Nov 11 2013 10:32am

Downton Abbey Series 4 (Season 4), Episode 8 Recap: Pressing Engagements

Downton Abbey Series 4 castThe Crawley family and their devoted staff are back in Downton Abbey Season 4, now airing in the U.K. (U.S. viewers, stick with us! We'll be re-posting Naz's recaps when Season 4 airs on PBS beginning in January.) We're sure you're just as eager as we are to get to it, so without further ado...

Note for U.S. Viewers: Last night's episode of Downton Abbey was aired as “Episode 7” on PBS but originally aired as “Episode 8” in the U.K. in November, when this recap was first posted.

Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Downton Abbey, including last night's Season 4 finale, 4x08. And be sure to check in with H&H again the day after the Christmas episode airs for the final Season 4 recap. Enjoy!

Well, here we are! The final episode (not including the Christmas special, of course) of the season. We start with Mary, Tom, and Edith walking over to check on the pigs. Mr. Drewe (the farmer who borrowed money from Robert to…er…pay Robert back for back rent on his farm) is taking care of the pigs and apparently, he’s doing a great job. Mary and Tom ask him to take on the management of this new farming venture permanently, and he agrees. He thanks them for giving him this opportunity and promises to return the favor if and when they need it.

Violet seems to be feeling better, but she’s going a bit stir-crazy sitting at home all day, so Isobel, who’s stopped by to check on her, suggests they take a walk over to the Abbey in the afternoon and enquire after Robert’s adventures in America. In a bit of expository explanation, we find out about the “Teapot Dome Scandal,” which is what Cora’s brother is involved in. In a nutshell, the scandal involved the U.S. Secretary of the Interior leasing out the naval oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, to a private oil company without going through the process of asking for competitive bids. There was an investigation, and the Secretary (who had gotten quite rich from the scheme) ended up in prison. For the purposes of our story, Cora’s brother is involved with one of the private companies. Violet, not surprisingly, is not a fan of Harold’s.

Back at the Abbey, Cora is getting ready for the annual village bazaar, and with Robert gone, she’s worried about keeping the villagers in check. She asks Rose (who’s plotting another get together with Jack Ross) for help. During tea that afternoon, Isobel suggests that Tom run for office for the local council. Tom’s a bit hesitant. He feels like he doesn’t know where his politics are any more, but Isobel suggests that he read about it a bit and then decide. Violet gives Edith a hard time about not having visited her when she was sick, but Edith asks her to lay off. Meanwhile, the nanny brings in the babies for a visit, and Blake takes on little George, who’s a bit cranky. Mary’s pleasantly surprised with Blake’s action, and Violet is not-so-pleasantly appalled by it! Ha ha!

Later, as Mary’s getting dressed for dinner, she tells Anna that Lord Gillingham will be stopping by the Abbey again for a night. Anna gets upset and she finally—finally!—tells Mary about Green. She makes Mary promise not to do anything about it first. Mary is absolutely horrified, and wants to tell at least Gillingham about it, but Anna tells her that if Bates finds out, things could go very badly for them. Mary decides to call Gillingham and tell him not to come, and Anna tells her that she’s frightened every time Bates and Green are in the same room.

Downstairs, Molesley has found a kindred spirit in Baxter. She tells him that even though “life has kicked the stuffing out of [him],” he can climb back up, just like she did. Hm. Maybe we’ll finally find out what her connection to Thomas is in this episode? Any way, she tries to find out what’s going on between Anna and Bates from Molesley, but clearly, she couldn’t have picked a more clueless person! Meanwhile Ivy receives a letter from Alfred, who’s coming back to Yorkshire for his father’s funeral. And, guess what? He’s asked Ivy to marry him! What? Ivy confides in Mrs. Patmore that Alfred wants her to leave Downton and go to London with him (well, of course he does! I mean, if he’s asking her to marry him, I doubt he’d expect to leave her behind once they are married!) Their conversation is interrupted when Daisy walks in. Oh no! Daisy’s not going to take this well at all! Well, it seems that Ivy doesn’t really want to marry Alfred any way, so this might all be a moot point.

Anna and Bates discuss Mary’s love life (or well, what there is of it) as they’re getting ready to go home, and Bates brings up Green, wondering if Anna has “gone off him,” since she seemed to like him at first, and doesn’t any more. Uh oh. This is not going to end well. Bates is way too smart for this subterfuge. He’s going to figure it out.

The next morning at breakfast, Mr. Blake asks after the pigs, and suggests that once they are profitable with those, they should consider adding dairy farming. Evelyn makes a snarky comment about having Mr. Drewe handle that as well, since he is so special, and Edith immediately jumps to Drewe’s defense, saying that his wanting to make farming at Downton his life’s work is admirable. While they’re discussing this, Rosamund calls for Edith and offers to come to Downton to support her when she tells Cora about her pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Tom drives Isobel to Thirsk after breakfast and while she’s off running some errands, he catches Rose in a tea shop with Jack Ross. Jack’s still pretty wary about their relationship, but Rose is adamant that they continue seeing each other. Tom leaves without their seeing him, and on his way back, he tells Isobel that he’s worried about “some people” who are about to do something that will make “some people unhappy.” When they get back to Isobel’s house, they run into Sarah Bunting, the gal Tom met at the political meeting. She teases Tom about his politics, and Isobel defends him. She takes off to go to work (she teaches at the local school), and you can tell that Tom’s clearly smitten.

Back at the house, Molesley’s trying to further his friendship with Baxter and offers to bring her some coffee. She’s not very comfortable with it, but he assures her that it really is just coffee, and that she doesn’t have to “surrender her independence.” I hate to admit it, but this is kind of sweet.

Molesley: “Miss Baxter, I do know what it’s like to feel fragile. I felt fragile my whole life. You’d have realized by now that down here, we don’t care much about Mr. Barrow, which might offend you.”

Baxter: “I’m not offended.”

Molesley: “But I wish you’d give us credit for making up our own minds about you.”

That night, as she’s getting dressed for dinner, Mary tells Anna that she wasn’t able to get a hold of Gillingham, and that he’s going to be coming over. Before Anna can respond, Tom shows up to tell Mary about Rose and Jack Ross. Anna leaves and we see her crying in the hallways downstairs, where Mrs. Hughes finds her. Meanwhile, Edith tells Rosamund that she’s figured out how to keep the baby, by using Mr. Drewe as a sort of a decoy. Basically, she wants to give Drewe the baby, hoping that no one will know it was hers. Rosamund tells her it’s a reckless plan, because if Drewe talks about it, or if people see Edith going to his house, or if the baby looks like her, etc., there will be a great deal of damage. Instead, she offers to take Edith abroad, where she can have the baby and give it up for adoption. Cora walks in as they’re talking, and Rosamund starts telling her about her plan to travel to Switzerland, and to take Edith with her. Cora is surprised, but agrees. Honestly, it’s amazing how clueless Cora is about Edith. I mean, yes, she hasn’t started to show yet, but it’s very clear that she’s upset, and not quite herself. Any way, they announce it that night at dinner, while Gillingham talks about his trip of self-discovery through Scotland (groan!), and Tom praises Mary and Blake for rescuing the pigs.

Downstairs, that disgusting Mr. Green is talking about how he’s had his fill of Scotland and can’t wait to get back to London, and Bates “casually” asks him where he lives. He’s basically being his happy, jovial self while Mrs. Hughes shoots daggers at him across the table, and Anna looks like she’s about to pass out. It’s a wonder no one else notices how uncomfortable Anna is.

After dinner, Mary has a talk with Rose, and cautions her against “[losing] control of [her] life.”

Rose: “I love him. And I won’t listen to any imperialist nonsense about racial purity, and how he should be horse-whipped for daring to dream.”

Mary: “Don’t you know me better than that?”

Rose: “I’m going to marry him, Mary. And I don’t care what it costs, and I won’t keep it a secret, not once I’ve told mummy. I want to see her face crumble once she finds out.”

Ugh. Look, I’m really trying, but I honestly don’t care about Rose, or whatever it is that she’s doing, or how things will end up for her. If she’s supposed to be the example of change, she hasn’t managed to be very convincing, at least not to me.

The next morning, Gillingham offers to drive Blake and Evelyn to the station, and he tells Mary that he’s doing it because he didn’t want to leave her alone with Blake. Oh, good grief. Really, Gillingham? Give it up! You’re engaged, and Mary already said no. Oh, wait! What? He’s going to break his engagement?

Gillingham: “I’ve made up my mind to break off the engagement.”

Mary: “Does Mabel know?”

Gillingham: “Not yet. I haven’t been in London since, and I must tell her face-to-face.”

Mary: “Of course, you must! But I wish you’d think seriously before you do.”

Gillingham: “You mean you’re going to turn me down again.”

Mary: “I’ve told you, I’m not on the market, Tony. I’m not free. Sometimes I almost wish I were, but I’m not, and that’s all there is to it.”

Did you hear that, Tony? She’s not available. Now, go away please. Outside, Mary tries to talk to him about Green, but then sees the horrible man listening in, so she stops. Any way, the men all leave, and everyone teases Mary about the loss of her “desire of suitors.”

Later that day, Violet’s invited Rosamund and Edith for tea, but is really trying to figure out what’s going on with them.

Violet: “I want to know what you are doing at Downton.”

Rosamund: “I don’t understand. Why shouldn’t I come to Downton? I grew up here.”

Violet: “I see I have to take the slow path. You telephone to say Edith is to be cherished, but you don’t say why.”

Rosamund: “Didn’t I?”

Violet: “No. Next, you invite yourself to Downton and reveal at dinner that you and Edith are retreating to the continent for several months, so you can improve your French.”

Edith: “Yes.”

Violet: “Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts.”

She asks them to tell her the truth and when Edith tells her that the truth will make her upset, Violet says that she wants to hear it “enunciated clearly.”

A little while later, Rose tells Mary that she’s engaged, and Mary decides to go to London, ostensibly, I suppose, to talk to Jack Ross. Anna’s going with her of course, and Bates takes the opportunity to ask Mr. Carson for a day off to go to York.

Meanwhile, Violet asks Isobel to join her and Edith for lunch with Lord Merton, Mary’s godfather. It seems that none of the other ladies have time, and Rosamund doesn’t get along with Merton, so Isobel is the only one left to keep them company. Lord Merton seems nice enough. We’ve actually met him before. He was the one who was there with his sons back in season three, when one of them spiked Tom’s drink? Any way, after lunch, he offers to walk Isobel back home, and they chat about their sons. Seems that Lord Merton has forgotten who Isobel is, and that Matthew has died. He’s mortified when he realizes his faux pas, but Isobel brushes it off. They talk about Mary, and he tells Isobel that he’s glad that both Isobel and Mary had happy marriages, but that he didn’t. His story is basically that of a typical peer, who married for money and prestige, and didn’t really have anything in common with his wife. He seems like a very nice man, and I’m wondering if this is a set up for Isobel? Back at the Dower House, Violet asks Edith to stay and tells her that Rosamund is right, and that the best plan is for them to go away. She offers to pay for everything, because she doesn’t want Edith to be more in Rosamund’s debt.

As the house is busy getting ready for the bazaar, Tom is off to run an errand, when he runs into Sarah. Her car’s stalled by the side of the road, and he pulls over to help her out. While he’s working on the car, he tells her about starting out as the chauffeur.

Back in London, Mary goes to visit Jack and tries to talk him out of marrying Rose. She tells him that marriage is a challenge, and that everyone will try to separate them “every hour of every day.” She also tells him that Rose’s primary concern seems to be wanting to shock her mother, and that he needs to be sure that Rose is actually in love with him, enough to want to face the challenges of marrying. In the end, Jack tells Mary that he’s not planning on marrying Rose, because he doesn’t want to ruin her life. He loves Rose too much to watch her suffer because of their relationship, and promises to write her a letter and break it off. He tells Mary that if they lived in a better world, he wouldn’t do this, and she tells him that if they did, she wouldn’t want him to either.

Back at Rosamund’s house, Mary tells Anna that she’s going to ask Gillingham to dismiss Green. She won’t tell him why, but she feels that she has to do something. Anna’s very nervous about this, but Mary assures her that it is for the best. She tells Anna that she doesn’t want her to fear Gillingham’s visits to Downton any more. So she has lunch with Gillingham, and persuades him to let Green go, and he agrees despite her not telling him why, because he loves her. Ugh. I’m sorry, but I really can’t get behind this guy and Mary. Anyway, apparently, his fiancé was pretty understanding about his wanting to break their engagement, so now he’s free to wait for Mary.

Sarah, Tom, baby Sybil in Downton Abbey Series 4 finaleThe day of the church bazaar has arrived, and Downton is a bevy of activity. Everyone’s pitching in, including the ladies of the house. The entire village is showing up for this annual event, and Baxter tells Molesley that he’s lucky to have grown up in a village where he is cared for, and where his family name is in good standing. Tom runs into Sarah setting up a booth, and she makes a crack about him slaving away, but then Cora walks up carrying a tray of vases, and after Tom introduces them, he tells Sarah that even the countess helps out for the bazaar. It’s interesting to see Sarah saying the things that Tom used to say before he became a member of the family. She’s the strict socialist that he used to be.

Back at the Dower House, Violet asks Isobel to come and visit, because apparently Lord Merton sent her some flowers! I knew it! Violet’s pretty surprised about the whole thing, and it’s obvious that she doesn’t necessarily approve. Isobel, I think, just seems touched.

A sack race in Downton Abbey Season 4The day of the bazaar finally arrives. We see Jimmy sneaking some punch, and Mr. Carson comes over and sends him over to manage the tea tent. Meanwhile, Rose is sitting alone and moping. Mary tries to talk to her, but Rose is pretty upset and blames Mary for interfering, and compares her to her mother. While all of this is happening, a car pulls up and…it’s Robert! He’s back! Everyone’s delighted to see him, of course, and he tells them that Harold got off with a reprimand. Robert has a very sweet reunion with Cora, kissing her right there on the lawn, in front of everyone.

Lord and Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey 4.08Violet gets a moment alone with Edith and tells her that if she wants to continue looking for Gregson, she’d have her support. Edith tells her that they’ve already done all of that, and that he’s just gone.

Edith: “Sometimes, I feel that God doesn’t want me to be happy.”

Violet: “My dear, all life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. First one, then the next, and the next, until at last, we die.”

I love her! She’s so pragmatic, and even in the face of the worst kind of problems, she always has a way of simplifying things, no matter how inappropriate it might sound!

Oh look! There’s Gillingham! What is he doing here? Wait! He tells Mary that Green’s dead. What? Apparently, Green was in Piccadilly and slipped and fell into the road. Gillingham wanted to come and tell Mary personally because of the conversation they had had about Green earlier. He asks Mary to tell him why she wanted him to fire Green, but Mary refuses. Instead, she goes over to tell Anna about it. Anna (who found out that Bates spent the day in York while she was in London), is relieved to hear that Green was killed in a crowded place, and lots of people witnessed his getting hit by a vehicle.

And…look who else is here! Mr. Blake! Wow, this is turning out to be quite a gathering! Him, I like. If Mary’s going to end up with anyone, I hope it’s Blake, and not Gillingham. He says that he decided to stop over and see the bazaar on his way to a conference in Whitby. Any way, Mary asks Blake what he would do if he felt that someone was involved in a crime, but that they had every right to have committed it. I’m assuming that Mary (like Anna) has guessed that Bates is somehow caught up in Green’s death. Blake tells her that since she doesn’t blame the person for having committed a crime, she should say nothing. And, to make things more complicated, Baxter overhears all of this.

At the end of the day, Blake finally admits the real reason for having stopped by.

Blake: “You do know why I came today.”

Mary: “To see the bazaar?”

Blake: “To see you. I find, perhaps to my surprise, that since I left I can’t think of anything but you.”

Mary: “To your surprise and my surprise.”

Blake: “I’m only asking for a chance.”

Mary: “Was there really a conference in Whitby?”

Blake: “Of course not.”

Mary: “I’m flattered, Charles, and even moved. But rather than add to the list of men I’ve disappointed, it might be kinder to refuse you now, and let you off the hook.”

Blake: “I’m afraid I couldn’t allow that. Not without putting up a fight.”

Mary and Blake in Downton Abbey Series 4Yes! Seriously, I really want to see Mary with Blake. He’s good for her. He challenges her, and doesn’t put up with her haughty ways. They walk back to the tents together where Robert toasts Cora for the fabulous job she did managing everything while he was gone. Blake takes the opportunity to say his farewells, and this time, Gillingham asks him for a ride. Mary offers to see them off, and as they’re walking away, Robert wonders what he’s missed there.

Back at the house, Anna confronts Bates and asks him to tell her what he did in York. She asks him if he did anything foolish to ruin what they had built together, and he says that he would never do anything unless he had a very good reason.

Downstairs staff in Downton Abbey Series 4In our love quadrangle downstairs, Daisy finds out that Alfred had proposed to Ivy, and that she’s turned him down, but she’s still upset with the whole situation, because she feels that Ivy keeps breaking Alfred’s heart. At any rate, Alfred is not discouraged, and is planning on stopping by to see Ivy during the bazaar, and Mrs. Patmore suggests giving Daisy the day off. Daisy takes advantage of the time off to go see Mr. Mason, and they have a nice picnic together. Alfred apologizes to Ivy for jumping the gun and misunderstanding her friendship for something more, and asks if Daisy’s around. Back at their picnic, Mr. Mason tells Daisy that she shouldn’t avoid seeing Alfred, even if that’s what Mrs. Patmore suggests. He tells her that she won’t get too many chances at love, and she should take them when they are there. When Daisy admits that she’s not sure about how she feels, he says that at the very least, she should see Alfred one last time and say goodbye properly. So, Daisy comes back to the Abbey with a basket of goodies for Alfred and they part as friends. Mrs. Patmore tells Daisy that she’s very proud of her, and that she couldn’t be prouder if Daisy was her own daughter. Aw! Oh, thank goodness this is over.

And that’s it! There’s no preview for the Christmas special, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens!


Downton Abbey fans, take note! The book Behind the Scenes of Downton Abbey may well be relevant to your interests—it's full of Season 4 goodness.


Love romance? For a weekly roundup of the hottest news, sneak peeks, reviews, cover reveals, TV recaps, sweepstakes, and much more, sign up for the Heroes and Heartbreakers newsletter.

Naz Keynejad is an avid reader, copy/story editor, and is currently working on her Masters degree in English literature. She’s a self-professed literary nerd and has a “thing” for period dramas. She will watch anything as long as it’s filled with British accents, suppressed sexual tension, angst, and of course, period costumes. Oh, and there has to be tea. Lots of tea.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Canucks
What made me an early fan of DA was precisely these type of episodes where the romance to intrigue ratios are balanced, the story lines move briskly, and the characters show … well … some character!

As Naz and some of her dedicated readers will recall, I’d written some nasty notes to her post recently, only, really, to match the nastiness of the story lines in some of the more recent DA episodes.

I have always watched with interest how the social, political or economic events of the day are weaved into the richness of the story lines that are already present in the pre and post Edwardian period dramas which make such shows more real and enjoyable for me. But I was at a loss when DA writers veered off into some really “dark” alleys recently … Alleys which are unfortunately but have always populated our lives in the past and the present. So, "what was the point?" I always asked myself. And still do.

For example, I fail(ed) to see how a brutal rape storyline necessarily deepened the “character development” in a Sunday night “family oriented” drama and/or how a race-related romantic tension added richness to an already ill-advisedly-grafted character! I still wonder what good can or will come out of these type of story lines other than their shock value when they are first introduced.

If the Xmas special now comes along and suggests that Bates was in fact instrumental in Green’s death ... will it really “add” to this drama going forward? Or would we all be saying Déjà vu all over again? Or if we are led to believe that he was not instrumental, will it then be all forgotten what happened, and the Bates family will go happily after to start a new family? What was half the S04 was for then? What exactly was gained?

Though I cherish some of the sweeter sides of DA, I must say I dislike the writers of the show immensely when I feel that they are dragging some of the story lines needlessly or pushing the viewers into some very dark alleys for no other reason than to expand the "time limits" on this series.

All good things must come to an end, and I am hoping that this series does end as classily as it started. My wish, for the creators of a family oriented Sunday series, would be to err on the side of the “good” and the happy and the fun, and just know when to say .. “the end”!

But as we now surely end DA's S04, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Naz, once again, for her effort to brilliantly narrate these episodes, and for giving us the space to freely talk, vent, discuss, and hopefully enjoy both the good and the bad we find in this series.

So, until we meet again, let’s just say au revoir and god bless and wish ourselves and our dear ones an early but “happy new year” in 2014!
2. hosiuze
I enjoyed this episode . I am glad Edith is having a lot of support in her predicament and that should be rather interesting in season 5.
While I enjoyed Mary flirting with her suitors, I hope she wont choose either one..I like to see Mary being her own woman, managing her estate succesfully ,not someone's wife which can complicate things as she is DOWNTON's future for her son.
As for Blake not taking any of her snobbishness, well Mary has changed from that. She is not as snobbish as she used to be and she was snobbish to Blake only when he provoked her.
I really like Napier but he was hardly visible in the last episodes. So why was he there? He came to court Mary but the other 2 men were all aggressively around her and Napier was like a prop in the background. Was he just another plot to bring in a "friend" into Mary,s world and have him take her away? I hope not. I cant take another heart break after Matthews'.
The Christmas Special cannot come soon enough.
3. CanuckLite
Going forward, Charles Blake represents the future (or modernity), Anthony Foyle the past (or the tradition), and Evelyn Napier, as a conduit to both, and hence, neither!

Mary will choose.

But she will not straddle in the middle .. to end the show.

Similar choices wait a whole host of DA characters now:

Isobel Crawley vs Dr. Richard Clarkson and/or Lord Merton
Joseph Molesley vs Phyllis Baxter
Charles Carson vs Elsie Hughes
Edith Crawley vs Michael Gregson
Tom Branson vs Sarah Bunting
John & Anna Bates
Daisy Mason vs Alfred Nugent and/or Mr. William Mason, Sr.
Rose MacClare vs the male one half of the city of London!

That sounds like a full season of DA#5 to me.

But don't hold all your breath.

That might turn your face royal blue!
4. carmenlire
I really liked this episode. It was bright and reminded me of the first season. I can't wait for the Christmas Special.
Naz Keynejad
5. nazkey
@Canucks - To be honest, I was a bit put off by how neatly the Green matter (see what I did there?) was resolved. I wanted there to be more of a repercussion, more of a "debate" of some sort (even though I know that back then, there wouldn't have really been much of one), etc. But, be that as it may, we now, unfortunately, have to live with the fact that poor Anna is scarred for life. And, as in the years past, I'm delighted that you enjoy my ramblings, and take the time to comment!

@hosiuze - I like that Edith is getting support too, but I'm really curious to know what happened to Gregson. The build up was pretty significant, and I felt that maybe somehow, his storyline would bring in some of the more volatile political ones of the era. We'll have to see, I guess.

@CanuckLite - Hah! I love your list! Especially the part about Rose. I honestly cannot warm to her. She has no redeeming qualities, and if she is supposed to be the example of the "modernity," I'll pass. I really, really like Blake, and like the idea of Mary with him. And I really, really don't like Gillingham!

@carmenlire - You are right. The episode had the same "energy" as the earlier ones. Let's hope the Christmas special doesn't disappoint!
6. Rebecca Goldsmith
This was a great episode, and your recap is the icing on the cake. Violet was wonderful in this episode- her lines were superb, and were her facial expressions!
I guess we will have to keep wondering if/how Bates was involved with Green's "untimely" demise.
My bet is Mary will go for Blake, but it's too early to really know.
7. sl1878
Must say - that was a snoozefest. It would have made for a boring regular episode, but a season finale? Ugh.
Naz Keynejad
8. nazkey
@Rebecca - thanks for stopping by and commenting! I'm glad you like my ramblings :-) Re. Bates, I wonder if they're going to shed more light on it during the Xmas episode. Oh, and I really hope that if Mary's going to end up with someone, it be Blake. I love him!

@Sl1878 - you're right. Sadly, this has been the modus operandi for the show. They save all the "good stuff" for the Xmas episode!
Jeri Huish
9. jerilyn11
I am just not sure where this season is going. I've enjoyed Mary - what a fine pack of suitors she's got! She's balancing the line between tradition and modern brilliantly. Edith's storyline has been good, if a little soap-opera predictable. Baxter is a good addition. DaisyAlfredJimmyIvy and Thomas can all go jump in a lake.

Isobel and the Countess have pretty much saved the snorefest that is Season 4 (oh goody!)

Tom's far more intersting journey has been sadly pushed to the side in favor of Rose the Trollop (and I'm sorry, I don't know if it's the writing or the actress, but I just can't dig up a single ounce of interest for Rose, her poisonous relationship with her mother OR her loose ways). This latest twist with the singer makes her even more unappealing.

And Anna. I feel like the writers are trying so hard to pull on my heartstrings that they're worn out. The Bates' life is just so messed up that I feel like I've emotionally checked out of that story. Again, I just. don't. care. (I'm sorry Anna, it's me, not you)
10. Lauren60
The major highlight of season 4 for me has been the Mary and Tony storyline. I’ve been surprised to see so many people pulling for a Mary and Charles pairing. Tony has been instrumental in bringing Mary back to life and they have great chemistry. Unless there’s some unforeseen plot twist to keep them apart, I strongly predict Mary will choose Tony. She’s already in love with him but won’t admit it to herself because she doesn’t want to let go of Matthew to that extent yet.
Mary and Tony have a shared history. They knew each other as children and have been raised under similar circumstances. Tony is a Lord, a member of the aristocracy, which would seem a major plus where Mary is concerned. (Charles works for the government).
Mary is very attracted to Tony. In episode 3 she turns down his dinner invitation for when she’ll be in London but says what a lift it is to hear that he would like to take her to dinner. This exchange causes her to laugh for the first time since Matthew’s death. No small thing!
The kiss Mary and Tony shared was very passionate. Mary was definitely getting into it too and it didn’t take her long to start regretting her refusal of his proposal (perhaps as soon as their lips unlocked?)
I’ve heard Tony referred to as a stalker but I don’t see it that way at all. Yes, he’s been pursuing her but he hasn’t come anywhere close to crossing the line. Please remember that he was invited to Rosamund’s dinner party so he didn’t just show up there. Also, he was very gracious when Mary refused his marriage proposal by wishing her the best. He’s fallen hard and fast for Mary and I like that he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Tony melts Mary’s tough exterior and he brings out strong emotions from her. She was shaken up upon reading his engagement notice and cried while writing a letter to congratulate him. When Cora tells her in episode 7 that Tony is visiting that evening, Mary gets visibly upset. I surmise it’s because she doesn’t want to be reminded of what she passed up. When she sees him on the staircase, she lights up. Later in that scene she says there’s “No chance of that” when Tony comments that he hopes she doesn’t get to liking Charles more than him. She tries to cover up by saying that she hardly sees Charles but her first reaction was true.
From a practical standpoint, Mary and Tony have had significantly more screen time than Mary and Charles. Very little time has been spent building a Mary/Charles relationship. I haven’t seen any signs that Mary is in the least bit attracted to or serious about Charles. He was rather rude to her and made assumptions about her because she’s in the aristocracy. I don’t see that he has much of a chance with her and to me there’s little suspense as to who Mary will choose. Tony! Tony! Tony! I’m looking forward to many more Mary/Tony moments.
Naz Keynejad
11. nazkey
I love your analysis! And I agree with everything you are saying about their history, etc. Tony just rubs me the wrong way because he comes on so strong! I am firmly in the Mary/Charles camp. I think that because Mary fell for Matthew, she has a better understanding of the "middle class" so to speak, and doesn't necessarily need to be paired up with a member of the peerage. We'll have to wait and see! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!
12. Lauren60
Thank-you Naz for responding to my rather long winded comment! I'm excited to have found your site and look forward to reading more of your episode recaps. I enjoy reading everyone's comments and I expect I'll be chiming in some more too. Hey, why wait? Regarding your comment about Mary not necessarily needing to be paired up with a member of the peerage, let's not forget that when she fell for Matthew he was a member of the peerage. After all he was next in line to be the Earl of Grantham. Let's face it, it's nearly impossible for any future Mary pairing to reach the level of Mary/Matthew. They are one of televsions all time iconic couples. Having said that, I will be very happy with a Mary/Tony pairing. I hope there will be more layers of Tony explored. We haven't been privy to what he's been going through as far as the arranged marriage, proposal to Mabel and then breaking it off. I suspect he's been under a lot of pressure and hasn't scored many points in his family and social circles. Tom Cullen as Tony is doing a great job and he's such a pleasure to look at. Wouldn't you agree that he was adorable when he said "I love you and I believe you" to Mary in episode 8? Come on over to the Mary/Tony camp Naz! The view is quite gorgeous!!
Naz Keynejad
13. nazkey
LOL! I love this!!! I don't know, there's something about Tony that just doesn't sit well with me. I think he jumped into it way too soon. And hey, I always root for the underdog! So, I'm going say Mary/Charles forever! Hahahaha!!! I hope we get some sort of resolution to this in the Xmas episode and then either you or me will come back here and bemoan our 'ship going awry! Thanks again for commenting and please, please come back and chat more! I love it!!
14. Lauren60
Well Naz I see that despite my best efforts you’re staying in the Mary/Charles camp. You can’t say I didn’t try to get you to come to your senses and claim a spot in the Mary/Tony camp. I have to admit it does get a bit warm in the Mary/Tony camp what with all the heat they generate. I understand the Mary/Charles camp is quite muddy and has a strong pig odor. (Ha-ha!) One thing we do agree on is hoping this comes to a resolution in the Christmas special. For me that’s Charles being shown the door permanently and Mary professing her love to Tony right before they engage in a long, passionate kiss. That sounds so good to me. I really hope it gets resolved this season and doesn’t get dragged into season 5. One of us just might have to break camp come December 26th. Who will it be? Uh Naz, if I were you I’d get the boxes and trailer ready! :-)
Naz Keynejad
15. nazkey
hahahahahaha!!!! Brilliant! I'll be waiting for you after my Xmas Special recap!
16. hosuize
@lauren60 and @ nazkey Maybe we will all be surprised that the "ONE" is
Evelyn Napier. At the moment he is truly the underdog but once JF starts to write him into the matching game, many will change their minds about Blake and Gillyham. He has the pedigree (modern and tradition) to match with Lady Mary. This I want to see in season 5.
Although my heart tells me that I really want Mary to stay single and be true to her one great love, Matthew.
Too unrealistic for this show I guess.
17. DowntonHasLameWriters
So glad I found this site, thanks Naz! Just finished watching Season 4 and I agree with much of what's been said but particularly with the comments about AlfredIvyDaisyEtc., and, worse, the ridiculous "picking' on the Bateses and the horrendous rape plot. So much of this show is now so predictable and frustrating, the evil undertones are SO not necessary. Witness Season 1, that was BRILLIANT, and no one was physically harmed like Anna. Still, it's like cotton candy, so delicious you can't stop eating it no matter how rotten it is. Glad to have found you all! Stand by for Christmas!
Naz Keynejad
18. nazkey
@hosuize - I feel pretty bad for poor Evelyn. He clearly loves Mary. He just needs to stop bringing friends with him when he visits!

@DowntonHasLameWriters - I'm glad you found us too! Yes, this season was hard to watch. I'm hoping that the Christmas episode will be a bit brighter, although as I've said in my comments before, regardless of how "happy" they make it, what's happened to Anna has scarred her for life. We'll have to wait and see how they handle it, I suppose!
19. myself1928
Love the recaps. I just bought season 4 on itunes - I live in the US and season 4 starts here on January 5th. I'm one of those people who prefers to be "spoiled" when it comes to movies and TV and this inspired me to go ahead and buy the season. I also read that they have signed for a season 5 of Downton Abbey though I haven't read if Maggie Smith will be back or not - there was some talk of her leaving but if she is still there and we're almost up to the Christmas episode I guess she is staying. I worried when I read the recaps where she was sick. As for the Christmas episode, the Mail Online has up a preview article along with a short video . Here's a link to that :
I loved the recaps - they were well-written and fun to read. Keep it up for Season 5!!! And I look forward to the Christmas recap.
20. Hcurrie77
I am so sick of the ugly buck tooth slut Rose. It seems she does anything and anyone just to stir up attention for herself. Why cant she be killed off or something not so dramatic. I have to fast forward all sections with her in them I hate her so much. Go away stupid bitch
21. Carl Vehse
In recent episodes, both in the mansion and outside, it appears that Michelle Dockery is taller than Julian Ovendon. While high heels might explain this on mansion floors, Dockery still appears slightly taller than Ovendon even while standing on the lawn at Downton Abbey.
22. Travelover
Once again I'll give my initial opinion before reading everyone's comments.

There is something VERY "masculine", sexy and fearless about a man who'll pick up a squalling baby. And I was MOST impressed watching Blake (and Ovendon) handle that baby - rubbing the baby's back, etc. I REALLY REALLY like Blake - and I hope Lady Mary realizes she has someone special here. THIS is the "romance" I want.

I don't care for Gillingham. He skeeves me for some reason. Wouldn't surprise me to learn he's the one who's responsibile for running over Green!

I LOVE Daisy's kindly father-in-law - he's such a dear giving her love, attention and words of wisdom. That little picnic was very endearing.

I am now at the point I can't stand Rose. I've said before, she's determined to break every taboo - rather than initiate or participate in true "change" - and sure enough - last night we learned she secretly enjoys OFFENDING her mother with her choice of "boyfriends". She's outright CRUEL in her pursuit of men she KNOWS would OFFEND her mother. She did it with the young man who thought she was a maid and then went on to the singer who has fallen in love with her. I wouldn't be surprised if someone other than her gets seriously hurt because of her "machinations".

I'm not sure about the school teacher yet. But I do think it's time for Tom to find someone special. And I was delighted that Mrs. Crawley has taken him on as another of her special projects. There are a LOT of possibilities for Tom, and it will be interesting to see where the show goes with him.

I hope Edith has her "happy ending". I hope her boyfriend returns and they can keep their baby.

And I am STILL furious about Anna's rape and it's aftermath. Without the rape Bates could have gone to America with the Earl and we SHOULD have seen scenes of the two of them dealing with Cora's brother and the scandal he's involved in. Anna could have helped Baxter and Mosely deal with the downstairs conniver.
23. Carl Vehse
It should be remembered that Lord Gillingham is presented as a childhood friend of Mary, a veteran of WWI (serving with Charles Blake) and working to keep his ancestral estate intact (with having to pay death taxes after his father died) by renting out the mansion as a girls' school.

If there are any demeaning lines the actor playing Gillingham is forced to utter--like not knowing about Mary's marriage or her husband's death, or the complete silliness of his being "almost engaged" to the heiress, Mabel Lane Fox--blame it on Julian Fellowes and the writers. And what was with Robert's cryptic remark at the beginning of PBS Episode 2 (UK Episode 3) about Gillingham being "the pirate"? Why not just have ominous background music every time Gillingham appears.

And of course, Fellowes has forever stained Gillingham's reputation in the viewers' minds for allowing a rapist to be his valet, even if he had agreed most recently to fire Green simply at Mary's request.
24. Travelover
In all fairness, the story was written in such a way that Blake was portrayed as a cold hearted business man who's very presence annoyed Mary, while Gillingham was written as a beloved family friend Mary's entire family was rooting for. After several episodes we finally got to see there is more to Blake.
Naz Keynejad
25. nazkey
@Travelover and @Carl Vehse - thank you both for stopping by and adding to the discussion!

Everyone knows that I'm firmly in the Blake camp. I think Mary needs someone who challenges her. Gillingham is just too willing to let her have her own way, but Blake makes her stop and think, just like Matthew used to. Of course, my preference for Blake might stem from my major crush on Julian Ovenden, but that's besides the point :-)

I'm eagerly awaiting your comments after you see the finale next week!
26. Alea
Another fan of Blake's here. There are some definite sparks between Blake and Mary, and Blake seems to have a number of the same characteristics that made Matthew so endearing. Gillingham has a sense of entitlement that is irritating, and there is something a bit smarmy about him; his rushing back to DA to tell Mary about Greene's demise made me think that he might be trying to back her into a corner (of course, I haven't seen Episode 8 yet, so may be proved entirely wrong). I'd also like to see things resolved in a positive way for Edith--she's just an interesting character and breaking a lot of rules but without offending like Rose. Very disappointed in the Rose character--I thought it would be fun to see how the next generation copes. DA is undeniably something of a soap opera but a very entertaining one with some wonderful actors (The Duchess, Isobel, and Daisy's father-in-law, especially!!!) and a fascinating historical backdrop. However, Rose's story and the Bates's are pushing it over the top. They are all becoming unlikable characters and drag the entire show down. I'm hoping the writers will listen to the viewers and clean up these characters next season.
28. KenzieRebecca
Wonderful write up! I always check your site after I finish an episode to see if I missed anything important. But it seems that part of the Molesley/Baxter storyline has been overlooked! I thought it was super cute when Molesley showed Jimmy up by hitting the bell, and that Baxter was so pleased he did. And then Molesley defended her before Thomas!! I was never really a big fan of Molesley but whenever I see him interact with Baxter, I like him more and more.

Also, I know a lot of you won't agree with me, but I just don't see why so many guys are falling for Mary? I just don't see what is so special about her. I'm sorry!
Post a comment