'Downton Abbey' Season 4 episode 6: Lady Edith makes a choice
Lord Grantham is largely absent from this episode, as he leaves for America to help his brother-in-law Harold through the Teapot Dome scandal. He takes Thomas with him as his valet because Lady Mary asks him to.
Why? Because Mrs. Hughes doesn't think Bates should be away from Anna with her (and their marriage) in such a fragile state, so Mrs. Hughes tells Mary what happened to Anna so that Mary will help out.
Mary is, of course, horrified at the news and very kind to Bates, telling him it wasn't his fault. She also urges Anna to go to the authorities but respects Anna's wishes to leave it be. Anna also has her own crying-in-the-hallway scene that is just as heartbreaking as Bates' scene last week.
Speaking of Mary, she has her very own "It Happened One Night" love-hate romance going on with Charles Blake. Blake discovers the newly purchased pigs have tipped over their water trough and are severely dehydrated, so he and Mary work tirelessly through the night, trudging through mud and poop to save the little piggies, with Mary earning more of Blake's respect with every bucket of water she hauls into the pigpen.
Edith quips in the opening scenes that Blake "is not under Mary's spell." Well, he is now.
Speaking of Edith, she is not having quite as pleasant a time as Mary, as she plans to have an abortion in London with Mr. Gregson still missing. All they know is that he arrived in Munich and went out after he checked into his hotel, but then the trail goes cold.
Edith can't bring the shame upon her family of having a child out of wedlock, but Aunt Rosamund susses out what Edith is up to and urges her not to choose that path -- and in the end, Edith can't go through with it.
Meanwhile, on the latest episode of the Lady Violet/Cousin Isobel spinoff (isn't that almost what it seems like?), the Dowager Countess has come down with bronchitis and isn't looking particularly long for the world. But good old Isobel nurses her back to health, which Violet grudgingly appreciates.
By episode's end, Lord Gillingham and his odious valet, Mr. Green, are back at the estate, and Anna is understandably upset. She isn't great at hiding her emotions, so it seems likely that someone is going to put it together that it was Green, and not an intruder, who raped her (though we all kind of know that Bates has already figured it out).
Mrs. Hughes basically tells Green to shut his big, fat mouth and stay out of everyone's way, which is a lovely small way that she gets to stand up to him.
Oh, and Alfred comes to visit and now that Ivy has seen what a lout Jimmy is, she appreciates the lanky former footman in all his good manners. Daisy is jealous some more.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- Also in London is Lady Rose having a nice date with Jack, which is adorable and romantic, but we're also really waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one.
- In another side plot, it was nice to see Branson out in the world of politics again. It's understandable that his heart wouldn't be in it as he grieved for Lady Sybil, but it's time for him to start having a life outside the Crawley family.
- Did the show have you thinking it might kill off the Dowager Countess? There haven't been any deaths so far this season, so maybe the show is due and she is an elderly character. Fortunately she's still alive and kicking, though it would not be a surprise if she is killed off before the series ends for good.
- I really like the Lady Edith pregnancy storyline. Laura Carmichael continues to sink her teeth into the meaty material, plus it's fitting with the characters that A) Editih would consider an abortion to save her family the shame, B) that she would be unable to go through with getting rid of the baby that belongs to the man she loves and C) Aunt Rosamund would be supportive of her.
Robert: "Goodbye, Tom. Look after all my womenfolk, including Isis. [sotto voce] Especially Isis."
Mary: "I'm not aloof, am I?"
Anna: "Do you want me to answer truthfully or as a lady's maid?"
Violet: "I want another nurse. I insist, this one talks too much. She's like a drunken vicar."