Downton Abbey series 6 started last night. This will be my last episode 1 recap (sad face), but I am happy to see it back. As usual, this recap contains spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the episode.
- Mary (Michelle Dockery) is blackmailed (again): Miss Bevan (Nichola Burley) was a maid who worked at the hotel where Mary had her “test marriage” with Tony Gillingham. She wants money, otherwise she will share with the world that Mary shared a bed with a then unmarried Tony. Miss Bevan is ultimately sent away by Robert (Hugh Bonneville) who gives her much less than expected. If Miss Bevan talks, she goes to jail. Robert then admits than his daughter is a capable adult who can bring the Crawleys into the future. Perhaps Robert is not the dinosaur of the family.
- Edith (Laura Carmichael) is quite the modern woman. Single mother, working woman, and most of all, dealing with a male editor who is not content to work for a woman.
- The war of words between Violet (Dame Maggie Smith) and Isobel (Penelope Wilton) continues. Both are part of the hospital committee. While one is content to let a larger hospital in Yorkshire take over their small hospital, the other will fight to keep it in local hands. Who will win? Only time will tell.
- While there has been talk of the changing world over the last five seasons, it has come face to face with the characters. Sir John (Adrian Lukis, Mr. Wickham in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice) is an old friend of the Crawley’s. Forced to sell everything, Robert, Cora and their daughters go to the auction of Sir John’s home and possessions. There js nothing like seeing your neighbor being forced to sell everything to remind that the world you knew is gone. Sir John warns Robert to not make the same mistakes he did.
- Rose (Lily James) and Tom (Allen Leech) have not returned to the Abbey, but are spoken of. It’s weird, but the spoilers I know predict that we will see them before the series ends.
- In conjunction with the sale of Sir John’s home and possessions, is Daisy (Sophie McShera) and her father in law, Mr. Mason (Paul Copley). Mr. Mason is the soon to be former tenant of Sir John and Daisy, trying to save her father law’s home in the only way that she can, shoots her mouth off. Thankfully, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) don’t kick her to the curb.
- The specter of Mr. Green has finally disappeared from the lives of Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle). Another woman has admitted that she killed him. But, Julian Fellows is a sick, sick man. Instead of allowing Mr. and Mrs. Bates some happiness, Anna is plagued by the fact that she has yet to become pregnant. Is baby Bates too much to ask for?
- The engagement between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes is ago, but she is hesitant to set the wedding date. Why you ask? One little word? Sex. Using Mrs. Patmore as a go between produced one of the most awkward and funniest “sex but not sex” conversations ever. In the end, Mrs. Hughes agreed to set a wedding date. This was one of my favorite scenes to date between them. Sweet and romantic without pouring on the sap.
- And finally, the merry war between Mr. Spratt (Jeremy Swift) and Miss Denker (Sue Johnston) comes to a delicious boil when Miss Denker thinks she hears that the staff might be reduced and decides to spread a little gossip. The Dowager squashed that argument her usual acerbic Dowager way.
Dowager line of the week: “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?”.
I likes the episode. It was a nice way to tie up the loose ends from the end of the fifth series, but open the door to the rest of the series.