Time for the local church bazaar at Downton! We know from past episodes that any party at Downton means lots of pastels, folding chairs on the lawn, and the servants playing carnival games — and in that, fellow viewers, we were not disappointed. But it wasn’t all bunting and booze…
*Spoilers for the Feb. 16 episode of Downton Abbey below*
This week’s episode had more departures and arrivals than an airport timetable. For example:
Going: Edith. Edith thinks she’s solved her baby problem, but her idea is a bit insane (though very old-timey-English-novel). Drewe, the tenant farmer they agreed not to foreclose on a few episodes back, is going to be the new pig caretaker, so he says he owes the family a favor…which she takes to mean that he will raise her baby as his own, but let her visit the wee one whenever she wants. Aunt Rosamund comes to town, though, and convinces her that could never actually work. Instead, the two of them will take a sabbatical in Switzerland for a few months and work on their French — that is, Edith is going to have the baby in secret and a Swiss couple will adopt it. No one will know! Except, of course, the Dowager Countess, who guesses instantly. She agrees, though, that retiring to the Continent is the right thing to do, and she’ll even foot the bill. Edith, at this point, gives up entirely on pretty much everything, including Michael and the baby and any possibility of her own happiness.
Coming: Sarah Bunting. The local council is looking for candidates; Isobel encourages Tom to run. When they go into Thirsk to go to the bookshop for political information, Tom sees Rose and Jack dining in a café. He also runs into the woman from the political meeting. Her name is Sarah Bunting — no relation to the tiny flags the Crawleys like to use as decor at their fancy events — and she teaches at the local school. Soon after, he comes across her when her car breaks down and helps her out — revealing his chauffeur past and that he’s more a man of the people than she suspected.
Going: Jack Ross. When Tom tells Mary that he saw Rose and Jack together, Mary corners her cousin — but instead of backing down, Rose swears she’s going to marry the band-leader, if only to make her mummy mad (“I want to see her face crumble!” is a bit of a give-away). So, Mary goes to visit Jack in London and tell him Rose may not be in it for the right reasons. He actually agrees not to marry Rose, but for a different reason: he does love her, and doesn’t want to ruin her life.
Coming: Lord Merton. The Dowager Countess, newly appreciative of Isobel, invites her erstwhile adversary to lunch with Mary’s godfather, Lord Merton. Even though he puts his foot in his mouth — he asks after Matthew — they still hit it off.
Going: Alfred. Ivy gets a surprising letter, in which Alfred reveals that he’s coming to town for his father’s funeral — and he wants to leave with Ivy as his fiancée, taking her to London with him. She decides to turn him down, but he’s going to stop by anyway. Daisy leaves for the day so she doesn’t have to see him, but when she goes to visit Mr. Mason (her father-in-law from her brief marriage to a doomed soldier), he convinces her to go back and get some closure. She and Alfred have a nice friendship good-bye and he leaves forever — and, though Daisy’s sad, Mrs. Patmore says she couldn’t be prouder if Daisy were her own daughter.
Coming: A potential romance for Baxter and Molesley. She makes him appreciate him life more, and he stands up for her. Still no word, however, on her mysterious past.
Comings and Goings: Mr. Blake and Lord Gillingham, a million times in a row. Mr. Blake and Lord Gillingham are both back at Downton. Blake gets some points (and some grandmotherly side-eye) for holding baby George; Gillingham loses some for showing up even though Mary tried to intercept him. She did that because Anna, making her promise to do nothing, has revealed to Mary that Green, Gillingham’s valet, was the rapist — and that every time Green shows up, she’s worried Mr. Bates will find out. Both Blake and Gillingham, however, leave once only to show up again at the bazaar, professing their love for Mary, even though she insists she’s not available.
Going, Going, Gone: Mr. Green. When Mary goes to London, bringing Anna with her, she takes the chance to meet with Gillingham and ask him to dismiss Green. She doesn’t say why, but he agrees to fire the valet, who he never liked much anyway. Learning that Anna is going to London for two days, Bates asks Carson for the day off to go to York — and earns some ominous music for saying the reason is, “This and that.” Later, when Gillingham shows up at the bazaar, it’s to tell Mary that he didn’t get a chance to fire Green…because Green is dead. Green was on a crowded London street and slipped and was hit by a lorry in front of lots of witness, which Anna says is a relief when she finds out — though she won’t say why. Anna asks Bates what he did yesterday, and he won’t give a firm answer. Hmm…
Coming Up: Harold and Martha Levinson. During the bazaar, his lordship shows up! It’s a surprise! He reveals that Uncle Harold got a reprimand and nothing more, and that Harold and Martha are going to to Downton for Rose’s coming-out ball.
Dowager Zinger of the Week: “Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts.”
History Lesson of the Week: It turns out that the scandal with which Uncle Harold was involved was the Teapot Dome Scandal, subject of a 1922 Senate investigation. It began when a report, in the Wall Street Journal, revealed that the Secretary of the Interior had given drilling rights for public lands to private oil companies — like the one fictionally owned by Harold Levinson — without competitive bidding and (it turned out) in exchange for bribes. The corruption case resulted in the former Secretary, Albert Fall, going to jail. The scandal takes its name from a rock formation on the oil field in question.