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The Downton Abbey Dish Season 4 Episode 6

British television maven and blogger Deborah Gilbert keeps you in the know with entertaining recaps of each Downton Abbey Season 4 episode. Count down the most memorable scenes from each episode, including the Dowager Countess' best zingers. New episodes of Downton Abbey Season 4 air Sundays at 9pm through February 23.
THE DOWNTON ABBEY DISH – Downton Abbey Season 4 Recap: Episode 6 (aired 02/09/2014)

For me, it was 50 years ago tonight that I first spent a Sunday night with a British import. I have to say that it feels absolutely bizarre to be reminiscing about anything first-hand that happened 50 years ago (because usually, when I even think about my age at all, I think of myself as about 25), but here we are. Ed Sullivan was past my bedtime when I was in kindergarten, but my parents got me out of bed to come downstairs and watch The Beatles. While they were laughing hysterically at the reaction shots of the girls in the audience, I sat a few feet in front of the telly, transfixed. Good thing I didn’t sleep through it because the next day, that’s all anyone was talking about at school and everywhere else – I would have been an outcast. Many, many fabulous Brits have invaded our shores since then, and between all the music, literature and television they have always made the United Kingdom seem like a magical place to me. I sometimes think of all they send us as Bundles for Britain in reverse – and that seems apropos tonight because tonight was about friendship of all sorts…

Western Union Man: Call on the Lord:
Uh-oh, flashback: Does that telegraph ever bring good news? The first flash of that telegraph brought word of the Titanic and the loss of Patrick Crawley (the first, not the mummy), and now it brings news that Lord Grantham’s presence is required in the Colonies as Cora’s brother, Wildcat Harold, is brought before Congress in the Teapot Dome investigation (required by Mrs. Levinson, that is, not the Senate committee). While this sudden trip is a problem for Robert and Cora, it is an even bigger problem for Bates and Anna; one requiring an intervention from Mrs. Quite The Plotter Hughes who, as usual, knows just how to work it. Naturally Mary is brought on-side once she finds out why (think of it as an act of real love), and while Robert protests the thought of losing Bates and having to dress himself like a big boy, he is powerless in the face of Mary on a Mission. Apparently Americans have a correct uniform for every activity known to man. We do? OK, yes, we do. The correct uniform for curling up in front of the telly for a Sunday night of Downton Abbey? Fuzzy fleece night shirt and big socks. (Madge, please have them pressed and ready.) So Bates is benched, and excited Thomas wins a free round trip (working) vacation to the land of steak and ketchup. Thomas’ first task is to keep his eyes off the handsome stewards strutting down the decks of the Good Ship Cameronia long enough to make sure the ship captain turns left at Greenland.

You’re Gonna Need an Ocean of Calamine Lotion: Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish:

The law firm of Patmore, Carson and Hughes play three card monty with vacationing Alfred so as not to detonate a Daisy bomb, but somehow Alfred wanders onto the set and Poison Ivy, who has changed her tune, gives him something to think about. Of course that something should be, in the words of Maya Angelou, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ But I’m thinking he won’t, and it will all end in tears for both he and Daisy (as per usual) as Ivy goes rolling merrily along. And speaking of Daisy; still no sighting of William’s Dad. Should we get Lord Grantham’s detective on this? Maybe Gregson is with him. 

Green Eggs and Ham: My Tea Cakes Bring All the Boys to the Yard: 
Mary is the very definition of a smug married: been there, knows everything. But as it turns out, she is also a camper, our Mary. And who knew? Seriously. Who would have thunk it? When Edith declared Blake to be not under aloof Mary’s spell, she may have jinxed him because now he’s getting sleepy…verrry sleeeepy. And all it took was this little piggy. When one of Downton’s new fleet of pigs goes down, there’s no time to run for Mr. Pignati; Blake jumps into action to save them all, and not to be out done, Mary jumps in alongside of him ferrying water to the thirsty porkers like a regular Gunga Din, all culminating in some celebratory mudslinging between the two. But while Mary can say with authority, ‘I’ve been married; I know everything’, I can say with authority, I’ve been in the circus; I know where that barnyard mud has been! Get a tetanus booster! And when all is said and done, it turns out Lady Mary can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, scrambling up some eggs to get the manure taste out of their mouths (just as Martha Stewart suggests). It’s a rather sexy dance and one has the feeling this was something she did with Matthew. Consider the ice broken with Blake, and right on cue, here comes Lord Gillingham (who will be upset to learn that his old Army buddy has stolen his background music). Now Mary is flinging off suitors left and right. Cora has her triple-booked. Her stroll around the grounds with Evelyn looked like a Ralph Lauren commercial in sensible shoes, but that ended as soon as awkward Evelyn attempted to declare his feelings for her. How does Mary get him to realize there is no competition where he is concerned? That he is not in the running? Must she bonk yet another of his friends to death, say…Blake, to show him? And what of Blake? When Tony greets her she plays down their porcine prelude. Why? And odd that one of the first things Tony asks Blake is about the chances Downton has to survive. Why the interest in the health of the estate? Is he hedging his bets? But forget about the boys for now; Mary’s most enduring and intimate relationship is with Anna, and she was shaken by news of the attack. Now that she knows what has happened to her, Mary wants to help. Too bad Edith doesn’t have the same sisterly relationship with Mary. She could use it now. But while PollyAnna is grateful and glad, she can’t talk about it, still, even to Mary. Will she change her mind? One word and Mary could easily use her relationship with Lord Gillingham to dispose of Green. Will Anna let her?


Goody, Goody: Goodnight Nurse:
When that first little cough was heard, and Violet spoke of keeling over, I could feel Downtonians all across the land, all clenching in unison, all with the very same thought, ‘Damn you Fellowes!!! If you f@#%&*g kill off The Dowager Countess of Grantham, I will not be held accountable for my actions!!!!’ Thankfully Violet recovered, thus a million pitch forks and torches can be put back into mothballs for another day. And…exhale. It was only bronchitis. I’ve had bronchitis but it never made me delirious (at least not that I know of), which makes me wonder what Dr. Cheech prescribed for that inhaler. Lucky for Violet, nurse Isobel stayed by her bedside every minute. Violet has got an unshakable friend, whether she wants her or not. And Isobel also continues to be a BFF to fellow outsider Branson as well, encouraging him to pick up his political baton once again with tickets to a rally. Of course, they had to have that conversation as they were driving along in that convertible so instead of hearing the dialogue, all I kept thinking was, ‘keep your eyes on the road! Don’t turn your head to talk to her! KEEPYOUREYESONTHEROAD!!!’ Am I the only one who thought something was coming there? Yes, we Downtonians are a traumatized lot, aren’t we? Or maybe I’m just too high strung for cliff hangers. It’s a good thing PBS doesn’t have commercials; I couldn’t take the pressure. But thankfully Tom and Isobel survived the drive, though Tom had to go off to the rally without her, where he meets a cute, bold young woman – just his type. Tom’s reawakening political interest is clearly a metaphor for his reawakening from grief. Will we see that bold, young woman again? 

Be My Baby: On My Own:
Things go from bad to worse for Lady Edith. From what detectives can piece together, it seems that Editor Charming checked into his Munich hotel, went out for the evening and never came back. Why check into a hotel and then disappear? If he wanted to disappear, why check into the hotel at all? Did he want to leave a mystery behind? Or was he disappeared against his will? Either way, pregnant Edith can only wait so long to find out and make plans, so she goes to London and checks into Hotel Rosamund to see a back street abortionist (the only kind there were in 1923). Given her history, when Edith says to her mother, ‘sometimes I have bad feelings’, one could easily assume those bad feelings fall along the lines of, ‘I want to murder my too-perfect sister’. But after Edith breaks down and Rosamund gets (some of) the story out her and she likens Rosamund’s lecture to a speech from The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, there is the dawning realization that those bad feelings might just be about herself. The Second Mrs. Tanqueray was a popular play from the 1890′s that ends with the suicide of the title character who had been ‘ruined’ by a man in her past and who never gets to hear that speech of redemption because she kills herself first. Is Edith thinking about suicide? When Rosamund warns her of the danger and asks what she’ll say to Edith’s parents if it goes wrong, her weary response, ‘you’ll think of something’ carries not the slightest bit of concern for herself. Maybe she isn’t thinking about killing herself really; maybe she’s only thinking she doesn’t care if she lives or dies at the moment; that there are worse things. As she sits in the waiting room, her heartbreaking monologue about not wanting to be an outcast, a funny woman, lays out her naked despair. Edith is so desperate for love and belonging that she believes the line of any man who shows her the slightest bit of attention – and that makes her an easy mark, for a farmer, a mummy – or a charming bastard. On the plus side, Lady Edith rocks that Marcel Wave better than anyone! A small consolation. But what I want to know is, why didn’t she confide in Isobel? It seems like she would be the perfect confidant for such a thing (or anything). Isobel would have done anything to help her. Why, instead, go to the very judgmental Aunt Rosamund when she had Isobel right in her own back yard? And now it seems that she gave up on the idea of an abortion; will she find a way to see over the top of this and try to keep her wanted baby? Can she? Will she name it Zoe and have Cora and Robert raise it as her sister? Will we ever see Editor Charming again?

Peel Me a Grape: Life is but a Dream:
But will that dream turn into a nightmare when this affair is discovered? And you know, now they’re just messing with us. Yes, of course, put Rose and Jack in a boat. Cousin Oliver Rose takes her new cabinet appointment as Secretary of Fun very seriously and uses it to sway Cora into letting her accompany Edith to London under the guise of cheering her up. She didn’t. Didn’t even try. Just went merrily on her errands. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, cut to Mr. Ross row, row, rowing their boat gently down the Thames as reclining Rose is fanned with palm fronds and snacking on the aforementioned peeled grapes and speaking French: ‘Viva la difference’ – which is Oliverese for, ‘I want to get in your pants. Now!’ But uh-oh, after a weak resistance on his part she convinces him to take her to Club Sheldrake, and we know what happens when Cousin Oliver Rose goes to a club! Little known fact: It was the experience of dealing with Rose that prepared Londoners to handle The Blitz in their stride. But I have to say, I’ve started to like Cousin Oliver in spite of myself. 

Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls: It’s Not Easy Being Green:
Or at least it shouldn’t be, and won’t be for much longer, I don’t think. If looks could kill, I’d say his hourglass is almost empty. Lord Gillingham returns, schlepping arrogant sociopath Green along with him, to a hero’s welcome from some and what sounded like a death threat from Mrs. Hughes. ‘If you value your life you’ll stop playing the joker and stick to the shadows’; that’s a threat that would make Tony Soprano proud – confused by its poetry probably, but proud all the same. Green, however, pays her no mind. He fancies himself a raconteur, and now the last bit of the whodunit puzzle falls into place as he unwittingly undoes the alibi that Mrs. Hughes gave him, oblivious (maybe) as Mr. Bates glares daggers. I was half expecting Bates to leap up, dive across the table and stab Green in the neck with his trembling fork – but then the music interrupted. Damn that orchestra! Now we have to wait until next week and, forget about Green, this tension is killing me! It seems obvious that someone is going to take revenge on Green in some way, but whom? And what will they do? Will Bates do something violent? It seems like that would be too obvious, doesn’t it? Maybe someone else beats him to the punch; someone unexpected (maybe Mary?). Baxter’s face does light up as she observes all this tension at the table. She couldn’t know the full story of what’s been going on (or why), but whatever parts of it she does see, she will report to Thomas, who will then have part of the story and part of the story can be a much more dangerous thing that the whole Magilla. All of which might be further complicated by Molesley having inadvertently rumbled her Agent 99 routine. He seems to have an eye for her. Did he accept her cryptic ‘everything and nothing’ answer? Does he even understand what it meant? Might Molesley end up holding the key to the whole shebang? 

Dowager Countessdown (Madam Dowager’s best zingers from each episode):

5. “That is the very last thing I would want.”

4. “I want another nurse, I insist. This one talks too much; she’s like a drunken Vicar.”

3. “Compared to what?”

2. “That has a ring of truth.”

1. “Try not to let those Yankees drive you mad.”

No doubt, someone gave that same last bit of advice to John, Paul, George and Ringo before they boarded their first plane to New York!

As (I think) I have mentioned before, I do not watch ahead of the episode I am writing about so I don’t accidentally give away any spoilers to the audience, and also so I can have the fun of speculating about what might be coming up without actually knowing anything. That is part of the fun, isn’t it? But that policy of denial was REALLY HARD this week! When tonight’s episode ended, with That Glare and trembling fork from Mr. Bates, I wanted watch the next one RIGHT AWAY!! But I didn’t. I was a good girl. Sigh. I only wish I had such willpower where carbs are concerned! Now, it’s viva la episode 7!

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  • TXAnglo

    As usual, your recap is brilliant and funny, and the first thing I read on Monday morning! When Lady Mary picked up that bucket, then wallowed in the mud, I was SO hoping to see Carson’s face.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! That’s nice to hear. I hope you stick with us in the ‘off-season’ and read my Dispatch From the Downton Abbey Diaspora blog post as well!

      And yes, it would have been fun to see Carson’s reaction to muddy Mary (it would have been better than Ivy’s I’m sure!)

      -Deborah

      • edson

        Your recaps have become verbose and boring. I now skim.

      • Becka

        Thanks for sharing, I’m sure. Have a nice day.

      • MRK

        I agree. I’ve found them too long and tedious all along. I find it hard to believe all this chumminess with the servants stuff. And Lady Mary’s joining in watering the pigs, when she could’ve gone for help? Pulleeze.

      • Kaycee

        Then skip reading them.

      • Ron Miller

        If someone regularly bothers to skim your article – there are 1,000 summaries out there – that I think that is very flattering.

      • CatKinNY

        Then go away.

      • Kaycee

        Please feel free to avoid them then. Those of us who comment on this site are great fans of these recaps. No need to skim either.

    • Rzo

      Have you ever smelled swine mud? Can you really believe people would sit in it, and throw some of it in each other’s faces? Come on….

      • Stormy

        The mud was by the pump not in the sty. That was just from spilled water after all of the splashing pails.

      • Susanna G

        Glad you brought that up. The pigs could not possibly have made all that mud/stool in just a few hours. Even if it was some of the latter, it would probably not have hurt Lady Mary and Mr. Agriculture. I have spent most of my life on a farm and have wallowed in all kinds of farm animal excrement.(Not cats and dogs.That could be a problem) From when my daughter was about five I always let her play in the manure pile. In Europe there is growing evidence that children brought up on farms and allowed to get dirty have less allergies than children kept “clean” in cities and suburbs. The theory being that the immune system of the non-farm children has not enough to do and so it finds other things to attack, such as peanuts etc.
        Disappointingly for me, the pigs in the foreground were Tamworth crosses. There were only fleeting glances of purebred Tamworths in the background.

      • CatKinNY

        I thought the ones in the backround looked like real Tams, too, while the ones in front seemed a bit dodgy. Thanks for clearing that up. And you’re absolutely correct about our sanitized childhoods failing to produce a normal immune system. Doctors here are just as convinced as doctors in Europe. Look at how they are now tackling the dreaded peanut allergies – with controlled, increasing exposure to peanuts. It’s working just fine for the majority of patients.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Thankfully we don’t have smell-o-vision on our HDTVs! And yes, that throwing the mud in each others faces did seem a step to far to me, but then I’m not a country girl.
        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        Your posts are delightfully witty and charming. Where did all of these awful people come from today?

        The delirium is from the high fever. I’ve had fabulous hallucinations from the temperatures that accompany influenza, even as a strapping 17 year old, though I knew I was talking to my mother as I described the monkeys brachiating across my ceiling. She called a doctor, and he actually came! Old people suffer such consequences to a degree that is sometimes truly shocking. They go off their heads with alarming regularity, then bounce right back when the problem clears up – unless they’re in the clutches of a doctor who doesn’t happen to know what a fever or a benign drug can do to an octogenarian and who decides to treat the symptoms. I often wonder how much senile dementia is iatrogenic, produced by an ignorant physician with a prescription pad.

        I’m so glad that Mary is finally in on Anna’s awful secret. Surely, now that Green has inadvertently spilled the beans, she’ll tell her the rest so he can be dealt with before Bates murders him? What an inconvenient time for Robert to be away. It may be 1923, but a belted Earl could still get away with murder quite easily, under the right circumstances, without an inquest and all of the pesky legal formalities, and I’m sure this situation could have been managed to that end.

        As for Mr Charming Editor, he’s gone to rather too much trouble just to get into Edith’s knickers, don’t you think? Unless Julian Fellowes has decided to curse her beyond all reason, he sent him to Munich to create tension, while he’s locked up in a German jail because of the Putsch. The authorities really did round up foreigners and toss them in jail in the aftermath, but nobody except Nazis and policemen were killed.

      • Glenn Leahey

        The timeline is @1923/24…the failed beer hall putsch was November ’23. Perhaps Gregson is COVERING the events…perhaps gaining some connections to the Hindenberg government to ease his divorce/german citizenship…?

      • CatKinNY

        Hi Glenn! Welcome to the Dish. We’ve been speculating for weeks (we started before he even left) as to why Michael went to Germany rather than France to get his divorce. I started off thinking that as a newspaper man, even one on hiatus, the country that started and lost the worst military conflict in human history would have to be irresistible, and that was before I remembered the Putsch. Then there’s the simple matter of money; as someone whose income was denominated in Pounds Sterling, he’d have been a wealthy man in the Weimar Republic.

        I rarely have much sense of what time of year it is at Downton (don’t let those naked arms on the ladies fool you), leaving wiggle room to place the characters wherever they need to be, and I honestly don’t have any idea whether Julian Fellows would find it an insurmountable obstacle to write the story line so that something that actually took place in November seemed to have occurred a few months earlier on the show. Unfortunately, our Gotham Tomato, Deborah (who writes the Dish) often reminds us that Fellowes is on record saying that he believes some people are just unlucky, and that Edith is one of these people. All we know for now is that Gregson checked into his hotel and disappeared. If he were planning to cover the rise of the Nazis, he didn’t tell anyone, since his paper is just as in the dark as is Edith, poor girl. Again, welcome to our little community. Cheers!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        LOL, thanks!

        I’m also glad that Mary finally knows about Anna’s attack. And with regard to Editor charming, I don’t think all the effort was about getting into her knickers; I think there was more to it than that, and I’m wondering if we’ll ever find out more, or if he has vanished and we’ll never find out why.

        –Deborah

      • Kaycee

        We have to find out. It seems to me that to end that story arc with a disappearance is just too easy. My concern is that we’ll have to wait for next season to have an answer.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I don’t want to have to wait til next season either.

        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        I suppose it’s possible that Fellowes has decided to use poor Edith to illustrate for our edification that age old aristocratic practice of dumping unwanted bastards on rural rent-a-parents, but we’d damned well better find out what happened to Michael and why, or I’ll be quite pissed!

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Yes, I’m also hoping he didn’t just disappear like the mummy did. I want there to be some closure for Edith, even if it us only to give him a good hard slap before sending him on his way.

        What are you all hoping happens?

        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        But we know why the mummy disappeared, don’t we? He was an imposter. I’m *hoping* that Edith gets to marry the man she loves, though that’s admittedly seeming increasingly unlikely.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I assumed the mummy was an imposter as well, but still I would like to have found out where he came from and all that.

        –Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        Didn’t he come from Canada, where some of the survivors of Titanic were taken? The papers were full of information about the prominent passengers who went down with the ship. I’d imagine a lot of con men took that published information and dug up more, in the hopes that they might use it to advantage in the future. I had assumed that’s what he was. Successful con men are very good at reading people and situations and extrapolating from what they see; if they weren’t sociopaths, many of them would make excellent psychologists!

      • Susanna G.

        I suppose that he must have been an imposter. It is most unlikely that an adult would have picked up a Canadian accent in such a short period of time. Six years I think.
        My husband and I once went to Halifax, Nova Scotia,where survivors and bodies from Titanic were taken. We saw one of the three cemeteries where unclaimed bodies were buried. It was a moving experience, especially seeing the stones marking the graves of those who had no identification. All they had was a number.

      • CatKinNY

        Adults can ‘lose’ an accent very quickly, but it’s only temporary; put them back in their natural surroundings and they revert immediately. Nova Scotia is lovely, isn’t it?

      • Kaycee

        I think I remember some dialogue to that effect, either the Mummy knew Patrick or knew about him. And several psychologists I’ve know were, if not sociopathic, world class neurotic.

      • CatKinNY

        Glad someone else remembers what I do. Sometimes you wonder…

      • Susanna G

        Your comments are always enjoyable to read. You are obviously very well read. It was good to hear someone talk of Brachiating!

      • CatKinNY

        Thank you, Susanna. I have a decent education ;-)

      • Susanna G.

        Yes. You, Lady Mary and Isabel would have had much to talk about. What fun that would have been. I see that you use the word “knickers”. You must be well traveled, but are you also English?

      • CatKinNY

        I’m a quarter old Yankee, which is mostly English, with bits of Dutch, etc, thrown in. We left England in 1630 and fought the British in the Revolution and the War of 1812. Does that count as English? I do think of myself as a quarter English and have been to the village in Dorset from whence that first ancestor came. I adore England and have been going since I was 12.

        I love traveling and have done a good deal of it, both here and in Europe. Knickers is one of those words that led Shaw to observe that the British and the Americans were ‘two peoples separated by a common language’. Those short pants that gather under the knee, worn by boys (and some sportsmen) in the Victorian and Edwardian eras were referred to here as ‘knickerbockers’. NY was Dutch before it was English, and that’s left an imprint on American English as a result, since NY has always occupied the place she still does today. Americans of that era often referred to underwear as ‘bloomers’, due to the resemblance between women’s underwear and the garments advocated by feminist Amelia Bloomer. You’re right, I picked the word because it is English. ‘Get into her pants’ is an American expression; what’s the English equivalent?

      • Susanna G.

        I thought that you had probably picked the word on purpose and also thought that you must be an ardent Anglophile. There were very few off-colour expressions that I heard until I came to live in America at the age of nineteen.The one to which you refer falls into that category and I have never learned the English equivalent. I gave up most of my English-English words long ago. One of the few American words that I try not to use is “garbage”. I prefer to say “rubbish”.
        My father was from the West Country. He wore plus-fours to go shooting. Looking that word up in the dictionary revealed that they were ” – four inches longer than ordinary knickers.” By the time I was born, the use of the word knickers when worn by men had changed to it being used for the girls/women’s under garment that we know today.
        What I would like to know is to what garment the Dowager Countess was referring when she remarked to her son before dinner “I see you are wearing your knickers” Or something like that. Perhaps you would know?
        Also, could you tell me what it means to post as a guest. This is the box I have been checking (ticking!)

      • CatKinNY

        I have a complicated relationship with England; my father was Irish, and I was raised to hold nationalist views about Ireland, but my fondness for England is, none the less, deep. Plus-fours! Of course. I couldn’t remember the term. Violet was referring to the fact that Robert was not wearing full dress evening wear at dinner because Matthew’s jacket had been damaged. Don’t ask me exactly what the difference is; I don’t know. Was he possibly wearing a black tie rather than a white one?

        Do you have to register with DISQUS every time you log in? If so, you are a guest. If you create an account, you’ll be a member.

  • pertello

    Why didn’t Mrs. Hughes warn Anna that Green was there? Wouldn’t that’ve been the obvious thing?

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      It looked like it was a surprise to Mrs. Hughes as well.

      –Deborah

  • Stormy

    It’s my first time on this site and I loved your recap. One little thing though, trichinosis is a parasite that a tetanus shot wouldn’t help at all. That being said, I’m so impressed with your site, I’ll begin spreading the word at once.

    • Susanna G.

      Who said anything about trichinosis? Did I miss something on the blog or in last night’s episode? One gets trichinosis through eating infected raw or undercooked meat, usually pork. The tetanus bacteria lives in soil, especially soil that contains feces. A tetanus booster would have been appropriate if there was such a thing back then.

      • Stormy

        I assumed Trich because of the pigs. Tetanus is a blood borne pathogen associated with an open wound being infected.

      • Susanna G.

        “What is all this Trich buisness?” said my husband! My husband’s comment to your post gave me a much needed laugh since I have been confined to bed for a long time. (Nothing to do with trichinosis or tetanus) So thank you. Who would know that The Downton Dish would provide such unexpected entertainment! Are you a would-be doctor? I have always kept up on my tetanus boosters especially because I nearly always had open sores on my hands and spent a lot of time in manure. Anyway, I’m glad that you joined in. I seem to remember that this is your first year. Mine too.

  • JHoffmann

    PBS needs to get these copyedited. Or at least spell-checked.

  • Roz

    I am very disappointed that Edith did not go through with terminating her pregnancy. The DA writers didn’t want to ruffle this hot issue. However, affluent people even in the 1920s were able to get abortions by competent doctors, not in back alleys, though it was illegal. It was all hush, hush.

    • Becka

      “I am very disappointed that Edith did not go through with terminating her pregnancy.” Historically likely, possible or otherwise, I actually found it refreshing that Edith didn’t ‘…kill the wanted child…’ she is carrying, despite the social consequences. I find it more disappointing that you are disappointed. Very sad.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      I’m not sure it was because they didn’t want to ruffle any feathers – because they sure have ruffled feathers elsewhere! I think it was likely more about the story; telling Edith’s story, and which road would bring more intersting options. Julien Fellowes has said that he believes Edith is just unlucky, and I gues that means she will be all the way through.
      –Deborah

    • Pennsylvanianne

      I don’t think “ruffling this hot issue” is the reason why Edith changed her mind. It is a matter of soap opera dramatic conventions. Typically, soap operas do not have their female characters go through with abortions. The pregnancy and birth of a baby (and the resulting consequences out of wedlock) give more opportunities for drama than abortions.

  • kankedort

    “tetnus”? “Viva [sic] la difference”? “inadvertantly”? “Magilla”? Where are the copy editors?

  • Redhead

    Just love your recaps!

  • Juan D.F.

    I think your recaps are great fun. A few typos can’t diminish your clever wit as far as I am concerned. You make me laugh and cry and yes, I was on the edge of my seat while Branson was driving. My wife and I were both repeatedly yelling “No!” at the TV when Violet was getting sick. I did want to jump across the table at Green when he had gall to say “…screaming and screeching…” He is vile incarnate. “That Glare” was worth the whole season. All I could think of was “DO IT!”

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! And some typos are deliberate, such as ‘Magilla’,as in Gorilla (an old hebrew school joke), or when I’ve spelled the Dower House, the Dour House – or using the odd syntax of a character (like Alfred, last week). I give the readers credit for being able to spot obscure references, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

      And I’d bet there were lots of Downtonians out there who were also thinking, “DO IT!” to Bates at the end!

      –Deborah

  • TerryM

    I love your recaps! I read them all and yours is by far the wittiest! I also was terrified when Isobel and Branson were driving. It was something about the camera angle on the road or something. And when Dowager had her first cough — wow Smith can really act, that really sounded real — I was also terrified. I think I’m quite shell shocked. But the whole episode came down, deliciously, to that looong sloooowwww realization of Bates. “Sloooowly I turned…” Priceless. I am going to watch it again just to see that moment again. Thanks and keep up the great work Deborah!

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! And ‘shell shocked’ is the perfect way to describe it.

      –Deborah

  • Victoria Ficco-Panzer

    Will Baxter write her news to Thomas?After all he’s out on the ocean with Lord Grantham!

    • Downton Downtown

      The relationship of Thomas and Baxter is intriguing, to say the least. That little dialogue between them an episode or two ago made me wonder whether she’s going to continue doing his bidding. Her enigmatic “Have it your own way” was fraught with all sorts of possibilities. I do wonder what hold Thomas has over her, and what their past history was.

      On another matter, I find it ironic that Edith now finds herself pregnant, after her rather unpleasant tirade at her two sisters, “Sybil pregnant, Mary probably pregnant”, when they, including Mary for once, were only trying to lend support. Admittedly, she’d just undergone the trauma of being jilted at the altar, but her self pitying whining does get on my nerves sometimes. I’m surprised that Rosamond, whom I usually forget about, has suddenly started to play such a larger role in the series, and I’m impressed by her sympathetic support of Edith.

      • Stormy

        I wish Fellowes had bothered to give Baxter a personality. She defines ecru.

      • Susanna G

        Maybe Baxter’s personality will come out now that she seems torn between her loyalty to Thomas and her growing like of the Crawley family.

      • Stormy

        From your mouth etc. It’s hard to get invested in a character who is more of a puff of smoke and a whisper. O’Brien was such a waspish extrovert that Baxter seems hardly there by comparison.

      • Susanna G.

        Don’t forget, “Still waters run deep”

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I am also hoping this will cause a conflict that reveals what it is THomas is holding over her head.
        –Deborah

      • Kaycee

        Me too. I kept thinking that I must have missed something that passed between them but since you too are unaware of that particular tie that binds I rest assured that I haven’t.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        It seems this was something he knew about her from before- but we still don’t know how he even knew her, so I’m wondering what she could gave done or what it could be.

        -Deborah

      • Downton Downtown

        A far out thought: We all know Thomas’s sexual orientation. I don’t know what secret (or not so secret) network for LGBTs existed in England in the 1920s. Is it possible that Thomas made Baxter’s acquaintance within that network, and that his hold over her has to do with her being a lesbian? After all, she has no similar hold over Thomas, since everyone knows about him.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        Good thought! That could be.

        –Deborah

      • Kaycee

        Wow, you spike the punch with some terrific what ifs! None of the servants appear to have very much time for their personal lives and being out and about but it is a humdinger of an idea.

      • Downton Downtown

        I still sort of like the lesbian idea. It is true that the servants don’t get out all that much, but it’s also possible that they (Thomas and Baxter) had worked together in another household, and Thomas discovered Baxter having an affair with another woman, maybe even her mistress (boss, that is). Perhaps the relationship was discovered by the master of the house, and Baxter was let go quietly, so as not to embarrass the family (sort of like Edna at Downton). CatKinNY has a more prosaic scenario, but this kind of speculation is always fun.

      • CatKinNY

        Interesting! I was thinking he caught her fencing something obviously filched from a previous employer or some other such more prosaic offense, but who knows?

      • Downton Downtown

        I wonder whether Baxter’s comment to Thomas about “she” being nice to her meant Cora or Anna. After all, the context of the conversation was Thomas telling her to find out what happened to Anna, and Anna, before that horrible assault, was usually the one to show kindness to the other servants. She even comforted Thomas himself, that one time Thomas showed a human side and burst into tears when Sybil died. So is Baxter’s growing loyalty to the Crawley family or to Anna herself?

      • Kaycee

        Good question. I immediately thought Baxter was referring to Cora but you’ve given me something to think about and watch for. That’s part of the beauty of this discussion forum. Thanks!

      • CatKinNY

        I think it’s to the Crawley family, myself. Baxter arrived after Anna was raped, so she doesn’t know the bubbly, sweet Anna that everyone, even Thomas, likes (not that it kept him from throwing her under the bus when Baxter screwed up some piece of Cora’s wardrobe). Baxter has only seen a wounded, guarded Anna, and has been tasked by Thomas with finding out what happened to her while he’s away – purely out of curiosity, IMO. I have the impression that sheer boredom with his own solitary existence (and a touch of petty jealousy and resentment of the less lonely) is the motivation for a lot of what Thomas does these days.

      • Downton Downtown

        You’re probably right. I forgot about Edna preceding Baxteer as O’Brien’s replacement. I’m sure Tom would like to forget that, also.

      • Downton Downtown

        “defines ecru”. I love it! Actually, I feel the lack of personality lends her an air of mystery. As I say, I’m intrigued by the relationship between Baxter and Thomas.

        Your subsequent comment comparing Baxter to O’Brien reminds me that Alfred is O’Brien’s nephew. He doesn’t seem to possess any of his aunt’s guile — something of a naif, it seems. I was surprised that he was brought back in this most recent episode, and his naivete may be leading him into some trouble, now that Ivy is setting her cap for him, much to Daisy’s chagrin. Too bad O’Brien’s not still around to set Alfred straight.

      • Kaycee

        If it weren’t for bad luck Edith would have none. When she uttered those lines about her sisters and pregnancy she was at the nadir of a pit she had been in forever. Jilted at the altar was just the last of it. Her family treated her as though she were invisible, she didn’t have the looks or charm of the other two girls and I think she was made to feel very aware of that. Remember she was in love with the heir who went down with the Titanic but he was set for Mary and whatever Mary wanted Mary got. Edith has been looking for love since the curtain went up on this saga and it eludes her at every turn. Both Cora and Robert have treated her dismissively, although with gentile politeness so I don’t really see her complaints as whining so much as just verbalizing the reality of her situation. Now, finally, someone loves her (or does he?) and poof, he’s gone but has left a little problematic part of himself with her. Her story really is a Downton Downer.

      • Downton Downtown

        All true, and yet …

        I’m not sure that Mary “wanted” Patrick, the heir. She wasn’t heartbroken when he perished in the Titanic disaster. Mary, being the oldest daughter, had to be the heiress in the eyes of her father and the Dowager Countess, and probably Cora as well. So she had to be the one to marry Patrick, and she was doing what was required of her. Was Edith really in love with Patrick, or simply unhappy that she isn’t the oldest, and thus entitled to all the goodies? Her letter to the Turkish ambassador seems to me to be sparked by that jealousy, if you will, of Mary’s position in the family. Edith seems to set her hopes on whichever eligible male shows up. She even made a fleeting attempt to get Matthew interested in her, showing him some of the sights of the area. Matthew let her down gently, I thought. Is “the reality of [Edith's] situation” the cause of her self pitying, or is her innate personality simply a rather unpleasant one, which leads to that reality? Seems like one of those chicken/egg conundrums.

        Edith did show some spunk in striking out on her own to write for Michael’s magazine, but she immediately fell for her handsome “Editor Charming”. I do feel for her in her current situation, but if she went to London with the express purpose of spending the night with him, as it seems she did, she should have taken some precaution, knowing he was leaving for Munich for some indefinite period. Such precautions were apparently available at that time, as I learned from Mrs. Hughes’s rescue of Tom from the clutches of Edna.

      • Kaycee

        Edith just seems like the underdog to me and I always root for the underdog. And yes, she is always looking for love in all the wrong places but I think she came up short on the home front growing up. Her siblings just out shone her regardless of birth order or maybe it was that. Mary the beautiful and smart first born and Sybil the lovely, sweet baby and Edith the Plain in the middle. In previous seasons I remember several instances where both parents were dismissive of her and any talents she thought she had, the only exception being Cora’s wonderful comforting after the standing up at the altar. Remember how Robert poo-pooed the thought of her as a writer? And when you can’t please Papa you always look for a man to please as in, “Please pay attention to me and think I’m grand and love me.” So, it is easy to see her looking and falling easily with the slightest interest from a man. Even if the only interest exhibited is regular respiration.

        She reveals her recognition of her place in the eyes of her father when in a previous episode she calls him out on it when he refers to her as his most special girl, or something like that. And now, finally, when she is in a situation that will very likely bring her nothing but disgrace in the eyes of her parents, Cora is treating her with the warmth and concern that she so desperately wanted all along.

        I think she’s been the ignored and least valued child all her life and that can result in a number of personality traits, some good and some not so appealing. Viewed sympathetically her behaviors are less mean spirited than desperate. And Mary really was a stinker to her in earlier seasons, right from the beginning, so that letter, while being a really nasty thing to do, could almost be understood. Not condoned, understood.

      • Downton Downtown

        I’m a Mets fan, so I know something about rooting for the underdog :) Anyway, your points are well taken. I did think she was right when she called Robert out on his “my dearest girl” or whatever it was he said. Edith was right in that I’m sure nobody can really love all his or her children equally. And yes, Robert did say to Cora at one point that Edith would probably be the one to take care of them in their old age, implying that she won’t have a family of her own. Even Violet said, in effect, that she wasn’t fated to be married, and urged her to find some outlet for her talents, although she was taken aback when that outlet turned out to be writing for a magazine. However, I think Robert’s reaction to her announcement that she was going to be a journalist was more a case of male chauvinism that a put-down of Edith herself, although Edith may well have taken it as the latter.

        Anyway, I enjoy our exchange of points of view on poor Edith. Thanks for your observations. Keep them coming!

      • Kaycee

        Back in the sixties when my father retired it quickly became obvious that on summer afternoons he would watch his beloved baseball games. My mother was no dummy so she asked him to teach her all about baseball so they could enjoy the games together. Then the Mets came on the scene. To my father’s dismay, being a staunch Yankees fan, she became a Mets fan because she just felt so sorry for “those poor boys”.

        The Dish and the discussions that follow are such fun, in large part because Deborah’s recaps are brilliant and so very funny but also because when we all get under the umbrella of commenting on fictional characters in an elegant soap opera we in fact do so much more. We touch on all sorts of topics;historical, societal, ethical, human. That last one is a big one because in a way we discuss the human condition, the good and bad of it and in doing so we reveal something of ourselves in the way we relate to and interpret what we see on the screen. It’s interesting to read the comments of others and as we digest them and perhaps revisit our own reactions we learn a little bit more about ourselves and our world. It’s fun but more than that I think it is what great, or at least very good, art is meant to do. It stimulates thoughts and feellings…and here we have the forum to express them.

      • CatKinNY

        Exactly!

      • Susanna G.

        Very eloquently said. When I first stumbled upon the Downton Dish I had no idea that I would be so caught up in so many thought provoking comments.

      • Downton Downtown

        Your observations about this forum are eloquently put. Thanks.

      • CatKinNY

        Yup. That’s exactly how I feel about Edith, too. Well done, Kaycee.

      • Kaycee

        This praise is flying back and forth! Thank you CatKinNY!

  • EvaPearle

    Enjoyed the amusing recap. I liked the EastEnders reference to Zoe! I did wonder why Cora didn’t accompany Robert on the trip to America. I realize he had to leave in a hurry, and it wasn’t a pleasure trip. But still…..you’d think she’d want to visit her homeland.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      Yes, the Zoe reference was for all those EastEnders fans out there:)
      –Deborah

  • Richard P.

    Such imaginative fun you are providing us with! But I hope if Rose gets any closer to Mr. Ross she buys him some singing lessons. Or at least encourages him to sing only on their boat rides. His off-key singing is hard to take.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      Thank you! I don’t mind his singing. I assumed that the reason he is singing in that style was just because it was the style of cabaret singers of the day. Check out the videos of Leslie Hutchinson on YouTube.
      –Deborah

      • Susanna G.

        I thought his singing was sweet and a lot more pleasant to the ear than some of the screeching that it is my misfortune to hear on televisions and radios in places such as some doctor’s offices.

      • Downton Downtown

        Agreed! While we’re on the subject of singing, I hadn’t heard Kiri Te Kanawa (who played and sang the part of Dame Nellie Melba during that awful Anna assault episode) in quite some time. Her once beautiful voice has acquired an unfortunate wobble, which while not infrequent among real singers of a certain age, did make what we heard of her somewhat sad, for me at least. I wonder what the real Melba sounded like at that time. She would probably have been past her prime.

      • Susanna G.

        Yes, hearing Kiri Te Kanawa was a little sad for me also, but as you pointed out, Nellie Melba’s voice might have been on the decline at that time. (Someone else wrote that it is hard to keep up with the dates, and I sometimes have the same difficulty) I was reminded of Julian Fellows’ Gosford Park in which Jeremy Northam took the part of Ivor Novello. I think It worked because probably few people remember Ivor Novello.

      • Stormy

        I didn’t mind his voice, but hearing a man singing “I’m Just Wild About Harry” was a bit jarring.

      • Susanna G.

        I’ll agree with you on that! Having men sing songs that should really be sung by a woman, and vice versa, never feels right to me. I guess it was just the song of the day and anything to do with love would have had the desired effect on Rose.

  • joan silaco

    i’m new here, having just read your current blog and I enjoyed it! i’m also new to the show. a few weeks ago, I was waiting for the new Sherlock episode, so I sat thru the episode when annie gets attacked. and I was hooked! I mean I had to find out who was going to get whacked for that. so thanks to other pbs channels during the course of the week, they had the first episode of the current series, so I was able to see all the shows of this year so far. but its like on some of those cable channels, i’ll have to wait until next year for not even two months worth? why do they only make half of what we make of shows here in the states? I hope I can catch up with the rest of the first three years on the internet. but then again, Sherlock is even worse. they only make three not even at least four! but I support them anyway via membership and I hope others will too. quality tv here.

    • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

      I’d like to see more episodes of Sherlock as well, but then again, the gret thing about there being just the 3 episodes a season: It’s easy to catch up if you tuned in late! They do make fewer episodes there but I guess that’s why they are able to keep the quality so high.
      With Downton, there are a bunch of ways to catch up, but the easiest is to pledge for the DVDs here on Thirteen’s website. They have a pledge package where you get DVDs of all 4 seasons (and there are extra specials on there as well).
      –Deborah

    • Stormy

      Do yourself a favor and get the previous seasons on DVD from your local public library. You get to keep them for a week or more and it’s so worth seeing from the beginning.

  • Bell Bee

    Mrs. Hughes and Patmore are going to poison Green! Or they should. It would be perfect!

  • Kaycee

    That pig scene is still bothering me, for so many reasons. First of all, if they were going to be walking so far from the house why didn’t Mary have on some sensible shoes, but that’s the least of it really. I’ll concede that she doesn’t want to see her investment lost and that she would want to save the pigs but I just can’t buy that she would get down and dirty to do something that one person could have handled while she went to get her pig man or assistance from someone at the house. The urgency of the situation was hard to believe. Perhaps she is smitten and wanted to prove that she was not above it all but her character HAS been above it all since we met her. We never even saw her that rambunctious and downright playful with Matthew. Even her come hither moments with him were tempered and cool. She never would have pelted him with a handful of muck. Never.

    Also, when did she learn to cook? Did I miss something along the way? I remember Sybil asking Mrs. Patmore to teach her but I don’t remember Mary ever doing anything in the kitchen. And really, who would do anything in a kitchen without performing some substantial person hygiene after playing in the mud? That whole scrambled egg scene tested believability. I want to believe that Mary can be this lovely, playful and even warm person that Matthew imagined her to be and I understand that characters evolve but this was all too much, too far, too soon.

    Finally, would Carson, Mary’s faithful servant and protector, really have just left the key in the door when Mary hadn’t returned. NEVER! He would have been concerned for her safety when at bedtime she was no where to be found. He would have sent someone looking for her. I just don’t think he would have gotten any sleep worrying about where she was and why she wasn’t safely back at the house.

    • Susanna G.

      I don’t remember the shoes that Mary wore to water the pigs, but the scene seemed perfectly reasonable. Over the years I have done many animal related things dressed most unsuitably — from rounding up escaped baby pigs in my pyjamas to pulling up a cast horse with my friends one evening when we had come back from our weekly dancing lesson, wearing dresses and high heels. When there is an emergency with an animal one does not usually bother to go and change. Of course, as for the story line, it was a great way for Mary to let down her hair!
      As for the scrambled eggs, no doubt Mary learned to do that as a child. After all, she had spent a lot of time bot up and downstairs with Mr.Carson. It was not at all unusual for children of wealthy families to spend time in the kitchen with the servants. I’m just so sorry that they were unable to finish the eggs.

      • http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/the-downton-abbey-dish-season-4-episode-5/ Gotham Tomato

        I remember reading about Princess Diana that she spent a lot of time downstairs; that she seemed to feel more comfortable down in the kitchen than upstairs.

        -Deborah

      • CatKinNY

        Very true. Diana actually supported herself cleaning houses when she first moved to Knightsbridge, before she got into the nanny/preschool racket.

      • Kaycee

        Believe me I am all for saving animals from any kind of distress but the way Mary’s character has been played for the past three seasons, and even into this one made it seem that her hair came down with a resounding thud! It is, for me, a welcome personality addition but really a stretch from the Mary we have come to know. Her shoes were little strap-ey numbers that she held up from the mud in one scene, and yes, when she left the house she thought she was just going for a stroll down to see the new additions. Still, if it was such a loooooong walk I would have thought she might have changed. These people changed their clothes six times a day on a regular basis, so Anna certainly could have fetched a sturdy oxford for her.

        As for the scrambling, the only sister I remember spending time in the kitchen was Sybil and when she asked to have Mrs. Patmore teach her to cook (in preparation for becoming a nurse) the family reacted with shock and as much amazement as if she had asked to learn how to belly dance in the drawing room. Mary, as far as the story line went, was not one to hang around downstairs. In fact, when the house was turned into a hospital and Sybil and Edith tended to the wounded Mary stayed clear of it all, except for one night when she sang a little tune to entertain the troops, against her will I might add.

        But if this new “Mary to the Rescue” continues to reveal a softer side to this very interesting and compelling character it should be lovely to see. It just seemed to me that the beginning of this journey was laid on with a heavy hand and required some leaps of imagination.

        In any event I would have preferred that they cleaned up before eating since they were both sopping wet in the pig pen!

      • CatKinNY

        Hi Kaycee. Blake has made it quite clear that he believes most of the estates are going to go under because the aristos won’t adjust to the new realities and WORK to save them, and he’s made no bones about his contempt for those who lack the brains and backbone to do what’s necessary.. Even if Mary were not already hard at work trying to save Downton, that’s the kind of challenge she couldn’t possibly resist; she’s very competitive, always having to have the last word and settle scores. She said she’d go get the pigman, but Blake peeled off his dinner jacket and went to work. Good manners alone dictated that she jump in to help – they’re her pigs, after all – but had she run for the hired help (who had already proven less than competent), she’d have lived up to Blake’s incorrect impression of her. She’d just found out that she needed to understand pig care herself, and it was a good opportunity to learn while teaching Blake a lesson. Win/win! Blake flicked mud on her first, in a teasing way; I can’t imagine our Mary not returning the gesture, even if she didn’t like him, which she does now. So do I! You’re right about the clothes, though, Neither one of them would have walked down to the piggery in evening clothes; it’s preposterous. I suspect Sir Julian is a fan of the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, where you’d frequently see Carole Lombard or Cary Grant getting into all kinds of crazy situations dressed to the nines. You have to admit, it was funny. And they made use of Mrs Patmore’s sink – their faces and hands were relatively clean. Hauling water through mud is hard work and would build up an appetite, don’t you think? I just regret that it wasn’t Daisy who walked in. She doesn’t have fully functioning filters and would have quizzed the hell out of them!

        You are misremembering Mary in the hospital. When Matthew was brought in, she cared for him personally, and after that, she was always about with a big bowl and towels, the better to administer bed baths to all and sundry. Edith wrote letters and organized bridge games, but Mary did the dirty work of nursing. I remember that distinctly because I am a nurse. Scrambling eggs is a skill easily mastered by a three year old – that’s when I learned. Perhaps she and Matthew went down to the kitchen one night and he showed her how it’s done, or maybe her American grandmother showed her at dawn after they’d stayed up all night reading Dracula. Wealthy American women of that period were expected to master the basics.so they could supervise their cooks and fend for themselves in a pinch.

        Honestly, other than the clothing, which I thought was done for comedic effect, I found nothing out of character. Mary IS kind and caring, most easily with Anna and Carson – possibly because she doesn’t feel she has anything to prove with them.

      • Kaycee

        Carry on Nurse! Thank you CatKinNY, you have set me straight! For the most part. I see what you’re saying about Blake’s behavior, and previous disparaging remarks about Mary’s class, tapping into those parts of Mary’s personality that would have caused her to act as she did. And I do remember her tender treatment of the injured Matthew and am in the process of trying to pull up memories of her tending to anyone else before or after that. It will take a few since my memory file guys are as ancient as I. And I am willing to accept that Mary somehow learned some kitchen skills off stage. Still a little uncomfortable with the sopping and dirty clothes in the kitchen, even though the long walk home might have dried them a bit. As a nurse myself I would have been more comfortable with more than a little wash up at the kitchen sink, especially the KITCHEN sink. And I still think Carson would have been too concerned to play it out as he did. But your well reasoned and eloquently presented comments have pulled me back onto the right path.

      • Susanna G.

        With regard to Blake’s previous remarks about Mary’s class, he himself is an educated man. I now wonder if he comes from a wealthy family with land that is to be passed to an older brother under the rule of primogeniture. Knowing that he will not inherit, he could have gone to university to study agriculture and strike out on his own. When I was at university I had a friend in that same situation.

      • Kaycee

        Well that’s a very interesting thought and you just might have something there. Blake is chums with Napier and in this episode we find out also with Gillingham. So all three may be of the same class. If that is the case he, Blake, has taken a wise turn and with his education decided on a course that will provide him with income. More and more it seems that Gillingham, with his explicit interest in the future of Downton, is continuing on his course toward Mary and through her son’s inheritance, a happy ever after. On a side note, poor Napier keeps feeding men into the Mary Mill. I only hope Blake survives. I like him.

      • CatKinNY

        I don’t think Gilligham’s interest in the future of Downton is necessarily predatory. His own family estate, probably in slightly worse financial shape, has been rented out to save it. Were I him, I’d be keenly interested in what Mary and Tom are trying to do for future reference, even were I not in love with her. I’d be hoping that they might show me how I could manage to reoccupy my ancestral home while paying the bills.

      • Kaycee

        Well, we shall see: you with your kinder, gentler view of Lord Gilly, and me without.

      • CatKinNY

        I had been assuming that Blake was a younger son, based on speech, manner and his comfort in being rudely blunt with the Crawleys, and my knowledge of the fact that the various ministries of the time were chock full of them in positions of power. Many of them, like the young Winston Churchill, were quite competent and talented and served England with distinction.

        Blake’s question about Gillingham, on hearing that a guest was coming, “Didn’t he used to be so and so” using Tony’s title, just confirmed my suspicions.

      • CatKinNY

        Thank you, Kaycee; that’s high praise indeed – I think I’m blushing! It was just mud, not pig mud. My kitchen is not an ‘operating theatre’ (to keep with the English idioms) and I frequently use it’s sink for muddy operations, like repotting a plant. If it makes you feel better, though, I imagine that they used the pump at the barn to remove most of it before going back to the house.

        I understand why you think Carson would have waited up for her (and perhaps he did, discreetly). Don’t forget though, that Carson not only loves Mary, but admires, trusts and respects her as well (he doesn’t know about Pamuke). He’s also rather blinkered about the aristocracy. I share Susanna G’s speculation about Blake. I assumed he was a younger son for reasons spelled out in my post to her. Carson would probably have shared my assumption, and have therefore placed an amount of trust in him that would strike us (and Mrs Hughes) as naive. My, that’s an awful lot of assumption on my part, but it makes sense to me!

      • Kaycee

        Of course they would have washed off at the pump, they were standing right next to it! In fact, I think I’ll re-pot a plant in the kitchen right now. I so enjoy the adventure of seeing how all our many assumptions are addressed in this series. Eleven hours to go!

  • Lily Lil

    I’d like to know where to get several of the clothes worn on the show.

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