There was a pall cast over Downton after the dark events of last week’s episode. Fortunately, to lift the spirits, this week brought a trip to London, a surprising and modest proposal, dancing at the Lotus Club and the comeuppance of a certain conniving maid.
Here, in seven quotes, is everything you need to know about Sunday night’s episode of Downton Abbey:
1. "I’ve made a long journey to ask a short question: Will you marry me?" After a long social weekend together, Lord Gillingham is smitten with Lady Mary. He follows her back to Downton to ask for her hand in marriage, telling her, in an excellent argument for marriage, that while he is certain that Matthew was a “splendid chap he’s dead and I’m alive.” Gillingham is even willing to wait for Mary – for years, it necessary. Mary considers the proposal, but the next day, she says no, explaining that Matthew is still constantly in her head. She later confides to Tom that she will probably come to regret that decision.
2. "Edith is about as mysterious as a bucket." In case you were concerned that widowhood has clouded Mary’s personality, that line alone pretty much proves that she is back to the Mary we know and love. Not only is she again tossing barbs, but in London she accompanied Gillingham to a jazz club – where cousin Rose meets Jack, a dapper black jazz singer.
3. "I don’t dislike him," said Lord Grantham about Lady Edith’s paramour Michael Gregson. “What a recommendation,” remarked Violet about his understatement. Lord Grantham’s opinion of the man would undoubtedly falter, if he knew that Edith spent the night with Gregson at his London home before she slipped back to Rosamund’s home at sunrise. And what were those mysterious documents that Edith signed that ostensibly give her some power over Gregson’s affairs while he is away in Germany working on getting divorced/writing a novel?
4. "She is a good woman. And while the phrase is enough to set anyone’s teeth on edge, there are moments when her virtue demands admiration," said Violet, the Dowager Countess, about Isobel Crawley, who has finally decided to move on with her life, resuming work as a nurse and welcoming Mary’s suitor. “I agree, although I’m rather surprised to hear you say it,” Lord Grantham concurred. “Not as surprised as I am,” Violet said with a laugh.
5. "You’re a manipulative little witch, and if your schemes have come to nothing, I’m delighted." When Edna’s plan to force Tom Branson to marry her fails, Thomas can’t help but gloat. When it comes to evil geniuses at Downton, it’s like The Highlander: There can be only one. Edna leaves Downton with her tail between her legs and no rich husband in sight. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t watch if there was a Pinky and the Brain-esque TV show following the wacky high jinx and evil plots of Thomas and Edna.
6. "I shall remember this visit for a long time to come," reports Lord Gillingham’s valet, who violently attacked and raped Anna last week. Anna, who is seated next to her attacker at breakfast, excuses herself from the table.
7. "Better a broken heart than a broken neck." Anna stubbornly refuses to go to the police or to tell Bates what happened, because she is convinced he will immediately kill the man and be hanged for the crime. She understandably can’t stand to be touched by anyone – including her husband – and insists on moving back into the main house (rather than the servants’ quarters) with no explanation. Bates begs her to tell him what’s going on, but she refuses, leaving him confused and wounded. It will be difficult to witness Anna and Bates struggle through the horrible damage throughout the season. Still, as Lord Grantham said, “The damage cannot be irreparable when a man and a woman love each other as much as you do.” Given the eye-rolling such a statement elicits, Grantham hastened to add, “My goodness, that was strong talk for an Englishman.” Indeed.
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