Downton Abbey: The Parent Trap

60876Previously on Downton Abbey: Edith brought Marigold back to Downton and pretended to adopt her; Rose’s parents’ marriage imploded just before she decided to get engaged to Atticus.

The house is all in a tizzy as the family and staff get ready to head to London for the nuptials. Daisy and Patmore are working on the cake, which is super elaborate and apparently requires lots of handmade flowers.

Upstairs, Rose shows off her new trousseau and wonders if the outfit she’s sporting is a bit ‘mumsy.’ Now, she’s asking Cora, Violet, Isobel, and Mary for their opinions on this, and those are not really the ladies I’d go to first for fashion advice or to find out what’s frumpy and what isn’t, but they all reassure her that it’s quite chic. Cora comments that it’s a shame that Susan, Rose’s mother, is missing all this, but Rose lightly says that Susan doesn’t care about clothes. I almost feel like you could have replaced ‘clothes’ with ‘me’ and nobody would have protested. Mary wonders if they’re going to pretend Susan and Shrimpy are all bright and happy and Rose says they definitely are, because who wants to deal with a warring pair right in the middle of a wedding? Rose moves along to say that she wants to have a blessing in a synagogue, which is one of the reasons they’re heading down to London (not too many synagogues in Ripon, apparently, which makes me wonder where the Sinderbys worship when they’re at their country place. Aren’t they really active in the Jewish community?). Isobel admires the way Rose takes everything in her stride, and Rose replies that she doesn’t want to give Lord S any new reasons to dislike her or object to this arrangement. Isobel rather snottily says that she doesn’t think Lord S deserves her concern, when actually this man is going to be Rose’s father-in-law and is close to his son, Rose’s future husband, so it’s actually quite mature and reasonable of Rose to try and smooth the path between the two.

Belowstairs, Hughes and Carson gossip. O’Brien’s abandoned Susan and will now be working for Susan’s replacement in India, and now the Flintshires don’t have personal servants at all because they’re kinda broke. They also talk about the disapproval coming from Susan and Lord S. Carson worries about having to do the whole wedding with just himself, Thomas, and Molesley, so Hughes suggests they hire a footman on a short-term basis.

It’s time for the grownups to spend their hour a day with the kids. Robert’s playing Snakes and Ladders with Sybbie, and when he directs her to go back down a snake, Mary intervenes and basically tells him to let the kid win. What’s the point of teaching her the game at all if you’re just going to ignore the snakes? Robert points out that that doesn’t really prepare Sybbie well for real life, not that Mary cares. And for the record, it’s not like Syblit seemed all that upset by having to go back to the beginning. Robert looks over at Edith and Marigold and a frown briefly crosses his face.

Tom’s gotten a letter from his cousin in ‘Besten’. The cousin sells cars but now wants to branch out into farm machinery, like you do, and he wants Tom to come out and join him as a partner.

Mary asks Rose how things are going with Lord S. Not too well, but she has a definite ally in Lady S.

Carson catches Anna and Bates and says he’s had a call from Sgt Willis saying that Inspector Viner’s back in the area and wants to have a chat with them both. Bates speaks for the entire audience when he says he hoped this was over. Sadly, ‘tis not so.

Later, Edith heads up to bed, offering to check on the kids on her way up. As soon as she clears the room Mary snots that Edith carries on as if she invented motherhood. You just don’t get why anyone would have any personal interest in their own child, Mary. Tom asks Robert if he’s thought anymore about some cottages that need to be refurbished. Robert says there’s no money for it (have they already spent all of Lavinia’s father’s cash? That didn’t take long.) Tom suggests they think about it while they’re in London and make a decision later.

Baxter quietly asks Anna and Bates if it’s true the inspector’s coming back. She once again offers to swear the ticket was untorn. She goes up to tend to Cora and Anna whispers that she hopes Baxter isn’t the only thing standing between them and another trial.

Over breakfast, Molesley decides to finally really make good use of his time in London and go see some galleries and such. Baxter offers to come along. Carson gets a letter about the unveiling of the war memorial on the 25th and tells everyone he wants them all there. Patmore excuses herself, saying it would be too painful. Hughes firmly tells her it’s fine.

Denker goes to collect Violet’s breakfast tray and tells her Kuragin has come for a visit. Violet tells her to find her a different dress to wear, but Denker, like a good servant, has already anticipated that need and set out a lavender gown she thinks goes nicely with Violet’s colouring. Violet feels it’s necessary to tell the maid that Kuragin’s just an old friend, and Denker’s like, sure, sure, but you want to look nice for friends, don’t you?

Carson and Robert discuss plans for the memorial unveiling. Carson tells him Patmore’s asked to be excused, and Robert’s not surprised.

Kuragin has apparently come to ask Violet to…move in with him? I guess? She reminds him that he’s still married, but he shrugs that his wife is missing and they’ve been apart for a long time, so no big deal, right? He wants to spend the rest of his days with Violet, which is sweet and all, but not terribly practical. Does he really think the Dowager Countess of Grantham is going to have a live-in lover? Also, he might have a better chance of success if he didn’t seem totally bored by this. He doesn’t even look at her as he says he wants to spend his final years in her company. Put some effort in, Kuragin! He asks her for an answer, but she refuses to give one right away.

Viner tells Bates and Anna that their investigation into Greene has uncovered the fact that he’s a serial rapist. No big surprise there. Carson, who’s in the room along with Hughes, declares this ‘very unpleasant.’ King of the understatement. Willis adds that they now have some evidence that may exonerate Bates: a second witness has come forward to say that whomever was arguing with Greene on the pavement was shorter than he was.

A second witness? What the hell? Where are these people coming from? Why have they now waited more than a year to come forward? Or are the police tracking these people down? How are they doing that? Is this ridiculous investigation being covered in the newspapers? Do they have the contact information of people who witnessed the accident on file? If they do, then why didn’t they interview them at the time of the accident? This is so unbearably stupid.

Willis, for some reason, asks Hughes what she thinks and she stammers that she doesn’t know what to think. Vine asks if Anna could come down to London sometime and, when he hears that they’re all heading that way shortly, asks if she could make some time to come to Scotland Yard. Bates insists on coming as well, which Viner has no issue with. Viner and Willis leave and Hughes warns Anna that he’s trying to bully it out of her, and it’s best to be careful. The Bateses leave and Carson asks Hughes what she’s talking about. She doesn’t respond.

Robert greets a Mr Evans, who’s been hired to carve a stone for the late, lamented Isis. He’s brought along a portfolio of all the work he does, and Robert lights on a simple war memorial. The wheels, they start to turn.

Denker has done the unthinkable: summoned Sprat to Violet’s room so he can collect all the luggage that’s going down to London. She scolds him for taking his time, but he couldn’t believe she actually had the audacity to summon him so he could do his job. She so has no time for his bullshit and tells him to just take the luggage down. As soon as she’s out of the room, he kicks one of the suitcases under the bed. Oh, for heaven’s sake.

Anna wonders if she and Bates should come clean with the police about what happened. He doesn’t think it’s a great idea. Carson, passing by, tells Daisy they’ll be extending a special invite to Mr Mason for the memorial service and suggests she mention it in her next letter to him.

Violet, preparing to leave for the station, notices that there’s a suitcase missing. She tells Sprat to go and fetch it. It’s clear both she and Denker know what happened here, which makes me wonder why the hell she’s so determined to hold onto this horrible employee. He’s now actually actively not doing his job, which is to make her household run as smoothly as possible. All he’s doing is causing needless disruption. This is stupid. If Violet wanted to find another butler, surely she could easily do so. Why couldn’t she just hire Molesley? She thought he was sufficiently up to the task last season when she tried to get her friend to hire him, remember? Remember how Sprat ruined that as well?

The Downtonians get ready to set off, Edith stressing about leaving Marigold ‘alone’, though Robert points out that she’s surrounded by nannies and servants. He gets in the car with Cora and tells her there’s something about Marigold that kind of triggers some sort of déjà vu, but he can’t quite put his finger on it. Off they go…

…And they arrive at Grantham House in London, where Hughes introduces Andy, the spare footman. Thomas seems rather pleased by the sight of this bright-eyed young man and asks if he knows London well. Only Bayswater, apparently. Denker’s ears perk up and she tells him there’s plenty of fun to be had in the area, if he knows where to look for it. Turns out, she knows this part of the city quite well.

Cora and Robert greet the Flintshires, and Susan’s just as charming as ever. Hughes offers to show them to their room, but Susan immediately objects to having to share a room with her soon-to-be-estranged husband, even for a few days. Shrimpy rolls his eyes and urges her to be a good sport, but Susan doesn’t understand the concept, nor does she care that they’re already full to capacity. Couldn’t someone go to Rosamond’s? Doesn’t she have a giant house that they all treat like a hotel anyway? Hughes steps in and offers to sort something out, quietly suggesting Rose bunk with Edith.

Rose goes to see her mother as soon as she’s settled, and if you thought Susan might show the teensiest bit of warmth or excitement over seeing her daughter for the first time in months (possibly years), well, you’d be wrong. Susan observes that Rose has made ‘quite a choice’ and Rose nervously says that she hopes her mother will like Atticus, who’s coming for dinner that night with his parents. Her mother asks if she’s sure about this, and when Rose says she is, Susan claims that’s enough for her.

Anna goes to Hughes and tells her she’s had a letter from Viner summoning her to Scotland Yard. Hughes urges her not to worry about it and suggests she and Bates go and check out the late Mrs Bates’s house afterwards, to cheer them up.

Thomas, meanwhile, runs Andy through his paces and the house rules.

Everyone gathers in the drawing room before dinner, waiting for the Sinderbys. The Flintshires ask what they’re like and Mary says the mother’s really nice, but the dad may take some convincing. Susan gets her back up over the idea that the Sinderbys should be the ones objecting, and Rose takes the opportunity to ask her parents to please put on a happy face and not let on that their marriage is in shambles. Susan thinks that’s dishonest, but Rose tells her that she doesn’t want to give Lord S any ammunition, since he’s making things hard enough as it is. The Sinderbys are announced and dinner can begin. Rose eagerly introduces Atticus, and Susan immediately says this: ‘What a peculiar name.’ Not a hello, not a ‘pleased to meet you,’ just ‘what a peculiar name.’ What a peculiar woman.

Belowstairs, Carson asks Hughes why Viner’s so interested in Anna. Hughes will only say that neither Bates nor Anna have done anything wrong.

Carson: I never thought they did, but good to know, I guess. I have to head upstairs, there’s an awesome scene coming up.

And he’s really right about that. This dinner scene is a master study in hilarious, awkward politeness. A lot of its success rides on the actors doing an amazing job, but the whole thing’s so good, I’m going to go ahead and transcribe it verbatim.

Robert: What made you choose Yorkshire? Was it a historic reason?

Lady S: Not really. I used to go there as a girl.

Susan: Do you have any English blood?

Lady S: Excuse me?

Lord S: It’s true we only came here in the 1850s, but Lady Sinderby’s family arrived in the reign of King Richard III.

Susan: Really? I always think of you as nomads, drifting around the world.

Jesus, lady!

Violet: Speaking of drifting around, is it true you’re starting your honeymoon with the Melfords?

Atticus: Yes, Lady Melford is mother’s cousin

Susan: Is she? I never knew that.

Lord S: I gather you wanted a synagogue blessing.

Rose: I’d like to respect both sides

Lord S: Well, you don’t understand our customs, and why should you?

Rose: So it won’t be possible?

Lord S: no. He should have told you.

Atticus looks guilty.

Lady S: I thought we could have a dinner on Wednesday night and invite all of you, so you can meet some of the relatives

Mary: And show them how lucky they are?

Cora: Have you got many of them staying?

Lady S: We’re crammed to the gunwhales! Atticus has had to move to the Hornby Hotel

Mary: I love the Hornby

Lady S: It makes sense. He can have his—what do you call it now?—his stag party there without disturbing us.

Edith: Will you be going, Lord Sinderby?

Lord S: Hardly

Atticus: Stag parties are rather high on father’s disapproving list

Violet: Is it a long list, Lord Sinderby?

Lord S: No, as long as I can steer clear of cardsharps and undercooked fish. And divorce.

Isobel: Is divorce so terrible these days? Is it worse to stay together and be miserable?

Lord S: Well, I may be old fashioned but to me divorce signifies weakness, degradation, scandal, failure.

Robert: Are you glad to be in London again?

Susan: I will be when I get the house back.

Robert: When do the tenants go?

Susan: Next week, in theory. I’ll need to take all of the real pictures out of storage

Tom: What a palaver

Susan: I can’t wait for the day when I can shut the door at last and be alone in my own home again

Lord S: Won’t Lord Flintshire be in there with you?

Rose: Of course he will!

Shrimpy: Of course I will! What a funny thing to say, Susan.

Violet: Funny is one word for it.

Lady S: Well, I want you to know you’ll always be welcome at Canningford

Susan: How kind! Tell me, do you find it difficult these days to get staff?

Lady S: Not really, but then, we’re Jewish, so we pay well.

HA! Zing! Like I said, a lot of that was in the delivery and the incredibly uncomfortable mood around the table, but that was hands-down my favourite single scene of this entire show’s run.

Later, Isobel and Violet go up to bed, exhausted from all the verbal gymnastics at dinner. Violet asks if Merton will be at the wedding and Isobel says he won’t. Violet is genuinely sorry to hear that and tells Isobel that one doesn’t get too many chances in life, and if you miss one, they’re unlikely to come back around again.

The younger set’s relaxing downstairs. Mary observes that Lord S is stiff as a board. Edith, now completely of a one-track mind, asks Mary and Tom if they ever worry about their kids when they’re apart from them.

Mary: Why the hell should I be worried about what’s-his-name?

Edith says she finds herself thinking about Marigold all the time and Mary wonders what Edith will be like when she has a kid of her own. I can’t believe that Mary hasn’t started to put things together. If anyone would, it’d be her. Marigold’s age, Edith’s mysterious trip to the Continent, her obsession with this kid…I mean, come on, it doesn’t take a genius here. Even Robert’s on the right track. But then, Mary never was terribly good at thinking of people other than herself.

Rose: I totally intend to hand my kids off to a nanny. Who can be bothered raising their own children! Hassle!

Talk turns to Tom’s potential move abroad, but Mary’s determined that he’s not going. Rose calls a halt to any unpleasant talk, because it’s her wedding weekend and she won’t have it spoiled. I think your mother already took care for that, Rose. Mary agrees and proposes a lunch on Wednesday. They can all go, ‘even you, Edith.’ Edith hilariously rolls her eyes at that, because other than slapping Mary across the face every time she does this until she learns her lesson and leaves high school like everyone else has, how else can you respond to such nonsensical bullying?

Cora and Robert rehash the evening and agree that Lord S is going to be a challenge and Susan’s a thoughtless asshole. Robert also tells her that Bates and Anna have to go to Scotland Yard, which surprises her. They’re both prepared to give character testimonials, if necessary.

The next day, Robert runs into Susan wandering around, looking for the postbox so she can send off a cheque. She hands it off to Carson.

In the kitchen, Daisy asks for some time off to go to an exhibition with Molesley and Baxter. Patmore’s not too keen, since the wedding’s coming up, but she agrees. Robert suddenly comes in, catching them all off guard, and asks Patmore personally if she’d attend the war memorial dedication. Coming from him, she can’t really refuse, so she agrees to that as well.

Viner calls Anna into a room where she’s immediately put in a lineup. I’m not a legal expert or anything, but can they do that? Just call you to the police station and throw you into a lineup? I guess so, but shouldn’t you be able to ask to call your lawyer in or something? This feels odd. A man is brought in and looks the women up and down. Bates asks Viner what this is all about and Viner claims they’re just doing some routine tasks to cross people off their lists. Sure they are.

Back at the house, Denker offers to take Andy around to see the sights later. Patmore sends him off with the coffee, and then says she hopes Denker isn’t going to lead the lad into bad ways. Denker says she isn’t and swans out. Patmore grumbles that the woman’s clearly up to something, but then she notices that Daisy’s not listening at all. Daisy snaps back to earth and observes that London’s full of possibilities, but she feels like her life has no possibilities at all. Come again, Daisy? Isn’t this why you’re educating yourself?

Shrimpy sweetly asks Rose where her lovelorn fiancé is and Rose reminds him that it’s Atticus’s bachelor party that night. She lowers her voice and asks nervously if her father really likes Atticus, and Shrimpy reassures her that he does. Cora, meanwhile, asks Robert about some appointment he had in Bond Street, which nobody knows the details of. He’s not sharing them either, just yet.

Atticus is having a raucous time with his friends, getting a bit toasted but finally heading off to bed, but not before offering his buddies endless drinks. He gets onto the lift and is joined by a prostitute (presumably), but he tells her he’s not interested. In his room, he starts to get undressed and there’s a knock on the door. It’s the same woman. She shoulders her way in and he tells her again that he’s not interested. She just pushes the sleeves of her dress off her shoulder and then strolls back out, tugging her dress back into place. For some reason, Atticus does not seem to find this strange or ominous, even though it’s obvious he’s being set up for something here.

The following morning, Thomas asks Andy how his walk was with Denker the night before. Andy says he was a fool to go, before stomping out of the room.

Edith and Tom are waiting for Mary and Rose at the restaurant for their lunch. Edith sadly remembers that Michael once took her to this place on a date. Their first date. I think that was the one where he told her he was married. Tom, who knows of what he speaks, reassures her that she’ll someday be able to look back fondly on these happy memories. She tells him he’s the only member of their family who seems to understand what she’s going through.

Mary and Rose show up, laden with shopping, and Edith hands over an envelope that was delivered for Rose. Inside is a series of photographs of Atticus with that woman. Rose blanches and starts to freak out. Mary quickly hands her some water. Tom takes a look and tells Rose to go call Atticus and arrange to see him that afternoon. Mary goes with her and Tom says this is some classic stag party nonsense. Or it could be more. He wonders if perhaps Lord S was behind this, still hoping to scuttle the marriage. Edith wonders if he would do something so grubby. Tom says she would be surprised what some people would stoop to. Mary returns to the table and reports that Rose and Atticus are going to meet at St James’s Park that afternoon.

Carson announces that there’ll be no upstairs dinner because the family’s going to the Sinderbys’ that night. He pulls Hughes aside and observes that it was pointless to get an extra footman. Hughes is more concerned with how unusual it is for a bridegroom’s parents to entertain right before a wedding. Carson wonders if ‘that sort’ do things differently.

Hughes: Careful, your anti-Semitism is showing.

Carson: Don’t be silly, I’m not prejudiced!

Hughes: You may want to reacquaint yourself with the definition of that word

Denker asks Carson if Andy can have some time off, promising he and she will be back before the family returns. He reluctantly grants permission. Thomas tells her that Andy didn’t seem to really enjoy himself the other night and she just chuckles that she hopes the poor kid’s made of sterner stuff.

Daisy, Molesley, and Baxter stroll back through St James’s Park, talking about the art exhibition they just saw. Daisy suddenly says she feels like she was down a mine and someone’s suddenly brought her out into the sunlight. Ok, then. Now she feels all resentful and discontented. Baxter sees Rose and Atticus arguing from a distance and Molesley hustles them all on their way. Baxter sadly says you’re never safe until there’s a ring on your finger. Even then, Baxter… Molesley asks her if she’d want to be ‘safe’ and she says maybe.

Atticus takes the pictures to his father and accuses him of being behind this. Lord S admits he’s against the marriage, because it’ll mean Atticus’s children won’t be Jewish. They won’t be? Are kids required to take their mother’s religion? Atticus says the kids will be raised to appreciate both sides of their heritage, and that they may choose to embrace Judaism when they’re grown. His father accuses him of not putting up any fight. Lady S then comes in to tell the boys to put a pin in this, because the Downtonians have arrived. Before he goes, Lord S says that he had nothing to do with this nasty little prank.

Over cocktails, Rose tells Tom, Mary, and Edith that Atticus has reassured her it was some sort of practical joke. She doesn’t think it was—she, too, thinks someone’s trying to deliberately derail the wedding. Lady S comes to fetch her and introduce her around. Mary sighs that everything seems to be hitting the rocks and everyone’s scattering, which is a bit sad. Once Tom goes, she’ll be left alone with Edith. The horror!

Rose and Atticus have a moment. They’ve made up, but Rose is disturbed by the idea that there’s someone out there who hates them enough to concoct this awful scheme.

Cora urges Shrimpy to tell them all more about India. He sings its praises, but says it’s a shame about that recent massacre in Amritsar. Lord S thinks that General Dyer was just doing his duty, but Shrimpy disagrees and Robert points out that Shrimpy’s really the expert here.

Mary asks Violet if she thinks Lord S would try anything horrible to break up Rose and Atticus, even if he loves his son? Violet responds that love is a far greater motivator than dislike.

Thomas overhears Denker ordering Andy to get changed and come out with her. He’s a pushover, so he goes, but Thomas warns her to stop bullying the kid.

Patmore, meanwhile, asks Daisy what’s put her in such a crappy mood. Daisy says she now knows what she’s been missing and how empty her life has been. She thinks she would be better off staying in London and gives her notice. Woah. Patmore looks like she’s just been punched right in the face. Molesley and Baxter look like they feel a bit guilty for taking her to that exhibition now.

The family returns home, Shrimpy and Mary quietly speculating as to who was behind the whole photo thing. Mary goes to have a nightcap but Shrimpy goes upstairs.

Carson goes into the servants’ hall and immediately notes that Andy and Denker are still missing. He’s not happy at all. Patmore comments that Denker’s up to no good with Andy, as she delivers cocoa for the staff. Mmm, cocoa. Daisy says Patmore should be handing that task off to her, but Patmore snippily says she has to get used to not having Daisy around. Daisy tells her not to be so passive aggressive.

Susan goes up to her room and is surprised to find Shrimpy waiting for her. He’s figured out that she was the one who arranged for those photos to be taken. Wow, what’s Susan been up to that she would know how to carry that plan out? How did she find the girl and put this whole thing together? That’s a lot of sordid knowledge for a marchioness to have. Anyway, Shrimpy knows it was her because she apparently paid one of the people involved with a cheque and he checked the cheque stub. Wait, she actually wrote on the stub what it was for? What was that note like? Whore for Atticus: £10? That’s kind of hilarious. Shrimpy warns her not to try anything else, or he’ll tell Rose everything. She whines about how they’ve lost their money and position (they have? I know they’re hard up, but they’re still a marquess and marchioness, right? So, how have they lost their position?) and now Rose is going to be an outcast because she’s marrying a Jew. Oh, heavens, lady, I don’t think it’s as dire as all that. Jewish people were being welcomed in the finest houses by at least the turn of the century. And it doesn’t seem like the Sinderbys are having trouble finding guests or good connections.

Amongst the rest of the family, Robert announces he has a plan for financing the cottages refurb: he’s going to sell the Della Francesca. His mysterious errand was to sound out interest. He looks meaningfully at Cora as he says he doesn’t enjoy the painting as he once did. Plus, this is for the good of the village. Cora quietly asks if he’s selling because she spoiled the painting for him. He tells her that every time he looks at it he’s reminded that he didn’t trust her, and he feels really angry with himself. But, now he’s going to be rid of it, so problem solved!

Rose tells Isobel and Violet about the photos, saying she’s shocked that someone should want to make her so terribly unhappy. She gets up and leaves and Isobel takes the opportunity to make it about her, wondering if she’d be right to marry Merton knowing it would make his sons unhappy. Isobel, everything makes those two assholes unhappy, it’s not just you. Violet asks why she should let those jerks cheat her of her future.

Carson comes over and quietly tells Violet that Denker has been taken unwell, so Baxter will tend to her that evening.

Mary’s still trying to convince Tom to stay, but all he’ll concede is remaining in England until after Christmas. She says she’s not sure what she’ll do without him and they sweetly reminisce for a few moments.

Denker is wasted, dancing around downstairs and singing while Baxter tries to quiet her down. Hughes is shocked at her for behaving this way in front of the maids. Poor Andy, standing nearby, looks ashamed but won’t say where they’ve been. He’s sober, by the way. Daisy goes off to make coffee and finds Patmore crying in the kitchen. Patmore admits she’s crying because she doesn’t want Daisy to leave, but Daisy shouldn’t worry about it, because she’ll get over it. She goes up to bed as Hughes comes in to cancel the coffee order and asks Daisy if something’s happened. Daisy says no, not yet.

Andy runs into Carson, who gives him an earful for getting back so late. Thomas takes over and asks Andy what’s going on. Andy says she took him to some awful gambling club both nights and he’s gone and lost all his savings. Thomas does not seem surprised. He says that next time, he’s tagging along.

The families gather at the registry office for the actual wedding ceremony. Susan apparently decides that her relationship with her daughter and her daughter’s happiness mean far less than just being a complete asshole and suddenly up and announces that she and Shrimpy are getting a divorce and it’ll be all scandalous and terrible and now the Sinderbys are going to be dragged into the whole mess. Mind, this is just a few minutes before Rose is due to arrive. Lord S looks like he wants to explode, but Lady S steps forward and thanks her for giving them the head’s up. Lord S starts to get really angry, but his wife growls that if he does anything to throw this wedding off track, she’ll up and leave him and make a scandal just for him! Susan deflates. Lady S is kind of awesome.

Rose and Shrimpy come up the stairs, she all happy and in love, and reassures her dad that Atticus was not to blame for those pictures. He says he knows, but she needn’t worry about who was behind it, because she doesn’t know the person, not properly.

Susan plonks down beside Violet and wonders, ‘Is that it? Am I supposed to be a good loser?’ The hell? Lady, what have you lost? What sort of contest are you playing with yourself here? ‘Too late for that, my dear,’ Violet responds. Heh. Rose comes in and things get underway. Lady S sweetly sends her a kiss, which Rose sends right back. Awww, she’ll be a good replacement mum for Rose.

Carson gathers the staff and goes over some last-minute instructions for the blessing party that afternoon. Denker thinks it’s wrong to put on a wedding dress for just a blessing, not that anyone cares about her opinion. Thomas gathers Denker and Andy and says he wants to go to this awesome club he’s heard about.

Guests arrive for the post-blessing party. Gill and Mabel show up in a fabulous car, looking fabulous together. Inside. Rose, looking AMAZING reassures Lord S that she really loves his son and just wants to make him happy. Lady S speaks for both of them when she says they wish every blessing on the both of them. Mabel and Gill go over to Mary, and the whole interaction is super awkward. Mabel tells Mary they’re getting married in December, and she’s invited if she’s interested. Mary flutters that she totally is—of course she is! No hard feelings, right?

Atticus swears to Rose that his dad wasn’t behind the photos. She knows, because she doesn’t think that’s Lord S’s style. Lady S overhears and wryly notes that Rose knows him better than Atticus does.

Edith and Robert agree the pair are well matched. Edith says she’s going back home on the first train, because she can’t stand to be apart from Marigold.

Robert: Right. That’s a bit weird. Hey, look, Gill’s talking to Mary! What a lovely couple they make!

Edith: Seriously, give it up.

Gill has a moment with Mary, who admits that she had an itch that needed scratching and he just happened to be there.

Gill: Thanks for that. You know, vibrators exist. Maybe send Anna out to buy you one of those?

The Sinderbys invite Robert and the other Downtonians to Northumberland for grouse shooting. Well, Lady S invites them, and Robert enthusiastically accepts.

Rose tracks her mother down.

Rose: I heard about what an absolute shitheel you were just before my wedding earlier.

Susan: I just want you to be happy. Know that anything I did I did from love.

Rose: I don’t think any of those words mean what you think they mean.

Some bitchy old woman asks Cora and Robert how they’re handling things and says she admires them for putting on a good face.

Cora: You know my father was Jewish, right?

Old Biddy: Oh, what? My heavens! Oh, uh—hey, there’s someone I need to say hello to immediately!

Mary takes refuge belowstairs, where Carson finds her and asks if she’s ok. She admits that it feels like their household’s breaking up, probably because it is. She figures that’s natural, though, because people grow up and move away. Well, she hasn’t, and neither has Edith, but I guess other people do. He thinks Gill is behind this and Mary says Gill’s fine and she’s happy for him. Carson says he wasn’t good enough for Mary anyway. Whatever.

Denker bitches about the ‘funny marriage’ as she leads the boys to a literal underground gaming club. She waves the manager over and tells him she’s brought two in this time. He tells her to get a drink and help the guys find the tables. Thomas gets the lay of the land and heads for the tables, telling Andy not to play but not to leave either.

Anna helps Mary get ready for bed. Hughes knocks and tells them that Anna’s wanted downstairs by Viner, who’s come to arrest her.

Back at the club, Thomas cleans up. He hands the chips to Andy, telling him to cash them in and pay his bill. Andy protests but Thomas insists. He then goes over to the manager and tells him that Denker’s bragging about having one over on the manager by following in guys and claiming she’s brought them so she can get free drinks. And for some reason, this guy believes him, even though she brought the same man back three nights and that alone makes this story super unlikely. Thomas and Andy leave, and Denker gets stuck with a bill for her drinks. Whoh whaaaaa.

Handcuffs get clapped on Anna, even as Mary protests. Bates and Robert come down, Bates freaking out and Robert trying to intervene in any way, but there’s nothing to be done. Apparently the world’s most unreliable witness has identified Anna—after more than a year, mind—as the person he saw near Greene just before he fell. Oh, whatever, this is so stupid. Mary declares her intention to telephone their lawyer. Anna weeps as she’s dragged away. Nobody really seems to know what to do.

Back to Downton for the memorial dedication, led by Carson. The whole household’s there, family, servants, the children. Bates wears his own war medals. Some of the local men still sport wounds and scars. Some wear uniforms. Patmore’s there, looking depressed. As everyone gets ready to leave, Robert steps forward and draws their attention to one more young man who fought and whose memory is cherished by some in the neighbourhood. He calls Patmore forward and reveals a stone tablet that’s been affixed to the church wall and is dedicated to her nephew Archie’s memory. She’s completely touched, and it’s really sweet. Both Daisy and Mr Mason say how nice that is and Patmore agrees. Robert spies Edith playing with Marigold and his face goes, ‘Ooooooh.’

On the way home, Mason talks about how proud he felt, seeing William’s name on the memorial and how it’ll be a comfort for Daisy. Patmore tells him that Daisy’s not going to be in Downton much longer, but Daisy’s like, ‘are you kidding me? I’m sticking around until this show has run itself so far into the ground it comes out in Australia!’

Mary has a word with Bates, reassuring him Anna won’t be convicted. He seems very, very confident of that fact as well.

Isobel asks Violet if she should fight for Merton. Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isobel, make your mind up. Are you not a grown woman? Do you want to marry this man or not? Violet says it’s time for action, and Isobel asks if she’ll fight for Kuragin. Violet reminds her that Kuragin isn’t free to be fought for.

Tom urges Edith to be more closely involved in the running of the magazine. She tells him she’ll really miss him when he goes.

Hughes and Carson talk about how badly they feel for Bates and Anna and how spectacularly unlucky the pair is.

Robert quietly tells Cora he’s finally realised what it was about Marigold that keeps catching his eye: she reminds him of Michael. Cora’s face says, ‘oh, crap.’ Out loud, she affirms that he’s right about the kid and begs him not to tell anyone else. He says he has no intention of doing so and says it’s unusual for him to actually be privy to a secret in their house. Cora hesitantly asks if he might consider actually loving his new grandkid and he says he rather think he will. Well, that’s big of him. Thanks, Robert!



12 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: The Parent Trap

  1. Why the heck must they torment Anna and Bates as if the whole weight of the world must be thrust on a pair of forlorn love birds? I’d like to see Mary exposed as a floozy, but I supposed that’s never going to happen. This season was too melodramatic for the sake of being melodramatic. Bring back Madeleine and Harold, I say. You can only take so much of Mary and Edith. And if Tom leaves, well, good bye Downton. Fellowes is making everyone unlikeable. A far cry from season one.

  2. Thank you so much for your recaps. I’d die from lack of oxygen if I couldn’t follow the series in this way. I have no idea when series 5 will broadcast on the Continent. I think Belgium will do it first, before the Netherlands. France and Germany dub, so they’d be no use anyway.
    I love the way you sometimes write the ‘attitude’ instead of the exact dialogue. So clever, and sometimes quite hilarious!
    Thanks again!

  3. Orthodox and conservative Jews believe the Jewish faith is inherited through the mother’s bloodline, so yes, Lord S would consider Rose and Atticus’s children not Jewish.

  4. That dinner scene was pretty fantastic. This finale was actually pretty decent, considering what Downton has become in the last few seasons. Almost as good as season 1? Is that going too far?

    I totally think Branson/Edith had quite a few moments here. There definitely is more of a friendship vibe with him and Mary but with Edith, it seemed like possibly something more. If we’re shipping, then I’ll ship Edith and Tom. And thank heavens Robert figured out what’s up with Marigold – that didn’t need to be a plot arc next season. How nice was it to see Edith happy and cheerful for once? Let’s hope it’s not short-lived.

    Can the Bates just leave Downton? Seriously, it’s like ever since Mr. Bates arrived, things have gone downhill for Anna. It’s really sad that there has to be some stupid horrible thing happening each season to those two. Just go to London and take over your mom’s house and figure something out, you two! Don’t stay in Downton.

    Maggie Smith was so amazing in this episode. I’m not sure I care that much about the whole Kuragin thing, but she’s been pretty great and has had some better stuff to work with this season than she has been before.

    OK I’ll stop before I go on and on 🙂 Thanks for your recaps – I always look forward to them, particularly for the snark 🙂

  5. Someone please explain to me why any man is interested in Mary? She seems like such an uber-cold biatch most of the time. When Matthew was alive, somehow I found her more likeable. I’m cured of that now.

    The Bates and Anna story continues to drive me to distraction. It’s just ridiculous and not very well thought out. Who remembers someone arguing on street corner a year after the fact. That’s right; no one. And all the women in the line up– really? I suppose now Bates will confess to free her, and the beat goes on.

    I love Maggie Smith too. She has some of the best lines. Not sure that Kurigan is on the up and up. He’s out for her money or…. I don’t know. Something seems off. Thanks for doing these recaps – always enjoy them!

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