Downton Abbey: Truth and Consequences

3152Previously on Downton Abbey: Edith started dating a rather nice young man named Bertie whom nobody thought much of because he’s Edith’s boyfriend; Mary dumped Henry immediately after his best friend died in a fiery car crash, because she can’t even deal with all this; everyone was treating Thomas like shit for no apparent reason; and Patmore got her first guests at her B&B.

Edith and Cora take a walk in the garden and discuss Bertie’s proposal. Edith loves the man, but she’s concerned about how he’ll react when she tells him she’s Marigold’s mother. She doesn’t want to keep the truth from him, but she’s afraid that telling him will ruin everything. It doesn’t really seem like you have much of a choice here, Edith. Either you keep your secret and dump the guy, which’ll obviously ruin things, or you roll the dice and tell him the truth.

That poor policeman who is constantly having to run up to the house has had to come inform Patmore that her first guests were, in fact, having an affair under her roof and now the woman’s husband is suing the guy who was sleeping with his wife and Patmore may have to give evidence. Furthermore, her house will be in the news as a ‘house of ill repute.’ Oh, come on, that’s just silly, even for this show. She wasn’t running a brothel, and it’s not as if she could Google these people to find out if they really were who they said they were. Patmore is horrified.

Robert tells Rosamond that their mother has exhausted his patience with this hospital drama (you and me both, Robert) and he hopes Cora doesn’t take Violet’s impromptu trip abroad to heart. He watches his wife and daughter walk in the garden and Rosamond asks if he thinks Bertie will still want to marry Edith once he knows about Marigold. Robert replies that he just doesn’t want to see her hurt. Nice of you to finally be on board with your daughter being happy, Robert, considering how many times in the past you’ve ignored and dismissed her or, in one particularly outrageous case, completely scared off a fiancé. Better late than never, I guess.

The newspaper is running a front-page article about an English marquess dying in Tangiers, and Tom and Mary, who are out on errands in Thirsk, take notice and grab a copy, recalling that Bertie’s employer is often in Tangiers. Turns out that same employer, the Marquess of Hexham, is the dead man, having passed away at the rather tender age of 39, unmarried. Mary wonders if that means Bertie will be out of a job, adding that it was bad enough the man was an agent, now he may not even be that. ‘Try not to sound so gleeful about it,’ Tom tells her drily.

Anna and Bates are cracking up over Patmore’s misfortune, because apparently they’re assholes now. I mean, yes, the situation is absurd and completely overblown, but Patmore’s obviously upset about it and this does mean that her business, which she had hoped would fund her retirement, could very well tank before it even got started, so laughing about it is kind of shitty. Especially when she’s just in the next room.

Baxter and Molesley talk about his teaching position, which is very part-time, so he’ll still be working at Downton. He hasn’t gotten up the nerve to ask Carson about it yet, and Baxter tells Molesley not to ask Carson, but to tell him this is how it’s going to be. Yes, that usually goes over well with one’s boss.

Isobel has Merton over to tell him she’s been invited to Larry’s wedding. He thinks this is Amelia’s doing, adding that she’s a very sweet girl. Isobel knows better, but she doesn’t come right out and tell Merton that his future daughter-in-law is better matched to his son than he thinks.

Hughes, too, thinks the Patmore situation is laughable, while Carson does not. But he’s not concerned about Mrs P, of course, he’s worried that someone will make the connection between Patmore and Downton. Of course they will, Carson. This is a small town, there’s no way that everyone who lives there doesn’t know that Patmore’s the cook at Downton. Come on!

Cut to Mary and Anna cracking up over the Patmore story. Geez, these people have clearly been bored to tears if this is so hilarious to them. Can’t they get Rose’s wireless back so they can get some better entertainment? After they have a good old laugh about it, Mary tells Anna about Hexham dying and how it might affect Edith and Bertie. What would we do without Mary and Anna to explain the plot for us? Anna asks if Mary has heard from Henry and Mary says no, which is good because it must mean he’s accepted her decision. Or that he’s dealing with his friend’s death or has slipped into a deep depression over everything that’s happened.

Mr Dawes arrives at the house to deliver Daisy’s results: she’s passed every paper with high marks. Patmore congratulates her.

Edith joins her family before dinner after having spoken to Bertie on the phone. She tells them that Bertie’s going to stop by on his way to Tangiers. And here’s a bit of news: Bertie’s his cousin’s heir, which means he’s a marquess!

I have to admit, I paused this for a while so I could have a good, long, hard laugh. A marquess comes just beneath a duke in the peerage, so if Edith married Bertie and became a marchioness, she’d outrank her own parents and would WAY outrank Mary. So HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! How does that feel, Mary?

I do have to say, though, that it’s incredibly strange Bertie never mentioned that he was the heir to the title. It’s definitely something he would have known—heirs to grand titles were public knowledge and published annually in Who’s Who. Since it’s been hinted his cousin was gay, and we know the man was unmarried at 39, it must have struck Bertie as somewhat likely he’d inherit, so it’s quite bizarre he never mentioned it to Edith. It’s kind of a big deal and something that your future spouse should know about. (Of course, the family probably already would have known that he was the heir anyway. Trust me, someone here would have looked Bertie up as soon as things got serious with Edith. At the very least, Violet would have done it).

Anyway, Robert thinks this is funny and kind of cool, while Mary is getting more pinched looking by the second. When they get up to go in to dinner, Mary growls that she doesn’t believe any of this, and that Bertie won’t want to marry Edith now. This is, astonishingly, one of the least horrible things she says about her sister this episode. Strap in, folks.

Cora: Careful, dear, your jealousy is showing, and green is so not your colour.

Carson is not delighted about  Molesley going off to teach children and starts dropping the following gems:

‘What makes you think you’ll be any good at it?’ ‘There are plenty of boys who want to be famous cricketers, it’s not enough to make them champions.’ Jesus, is there anything left to like about this man? Even Hughes is starting to look horrified.

After dinner, Tom tells Mary that Henry phoned and is pretty down. Mary orders him not to invite Henry to Downton, because it simply won’t work out between them and they’ll be wretched together. You’re probably right, but only because you seem to be completely incapable of any level of happiness.

Edith worries to Rosamond that Bertie’s only coming all the way to Downton to dump her. Surely he could do that over the phone or something? Rosamond urges Edith to tell him the truth about Marigold. Edith’s still on the fence.

Molesley’s sketching out some tests for the kids he’ll be teaching. ‘Tests for the village children?’ Anna asks incredulously. Does she not know how school works? I guess she probably went into service fairly young, but she must have had some schooling herself at some point.

Hughes asks Patmore how she’s doing and offers to go with her to the B&B to check on Patmore’s niece, who’s been holding down the fort over there.

Robert’s pleased as punch that the neglected daughter has somehow managed to come out on top, potentially. Cora warns him against counting his chickens but he won’t let her spoil his mood with her reality.

Tom finds Mary in the woods, staring off in the distance with an expression that suggests to me that she’s thinking of how to get rid of those 40 men between Henry and the earldom. Tom begs to be allowed to invite Henry up but Mary refuses. She admits that she’s attracted to Henry, but she’s sure any love would fade. She unleashes some snobbery on Tom, telling him that ‘people like us’ need to ‘marry sensibly.’ Unlike the poors, who can marry willy-nilly, right? She says this is a way of life that needs someone who understands it. I can’t believe he’s not slapping her in the face right now, because it’s unbelievably stupid of her to be saying this to Tom, of all people. The person not born into it who’s acclimated so beautifully he’s the only person in this whole family anyone can rely on anymore. Jesus, even Violet only wants to deal with him now.

Tom, more patient than I with this dithering idiot, reminds her that Henry is a member of her class and knows how things work, so what’s she even talking about? She continues talking complete nonsense and finally manages to bring this around to Marigold, and Tom confirms that she is Edith’s kid. Nice job, Tom. Mary acts all put out at having had this secret kept from her, but why the heck do you think anyone would have told you this, Mary? Tom insists that Henry is totally right for her, though I’d really love to know what he’s basing that on, because honestly she and Henry seem just so-so to me. They’re both pretty people and all, but they have absolutely no interests in common and their chemistry is just ok.

Cora joins Robert and Rosamond in the library and Rosamond immediately asks them if they’re really going to allow Bertie’s family and future be put at risk by Edith’s scandalous secret. Woah, hang on here: this is actually none of your business, Rosamond. This is Edith’s news to tell when and how she chooses. It’s not for you or Robert or Cora to say anything. Edith’s a grown woman, let her do things for herself! Cora agrees that he should know, and Robert thankfully pipes up that this is really up to Edith. Rosamond accuses him of just wanting one of his kids to make a grand marriage. All I see is someone actually giving an adult some agency, whereas you’re proposing treating Edith like a child, Rosamond. It’s not entirely out of character for Rosamond to do this (remember how she took charge of things regarding Marigold’s original adoption?) but you’d think that after that she might have stepped back a bit, especially since Edith’s done ok since then (minus the great Drewe disaster).

Edith and Bertie show up and there are a few kind questions about the service for his cousin and how strange things must be right now. Bertie admits that his mother’s delighted, but he’s pretty depressed because he was extremely fond of his cousin. Cora sweetly says that he’d be pleased to know that Bertie’s his heir (which he certainly would have known during his lifetime) and Bertie bursts into tears. Edith takes him upstairs to unpack. Once they’re gone, Rosamond accuses Robert of wanting to trick this nice man into marriage. Jesus, Rosamond, he’s not tricking anyone! He’s not saying Edith shouldn’t tell him the truth, he’s just saying that it’s Edith’s ultimate decision, which it is! Why is everyone assuming Edith won’t tell him? As far as I can tell, she hasn’t made a decision one way or the other. Though her foot dragging is getting a bit annoying, I’ll agree with that.

Belowstairs, Carson tells everyone that Bertie is a lord now and will be addressed as such. He slithers out and Thomas shows Baxter a rejection letter he’s received. She urges him to keep his chin up.

Over lunch, Bertie talks about how much his cousin loved Tangiers. Mary, sitting right across from him, is glaring at him so hard I think she’s trying to bore a hole through his skull with her eyes. She breaks in to bluntly ask if he plans to settle things with Edith during this visit. Bertie clearly feels awkward about this but admits that he certainly does hope for that. Cora asks about his mother and Bertie describes her as making ‘Mr Squeers look like Florence Nightengale.’ Edith looks terrified, as well she might. Way to sell it, Bertie!

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Bertie describes his mother as making Mr Squeers look like Florence Nightengale. Way to sell it, Bertie![/cryout-pullquote]

That newspaperman is still lurking outside Patmore’s place as Hughes and Patmore arrive. Hughes tells him he may not take a picture. Inside, Patmore yells at her niece for not telephoning and warning her that the man was there. There’s more bad news: all the bookings have cancelled. How would people from outside the area have heard about this? Surely locals aren’t staying at this place, it’d be for tourists, right? How widespread was this story?

Molesley meets his first class and gets started, seeming a bit shaky and nervous. One of the kids passes a cartoon of him to another student.

Edith and Bertie have a chat, and she tells him that he can consider himself free, if he wants. He does not. He admits that he’s not terribly excited about this change in his status, since he’d looked forward to a quiet life. Edith thinks he’ll be great at it. He begs her to help him with this job. She wonders if she’s really worthy of this and he reminds her that she’s the daughter of an earl, so it’s not as if she’s unsuitable or anything.  He says he needs Edith to help him live up to expectations.

So the husband who was suing has settled out of court, so Patmore won’t have to give evidence. She’s still lost her bookings, though. Eh, this’ll blow over in no time. There’s no story here, so just give it a few weeks and things’ll pick back up. Carson can’t resist being a douchebag and growls that he doubted this whole endeavour would work out right from the outset. Hughes, thankfully, tells him to shut up, because that’s a flat-out lie and they once considered opening a B&B. Ha!

Henry shows up, just missing tea but catching the Punch and Judy show Tom’s putting on for the kids. Mary is shocked, since she certainly didn’t invite him. Henry explains he was driving down from Durham and suddenly realised he’d be right near Downton, so decided to stop in. Riiiiight. Mary correctly guesses that Tom’s behind this and is not amused.

Cora invites Henry to stay the night and he asks Mary if she’d be cool with that. She suggests Henry might be in a hurry to get home and he says no, actually, he’s not. He accepts the invitation. Cora apologises for him having missed tea and he tells her not to worry.

‘I won’t,’ Mary says spitefully. My goodness, Mary, there’s putting someone off and then there’s just being a flaming bitch. There’s no need to be such a cow to the man. He has, after all, recently lost his best friend and is still grieving. Show an ounce of compassion, will you? Can’t you pretend he’s Anna or something, to help you act like a human? Also, he wasn’t speaking to you, so STFU.

Henry moves on to Bertie and gives his condolences on the loss of his cousin. Bertie accepts politely and says he hopes to get some things settled before he goes. Henry asks if they are settled and Bertie says he thinks so. Henry envies him that.

Robert whispers to Cora that Henry seems to have rather badly miscalculated.

Molesley has completely lost control of the classroom. The bell rings and the kids rush out.

Mary runs upstairs, scolding Tom the whole way for interfering. He, clearly exasperated and as sick of her romantic dithering as the rest of us, urges her to climb down off that high horse. Henry comes strolling along and guesses they’re fighting about him. Tom snaps that they are, and Henry can dig his own way out of this, because frankly, Tom’s just done.

Mary snippily asks if Henry’s brought a dinner jacket, and when she hears he has, sneers that he was very well equipped for whatever ‘car thing’ he was doing in Durham. He tells her that he’s gone a number of years without finding someone he wants to spend his life with, and he’s not giving up easily. She tells him he’d be living in someone else’s house and would be outranked by his own stepson, which essentially doesn’t matter to him at all, and here’s where we get a serious look at a problem in this relationship: those things really do matter to Mary, and it’s going to be problematic that they don’t matter to him.

He then slips into super creepy mode, sidling up to her and telling her that he’s going to make this break-up as hard as he possibly can. Yeaaaaah, Henry, that’s not the way to a woman’s heart. Mary looks rightfully horrified.

Before dinner, Cora and Rosamond continue arguing over this Edith/Bertie situation while Robert continues to beg them to just leave it to Edith. What would we do without the same scenes happening again and again and again in case we missed it the first time? Mary comes in and asks what’s going on. Rosamond lies poorly to cover up but Mary lets it go and instead asks her mother why she asked Henry to stay. Cora reminds him that he’s in the middle of nowhere and it was after five, so where the hell was he going to go? It’s not like they don’t have room. Mary insists that this relationship is a terrible idea, and she wants to give the guy up, but everyone keeps getting in the way. She swirls out and Rosamond insists that she’s clearly mad about him. She’s mad, I’ll give you that.

Daisy asks Molesley how the teaching went and he makes it clear it did not go well. Baxter tries to console him.

Small talk over coffee. Bertie’s flying to Tangiers—how daring! Henry tells Edith that it’s sweet that Bertie’s so clearly there to see her, and he wishes he were doing as well as Bertie is. Edith gently warns Henry that Mary can be quite a handful. That’s putting it mildly.

Mary talks rather confusingly to Tom about how, if Henry were suddenly a marquess, there wouldn’t be a woman in England who wouldn’t be all over him. Tom asks if she’s rejecting Henry because he’s not a marquess and says she should be ashamed of that. Yes, she should. She stomps out in a snit.

Henry follows her and catches her on the stairs, apologising for making the mistake of coming here. He says he thought he could make a stronger case for their future in person, but since he can’t seem to make any case, I guess that answers that. He says he ‘thinks’ they love each other very much, and she’s fighting it but he’s not. He guesses that his lack of money and position are what’s bothering her. She tells him he has a lot of nerve, calling her a gold-digger. Well, Mary, if the shoe fits… I seem to recall that your affections for Matthew tended to wax and wane according to his wealth and future prospects.

Anna tells Bates that the problem is that Mary can’t control Henry. How do you figure? It seems like the man’ll do anything she asks. He’ll even give up racing, if she wants him to. That’s a lot of control. Bates calls it like it is, saying that Mary’s a bully and likes her own way all the time. Anna agrees that’s true, but says that Mary has her softer side. Only with you, Anna.

Bertie and Edith head up to bed and he asks her to finally accept his proposal so he can go to Tangiers with some hope. She tells him she loves him, which he takes as a yes. She awkwardly tells him that her life is a bit complicated. He doesn’t care, just accepts her non-yes and kisses her. It really looks like she was building up to tell him, but just lost her nerve at the end.

Henry takes off bright and early the next morning, and Mary looks a bit pouty when she comes down to breakfast and doesn’t find him there. Man, she doesn’t know what the hell she wants, does she? As Mary fetches some food and sends Carson for more coffee, Bertie gets a little overexcited and says he and Edith have some news to share. Edith hisses that this is not the time, but he’s the only person there who fails to sense Mary’s monumental attitude and the cloud of impending bitch doom she’s dragging around with her. Tom, as usual, tries to play the peacekeeper and says that he and Mary will both be happy for Edith. Mary kind of sneers at that, which just sets Edith over the edge, because frankly, she’s had a lifetime of this bullshit from her horrible sibling, and of course now that Edith’s happy and basking in some attention and parental approval for the first time in her life, Mary just can’t handle it. Edith snaps that Mary can’t bear seeing things going better for Edith than for her. So, of course Mary needs to dial things up to eleven.

‘I’m very happy for you,’ she purrs sarcastically before telling Bertie she admires him for not getting rid of Edith because of her chequered past. (I’d like to point out that Mary’s past is pretty chequered–perhaps even more so than Edith’s, and yet men keep pursuing her).

Tom: Holy shit, Mary, please don’t do this.

Bertie: Am I missing something?

Mary: But of course Edith will have told you about Marigold, right? Her secret lovechild? Tell him, Edith.

Edith (looking like she’s just been slapped, punched, and force-fed half an ox that promptly stuck in her throat): I have a lovechild.

Bertie: I’m gonna need a minute.

Mary: What a pleasant day this is! Oh look, the newspaper!

Tom: I am actually sickened by the sight of you, Mary. Thousands of ‘shippers’ dreams have just died right here.

I dearly hope that when Carson brings that coffee pot back Edith brains Mary with it, because frankly that’d be the most deserved assault ever.

Hughes tells the grownups that Bertie’s calling for a taxi, so Robert prepares to go and find out what’s going on. Rosamond asks how Patmore’s doing and hears she’s still pretty shaken up. Rosamond suggests they go have tea at the B&B so people can see it’s a respectable place. Good thing they have Rosamond around to think of these things.

Isobel goes to have tea with Amelia, gleefully playing the part of a slightly dotty lady so Amelia can go ahead and dig her own grave. She informs Amelia that she won’t rekindle her relationship with Merton unless Larry himself tells her he wants Isobel to be his new mummy. Hee! The frozen smile on Amelia’s face is priceless. I wish they’d introduced that character earlier, I think her interactions with Violet and Isobel would have been the best thing about this season.

Carson is mortified by the idea of the Crawleys going to Mrs Patmore’s place and getting mixed up this whole sordid affair. What’s up with everyone in this episode not thinking that adults can make their own decisions? Also, he’s saying all of this right in front of Patmore, which is shitty of him. He accuses Patmore of dragging the family through the mud and Hughes steps in, looking disgusted with him, as she should, and reminds him that it’s their choice. ‘I’ve always known that women were ruthless, but I never thought I’d find the proof in my own wife,’ he sniffs. What the hell is he even talking about? Nothing she said there was ruthless. How much more of this is there? Oh, good lord.

Bertie and Edith walk and talk while Tom tells Robert what Mary did. Robert wonders how Mary found out and Tom just shrugs that she’s not stupid. Yes she is, Tom. It’s just that this was a very poorly kept secret. If she were intelligent or less wrapped up in herself, she’d have figured it out ages ago.

Bertie tells Edith that he’s not shocked, but he wishes she’d told him the whole story. He figures this means she didn’t trust him and she admits that must have been true. He asks if she would have kept this from him permanently and she says she doesn’t think so (Edith!). He gently says that he doesn’t think he can spend his life with someone he has no trust with. She totally understands and just manages not to cry as she says her life was about to be really wonderful, and she just didn’t want to destroy that, but now she has. He looks very much like he wants to hug her right now, but then says he has to go catch his train. She sweetly wishes him the best of luck and he returns the sentiment sincerely. Aww, come on, you two, make this work! You two have chemistry and genuinely seem good together, unlike Mary and Henry.

Tom finds Mary sulking in the estate office, and she tries to put on an arrogant face, but he’s so not having it. And as terrible as this episode was, this particular scene made it somewhat worthwhile, because it’s immensely satisfying to finally see someone call Mary out on her shit.

He tells her that she got what she wanted: Bertie’s gone and now Edith’s single again. Mary tries to say that’s not what she wanted, which Tom calls bullshit on, because seriously, Mary!

‘How was I to know she didn’t tell him?’ she asks disingenuously.

‘Don’t play the innocent with me,’ he angrily retorts. ‘Don’t lie, not to me! You can’t stop ruining things! For Edith, for yourself. You’d pull in the sky if you could! Anything to make yourself feel less frightened and alone!’

She angrily tells him that Henry was bullying her and was unapologetic, and while I’ll give her the bullying aspect, what was he supposed to be apologising for? Coming to Downton in the first place?

‘Am I expected to lower myself to his level and be grateful that I’m allowed to do so?’ she continues. Wow. Tom looks like he’s just now seeing a whole different side of her, but the rest of us have been seeing this particular side since day one.

‘Listen to yourself,’ he hisses. ‘Lower yourself? You’re not a princess in the Prisoner of Zenda!’ YES! Fuck you, you arrogant, stuck-up bitch!

He screams that she ruined Edith’s life and asks her how many more she’s going to wreck just to smother her own misery. How many indeed? He accuses her of being a coward. ‘Like all bullies, you’re a coward,’ he says, and leaves on that note. Let’s all give Tom a well-deserved round of applause.


Anna and Baxter have a little pedeconference in the hallway of the servants’ quarters and we hear that most of the staff is already out or on the way out. They run into Thomas, who’s looking like a wraith these days, and ask if he’s ok, because he looks like hell. He stonily says he’s fine.

Mary returns to the house and goes to Edith’s room, where she finds her sister crying and packing. Outrageously, Mary continues to lie that she had no idea that Edith hadn’t told Bertie everything and totally didn’t set out to wreck her sister’s engagement, even though it was clear that’s absolutely what she was hoping to do. And Edith knows that and is so fed up by a lifetime of Mary crapping on her that she yells at her to shut up, guessing that either Tom or Robert has made Mary feel badly about the whole thing and that’s the only reason she’s here. Yeah, Mary, you’ll get no absolution here. I hope you feel badly about this for a good long time, but I know you won’t, because you have an almost sociopathic lack of human feeling about you.

‘I know you,’ Edith says, ‘I know you to be a nasty, scheming bitch!’ Mary tries to break in, getting in one insult (calling Edith pathetic) but Edith will not have it and calls Mary a bitch once more. ‘You’re not content with ruining your own life, you’re determined to ruin mine!’

Mary stiffly says that she hasn’t ruined her life, and that if Bertie’s put off by an illegitimate child… but Edith cuts her off and tells her to stop trying to justify her behaviour and just leave. Because she absolutely can’t give an inch even now, Mary just stands there with a petulant ‘make me’ look on her face. Edith, being an adult, does not smash her horrible face in with a suitcase, just grabs her stuff and gets out of there, which she really should have done ages ago. Seriously, this house is incredibly toxic for her. Before she leaves, though, she tells Mary that Henry’s perfect for her (again, where’s the evidence of that?) but Mary’s too stupid and stuck up to see it. Well, I’ll give her that. ‘Still, at least he’s got away from you, which is something to give thanks for, I suppose,’ she finishes.

Edith, I’m gonna give you this:

emma stone thumbs up

Well done, honey. Now, go be fabulous in London!

Patmore is taken to see Robert and asks if he’s really ok with coming to tea, because this is her mess and should they get mixed up in it? ‘Indeed,’ Carson mutters, completely inappropriately. Cora calls him out and Carson says that he doesn’t want the family dragged into a tawdry local scandal. What an asshole. Robert says they need to show a little more backbone than that and help out someone who’s been loyal to the house. Patmore nearly weeps with gratitude. This poor woman. Her distress here just makes everyone else laughing about this situation seem that much worse.

On his way to the school, Molesley admits to Baxter he’s terrified the students will find out he’s a servant. She suggests he just come clean with them. Molesley then comments that Thomas has been in a funny mood lately and said he hoped Molesley would make more of his life than Thomas made of his. Baxter freaks out and rushes back to the house.

She races upstairs, meeting up with Andy, and asks where Thomas is. Andy says he’s taking a bath. She panics and tries to get into the bathroom, but the door’s locked. Andy, realising this is an emergency, busts the door down. They find Thomas in the bath with his wrists slit. Baxter sends Andy to ring for the doctor while she tears her petticoat to make impromptu bandages.

In the kitchens, Daisy randomly says she wishes she’d gone to the school with Molesley. Patmore tells her to go ahead.

Edith drives rather fiercely through the village, meeting Tom and stopping. She asks if he can drop her to the station. She’s going to London, because she can’t stand the sight of her sister now. Tom tries to excuse Mary by saying she’s unhappy and he thinks she regrets what she did. It doesn’t matter, Tom. Being unhappy is not a valid excuse for wrecking the lives of others, and if she regretted what she did, she should say so to Edith. Stop being her messenger boy.

Tom suggests Bertie may come around but Edith doubts it. He offers to talk to him and she says no, but thanks for offering.

Thomas has survived. Hughes and Andy come up to the bathroom and Hughes tells them they should get him into bed and dry clothes. Baxter worries he’ll mind them undressing him but Hughes says he’s past caring if they put him in a shy and threw coconuts. That seems like a really insensitive thing to say just now. The three of them maneuver him out of the bath, Baxter all sad to think he was so unhappy.

Daisy arrives at the school and lo and behold, Molesley has become some amazing teacher holding the kids enthralled as he tells them how important education is and how he spent his life in service. A few of the other kids have parents in service. He points out that he never gave up on learning and is now pulling himself up. He’s an example to them all!

Cora and Rosamond are seriously pissed off at Mary for what she did, but before Rosamond can give Mary her third well-deserved tongue lashing of the day, Carson enters the library with tea and the news that Thomas has tried to kill himself. Carson plans to keep it rather hushed up and tell the other servants Thomas has influenza.

Carson departs and Mary floats towards the tea table, pouring herself a cup like nothing’s wrong, and then spitefully asking her father if he still thinks dismissing Thomas was a ‘useful saving’. ‘That’s rather below the belt, even for you,’ he retorts. Seriously. It’s not as if you made any argument for Thomas to stay, Mary, you basically just shrugged and went off to London to try and tease as many men as you could get around a dinner table at once. So don’t act like you’re the better person here.


Carson tells Hughes that Thomas has been stitched up by Clarkson and is now convalescing. He then goes into the servants’ hall and tells the others that Thomas has been taken ill and will be looked after by Anna and Baxter. Why Anna? Seems like Hughes would be a better choice, since she knows the actual deal. Isn’t Anna going to wonder about the bandages around the man’s wrists? And sending a pregnant woman to tend to someone with influenza would have been dangerous and fairly cruel, even back then, so the other servants would certainly have wondered what the deal was there.

Baxter asks Molesley how teaching went, and while he’s modest, Daisy sings his praises, telling the others how incredibly well he did. The others applaud him (not Carson, of course). Bates says that it’s about time Molesley was rewarded for his kindness. Carson looks a teensy bit guilty at that.

Anna gets Mary ready for bed and Mary comments that it’s been quite a day. Yes, it has been. She seems coolly sorry for having been such a hellbeast. Anna asks about Henry and Mary gets all upset, saying that Tom invited him and keeps going on about Henry, but Mary’s sure she and Henry would be miserable together. ‘Nobody can believe that I know my own mind!’ Mary wails. To be fair, you don’t ever seem to know your own mind, Mary. But yes, it is pretty obnoxious how many people keep dismissing your decision and insisting that this guy’s perfect for you.

Edith has told her editor about the whole fiasco and finds a sympathetic ear.  There’s a little chat about their advice columnist, Cassandra Jones, coming to tea that afternoon so she can negotiate a raise. She was reluctant to come, which makes Edith half-jokingly wonder if she’ll send someone to impersonate her. The editor suggests they have a code word they can say if they think she’s genuine. They settle on ‘bananas’ because that won’t seem strange popping out of someone’s mouth randomly.

Mary brings George to visit Thomas, and George cutely gives him an orange to help him feel better. Aww. Thomas thanks him. Mary says they want him to get better. Thomas comments to the kid that at least he has one friend, and Mary asks if he’s been lonely. He says he has only himself to blame, because he’s done bad things and now he’s paying the price. Of course Mary goes ahead and makes this about her, which just makes me roll the hell out of my eyes.

Dany sick of your shit

Anna shows up with some food and Mary says she hopes things improve for Thomas. He says the same to her.

Patmore’s getting ready for the big tea. Hughes offers to let her take Daisy to help, and Patmore says that they’ve got it all set up with the photographer. Carson swings through to be a jerk some more, snarling about the newspaper man writing about all the dainties his lordship will be eating at the adulterers’ table. Patmore is looking seriously offended right now. Carson then doubles down and says that this, plus the suicidal footman in the attic is all too much and he’s relieved the Dowager isn’t here to see it.

Carson, if we’re going from the weak evidence of this season alone, then YOU ARE A HUGE PART OF THE REASON THOMAS JUST TRIED TO KILL HIMSELF! YOU have been cruel and dismissive and horrible. To whine and stomp about this now makes me want to see both you and Mary thrown off a tall building together in the Christmas special. Seriously, that would make my New Year. Those two deserve each other. And I can’t believe that Hughes is just calmly listening to all this and not saying a word. Hughes! Say something! This man is a horrorshow! To be fair, she does look a little grossed out by her husband.

Oh, look, that’s Violet’s cue to return. She rolls up and is met by Tom, who summoned her, and immediately whines about Spratt having gone away unexpectedly, not having psychically intuited that she was returning right then. Tom fills her in on Edith’s absence, which Violet is fine with, because this family continues to not care about her in the least.

Hughes wishes Patmore luck on her tea as she leaves. Once she’s gone, Carson grumbles that they should all have luck, to avoid scandal. Hughes calls him an old curmudgeon. I’ll be honest, I think these two should have had a real row here, because his behaviour has been appalling, and she’s clearly been taking note of it, but no, of course not, all of a sudden she just seems kind of amused by him. Sigh.

Violet sits down with Mary and shares Tom’s theory that Mary acts like a terrible person because she’s unhappy and apparently the rest of the world must be unhappy when Princess Mary is. Again, while that does explain her behaviour, it does not excuse or justify it. Mary says that Henry’s not such a great catch, socially, but Violet’s more interested in love, which would have seemed completely out of character before her old Russian flame came back into the picture and awakened all those long-dormant feelings.

Mary admits that the real issue here is the driving. She’s already been widowed once by a wreck and can’t face that again. Ok, that’s totally valid. And as we’ve seen, with Henry’s lifestyle, that’s a very possible outcome. Henry’s offered to give racing up, but Mary doesn’t want him to do that, because she’s sure he’d start resenting her. Yeah, he probably would. See, folks? These are actually very good reasons why this relationship won’t work. So ease off, mmmkay? And Mary, start acting like a goddamn adult and GET YOURSELF UNDER CONTROL.

‘Can’t you find me some duke?’ she asks. ‘There must be one going spare (no, there really weren’t). So I can put Edith in her place?’ Oh for GOD’S SAKE. What place? You’ve already knocked her back down!

Violet tells Mary that she believes in love and urges her to make peace with her sister and then with herself.

The grownups head out to tea, and as they head to the cars, Carson asks Robert if they can not fire Thomas in the immediate future. Robert agrees.

Inside, Mary tells Tom that she sent Henry a telegram, summoning him by the next train. Still the princess, eh? Tom asks about Edith and Mary says that’s a bit more complicated. Which apparently means she’s not even going to try. All she can think to do is apologise, and she doesn’t think that’s enough. So, maybe try doing a bit more? But this is Mary, and she’s lazy as hell. She can’t even be bothered to go to Henry.

Edith arrives for the meeting with Jones and finds out that Cassandra Jones is, in fact, Spratt. Yeah, that seems likely. Though it’s not surprising to hear that that terrible and sexist advice was being doled out by a man.

Mary goes to the churchyard to have a little chat with Matthew’s grave, which is too hokey even for this show. Mary weepily says she loves Henry and wants Matthew to be happy for her. Well, he won’t be, Mary, because he’s dead. Dead people are neither happy nor sad.

She walks away and is met by Isobel. Mary admits she came to ask for Matthew’s forgiveness. Isobel guesses this means Mary wants to marry again, a prospect that delights Isobel.

The family enjoys their tea. Robert crams himself full of scones.

Henry shows up and is met by Tom and Mary in the library. Tom makes himself scarce, despite Henry telling him he didn’t have to leave. Part of me was hoping that this meant Henry was going to tell Mary his eyes have been opened and he’s pretty horrified by what he’s seen of her and wants nothing more to do with her, because for heaven’s sake, at some point this woman has to suffer some consequences for her actions, right?

Not today! Because apparently Julian Fellowes loves this little psycho, and I guess we’re supposed to love her and want her to win as well, so we get the worst, most stilted love scene I think I’ve ever seen. If we hadn’t heard enough arguments for why these two shouldn’t be together, this scene would have clinched it, because there is zero chemistry at work here. Matthew Goode is giving it his all, but it’s like Michelle Dockery just checked out entirely. Poor guy is acting against a block of wood. And dear God, the writing. It’s SO BAD!

So, they’re going to get married. Mary asks what they should do next, head to Gretna Green? What, you two can’t wait a couple of weeks? They don’t even need to do that because, get this, Henry got a bishop relative of his to issue a license for them, which he brought along the last time he swung by Downton (at Tom’s invitation, not hers) because he was just that confident he could browbeat her into marrying him.


Henry, that’s really creepy. Why do writers think that behaviour like that is manly and romantic? It’s not! It’s controlling!

Whatever. Of course, Mary is charmed, because this is written by someone who doesn’t understand anything at all, so they’re getting married on Saturday. No matter what she does, Mary always wins. Mary never has to pay any price. Mary always comes out on top. I think I’m going to throw up now.

Oh, let’s get this over with.

The Crawleys are photographed with Mrs Patmore outside her B&B.

The wedding day arrives. Tom’s best man, just as he was at her first wedding. Aww. Henry thanks him for being a friend during this whole ordeal.

Edith returns unexpectedly, having decided to be the bigger person. The WAY bigger person. Seriously, this damn family doesn’t deserve her. Mary asks for them to have a moment alone and Cora and Rosamond file out.

‘You know I’m sorry,’ Mary says. Oh my God, THAT IS NOT AN ACTUAL APOLOGY! That’s like people who say, ‘I’m sorry you’re upset.’ It’s just a bullshit workaround. Why is this so hard for her?

Edith plunks down and, when Mary says she has no idea why she did what she did, observes that Mary was unhappy, so she wanted Edith to be unhappy too.

‘Now you’re happy again you’ll be nicer…for a while,’ Edith continues. Ha! Has she got this creature pegged or what? That’s so true—Mary is fundamentally incapable of long-term happiness. Even Matthew quickly started to wear on her. If he hadn’t died, they’d have been at each others’ throats not long after that kid came along. I’d say it’ll be interesting to see how things actually pan out between her and Henry, but of course we won’t get to see that, will we? And let’s be honest, it won’t work out. He’ll either give up racing and get bored and resentful, or he’ll keep doing it and she’ll keep freaking out, and they’ll quickly realise they have very little in common and that two highly dominant personalities don’t go together terribly well, typically. In the real world, this would be a disaster.

Mary asks Edith why she decided to come and Edith answers that family ties are strong, and one day only they will remember Sybil or Matthew or Michael or any of the other people who have made up their lives. This is some serious tolerance on Edith’s part. I think most people would have just gone nuclear in this situation. It certainly would have been understandable. After all, she doesn’t really need Mary to share those memories, she has Tom and probably a few others. Are she and Mary really going to sit around in their old age reminiscing? I doubt it.

Mary asks Edith what she thinks Matthew would have made of this remarriage. Edith says he’d have been pleased, because he would have wanted her to be happy. She adds that Mary looks nice. Wow, Edith. Wow.

As they’re heading into the church, Merton tells Isobel he heard about her tea with Amelia. She says he heard right, and that the next steps are up to Larry. Violet backs her on that.

Henry and Mary get married, she looking bored out of her mind. Hey, Harriet Walter’s amongst the guests! That’s a nice little surprise cameo and a little throwback, because I’d actually forgotten until now that she’s Henry’s aunt.

Afterwards, petals are thrown, people applaud, Henry and Mary climb into a carriage. He promises she won’t regret this.

‘There they go, a new couple in a new world,’ Robert says. Seriously? Who talks like that? Nobody.

Robert continues that it seems all their ships are coming into port. Cora reminds him that Edith is still heartbroken and traumatised, but he’s not too worried about that, because he thinks she’ll be just fine.

Edith, meanwhile, is watching the kids play around Sybil’s grave. She smiles fondly at them.

Ok, I’m going to refrain from making comments about the overall season until after the Christmas special, but surely I wasn’t the only person out there who wasn’t screaming in frustration at that ending? Mary gets a happy ending and a white wedding? The everliving hell is this? ARRRGH!

And come on, Hughes really needs to let Carson have it. He’s a monster.

6 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: Truth and Consequences

  1. This recap (and all of this season’s) was perfect. I was rolling my eyes pretty much the entire time. How did this show get so bad? The writing, the acting, agh! And poor Edith 🙁 I’m crossing my fingers she gets a happy ending in the Christmas special because come on.

    I really don’t know how people like Mary’s character. And the whole scene with her and Henry at the end was just awful. It was so unbelievable and corny. I think after all this is done, I’m going to rewatch S1 and pretend that was it. Ok, maybe I’ll watch S2 as well because I barely remember what happened.

    The one sad thing about Downton ending is I won’t have these recaps to look forward to!

      1. Heh so I just rewatched the entire series (started in Feb and slowly made my way to finishing it this week whenever I had a spare moment) just to see how bad the show got over its span. And then I watched Gosford Park last night just so I could wash it all off with some good Fellowes writing. I was struck by how dramatically different the treatment of masters/servants are in Gosford vs Downton. I guess it’s easier to wrap up stories in a movie vs a show but good heavens should Downton have just ended many seasons ago.

  2. To compose a narrative in which Edith has nothing to apologize for is twisted and sick. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was by this point. The hallmark of adulthood is maturity, and one cannot be mature without owning to one’s behavior, especially in regards to the feelings of others. Neither Mary nor Edith acted like adults – and for Edith to behave as if the letter to the Turkish Embassy never existed is beyond all probability.

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