Downton Abbey: The Prodigal Son

Previously on Downton Abbey: Matthew and William were wounded and returned home to Downton Abbey. William came back to marry Daisy and die a few hours later, which made me sad, and Matthew found out he’s probably going to spend his life in a wheelchair. He also won’t be able to have kids, so he cuts Lavinia loose, despite her pleas to stay with him. Mary’s only too happy to step into Lavinia’s place as Matthew’s caretaker, even though she’s now officially engaged to Carlisle.

Mary’s wheeling Matthew around the grounds, joking that she’ll have arms like a boxer if she keeps this up. Matthew tells her he’s strong enough to wheel himself, then he goes the downer route and talks about how William should really still be there, since he was injured trying to protect Matthew and that sort of sacrifice should be rewarded.

Inside, Carlisle and Robert are watching the couple through a window. Carlisle half-jokingly asks if he should be jealous, and tellingly Robert doesn’t respond. Instead, they talk about Haxby Park, a nearby stately home that Carlisle’s thinking of buying. The family lost its heir in the war and doesn’t live there anymore. Robert thinks it’ll be strange for Mary to live there, considering how many memories she has of the old family. He also doesn’t think the place is going to be very comfortable, but Carlisle has plans to make it so by installing central heating and bathrooms for every bedroom. Robert grumps that it sounds like a hotel. Oh, come off it, Robert, there’s nothing wrong with heat. Carson comes in and announces Dr. Clarkson, who tells Robert there’s a Canadian major who wants to stay at Downton, claiming some family connection. Clarkson’s cool with that, he just wanted to give Robert a head’s up. So, let me get this straight: Clarkson kicks and screams if a member of the Crawley family wants one of their friends to come to Downton, which is, let’s not forget, still their house, and recouperate (as he did with William and Evelyn Napier, whom we sadly never got to see), but as long as he gets the idea first it’s ok? So, William and Evelyn should have just known to write to Clarkson directly? You know what? I’ve decided not to like Clarkson much. Edith asks what the man’s name is and learns it’s Patrick Gordon. He was caught in a blast and badly burned. Robert’s happy to have him.

Belowstairs, Jane the new maid says she never worked in a house where a maid and valet were married. Anna, who’s doing some busy work with Bates at her side, says it’s unusual, but not unheard of. O’Brien chimes in that she hopes it doesn’t break up their happy little band of servants, which seems bizarre, because you’d think she’d be glad to have Bates around less. Anna figures she’s jealous, and Bates reminds her that they haven’t exactly been pals. Daisy, wearing a black armband, comes in, plonks down a tea tray, and stomps out. Anna advises them all to give her time.

Violet and Cora are paying Isobel a visit at Crawley House and talking about the war, which is in its final stages. So, this is late fall 1918, then. Why’s Mary running around outside in a summer dress? Cora figures that the soldiers will start going home gradually, but she expects Downton to be their home again by the New Year. Her voice dripping judgment, Isobel asks Cora if she really wants Downton to be “just” a private house again. Well, yeah, Isobel, the convalescent hospital was never a permanent thing. How did you not realize that? Violet asks if she wants to abolish private houses, and Isobel continues to alienate her company by asking them if they really want to go back to that life of hunting and leisure. Why not make Downton useful? Cora argues that the place is useful, since it provides employment for many people, which is valid. A big house like that would have a fairly huge staff—probably much larger than the one we see on this show. Isobel scoffs at that and asks (though not in a true “asking” tone) to look into keeping Downton open as a center for recovery. Hey, there, Isobel, back up! If you want to open a convalescent center, more power to you, but why not use one of the empty estates that are now just lying around? Like the one nearby Carlisle’s thinking of snapping up? This woman’s got serious gall, basically snatching Cora’s home out from under her. She doesn’t even give them a chance to tell her to go right ahead. If she was paying any attention at all, she’d realize they’re basically telling her to back the hell off and give them their home back. Give them your damn house, Mrs. High and Mighty. I don’t see you “making that useful.” She’s also being incredibly rude and judgmental. Violet and Cora are appalled. Violet asks Molesley if he agrees with this and Molesley excuses himself before he says something that might get him into trouble. It’s apparent, though, that he thinks Isobel’s idea sucks.

Up at Downton, a soldier with a heavily bandaged face picks up a family photo and examines it. Edith surprises him, and he makes it clear he knows who she is. He apologizes for his wounds and asks if she knows that they’re related. Edith says she heard, but she’s not sure how. Robert’s found a relative who married a Gordon back in 1860, so maybe that’s it. The Canadian Patient tells her that’s not it and asks if she recognizes his voice, even though he sounds Canadian now. They’ve met before, though it was a while ago.

Belowstairs, Jane’s chasing Daisy down, waving a letter that explains what sort of pension Daisy’s entitled to. Daisy says that’s nice and all, but she’s not really a widow. After all, she was only married seven hours, and she only agreed to the marriage because she was peer pressured into it. Jane leaves the letter with her and takes off. Patmore chimes in and says William wanted Daisy to have something after he was dead, which was why he married her in the first place. Daisy spits that Patmore made her a liar while William was alive, and she’s sure as hell not going to be false to his memory now he’s dead.

Later, Carson is summoned to Carlisle’s room while Carlisle’s dressing for dinner. Carlisle wants to poach Carson and have him be butler at their new home. He knows how close Mary and Carson are and thinks it might be nice for her. That’s kind of sweet, actually. Carson asks if Mary knows about this and hears this is a surprise. He’ll wait to see what Mary has to say about it.

Downstairs, the elders of the family are gossiping about Carlisle. Violet doesn’t like him, and Robert’s still sulking about Carlisle’s plans for Haxby. Oh, for heaven’s sake, Robert, he just wants to put in heat and bathrooms! What’s your problem? Cora’s with me, not really understanding his hostility towards comfort. Talk turns to Isobel’s plans for Downton. Can’t you guys just grow a polite spine and tell Isobel this is legally your house and she can’t do what she wants with it? That is true, right? Furthermore, she’s living in a house you own too, so there’s a bit more leverage, should you need it. Violet thinks Isobel needs a non-Downton related cause to distract her.

In the Servants’ Hall, Anna and Bates are discussing his divorce case. He’s got the decree nisi, so he figures it’s only a matter of time. Oh, Bates, you fool. Jane pipes up, asking Thomas if he’s looking forward to the war ending. Not particularly, and why would he? He’s got a good deal here. What’s he going to do after the war’s over? Patmore says they should all start hoarding as soon as they can, because rationing’s starting to become a bit of a problem. Thomas quietly asks if she’s suggesting resorting to the black market, adding that he’s shocked. “Oh, I doubt that very much,” she says with a sickly smile. Hee!

Hughes, meanwhile, is handing off food to Ethel, who’s come by for her regular allowance. She sends Ethel back out in the pouring rain to bike home, then turns away from the door and finds herself face-to-face with Carson.

As they come downstairs the following day, Cora breaks the news to Robert that he’s on his own for lunch. He whines and whines about it, and I decide I’m about fed up with him too. God, Robert, just because you have nothing to do doesn’t mean everyone else is similarly unoccupied. There’s a war on. Find something to do! Invite a few of the officers to join you or something!

Mary and Carlisle are over at Haxby, which looks way more French than English. Mary comments on how empty the place is. She didn’t even realize the family had left. She asks how they’ll fill the space up and Carlisle tells her there’s this concept called buying that’s all the rage now. She snots that “his lot” buys things like furniture, while her people inherit it. He asks her if they should go ahead and rescue the old place, which really is beautiful. I’d buy it, if I had a multi-millionaire footing all the bills. Mary agrees.

Carson and Hughes are meeting with Cora because Carson’s tattled about Hughes feeding Ethel. Hughes agrees that Ethel was in the wrong, but she feels that they kind of owe Ethel something, since she was their employee. Carson makes it clear he has no patience at all with women who go about sleeping with men unmarried, but Cora’s got an understandable soft spot in that area, and she realizes that Ethel’s going to be paying for her actions for a long, long time. She asks if the father’s taken any responsibility and learns what a dick Major Douchebag turned out to be. She wonders if inviting him to Downton and then having Robert put the heat on him would help. At the very least, it’ll give Robert something to do.

As they head downstairs, Hughes asks Carson if he’s satisfied. He tells her he’d feel bad for Ethel if she wasn’t 100% in the wrong. Girls are the ones who should be guarding their virtues, you know. He mentions an overdue wine delivery and Hughes tells him to take care of it and have Jane serve Robert at lunch.

Robert’s sitting all alone at the dining room table, probably wishing the iPhone or TV had been invented so he’d have something to do. He strikes up a conversation with Jane, asking about her son. She proudly tells him her boy’s 12 and up for a scholarship for a local prep school. Robert offers to put in a good word for him and Jane gets all excited at the prospect. Carson comes in and chases her off, apologizing on her behalf. Robert tells him she wasn’t talking out of turn.

Hughes reports to Ethel about Cora’s plan to invite the Major up for a while. Ethel gets excited, figuring he’ll have to do something for the baby now. Hughes isn’t sure about that, so Ethel starts to get depressed, wondering what she’ll do if he doesn’t come around. Hughes suggests she move to a big city where nobody knows her and invent a history. It’s not like there isn’t a war that could have conveniently widowed you, Ethel.

The servants are eating when Carson comes in to tell Bates his lawyer’s on the phone for him. Oh, that can’t be good. As Bates and Anna go to take the call, Thomas tells Carson Mary was looking for him earlier. Carson scolds him for not telling him sooner, as O’Brien rushes out to do some eavesdropping.

Edith’s wandering around the ward, making herself useful when Patrick calls her over and asks again if she knows who he is. She still doesn’t, and she clearly feels bad about it. He tells her he was at Downton all the time when he was little, and she suddenly realizes that he’s claiming to be Patrick Crawley, the presumed-dead heir.

Bates hangs up with his lawyer and tells Anna that Vera’s going to tell the courts he paid her to agree to a divorce. What difference does that make? Bates tells Anna the judge can withdraw the decree. Why would he? Sorry, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m guessing there’s some legal foundation behind all this, but who cares if Bates gave his wife money? What difference does it make? He gave it to her while they were married, and it’s her word against his that he gave it to her to go away. How is this some major impediment?

Anna remains calm and tells him they’re going to be together somehow. Outside the room, O’Brien decides she’s heard enough and heads back to the Servants’ Hall.

Upstairs, Patrick’s telling Edith his story. He was on the Titanic all right, but he was plucked out of the water by 5th officer Lowe, the only one to take a lifeboat back to hunt for survivors. When Patrick came around, he had lost his memory, possibly through a blow to the head, and it was assumed he was Canadian and they shipped him off to Montreal. He took his name off a gin bottle and in 1914, he joined Princess Patricia’s Infantry. When he got caught in the blast that wounded him, he suddenly remembered everything. And now, here he is.

Ok, there are a lot of things wrong with this story, to me. First off, mentioning that Lowe picked him up is an oddly specific detail. Like something you’d get out of a newspaper article about the tragedy. Second, why the hell would anyone assume he was Canadian? He was born and raised in Britain, which means he presumably had a British accent. So shipping him off to Montreal makes no sense whatsoever. Also, Patrick was traveling first class, so he’d probably have been fairly well dressed (something you would have been able to tell even after he’d been in the water). So, you have a rich Brit who can’t remember who he is. There weren’t too many British first class passengers on the Titanic, believe it or not. Most of the first class passengers were American. It wouldn’t have taken too much effort to actually figure out who this guy was. If there was a wealthy unidentified passenger, they’d probably have put his picture in the paper at some point to try and figure out who he was. That’s what happened with the two little French boys who were being kidnapped by their dad. Dad died, and the kids were in the newspapers all over the world, which is how their mother found them. They’d probably have done the same with this man. And there’d be other clues as to who he was, even if he didn’t have a wallet or anything on him. Bespoke clothes would probably have a tag from the tailor in them, or even initials embroidered on the shirt somewhere, for instance. And if he remembered his name was Patrick, couldn’t they have looked at the ship’s passenger roster and picked out the Patricks, narrowed it down by eliminating any of them that were definitely alive or definitely dead, and then gotten in touch with the families to see if this Patrick was theirs?

What did he do when he got to Montreal? How did he live? He must have done all right for himself, if he was able to become an officer. And the accent, that’s another problem. Yes, I know that people who have lived a number of years in a foreign country will start to pick up the accent to some extent. But unless they moved when very, very young, most likely they’re going to retain their original accent with some occasional modulations. For instance: Elizabeth McGovern has lived in England since the early 1990’s, yet she still has an American accent. You can hear the British creeping in every now and then, but it’s still definitely an American accent. This guy talks like he was born and bred in Canada. Nope, not making much sense.

And finally, this story about his memory miraculously coming back: I’m not the memory expert in my family, but I don’t think it works quite like that. Two brain injuries do not cancel each other out. This all seems a bit too convenient.

But Edith, poor, dear, trusting Edith laps it right up. She’s clearly bowled over, but she agrees to speak to her father. She sympathetically says this must be hard for him, with Mary engaged. He asks her if he loved Mary very much and Edith tells him she’s the wrong person to ask. He immediately realizes that Edith was the one who loved Patrick.

Mary’s wheeling Matthew around outside again and telling him about Haxby. She mentions the possibility of Carson coming along with them and Matthew figures Carson’s going to do it, since he has that odd devotion to Mary. Out of nowhere, Mary tells Matthew she doesn’t have to marry Carlisle and Matthew firmly tells her that she most certainly will marry him, because he doesn’t want her hanging around and acting like his nursemaid forever. Seriously, Mary. I appreciate that you’ve matured quite a bit, but martyrdom doesn’t really suit you.

Inside, Cora and Carlisle are watching Mary and Matthew through the window. Carlisle wonders if it’ll be a wrench when Mary moves away, and Cora immediately guesses what he’s really saying, reassuring him Matthew has no plans to stop the marriage. Carlisle believes her, but wonders if Mary’s as certain of that as Matthew is. Man, does he know her well or what? He wonders if it might be time to bring Lavinia back to Downton.

Sybil takes a trip down to the garage to chat with Branson. He thought she was avoiding him and she says she’s not. He asks if she’s come up with an answer yet. Answer to what? Have we lost a scene or something? Wasn’t she just saying an episode or so ago that she wasn’t even sure if she liked Branson in that way? I’m a bit confused. Sybil tells him she doesn’t want to make any big moves until the war is over, and he’s fine waiting, because that’s what he does. Sigh. He’s gotten a little boring, if we’re being honest. I mean, I like these two together, and I think they have really nice chemistry, but his character’s just…dull. I miss the politically invested, intelligent guy we first met who didn’t spend all his time mooning about.

Thomas and O’Brien are having a smoke and a chat in the courtyard. Thomas tells her he’s made some inquiries and found out there’s a good market for rationed food if you can find it. Well, yeah, of course there is. There’s always a good market for necessities in extremely short supply. He’ll have to get some money together to get in the game and thinks he can borrow it. O’Brien doesn’t seem terribly supportive.

Pre-dinner, Robert’s trying on the latest fashion fad: the dinner jacket. He notes that Bates seems preoccupied but doesn’t ask about it. Edith comes in and asks for a word, so Bates makes himself scarce.

Mary finds Carson putting the finishing touches on the dining room before dinner. She asks him how he feels about coming with her to Haxby and tells him she thinks it’s a great idea. Carson asks about Robert and Mary says she knows he’ll be a bit upset, but he’ll come around. Carson promises to give his answer after she’s spoken to Robert. He does admit that it’ll be quite a wrench for him to leave Downton.

Robert makes his way to Patrick’s bed in the ward. He tells Patrick Edith’s told him everything and that he’ll need some time to consider all of this. Patrick says he doesn’t have much in the way of proof, aside from knowing things only the real Patrick would know. Oh really? I wish someone had actually tested that, but sadly, they don’t. Robert gently tells him that a lot of people will be seriously affected by this. Patrick understands and hands over a full written account of his story. He then makes some little gesture with his hand that Robert notes immediately. I guess it was a Patrick thing.

Violet’s now hosting Isobel at the lovely dower house. She immediately starts pitching causes at Isobel, starting with diseased children and moving on to women losing their jobs when soldiers come home, then finally hitting on all the homeless refugees, which is a cause Isobel cares about. Isobel is so utterly clueless she doesn’t even realize what Violet’s doing. Violet suggests she find a way to help said refugees. Isobel says she can’t run Downton and help refugees, and Violet sighs that she’ll have to make a choice: organize exercise classes at Downton or help the homeless of Europe. Isobel gets up to leave and asks if Violet will be at Downton for dinner that night. Apparently Robert’s note was most insistent, but neither of the ladies know what it was about.

Just before dinner, Mary’s with her father, asking to take Carson with her. Robert’s not excited, but he can’t exactly force the man to stay.

Everyone’s gathered in a small library, where Robert breaks the news about Patient Patrick. Mary flat-out refuses to believe this, even though Edith says he knows all sorts of things only the real Patrick would know. Cora figures there must be a way to figure out if this is for real, and she asks if the man’s anything like Patrick to look at. “He isn’t like anything to look at,” Mary says, unnecessarily cruelly. Ahh, there’s our girl. I knew she was in there somewhere. Robert tells them he’s sent the story up to Murray, their lawyer, and asked him to look into it. Edith asks why nobody’s happy about this, because they all liked Patrick, and Mary was going to marry him and everything. “Dear me, should I be worried?” Carlisle wonders mildly. That’s the third time this episode he’s said that. Either he’s trying to transmit some very real paranoia or he needs a new joke. Mary insists the man’s an imposter and she thinks it’s a terrible thing to do when Matthew’s been through so much. Matthew tells her not to weep, because this might end up being for the better. At least Patient Patrick can apparently have sons. Having fully flown his bitter flag, Matthew asks Sybil to take him back upstairs.

Later, Hughes reports to Cora’s room, where Cora tells her that Major Douchebag’s been killed in action. Oh, isn’t that a shame. Hughes is sorry to hear that, and so is Cora, because they figure that’s the end of the line for Ethel. They don’t mention actual names, but O’Brien, who’s been puttering around, realizes they were talking about the Major Ethel was so fond of. I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before she pieces things together.

Jane wanders into the library to do some last-minute work and is surprised to find Robert there, deep in thought. She asks if she can get him anything and he tells her there’s nothing that will help, then gets up and bids her good night.

While taking a walk around the grounds, Edith tells Patient Patrick that her father’s sent the story on to the solicitor. Patrick spots a folly on the grounds and remembers some governess none of the girls liked. Edith tells him she recognizes him now, though it’s clearly just wishful thinking, especially when he asks if they can “talk again” once everything’s settled.

Hughes has reported Major Douchebag’s death to Ethel, who offers to write to DB’s parents herself. Not a terrible idea—they might actually be somewhat happy to hear they have a grandson, especially now their son’s dead. Hughes bursts her bubble by saying Ethel has no proof. Well, except for Hughes walking in on them that one time. Ethel asks how the new maid’s getting along, musing that everyone wants to help her because her son’s father is dead, but nobody wants to help Ethel, who’s in the same boat. She’s so dumb she actually doesn’t seem to realize what the difference is here. Jane was married, and got all the attendant social safety nets that come with that, whereas Ethel, of course, was not, so she gets shafted. Not fair, but them’s the breaks. Hughes tells her as much.

As Carlisle heads up to dress for dinner, he asks Carson to get him to the station for an early train the following day. Carson promises to do so. Carlisle asks him if he’s considered his proposal and Carson agrees to have an answer for him when he returns.

Upstairs, Bates tells Robert he needs to go to London the next day. Robert realizes this has to do with Mrs. Bates and Bates admits she’s found a way to ruin things, and he needs to go reason with her. Because reasoning’s worked so well thus far. Robert warns him not to lose his temper.

In her crappy little cottage, Ethel holds and rocks the baby and cries.

The servants are discussing the possible socio-political atmosphere of post-war Europe over dinner. Carson thinks the Kaiser and the Crown Prince will go, but not the monarchy altogether, because monarchy is the lifeblood of Europe. I guess he doesn’t consider Russia and Austria-Hungary part of Europe. Branson’s pretty sure the monarchies are over. Bates tells Anna about having to go to London and O’Brien butts in, commenting that Bates goes up to London an awful lot. Anna tells her to get lost, and thankfully, Robert comes in just then to announce that the war’s over. Everyone cheers and embraces happily. That must have been a hell of a moment. Wine is poured, more hugs are shared, and glasses are clinked in celebration and, I imagine, in memory of those lost.

Isobel’s got Cora and Violet over again, but this time it’s to tell them she won’t be stealing their home, she’s off to take care of war refugees. Cora tells her she must go where she can make a difference and Violet can barely contain her glee. Heh. Isobel, of course, doesn’t even realize how much she’s just been played.

On the car ride home, Violet tells Cora that she basically set the whole thing up, even agreeing to be patron of something or other so they’d agree to take Isobel on. She considers that a small price to pay. Cora thanks her sincerely for helping out.

Edith’s having another chat with Patient Patrick, who’s freaking out a little bit that nobody recognizes him, because they’ve forgotten him. He yells that he’s a stranger to everyone, almost upsetting the table in his rage.

Downstairs, O’Brien tells the others that Bates left that morning looking slightly murderous, and she wonders if Vera knows what she’s started. Anna tells her again to mind her own business. Jane joins them and someone asks how her meeting was. She says it was very informative, and that Daisy should have come along. Daisy rolls her eyes a bit and says yet again that she doesn’t think of herself as a war widow at all (apparently the meeting Jane was attending was some war widows’ association or something). Daisy feels bad that she misled William into thinking she loved him the way he loved her. Hughes gently tells her that marrying him was a great kindness. Daisy says it wasn’t kind at all and dashes out of the room, nearly running into Bates on the way. Everyone’s surprised to see him back so soon. Yeah, that can’t be a good sign. Anna gets up and they head into another room to talk. She asks him how it went and he says it was pretty bad. She notices a bruise on his face but he won’t say anything else. O’Brien takes all this in, as she does.

Robert’s got the family gathered in the library again, so he can tell them what Murray has to say. Murray’s found out that Lowe did go back and pull a few people out of the water, and one of them was unidentified. Some reports have the unidentified man dying en route to New York, while others say he lived. There doesn’t appear to be any clear record of his name in New York;. Really? They didn’t send the amnesiac Titanic victim to a hospital? They did keep records back then. What’s more, there was a Peter Gordon who worked with Patrick in the Foreign Office, and he moved to Montreal in 1913. Both Violet and Mary think that’s who this guy is, and that he’s just using his injuries to scam his way into an inheritance. Edith, of course, is still team Patient Patrick, and Robert doesn’t know what to think. Mary tells Edith these so-called memories of his are vague and could apply to anyone who grew up in a place like Downton. Robert puts an end to the squabbling and tells everyone Murray’s going to keep looking into the matter. As they leave, Robert asks Mary when Carlisle will be back. She tells him he’s driving up and should be there for dinner.

Robert apologizes to Matthew for all this, but Matthew tells him it’s fine, because it’ll take more than the man he is now to run Downton. Man, he needs some Prozac.

Edith, of course, has told Patient Patrick everything. She asks if he remembers Peter Gordon and he does, because they were good buddies. He asks what they’re planning to do now and she figures they’ll try to track down Peter Gordon. “Suppose he joined the Princess Pat Light Infantry,” he says. Edith doesn’t want to hear what he’s clearly saying, and Patient Patrick sadly says she’s so sweet he thought all things were possible, but you can’t go back, it seems. Edith tells him he mustn’t give up, because they’ll find Peter Gordon. “Yes, I expect you will,” he says quietly. Uh huh.

Hughes goes into Carson’s office to tell him dinner’s going to start soon. He starts talking about the wine cellar, and she guesses from that that he’s planning on taking Carlisle’s offer. He tells her he is, but he’s doing so with a heavy heart. She tells him she’ll miss him and he thanks her for that.

Upstairs, the family’s just finishing dinner when Carlisle comes in, apologizing for being late. He’s closely followed by Lavinia, whom he’s gone and brought back. Cora goes over and greets her warmly while Mary stands frozen and Matthew kind of looks like he’s going to vomit. Cora tells Lavinia to take Matthew into the library so they can talk.

Once they’re alone, Matthew informs Lavinia that nothing’s changed. She counters that she’s changed. She’s not going to let him send her away again, because she loves him and wants to look after him. He asks what she’ll do if he refuses and she informs him he’s stuck with her. Aww. I rather like her.

Robert and Cora, meanwhile, are having a set-to in the dining room. Seems it was Cora who invited Lavinia up, and Robert’s not happy to see Lavinia sacrificed like a 20th century Iphigenia. I don’t think that comparison works at all. Wasn’t she handed over to a sea monster or something? Vestal Virgin would work a bit better, since Lavinia’s essentially handing herself over to a sex-free life. Cora asks him if he wants Mary’s marriage to be successful and fruitful. Robert calls her unfeeling and she leaves him alone.

Upstairs, Mary’s scolding Carlisle for bringing Lavinia, but he tells her someone has to look after Matthew, and she’ll be too busy organizing their new life. Furthermore, he tells her that if she has it in her mind to dump him, she’d better remember that he has it in his power to bring her down, and he’ll do it, too. He wants to be a good husband, but he’s not one to be jerked around.

Edith enters the ward the following morning to find Sybil stripping Patient Patrick’s bed. He took off early that morning, leaving a letter for Edith. Edith sits down and reads it. It’s pretty brief, saying that it was too difficult, and he’s sorry. It’s signed “P. Gordon.” Edith refuses to accept that this guy may have been a con artist and thinks their family drove him away. Sybil tells her that the fact she believed in him is worth something.

The family, convalescent soldiers, and staff are all gathered in the hall as 11 a.m., the hour of the armistice, approaches. Robert asks them all to remember the sacrifices that have been made and give those men their thanks. The clock starts to chime and total silence falls on the room. The soldiers all stand at attention. In a railway car on the mainland, the armistice has been signed, officially ending the war. After the clock finishes striking, Robert thanks everyone. They start to get back to their daily lives; Bates offers to wheel Matthew back to his room. As they begin to move, Matthew suddenly starts. Bates asks what’s wrong and Matthew says it’s nothing, but it’s apparent he felt something. He won’t say what, though, until he feels it again.

Carson and Robert stand at the door, looking out over the park. Carson tells him the little ceremony was very dignified. Robert asks if Carson’s reconsidering the job offer and Carson says he’s not, he’s still going. He’ll stay until they find a proper replacement, though. Robert sadly says that whomever they find won’t replace Carson.

Over at the folly, Edith rereads Patient Patrick’s letter and cries. Oh, poor Edith. This girl just can’t catch a break on this show! Can’t Captain Smiley come back and woo her or something?

Belowstairs, everyone’s a bit subdued. Carson hands Bates a telegram, which Bates reads silently before handing it to Anna and leaving the room. She reads it herself and, astonished, tells the staff that Vera’s dead. YES! Sorry, I know I shouldn’t glory in death, but she was so hateful I can’t help but be a bit gleeful. I guess I’m a bad person. Our last shot is of Vera lying on a floor amidst some broken crockery, quite dead, so we know it’s for real.



3 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: The Prodigal Son

  1. What is it about this show that is determined to paint many middle-class and working-class characters with such negativity? Does Julian Fellowes have a problem with non-aristocrats? Especially those who regard aristocrats with jaundiced eyes?

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