The line gets longer for the pursuit of Lady Mary, Edith has a secret that no one cares about, and it’s party time for Lord Grantham in this week’s Downton Abbey.
Some people run on greed, lust, on love. [Isobel] runs on indignation.
– Dowager Countess
Lady Rose is determined to make Lord Grantham’s birthday a spectacle, hiring Jack Ross of the Lotus Club to sing at the party. All goes off with few hitches, “OMG! He’s BLACK!,” and the party is a rousing success. Tom and Violet comment on the impressive willingness of the Abbey to change with the times, and the guests dance the night away. Carson and Jack share a humorous exchange concerning Africa as various maids giggle and wave at the bandleader’s dimples.
Always ready to embrace the times, Lord Grantham insists on paying for the band himself, Mary heads downstairs to deliver the news. She walks right into a full-on make-out session between Jack and Rose (insert Titanic joke here); Rose benefits from Mary’s stiff upper lip when the latter plays dumb. Again with the repeating history, this love story harkens back to that of Lady Sybil and Branson. It may seem charted ground, but let’s see if it goes in an unexpected direction.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF SOUFLEE RISING
In a turn of luck, Alfred is offered a position at the Ritz after all, leaving poor Daisy to lash out at Ivy, who rebuffs the advances of hard-up Jimmy, and cry into her honey cakes at his leaving. Alfred thanks the unfortunate old-maid for her tutelage but confesses they would have never been an item anyway.
Look — Daisy, at this point, should be approaching twenty-eight. Eventually, you would think the deprived young thing should move on and learn to love what is good for her. She spends so much time on things that she can never have that her life is passing her by. We will return to this subject in the season finale, but let me be clear, I find most of her wallflower actions weak and products of her own making. I know we cannot choose who we love, but we can choose how that love affects us.
With Alfred’s departure, Mr. Moseley reaffirms his willingness to claim the vacant position, but Carson steadfastly denies the poor man out of pride. The derelict has angels in the way of Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Padmore, consequently, and the two plot to move the erstwhile butler back into white bowties. On the day of Lord Grantham’s birthday, Moseley is given the Footman’s position. Never mess with a lady of Downton, (both capital and lower-case “L”) in her pursuit to improve the lives of men.
THE MORE THE MARY-ER
Evelyn Napier and Charles Blake arrive to assess the status of local esta– Oh, forget it. Who cares? Some dudes arrive to vie for Mary’s hand, and the writers are just trying to figure out who fares the best with the audience. Even Tony Gillingham is given a shout-out by Isobel in the episode, just to remind you that he exists.
Anyone who knows Lady Mary knows she loves a challenge, and that is precisely what Mr. Blake offers. He’s antagonistic right from the start, revitalizing that quick-witted foreplay Mary shared with Matthew. Looks like Napier is bringing up the rear, again. That guy just needs to move on. Edith’s man is currently MIG (missing in Germany), and she won’t be showing for a couple months. You two Lonelyhearts could make a real go of it.
DETECTIVE BARROW AND THE LADY’S MAID
Thomas puts Baxter up to sussing out the goings-on both upstairs and down in his quest to become Minister of Secrets. When Lady Rose seeks Mrs. Hughes help in her birthday gift, Barrow assumes she is holding a terrific, and potentially, massive mystery that could have far-reaching implications. He is further let down in his continuous pursuit of knocking Bates down a peg when Baxter is unable to expose the root of the tension between Anna and her husband.
As I wrote last week, I find this relationship particularly tantalizing as a “slow burn.” What does Barrow hold over Baxter? Her sweetness and true interest in the members of the household seem genuine, as does the pain in hurting her new friends, but she is still compelled to work with Thomas. I am excited to see where this storyline continues to take us. (That is a sentence I never thought I’d write this season…)
More on the topic of exposing secrets this week, Isobel sets out to prove the innocence of young Pegg when Violet dismisses the suspected thief. Playing a little cloak-and-dagger herself, Isobel waits until the Countess is out to fake a fainting spell and discovers the missing item. Mrs. Justice Crawley wastes no time, arriving the next day with sidekick Dr. Clarkson in tow, to deliver a stern tongue-lashing to Violet. Turns out, the Countess had apologized that very morning to the gardener and offered him his job back, with her sincere apologies. Point to the esteemed DC. as Isobel is left with egg all over her entitled face.
THIS WEEK IN LADY EDITH’S DIARY…
It seems the post in Germany moves slower than expected. Michael’s letters are taking longer than anticipated; I fear the time spent missing me is paralyzing poor Mr. Gregson’s attempt to send his affections. Must telephone British Consulate immediately.
The love growing inside me turns out to be less of a metaphor and more of a problem…guess I should have spoke to Nanny about such things. Oh, well. Best be sure to order the empire waist wedding gown. Post haste.
In other news, I’ve watched the paint dry as Mary has suggested. I still do not understand the relevance.