Downton Abbey: Fete, fatal attractions and fatalities

downton abbey(Series 4, ep.8)  Series four glided to a halt so sedately it might have been a car driven by Tom Branson himself. Some loose ends were tied, but enough of them remained loose to leave us counting the days till the Christmas episode and the new series.

If you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to see any spoilers – turn away now!  

Lady Mary had a particularly busy time of it. Knowing that Anna couldn’t cope with the frequent visits of Nasty Mr Green to Downton (she guessed he was the rapist), Mary took herself off to have tea with Lord Gillingham and ask him to please sack his valet, no questions asked. Because Lord Gillingham is in love with Mary (he dumped his theoretical fiancée Miss Lane-Fox) he agreed, but Mary had no time to be grateful because she was already off visiting Jack Ross to ask him to please dump Lady Rose. Her reasoning for this was not because Mary is a hideous racist. It’s that the rest of the world is full of hideous racists and she didn’t think Rose could cope with it. Jack Ross agreed – if only it was a nicer world things would be different, he said a tad disappointingly.

If only it was a nicer world, Alfred would have written to Daisy asking her to marry him, but he wrote and asked Ivy instead. She said no thank you, but it was his parting with Daisy that was the most emotional moment of the episode because unrequited love is the saddest thing.

edith downtonLady Edith’s solution to her baby problem was to give the baby to the honest folk running the pig farm to raise as an honest country child. Her Aunt Rosamund wasn’t happy with this solution (“What if the child looks like you?”) and proposed going to Switzerland for a few months, where they could take advantage of good healthcare, give the baby to an honest Swiss person to bring up in a neutral Alpine environment, and go back to Downton having pretended they’d merely been polishing up their French. The Dowager saw right through this and guessed what was going on. Lady Cora also noticed that something was up, but she was too preoccupied with organising the church fete (bigger and better than ever) to pay it much attention.

When Lady Mary was at Downton in between visits to organise other people’s lives, she was once again surrounded by suitors. Her current preference seems to be for the man she had the pig rescuing session with last week – rehydrating livestock is always such a bonding experience.

bates anna downtonThe end of the episode brought the shock news that Evil Mr Green had been run over and killed by a vehicle in London. Obviously Mr Bates could have had nothing to do with that, as he was away in York for the whole day. Or was he? He went alone, he returned alone. Surely not?

I’m hoping that the Christmas episode will be a massive one for Thomas, because frankly he’s hardly had anything to do in this series. The sidekick he was carefully grooming has taken up with Mr Molesley and seems to have no appetite for intrigue, so Thomas once again had nothing to do (when he got back from New York) but smoke and smirk. It’s a waste, I tell you.

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