Downton Abbey: You Know Nothing, Thomas Barrow!

GwenDaisy_3470268bPreviously on Downton Abbey: Carson and Hughes got married, Anna got knocked up, Edith fired her editor, and lo, many seasons ago, teenage Sybil got all girl power and helped one of the housemaids get a better job.

Branson walks around the estate, just checking things out, then goes in to breakfast and reassures Robert that he didn’t abandon America because he quarrelled with his cousin or anything, he just didn’t really care for America. He does at least have the grace to comment that he hopes he didn’t steal the thunder from the newlyweds, but Robert, of course, thinks everything revolves around his family and says he’s sure it gave the day an added lift. Edith asks Mary what’ll happen now that Tom’s back and sure to step back into the role of agent. Tom quickly says he doesn’t want to go treading on any toes. Oh, Rosamond’s coming for a visit, and for some bizarre reason Edith is convinced it’s so she can throw in on this boring as hell hospital business, like Rosamond would travel hundreds of miles just for that.

Belowstairs, Patmore tells Baxter that Sgt Willis is coming to speak with her later, but she doesn’t know what about. As soon as she leaves the others begin wondering what the police want with Baxter, and Thomas gets his hackles up over not having been informed first because he’s acting butler these days, while Carson’s off in romantic Scarborough on his honeymoon.

Cora gets a note from Violet, asking her to invite Lady Shackleton to dinner. Yay, Harriet Walter’s back! Cora thinks it’s so Violet will have someone on her side in this hospital nonsense. What now? What does Lady Shackleton have to do with it? What will having her on Violet’s side accomplish? And why do these people think that everyone is interested in this ridiculous, small-town matter? Are they really that far up their own asses that they think all everyone cares about is them and their business?

In the agents’ office, Mary asks Tom what his intentions are and offers to act as joint agent. He wants to find something else to do, something not entirely connected to Downton. She urges him to do whatever makes him happy, which is nice of her.

Patmore shows Willis into Hughes’s office to meet with Baxter and then really obnoxiously tries to insert herself into the situation, getting all offended when Baxter asks her to please leave them to speak privately, which is totally her right. She brings Molesley in, though, because he knows  the deal and isn’t one to gossip. Willis tells Baxter that Coyle, the man who got her stealing, is on bail for theft and the evidence against him is thin, so they really need Baxter to testify against him so they can finally lock this asshole up and stop him preying on young women and getting them to do his dirty work. For some unfathomable reason, she doesn’t instantly leap at the opportunity. Baxter, what the hell is wrong with you? Willis leaves her to consider it and Molesley urges her to do this. ‘You don’t know what you’re asking,’ she says melodramatically. He reminds her that evil flourishes when the good sit on their hands. I really don’t understand her hesitation at all.

Cora reports to Robert that Lady S is happy to come to dinner as long as she can bring her nephew with her. What’s up with these people just inviting extra relatives to other peoples’ houses? Emily Post is shocked! Cora agreed, because whatever, and in an attempt to invent some tension here, nobody knows who the guy is. Really? Cora didn’t ask? A complete stranger is coming to her house? That’s weird and unrealistic.

Tom comes in and reports that some tenant is leaving, so Mary’s handing the woman’s cottage over to the Carsons. Cora mentions Yew Tree Farm and asks if they can find a new tenant for it. Mary wants them to farm it themselves. Cora doesn’t push it just now.

Anna and Mary chat and Anna reveals that, incredibly, she still hasn’t told her husband she’s pregnant yet, even though she’s apparently putting on enough weight he’s starting to notice. Yeah, he’s not stupid, you know, Anna. He’s probably going to figure it out pretty quickly, if he hasn’t already. Bates himself comes in and Mary asks him to fetch the footmen so the suitcases she and Anna are packing can be taken down. Both footmen have gone into the village, so only Bates and Anna are available. Mary quickly and super obviously says that Anna can’t carry them because they’re too heavy, and Bates gets this really strange look on his face that’s half, ‘you’re not being as clever as you think, here, ‘ and half ‘you do know I have a bum leg, right?’ Though considering that leg injury comes and goes nowadays, I’ll forgive Mary for forgetting about it.

Just out of curiosity, where is Mary going that she needs two suitcases? I don’t think we ever actually find out.

Violet has Lady S to tea and gossip about Lady S’s bitchy daughter-in-law.

Violet: Speaking of daughters-in-law, do you know what your task is tonight?

Lady S: To persuade Cora that all change at the hospital is BAD, BAD, BAD! Uh, wait a sec, why is change bad?

Violet: Because it takes control away from MEEEEEEE!

Lady S gives her a really sceptical look and Violet is indignant and asks if she’s there to ‘help or to irritate’. Lady S backs down, but considering there’s not a single person supporting Violet’s position anymore, she’s starting to seem more and more irrational. Not to say it’s out of character for her to dig in her heels, it’s just that I’m starting to wonder why Lady S, who seems quite reasonable, even agreed to this.

Also, since the dinner seems to be tonight, I guess Mary wasn’t going anywhere. Does she just fill her empty days packing suitcases and just driving around with them? Maybe she does.

Thomas goes into the servants’ hall and calls for volunteers to clean the rooms Carson and Hughes (the Carsons, really) will inhabit until the cottage is ready. Andy jumps at the opportunity. Daisy totally randomly and ditzily says she wishes she knew how long Mason will have to wait to move into Yew Tree Farm, which, you’ll recall, is a plan that she completely made up in her own head. Thomas disabuses her of this, telling her that the Crawleys intend to farm the land themselves (which conjures up some hilarious images of Mary trying to plough a field). Daisy insists that this is so terribly wrong, because Cora implied that Mason would have the farm (which is not the case at all). She turns and stomps out. Andy splits to go check out the cottage, once again turning down Thomas’s offer of company.

Edith drives Rosamond back from the station and fills her in on the hospital borefest. Rosamond doesn’t care at all: she’s in town because she wants Edith to join her on the board of Hillcroft, a college for women from ‘modest backgrounds.’ She’s meeting with their treasurer, John Harding, who lives near Downton. He’s a self-made man and close to Edith’s age, but lest we get all excited and think that maybe Edith, like Mary, is going to have multiple people interested in her, he’s married.

Molesley catches Cora upstairs and asks if he can speak with her about Baxter. So much for him not gossiping. Way to make me a liar, Molesley!

Downstairs, Daisy is absolutely murdering some mashed potatoes. She starts shrieking about how the family has let Mason down, getting his hopes up and then reneging. Oh, for heaven’s sake! Daisy, you got Mason’s hopes up! This is on you, because you have the self-control of a toddler. Take some damn responsibility, will you? She’s really just bugging the hell out of me.[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Daisy, you got Mason’s hopes up! This is on you, because you have the self-control of a toddler. Take some damn responsibility, will you?[/cryout-pullquote]

Lady S and her nephew show up, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the nephew is Henry Talbot, or Matthew Goode, for those of us keeping track of the cute guest stars. Mary’s quite excited to see him, as she should be, and is so distracted by the hot that she starts getting a bit stupid, asking him if he knew Lady S was bringing him to Downton.

Henry: Uh, yes? Because normal people like to have an idea where they’re being taken for dinner?

Meanwhile, Rosamond has asked Cora if they can have the Hardings for lunch, and because she’s super generous with her meals, Cora says of course. Isobel and Edith think the college sounds grand, and they express their enthusiasm in some extremely rote lines, delivered as poorly as they deserve.

Tom’s excited to have found a kindred spirit in Henry. They can both talk cars! Again, Mary gets a bit strange and dumb: ‘So you really are a car man? I wasn’t sure how much you meant it.’ Huh? Why would he make that up? And I’m pretty sure they already covered this exact territory at the end of the shooting weekend.

And in corner number three, Violet asks Lady S if there’s a chance Henry could come into the Shrewsbury title.

Lady S: No chance. 40 men would have to drop dead.

Violet: No problem, we’ll just invite them to spend the night here.

Robert scolds his mother for being mercenary and she tells him that Mary needs more than a handsome face and a ‘hand on the gear stick.’ Woah, there. Robert’s amazed his mother knows what a gear stick is. ‘I know more than you think,’ Violet informs him. Wow. (And, isn’t Mary rich? Didn’t she inherit money from Matthew? Eh, whatever, inheritances on this show go all over the place).

Belowstairs, Baxter yells at Molesley for speaking to Cora and Molesley says she will almost certainly regret keeping silent. She stomps off and Anna notes that Molesley looks a bit glum. She then starts to gasp a little in pain and takes off herself.

Over dinner, poor Lady S is being assailed from all sides and refuses to stand firmly with any camp. Probably because this is in no way her fight. Edith and Tom laugh at Violet’s craziness and talk about Tom’s future. Now he’s met Henry he’s thinking of getting into the racing world. Hey, it would make more sense than him becoming the estate’s agent ever did.

Mary asks Henry if he really makes a living at this car thing and he says he does, pretty much. He races on a team.

More hospital talk. Cora says that they need to consider how to get the locals the best treatment. ‘That’s not the point!’ Violet shrieks nonsensically. Isobel says that’s exactly the point, actually. Edith says that Isobel’s entitled to put up an argument. ‘Of course she is, she’s just not entitled to win it!’ yells the unstable old lady. Jesus, what a tiny megalomaniac.

As he’s leaving, Henry hands Mary his card and asks her to look him up the next time she’s in London. She unnecessarily informs him that she’s totally uninterested in cars.

Henry: Please, like I’m interested in you for conversation.

On his way up to bed, Robert grabs his stomach and tells Cora he can’t drink port anymore. That sucks, Robert.

Baxter and Thomas chill outside and Thomas gets all philosophical, saying he feels a lack of reason. He has no idea why he’s here or doing what he’s doing. Heavens, does anyone? Aren’t those the mysteries of life? Baxter pretty much says that, and he oddly jumps to saying that she has friends. I’m not sure how those thoughts follow. He admits he’s envious of her for her friend-making ability, though I’d point out that his man has spent most of the time we’ve known him trying really hard to make as many people dislike him as possible. Baxter says she envies him for not caring what people say and he pouts that he does care. Since when?

Willis is back and Baxter is bizarrely refusing to testify. Molesley tells her this is her chance to do something about Coyle. ‘Chance for what? Revenge?’ she wonders. The hell? Your chance to put a dangerous thief behind bars where he belongs, Baxter! This is not just about you! Willis, thankfully, tells her this is about protecting other girls from being tricked into a life of crime. He tells Baxter that two of the other women Coyle took in are prostitutes now because they can’t get any other job, and another one killed herself. Way to think of others, Baxter. Man, it’s not just the Crawleys who are incredibly self-absorbed. This is what happens when you step inside the Downton Bubble. Run, Henry!

Baxter folds like a bedspread. Molesley asks what changed her mind.

Baxter: The script. I mean, the sudden thought of those other girls. Poor girls.

The Hardings have arrived for lunch, and holy crap, Mrs Harding is Gwen! Not a face I expected to see back here! Thomas opens the door and there’s this great awkward moment of recognition between the two, but he says nothing and ushers them in. Anna runs across Gwen in the hall and of course recognises Gwen (they did used to share a room, after all). There’s a hurried catch-up and Gwen says she didn’t realise they were coming to Downton until the last moment, because they were coming to see someone named Mrs Painswick (Rosamond). The Hardings go into the drawing room and Thomas snarks to Anna about Gwen not having time for her old friends. Anna laughingly asks when Gwen was ever a friend of his. Seriously.

In the drawing room, everyone’s standing very awkwardly as Rosamond talks about Hillcroft and Mary frowns and notes that Mrs H looks familiar. Gwen says they haven’t met exactly and then pivots back to the college.

Downstairs, Patmore and Daisy tell Andy who Gwen is, and Daisy sniffs that now Gwen’s all ‘lunch upstairs’ while the rest of them are still stuck downstairs. Hey, Daisy, you’ve had opportunities to leave. It’s your own fault you didn’t take them.

Small talk upstairs. Isobel asks Gwen what her life story is and Gwen tells her about becoming a secretary but always regretting she couldn’t go much further, thanks to her lack of education. Isobel hears her. Everyone goes through for lunch and Tom draws Gwen aside so they can have a nice ‘can you believe we both used to be servants here? Funny old life, that!’ moment.

Patmore wonders if Gwen is going to come down and say hi, and Thomas sulkily says that she’s too grand to speak to the likes of them. Whatever. You just saw her chatting quite chummily with Anna, Thomas.

At lunch, Thomas straight-up calls Gwen out at the table, asking if she remembers Carson. Everyone gets reaaaaally quiet and Cora asks what he’s talking about. He informs Cora that Gwen used to work there. This would have been such a huge no-no: staff DID NOT address guests at the table. Ever. He’s about to say more, but Gwen cuts him off and tells her own story, about how she used to be a housemaid there, before the war. Everyone’s super cheery about it; Robert seeming to think it’s rather a lark.

Molesley and Andy tell the others downstairs what Thomas did, and Daisy is surprisingly, well, surprised. I mean, you’d think that would be the least surprising thing Thomas did this whole episode. Thomas comes in and Bates congratulates him on spoiling Gwen’s luncheon. Thomas claims he didn’t know Gwen planned to lie her way through the afternoon, which wasn’t what she was doing at all, she was just very reasonably choosing not to march into the drawing room and yell, ‘hey! I totally used to clean this place!’ Bates calls BS on that, saying that Thomas is just jealous because she made good, while he’s still stuck in service, in a job that looks far from secure. Anna warns Thomas that Robert won’t like the trick he pulled.

Of course, everyone upstairs thinks Gwen is fab and apologise for not recognising her. She mentions Sybil and how Sybil’s efforts got her her first job and everyone’s like, ‘ooooh, Sybil!’ and Tom gets this sweet sad-but-fondly-happy face on that makes me want to hug him. ‘Thank you, Barrow, for reminding us of Mrs Harding’s time here,’ Mary says feelingly. Hee!

Of course, Gwen goes downstairs to say hi to everyone and Anna asks for all the details of her now rather cushy married life, which apparently includes more than one child. While they’re busy, Daisy pulls Tom aside and asks what the plan is for Yew Tree Farm. She reminds him that Mason’s son died for his country and the least they can do is help his aged father. That’s the most sensible thing she’s done in ages.

Robert takes Thomas aside and tells him he knows he was trying to catch Gwen out earlier and he doesn’t like it. Way to go, Thomas. If your job wasn’t insecure before, it sure as hell is now. ‘You are your own worst enemy,’ Baxter warns him.

That evening, Mary tells Anna that the thought of Sybil made her realise what a petty bitch she actually is. Anna can’t indulge this right now, because she’s in pain again. Hurrah, this gives Mary a chance to put her ‘I want to be a better person’ plan in action! This is fast becoming a frustrating thing about this show: lower-class characters are often just used as tools to make the wealthier people seem more giving and generous. We see it with Mason as well. Anna’s understandably getting a bit hysterical, so Mary takes charge and says they’ll go up to London and see the doctor immediately. Mary offers to tell everyone they’re racing south for a mysterious medical procedure for her, which shouldn’t raise any eyebrows at all.

Tom runs into Mary as she’s on her way out and Mary tells him Anna may be miscarrying and needs to get to London. He offers to drive them to York to get the last train. First, though, she stops by her parents’ room to tell them and Rosamond that she’s going to London and by the way, can they stay at Rosamond’s place? She says yes, of course, and, bizarrely, nobody at all questions why Mary would need to rush to London to see a doctor in the middle of the night. You’d think that Robert, at least—knowing what he does of his daughter’s tendency to sneak away for dirty weekends—might at least briefly wonder if this is some sort of abortion mission. I mean, what the heck else could it be, that couldn’t be handled closer to home and during normal working hours? For that matter, why can’t Mary tell them the truth the same way she told Tom? Just tell them not to mention anything to Bates and I’m sure they wouldn’t. This lying is just nonsensical, and everyone’s laid-back reaction to it is truly bizarre.

Bates, too, thinks there’s something fishy about this and asks Anna if she’s hiding something. She says she isn’t. Mary comes out and she and Anna get in the car and drive away.

The servants, too, wonder what’s going on, but Baxter says it’s none of their business. Bates notes the massive chip Daisy’s toting around on her shoulder and asks her what her problem is. ‘I’ve had enough,’ she says, going on to claim that Mr Mason has been cheated of Yew Tree Farm and saying she’s going to go have it out with Cora. Oh, come on. Remember how abashed she was after going after the new owner of Mason’s old farm? It’s ridiculous that she’s just completely forgotten about that and become a firebrand all over again, especially considering nobody ever offered Mason Yew Tree Farm, this was totally something that Daisy cooked up in her fevered little brain! The others try to talk her out of it.

The family has gathered in the drawing room and Edith thinks this is just Mary being dramatic. Robert agrees that she didn’t seem at all ill. Cora brings up the farm and says she wants to offer it to Mason. Robert knows, but points out that the man’s quite elderly. Cora claims he’ll have Daisy to help him. He will? Is Daisy leaving her job now? Edith suggests they wait for Tom to get back so they can discuss it with them. Cora plans to use emotional manipulation and ask him what Sybil would do.

Daisy’s preparing to go upstairs and yell at Cora, despite everyone—even Thomas—trying to persuade her otherwise. Daisy, the last time you did something stupid like this you made things worse for Mason. Do you have some kind of memory problem?

Tom gets home, telling the others that they made the last train. Robert tells him he missed a good dinner. What? Mary and Anna left before dinner? Why was Mary in her nightgown, then? When does the last train to London leave York? Once again, the timeline on this show is a mess. Oh, and Robert trots out the ‘you’re a braver man than I am’ quote, marking at least the third time that same line’s been used on this show (twice by Robert, once by Bates). Someone buy Julian Fellowes another quote of the day calendar, please!

They tell him about the Yew Tree Farm situation and Cora mentions Sybil and Tom’s all, yeah, give the old man the farm. He even offers to ‘handle’ Mary on the matter.

Cora leaves to go to bed and is intercepted by Daisy, who’s accompanied by Baxter, who tries to soften things by telling Cora that Daisy’s been very upset lately. Cora is either totally clueless about what’s happening here, or she’s trying to give Daisy an out, because she says she doesn’t know what Daisy’s doing there. Before Daisy can make an ass of herself and get fired, Robert comes out and tells Daisy that Yew Tree Farm is all Mason’s. Yay! Baxter bundles Daisy back downstairs and Cora tells Robert she thinks she just dodged something, but she’s not sure what. You’re not, Cora? Robert grimaces in pain again.

Mary waits nervously for Dr Ryder in her aunt’s drawing room. He comes down and tells her that Anna’s resting, and they’ve managed to save the pregnancy. He even put that stitch in, and now he’s cautiously optimistic. He tells Mary to let Anna rest as much as possible. Mary thanks him for coming out so early and he tells her it’ll be reflected in his bill. I’m a little surprised he’s not giving at least a tiny bit of side-eye here, because it would have been really unusual for a woman of Mary’s class to be this invested in the health (especially such personal health) of her lady’s maid. And honestly, Mary seems more concerned about this than she ever has about a member of her own family. Why is she so attached to Anna? I’m not being cheeky, I’m really wondering.

Daisy muses to Patmore that life is funny sometimes: yesterday she totally hated Cora, and now they’re besties again! Seriously, I’m starting to think that Daisy’s a bit on the, well, slow side. She really does act like she has the intellect of a much, much younger person sometimes. You could argue it’s because she’s been kind of sheltered and uneducated, except she’s been through and experienced quite a lot and I just feel like she should have matured a bit more than this.

Andy says he envies Mr Mason, because he totally wants to be a country boy himself. He and Daisy exchange a fairly loaded look, and then he gets out of there quickly, before it gets awkward.

Robert asks Thomas if there’s a welcome planned for the Carsons when they return home later that day. There is, in the servants’ hall. Robert offers to bring the family down and they’ll have a cold dinner. Thomas admits he’s enjoyed his time as butler and Robert says he hopes Thomas learned something from it. He tells Thomas that Carson is a kind man (no, he’s not. He’s a petty bully, Robert. And he’s creepily obsessed with your oldest daughter.) Anyway, Robert says that’s why people are loyal to Carson, and Thomas would do well to learn that.

Mary meets up with Henry for some dinner at the Royal Automobile Club, which looks quite swish indeed. They’re shown to a table and Mary repeats that she’s not big on cars, which makes sense for someone whose husband died in one. He asks her what she’s into and she says she likes her work on the estate. She expects him to be shocked, but he isn’t. Like Edith’s admirer, he’s impressed. They flirt a bit, and I have to admit it’s rather fun and they do have a nice spark, these two.

Mason tours the farm and tells Daisy it’s marvellous and he loves it and is relieved that now he’ll have a place to rest his bones.

The servants decorate downstairs ahead of the Carsons’ return. Anna comes in, smiling, and Bates gently draws her aside and says he’s pretty sure she’s pregnant and that’s what took her to London in such a rush. She reassures him she’s fine and things are all good now. He’s delighted. She’s delighted. How nice to see these two actually smiling!

The Carsons come home and everyone applauds.

Violet arrives upstairs to find Rosamond and Isobel and Cora just sitting around chatting and immediately accuses them of plotting, because she’s totally paranoid now. Rosamond points out that plotting’s more her strength. Violet says that she’s seen governments take more and more control of things over the years and it never seems to end well. Au contraire, Violet. For instance, governments taking control of healthcare has worked out incredibly well for the most part. Certainly better than leaving it up to the free market (that is, the insurance companies) which means healthcare for the well-to-do and everyone else can just die in the street or lose their homes if they ever get sick. Ok, yes, I will grant you that too much control by governments can be quite problematic, but that’s not even really the issue here. The government isn’t taking over the hospital, a larger hospital is taking over, and offering quite a lot in return that will benefit the people that live in this area. The people who can’t afford to go to London for treatment by a fancy doctor whenever something goes wrong. Mary can’t take them all under her wing!

‘The point of a great family is to protect our freedoms,’ Violet condescendingly tells Cora, because everyone assumes that Cora, being American, can’t possibly understand these things or learn them herself despite having lived most of her life in England now. ‘That’s why the barons made King John sign the Magna Carta.’ I don’t even know what she’s talking about anymore. The barons made King John sign the Magna Carta because he was wildly abusing his power and refusing to listen to what the majority wanted or act in the best interests of his country. Sound familiar, Violet?

Robert, Tom, and Edith come in and invite the ladies down to see the Carsons. Mary’s been told about the Yew Tree situation, and she’s annoyed but ultimately doesn’t care all that much. Violet laughs that she simply can’t get her tongue around the name ‘Mrs Carson.’ You can’t? Why not? This is not that hard. Cora tells her they just have to learn. Seriously, people, it’s not like you have that much else to do!

Everyone heads downstairs and joins the party. Rosamond asks Edith when she plans to appoint a new editor, and Tom reasonably asks Edith why she can’t be the editor. No good reason at all. Edith wants to be a ‘co-editor’ and find a woman to co-edit with her. Violet thinks this is a slippery slope towards women taking positions of command in war and all sorts of chaos, but Mary weighs in and says it’s a good idea, since it is a magazine for women. Woah, that may be the very first time ever that Mary has agreed with Edith! Take note, everyone! (Also, was it always a magazine for women? I thought it used to be a newspaper with all sorts of hard-driving stuff in it, but the issue Edith was putting together last week basically seemed like Tatler.)

Rosamond congratulates the Carsons and then comments to Mary that she simply can’t get used to calling Hughes Mrs Carson. Oh, give it a rest, everyone! The woman’s only been married a couple of days, you’ll get used to it! Apply yourselves!

Rosamond tells Robert that Violet was feeling tired, so she’s heading home. Then there’s some ominous talk about both Violet’s and Robert’s funerals, so you know one of them is on the way out before the end of the series.

The Carsons tell Robert and Cora that they worry it’ll be confusing if they’re called Carson and Mrs Carson. No it isn’t! Why is this such an issue? One of you has Mrs in front of your name and is a woman! Not confusing at all![cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]These people are so feeble-minded the Carsons have decided to continue being known as Carson and Mrs Hughes so as not to tax these wee little aristocratic brains[/cryout-pullquote]

But apparently it is. These people are so feeble-minded the Carsons have decided to continue being known as Carson and Mrs Hughes so as not to tax these wee little aristocratic brains. Robert actually says, ‘hallelujah! You’ve made me a happy man!’ Why? Because you didn’t have to…learn a not-new name? What’s wrong with you? Is there lead in the drinking water at this house?

Robert proposes a toast, announcing that the newlyweds will still be known as Carson and Mrs Hughes. Rosamond insanely says that ‘there really is a God’ (whut?) and Anna says that’ll be a relief. (again, whut?). ‘To no one more than his lordship,’ jokes Molesley, because apparently he’s the only person who fully realises that Robert doesn’t have two brain cells left to rub together. Maybe that stomach problem is referred pain from a series of strokes that are slowly making Robert go brain dead or causing various malfunctions or something, because otherwise this makes zero sense.

Carson goes to take one last sad look at his old room, then takes the little name card off the door and returns to the party.



7 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: You Know Nothing, Thomas Barrow!

  1. Jesus, what a tiny megalomaniac.

    You’ve just realised? all the signs were there from series 1 episode 1. Everything has to be the way she wants it. It makes me laugh when people witter that Robert can’t accept change when his mother’s stuck somewhere in the mid 19c and her delusions that what she wants still matters.

  2. I really love the time and details you put into your recaps. Thank you!!
    A few comments– I know Carson comes off as priggish, but I feel more charitably toward him than you do. I think he’s trying to hold to his little piece of the world and is afraid that to show too much humanity makes him vulnerable, which to him is intolerable.

    As for Thomas, that guy’s an a**hat. I can’t remember the last selfless thing he did, or has he ever done something selfless? He’s always snarking, conniving, blackmailing, angling… What would be the point of outing Gwen? It’s not as if she was lording her move up in society over him. Sheesh.

    I can’t figure Mary out, but I suppose she might truly care about Anna, putting aside their employer-employee relationship. Anna has done a lot of Mary’s dirty work for her, including moving a dead body. That kind of loyalty should be recognized and rewarded.

    I feel like we’re being set up for Robert to have some kind of fatal illness, after which all of the women will run the abbey, and a lot more capably than Robert did. Or Mary and Edith will both find new mates and they’ll all be one big happy extended family.

    1. It’s not really Clarkson’s priggishness that bothers me (heck, I’m a bit of a prig myself, who am I to judge?) it’s the fact that he has a nasty habit of resorting to bullying and flat-out cruel behaviour towards those who are in fairly helpless positions. We’re seeing it now with Thomas, a man whose career is disappearing and is in a pretty bad spot if he does get dismissed, and we’ve seen it before with Molesley, when he was at his most humbled. No matter how threatened you feel about all the CHAAAAAAANGE going on in the world, that sort of behaviour is not acceptable.

      Oh, Thomas. You never change, do you?

  3. I can totally understand Baxter not wanting to testify. She’s been badly abused by this man, and it is quite common for abuse victims not to want to have to be around their abuser, if they’ve managed to escape. It can also be quite dangerous for an abuse victim to confront an abuser in this way – it lets him know where to find her again, and it gives him an excuse to come after her again.

    In addition, her previous experiences in court have not been good, so I can see her wanting to avoid the court system. And she’s seen how Anna was abused by the court system, and knows about how Bates was abused by the court system.

    Overall, she’s managed to put a difficult past behind her, and she doesn’t want revenge, she wants to leave the past in the past.

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