Downton Abbey: Getting Piggy With It

Posted on February 10, 2014

Gary Carr and Lily James in Downton Abbey, on PBS

Love is in the air at Downton Abbey. Okay, maybe not “love” exactly, in every case, but all the stories currently circling around the abbey have to do with love or the consequences of it. Rose continues her pursuit of Mr. Ross, who is at least a little more realistic about their chances, even as he fails to successfully rebuff her. Edith comes to terms with the fact that Michael may be gone to her but she has a responsibility to do right by his child (somehow). Tom meets a cheeky young lady at a local political talk. Nothing really happens, but it’s clear she’s being set up as the next girl to catch his eye. He sure likes the pushy types. Albert continues to be the stud of the kitchen, for reasons we (and certainly Jimmy) can’t understand in the slightest. Robert is off to another continent to lend his aristocratic hand to a brother–in-law he can’t stand. Anna and Bates continue to struggle with the idea of who they’re going to be now that one of them has suffered a traumatic experience. And of course Mary finds herself surrounded by a trio of men who are all fascinated by her and pretends – VERY unconvincingly, we might add – that she doesn’t freaking love every single second of it.

Let’s start with Mary and the irritating (to her, anyway) Mr. Blake. We make no predictions about where Mary’s going to wind up romantically, but Fellowes sure is selling this matchup as hard as he can. Lord Poutylips may take her breath away (literally; there was a lovely moment on the stairs where Michelle Dockery did the most perfect little gasp at the sight of him in white tie, which is, admittedly, a gasp-worthy sight), and Evelyn, bless his heart, will probably always remain stuck in the Friend Zone (why this charming and handsome aristocrat has spent the last decade-plus pining for a woman who never did more than offer her cheek for him to kiss is a total mystery), but Mr. Blake gets on her last damn nerve and as we all know, that’s the way to Mary’s heart. Remember the days when she was gasping at the sight of Mr. Pamuk and arguing with Matthew about… well…. everything? History repeating. She gets all hot and bothered over non-aristocrats showing up in her house and eating off her china like they belong there. We’ve been down this road before. First she yells at them, then she wants to tear their clothes off.

And when we say Fellowes is selling this matchup as hard as we can, we of course mean (because subtlety was never his strong point) that he’s hitting us over the head with some rather silly (and totally off-model for the show) rom-c0m motifs. The high-falutin’ gal who gets brought down to the real world in a hilarious, messy and humiliating way? Check. She loves every second of it? Check, check. She then proceeds to thank a man by cooking for him? Check, check – wait, WHAT? Talk about a needle scratch of a moment. We don’t know which part we found less believable; that Mary would laugh off having her couture ruined or that Mary would make a man breakfast. These scenes were supposed to come off charming, but we thought they were kind of dumb. The mud scene had its moments, but all of those moments were cliches.

Meanwhile, poor Edith is in the middle of the biggest crisis of her life and no one in her family seems to care. Well, no one except Aunt Rosamunde, who we suspect knows a thing or two about being the Forgotten Daughter. When a tearful and clearly distraught Edith asked her mother if she was bad, Cora didn’t swoop in, ask her what was wrong and ensure her that she loves her. No, she laughed, patted her on the head, said “Not exactly,” and moved on to more pressing matters, like sitting at a desk and holding a paper in her hand. That family all turn into sociopaths when it comes to the middle daughter.  Edith needs to say “fuck this noise” and move to London permanently. Of course, she has to deal with the bun in her oven first, but still. We’d love nothing more than to see her speeding away from the Abbey in a car she bought with her own money and never looking back.

Other things happened, like Isobel coming to life because she gets to be a busybody again. And of course, the secret of Anna’s rape is one of the worst-kept ones in the history of the house. Now that Mary knows, it’s only a matter of time before Cora does, and then from there, it’s on to Baxter, because Cora still naively thinks she can talk about anything at all in front of her ladies maid. As for Baxter, we’re kind of rooting for her. She tried to pull an O’Brien a couple of times this episode and failed spectacularly at it. As much as Thomas wants her to be his own little O’Brien puppet, we suspect she’s going to disappoint him.

And Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson are bickering like two people in love lately. We’d keep an eye on those two. We suspect they’ve fallen in a sort of love for each other and don’t even know it.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE]

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  • ScarlettHarlot

    LOVED the blue dress Aunt Rosamund wore the day Edith was packing to return to Downton. I also like how she and Edith dressed in grab grey disguises to visit the clinic.

    I did not care for the way Mary interacted with Anna this episode, between “I’m so glad we’re honest with each other again” and “you mean you can’t even talk about it with me?!” I was a little annoyed with her. Mary has no problem reminding staff when they are crossing boundaries from professional to personal, (dressing down Carson) but can’t understand when Anna doesn’t want to confide in Mary? Mary is her boss, not her friend.

    And does Mary REALLY not know Ivy’s name, or was she just startled?

    • SewingSiren

      Mary most likely would not know the name of a scullery maid. Ivy never leaves the kitchen and Mary never enters it.

      • Tally Ho

        In a real Downton Abbey there would have been 30-40 servants, including large kitchen staff that were never seen. So, yes, unlikely Mary would know the names of the lowly kitchen servants. What we’re seeing on the show is really more appropriate to a successful upper middle class family or a middling gentry family with a dozen or so servants.

        • BayTampaBay

          Or a a landed gentry family from the US South post civil war but pre-WWII before minimum wage and social security was required for domestic service employees.

        • greenwich_matron

          I just realized that none of the characters actually clean (except the kitchen). They must have had staff members who were making the beds, sweeping the halls, starting the fires, cleaning the windows, etc.

    • Chris

      Mary really is the worst. She knew Anna and Mr. Bates had separated and Anna was going through something terrible yet when Mrs. Hughes approached her about helping with getting Bates excused from the trip it was all “we’re far too lenient and we need to get our money’s worth.” I mean Anna helped her carry a dead body through the house in the middle of the night but Mary couldn’t take it on faith the Bates’s needed some time. That whole scene where she was acting like Anna’s friend was tough to swallow.

      • 4JJ

        But Mary was truly supportive of Anna when Bates was on trial, convicted and then in prison. And there have been other situations where we see genuine concern for Anna from Mary. I thought it was reasonable that Mary would ask Anna about why she had been unhappy, and also reasonable that she would be sorry Anna didn’t feel able to confide in her. Of course, I like Mary, and don’t think she’s cold — just self-restrained, which I’d like to see much more of in the current era.

        • Chris

          Well a lot of the concern for Bates stemmed from Robert and trickled down from there. If he hadn’t been so close to Robert and The Earl wasn’t making such a public show of supporting him I don’t think he would have gotten quite so much concern. I certainly don’t think Mary would have gone off to the trial otherwise. Bates was also protecting Lady Mary if you will remember. Part of his problem with the first wife was she held letters relating to Mary and Mr. Pamuk. Also Mary liked going off with Matthew to the trials and having him interpret the legal matters for her as I believe she was in her own unhappy engagement then. I’m not saying Mary doesn’t like Anna but they are hardly the buddies Mary was trying to act like they were. Mary makes it clear at all times the servants are servants first and not friends which is best seen in her treatment of Mr. Carson over several seasons. I do find Mary cold in all matters except her romances. She is admittedly not the warmest of mothers and she has zero sisterly feelings that I have ever seen.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think it would be difficult for Mary to be “BFFs” with any other female. Anna is the closest she will ever come.

            Remember when Anna ask to go with Mary to America and Mary looked at her with great caring and said “yes, of course you can!”?

            Mary is not a “Girl’s Girl” like her mother Cora.

          • scoobynacks

            I don’t know that Mary’s anti-female friend. You have to remember her circumstances. The women we see her around are generally family or servant, with the occasional house guest that’s not really her age. Who knows what she was like doing the Season in London, meeting other eligible women her age. When that estate burned down in Ireland, she did mention one of the girls she debuted with was a daughter of the estate’s family. It’s not like they’d travel back and forth for slumber parties. These women are gonna be trying to husband hunt too and when they get one, it’s not like they can just come hang out for long. They have lives. She probably wrote a lot of letters to people she knew. She liked Sybil and never snapped at her. I’d say she actually seemed to like Lavinia as a person. She tried to muster the energy to think the worst of her and when she realized this was a really good person, she didn’t want to throw her under the bus. A truly catty woman would’ve found a way to make Lavinia look bad.

          • scoobynacks

            Mary wasn’t ‘acting’ like Anna’s friend–she’s as much a friend to her as Bates is to Robert. There’s gonna be a boundary of being that person’s servant, but there’s also a closeness. She didn’t go to the trial to hang out with Matthew, she went to support Anna. Mary’s teared up and gone “oh Anna” about Matthew, and they’ve had more intimate talks than she ever has with pretty much anybody. Each offers the other moral support. I don’t get why Mary should have to go ‘oh there’s something marital going on that Anna won’t elaborate about, I should probably get my father have Bates stay behind without a reason from Mrs. Hughes.’ It’s not unreasonable to say ‘ok but you tell me why.’ Robert’s gonna ask and Mary can’t very well say Mrs. Hughes won’t tell her. She can put on a brave face and pretend she’s ok, but lying doesn’t seem to be Mary’s favorite thing to do. If she didn’t have a good reason, I think she’d have a hard time pretending she did to Robert.

            I think a lot of Mary’s behavior like not lying to Edith over Sybil’s body and swearing she’ll try to be a better sister was because she felt it was wrong, just as she felt it was wrong to throw Lavinia under a bus when she wasn’t doing anything wrong either. If anything, she seemed to respect Lavinia (now in fairness, Matthew totally started it with the kiss. Mary was trying to behave and be happy for him). It felt wrong to mourn Patrick when she wasn’t really in love with him. It felt wrong not to inherit Downton because she’s a woman and not a male heir. Mary has a sense of right and wrong.

          • Chris

            I think Anna is as close to a friend as Mary will ever have but Anna will first and foremost be a servant to Mary. As is Carson, despite having helped raise her, and if any of them ever dared to act too familiar or friendly they will get a Mary slap down. The reason why Anna and Mary get on so well is because Anna is the consummate servant, she will never ask for anything or presume to be entitled to anything even a friendship. I’m not saying Mary hasn’t acted kindly towards Anna but it always smacks of noblesse oblige. Anna never presumes and Mary is allowed to “bestow” her favors on Anna just as she likes. Where Robert did Bates a kindness by giving him a position he wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere due to his injured leg, Anna is so respected upstairs and downstairs it’s easy to imagine her rising to the position of lady’s maid in another household. Considering how Anna helped Mary without ever breathing a word about Mr. Pamuk and even her Aunt Rosamund with the fortune hunter she never seemed to reap many benefits from this and her relationship with Mary.
            I also don’t think the Patrick situation was Mary not wanting to be dishonest. She was willing to marry him to remain at Downton and he was her cousin so mourning him shouldn’t have been such a stretch.

          • Squareface

            And let’s be real. Anna has had a lot of baggage since Bates came along.

          • Constant Reader

            I also think that most people have default settings on how they react to new — and potentially annoying or upsetting — things. Mary’s default setting is Ice Princess until she has a chance to think something through.

    • Gatto Nero

      The entire master/servant dynamic at Downton is unrealistic; Fellowes writes whatever is expedient to the story line, whether it makes sense or not.

    • Tina Kramer

      No, she wouldn’t know her name. The only servants who Mary and the rest of the Crawleys would know would be the ones they have contact with every day. That would be the butler, the housekeeper, the footmen, the lady’s maid (plus the head housemaid who would do lady’s maid work for the unmarried women like Edith and Rose), the valet and the cook. They wouldn’t know the housemaids and/or the hallboys or the kitchen staff because they don’t see them all the time. That’s why Cora only had a vague recollection of Edna even though she had worked at Downton before.

      Also, more than likely, for most of the lower staff, working at Dowton Abbey was more or less a starter job so they were probably only there about a year or so. It’s like today where many kids get their first jobs at a fast food restaurant but very few actually make that their life’s work.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        OK, I guess I just always assume the Grantham family knows more than the average aristocrat realistically would. (They just seem to be so invested in the downstairs, supporting William & Daisy, Alfred’s's coking, Gwen’s secretary dreams, Bate’s trial, Miss Patmore’s eye surgery, the chauffeur marrying their daughter, etc). I just enjoyed the timing of Mary trying to prove she wasn’t aloof, and then not knowing the name of someone who lives in her house.

        • BayTampaBay

          William & Alfred were footman. The family saw the footman at each and every meal excepting for buffet style breakfast which at it seems to be just Carson.

        • scoobynacks

          Ha. I loved that moment too. It’s like Mary had an ‘oh crap, this is embarrassing’ when she didn’t know Ivy’s name. She now cares a bit more about what Blake thinks of her and here she is, looking too high and mighty to know a name. Wasn’t her fault, it was just funny.

  • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

    Boy, Mrs. Hughes canNOT keep a secret, can she? Not cut out for the MI-5, that one. Totes agree on Mary and Blake: The Aristocrat’s Daughter and the Traveling Estate Analyst ain’t aiming for originality.

    Oh, and I guess everyone knows Thomas is gay (i.e., Mary being all “he can hook up for sure on the boat”)?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      I think even those who didn’t know before would know after the JimmyKiss episode.

      –GothamTomato

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I’m not sure everyone knows, but they probably suspect. I thought it was kind of sweet when he told Jimmy he wanted to come back to find him happy and in love.

      • siriuslover

        Wasn’t Alfred going to call the police on Thomas for that and Robert persuaded him to not say anything? So I am pretty sure that the family knows about Thomas.

    • BKagainwiththesweatpants

      Mary: “I was married. I know everything.” FTW

      • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

        Love that line. Did make me wonder just what Matthew was into…

        • Aurumgirl

          Especially considering Matthew!

        • scoobynacks

          He did say his eyes were opened. What exactly did Pamuk teach Mary?

      • Chris

        Oh and Mary learned a few things from Mr. Pamuk before she married too.

        • https://twitter.com/Gayer_Than_Thou Gayer Than Thou

          If I recall correctly, that lesson got interrupted…

          • Gatto Nero

            Though we don’t know precisely at what point the coitus was interruptus.

        • Tina Kramer

          Actually, she and Pamuk just had regular old intercourse. According to the Season 1 Scriptbook, there was a line that was cut out after Pamuk tells Mary that she can “still be a virgin for your husband.” It’s something like she could just have a small container of blood handy on her wedding night. JF said he tried to explain that the line really needed to be in there, but TPTB thought it was unnecessary.

          • BayTampaBay

            Who or what is TPTB?

          • Chris

            The Powers That Be I believe.

          • BayTampaBay

            Thanks to all! I do not text or twit so I do not know all the acronyms.

          • Kate4queen

            The Powers That Be :)

          • Annmarie Kane

            The Powers That Be?

          • Lilithcat

            “The Powers That Be”

          • Chris

            I didn’t know that. It actually makes me think Mary’s kind of a lucky idiot then, unlike poor Edith who just has the world’s worst luck, to take that chance.

          • honey604 MA

            Pamuk was a sophisticated man and must have used a condom, don’t you think?

          • AZU403

            Not in those days, except with prostitutes. Though H.G. Wells was a notorious tramp and he did make a point of using condoms. “French letters”, they were called!

          • honey604 MA

            Oh.

          • scoobynacks

            No she had to have a minor operation to even get pregnant by Matthew. It did her a favor back with Pamuk. She wasn’t lucky in terms of happenstance. It was a biological oops that worked to her advantage. I’m guessing if she had gotten pregnant, she might’ve married the first warm body she could and go ‘Wow a premature baby! Look at that!” I don’t know that she could’ve married Matthew though, I mean he’s the heir to Downton and it’d be asking a lot to have her first born child (let’s say she had a boy) as the heir to the estate. Esp. if he looked a little exotic for the child of two pale English people.

            If people think the show’s soapy now, just imagine if Mary’d gotten pregnant and had to either end up in a loveless marriage pining for Matthew or having an abortion, feeling unworthy of him because of her dark secret, and then pining for Matthew.

          • Chris

            Yes she did, but it was still luck, not planning on Mary’s part. She didn’t know she had that problem until much later. She really was rolling the dice fooling around with Mr. Pamuk in that way.

          • honey604 MA

            Looks as if Mary is just not as fertile as Edith…who conceives after one night with Gregson! Remember that Mary had to have a “procedure” done in London before she was able to become pregnant with George.

          • Saturnine

            I agree with TPTB in this case. The second line isn’t necessary (also, ew, not exactly wooing words), as it adds a bit of mystery about just what they’ll do. Why, oh why does he not employ writers?

          • BayTampaBay

            Because like most great artists (and engineers for that matter) he thinks he can do it all-novels, plays, screenplays and series TV scripts/show running No doubt that Sir Julian can do all these types of writing much better than I can but his strength is the 2 Hour or 2.5 hour movie screen play which is explains why the last two hour episode of DA that is shown on Christmas in the UK and competes the US PBS season is usually if not always the best episode of each season/series. The man is not Vince Gilliam, who IMHO is best series TV writer/shoe runner currently working or maybe of all time.

          • cardinalkay64

            How to “still be a virgin for (one’s) husband” could involve anal penetration, could it not?

          • Farthingale

            I always thought he was going to show her the ways of oral love–hiding container era of blood for the wedding night does NOT seem in character with Mary’s idea of a good, persuasive, “plan”.

          • Tina Kramer

            Yes it could, but JF said specifically in the scriptbook (there’s also one for Season 2) that it was just meant to be regular intercourse and not anything else. I originally thought of anal sex too. He said it was one cut that he fought to keep but to no avail.

          • scoobynacks

            I don’t blame them for cutting it. We’d have all leapt to the assumption he’d meant anal. I’m sure ITV/PBS would’ve not been a fan of that info on their channels.

          • Tina Kramer

            You’re confused, I think. The cut line was Pamuk saying “But a little imagination, a phial of blood hidden beneath a pillow. You wouldn’t be the first.”

            I can’t cut and paste the phrases I want but basically JF said he tried to persuade them that by not having the cut line in, that everyone would make assumptions as to what exactly was going on where Mary could have sex yet still remain a virgin. TPTB said no, that wouldn’t happen, but of course,it did.

          • Tally Ho

            Let’s be practical here. How many women would be willing to have anal sex before regular sexual intercourse? Would Mary be aware of the concept of anal or even oral sex given how sheltered young unmarried women of her class were?

            People have always had sexual desires but we have to be careful before assuming modern sexual practices were commonplace or accepted in those days. DA folks are still living very much in the shadows of Victorian morality.

          • Alloy Jane

            Apparently girls who want to retain their virginity or not get pregnant but still want to be sexually active do anal. I had a friend who worked for a gynecologist who had really horrible stories about the little girls who would come to her office with STDs. She sat my nephews down a few years ago with their mom and our friend who is a biologist and explained to them the importance of condoms and what could happen to them if they don’t use them.

            But do we really know that anal wasn’t a thing in aristocratic Edwardian England? If Mary didn’t know anything about anything, how would she know a little anal was not part of the married sex regime? Plus all I can think of is that line from Airplane! where the Captain asks Joey if he’d ever been in a Turkish prison.

      • Aurumgirl

        I’ve seen the episode twice and each time that line made me laugh out loud.

        • Call me Bee

          Yes–The Hubs and I laughed out loud as well.

        • MasterandServant

          She is getting more and more like the Dowager with each episode, no? This was the first week I found myself actually chuckling at her little snips

      • rainwood1

        I thought it was an odd line. What is it about being married that would give Mary greater insight into Thomas’s homosexuality?

        • scoobynacks

          Think it through. Ehem. ;)

        • Tally Ho

          It’s simply that as a married woman Mary’s now eligible to know some of the “darker” sides of human nature and human activities. It doesn’t mean she has to partake of them but she grew up in a time when it was commonly accepted to shelter young ladies. It was one of those dividing lines, that you were expected to be kept ignorant about a lot of things until you were married, and then it was ok to know about the less pleasant or risqué aspects of life because at that point you were protected by the status of being a married woman and now could know about the more worldly of the ways of the world. A married woman was no longer an innocent young girl whose virginal status had to be protected at all cost.

          When my mother was growing up in the 1950s her parents and other elders deliberately kept a lot of things secret from her or didn’t talk about them around her because she was still a child or a young woman. My mother said she first encountered the notion of homosexuality when she entered college, before that she had no idea such a thing could exist. It was just never talked about not only by her parents or teachers but in the media as well. Even in books the subject was only alluded to, rarely ever explicit, so an ignorant person could easily miss what was really being said. Heck, even her school version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet censored the entire scene when Romeo and Juliet are in bed with each other.

    • 3boysful

      “Not cut out for the MI-5, that one.”

      You made me laugh aloud! So true, God love her!

    • rainwood1

      I think Mrs. Hughes knows it’s sometimes better strategy to let a secret go, and then she still told a bit of a fib. Which would be totally MI-5.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

    I thought Edith’s monologue, about not wanting to be an outsider was rather heartbreaking. And of course, at the end, when Bates sat there glaring daggers at Green while his fork trembled in his hand was a great cliffhanger (though I would have preferred to see him dive across the table and stab Green in the neck with it).

    –GothamTomato

    • ScarlettHarlot

      That was so sad, poor Edith. I did feel for her. And I kind of wanted him to spring across the table, but was glad he didn’t since it would have upset Anna.

    • Chris

      Poor Edith, all I could think when Mary was mucking about with the mud and the pigs was that she was going to get yet another admirer out of it and if it were Edith all she would get would be tetanus.

      • DebbieLovesShoes

        I can’t ever discuss Edith without adding the word “poor” before it. It’s almost a part of her name, now. Fellowes is doing a really good job of making me feel terrible for her!

        • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

          At the press event in December (and other places as well) Fellowes said that he thinks that some people are just unlucky and Edith is one of those people. So it seems her streak will continue.

          –GothamTomato

      • scoobynacks

        The last time Edith tried to muck around on a farm, she got fired for nearly becoming a homewrecker. You’re probably right. Nothing good could come of it.

    • decormaven

      I was pulling for Mrs. Hughes to stab Green with one of those walking sticks shown in the background when they were having their private talk.

  • Cee Layton

    I wretched a little when Rapey McCreepy just popped in downstairs! Mrs. Hughes seemed as though she wanted to grind him into haggis in the shoe shine room. Poor Edith, but I am glad this trauma is giving us more time with Rosamunde. Preoccupe. Sighhh.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I love Rosamunde, and all of her accessories – those necklaces! I wish we had more of her!

      • BayTampaBay

        and her LONDON HOUSE!

      • mariahwg

        There should be a Rosamunde/LadeE spinoff of the two dames in the London house, taking lovers and being muses, and writing scandalous things and wearing fabulous things.

        • Chris

          I would totally watch that show!

        • BayTampaBay

          Wasn’t it already done and called “Absolutely Fabulous”?

          • mariahwg

            The question is, which one is Pats?

          • Squareface

            Edith is totally Eddie.

        • Gatto Nero

          I would watch that.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

    And I forgot to add, it was out of character for Mary to do something as down market as cook, but as I mentioned in my Downton Abbey Dish blog, I assumed it was something she had done with Matthew – he probably taught her to scramble an egg.

    –GothamTomato

    • Cee Layton

      Thank you, because I was all, “when would she have bothered to learn how to even turn on the burner?”

      • ScarlettHarlot

        I know! To echo Edith’s sentiment, Sybil could have pulled that off, but not Mary! (It did make me miss Sybil, remembering how she insisted she learn so she could be useful.)

        • Chris

          That remark of Edith’s about Sybill made me sad because it really showed the difference between the characters. Sybill was in control of her life and over every aspect of it, career, romance etc. Even when Sybill was “eloping” with Branson she was in control and not taking any pre-marital risks (remember Tom sleeping sitting up in the chair). She decided she wasn’t going to skulk off but leave with Tom with her head held high which was admirable. Even if Sybill had ended up in Edith’s situation she had so much confidence she would have dealt with it the best way she could- also with her head held high. It seems Edith ended up pregnant partially because she was so flattered Gregson wanted to go through everything to divorce and marry her she felt like she couldn’t ask him to wait despite the danger to her.

      • scoobynacks

        Oh it was totally Matthew. That’s why I didn’t go “oh please” to the egg thing. It reminded me that they probably had some private time early on as a newlywed couple post-sexytime, and it was something he showed her. That’s why she couldn’t do much more than that. I actually thought it was telling that she was doing it for someone else. The situation with Blake was more charged and here she is doing something she’s only done in a more intimate situation. She wondered aloud what the family/servants must’ve thought they were out doing, again implying something naughty. She even looked like she had sex hair. It’s obviously a hint from Fellowes to associate that stuff with these two.

    • Chris

      Plus it was the latest version of Mary and Matthew having late night sandwiches after he helped “rescue” the family by coming to Sybill’s aid. Blake really is being groomed as the “New Matthew.” Mary probably thought scrambling eggs was the best way to show she wasn’t “aloof” because all men must love Lady Mary!

      • Aurumgirl

        Really? Even after we watched her spit off the pig-poopy mud that Blake threw at her after they saved the pigs together? She’d have to keep proving that she isn’t aloof after that by cooking something?

        • Chris

          Well that was the cherry on top so to speak. I agree about the mud, it’s all I could think about- the pig poop!

          • honey604 MA

            Blake and Mary must have smelled awful!

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

          You don’t want a man’s only positive memory of you to involve pig poop.

          • Saturnine

            If it’s at all possible.

        • BayTampaBay

          Mary did not cook eggs because she wanted impress Blake. Mary cooked eggs because she was hungry-pure & simple!. Blake just happened too be there so she cooked for him too as any polite person would do. Mary was NOT trying to impress Blake but Blake WAS impressed. Mary is much more resourceful and take charge than most fans or Mary haters (pick your side) give her credit for.

          • Chris

            I think 99% of what Mary does around men is for effect. I will never be convinced that if Blake wasn’t there Mary would have wandered into the kitchen and rustled up some eggs for herself. She’d be in her room ringing for a tray.

          • BayTampaBay

            I agree she would not have cooked just for herself! However, she had a male audience and why let a “good” man go to bed and leave one with no admiring audience when one is at hand. She wants to be a “be me” & be a “do me” at the same time.

          • Gatto Nero

            Well, it was the middle of the night. (Note that Ivy was rising as they were eating breakfast.) I don’t think even Mary would have wanted to wake Mrs. Patmore in the wee hours for some eggs.

          • scoobynacks

            She wouldn’t have known what to do to save the pigs either. Assuming she even went down there to look at them after dinner, she would’ve run back for help. There’d have been no long night of pig rescue by her to then cause the hunger and even then someone would’ve been up to get her something at that point with all the drama going on. The eggs were because she was hungry. The doing it herself was because she could and because it would otherwise involve waking up the servants and leading to gossip. Of course Ivy seeing it meant they probably gossiped it up anyway.

    • Mim McDonald

      When Diana Mitford got married for the first time, to Bryan Guinness, one of the things he apparently told his mother was that, “She can boil an egg!” as though that was the most amazing thing in the world. Of course, the Mitfords were much poorer than the fictional Crawleys…

      • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

        I suspect that was the limit of Diana’s cooking too. Woman seems like the only properly domesticated one of the bunch.

    • cocohall

      “I was married. I know everything.” Apparently including how to scramble eggs. And muck the pigs.

    • rainwood1

      But why would Matthew know how to cook an egg? They had a cook back in Manchester, they had a cook at Crawley House, and I doubt they had fresh eggs to cook in the war. When he and Mary married, they lived at the Abbey where they most definitely had a cook. I doubt either one of them knew how to scramble an egg much less how to handle that big old stove of Mrs. Patmore’s.

      • BayTampaBay

        I feel with certainty that Isobel probably cooked eggs for her men, Reginald & Matthew, in the kitchen while they watched and talked.

        • Tally Ho

          Hmm. I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened. There could have been times when the cook was sick or on vacation and Isobel stepped up and did some basic cookery but knowing the time people didn’t hang out in the kitchen. The concept would have been a foreign to their class as hanging out with our friends in the bathroom today might be. For people who employed cooks, kitchens were perceived as spartan, utilitarian and slightly dangerous/mysterious places, not the warm and societal places we now think them to be. The family would have cozied it in the sitting room or dining room but not the kitchen.

          For people without help and lived in much smaller houses things were different.

      • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

        Depends where Matthew went to school. At Eton some of the boys did a certain amount of basic cooking in their studies – ref Anthony Powell A Dance To The Music Of Time – at least to the frying of sausages.

  • Bozhi

    I will never forgive nor forget “poor Edith” writing to Mr. Pamuk’s family about Mary. Someone who does something like that to her own family deserves whatever bad karma she gets. The fallout of her behavior also caused a lot of trouble and suffering for Matthew.

    I think Edith gets treated much better than she deserves.

    Am I the only one who wanted Mrs. Hughes to grab one of those shoe things with the metal hook on the end of it and bash the rapist’s head in with it when they were in the shoe room?

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I don’t remember exactly how old she was supposed to be in the first season, but I have forgiven her. Young people do stupid (and yes, harmful) things, but I kind of put it in the same vein as Sansa’s mistake in the first season of Game of Thrones. Adolescent brains aren’t as developed as adults, and a petulant adolescent acting out of anger and jealousy isn’t that out of the norm, so how long does she have to suffer for it?

      Sir Anthony cut her off after Mary got immediate revenge on Edith in the first season.
      She made herself useful during the war as a candy striper for the wounded, only to be led on and humiliated by a soldier taking advantage of her.
      She got stood up at the altar on her wedding day, in front of everyone she has to see on a daily basis.
      She finally meets a man her father approves of, and he ditches her, leaving her pregnant.

      I don’t think that’s being treated better than she deserves.

      • Chris

        Yes, poor Edith has been through quite enough. And if we are being completely fair, everything she wrote, while certainly not very sisterly, was the truth. Mary just flat out lied to hurt her.

      • Gatto Nero

        Edith has always been the one left out — the ignored middle sister between the icy, beautiful Mary and the warm, passionate Sybil. During the Pamuk episode she was jealous of all of Mary’s suitors and indignant that her sister could break all the rules and stlil have her mother’s support and protection. The letter was a vindictive and foolish impulse. The more mature Edith, with all the suffering she has witnessed and experienced, would not act that way now.

        • ScarlettHarlot

          Exactly! She’s been desperately seeking attention, approval, and love for the entire series. Her suitors have been old men, phonies, and a married local farmer who was bored with his wife and impressed she could drive. I mean, look at all the attention Rose gets, immediately. Edith never got that.

          • Call me Bee

            A very realistic dynamic in a family with three sisters. The middle one is never the oldest and most responsible; never the youngest and spoiled baby of the family. Middle girls are always looking for their place in the world…

          • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

            Which in my family has led to my middle-child grandmother overcompensating and shamelessly spoiling her middle-child daughter who is now the most unpleasant of my crazy aunts. Bonkers.

          • BayTampaBay

            Like Kim Kardashian??? LOL! LOL!

          • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

            Rather more family-wrecking and psychotic. And less makeup.

          • MikeW_Vegas

            Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!!

        • s elin

          How is Mary beautiful? Her face doesn’t stop clocks, but she is otherwise an exceedingly ordinary-looking person.

          • Gatto Nero

            Maybe I should have written that she is perceived by all and sundry on the show to be beautiful. She’s more conventionally pretty than Edith, for example; but I think Lily James is more striking than Michelle Dockery.

          • rosanegra

            Thank you!!! I thought I was the only one feeling this way. I get that her icy demeanor makes her “alluring” to a certain type of man but mary is so ordinary to me. Sybil was by far the beauty and the idea that Edith is the “homely” one is ridiculous. She is just as composed, fashionable and well turned out as any of the other ladies in her coterie.

    • Lilithcat

      I have no need to forgive her. Mary deserved it, after the way she treated Edith.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Remember after Sybil died, when distraught Edith asked Mary if they could ever be sisterly again, and Mary replied “I think not.” I like Mary, but she is a stone cold bitch who gets away with treating everyone around her like crap.

        • scoobynacks

          She didn’t want to lie to anybody over a dead body. It felt morally wrong to her, and it would’ve been to make a promise that you knew you’d break. Edith was just talking empty sentiment. Mary knew darn well they weren’t going to be able to maintain it. There’s too much baggage. Mary’s not a bitch. Edith’s the one who called her a slut. Well, Edith, karma just knocked you up.

          • Alloy Jane

            How was it empty? Their sister died and she wanted to make amends. Plus, she wanted the affection of the sister who generally uses her as a punch line. How is that inauthentic? Yes, Mary was being honest by saying “fat chance,” but the fact of the matter is that Mary isn’t interested in people who do not worship her. Ironic, yes, that Edith would call Mary a slut for sleeping with a man she wasn’t married to and is now going to be an unmarried mother, but it’s not like she had a one-off with a man she never expected to see again. She had goodbye sex with a man who was leaving the country to get a divorce from his institutionalized wife so he can marry her.

            Anyways, a good sister will always try to forgive and move forward, no matter how much baggage there is.

          • greenwich_matron

            I agree. If a sister dying in the prime of life doesn’t make you want to improve the relationships you have left, then there is something wrong. Being honest about being cold and selfish does not make you less cold and selfish.

      • rainwood1

        I’m glad there’s someone else who thinks Mary deserved what she got.

        • s elin

          I think so. I don’t know why Mary is believed to walk on water. She is colorless (personality), chilly, and not that good looking.

    • AnotherJulie

      I’m with you re: Edith not deserving good treatment. Spilling the beans re: Pamuk was just evil. I get that she is the jealous younger sister but I say she gets what she deserves.

  • DeniseSchipani

    The advantage of Mrs. Hughes lack of secret-keeping means there are others now who will keep Mr. Bates from stabbing McCreepy in the neck with a dessert fork. Not keep him from it so much as do it for him, or do something that gets rid of him satisfactorily. And how stupid was he that he talked openly about having come back downstairs during Nellie Melba’s performance? Baxter’s eyes were darting all over the place. By the time Thomas returns from America, she’ll have the goods and he’ll do the deed. Or not. I can’t tell, but that was my thought/wish/hope!

    • shirab

      If Thomas returns from America… Husband and I are guessing that he might find it tempting to stay. Unless Julian F.needs him around some more.

      Which reminds me, did Thomas get passport super-fast, and would that have been the norm at the time?

      And also, no nervousness about the ocean voyage after what happened to their heir on the Titanic? Or would it have been bad luck to mention tthat out loud?

      • Lynn Landry

        I was wondering if they’d go to Atlantic City and meet Nucky Thompson!

      • Gatto Nero

        I’m not sure that servants traveling with their employers needed separate documentation at that time.

      • Tally Ho

        Well, it’s like dying in a car accident. We all know people or heard of people who died in crashes (or airplane crashes) but we still drive and take flights.

      • Saturnine

        Gasp! Never say Thomas might not return! That didn’t occur to me. I was concerned that maybe Robert wouldn’t come back for some reason (well for the Titanic reason you didn’t want to mention). Did it really only take less than a week to get across the Atlantic?

        • BayTampaBay

          Correct, depending on the weather and the time of year (Icebergs).

          • Saturnine

            Well, that’s a relief; they can be back by next episode!

      • Gatto Nero

        Well. commercial passenger flights were not an option …

    • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

      That’s the plot line I’m pulling for, too. I think it makes the most dramatic sense in terms of tying up loose ends. Thomas will redeem himself by doing something short of murder to punish Greene and save Bates from a return to the lockup, the downstairs staff will be grateful, Lord Poutylips will never be able to return to Downton (leaving Mary unencumbered to frolic with Blake), and Anna can continue her recovery without fear.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Agreed, he does owe Bates after Bates took care of O’Brien for him with menion of “Her Ladyship’s soap.” What you’ve plotted is my dearest hope for a resolution, which of course means Julian Fellowes will have written nothing even close to it! I’m sure Thomas will return from America even more dastardly than ever.

      • Alloy Jane

        Yes, I want to see a plot where the men of Downton murder Creepy McRapist. Also, Mrs. Hughes must be inspired by Mrs. Weasley because she is so baddass.

    • Chris

      That was one evil look from Bates (not that I blame him). Fellowes is really building him up as the scary guy. It’s hard to believe Greene could be that stupid to go blabbing where he was in front of Bates. He’s really just pushed his luck too far I think.

      • Gatto Nero

        Not very bright, is he.

    • siriuslover

      I know! I was kind of hoping that Thomas would know and while Bates was gone he’d protect Anna. It’s like when Luke says to Darth Vader, “I know there is still good in you, I can feel it.”

      • Gatto Nero

        Yes! When they shipped Thomas off to the States with Grantham, I thought, Damn! He’s supposed to stay and avenge Anna!

    • AnotherJulie

      … or even better – ANNA gets to kill/ maim her rapist. Talk about a satisfying plot line! (which means we will never see it)

      • AZU403

        Maybe he can take a header off one of the lofty staircases. Oops!

  • Chris

    Was anyone else hoping Mrs. Hughes was going to lock the door to the room Greene the rapist was in, beat him senseless with frying pans and rolling pins then casually announce that the same intruder must have gotten into the kitchen again?

    • ScarlettHarlot

      Lol, that’s brilliant! I can hear her in an exaggerated tone “Oh deeeear, ate moost have bane that ayntrooder again!”

      • Chris

        Carson can believe what he wants but it’s Mrs. Hughes who runs Downton Abbey!

        • DebbieLovesShoes

          I like Mrs. Hughes more and more….

      • DebbieLovesShoes

        Love that

    • cocohall

      I was SO hoping for that. All those lingering shots that showed the walls covered with nasty implements. That, or some sort of “farming” accident with the pigs. There has to be a reason, other than mud wrestling for Lady Mary, that those pigs have showed up now and seem to be topmost in everyone’s minds (except they can’t remember to give them water.) Pig Stampede! Greene dies in freak crush accident! Far fetched, but what wasn’t far fetched about last night’s episode?

      • Tally Ho

        I once saw a British movie that came out maybe 15 years ago? Anyway, the story was a gentry family in their manor house in the 1950s. They hired a butler/cook couple and the butler turned out to be an evil manipulative man. He was eventually killed and his body fed to the pigs….. who duly left behind nothing but bones. Then, grossly, we had a scene when the local gentry are dining at the house and ham is on the menu.

        It had me wondering if we’re going to see something like this next week.

        • TigerLaverada

          Wu’s pigs on Deadwood performed the same cleanup work for Swidgen. Handy animals to have around!

        • cocohall

          Ok, glad it wasn’t just me. When I floated this notion, the rest of my family thought I was bonkers. My daughter thinks that Bates will do Greene in, but the downstairs staff will pull together and cover for him. If the pigs aren’t involved, I’m rooting for Mrs. Hughes.

          • ScarlettHarlot

            Not just you. This was also done to a character on Hell on Wheels who had murdered a prostitute. And in one of the Hannibal Lechter movies with Anthony Hopkins, to one of the agents pursuing him.

      • BLauD

        And let’s not forget the scene in Snatch with Brick Top’s pigs… Maybe Creepy Greene will end up in 6 pieces, not forgetting to shave their heads and remove the teeth for the piggies’ digestion.

    • s elin

      I actually didn’t think of that, but now that you mention it, that would have been an excellent idea! For some reason, I laughed out loud when I read your comment.

  • Chris

    Aunt Rosamonde is really stepping up. I loved her in this episode. It really felt like she wanted to help Edith in any way she could and was supporting her decisions even when they put her in a bad position. I think it’s the most genuine love and compassion poor Edith has ever seen.

    • Tally Ho

      Rosamonde is much more motherly than Cora has even been to Edith. Rather sad, isn’t it, that Edith can’t trust her own mother.

      • Chris

        It is sad.That conversation they had was just painful. You know Cora wouldn’t help carry any bodies for Edith.

        • Gatto Nero

          No, she wouldn’t. But Cora is just so clueless. If your daughter asked if she was “bad,” wouldn’t you ask what prompted the question?

      • AnotherJulie

        It is sad that Edith can’t go to her mother but I fear this is quite typical. I would venture to say most of us would prefer to confide in an aunt (who has no ties to one’s mother)!!

        • scoobynacks

          Well even Mary got judged by Cora for Pamuk. If Edith sees a favored sister get treated that way by Cora, I don’t think she’d be able to go to her and expect it to go well.

  • SewingSiren

    Yes. Mary cooking the scrambled eggs was completely out of character. Did she even know how to start a fire for the coal burning stove? Much less where the eggs, plates, or wine was kept, certainly not all in one place in a house like that.
    Poor Edith. Poor Mr. Ross, i have a feeling his romance with Rose will end worse for him even than Edith’s romance ended for her.

    • ScarlettHarlot

      And the wine – isn’t that kept locked up? Wouldn’t she have needed to awake at least Carson?

      • scoobynacks

        I would imagine the family could access it somehow if they wanted. Thomas had been sneaking wine before. Hopefully it’d be locked up to prevent that again, but maybe not.

    • Tina Kramer

      I remember reading a book about Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady and she enjoyed making scrambled eggs for entertaining her friends. She was from the same social class and generation as Lady Mary and she did spend time as a young woman in England. Obviously neither Lady Mary or Eleanor Roosevelt would ever need to cook on a daily basis but maybe scrambled eggs was considered simple and easy to make and something that they would learn to do for situations when no servants are around or one would rather not deal with them.

      If I recall, they hadn’t eaten dinner, so they were probably quite hungry.

      Also, considering the way Lady Edith was talking about Lord Grantham not being able to survive if the servants left, I’m thinking she also probably knows how to make a few basic dishes to at least ward off starvation.

      • scoobynacks

        Supposedly they went down to look at the pigs after dinner. It was just a long night though and they worked up an appetite. I agree on the eggs justification. Didn’t know that about Eleanor, interesting. I had forgotten Edith’s remark about her dad, but yeah looking back on it, she must’ve had some vague knowledge of something. If nothing else, maybe they picked it up during the war. I bet it was a way for married couples to be able to tend to themselves after, well, you know, without tipping off the servants to the fact that they just worked up an appetite. I like to imagine Mary got it from Matthew.

  • BayTampaBay

    I have the original British version DVD of Season 4 purchased via PBS and I will swear that last nights episode broadcast on PBS was different editing than what is on my DVD. I did not have time to re-watch the episode on DVD so I ask: Did anyone else who has the DVD notice missing scenes from last night’s PBS broadcast or am I crazy?

    Loved last night’s episode, especailly the new female interest for Tom Branson

    • Gatto Nero

      I remember noticing the same thing with season one, even though there were strenuous assurances in the press that nothing had been cut in the American version.

      • BayTampaBay

        I am referring to the scene with the dowager sick in bed and Isobel talking with Cora & Mary who offer to hire a nurse or take a turn nursing Violet and Isobel waves them off as not having the training. Then there was the scene where Ms. Hughes lets Ivy have it regarding Alfred in the presence of Ms. Patmore. I do not remember theses scenes from last night’s PBS broadcast.

        • AnneElliot

          I watched the PBS broadcast last night, and I saw the scene with Cora and Mary at the Dowager house, but I don’t remember the one with Mrs. Hughes.

          • BayTampaBay

            AnneElliot, I guess I had one too many glasses of wine as is usual when I watch DA.

          • Saturnine

            The only way to watch, my friend.

          • Gatto Nero

            I thought the Mrs. Hughes/Ivy scene was from last week.
            But I may be getting it muddled.

      • Lisa_Co

        I have the British DVDs of all 4 seasons purchased from Amazon UK. Seasons 1& 2 were definitely different (the British ones were about 10 minutes longer per episode) but seasons 3 & 4 look the same (both versions run about 45-50 minutes per episode).

    • Tina Kramer

      PBS has extra scenes and dialogue that weren’t shown in the UK version. The same thing happened last season too There were different deleted scenes and dialogue in the German version of the show last season including one of Tom Branson and Sybil walking through a market in Ireland.

      That’s one of the reasons I still watch on PBS even though I’ve already seen this season. I want to see what the “extra” scenes are.

      • BayTampaBay

        Where did you see the German version? Did it have sub-titles?

    • scoobynacks

      You’re not wrong, there are missing things added in. Sometimes it’s a few extra lines, sometimes whole scenes. The part where Edith snapped “good night Rose” was longer. I don’t know where I saw it, but there’s someone posting the extra scenes online after each episode. Not sure why someone downvoted you below. You caught that there were differences, and there were.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    How adorable was Maggie Smith pretending she found playing Gin with Isobel not only tolerable, but fun?! And when is Dr. Clarkson going to hook up with Isobel? He clearly admires her, and has for some time. Let their romance blossom!

    • Courtney

      He would if he could, I think. It was Isobel who wanted to stay in the Friend Zone.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        I know, but he’s ever so handsome!

        • BayTampaBay

          I’d do him!

    • Chris

      Oh goody goody! Even Isobel had to pick up on the performance at that point.

      • Saturnine

        But she said it without a her patented dry tone, so I thought it *could* be possible that she was just letting go and letting herself enjoy the game (even if it does go on for “hours and hours”).

        • BayTampaBay

          That is exactly what I thought! She was glad to be alive and with the closet person she could consider an equal friend who happened to have nursed her though an illness with delirium and would not repeat some of the delirious things she might have said. She was enjoying herself as a 13 year old would when her BFF was spending the night.

      • rainwood1

        I too read that scene as the Dowager actually enjoying herself. I think she’s lonely, but keeps up the wall of decorum because that’s what she believes she’s supposed to do.

      • scoobynacks

        When Maggie did that, I died. Hilarious.

    • Lilithcat

      Didn’t he propose in an earlier season, and get turned down?

      • ScarlettHarlot

        She did rebuff his advances, but I feel like it can’t be over yet (and by that I mean I don’t want it to be over yet!)

        • BayTampaBay

          Isobel rebuffed his advances without even comprehending he was making advances. The proposal was interrupted by the attacheon Thomas at the fair.

          • Gatto Nero

            For someone who’s so sensitive to the needs of others, Isobel can be a little oblivious at times.

          • BayTampaBay

            As they all can with the exceptions of Edith, Rosamund and the Dowager.

          • Courtney

            I got the impression she knew exactly what he was saying, and was trying to let him down without actually saying “no” so as to preserve their friendship/working relationship. That way they could both pretend it never happened.

          • BayTampaBay

            I think in a later episode she ask him what is was he wanted to ask about and he says” nothing important”.

          • honey604 MA

            Yes, I think that’s what happened. She didn’t give him the chance to ask the question.

      • Gatto Nero

        I remember that he made some kind of advance and she shut him down. Maybe it was a proposal? But they’d never even gone “walking out.”

        • cocohall

          But that was all before Matthew died. She is all about giving everyone second chances and perhaps that generosity of spirit will extend to herself and the good doctor. Hubba hubba.

    • Gatto Nero

      Violet: “Oh goody!”

  • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

    The minute Maggie Smith walked in the front door, wheezing, I thought, Oh, boy, there’s trouble. She’s so good that for a minute I thought SHE was sick, possibly having an asthmatic flare-up, and they had simply allowed her to make the Dowager start to show her age, too. Her treatment (inhalers, probably menthol/eucalyptus base, kind of like Vicks today, likely with naturopathic herbs added) was probably the best medicine had to offer in those pre-penicillin days. (It wasn’t discovered until 1928, and not commercially synthesized until the ’40s, for the war effort.) I was worried about her recovery but then when I saw how relentlessly upbeat Mrs. Crawley was being I figured the Dowager wasn’t on the way out of the series quite yet, if for no other reason than to be able to aristocratically dismiss her nurse from her bedroom. Props to the doctor, though, for pointing out that some gratitude was due…….a rare occasion of a doctor acknowledging the worth of good nursing. A problem which persists to this very day!

    • Chris

      I never worry about the characters getting killed off until I hear about the actor not signing for the next series, Lol. Or unless they are in Lady Mary’s way.

    • ImpertinentVixen

      JF said he will never kill off Violet, even if Dame Maggie wants to leave. He will send her off “to live by the sea,” should that be the case.

      • Saturnine

        Oh good. Relieved to hear it.

    • RroseSelavy

      I think i heard before the series aired (and this is not some deep secret — this was part of the press packet) that a character would die this season. This worried me to no end on behalf of our dear Violet — and then when she seemed to be on the mend, thankfully, that turned to fear for our poor Edith and her getting rid of a problem. If Edith had died getting an abortion, I’m not sure I could have handled that.

      • Gatto Nero

        Maybe one of Mary’s suitors will die in a tragic, pork-related accident.

        • Tom Natan

          Everyone Mary sleeps with winds up dead. Soon Downton will look like Cabot Cove.

      • honey604 MA

        Do you think that maybe the predicted death is Michael Gregson? Do you presume he’s dead….or run off?

    • AZU403

      She (Violet) must be in her eighties now. Hopefully she can hang on another 10 years till we get to the Depression!

  • Lynn Landry

    Edith is like the Jan Brady of the show.

    • Chris

      Except Jan at least got the guy at the end of the “George Glass” episode. I’m really starting to think nothing good will ever happen for poor Edith.

  • AnotherJulie

    I know Downton Abbey is a dressed-up soap opera, and as an unabashed Anglophile I will watch almost anything British – but even I am becoming annoyed with the ridiculous characters/ plots:

    In earlier seasons, we are supposed to believe that:
    1. Mathew refuses to accept a boatload of money left to him, which will save the entire family of his wife, out of misguided loyalty to a dead ex-fiancé. (Also, In my opinion, Mary never responded with the appropriate amount of anger to this.)
    2. Cora does not blink when her husband loses HER entire fortune, which has allowed a decades-long lifestyle and legacy for her 3 children.

    And this season, we are expected to believe that:
    1. Anna goes through the horror of a rape and her first thought is I Need to Protect Bates.
    2. Rose, an English country aristocrat in the 1920s with all the men available to her in that circle, chooses a black musician. I can almost buy getting caught in the heat of the moment at the club, but now she goes into London and seeks him out? Repeatedly?
    3. And last night, we are supposed to believe Lord Grantham is called to the US to help Cora’s brother . Because LG is SO good at managing his own financial affairs.

    I hope this season sorts itself out in a way that is not totally ludicrous. I am not optimistic.

    • Elsewhere1010

      Except that your #2 actually did happen, and in more than one instance – though more so in the 1930′s than the 1920′s. White jazz bands played “smooth jazz” in smart London clubs in the 1920′s, while all-black jazz bands playing “hot” jazz was more a feature of the 30′s, but individual black jazz artists arrived in London in the late 1920′s. Black jazz musician Henry Crowder arrived in London in 1928, and reportedly had affairs with quite a few titled white ladies, best known of which was Nancy Cunard; he was eventually named as a correspondent in a scandalous divorce case, and musical work for him in London was over.

      So never say this or that could never happen in history, especially when it comes to sex, because it’s all been don before. And by “all”, I really do mean “all”. There’s not one sexual or romantic activity practiced today that isn’t at least 2,000 years old.

      • BayTampaBay

        Elsewhere1010, thanks for bringing all this up. Many of Sir Julian’s plot lines are copied and pasted from the pages of Wikipedia. I never had a problem with any (including Patrick mummy face boy) of the plot lines. It is the lazy writing and character development (Evelyn Napier anyone?) that causes me to roll my eyes. One should not have to go outside sources for character back story.

        • scoobynacks

          How is it lazy character development to friend zone Napier? It’s only lazy if he’s trying to convey Napier as a serious suitor and I don’t think he is. If he wants this to be unrequited and a way of having an old friend of Mary’s come back only to once again (poor guy) bring in a more interesting suitor, then mission accomplished. People ‘poor Edith’ all the time. Poor Napier for being a great catch who just isn’t the right one for Mary. He wants the woman he marries to find him interesting and love him. Well good luck to you, Evelyn. Maybe go hook up with Mabel Lane Fox. She totally knows how you feel.

      • AnotherJulie

        Fine. Of course you are right that anything is possible, esp in the romance department. I was simply pointing out that when combined with all the other silly plot lines, this one just put me over the edge. I found the scene in the boat cringe-worthy.

      • Tally Ho

        Well, it’s more complex than you may be implying. The interracial affairs we’ve talked about were discreetly done and between a married or older woman. The rules governing the public behavior of a young, unmarried about to be presented aristocratic woman were severe and there’s no way Rose could have been paddling about in a boat in the middle of Hyde Park without being noticed and her reputation would have definitely been damaged.

        • Chris

          Yes and you would think the family would remember “Hey remember when Matthew, Lady Rosamonde and Edith had to pull a drunk Rose out of a club and away from her married boyfriend? Maybe we shouldn’t let her run around London all day and night unchaperoned.”

          • scoobynacks

            I think they’ve written Rose off as incorrigible and they probably think she’d just sneak out anyway. Lady Rosamund knows she doesn’t really have authority over her beyond being indignant. She’s probably just trying to mitigate damage the best she can. Cora ought to know better than to let her leave the grounds. She goes into the village and we end up with Edna back. Rose leaving Downton is often gonna lead to drama.

        • Gatto Nero

          I thought so, too. It’s one thing to have a private assignation and another to go blithely boating in a public park.

    • MilaXX

      The Anna rape scenario actually rings true. Both for the character and how rape was viewed then and dare I say is still viewed in some instances today.

      • AnotherJulie

        I get that victims of rape were viewed differently. My point is the implausibility of anyone, at anytime, cowering in the corner immediately post-rape whose first thought is about her husband’s SAFETY (i.e. afraid Bates will retaliate, he has been in prison, and will not be shown judicial leniency the second time around).

        I almost get not wanting him to know for other reasons – but this seemed a really unlikely response.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          If Bates killed the man and then was hanged for it, she’d be the widow of a murderer and a known rape victim. She wasn’t protecting Bates; she was protecting the entire life she’d built for herself.

          • scoobynacks

            Exactly, plus she’s already been brutally raped. To lose Bates on top of it would’ve been a devastation for her that she probably couldn’t bear. I could see her just giving up on life at that point.

          • AnotherJulie

            Ultimately that may be true – but I saw it differently. Fellowes has created her character as a saint who only thinks of others – which makes her response consistent, but ridiculous – as I find many of the characters.

        • MilaXX

          I think for Anna the character it rings true. In fact, if she had no external injuries I could see her not saying anything at all.

        • Alloy Jane

          It’s hard to explain why, but when you’ve been assaulted, it’s easier to focus on how it will affect the people close to you than it is to focus on what you have experienced. Especially when the perpetrator is someone familiar. If you knew that someone you cared about would kill your rapist, would you be quick to point the finger?

          • AnotherJulie

            I honestly do not know how I would respond- but I doubt if I would have the wherewithal – immediately post-rape – to think “I just got raped. How can I protect my husband from prison? “

        • ohayayay

          I seem to recall reading about this syndrome being quite common in women who are part of mafia families or are dating someone/related to someone in a gang. A woman in that community who is attacked knows that if/when she fingers her attacker, that person will be beaten or killed by someone she knows, who is close to her. She, in essence, will just be causing further violence and damage. This is a scenario that adds quite a bit of additional trauma to the victim. Can’t remember where I read about this though.

    • RroseSelavy

      I think they set Rose up as this type of character right from the start, so I cannot only imagine it happening, I knew as soon as they announced a black jazz singer as a character that this was going to happen. She loves excitement and the thrill of being shocking.

      • Gatto Nero

        She’s such a tedious little twit.

        • Shawn EH

          But it comes off as innocent playfullness, not malicious or selfish; I’d love to see her face some of the crises that crop up from time; would she acquit herself like Isobel or Sybill, or choose a more cowardly path? All of them were at their best while housing soldiers, but she was too young for that.

          • Gatto Nero

            Not malicious — but selfish, I think. Even booking the band as a “surprise” for Robert’s party was self-serving.
            “Don’t let me interrupt — I just want to make a speech.”
            Maybe it’s just privilege and youth (a deadly combo). Be interesting to see how (or whether) Fellowes develops her character.

  • Gatto Nero

    Does anyone else find the Rose/Ross pairing completely unconvincing? There’s no chemistry between them. Either this is intentional (Rose is just going after adventure, in whatever form) or not (the casting is abysmal). Fellowes has just injected him into the scenery to make a point about changing times.
    The guy playing Ross (can’t be bothered to look it up) is not only a terrible singer but also a bland actor. Terrible dialogue in their scenes as well.

    • sagecreek

      Agreed. The clunkiest plot turn in a show that hasn’t exactly avoided Clunky Plot Turns.

    • Cyprienne Zed

      YES. I roll my eyes every time Cousin Oliver — I mean Rose — is onscreen. And somebody needs to tell Gary Carr that Americans don’t sing with a hyperpronounced American accent, even in the 20s.

      • Gatto Nero

        I had to Google “Cousin Oliver” (was not a Brady Bunch fan) and also found “Cousin Oliver Syndrome,” which apparently is a thing.

    • Tally Ho

      If I wanted to introduce an interracial element to DA I’d have gone with the son of a rich maharajah traveling through England, who’d also been educated at a leading boarding school and Oxford/Cambridge (which was the case for many of the rich maharajahs). They could be guests at country houses and friends with aristocrats. Having Rose fall in love with an aristocratic Indian would be much more plausible than Jack Ross and we could have fascinating dialogues about the role of Britain in India.

      An alternative interracial story could be a crusty old British colonel just retired from India and who brings his loyal Indian orderly/valet with him to live in England. Then the valet and, say, Mrs. Patmore, could quietly fall in love with each other. Over a season, of course, not just in 2-3 episodes.

      Given the history of Britain and India and the empire and the rising sentiments for Indian independence and Indian nationalism, it’s odd that Fellowes chose to go for a black American singer for his token minority representation.

      • sagecreek

        A Hari Kumar twist, I love it! Someone get Julian Fellowes on the phone, stat.

      • Gatto Nero

        That would be more plausible, maybe, but it’s a throwback to colonialism and the “old England,” and Fellowes is trying (a little too strenuously) to portray the Jazz Age.

      • Kathryn

        In “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey” it’s mentioned that the 5th Earl’s good friend (and best man at his wedding) is an Indian prince, the son of a former maharajah, who had gone to Eton and Cambridge with the Earl. And it created quite a stir when the the Indian prince later married another earl’s daughter since that was the first time an Indian had married an English noblewoman.

      • BayTampaBay

        I think Sir Julian is modeling Rose’s “set” on The Bright Young Things Cafe Society “set” that followed Edward, Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII. American’s of all sorts and classes were found in this Cafe Society “set”

      • vitaminC

        I believe it’s loosely based on Edwina Mountbatten and her lover(s).

    • Hilda Elizabeth Westervelt

      He really is dull. I think Rose is only interested because it is so scandalous. A shame, really, since he could have been a great character. And his singing makes me grind my teeth.

    • RroseSelavy

      When I heard him sing, I thought well, he must have been hired for his terrific acting. Wrong again.

      • Saturnine

        Maybe not terrific acting, but I think he could be interesting. He’s got a bit of a twinkle. I could see Rose falling for the attention.

        • BayTampaBay

          I like Jack Ross and the idea of Jack Ross. I do not like the way the character is written.

          • scoobynacks

            I don’t think they could’ve written him appropriately without doing something on too big a scale for this show. The only way he’s involved in it is if Rose is chasing after him. Plotlines involving him have nothing to do with Downton Abbey and even scenes of WWI involved Downton characters and talking about getting back to it soon or carrying Mary’s stuffed dog. A scene with Sybil and Branson in Ireland got cut.

            Frankly, they ought to do a tv movie about the real man he’s based on. It would be fascinating and a bit sad.

      • scoobynacks

        I don’t know that they meant for it to be weird, but he sang like that because they told him to do it. That was direction. Why they did it, God only knows.

    • scoobynacks

      He’s not a token character. He’s based on Leslie Hutchinson who absolutely did that kind of thing with aristocratic women–as vitaminC said, Edwina Mountbatten is the parallel situation here. I think there’s the kind of chemistry that someone rebelling and enthusiastic about life is gonna have but he knows better than to go all in emotionally. I feel like the scenes between them are supposed to be awkward. She’s not any less eloquent than any other teenager in love. He’s older and has a sense of how this might go for them.

      FYI, Gary Carr said that’s not his natural singing voice. He was asked to do it that way on purpose. I don’t know if it was time period related or Hutchinson related.

  • Gatto Nero

    I wish I had an Aunt Rosamunde.

    • Saturnine

      I do, and I so wish you did as well. She’s much older now and not always herself. But when she was younger, she was spectacular. She had tons of fun while managing to remain completely respectable. One the style front, she designed dresses for Ceil Chapman, so she’s got *closets* full of vintage she let her nieces roll around in. Best of all, she was always there, like Rosamund seems to be for Edith.

      • Gatto Nero

        You’re so lucky to have her (and she to have you, I suspect)!

        • Saturnine

          I am, thanks so much!

  • deitybox

    No thoughts about how they teased us with the possible loss of our beloved Dowager Countess? SO not okay, Fellowes.

    • Gatto Nero

      It was just a plot thread to demonstrate Mrs. Crawley’s complete return to form and her underlying affection for Violet.

      • BayTampaBay

        and Violets underlying affection for Isobel.

        These two old birds really do love and respect each other. They would both be at a total lost if something happen to one or the other.

  • Call me Bee

    Well–looks like Bates has figured out what exactly happened while the opera singer was “catterwalling.” But he’s smart enough to not just stab Green in the neck with a fork, but to devise a plan to give Green his due in a way that doesn’t point directly to himself. Remember all the shenanigans while he in prison? Bates is diabolical when it comes to self-preservation, and preservation of his loved ones.
    Other than that–there were a few “wha….?” moments in this episode. Mary knowing where to find eggs in the kitchen she never enters, Rose threatening her future reputation with the gentry by being out in public, the weird flu story Mrs. Hughes and Carson came up with to keep Alfred away…But–I’ll suspend reality to watch this really beautiful soap opera anytime.

    • scoobynacks

      Mary’s been in the servants’ areas. She went all over the place with that Duke. She knows the house and could’ve been around playing as a kid. Every little kid has gone exploring even if they were told not to go downstairs. Cora and Sybil have been down there. I’m sure at the very least Mary could’ve gone to tell Mrs. Patmore or Mrs. Hughes something. Sybil suggested going down to talk to her after the salt incident so clearly they do it sometimes. Mary did go there to ask about the Lavinia letter. I wouldn’t be shocked if her closeness with Carson meant she’d been around his office down there as a youngster.

  • Molly

    My favorite line of the night: “Rose, you’re in charge of fun.”

    • DeTrop

      I also laughed when Robert said to Tom/Son-in-law “Look after all my women folk, including ISIS”. Then sotte voce “especially ISIS”.

      • scoobynacks

        I loved that. The smirk Tom gave was funny too. Didn’t Hugh Bonneville talk smack about the dog in an interview? Animal scenes aren’t the easiest to film. I can’t imagine he loves involving “Isis” all the time.

  • Kelly

    I dearly wanted the Dowager to get an actual plot-line this season instead of just being the Greek chorus of (admittedly fabulous) one-liners (you know, Greek drama, where, as Violet says, everything happens offstage.) But — Julian F, couldn’t you have done better than “old lady gets sick”? Old people *can* do more than just observe the actions of the young and then ail. (And what was with her [un]loving family? Not one of them seemed to give a damn that Granny was getting her feet wet in the River Styx. A two-minute duty visit by a couple of them, and then it was back to the pigs.) Anyway, at least it made for some fun Violet/Isobel moments (my femmeslash pairing of choice, since Uncle J seems unlikely to pair Edith with a nightclub butch in a tux, which is my other big wish [after Violet/Isobel and Carson/Hughes].)

  • Alanna

    Just once — ONCE* — I’d like to see a television character decide to get an abortion and then go through with it instead of changing her mind at the last minute. (Yes, I know that happens often in real life, but women go through with it even more often. Plus, it’s all just an excuse for the writers to pat their backs because “She considered all of her options!”)

    ETA: Okay, yeah, Becky did so on Friday Night Lights, but it happens so rarely that I forgot that particular instance.

    • AnotherJulie

      But abortion in the 1920s was viewed QUITE differently – illegal, fraught with danger, and never even discussed in polite company. I actually thought showing up for the appt., with the support of her aunt, was a tad unrealistic – from a London gossip perspective alone.

      Plus, in a family with some fairly significant scandal (Mary and Pamuk, Sybil marrying the chauffeur, Edith being jilted at the altar) – having a child out of wedlock has perhaps lost its shock value a bit. Edith will probably stay under the radar or leave town for a while.

      • AZU403

        More realistically, I think, instead of Edith going to someone she found in a newspaper advertisement she would have had the “procedure” done by the doctor she went to in the first place, or someone he recommended who was used to dealing with society women fleeing scandal.

        • Gatto Nero

          Most legitimate doctors would not have performed an abortion then; it was illegal. Some midwives performed abortions (with varying degrees of success), but strictly on the DL.

          • scoobynacks

            Exactly, the thing in the paper was written in language that people knew what it meant but it definitely didn’t say ‘abortion doctor’ in the ad. She couldn’t do it safely with a legit doctor’s visit. As for not going through with the abortion, I’m glad she didn’t. She already said she wanted the baby. This wasn’t an unwanted pregnancy per se, it was an unwanted scandal.

      • Call me Bee

        I’m not sure about that. I mean, even in the late 50s and 60s (heck-even in 1969 in my own high school…) if a girl got pregnant, it just wasn’t discussed out loud. She kind of disappeared for a while, and often gave the baby up for adoption. We had a couple of girls at my school skip a semester, then come back to finish high school after baby. With no baby. In polite company, it was still taboo until just recently.

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

          I believe in Australia it was generally known as “staying with my aunt in Melbourne”. Not entirely sure where Melbourne girls went.

        • AnotherJulie

          See my comment to Tally Ho, above. I didn’t mean it was not scandalous. I didn’t explain myself terribly well.

      • Tally Ho

        Absolutely not in the 1920s. Lady Edith’s pregnancy would have been hugely scandalous and the family deeply embarrassed.

        My mother’s cousin was knocked up by her college boyfriend in the early 1960s. They tried to raise money for an abortion in the Caribbean but the parents found out and they were ordered to get married ASAP. The families were educated, comfortably off families who weren’t particularly religious, but abortion and unwed pregnancies still carried enormous social stigmas in those days. My mother only found out the entire truth well after the wedding when my grandmother finally told her the full story (obviously there were puzzling aspects of a sudden, unexpected marriage + a baby born a month or two early). To add insult to the injury the baby turned out to be severely mentally retarded. It was not a happy time for everyone involved and an abortion would have made things much simpler, but even in the early 1960s it was unfathomable for many people.

        • AnotherJulie

          I didn’t mean having a child out of wedlock was not scandalous. Of course it was.
          I just meant it seems like Edith weighed how she felt about an abortion, and decided that on balance, the scandal didn’t seem as bad – and I think the previous family scandals helped her come to this conclusion.

    • MilaXX

      Degrassi did it a few years back, but of course Nickelodeon didn’t air that ep.

    • sweetlilvoice

      Check out Call the Midwife….a very realistic abortion happens on a kitchen table during the most recent season. Heartbreaking and well done. In fact, the entire show is.

      • Tina Kramer

        I love that show!!! Also, they juxtaposed a scene of another woman getting ready for a date and painting her nails so that the blood of the abortion and the red of the polish nearly became the same.

      • Gatto Nero

        Also see the film “Vera Drake” with Imelda Staunton.

        • Montavilla

          In which the working class and poor get abortions illegally, while the well-off woman goes to her doctor and has it prescribed because it prevents mental stress (or some similar phrase).

          • MRC210

            Yes, working-class women got the kitchen table, middle-class women went to shady doctors with other women sobbing in the next room, but someone with Edith’s status and money (or her aunt’s money) could have had a Harley St. “d-and-c”. It was done all the time. She’d check into a posh nursing home and be put under anesthetic for the surgery, which would have gone into the books as a respectable and legal dilation and curettage. But I suppose the scene where Edith changes her mind would have lacked a certain drama if it took place in an expensive nursing home.

          • scoobynacks

            I don’t think that’d be possible. It wasn’t legal for the rich and illegal for the poor. I’m not sure that it’s accurate to say it was done all the time as if money and the right code word got you an abortion. Surely there’d be a way of getting one done under the guise of it being something else, but Edith’s not exactly well versed on how to do that. She would’ve also had to enlist people like Violet or maybe Cora to help her. They probably would’ve tried to talk her out of it. Maybe sent her to America pretending to be married and to stay with her grandmother. Get a ring, say she’s Mrs. Gregson, the Americans wouldn’t know. She’s trying to keep it quiet even among her family though.

          • MRC210

            I think it is accurate to say that a safe abortion under the guise of a d and c in a nursing home was done all the time: see Paul Ferris’s book “Nameless” or Barbara Brookes’ book “Abortion in England 1900-1967″, or look up Dr. Laura Sanders Bliss. Nursing home abortions for rich women are also referred to in fiction of the time although the only example I can think of right now is A.J. Cronin’s “The Citadel”. Not many women admitted to having gone through this (not surprisingly) but Jessica Mitford wrote that her sister Diana had a nursing home abortion, and the writer Elizabeth Jane Howard wrote about her nursing home abortion in the 40s where she also referred to the d and c as “the respectable euphemism for abortion”.

            According to all these sources, this would cost from 100 to 150 pounds – a lot of money. According to Ferris’s book, for 30 pounds the procedure would be done in the doctor’s office and the woman would be sent home right away. That sounds like the scenario that Edith faced, but surely she could lay her hands on 100 pounds.

            How she would find this nursing home, though, is harder to figure out. These sources all say that this information was available to wealthy women, but aren’t very explicit about how it was disseminated. The nearest I can determine is that the woman or her parents just asked her doctor or gynecologist. The doctor could refuse to help, but he wasn’t going to throw Lady So-and-so out of his office for asking.

      • Lisa_Co

        Or the British movie Vera Drake. She is put in prison for 2 years (1940s) for performing an abortion.

    • Chris

      I thought this was realistic as Edith really is in love with Gregson and seems to really want the baby she is just afraid of being an outcast. She is desperately hoping Gregson comes back.Once she knew she had Rosamonde’s support, added to the complete terror of that place she was in (not knowing who was the doctor, if they even were a doctor, it being completely illegal and having almost no recourse if something went wrong) it made sense she would change her mind. All I could think of was Sybill dying in childbirth with the “best” doctor attending her. If it had been Anna who had gotten pregnant from the rape it would seem more unrealistic if she backed out.

      • Gatto Nero

        Agree — plus Rosamunde assured Edith that she would support her whatever she decided — and also pointed out that if she had the abortion and ultimately kept it from Gregson, their relationship would be shadowed by a lie.

        • Shawn EH

          Rosamunde was actually the most awesome she’s ever been this week; I earlier thought her rather an airhead.

          • Chris

            I think that’s partly because Robert and the Dowager kind of treat her like one. I thought it was hilarious that they were SO worried about the fortune hunter guy getting Rosamund’s money (with all his mortgaged estates) when that was exactly how Robert saved Downton! He admittedly didn’t love Cora when they married, he was in it for her huge fortune (that he later lost). It seems Rosamund has no children so Robert wanted to make sure that money would come to him and his family even though it looks like it was her wealthy (deceased) husband’s money.

          • scoobynacks

            Well if someone’s gonna get Rosamund’s money, why should it be a swindler? Why not family? If she could’ve had a kid to give it to, it would’ve stayed in the family but say she dies first, then a lot of money would’ve gone to some guy who was not only using her but cheating all over the place with that Irish maid. Once they figured out that he was in need of money and told Rosamund the facts, she was an adult capable of making her own decisions. If any of us had a family member about to marry a gold digger we’d be telling them to get a prenup. Why’s that so terrible?

    • 3hares

      That infuriated me too. Especially since it’s not like she ran away from the place because she thought she might die–which would be a real danger. It seemed like it was just hitting right to life talking points–she’ll never be able to go into a nursery again, she’ll be “living a lie” if she doesn’t tell the idiot who got her pregnant and left that she terminated a pregnancy left on her own with it, the sobbing lady before her (weeping from regret?), and what seemed like a real glossing over of the scandal she’d be facing with it. (Like above there’s a reference to how Anna would indeed immediately think about hiding the whole thing from Bates because it might destroy her position. I know a pregnancy brings even more ongoing drama, but it would have been completely fitting for Edith’s character to have gone through this without her family noticing.

      • scoobynacks

        How is that a ‘right to life’ talking point to think about how it would affect her life back at Downton? She wants a marriage and children. Edith never acted like she wanted to pass up kids. It wouldn’t be appropriate for her to not dwell on what would happen if Gregson came back and she had to keep it from him (could you really expect it not to affect your future with a man to tell him ‘I aborted your child, but let’s have a life together with kids that we do want, remember all the time that there’s one missing’?), or what it’d be like to be around her niece and nephew. Not every woman at that time who felt pressure to get an abortion would’ve actually wanted it. Remember it’s not that they got to choose whether to end the pregnancy. Sometimes they just wanted to end the social stigma and instead they get smacked in the face with the fact that a baby they wanted was gone. I could see a greater level of physical and emotional trauma for women of this time going through that procedure. Ironically, having an abortion could be anti-choice. You’re projecting modern values on this.

  • Cyprienne Zed

    Spotted: Molesley attempting to get to know Baxter, by virtue of sitting next to her and making mild eye contact. Sad trombone. At least we don’t have to call him Joseph.

    • Chris

      I wouldn’t mind seeing those two strike up a friendship. They both could use a real friend.

    • Gatto Nero

      Molesley actually smiled this episode! Shocker!

    • RroseSelavy

      And I thought poor Mosely might actually end up going to America with Robert. No? Sad trombone.

  • BayTampaBay

    After DA, did anyone watch “The Making of a Lady”?

    • Kathryn

      I did and quite enjoyed it. I now want to go ahead and read the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel it was based on “The Making of a Marchioness”. Apparently besides “The Secret Garden”, “A Little Princess”, etc. FHB wrote several adult novels that were very popular at the time but have now been forgotten. Another one of them I want to read now is “The Shuttle” – a weathly American heiress goes to England to rescue her older sister who is being mistreated by the English lord she married some years some earlier and in the process the younger sister shakes up the aristocrats as well as the village.

      • BayTampaBay

        Kathryn, What disease did the cousin have, malaria, morphine drug addict, epilepsy, Schizophrenia????

        I could not figure it out.

        • Saturnine

          All of those things! With a healthy side of colonialism!

        • Gatto Nero

          A case of the vapors.

        • Kathryn

          My knee jerk reaction when we first saw Osborn was “opium addict going through withdrawal” but the high fevers, spasms, and recurrent episodes do fit with malaria. On the psychiatric side my armchair diagnosis was what was then called megalomania/its present-day equivalent, narcissistic personality disorder.

      • Lilithcat

        You can find the book on-line. I should tell you that the television version did make some significant changes.

    • 1carmelita

      Yes, and was that “Patsy” from AbFab playing the older woman in the beginning of the story? That was a fun and creepy show.

      • BayTampaBay

        I think so and the Marquess (husband) was ADA Michael Cutler from Law & Order. I think is real name is Linus Roach(???).

        His father is an actor in some UK show I have never seen and has been having quite a wobble lately according to The Daily Mail.

        • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

          Linus Roache (sexiest priest ever) is William Roache’s son?! I did NOT know that.

          • BayTampaBay

            Check out the Daily Mail UK Edition on line.

          • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

            No. I have a block on my computer that redirects me to pictures of kittens if I try to click on a Daily Mail link. I will not contribute to their advertising revenue.

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            Good for you!

      • Lilithcat

        Yes, that was Joanna Lumley.

        • 1carmelita

          Thanks, I couldn’t remember the actress’s name. She is wonderful.

  • Kathryn

    This is the episode I’ve enjoyed the most this season – between Julian Fellowes finally picking up the pace and actually having some of the characters’ pasts be reflected in their current actions. For example, Isobel asking Tom whatever happened to his politics and doing her usual good-natured running of other people’s lives by getting him to go to the political meeting. And the callback to Thomas’s feelings for Jimmy by Thomas telling Jimmy that he hopes he’s “healthy and happy and courting a girl from the village” by the time Thomas returns from America (although it’s more than Jimmy deserves).

    Unfortunately the downstairs love rectangle continues to be dragged out – why is one of the most boring subplots the one that gets dragged out over two seasons??? Daisy needs to put an end to it by leaving Downton and helping William’s dad with running his farm. Although it did give us this great exchange between Carson and Mrs. Hughes – “You’re quite a plotter when you want to be, aren’t you?” “It’s a skill all women must learn”.

    And Gregson went to Munich to see King Ludwig’s castle? Yeah right. My personal theory is that either for his newspaper or as government operative, Gregson decided to investigate the Nazi party (which was already active by 1922) and had something go wrong.

    Another yeah right, is why anyone lets Rose go to London, let alone run around it unsupervised after her hijinks with the married man last season. After being less annoying earlier this season, Rose has returned to her uber-annoying “Cousin Oliver-ness” again. It was nice to see more of Aunt Rosamund though and how she supported Edith despite her doubts about what she was doing. Although judging by the preview for next week, it looks like poor Edith is going to try to marry a tenant farmer to as a way to keep her baby. Maybe in the end that could actually be a good thing though by getting her out of the Abbey and letting her live on her own terms.

    My last prediction is that Lord Gillingham and Mr. Blake will shortly be coming to blows over Mary.

    • Lilithcat

      And Gregson went to Munich to see King Ludwig’s castle?

      Edith said that because she couldn’t say “He went to Germany to become a citizen so he could divorce his crazy wife and marry me.” The family doesn’t know about the crazy wife.

      • Kathryn

        I took the King Ludwig’s castle remark to mean why Gregson was specifically in Munich compared to another city in Germany. It wasn’t clear to me if the family thought Gregson was just on short-term vacation to Germany or if Edith had told them he was re-locating there long term but came up with some other reason for it other than divorcing the crazy wife.

        • Lisa_Co

          Yes, only Matthew knew.

    • Tally Ho

      What’s interesting and hasn’t been mentioned so far is that in 1922/23 the real political movement (or political threat) was communism. Half of Europe was freaked out by the successful Soviet takeover in Russia and the destruction of the Russian aristocracy and middle class, the other half of Europe was enamored of the egalitarian promises of communism and that it was a brave new way of doing things, especially as WWI had discredited the old order badly. The Nazis themselves received their early support as opposers of communist groups in Germany. Far more people in England in the early 1920s would have been aware and talking about the red menace than fascism or Nazism.

      • BayTampaBay

        Tally Ho, How true. Communist, even in the US (see Jack Reed and his cohorts), was viewed as the real threat in the US in the 1920′s.

        • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

          Jack Reed died in 1920. The big Red Scare in the US is over by now in the timeline. But this is the time where Communists and Socialists of ever stripe are making quite a bit of noise all over the UK.

    • melchiscott

      I’m with you about Gregson. I think he’s a spy. What that may mean for poor Edith’s future, who knows? But I doubt even JF would have her abandoned twice so dramatically.

      • Gatto Nero

        Edith is Fellowes’ punching bag.

    • MilaXX

      Your thoughts on Gregson make more sense but I fanwanked that the guy he caught cheating on cards had some thugs do him in as payback. No idea why, but that was my first thought when he wound up missing.

      • Chris

        I never thought of that! It’s a good theory except I don’t know how much money/pull the card sharp has. It’s a great motive for revenge though because Gregson did put him out of business.

    • BayTampaBay

      “Although judging by the preview for next week, it looks like poor Edith is going to try to marry a tenant farmer to as a way to keep her baby”

      The tenant farmer is already married.

      • Chris

        Yes, I got the impression Edith is going to ‘farm out” the baby to the farmer and his wife. At least that’s how they did it in the Jane Austen novels when there was an illegitimate baby. There was always some convenient farm couple paid to take in and raise the child. It didn’t look like the guy from season one so I’m hoping it’s not the married farmer she was snogging.

        • scoobynacks

          Wasn’t that how Harriet was probably supported in “Emma”? Emma figured Harriet was the daughter of a gentleman or something, but the implication is that even if Harriet IS the daughter of a gentleman she probably wasn’t legitimate, hence the vagueness of her situation. This was probably the best social position Harriet could have because admitting who her parents were couldn’t have been a positive for those parents.

      • Kathryn

        Oh, is it the guy whose father died earlier this season and Lord Grantham helped him take over the tenancy on the farm? I hadn’t realized it was the same guy. Have we seen definite existence of a Mrs. Drew though?

  • Tally Ho

    The pig scenario was really implausible. Downton is a large estate comprised of farms. Whether the pigs were sent to the home farm or another farm on the property is besides the point but there would still have been lots of farm buildings and farm staff around. The pigs wouldn’t have been dumped into the middle of the most remote part of the estate with no nearby farm house or staff. The estate would have been filled with people who know farming and agriculture, would have they been so stupid as not to water the pigs?

    Besides, I’m annoyed that they spent the first 1-2 episodes talking about death duties and suddenly no one is talking about it anymore. Did the duties really just disappear off the pages and the family conveniently forgotten by the tax collectors? Robert implied the choice was between selling off some land or handing over lots of money, so which did they do? Fellowes is incredibly annoying in that he introduces all these topics and never follows through with them.

    • Kathryn

      Thank you for mentioning the pigs. As a the daughter of former hog farmer, I found it highly unlikely that pigs would get dangerously dehydrated in say half a day, unless it was extremely hot which it did not appear to be. And you would have thought that the highly recommended “pig man” would have closely been monitoring his new charges.

      Also, agree that the lack of follow through on the estate tax topic is annoying. It should have been a very important issue this season seeing how it’s critical to the continuation of the estate but it’s simply dropped. Julian Fellowes really needs an assistant who could say “Whatever happened to X, Y, Z plot points you mentioned? You need to address them again!”

      • Saturnine

        Completely agree about continuity (totally taking your pig farming info on faith, though). I keep hearing that JF doesn’t have a team of writers, which is *amazing* to me, and not in a good way.

        • BayTampaBay

          Well Mr. Ryan person has a team on writers and look what they did AHS:Coven.

          I’ll take Sir Julian over almost anyone. Exempting Breaking Bad, my favorite is the writing on the Dallas reboot.

          • Saturnine

            And DA is currently the only show I’m watching, so there is that :-)

          • BayTampaBay

            Saturnine, please no offense to my comment as I meant no offense.

          • Saturnine

            Oh no, none taken at all. :-) What I meant was: I get frustrated with the writing but I am reliably ensconced on my couch each week, at 8:59pm. I completely agree with your comment “I’ll take Sir Julian, lazy writing and all, over almost anyone.”

        • Montavilla

          I think it’s common on British shows to have a single writer (or perhaps a pair who work together closely). That’s one reason that the seasons are so much shorter than our own.

      • Shawn EH

        Well, they are new pigs, which Downton had never farmed before. I took it they were delivered underfed and watered, and just left with inadequate care.

      • scoobynacks

        Funny how you said ‘as the daughter of a former hog farmer’ because a reviewer of the ep did ask a pig farming expert and he said they absolutely do get dehydrated quickly. He felt the situation was plausible. Besides, you said hog farmer, that’s not the same as pig farmer. From my googling, pigs are more immature and probably less physically stout.

        About the tax thing, it’s a boring subject and we’re to presume since Mary wanted to get an idea of how to make payments that they took care of that. You wanted to see her crunching numbers for tax guys? We saw the relevant part of stressing about it, now they’re trying to make money to survive as an estate. They didn’t drop the tax thing, she did as Tony suggested on meeting with the tax people already off screen.

    • Gatto Nero

      Fellowes’ excuse was that the pigs had somehow knocked over the water trough — but that they were entirely unsupervised and ready to expire after a day without water seemed implausible.
      The explanation, for the taxes/duties, as I understand it, is that the family has decided to invest in new sources of income (e.g., the pigs) rather than sell off their land.

    • sweetlilvoice

      According to my sis, a vet, at least Fellowes got it right that the pigs needed to be re-hydrated slowly. Also, why was it so light outside? Dinner takes hours and yes it is the summer, but it would be dark by then.

      • siriuslover

        I don’t know. It’s summer? So, doesn’t it get dark about 10PM in England? I speak from knowledge of London summers, Yorkshire might even be a bit later. I’ll have to watch the episode again (missed it last night, but saw it online during the British season).

        • Saturnine

          Yes yes yes–Scotland (Inverness, at least) can be light until nearly 11pm.

    • BayTampaBay

      It was mentioned last night for about 15 seconds or maybe less. They are going to pay the taxes over time out of operating profits going forward.

      This was a drawing room scene between Mary & Robert.

      • Shawn EH

        Basically Robert wanted to sell and Mary wanted to do a loan or mortgage, something along those lines; and she prevailed.

  • Tally Ho

    By the way, Tom and Lorenzo, I have to disagree with you one one point. It’s going to be Evelyn Napier who wins Mary’s hand at the end of the day. There’s only one reason he’s been brought back after a long absence otherwise his role is pretty much unnecessary.

    • Kathryn

      I don’t have as much faith in Julian Fellowes’ logic in handling characters but I do hope Mary winds up with Evelyn. I find Blake annoying and not very attractive – “Sure, I think you guys are losers but that doesn’t prevent me from using you as a free place to eat and sleep for weeks on end”. Lord G. is cute but not very bright and/or so desperate financially (he seemed pretty interested in Downton’s prospects when taking to Blake) that he proposes to a woman he barely knows whose husband has recently died but even after getting engaged to someone else still can’t stay away from Mary.

      • BayTampaBay

        And that someone else is a major British born only child heiress…..this is an example of the “lazy writing” that gets in craw like a small pebble in my shoe.

      • honey604 MA

        You too? I have a soft spot in my heart for Evelyn and am trying to come up with a way Mary can see him as good husband material. He is good looking and behaves well. Does he have a title?

    • Chris

      I think Napier is just a plot device to get Blake in the house and sparring with Mary. Otherwise how would those two get to spend time together seeing he’s a “radical” and they instantly dislike each other. Napier hardly gets any screen time.

      • Gatto Nero

        He was a plot devise for the Pamuk shocker, too.

        • ImpertinentVixen

          Napier is utterly a plot device. He is a mewling basket of kittens and permanently in the friend zone. Mary likes her men with spark. Napier has arrived twice to Downton with other men Mary found more interesting. He should take the hint.

          • Saturnine

            I’m sad that I’m past the age where I can tell people that they mewling baskets of kittens and are permanently in the friend zone.

          • ImpertinentVixen

            I’m WAY past it but it’s fun here on the Internet.

    • Saturnine

      Maybe, at the end of the day. I’ve watched British drama with my beloved version of “Aunt Rosamunde” for decades, but it could be my American filter is leading me astray. I once read a column that argued (with examples) that actors never reach leading man status in American cinema unless they’ve gotten their hands dirty a bit. I know we’re in a completely different genre, but I think Evelyn has to do something (or be given something to do) rather than be backdrop for more exciting characters.

      Anyhoo, I would want Mary to be with someone that softens her a bit. I agree that the courtship by pig slop was heavy handed, but we get to see another dimension of Mary with Blake. Her *genuine* smile is quite lovely. Evelyn has yet to bring that out in her. He might yet in the end, though.

      • ImpertinentVixen

        I think it’s Blake FTW.

        • Chris

          Agreed, he’s the only one who ever seems to do anything or have any kind of personality. With the other two their main personality trait is: moon over Mary.

          • s elin

            And why? What is so attractive about Mary? I don’t get it.

        • Saturnine

          Me too. Plus, he’s got the lopsided smile, which puts him over the top.

          • ImpertinentVixen

            True. It would be like him to set the whole Blake/Mary scenario up and then dismantle it like a house of cards, just because he can.

  • Paula Pertile

    I wanted Isobel to look more exhausted and disheveled after spending two days and nights not eating or sleeping, while tending to Violet. She looked too fresh (although she admitted she needed a bath).

    Violet’s little extra ‘cough’ after delivering a line, while in bed, was the highlight of the night for me.

    WHY won’t Fellowes give us a hint about what Thomas and Baxter’s relationship is? I’m beginning to think he may never. We need to know!

    The mud, and eggs, scenes reminded me of some old 30′s movie. They made me wince.

    Ivy and Daisy need to just have it out, with some good old fashioned hair pulling and all.

    Bates … dun dun DUNNNNN …

    • Shawn EH

      They reminded me of 1930s movies, too; which was a good era, lots of strong female characters back then. Maybe Michelle Dockery is the true “American Bette Davis.”

      • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

        But would Bette Davis have been in a movie where terrorists take over a plane over the Atlantic?

        • Shawn EH

          Well, she was in one where a tree ate people … maybe two of those, in fact, so …..

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            And she was in that awful movie where she played twins.

          • Shawn EH

            Two of those, too! The 40s one was much better.

          • BayTampaBay

            Don’t forget the Disney “Witch Mountain” Series.

          • Shawn EH

            Poor Kim Richards.

    • Saturnine

      Noticed the cough too; God, she’s so good.

      • Pennymac

        I noticed as well.

    • Qitkat

      As for Fellowes, I strongly suspect he hasn’t yet figured out for himself the twist to Thomas and Baxter.

  • AnotherJulie

    Another wasted opportunity by Fellowes: Unlimited potential for a parade of handsome suitors for Rose….
    Why does Mary get all the attention? Wouldn’t there be guys pursuing young, adorable 18-ish Rose, rather than the current trio of guys after Mary, an older (by 1920s standards) widowed mother?

    • BayTampaBay

      Maybe Fellowes is “saving” Rose for brother Harold?

      • scoobynacks

        Ew. Harold is Robert and Cora’s age. No way does that get promoted as a thing. They didn’t like Edith with Strallan.

    • Chris

      There should be way more guys for Rose (although technically she isn’t “out” yet) because most of the men Mary’s age would be married or have died in WWI.

      • Call me Bee

        Agree–she hasn’t been presented to society yet, so no suitors. They will be lining up at the debutante ball, I’m sure, and she’ll forget all about her American singer.

        • BayTampaBay

          I still think Rose will end up in bed with Edward, Prince of Wales….maybe in a threesome with Jack Ross.

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            I like the way you think.

      • AnotherJulie

        Exactly.

    • scoobynacks

      Rose is a rebel and likes to shock her parents. Dating an eligible suitor her own age (even if she were out) would be the appropriate thing to do. No way does Rose do that. If they’re married, it’s extra shocking and ideal. You get a chance to show Rose growing by becoming less of a rebel for the wrong reasons. Besides, this is a drama. If she met someone suitable and followed the rules, it’d be boring. Gotta be something wrong with something.

  • nannypoo

    I’ve decided that if I suspend any expectation of historical accuracy or of plausible behavior by the characters I can enjoy this show a lot more. Lady Mary waters pigs and makes scrambled eggs? Sure, why not.

  • MilaXX

    I missed last night’s airing and checked in to see if The Walking Dead would get on my nerves or not (it didn’t). All I remember from watching this was Mary getting on my nerves, Tom potentially getting himself in trouble yet again, feeling sorry for Edith, and laughing at Rose’s naivete.

    • Saturnine

      So should we pick up The Walking Dead again? We have one or two episodes left from the fall season, and we just can’t muster the energy. I miss Carol and Daryl.

      • MilaXX

        I wouldn’t go that far. I still watch, but with lowered expectations. I suspect anyone who stopped watching would only be disappointed sooner or later if they started watching again.

        • Saturnine

          Thanks. Maybe a watch and surf, then.

          • MilaXX

            The best part of last night was Michonne’s dream/nightmare/flashback

          • Saturnine

            Oh, I miss Michonne too. She can make Rick almost bearable. I think I just want to transport my favorite characters to a new show. Then I might watch again. Glen can come. Maggie too.

      • Pennymac

        I thought last nights Walking Dead was the pits, and immediately regretted choosing it over Downton. Next week I know which to DVR.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/divine_aphasia/ Constant Cat

    I haven’t seen this ep yet, but true to form had to get your take, and as soon as you hit Albert, I had to get this out into the universe and ask: why oh why would Daisy fall for him and not Sweet William???? I mean, perhaps it’s just bad casting. The actor is playing Albert as having no mojo, brains, charisma, (to my taste, decidedly plain looks), and William could play the piano, footman with the rest of them, had that adorable dad, went off to war, smiled like an angel….WHY, DAISY, WHY???

    Edited to add: and Albert’s magical cooking skills were learned from the lady chefs, last min., in an attempt to give him something, anything to do beyond being pined over. Not enthusiastic screenwriting.

    • Gatto Nero

      No. I agree.
      But attraction is mysterious.

      • Saturnine

        Baffling in this case. :-)

        • Gatto Nero

          Daisy may appreciate that Alfred is plainspoken and direct and respectful — unlike Jimmy — and that he appears to be developing into a talented cook, an interest she shares.
          Or maybe she just fancies gangly ginger types.

          • Saturnine

            Yep, I can definitely see your point. My mind actually jumped to Alfred’s attraction to Ivy when I responded. I do like Alfred; somehow, he never really seemed long for service, without chafing in his position like Jimmy. That said, I’m not loving this long-drawn out quadrangle (well, now triangle) of affection. Downstairs needs to have drama, of course, and a triangle makes sense. It just keeps going, and going, and going . . . Maybe it’s because I don’t think Ivy is all that.

          • Gatto Nero

            She isn’t — Ivy seems kind of dumb. But she’s considered the more conventionally pretty of the two kitchen maids. And life is unjust — at least on that front.

    • Chris

      I agree 100%. I thought “Our William” was a sweetheart. Alfred is as dull as dirt.

  • GinnyThePainter

    Oh the scandal! Lady Rose out in public, in the company of a singer who cannot sing! What if she gets found out and her family realizes she has no musical taste whatsoever?

    • Dan_In_NYC

      Ugh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like his voice. He’s american and lives in London in this era, I’d think that would require a little more vocal talent than we’ve seen from him.

      • MelVT

        Yup. And it isn’t really just that he’s bad. He also doesn’t sound era-appropriate AT ALL. He sounds like someone who came THIS CLOSE to making it past the first round of auditions on American Idol.

    • scoobynacks

      Gary Carr said he was asked to sing that way on purpose. That’s not his natural voice.

      • Saturnine

        Huh. Interesting. I wonder why. Maybe they’re going for authenticity of some kind. I’m not an expert on early 20th jazz, but no recorded vocals I’ve heard have sounded like that.

  • Saturnine

    Mrs. Hughes and Carson had an odd exchange: they’re wondering if they should leave the key in the lock for Mary and Blake. Carson asks if Mrs Hughes is worried about burglars, and she blithely says oh no– “this is England.” You’d think she’d be more sensitive to the idea of people walking in, as that’s Anna’s cover for Greene.

    • Chris

      Yes! I thought the same thing when I heard that too.

    • BayTampaBay

      MUCH AGREE!

    • kerryev

      You don’t think that was the point, so Carson will figure out there was no robber?

      • Saturnine

        That did cross my mind–that maybe she was trying to telegraph the implausibility of a burglar when Carson finally hears the story. But she said it without any apparent gravity, and it was before Gillingham and Greene showed up.

        • kerryev

          Oh, I didn’t mean Mrs. Hughes’ point, I meant Fellowes’ point.

      • BayTampaBay

        Carson does not even know there was a “ruffin”.

        • scoobynacks

          Yeah I figured the key in the lock would be more of a tip off to Mary who DOES think there was an intruder.

  • Helen

    Where does Edith’s money come from?? She’s still dependent on her family. Correct me if i’m wrong.

    • Gatto Nero

      I’m wondering whether the daughters get allowances of some kind from the estate, or draw from some account.

      • DeniseSchipani

        I’m sure there is some sort of allowance. And then, too, Edith DID have a job, if briefly; surely Gregson paid her for those articles she wrote with more than, you know, a baby and a slim promise of marriage. At least (as a freelance writer myself) I hope she wasn’t writing “for exposure”!

        • Coco Cornejo

          i expect Edith’s drawing money from some bank account. That’s why she told her mother the white lie about getting her hair done while in London.

          • scoobynacks

            I wonder what kind of situation she’s got with Gregson and whatever she signed. Maybe she has access to his money. A bit weird to use it for that, but possible.

  • DeniseSchipani

    I think Rose is getting away with too much because no one seems to have time to chaperone her or keep her in line. Everyone makes noise about her behaving, but then no one follows through. For example, Edith’s supposed to be in charge of her when they “go up” to London, but Cora (who is ultimately in charge of Rose) has no way of knowing that Edith is not prepared to take care of her. She’s, you know, preoccupe! So Rose begs to be allowed to “run errands” and “see people” and everyone’s too distracted to check up. The Jack Ross thing won’t end well, of course.

    • scoobynacks

      Well they technically don’t have authority over her, just social pressure. They’re relatives but not legal guardians. Push her too hard the wrong way and she’ll just go do it anyway. They give her too much credit for not embarrassing the family somehow with her shenanigans. Too much trust there.

  • Christine Hart

    When you said Albert you meant Alfred, right?

  • rainwood1

    Fellowes doesn’t seem to understand how to write either Mary or Isobel as coherent characters. They seem to veer from one extreme to the other without any believable reason for it. If Sybil didn’t know how to boil water, you can be sure Mary knows even less. And Isobel being a busybody so the Dowager and Dr. Clarkson can get annoyed is so 3 seasons ago. Did Fellowes forget that the good doc wanted to propose to Isobel? I don’t mind Mary being such a wildly swinging pendulum because I don’t give a whit about her and never have, but I have a very soft spot in my heart for Isobel.

    I also wanted Mrs. Hughes to wreak some kind of vengeance on Greene. I’m still hoping there’s a downstairs conspiracy to murder or at least a group cover up.

    • BayTampaBay

      “If Sybil didn’t know how to boil water, you can be sure Mary knows even less.”

      No, but I believe Mary would put on a good show “faking It” whereas Sybil would be honest and admit she did not know how to boil water.

      • 3hares

        But clearly she wasn’t faking it, because she made scrambled eggs.

        • Eric Stott

          At that point it wouldn’t be too unusual for an upper class woman to know how to cook a bit- it was quite the thing to be able to make a small supper over an alcohol fired chafing dish, even if it mostly involved reheating cold meats and melting cheese. Possibly Mary went to a girl’s school where Welsh Rarebit and Fudge were cooked up in many a dormitory.

          • http://communionoflight.com/ Frank Butterfield

            Exactly! But do you think that, at her school, there were cocoa enthusiasts?

          • scoobynacks

            I didn’t get the impression they went to school. Sounded like they had a governess that taught them ‘French and how to courtesy.’ I think that’s part of why Mary is the way she is. When someone has a keen mind and no outlet they tend to get bitter. She’s obviously smart enough to take to estate management to the point where Edith rolled her eyes over how adept she was. Robert didn’t want to bother her pretty little head with estate stuff. He put all his energy into educating Patrick.

        • Therese Bohn

          …which they didn’t eat much of!

        • greenwich_matron

          Recipes for the Leisure Class
          Scrambled Eggs: Break eggs (similar to soft boiled, but even softer). Stir (scramble). Season or pretend you like them plain. Apply heat. Hope for the best.

    • ImpertinentVixen

      Surely practical Matthew would have shown her how to scramble eggs.

      • scoobynacks

        I think we all know what they would’ve been doing before scrambling eggs too. ;)

  • Anne

    I think Baxter already knows something. She noticed Anna’s discomfort upon seeing Green at the servant’s table and she asked him leading questions about where he was during the concert.

    I feel like I’m not supposed to like Baxter, but I do.

    • Gatto Nero

      I think she is essentially honorable but under Thomas’s thumb.

      • Shawn EH

        So what scandal has she in her past that makes her so desperate for this job?

        • Gatto Nero

          That’s what we’re all wondering.

  • http://smalldog.wordpress.com/ Cadence Woodland

    I think Evelyn is a sort of self-portrait on the part of Fellowes himself who was always “of” society but not really properly “in” the highest exhelons of it it due to being from a second tier branch of a family, etc. etc. A well mannered, fairly bland and unspectacular spectre at the feast who was liked but overlooked. The idea of the almost-outsider is something he does a lot of. (Also, if you want another almost-outsider narrative that beautifully explains the class system from an insider’s perspective, and frankly adds a lot to a reading of Downton, check out his novel, “Snobs.”) I also like to speculate because of course, Fellowes ended up married to Lord Kitchener’s grand-niece after apparently loving her from slightly afar for a while – so perhaps there’s hope for the Evelyn/Mary shippers yet. ;)

    • scoobynacks

      But Evelyn hasn’t really been loving her from afar for the run of the show. He’d moved on maybe never to be seen again before. Matthew was supposed to be endgame until Dan decided to leave. Napier was only brought into the show to involve Pamuk and deal with the Edith’s letter thing. Then when we see him again we think he might be a suitor only to see him bring Blake. Then this happens. I don’t think Fellowes has ever indicated Evelyn was a self-portrait. Besides Napier’s an heir to a title/estate. Fellowes was an outsider. If anything it puts perceived outsiders like Matthew and Blake in a better position. Sure Matthew was to inherit Downton but when Mary first gets to know him, she perceives him as an outsider. Blake too. Evelyn’s been an insider all his life.

      • http://smalldog.wordpress.com/ Cadence Woodland

        I don’t mean that Evelyn is an exact portrait in anyway, I mean that
        I’ve seen several incarnations of this sort of character written by
        Fellowes across other mediums before and he’s
        been open about this sort of character being derived from his own
        experience. I just see parallels is all. His MIL famously calls him
        Evelyn because she had her heart set on her daughter marrying a man
        named that (not unlike Cora and Mary), which made me laugh when the
        character was initially introduced.

        Again, I don’t mean to
        suggest this is 100%, but a lot of his work surrounds the same things
        and themes and is drawn from his own experience in the combined worlds
        of high society and media. I see several ways his own personal narrative
        and those of his associates and family influences his creative work.
        (Seriously, read Snobs for another POV of a Dowager Countless like
        character, utterly secure of her place in a world that doesn’t quite
        exist).

    • Tally Ho

      He’s the oldest son and heir to Viscount Branksome…. of all the suitors Mary’s had (real ones, not including the duke), he’s the socially most eligible with the highest title as his expected viscountancy is a higher rank than Gillingham’s title.

      • BayTampaBay

        Also, the Napiers have a large secure fortune. This is discussed between Cora, Violet & Robert in season one.

      • http://smalldog.wordpress.com/ Cadence Woodland

        I don’t mean he’s an exact portrait. I mean I see common themes and parallels in this type of character to his own experience that he’s used in his other work and been open about.

  • axogrl

    Edith has a boy. Mary and George die in a freak pig accident, and Edith’s little bastard becomes the heir. Sweet revenge or KARMA (cough … Mr.Pamuk brought it) for poor Edith.

    • scoobynacks

      Having a boy wouldn’t matter to Edith. In the event that George and Mary died, Mary’s portion of the estate would probably revert to her parents and the entail would’ve gone to another distant cousin if Robert passed soon. Now 1925 would change that entail thing, but as of now, George snuffing it means nothing to any child of Edith, boy or girl.

    • Tally Ho

      He’s illegitimate. He would not have been the default heir and the laws of the day didn’t recognize illegitimate children unless the will explicitly included them. The changes to the entail laws probably wouldn’t be enough to allow DA to pass to him. The most he could reasonably hope for would be money.

    • honey604 MA

      The title and estate pass on through the male line. If both Robert and little George die, all would go to some distant male Crawley cousin, as had to happen when the heirs died on the Titanic, and Matthew was designated.
      Even if Mary has another son with another husband, that child would have no claim on the estate or title, as I understand it.

    • axogrl

      Geez, all the seriousness. Just poking some fun at the situation! Not trying to understand aristocratic British lineage. : )

  • AnnaleighBelle

    What is Fellowes’ point regarding Edith? Why does he torment her so singularly? To show everything isn’t rosy even if you’re born to title and money?

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    Finally got around to watching and I just wanted to say that Mrs. Hughes is quickly becoming my favorite character at Downton. Her dressing down of that scumbag valet was applause-worthy.
    I was so disappointed to see the kitchen love triangle rear its ugly head again. I really wish they would give Daisy something new to do besides pine away for Alfred.

    • scoobynacks

      Honestly the strongest version of Daisy would be her going to the farm so she could learn and one day take over the tenancy from William’s dad. That’d get her out of Downton though. :(

  • Bethany

    Has anyone else been thinking the last few episodes that Baxter is the sister of our devious Thomas? Those two clearly have a backstory and seemingly a history of Thomas being the dominant personality of the two. Also, brightened my morning to see the recap entitled “Gettin’ Piggy With It”; makes pig farming sound way more fun than it actually is.

    • Gatto Nero

      I thought they might be related — she might even be his mother, if she had him very young. (An unlikely twist, though.)
      I’m dying to know what their story is.

    • honey604 MA

      Yes, I’ve wondered it Barrow and Baxter are related. Siblings?

  • http://www.JohnVasko.com jvasko

    I have a feeling that Edith has been conned by Michael. That he’ll show up and try to weasel his way into the family. Cora gets more and more irritating with every episode. Elizabeth McGovern has to be one of the worst actresses on television today.

  • samo_samo

    Edith and Rosamund should pack up and go to America. Edith should reinvent herself as a widow who’s decided to raise her child in America because the grief was too much to bear in England. She and Rosamund should live fabulously and become the toast of New York. The end.

  • SirLouie

    Does anyone else find Lady Grantham’s accent incredibly annoying?

  • Heather

    I think you meant “Alfred.”