As usual, these recaps contain spoilers. Read at your own risk if you haven’t watched the episode.
The Team Blake Vs. Team Gillingham discussion continues. I didn’t like Gillingham at first. He seemed too much like a puppy dog. Hanging around Mary, waiting for her emotional scraps while dangling an off screen pseudo fiance, then an off screen fiance and finally an off screen ex-fiance, all in hopes of gaining her affection.
Then there is Charles Blake. The anti-aristocrat government worker who seemed more interested in taking down the great estates of the aristocracy than studying them. His story with Mary has rom-com quality, a Benedict and Beatrice , hate then love story. We thought we knew everything about him, until oops, Gillingham let it slip that poor Mr. Blake, is actually rich Mr. Blake, the heir to a distant cousin’s title and fortune.
Unfortunately, we must wait for series 5, but if these pictures are any indication, Mary’s new man and George’ stepfather maybe Lord Gillingham. However, I wouldn’t mind if Julian Fellows would decide to let Mary be single for a while. I get it, its a period drama, romance is par for the course. But let’s consider that the time in between the first episode of the series and the last is only about a year a half, which means Matthew died just about 2 years after the final episode of this series. It’s not like Mary has nothing to do with herself. She has her son and the estate the take care of. Maybe letting her be single wouldn’t hurt Mary as a character or us an audience.
Edith had her baby and left her with the adoptive parents in Switzerland. However, the adoption was never formalized and Edith is feeling guilty. After listening to her aunt for 8 months, Edith decides to make a decision for herself about her child. Inviting the pig farmer, Mr. Drewe to Downton she tells him of a “friend” (we all have those friends) who got involved with a man who her family did not approve of and had a child with this man. Now the child needs a home, Mr Drewe agrees to keep her secret. The thing that baffles me about this story line is that while Rosamund knew about Edith’s pregnancy and Violet was quick to discover her secret, Edith’s own parents are still wearing rose colored glasses. How does a parent, especially a mother who had four pregnancies and three children that lived to adulthood not know or figure out that one of their daughters is pregnant?
Tom is spending more time with Miss Bunting. While the family is in London, he invites her to dine with him at the abbey and she corrals him to show her the view from the gallery. It seems that Tom and Mary are on the same emotional track. They will never forget their spouses (nor should they), but neither seem completely ready to get involved in another relationship.
Lord Merton has become a rather ambitious suitor for Isobel. Personally, I think it’s good. We don’t know how long she has been widowed, but she deserves some happiness.
The big story line of the upstairs was two fold: Rose’s introduction to society, her dance with the prince and return of the Levinsons. We met Martha (Shirley Maclaine) last year, but we finally met Cora’s errand brother Harold (Paul Giamatti), still reeling from the Teapot Dome Scandal. Rose’s time in London includes going to a night club with her friend Madeleine Allsopp, whose father, Lord Aysgarth is dining with the Prince Of Wales and his mistress. Back at Crawley house, Rosamund brings her “friend”, Mr. Sampson to the house who insists on going with the girls to the night club and steals a very intimate letter between the prince and his mistress. Thus begins the Scooby Doo hour on Downton Abbey, where upstairs and downstairs collaborate to find the letter before it falls into the wrong hands and embarrasses the royal family.
Actually, the prince didn’t need the letter to embarrass himself and his family. In a few years, he will abdicate the throne to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.
The only thing I found odd about Rose’s story line is that Mr. Ross was not mentioned at all. I know it’s eight months, but still. That struck me as odd.
While Lord Aysgarth proves himself to be a gold digger by proposing to Martha, who turns him down, his daughter might have more luck with Harold. He is at times very American, direct and a little rude. But he admits that he likes Madeleine and she in turns appears to like him.
Is it me, or was Anna and Bates not in this episode as much as they were in previous episodes? Their story line was that Anna gave Mrs. Hughes a jacket that her husband was not using to be donated to the Russian refugees. Inside the jacket is a ticket to London for the day that Mr. Green was killed, evidence that might prove Mr. Bates’s guilt. Mrs. Hughes consults Mary and in the end, Mary throws the ticket into the fire, which is wise, considering it was Bates who forged the letter that allowed Mary, Charles and Rose into Mr. Sampson’s apartment.
It seemed odd to me that after 7 episodes, Thomas is jealous that the former chauffeur that is Tom Branson is now part of the family and must be treated with respect.
Daisy has an admirer in Mr. Slade, Harold’s valet, in both the romantic sense and the culinary sense. So much so, that his employers gives his approval to invite Daisy to New York to work as his cook. Daisy turns the offer down, but Ivy takes it.
Whatever secret Baxter has, she has come to terms with it. Thomas keeps badgering her, but she is determined to move. She and Mosleley seem to be getting somewhere, which is sweet.
After all of the work the staff put in the for Rose’s coming out, Cora instructions Mr. Carson to give them a day off. After a series of ideas that is met with rejection, Mrs. Hughes suggests a beach day. The final shot of the series is Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson holding hands, wading in the water. I’m sure the Elise and Charles shippers were dancing in the streets.
The letter story line seemed a bit silly and the ending seemed like a non ending, especially considering the way series 2 and series 3 ended. But overall, I am satisfied with this series.
Dowager Moment/Quote Of The Week
Martha Levinson: I have no wish to be a great lady.
Countess Violet: A decision that must be reinforced every time you look in the glass.
On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who read my recaps. This is the first series that I’ve done this and while some recaps were better than others, I thank you for taking some time of out of your day to read them. See you next year.