Whatever may have happened on Sunday night’s episode of Downton Abbey, there is only one image that we are all thinking about right now… the moment when we exclaimed, “Bloody hell!” And we meant it literally.
As usual – SPOILER ALERT!
All photos courtesy of PBS Masterpiece.
We all knew that Robert’s stomach pains were going to lead up to something. When he was looking ill at the dinner party, with none other than the Ministry of Health in attendance, Robert got up to excuse himself and I anticipated him passing out on the floor. What I didn’t expect was his spewing blood from his mouth like a scene from The Walking Dead. (I was feeling a little deja vu since I am currently reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.) That scene would have been disturbing in any other show but having it happen in the prim and proper setting of a Downton dinner party and seeing the blood fly all over and splatter the shocked faces of the family made it all the more violent and frightening. When Robert was on the floor, face covered in blood and near death he managed to tell Cora, “If this is it, just know that I have loved you very, very much.” I thought to myself that this was it and my own tears fell. This would fit Fellowes’ MO perfectly – Matthew’s death, Sybil’s death, Anna’s rape… he loves his emotional torture.
Thankfully, Robert’s burst ulcer happened in the presence of Dr. Clarkson who quickly told them what to do (put him on his left side, keep him warm, do not give him water) until the ambulance arrived. Cora was the epitome of calm during a crisis. She kept her cool, soothed and assured her husband, when many others (myself included) would have been freaking out. They took Robert away and we had to wait to find out the outcome as we pondered Carson’s words, “Life is short. Death is sure. That is all we know.”
Downstairs the staff sat solemnly as they waited for the news. Lady Mary telephoned Carson and let him know that the doctor performed a gastrectomy on his Lordship and they anticipate that he would recover. Everyone was relieved. Lord Grantham would not be leaving us, at least not yet.
The other plot development during this horrific evening, was that as the ladies were preparing to accompany Robert to the hospital, Mary overheard Violet and Cora talking about the secrets int he family, namely Marigold. Mary’s face was puzzled and shocked as she slowly started to put the pieces together. She had a particularly curious look on her face when Granny gently pulled Edith’s arm and said, “Edith dear, telephone with any news. No matter how late.” Edith said she would and kissed her on the cheek. Was Mary’s look because she realized who Marigold was? Because she saw a closeness between Edith and Granny due to their shared secret? Was she jealous? Would this revelation make her care for Edith more or less? (Could she even care for Edith less?)
Later, at the end of the episode, Mary and Edith returned to Downton and before they retired for bed they said:
Edith: “What a terrifying reminder. In one second, your whole life can change.”
Mary: “Yes. It only takes a moment for everything to feel quite different.”
Edith: “I’m going to check on the children.”
Mary: “Of course you are. (pause) Good night.”
Mary’s tone did not have the usual haughtiness. Emotional exhaustion and the unfolding of secrets kept her somber and quiet, although she did ask Anna if there were any rumors downstairs about Marigold. Anna didn’t betray any confidences and Mary was left alone to sit and reflect as the scene faded.
In other news…
Mr. Mason moved into his new home, although Mary and Tom were a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to manage the physical work of raising pigs. Luckily city-boy-turned-farm-lover Andy was on hand to offer his services to help Mr. Mason since he had always wanted to learn how to be a pig man. Mr. Mason was pleased to have his help and offered to train him. Mr. Mason also seemed pleased with Mrs. Patmore’s attention and she was clearly smitten by the older gentleman. But who wasn’t pleased? The patience-trying Daisy whose goal in life seems to be to whine until someone wants to slap her. She did not take keenly to the fact that her beloved Mr. Mason may care for someone else other than Daisy. I, for one, am rooting for a Patmore – Mason romance! And if Daisy can learn to stop acting like Ms Bunting and be more gracious, I’d love to see her in a new life happy on the farm with Andy by her side.
Speaking of Andy…
Mr. Bates asked Andy about his cold treatment towards Thomas and Andy admitted that it was not that he was upset with Thomas but since learning that he was gay, he wanted to make sure that he did not get the wrong idea. Later, Thomas notices that Andy was upset when he is trying to study from the books Mr. Mason gave him about being a pig farmer. Thomas confronts him and Andy admitted that he had never learned how to read. Thomas offered to secretly teach him how to read. Andy was grateful and apologized for the way he had been treating him earlier. Thomas forgave him by saying, “I’ve known worse.”
Denker was firing with both barrels last night. When she heard that Dr. Clarkson may be changing sides in the hospital debate. She berated him when she saw him walking down the street. Dr. Clarkson was shocked by her impertinence and let Violet know of her outburst.
Violet was upset and they had this conversation:
Violet: “It’s not your place to have an opinion of my acquaintances, let alone express them”.
Denker: “He can’t claim your friendship now. Not when he’s turned against you.”
Violet: “If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who had spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty.”
Denker: “Yes, but surely…”
Violet: “For a lady’s maid to insult a physician in the open street! You’ve read too many novels, Denker. You’ve seen too many moving pictures.”
She then dismissed Denker from her position.
Spratt was a little gleeful over the thought of Denker leaving but she told him that if she went down, she was taking him with her. If he did not get her reinstated as lady’s maid then she would tell the police about his involvement with his fugitive nephew. Spratt knew he was cornered and talked to Violet and made her realize all the inconveniences of having to train a new lady’s maid. In the end, Violet agreed to give Denker one last chance. Spratt warned Denker that this had better be the last time she brought up his unfortunate nephew again. She agreed..unless she needed to blackmail him again.
Lady Edith has definitely had a change in circumstances. She has proven to be a success in her magazine and found a female editor – a Miss Edmunds that she liked very much. She had the attentions of Bertie who was eager to give her a tender (and slightly scandalous) kiss in her apartment flat. He declared himself lucky to be with her although he hadn’t much to offer. Edith replied that he had a great deal to offer and she was not sure if she was worthy of it. I suppose she eventually will need to come clean with Bertie about Marigold and her circumstances. I suspect he would be able to work around that.
Perhaps it is the fact that I grew up with five brothers, but I love to see the brother and sister relationship between Mary and Tom. I love how they can speak to each other honesty and can disagree yet still love each other. Tom was certainly primed to play the role of brother as he teased and counseled Lady Mary, particularly in regards to her possible relationship with Henry. She confided that she would not “marry down.” She didn’t wan to to be grander or richer than her husband. Tom could understand her reasoning but he tried to get her to see it another way, that being equal was more than about money. He said:
Tom: “I may surprise you but I agree it is important to be balanced. But one should not be far stronger than the other. I just don’t think it has much to do with money or position.”
Mary: “Is that how you felt about Sybil?”
Tom: “To all of you, she had everything and I had nothing. She was a great lady, and I the man who drive the cars. But that wasn’t true for us. We were evenly matched, Sybil and I. She was strong in her beliefs, so was I. We were a marriage of equals; we were very happy.”
Later when Tom was drinking at a pub with Henry and Mary, he listened to them talk and said:
Tom: “You are funny. The way you have to keep making reasoins for why you’ll meet; you to watch him drive cars, you to have dinner with a friend. Why can’t you just say, ‘I’d love to spend more time with you. When can we do it.’ ”
Indeed, Tom! Cut to the chase. 🙂
Violet invited the Minister of Heath to dine at Downton Abbey in hopes to persuade him to take her side in the hospital debate. The family was shocked that she managed to use her influence on such a prominent and busy man. After the dinner party Tom asked the minster how Granny managed it. He confessed that his wife had a brother called Horace de Vere Cole who was known as the “prankster.” He was involved in one of these pranks as a youth and Violet threatened to make his involvement public knowledge. The Minister figured one dinner was a price worth paying to avoid any scandal. Robert called that one!
The honeymoon seemed to be over between Mr. Carson and Mrs Hughes. Carson wasn’t very understanding to the fact that Mrs Hughes was a housemaid and not a cook. He wasn’t pleased with the meal she prepared and, without meaning to be so insensitive, he asked Mrs. Patmore to give Mrs. Hughes some cooking lessons since “it’s been awhile since she’s played with her patty pans an she’s got some catching up to do.” Carson better watch what he says or Mrs. Hughes is going to hit him over the head with her patty pans!
- Neville Chamberlain, the minister of health, was an actual historical figure. He was the prime minister from 1937 – 1040. His brother the prankster was also a real person.
- Baxter’s experience with Mr. Coyle’s trial was, as she put it, “a bit anticlimactic.” After all that work up the guy changed his plea and the trial was off. Everything just fizzled out, although Baxter continues to have a hard time letting go of her past.
- Did you wonder about the “bubble and squeak” that Mrs. Hughes cooked for Carson? I looked it up and Wikipedia said: “Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, or any other leftover vegetables can be added.” So now we know!
- Anna and Bates were smiling and playful and happy…”Bad harvest! Bad harvest!” 😉
Other Favorite Quotes
Robert: “I would say that you have no more chance than a cat in hell without claws.”
Mr. Carson: “Do other butlers have to contend with the police arriving every ten minutes?”
Sybbie: “Is Granny Violet a red Indian?”
Robert: “Why on earth would you say that?
George: “Nanny said she was on the war path.”
Violet: “Denker has disgraced herself.”
Isobel: “Well, how distressing for you.”
Violet: “It’s not that so much. But it means I shall have to find a new maid.”
Isobel: “Yes, I see. A real punishment.”
Denker: (Speaking about her quarrel with Dr. Clarkson): “That’s the way I saw it , and I acted accordingly. Am I to blame if I have a very passionate nature?”
Spratt: “Anymore of that talk and I won’t be able to sleep.”
Thomas( After hearing that Lord Grantham will live): “I’m quite relieved.”
Baxter: Of course you are.
Thomas: “I didn’t think I’d mind one way or the other, to be honest. I must be getting soft in my old age.”
What did you think of the episode? Were you as shocked as I was at the dinner scene?
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