Downton Abbey: Is There Something You Want to Tell Me?

downton-abbey-episode-8Previously on Downton Abbey: Edith decided to keep her baby, and got a ton of unexpected support from Rosamond. Isobel nursed Violet through bronchitis, Mary got down and dirty with Blake (but not in that way), and Green showed up again, and it looks like both Hughes and Bates know the truth about him.

Edith, Tom, and Mary go to visit the pigs and the interim pig man, Farmer Drew. Guess they fired the guy they originally hired. Seems Drew knows a thing or two about pigs, so they offer him the job permanently. He thanks them for giving him another good turn and hopes he can repay the family someday. Just pay your rent, Drew, and make sure the pigs have water. I think that’s really all they want.

Isobel goes to visit Violet, who’s up and about again. Violet’s getting cabin fever, so Isobel suggests a walk up to the Abbey, then awkwardly works in some exposition on the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Back at the Abbey, Rose gets off the phone with, presumably, Jack just as Cora comes down and asks her for some help with an upcoming bazaar, which has totally snuck up on her, with Robert away. Apparently he tends to play peacemaker for these things.

Belowstairs, Molesley strikes up a conversation with Baxter, who chats a bit about his odd career trajectory, then reassures him that he can come back up just as surely as he went down. Apparently, that’s how life worked out for her. He wants more details, but she won’t give them unless he gives her some gossip on the state of the Bates marriage. As far as he knows, it’s fine.

In the kitchen, Patmore hands Ivy a letter, which she reads, gasps, and rushes off.

Upstairs, there’s a full house for tea. Isobel tells Tom she’s thinking of going in for local politics and urges him to join her. He’s not sure, because…the folks at Downton aren’t socialists? I honestly don’t understand his reasoning for anything these days. Edith goes over to Violet and asks how she’s feeling. Violet jibes her a little, and when Edith begs her to lay off, Violet says Rosamond told her to be nice. Edith panics a little, but apparently Rosamond just told her mother that Edith needed a bit of TLC. Mary and Blake talk about Drew’s new appointment and it’s clear that Blake and Mary have buried the hatchet and he’ll be going back to London a friend. Nanny comes in with the kids, and while Mary puts her teacup aside, Blake takes her wailing son and holds him. For some reason, at the sight (or maybe the sound) of the kids, Violet can’t get out of there fast enough.

While dressing for dinner, Mary asks Anna to pass a message to Hughes that Gill will be coming back the next night, on his way home from Aberdeen. Anna can barely hold it together, and Mary immediately notices and asks her what’s wrong. Anna swears her to secrecy, and then admits that Green was the man who attacked her. Mary, as you can imagine, is shocked and horrified and immediately offers to telephone Gill and ask him not to come, or not to bring Green. Anna admits she’s terrified every time Green and Bates are in the same room.

Patmore sends dinner up, and then asks Ivy what the heck has been on her mind all day. Ivy says she got a letter from Alfred, saying his father died, so he’s coming back up to Yorkshire. Oh, and he also wants to marry her. The what now? They’re not even dating! I think he kind of skipped a step here.

Anna finds her husband in the boot room later that night and tells him Gill’s coming back. He and she gossip a little about Mary’s love life, and I’m amazed by how natural Anna can sound, all things considered. Bates asks if Green will be coming back as well, and then horribly asks Anna if she’s gone off him now, when she thought he was so funny the last time. Yeesh. She shortly says she can’t really remember ever liking him.

Breakfast at the Abbey. Blake suggests they try dairy, once they’ve got the pigs established, and Edith comments on how splendid she thinks Drew is, for trying to make a real go at this farming thing. Carson comes in and tells Edith that Rosamond’s on the phone for her, and all the men politely get up as she leaves. Ahh, the good old days. Evelyn asks Rose if she has plans for the day and she clearly lies that she plans to do some shopping.

Belowstairs, Ivy admits to Patmore that she doesn’t want to marry Alfred. Patmore’s like, yeah, that’s sensible. Daisy comes in and asks what they’re talking about and Patmore brightly says it’s nothing. Daisy clearly knows she’s lying.

Sounds like Rosamond’s planning a trip up to Downton. Edith hangs up with her as Mary comes down with news she plans to go into Thirsk with Tom on some business matter. ‘Quite the businesswoman,’ Edith says, in a tone that’s a bit difficult to parse. Envy? Slightly mocking? Mary shrugs that they have to rise to life’s challenges. Edith agrees.

Tom and Isobel arrive in Thirsk, so I guess Mary gave the trip a pass, and split up briefly. While walking past a shop, Tom stops, does a double take, and goes in. It’s a tea shop, and he sees Jack and Rose sitting down and getting cosy at a table in the back. Rose reaches out to brush Jack’s cheek and he tells her to simmer down, because he knows how scandalous it is for a black singer to be sitting down for tea with the daughter of a marquess. Just be grateful you’re not trying to do this in the States, Jack. You two would never have gotten through the door. Tom hustles out, unnoticed by the lovebirds.

On the way home, Isobel asks if something’s bothering Tom. He says he’s thinking of two people who are in a situation that could cause trouble. Isobel asks if it’ll make them unhappy, and Tom’s not sure, though it’ll definitely make some people unhappy.

Molseley offers Baxter some coffee and sympathy over what it’s like to feel fragile. He tells her the servants don’t much care for Thomas, but he hopes she’ll give them credit for making up their own minds about her.

Now back in Downton village, Tom’s unexpectedly approached by the woman he met at the rally last week: Sarah Bunting. He introduces Isobel, and Sarah calls him out on being related to the Crawleys, saying she now doubts his attachment to socialism, because no wealthy person could ever be a socialist, apparently. Isobel defends him and Tom asks if Sarah lives in the area. She works at the school, apparently. I find it a bit unlikely, then, that these two have never crossed paths before, unless she’s really new, because this is a small village, and it wasn’t unusual at that time for minor members of the local grand family to attend school functions like prizegivings. Tom would have probably been a prime candidate for that. As she leaves, Isobel observes that Sarah appears to know her own mind.

Mary, dressing for dinner, tells Anna that she just missed Gill, so he’ll be showing up with Green after all. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Tom, in black tie, and Mary notes the lack of tails and reminds him Violet’s coming. He panics and turns to go change, but she tells him not to bother, but let Violet learn about the real world. Yes, the real world where the most stressful thing in one’s day is the fact that someone showed up to dinner wearing black tie with his tux instead of white tie and tails. A cruel, cruel world it is, too. Anna makes herself scarce and Tom admits to Mary that he saw something he’s uncomfortable keeping it to himself. He tells Mary he saw Rose with Jack, and then beats a hasty retreat.

Downstairs, Hughes finds Anna sobbing and guesses the reason. Anna swears she can get through this.

Rosamond finds Edith in the library and Edith tells her she has an idea how she can keep the baby: she’s planning to give it to Drake, it seems. Um, what? It’s one thing to promote him to pig man, but it’s another thing to dump your kid on him. This man is not the Abbey’s receptacle for unwanted jobs and children, Edith! He’s got enough on his plate! Is he even married? Not that men can’t raise babies themselves, but at that time, it would’ve been unheard of for a man to adopt on his own. Hell, it’s pretty unusual now. Rosamond has another plan: they’ll go away for a while, on an extended holiday somewhere, and then adopt the baby to a childless couple in whatever country they’re in. Edith doesn’t like the idea of not being part of the child’s life, but Rosamond tells her Edith’s plan is pretty reckless, because it would probably only take about ten minutes for someone to figure out the kid was Edith’s. Especially because, unless Edith plans to become a hermit for a good four or five months, word’s going to get out in the village that she’s pregnant.

Cora comes in and starts moaning about this stupid bazaar yet again (they’ve really made her an unbearably pointless character this season, haven’t they?), and Rosamond offers to stay and help. She also announces a plan to go to Switzerland for a while and take Edith with her. Edith, now totally getting steamrolled, just stands there, and when Cora asks her about it, she stammers that she’d like to go. Cora’s all for it and hustles out. When they’re alone, Edith asks Rosamond if this means they won’t have to tell Cora the truth. Rosamond sees no reason to. Edith asks if Rosamond can really afford to spend several months sitting around the Alps. Isn’t Rosamond super rich? What’s the difference between sitting around in London and sitting around in the Alps? Sitting around’s pretty much sitting around wherever, right? Rosamond tells her not to worry about it.

Gill’s at dinner and tells the company about his time in Scotland, which he spent thinking about his life. Violet wonders if that’s wise. Rosamond asks about the pigs and Tom says that Mary and Blake rescued them. Blake says that Mary was splendid and Gill clearly gets his hackles up and asks if Blake’s a pig expert now. Cora intervenes and announces Edith’s and Rosamond’s travel plans. Mary wonders why Edith would want to go and rather snidely asks if this is another search for Michael. Tom, bless him, steps in immediately and sharply tells Mary not to tease her sister, because Michael’s disappearance is actually quite serious. Edith thanks him and says she just wants to get away for a bit. Violet eyes her.

Downstairs, things are a strange mixture of excitable and tense around the servants’ dinner table, with Green there. He can’t wait to get back to London, and Jimmy playfully asks Anna if she fancies a taste of Green’s life. Hurl. She coolly says she’s happy where she is.

On their way up to bed, Cora tells Mary that Rose keeps badgering her to go up to London, but Cora thinks Rose has been going often enough. Mary agrees. Cora goes on and on about the damn bazaar, while Mary just sort of nods, but when Rose catches up with them, Mary asks her for a word alone.

In Mary’s room, Mary reveals what she knows and urges Rose not to lose control of her life. Rose declares her intention to marry Jack, and it seems like she mostly wants to do it to make her mother miserable. Not that I totally blame her for wanting to make that harridan unhappy, but Rose, this is soooo not the way to do it. For one thing, there’s going to be some completely innocent human collateral damage, and that’s just not ok.

The next day, Blake and Evelyn prepare to hit the road, reluctantly. Mary thanks Blake for his advice and for the pig rescue. Gill watches the interaction between them and looks sad. As the other men move away, Gill asks Mary to see him when she’s next down in London, informing her that he’s going to call off the engagement to Mabel. She urges him to think seriously before he does this, because she’s definitely not on the market. They all move outside, where the cars are waiting, and Mary asks Gill how he feels about his valet, who’s currently skulking around the car a bit creepily. He shrugs that he’s ok with the guy. She chooses not to elaborate, Blake bids her farewell, and everyone drives off, leaving a rainbow of ladies behind. They all tease Mary about her suitors.

In the kitchen, Ivy tells Patmore she posted a letter turning Alfred down. Daisy asks what’s going on, and Patmore and Ivy finally tell her everything. Daisy yells at Ivy for now having broken Alfred’s heart properly and asks if she’s happy now. Patmore calls for peace, but Daisy’s not having it.

Violet has Rosamond and Edith for tea and asks flat out what Rosamond’s doing at Downton. Since Violet’s not an idiot, she’s clearly got this thing figured out. And she’s not even that shocked, which makes me think she’s more in tune with the real world than Mary thinks. Edith ‘fesses up.

Carson calls an end to the servants’ tea and tells them it’s all hands on deck for the bazaar. Hughes goes to tell Patmore so she can make up some sandwiches, and Patmore hands over a letter from Alfred, promising a visit on bazaar day. Apparently the poor fool still has hopes for a future with Ivy. Patmore wants to give Daisy the day off, to spare her the visit.

Upstairs, Cora’s whining about the bazaar again, and something else I couldn’t quite catch. Mary offers to take on the something else and Rose asks when Robert’s coming back, probably because she can’t stand Cora’s inane prattling any more than I can. Cora has no idea and hasn’t heard from him in days. Cora leaves, and Rose, looking like she’s about to explode, excitedly tells Mary that she’s engaged. Since..,last night, when you and Mary were chatting? What, did Jack telephone or something? This feels really odd.

Violet has summoned Isobel urgently and asks if she can join her for lunch that day, as she has Mary’s godfather, Lord Merton, coming. Isobel suggests Violet ask Edith, as Isobel feels she’s a poor substitute for the Crawley family. ‘Yes, but you’re better than nothing,’ Violet sighs. ‘How warming you make that sound,’ Isobel responds. Ha!

Anna finds Bates in that damn boot room and starts racing around, telling him she has to go up to London with Mary until the next day.

Bates finishes the shoes and goes to ask Carson if he can go to York the following day. Carson gives him leave to go and tells him to enjoy himself.

Tents and bunting are going up for the bazaar.

Molesley and Jimmy go to the kitchen to collect the sandwiches, and Daisy reveals she knows that Alfred’s coming on Saturday. Patmore gently tells her she can take the day off if she wants. Daisy suggests going to see William’s dad, and it’s nice to see I’m not the only person who remembers that guy.

Topside, the Downton ladies mention Mary’s travel plans, and of course Rose wants to go along to London. Mary tells her she can’t go and leaves. Rosamond thinks this is all quite mysterious.

Tom, out driving in the countryside, comes across Sarah with a broken-down car at the side of the road. He offers to have a look, telling her he has no pressing appointments, just some business stuff. She comments that she thought when the estate’s agent was a relative, they did essentially nothing, which just shows how obnoxiously ignorant she is of estate running. And manners, because who says that? Remembering that he used to be a chauffeur, he prepares to check out the car.

Post-lunch, Merton compliments the meal and chats with Isobel about his youthful medical aspirations. Isobel guesses his father objected, thinking it an unsuitable job for a gentleman, and he admits it wasn’t thought quite on for a peer to be a doctor. Isobel offers to find an example to rebut that, and then excuses herself. Merton jumps to his feet and offers to walk her home. Edith offers to be off as well, but Violet urges her to stay, because they need a word.

Sarah stops being kind of a jerk and tells Tom she’s sorry about his wife dying, adding that she must have been quite an unusual and interesting person. Tom says that she was indeed. Sarah says it’s nice that the family asked him to stay and make a life there and he says it seemed like the right thing, what with his daughter and all. She says it makes her think more kindly of the family, since she doesn’t tend to warm to that type. Tom says he doesn’t believe in types, he believes in people, and then tells her to try starting the car. She does, and it starts right up. She thanks him and drives off with a little wave.

Edith and Violet stroll in the garden and Violet tells her Rosamond’s right—she can’t keep the baby near Downton. Edith says she can’t bear the thought of giving the baby away. Plus, she wonders what she’d do if Michael showed up again? What were you going to do if he did and the baby was with Drew, Edith? Just take the kid back? What kind of plan did you have here? Violet offers to pay for the whole trip, advising Edith to just start over again. Like she hasn’t already had to do that at least once.

On their walk, Isobel asks Merton what his sons do and hears that one’s in banking and another one’s in the diplomatic service. He asks about her son and she tells him Matthew was a lawyer and that he died. Merton apologises for stepping in it, because he forgot she was also Mary’s mother-in-law, and asks how Mary’s doing. She answers that she sees to be getting along, and though it was hard for her to see at first, she’s found strength in her own happy memories. Merton admits his own marriage was quite unhappy, and that he envies her those memories.

Mary, now in London, heads right to the Lotus Club and goes to see Jack. He’s not surprised to see her, since Rose telephoned and told him she told Mary about their engagement. He offers Mary some tea, whcih she accepts. Jack guesses she’s there to tell him Shrimpy would object to a black son-in-law. Mary warns him that marriage is a challenge, even when everyone wants the match, and that the family would be trying to pull them apart every day. She also says that Rose may be doing this mostly to shock her mother. Jack says his mother said pretty much the same thing. Your mother’s a wise man, Jack. He tells Mary he’s not going to marry Rose after all, because he doesn’t want to spoil her life. He loves her and wants her to be happy, not an object of ridicule. Mary asks if he’ll tell Rose, or would he rather Mary did it? He says he’ll do it, by writing to her. Oh, Jack, that’s like the 1920s equivalent of breaking up by text. But then, you do have an actual job, so I get that you can’t just keep hopping trains up to the north of England all the time. He goes on to say that if they lived in a better world, he wouldn’t be doing this, and Mary tells him she wouldn’t want him to, in a better world.

At Rosamond’s place that evening, Anna finds Mary in the drawing room and reports that dinner’s on the way. Mary asks her how she’s doing and Anna says she’s doing ok. Mary tells her that she’s going to see Gill and ask him to dismiss his valet, without saying why. I think he’s going to demand a reason, Mary, and he should. Anna trembles and says this scares her, but Mary reassures her it shouldn’t.

Bates leaves Downton, supposedly going to York. Inside, Carson sends everyone off to decorate the stalls for the bazaar. Molesley urges Baxter to come along and meet people. She tells him he’s lucky to have grown up in a village where people know and like him and his family’s respected. He’s taken aback, as he’s not used to being told he’s lucky.

Upstairs, the ladies and Branson are lifting and hauling linens and things. Rosamond quietly asks Edith if she should be doing so much and Edith practically rolls her eyes and asks Rosamond if she’s really worried that Edith might lose the baby.

Out on the lawn, Sarah’s arranging some jars of candy. Tom chats with her, and when Cora steams up, he introduces her to Sarah. Cora’s polite but slightly dismissive, because she’s just sooo busy. Tom points out to Sarah that Cora’s at least mucking in with the rest of them.

Mary meets with Gill voer tea and he offers to sack the guy if she insists, but he’d really like a reason. She only says that he’s done something Gill would find abhorrent. He agrees to get rid of him, believing her right off, because he loves her. She asks if he spoke with Mabel and he says he did and she took her dumping with real style. Mary says she’s glad. Gill promises not to give up until she walks down the aisle with another man. And possibly not even then. She tells him she finds that a bit beguiling. Before they part, she asks him to let her know when he’s sacked Green.

Isobel has once more been summoned to Violet’s, because a lovely bouquet has arrived for her, from Merton. Along with a card asking forgiveness for his tactlessness. Violet not so subtly asks for details but seems like Isobel isn’t giving any.

Anna’s back, and she and Bates are polishing some shoes in the boot room, of course. Did they pay a fortune for that one set? Because it seems like there are an inordinate number of scenes that take place here. Carson comes in and comments that Bates took his time in York and asks if he got everything done. Bates says he did.

Bazaar time! Kids play games, servants plate cakes, and Rose sulks. Mary guesses she got her letter and Rose accuses her of being just like Rose’s mother. Mary insists she’s nothing like her aunt, but tells Rose that, if she’s going to complicate her life, she’d better do it for the right reasons.

Carson tells Jimmy to take over the tea tent, and then notices two cars pulling up, one of them containing Robert, back from his travels. The family goes to greet him and Mary asks what’s happened to Harold. Just a reprimand. Jimmy and Molesley ask Thomas how the trip was and he says it was modern and interesting. They say it’s been the opposite at Downton. Cora comes floating over and her husband lovingly embraces her. Awww.

Daisy and Mr Mason have a picnic. Awww again!

Alfred appears at the bazaar and asks to see Ivy. She pulls him aside, asks how the funeral was, and apologises for having hurt his feelings. He tells her there are no hard feelings, that he just got a bit ahead of himself and hopes they can be friends. She agrees. He asks if Daisy’s around, so he can make things right with her, and she tells him she’s with Mason.

Mason, meanwhile, asks if Daisy’s with him to avoid Alfred. She admits that’s so, and he tells her she shouldn’t try to avoid Alfred, if she loves him. He urges her to go say goodbye to him, and not leave anything jagged between them. Mr Mason is the best, why isn’t he on this show more?

Edith sits with her grandmother and sadly observes that she’s never going to see Michael again. Violet tells Edith that, if she wants to go and search for the man, she’ll support her in that. Edith doubts she’ll have more luck than private detectives and police, and admits that it seems like God doesn’t want her to be happy. I’ll say. I’ve rarely seen a single character get crapped on as much as she does. Violet tells her that life is a series of problems that need to be solved, until we die. Well, that was cheerful.

Also suddenly appearing at the bazaar: Gill. The other ladies gossip about what a crap fiancé he’s turning out to be and wonder what Mabel will have to say about this.

That’s a very minor point just now, because the real concern is the fact that Green is dead. That’s what Gill’s come to tell Mary, though I think the telephone would be fine for news like this. Apparently he stumbled and fell into the road while he was in Piccadilly. Mary doesn’t know what to say, but looks distressed. She still won’t tell him why he wanted the man sacked and excuses herself to go talk to Anna. Oh, Mary, why do you have to let Anna know about this? Let it go, and let her live in blissful ignorance. Now she’s just going to be freaked out even more.

Anna asks if anyone saw this accident and Mary says the pavement was crowded and lots of people saw. Anna’s relived by that, at least, because if anyone had seen Bates push the guy, surely the police would have been up there at least as fast as Gill.

Oh, and now Blake’s shown up as well, because this whole scene hasn’t gotten nearly absurd enough. He’s back in the area on business. Mary pulls him aside and asks what he would do if he thought a man might have been guilty of a crime. Blake says that, if the guy had a good reason to do the crime, he’d say nothing. Sensible!

Jimmy tries the strong man test and fails. Blake urges Molesley to try it as well, and Molesley’s as surprised as anyone when he manages to ring the bell. Baxter cheers for him. Thomas strolls over and asks her if there’s any news she’d like to share. She says no, and he sniffs that he’ll get it out of her eventually. Molesley comes over and tells Thomas to get lost and stop bullying, before he offers Baxter his arms so he can show her the stalls. Thomas smokes evilly.

Robert joins his mother and tells her how much of a relief it is to be able to drink without being afraid of the police bearing down on you. He also mentions that Cora’s mother wants to come over the following summer for Rose’s coming out ball. Come again? I thought Rose was coming out this season. Isn’t that was Cora said a couple of episodes back? Oh, whatever. Violet’s not particularly happy to hear it.

Daisy returns, to Patmore’s consternation, and is relieved to see Alfred still there. She offers him a basket full of goodies Mason put together for him, at her request. She and Alfred go out into the hall and he says he’s sorry he never noticed before how nice she always was to him. She tells him that’s nice to hear, but really they need to go their separate ways and just be friends. He agrees to that, takes his basket, and says goodbye. Hughes and Patmore come out and ask if Daisy’s ok. She doesn’t answer, just goes to change and takes a moment to herself outside. Patmore joins her and tells her how proud she is of Daisy. Awww, again!

Everyone’s cleaning up after the bazaar, except for Mary, who’s strolling with Blake, who admits he’s there to see her, because he can’t stop thinking about her. She admits she’s flattered, but she’s just not ready. He refuses to give up without a fight, though.

Anna finds Bates belowstairs and asks him what he was up to the day before. He just says he wanted to get away. She asks him to confirm he’d never do anything foolish, and he tells her he certainly wouldn’t, and that when he does a thing he wants a very good reason for doing it.

Robert gathers the upstairs folk for some champagne at the end of the day. They all applaud Cora and Robert raises a glass to her. Gill and Blake prepare to leave together, and Mary goes to see them off while Robert wonders what sort of ménage that’s turned into during his absence. We’re all wondering that at this point, Robert.



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