On the latest “Downton Abbey” Season 4 episode, the Anna-Bates takes a leap forward, while the Crawleys continue to be everyone’s favorite aristocrats. Spoiler warning — don’t keep reading if you don’t want to know what happens.
There’s not a ton going on upstairs this week. A tenant, Mr. Drew, has died and the Crawleys want to take over his land and farm it for themselves because he had fallen behind in the payments. But when Mr. Drew’s son wants to take up the tenancy and wins Robert over with his talk of a partnership between the farmers and the estate, they agree to let Mr. Drew the younger take over — though Robert gives him money to make the account current on the sly.
Mary and Tom find out about it but they don’t mind. Tom, as a socialist, is all about helping the farmers, while Mary just likes it when her father does something sweet.
Speaking of Tom, he’s entertaining the thought of taking Sybbie to America, since in York she’d grow up trapped between being the granddaughter of a Lord and the daughter of an “uppity chauffeur.” We love Mary forever and ever for saying, “We can’t lose you, Tom.”
The Tom-Mary friendship has been one of the best things about Season 4 and we desperately hope it continues.
Mr. Bates threatens to leave the estate if Mrs. Hughes doesn’t tell him what happened to Anna — the way he sees it, she no longer loves him for some reason. But Mrs. Hughes tells him the real reason and he takes it about as well as you’d expect, angry and also crying, his heart breaking for his wife.
However, Mrs. Hughes and Anna both swear to him it wasn’t Mr. Green, but rather a stranger who was lying in wait in the servants’ hall. He pretends to take that at face value, but vows later to Mrs. Hughes that this is hardly over and done with.
You kind of forget how scary Bates can be when he wants to be. However, he’s nothing but a prince when he confronts Anna, praising her strength and telling her that of course she’s not spoiled for him. It was a lovely scene — you can see the relief flooding into Anna at being able to be honest with him and be enveloped in his arms.
In another really intriguing storyline, Baxter is the new lady’s maid for Lady Cora. She’s a friend of Thomas’ and she’s the same kind of deliciously sly villain that he is. She gets in good with Cora by praising both America and Lady Sybil and Thomas has her on high alert for any goings-on upstairs.
We kind of wish the show had just started the season with her. The nonsense with Edna Braithwaite was a dumb storyline that went nowhere. This is much more interesting because Baxter is definitely O’Brien 2.0, but with the added bonus of being well-liked downstairs. We cannot wait to see what she and Thomas cook up.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- There was also the bit about Alfred’s Ritz cooking school tryout, but it went absolutely nowhere. He got his letter for the test, Jimmy was snarky, Daisy was smitten, Ivy likes Jimmy, Alfred didn’t get into his school, Jimmy was snarky some more and Daisy was happy that Alfred isn’t leaving. Lordy, can they give these four something else to do?
- Lady Edith was hardly around this episode, but she did go to see a doctor in London — we think that was a doctor’s plaque on the outside of the building. Hmmm.
- Dr. Clarkson and Cousin Isobel get Lady Violet to hire a young boy, Pegg, as a new gardener and then she thinks he stole her valuable letter opener. But she agrees not to fire him until there’s more proof.
- Lady Mary was quite sad to read that Lord Gillingham has announced his engagement to that Mabel person, but she was delighted to see Evelyn Napier arrive for a visit (while in town on business). So Mary seems to be getting back into the swing of things.
- Also, the latest pictures tell us that it looks as though Jack Ross’ band is hired for Robert’s birthday party next week. Fun times.
What did you think of the latest “Downton Abbey” episode?