time to see Alfred too. I have no idea why Daisy doesn’t just abandon life in service to go learn how to farm with Mr. Mason, because he is the best, most fantastic person. He probably deserves a better daughter in law, come to that! 

Daisy does make it back just in time to see Alfred before he goes. He tells her that he won’t be coming back now that his father’s gone and his mother’s moving, so this is goodbye. Daisy’s brought him a basket of things from the Mason farm for his train journey. The two duck into a hallway to talk privately, and Alfred tells her that Ivy’s turned him down again. He says he’s been a bit blind where she’s concerned and Daisy says love is blind. Alfred wonders if he hasn’t been a fool when Daisy’s always been so good to him. (And possibly because Alfred thinks there are only two girls on earth, I don’t know. I guess he doesn’t get out much in London? Or at all?) Daisy – in a display of maturity I’d have considered her incapable of this year prior to right now – says that’s good to hear, because she was in love with him once. But that feeling’s gone now and she’d like them to go their own ways on good terms and stay friends. Alfred says okay and goodbye and leaves.  Mrs. Patmore tells Daisy she’ s proud of her and proud of the way she handled that, and it’s very sweet.

Gillingham is Back (Again) with Some News. Gillingham shows up at the village bazaar, which given that he’s apparently willing to drive to Yorkshire to stalk Mary every other day of the week isn’t that surprising. Though the commentary of Edith, Rosamund and Violent on his arrival is almost worth having to see him again – Violet’s “He’s the most unconvincing fiancé I’ve ever come across” is the line of the episode if you ask me.  What is surprising – well, also not really, but at least interesting – is that he’s there to tell Mary that Horrible Rapist Green has suddenly and inexplicably turned up dead. SHOCKER. The police think he slipped or stumbled and fell into the road or something like that and got run over. Gillingham thought the situation so odd after their prior conversation that he thought he’d better come tell Mary what happened. He also wants to know why she wanted Green fired, but Mary reiterates that she can’t tell him.  Wouldn't it be awesome if Gillingham thougt Mary killed him or something? I just want anything unpredictable to happen with this storyline at this point. 

Mary then rushes off to tell Anna what happened. Anna simply says she’s relieved – which has a bit of a double meaning, in that she probably is relieved her rapist is dead and she also thinks her husband was in York the previous day. Which I think we can all assume will prove not to be the case. 

To the surprise of what is likely no one, the day’s revelations are not over. Blake has also shown up at the bazaar, to see Mary. He tells her he can’t think about anything else but her since they left Yorkshire and that all he wants is to know that there’s a chance for him with her. Mary says she’s flattered and moved, but she feels as though she should probably just refuse him out of hand before she can disappoint him. Blake says he can’t allow that without putting up a fight and wanders off. 

But What of Bates’s Secret?  Anna finds Bates in the house after the bazaar and says she wishes she knew what he’d been up to the day before. Bates says he only wanted to get away from Downton for a bit. Anna says he’d never do something foolish and risk everything they’ve built together, would he? Bates says no, and Anna doesn’t ask outright if he killed Green though she is clearly suspicious. 

Dun dunnn dunnn.

What do we think, folks? Did Bates kill Green? Which of Mary’s veritable army of suitors is in the lead here? Will Rose really give up her relationship that easily? And what of Edith's horrible baby hiding plots? The season finale’s next week, so here’s hoping we find out!

Thoughts? Feelings? Something you need to vent about? Hit the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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