(Beware, spoilers below!)
Episode two of Downton Abbey kicks off as we find out that Tom and Rose are both doing well before Mary goes to settle into her new role as the agent of the estate. She finds out that she needs provide a decent turn out at a local late fat stock show. Meanwhile Mrs Hughes tells Mr Carson to turn down the Earl’s proposal for them to have a reception in the servants’ hall. The hospital palava still continues as Violet continues to push the idea of the hospital remaining independent, and Thomas worries that he will be soon up for the chop.
Anna finally tells Lady Mary that she can’t have children and whilst Mary tries to calm her down it doesn’t stop the tears flowing. The children go to visit the pig farm where there’s an awkward encounter with Marigold’s adoptive mother before they get bustled off. Thomas anxiously goes looking for another job since he has no assurance from Carson that he’ll be keeping his job for long. Bad memories plague Anna that she feels that even with adoption she’s not giving what he wants. In London Edith’s getting a firm telling off from the editor of her magazine, which upsets her.
Mary decides that she’s going to take Anna up to London in Harley Street so that they can find out what’s really going on. The Earl finally finds out that Marigold’s visit wasn’t too smooth at all, given that Mrs Drew was still emotional at their meeting, and she suggests that the Drews move. Thomas’ interview also goes rather awry as what the job requires from him is different from what she’s used to. Though Daisy wants help about Mr Mason’s tenancy she’s still angry at the situation. Mrs Hughes wants to refuse the use of the Great Hall for their wedding reception and she puts her foot down when she finds out that Carson hasn’t refused the use of the house.
At the doctors Anna discovers that there is somewhat of a solution for her condition if she chooses to have it, which brightens up her day. The Earl lets Cora know that the Drew still won’t move, and they they’re still hoping for a good solution. On the day of the fair everything seems to be going well until Marigold goes missing and when they find out that Mrs Drew has taken the child the farmer decides that he’s going to look for a new home.
This episode of Downton touches on the fallout from Marigold and the run up to Mrs Hughes wedding. The decay of the estate sits like a slow burn in the background. Whilst not the most exciting at least we’re set up for irreversible change – and perhaps even the prospect of Thomas finding love. Some moments in the episode seem perhaps forced or unnecessary, a problem in the overall Downton narrative that isn’t particularly new for the show. However, the prospect of use seeing the characters we care about finally reach a happy ending keep the audience captive, even over the bumpy moments. If there’s any heart to take from it, is that there are many empowering female messages in the episode, from Edith making her own way to Lady Grantham asserting herself over everyone else in the room. The Earl might be holding the seat, but its the ladies that keep it running.