(Sorry but that this ended up a lot longer than I intended!)
As usual – SPOILER ALERT!
All photos courtesy of PBS Masterpiece.
The arch characters in Sunday’s episode were sisters Mary and Edith. Edith was still contemplating whether or not she should tell Bertie the truth about Marigold. I must say that I hate when movies have a character that has information that they must tell a loved one but they lie or withhold it from them because they are scared of what will happen once they tell the truth. While I understand why they resist, inwardly I am screaming every time they open their mouth and don’t just come clean. It is like mental nails on a chalkboard within me so whenever Edith and Bertie were together I was dying that she was staying silent because the truth always has a way of coming out and it is always bad, at least at first.
To make matters more complicated, Lord Hexham, the owner of Brancaster Castle, died. Bertie, the cousin and agent, seemed to be without a job. In a striking change of events, Bertie was actually named the new Marquess of Hexham. As such, if Edith married him she would outrank them all. This came as a shock and pleasant surprise to the family. As Robert put it, “Golly gumdrops, what a turn up!” (Only at Downton could such a phrase be uttered with a straight face.) However, there was one person not pleased with the prospect of Edith as her superior. Mary’s looks were throwing daggers and when Tom teased her saying, “So we’ll all bow and curtsy to Edith. You’ll enjoy that Mary.” Mary coldly responds, “Hardly. And if Bertie really is Lord Hexham, which I still don’t believe, he won’t want to marry her now.” Seeing her spite, Cora replied, “Careful, or people will think you’re jealous, dear. We don’t want that.”
While Edith was struggling with her dilemma, Mary was facing her own with Henry. Tom, almost obsessed with getting Henry back into Mary’s life, invited him to Downton. After spending some time away from Mary, Henry decided that he was going to fight for Mary telling her, “I am tougher than I look” and “If you’re trying to get rid of me, I’m going to make this as hard and as horrible as I can.” Mary was furious. For the first time I saw Henry as someone who could stand up to Mary and challenge her She is so used to having her way and people doing whatever she wants, it was nice to see someone meet her toe to toe and not back down.
Mary was feeling overwhelmed with the situation and had this conversation with Henry.
Mary: “I can’t bear to be maneuvered.”
Henry: “But, you see, I think we love each other very much. For some reason, you’re fighting it. I’m not. My birth is respectable so it can’t be that, which forces me to believe that it is my lack of money and position that present the problem. Aren’t you better than that?”
Henry: “It just seems rather small to me. Not to marry a man for lack of money is the same as marrying a man because of it.”
Mary: (going upstairs): “Get out of my way.”
Henry: “Am I not right?”
Mary: “No, you push in here, into my home uninvited in order to call me a grubby little gold-digger? You’ve got a nerve.” And she stormed off.
The following morning Mary came down to breakfast and asked where Henry was. She was told that he had left. She was clearly upset that he was gone and she was soon taken over by the ghost of pre-Matthew Mary. All her anger and frustrations were whirling into a perfect emotional storm and she was ready to wreck havoc on whoever provoked her next. Unfortunately, that happened to be her nemesis Edith.
At the breakfast table Robert excused himself and after he walked out Bertie confessed that he was sorry Robert left before he could deliver his happy news. It was like watching a horror flick. Bertie was unexpectedly going to enter into a dark basement inhabited by a maniac serial killer. You could see the killer and the look in her eyes told you immediately what was going to take place but there was nothing you could do to stop it. Edith warned the unsuspecting victim not to enter into the dark basement with, “This is not the right moment” but he carried on. Just as they entered the basement the maniac raised her dagger and proceeded to slice them up with morbid pleasure.
My stomach was sick as I watched Mary calmly and calculatingly destroy Edith happiness by telling Bertie about Marigold and Edith’s past. While I do blame Edith for not coming clean with Bertie during the countless opportunities she had and while I was upset that she also kept poking the bear knowing full well how venomous Mary could be, I was livid with the way Mary callously exposed Edith. (Even as I am typing this and rethinking about it, my anger is rising.) I wanted to jump through the screen and throttle Mary and smack that smug look right off her face. (I may have to schedule a confession time this weekend. 😉 )
Bertie excused himself and prepared to leave for his trip. Before he left, he talked with Edith alone. He admitted to her that he was not hurt so much by the fact of her having a child or the scandal that may come with it, he was more hurt that she kept the truth from him. He told her that had she explained everything to him herself, things might have been different. He explained, “I don’t feel I can spend my life with someone I don’t trust. Who didn’t trust me.” Edith realized the mistake she made in keeping silent. They said their goodbyes and wished each other well. They both parted with broken hearts.
After Bertie left, Tom confronted Mary about her behavior telling her, “Well you got what you wanted.” She tried to deny it and claimed that she didn’t know Edith hadn’t told him the truth yet. Tom would have none and finally showing his Irish temper argued, “Don’t play the innocent with me.” She tried to make another excuse but he yelled, “Don’t lie! Not to me! You can’t stop ruining things. For Edith, for yourself. You’d pull in the sky if you could! Anything to make you feel less frightened and alone.” They argued as she tried to justify herself in regards to Edith and Henry. Finally, she had enough and said she refused to listen to any more and she began to leave the room but not before Tom told her, “You’re a coward, Mary. Like all bullies, you’re a coward.” He left her there open mouthed and walked out.
While back at home, Mary was feeling guilty and went to Edith’s room and tried to apologize. She made the same lame excuses about her not knowing that Bertie hadn’t been told about Marigold. Edith would not stand for it. She refused to believe her and told her exactly what she thought of her and her behavior with the most unladylike (yet justified) language. They go back and forth and Edith finally told Mary to leave her room. Mary silently refused to move and lifted her chin a bit higher (if I could have just reached out and slugged that chin… ahem, um, never mind.) Edith shook her head, gathered her things and walked out of the room. As she left she told Mary, “And you’re wrong, you know, as you so often are. Henry’s perfect for you. You’re just too stupid and stuck up to see it! Still, at least he’s got away from you, which is something to give thanks for, I suppose.” That one’s gotta hurt.
While all this is going on, Mr. Moseley started his first day as a teacher at the village school. Things were far from well as the children were unruly and disregarded anything he said. He felt disheartened and admitted to the staff that it was quite a challenge. The next morning Baxter walked with Mr. Moseley to school to give him moral support. He confided in Baxter about his fear of the students or their parents finding out that he was in service all of his life and was still working as a servant. She suggested that he be honest with them and tell them so “they wouldn’t have to find out.” (Hey, Edith, did you catch that piece of sage advice??) Moseley quietly gave it some thought then changed the subject to Thomas and his strange behavior. As he spoke a sixth sense or woman’s intuition stopped Baxter in her tracks. All the little clues she noticed about Thomas started coming together like pieces of a puzzle. She excused herself and rushed back to Downton.
Moseley continued to his classroom. As he was teaching his history lesson he told the class that maybe one of them would run the country one day. The kids claimed that such a thought was daft and that only a toff (which was a rich or upper class person) could run the country. He explained to them, “No, you see, you must never think that education is only for special people – for clever people, for toffs. Education is for everyone.” One student replied, “You would say that, sir.” He confessed to the students that he was just an ordinary bloke who spent his whole life in service fetching and carrying. They were surprised and spoke of their own parents who were in service. Moseley continued, “But I never gave up on learning, do you see? I read as much as he could and I taught myself, and I hope to be able to teach you. Maybe give you the shortcut I never had.” You could see the looks of the students’ faces. They were seriously considering what he was saying. He touched their hearts and inspired them to reach above what they thought possible. I think it was one of the best scenes of the show in the way it displayed hope and the need to look deeper within a person. Moseley was always shown as a sort of bumbling fool but within there was an intelligent and sensitive man with more worth that other men deemed his superior.
Back at Downton, Baxter was frantically searching for Thomas. Andy told her that he went to go take a bath. She tried to open the door and Andy broke it down for you. There they found Thomas in a bloody tub with his wrists slit. He was passed out but still breathing. They carried him to his room and called for the doctor. I think we all saw this coming so it was not a great shock but when the upstairs were told, they could not believe it. The silence was broken by Mary who asked Robert, “Do you still think dismissing Barrow was a useful saving, Papa?” With a look of shock he replied, “That’s rather below the belt, even for you.” Seriously, Mary?? Someone better hid Tio the puppy because she may kick him as she walks by.
That evening preparing for bed with Anna, Mary does look shaken. With tears in her eyes she says, “What a day. I ruin Lady Edith’s life and Barrow tries to end his.” When Anna brought up Henry, Mary was short with her. Mary apologized and called it a night. The following morning there was a sweet scene between Mary, Master George and Thomas. George visited Thomas in his room (did anyone else notice the nasty mattresses the servants slept on?) and gave him an orange as a gift. Thomas was touched and remarked that at least he had one friend. Mary asked him, “Have you been lonely?” Thomas answered, “If I have I’ve only myself to blame. I’ve done and said things. I don’t know why. I can’t stop myself. Now I am paying the price.” Mary responded, “Strange, I could say the same. I hope things improve for you. I really do.” He said, “I’d say the same if it weren’t impertinent, m’lady.” I am glad that Thomas was not killed off and that he has been given a chance at redemption. In the earlier seasons, he was definitely a character we loved to hate but I am all for conversions from the dark side to the light.
After her visit with Thomas, Mary discovered that Granny had not only returned to England but she was sitting in her bedroom waiting to speak with her (thanks to Tom who had filled Granny with all the current details.) Granny questioned Mary about Edith and Mary’s facial expression explaining how she felt about Edith should seriously be a meme. Granny told Mary that she was unhappy and that was why she was lashing out. Mary listed all the reasons why she should not be involved with Henry – his lack of money, position, not being a true countryman. Granny asked that his credentials be left to the side for a moment. She wanted to know if Mary was in love with him. Mary was exasperated that she of all people would act as if his qualifications didn’t matter. Granny explained that Tony had all that she could wish for – birth, money, looks but he didn’t suit Mary because he wasn’t clever or strong enough. On the other hand, Henry was both.
Finally Mary broke down and admitted the truth. She tearfully told Granny that she could not be a crash widow again. She already lost Matthew to a car and she couldn’t bear to lose Henry the same way. She would not ask Henry to give up car racing for fear he would resent her. Composing herself momentarily, she asked Granny, “Oh, can’t you find me some duke. There must be one spare. So I can put Edith in her place?” Granny answers, “You are the only woman I know who likes to think herself cold and selfish and grand. Most of us spend our lives trying to hide it…. I believe in rules and traditions and playing our part. But there is something else….I believe in love.” She went on to advise Mary to first make peace with her sister and then make peace with herself. Mary nodded her consent and hugged Granny.
In other developments, last week Mrs. Patmore was excited and proud of her new bed and breakfast. However, we saw a man lurking in the bushes taking notes with a camera. It turned out that her guest, a doctor and his wife, was actually a married man with his mistress. Now his wife and filing for divorce and Mr. Patmore may have to testify as she was the proprietor at the alleged house of ill repute. She nearly fainted at the thought while everyone else, downstairs and upstairs got hearty laughs at the thought of her as “an unlikely bawdy house madam.” Fortunately, Rosamund suggested that she, Cora and Robert visit Mrs. Patmore’s establishment for tea. Carson was flabbergasted they would associate themselves with a “tawdry local brouhaha” (if he only knew a fraction of the scandals that went behind their own closed doors) but Robert rebuffed him saying they had enough back bone to handle it and they owed it to Mrs. Patmore (who was in grateful tears by now) to stand by her. In the end they had their tea and they made sure the newspaper was present to photograph them with Mrs. Patmore.
Meanwhile, Edith and her editor are pleased that the new columnist for the magazine is doing so well but they want to meet the mysterious Cassandra Jones in person. Miss Edmunds told Cassandra that if she wanted to be paid more money then Cassandra would have to come to the office and negotiate in person. Edith and Miss Edmunds were unsure if the real Cassandra would show up or an impersonator. They decided to have the code word “bananas” if they thought she was telling the truth and was the real Cassandra. Towards the end of the episode the mysterious Cassandra Jones was revealed and it is none other than Mr. Spratt! Well, that was a jolly good shock!
Elsewhere, in a moving scene in which Mary slowly redeems herself in my eyes, Mary visited the grave of Matthew and tearfully told him that she was in love with Henry and hoped that he was happy for her and she would be happy for him. She goes on saying, “Remember, however much I love him, I will always love you. ” (Is it weird that the Cure’s Lovesong started playing in my head at that moment?) Mary met Isobel as she was leaving the cemetery and she told Mary that she was delighted that she would be marrying again. Mary truly looked grateful.
Mary returned home and found Henry and Yente the Matchmaker, um, I mean Tom together. Tom left them alone and Henry asked, “Well?…Mary, the last time I saw you, you threw me out for saying that I love you. Now you’ve whistled and I’m here, but I don’t know why.” Mary admitted that he was right. They were both in love and she had been fighting it. She said they were equals in what mattered – in strength and compassion. She rang for tea and he was a bit flabbergasted asking, “Are you always so cool and collected? I do hope so…your words have made my heart pound at such a rate, I’m surprised you can’t hear it. I’m hot, I’m cold, I can barely breathe, and it’s all because of you.” He then asked if she was sure. She said, “I’m not 20, trembling at the touch of your hand, but I know that if I leave you now, I’ll never be as happy as we could’ve been together.” Henry replied, “I’m not 20 either, but I still tremble at the touch of your hands.” Mary responded, “Me too. I don’t know why I said that really,” and giggled. It was a tiny peek at what Mary could be like if she stopped wavering into the dark side.
As luck would have it, Henry already had a license, made his way through red tape and had an uncle who could marry them immediately since he was a bishop. Mary’s response to all this was, “Oh, good old England. Some things never change.” They kissed and made ready for a whirlwind marriage ceremony on Saturday.
The morning of the wedding, a car rolled up the drive and it was none other that Edith. She came up to Mary’s room and surprised the ladies. They left so the sisters could talk. After an awkward silence, Mary said, “You know I’m sorry.” Edith replied, “I assumed you would be fairly sorry unless you are actually insane.” They speak for a bit and Mary finally asked why she decided to come to the wedding. Edith answered, “Because in the end, you’re my sister. And one day only we will remember Sybil. Or Mama or Papa or Matthew or Michael of Granny or Carson or any of the others who have peopled our youth.Until, at last, our shared memories will mean more than our mutual dislike.” Mary looked touched. She asked Edith what Matthew would think of all this, confessing that she went to his grave to tell him. She said Matthew loved her and wanted her to be happy and she was sure he’d be very pleased.
I have to admit that when I watched this Sunday night I was struggling to forgive Mary. Before I watched this episode, I truly wanted to see Mary happy and in love again and I would have been squealing with glee that she and Henry found their true love in one another. But after witnessing Mary’s cruelty to Edith, I could not jump into happy thoughts for her in less than an hour’s time. Witnessing Edith take the high road and display, what I viewed as heroic Christian virtue towards her sister, helped to soften my heart but I did not enjoy the wedding. I wished the writers had postponed it for the following episode. It all seemed so rushed before I could process everything.
However, having waited a day and re-watching most of the episode this morning, I was able to witness the wedding ceremony and listen to the words and see the couple and be truly happy for them. I was able to smile as they walked out of the church with a shower of flower pedals falling upon them
In the closing scene we saw Edith standing in the distance with a smile on her face as she watched the children, including her own daughter, laugh and run around Sybil’s burial plot (which was both poignant and slightly morbid). Robert toldCora, “Of all my children, Edith has given me the most surprises… and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last one yet.” I’m 99% certain that Edith’s last surprise of the show will be her marriage to Bertie. I just pray that Mary has a hand in bringing it about as her way to make peace with Edith.
- Daisy was actually sweet this week. She did well on her exams and told the staff about how well Moseley taught his students.
- I thought we were done with the scheming Miss Cruikshank but Violet made her a visit and basically told her that she would not be attending her wedding unless Larry was to invite her personally.
Other Favorite Quotes
- Mr. Bates: (Speaking about Henry) So you were wrong about him?”
- Anna: “I think I was.” (Pause) “Why are you smiling?”
- Mr. Bates: “Show me a man that doesn’t smile when his wife admits she’s wrong.”
- Mr. Carson: “I have always known that women were ruthless, but I didn’t think I’d find the proof in my own wife!”
- Baxter: “I hope he won’t mind if we undress him.”
- Mrs. Hughes: “He’s past minding if we put him in a shy and threw coconuts.” (A rough modern day translation would be, “He wouldn’t mind if he was at a booth in the fair and we threw pies at his face for a dollar.”)
- Carson: “And good luck to us all in the vain hope that we’ll avoid scandalous gossip.”
- Mrs. Hughes: “You’re such as old curmudgeon.”
- Carson: “Don’t say you’re going off me.”
- Mrs. Hughes: “No, because you’re my curmudgeon, and that makes all the difference.” (And she kisses him.) 🙂
So, what did you think?? What was your favorite scene? Line? Are you happy that Henry and Mary ended up together? (Or as much as you love Henry do secretly wish she had ended up with Blake, her pig wrestling partner from season 4? No? Oh, yeah. Me neither.) 😉
Only one episode left! There will not be an episode next week on Feb 28. The 2 hour finale will air on March 6 at 9PM. Until then may your day be filled with golly gumdrop moments. 🙂
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