(Below, spoilers below!)
It’s a bit of a slower episode this week as the family intend to source Edith and Branson keeps on considering a move to Boston. It’s an episode full of drama and one with a brilliant Dowager Countess line: ‘he’s a man, he doesn’t have any rights.”
Cora discovers the existence of Marigold via the visit of Mrs Drew to the house, and her and Rosamund both Edith via her place of work. Cora, desperate not to lose another grandchild and another daughter, comes up with a plan to enable to child to come and stay at Downton for the long term. Even though Edith gets a happy ending of sorts, this is Downton and not everything quite goes to plan. Anna spots Mr Drew at the station and tells Mrs Hughes.
Anna is not without her own problems, with tension between her and Miss Baxter over her going to the police. Miss Baxter desperately tries to make amends without telling the Bates’ about her past, earning her sympathy from both Mr Molesley and Barrow. Molesley also tries to get Daisy newly excited about learning once more. The young cook gets unhappy about the state of the Labour government and feels her learning is futile. It takes some help from Mr Mason to get Daisy re-excited again. It’s not the most enthralling of downstairs storylines, but it certainly keeps the ball rolling and reveals more to us about Miss Baxter’s character. I’m liking the woman more and more with every episode.
Meanwhile the romance between Rose and Atticus is blossoming, with the latter’s father hesitant about the marriage. At the same time, Isabel announces her engagement to Lord Merton which culminates in at the big house with Lord Merton’s sons. You might remember their last arrival at Downton causing a ruckus and they’re just as awful this time round. There’s a brilliant moment where Branson stands up angrily at the table and I confess I punched the air in triumph. Whether or not Branson stays he is most certainly good for the family.
Mary and Blake scheme to finally send Gillingham away. Blake comes up with a cheeky scheme that involves Mary kissing him in front of the scorned man – it works like a charm. The more devastating story comes with Isis being diagnosed with cancer. Lord Grantham’s reaction to it pulls the heartstrings – he’s worried Isis won’t last the night and he carries the dog up to the bedroom because he does not want her alone.
This week’s episode is not a complex one to explain by any means but it is a charming forty minutes that provides a good balance between both lighthearted moments and intense drama. What is set up however, is anticipation for next week. With Rose’s engagement on the go, Branson still unsure of his place in Downton, and Blake set to go for a long time in Poland, next week is tying up the various loose ends that we’re excited about.