This week’s episode was nowhere near the emotional roller coaster of last week, but it definitely had some interesting moments for our beloved household.
The episode starts a few weeks after we left off.
Mary is wheeling Matthew out in the gardens and he’s pretty bitter about his condition. Really, who wouldn’t be, right? Mary is trying to console him as Sir Richard and Lord G. watch them from the house.
It turns out Sir Richard is thinking of buying a nearby estate. Hacksby Park (sic) belongs to an old family that’s been in the neighborhood for ages, but they’ve left the place after they lost a son in the war and it’s a great opportunity for him to invest in a really great property and be near Downton at the same time. He asks Carson to—gasp!—leave the Abbey and come help Mary & him run the place for them! Carson says he’ll think about it and let him know.
Meanwhile downstairs, Daisy is not in a happy place at all. She’s really upset about deceiving poor William, and blames Mrs. Patmore for making her marry him in the first place and refuses to take advantage of William’s pension. The new maid, Jane, doesn’t agree, and tries to convince her that as a war widow, she’s entitled to certain benefits, but Daisy won’t budge.
Bates’s divorce decree is coming through and he’s pretty happy about it, but Anna is still worried that things could go wrong. Everyone’s getting ready for the war to end and wondering what’s going to be happening afterwards. Mrs. Patmore makes an off-hand suggestion to Thomas to look into the black market since food is so scarce. Oh oh. Wrong person to say that to, Mrs. Patmore! Thomas starts thinking about it seriously, and oh yes, I’m sure we’re going to be in for some interesting times with Thomas the Entrepreneur! Sigh.
Mr. Carson catches Mrs. Hughes at the back door right as she’s given some food to Ethel. He makes her confess to Cora about her clandestine aid to the former maid and Cora offers to send a letter to the deadbeat Major Bryant and, under the guise of inviting him over for a visit, maybe put some pressure on him to take care of Ethel and her child. But alas! It seems that Major Bryant was shipped off to the front again and died. So Ethel’s now left with absolutely no hope of support from her baby daddy. Poor Ethel!
Violet and Cora are visiting with Isobel when she informs them that she feels Downton should remain open as a rehabilitation center after the war ends, with her running the operations! What an appalling thought! Both the Dowager and Lady C. are completely horrified and decide the only way to dissuade Mrs. Crawley is to find her another “cause” to sink her teeth into.
Violet: “Surely you can put her off!”
Cora: “I don’t know how, once the bit is between her teeth.”
Violet: “Well, change the bridle! Find a cause that needs her more than Downton.”
Cora: “She’s such a martyr.”
Violet: “Then we must tempt her with a more enticing scaffold.”
As expected, Violet decides to get busy finding Isobel something else to do and let go of her plans for the Abbey. They meet for tea under the pretense of going over the details of keeping the Abbey running as a center and Violet puts her plan in action. I seriously love this woman. I mean, once she puts her mind to something, she’s absolutely relentless. She starts talking to Isobel about how “haunted” she is that the women will lose their jobs once the soldiers return from war. Isobel doesn’t bite, so Violet changes tactics and starts talking about the refugees. She boosts Isobel’s ego by telling her that her expertise would be invaluable to the plight of the poor people who’ve lost everything back home and have come to England seeking a new life. Oh, look! There it is! Isobel falls for it and decides that yes, the refugees need her way more than the officers at Downton and just like that, the Abbey’s off the hook from becoming a permanent convalescence home. Yay, Violet! Cora’s delighted, of course, and in a rare moment of solidarity thanks the Dowager sincerely for helping her out.
Back at the Abbey, a badly burned and bandaged soldier shows up and starts up a conversation with Edith telling her that they’re related. Edith hedges around it and the officer gets really upset, wondering why she doesn’t “recognize” him or at least his voice. Uh…wait a minute. What’s going on here?
Sir Richard convinces Mary to buy the big ole manor around the proverbial corner. Mary decides to approach Lord G. about stealing Carson, and Bates sides with her, so Carson agrees to go with the Carlisles once they, in fact, become the Carlisles. The reason I’m saying that is because Sir Richard is keeping a very watchful eye on Mary and Matthew and is not blind to their…er … “friendship.” He tries to head things off at the pass and suggests to Cora that maybe it’s time to bring Lavinia back to Downton. You know, to keep Matthew company and all that. Yeah, right. He’s totally jealous!
Lavinia shows up and Lord G. gets really mad at Cora for interfering, telling her that sometimes she can be “curiously unfeeling.” But Cora has a point. In order for Mary’s marriage with Sir Richard to work, Matthew needs to be “occupied” elsewhere. Sir Richard actually threatens Mary to knock it off and get in line because he’s not going to allow her to jilt him. He has damaging information on her and will use it if need be. What a creep! I can’t believe Mary’s going to end up with him. Matthew’s not very happy about Lavinia’s return either, and tries to get her to go back, but she’s adamant about staying and taking care of him. So it seems we’re not quite rid of her yet.
Edith is spending quite a bit of time with Major Gordon and he keeps harping on their being related. He starts talking about how he used to come to the Abbey all the time when he was growing up, etc. and…WHAT??? He’s PATRICK? I mean, THE Patrick?? The one who supposedly died on the Titanic? You know, the RIGHTFUL HEIR to the Abbey who was almost engaged to Mary? What???? Oh no! What does this mean for Matthew? What does this mean for Mary? What does this mean, period?
Apparently Major Gordon was in fact on the Titanic but was one of the few who was fished out and taken back to New York. He was suffering from amnesia, was misidentified and shipped off to Canada as Peter Gordon. So he joined up with the Canadian army, went to war, and was injured. As he was recovering from the explosion, his memory came back.
Okay, I’m going to stop right here and say something. You’d think that news like this would go off like a bomb at the Abbey, right? Well, not so much. I mean, yes, Edith takes it back to Lord G. who’s properly stunned for about a minute and decides to send a note to his solicitor in London to see if anyone can corroborate this guy’s story. And yes, Lord G. tells the entire family (including Matthew and Isobel), but there really is a very minimum amount of fuss being made. No one (other than Edith) even tries to go talk to the guy. Lord G. does, after a while, but even that conversation is not as heated as you’d think it would be. I understand that they’re all a bit cautious with the “real” Patrick being dead and all, but still. The lack of enthusiasm, or at least curiosity, about this guy is a bit strange to me.
At any rate, the only person who really believes Major Gordon is Patrick is Edith. Remember how it was hinted that she had feelings for Patrick and that while Mary was going to marry him out of duty and keeping the Crawley line intact, etc., Edith really loved him? Well, Major Gordon definitely plays on Edith’s emotions and she spends a lot of time with him. She defends him to the family to the chagrin of Mary, who in a fit, lets it slip that Matthew’s been through enough and really doesn’t need this on top of everything else, but Edith won’t give up.
Anyway, the lawyer in London researches the story and apparently, there is a report that one of the men rescued from the Titanic was unidentified. There are witnesses who claim the man died and some who say he survived, but there is no more information about him. Also, it seems that Patrick had a buddy called Peter Gordon (a ha!) with whom he worked at the Foreign Office and who immigrated to Montreal. Everyone in the family is convinced that the Major Gordon currently residing with them is more than likely Peter Gordon who is taking advantage of Patrick’s death and has shown up at the Abbey with some amnesia story and a bunch of vague childhood memories to claim Patrick’s inheritance. Edith’s pretty upset about the family’s lack of faith, but before she can do anything more about it, P. Gordon (yes, I’m using his initial on purpose), leaves the Abbey, leaving her a note saying he couldn’t take the suspense any more. Uh…what? I’m sure that this plotline would not have been introduced only to be dropped like this. There has to be more to it, right? Poor Edith is devastated. Here she was, thinking her long lost love was back and poof! He’s gone again.
Mr. Bates gets a call from his lawyer in London and it turns out that Vera is contesting the divorce decree (shocker!) and is claiming that Bates paid her to agree to the divorce, which of course, is true. So Bates decides to go to London to reason with her, but not before making an off-hand remark to Lord G. about wishing she was dead. No seriously, it was a pretty off the cuff comment. Nothing was behind it. Except…he comes back from London with a bruise on the side of his face and we find out that Vera is…oh my god! She’s dead! She’s lying on the floor with a bunch of broken crockery all around her. Please, please tell me Bates didn’t murder her! I mean, come on! What else could go wrong with Bates and Anna? Argh!
A seemingly minor plotline formed this week that has me pretty worried, to be honest. Lord G. was eating lunch alone one day and Carson was busy with other things, so Jane was tasked with bringing in his dessert and they struck up a conversation. There was quite a bit of camaraderie between Lord G. and Jane and next week’s previews show that it might go a step further. Eep! Please tell me Lord G.’s not thinking of hitting on the new maid!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, nothing really happened with Sybil and Branson this week. There were a lot of innuendo-laden conversations with Branson declaring that he’d wait forever for her to make up her mind (about running away with him), and she asks him to wait a bit longer. You know, just a few weeks until the war’s over.
And yes! The war’s finally over! Yay! They have a very heartfelt ceremony in the hall with all the convalescing officers and the household staff having a moment of silence for all their fallen countrymen.
I have to tell you, even though I love, love, love this show, this episode felt a little flat to me. I mean, considering what an upheaval Patrick Gordon’s arrival should’ve caused, it barely seemed as though it stirred anything real up. It was just all tied up a bit too neatly and with a minimum amount of fuss. I guess after last week’s gut-wrenching tearjerker, I expected a bit more.
It looks like we’re going to see Thomas starts his “business,” Anna possibly leaving Downton to go with Mary & Sir Richard and Matthew has…news! (I’m not going to say anything more there because, well, Matthew wants to keep it a surprise, so I’ll do the same.)
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Or, carry on to the episode 7 recap (beware of spoilers!)...
Naz Keynejad is an avid reader, wanna-be writer, editor and self-professed geek. She has a “thing” for period dramas and will watch anything as long as it’s filled with suppressed sexual tension, angst and of course, period costumes. Oh, and there has to be tea. Lots of tea.