Downton Abbey Recap: Secret Society

| February 17, 2014
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Photo: PBS

Welcome back, friends! Pour yourself another cup of tea and consider yourself SPOILER ALERT-ed, it’s time for another Downton Abbey recap!

As we open, the three adult children of Downton (well, two and the third’s proxy) stride across their land. The pigs of course are doing their part by being the most attractive pigs of all time, not to mention saving the whole family from ruin. They seem to have found a reasonable pig man: the guy who is also their sharecropper. Sweet! One dude doing all the work! Fewer characters to remember!

In the Dowager House, the old ladies are getting back to their normal angsty relationship with maybe a slightly friendlier undertone. Isobel, it turns out, is just there to drop a little exposition. “Is it really called the ‘Teapot Dome Scandal?’ It seems so unlikely!” she says, like a character in an ad about the health benefits of political scandals of the 1920s. Violet obliges by reading the Wikipedia entry about the scandal and knowingly asking us all to reflect on how little America has changed (Bribery! Drilling for oil! Corruption and the free market!).

At the Abbey, Rose is breathless on the phone with her American (he’s not improperly drilling for oil anywhere; he may be an American, but he’s living in England now, which means automatic class points).

Downstairs, Detective Molesley is making friends with Baxter, Thomas’s Stool Pigeon. Only, he’s such a bad detective that he ends up being the one getting interrogated.

In the kitchen, Ivy probably gets what is probably a love letter from Top Chef Alfred. Ugh.

In the library, the Barely Political Duo of Outsiders (Branson and Isobel) discuss getting mildly involved in politics. Granny gets an inkling of Edith’s sticky situation and Mary flirts openly with Mr. Blake (why is he here again?). Blake it turns out is quite handy when he’s handed Mary’s bawling baby. With a normal single mother, this would mean curtains and love forever, but with Mary it might actually piss her off. I’m sure she considers soothing babies to be coddling.

Upstairs, Lord Gillingham a.k.a. the Pirate is coming back, which is obviously problematic for Anna. Luckily she finally tells Mary that the Pirate’s valet is the Rapist. This means Mary will hopefully be able to bring down her wrath before Bates can and Mary’s wrath will most certainly be magnificent.

Back in the kitchen, I was right, obviously the letter for Ivy was from George Michael Bluth Alfred. He wants to marry Ivy now, apparently, because she was mildly friendly to him one time. Cool, buddy. Great idea.

In the Shoe Shining Room of Despair, Bates and Mrs. Bates gossip about the romantic life of Mary, which quickly turns into Bates fishing for info on the Rapist. Oh please, Mary, get to him first!

At breakfast, it’s just farming, farming, farming. It’s all anyone talks about anymore!

Downstairs, Patmore and Ivy are doing a terrible job of shielding Daisy from the truth about Alfred (the truth is he’s an idiot).

In Thirsk, Tom the Future Politician spies Rose inappropriately lunching with Jazzy Jack. Rose however has not a care in the world! She’s turning out to be more political than Branson, saying: “Isn’t it time people knew there are bigger and better values than the mean spirited ones they live by?” I don’t know what she means, but I sure like her spirit and Jack is a cute boy so I’m in.

As the Former Chauffeur (as I’ve said, the only member of the family I trust behind the wheel) drives home from the village with Isobel, he tries out the Jack Ross/Rose situation on her in extremely vague hypotheticals. I just realized, Rose Ross would be her name if they got married! What a great name!

Downstairs, Molesley appears to be wooing/detectiving Baxter. He probably doesn’t even know which one he’s going for.

Somewhere, in front of a building, Tom’s Political Love Interest in a Hat shows up and they have a little back and forth. She works at the school, which is OMG perfect for Tom!. He’s like intellectual.

In Mary’s chamber, it turns out she couldn’t keep the Rapist away. Oh. No. Things are going to happen. Exit Anna, sad. Enter Tom, uncomfortable. Very quickly and poetically, he sells Rose out for stroking Jack Ross’s cheek in public. Which, of course, Mary does not find surprising as she saw them full-on making out like three episodes ago.

Prediction: Anna’s secret will soon see the light of day.

Speaking of secrets, Rosamund and Edith discuss options for adopting out the Inevitable Baby. Edith thinks she can pawn it off on the tenant, who is already farming and raising the pigs. The pigs are pretty cute, but come on. Let the guy live! How much can one character do?

Anyway, it looks like Rosamund is going to win the day and they are going to take a pregnancy-hiding trip to Switzerland.

At dinner, the room is full of Mary’s suitors. There’s a Pirate, an Evelyn and a Pig Rescuer. Because she isn’t being entertained quite enough by the men duking it out over her around the table, Mary decides to really pry into Edith’s reasons for going to Switzerland. Aww, that Mary. So tactful, sweet and sisterly.

Downstairs, around another table, trouble is brewing. Bates is slyly getting the info on where the Rapist lives, while Molesley is still trying to get Baxter to take pity on him or something. Mary, get down here and use your cruelty for something good please!

On the stairs, the ladies of Downton discuss Rose the Rebel. Mary takes Rose into her room and, before Mary can even dress her down for cheek stroking in public, Rose launches into a monologue about civil rights, which quickly turns into her explaining that she’s really doing this whole thing to destroy her mother whom she hates. Ah, yes. Forgot about that.

The next day, three thirds of Mary’s love interests are leaving. This is how I’m ranking them in terms of her liking them: In third, Evelyn: he has a girl’s name and she couldn’t be bothered. Second place is the Pirate: I think he’s the cutest, but Mary can’t see past his invisible eye patch. And in first is Mr. Blake: he is a formidable opponent who likes pigs, which apparently makes him the total package. Anyway, they all leave and now it’s ladies night at Downton.

In the kitchen, Ivy and Patmore are unable to keep a secret from Daisy. Ivy better sleep with one eye open. Daisy knows her way around a knife.

At the Dowager House, Granny is drilling Rosamund and Edith. And she’s a lot better at detectiving than Molesley.

Downstairs, everyone is extra not excited about the Bizarre Bazaar. I am also not excited, except that maybe there will be some massive showdown with the kitchen staff, after everyone has a few pints and the Ferris Wheel falls down (do they have a Ferris Wheel at Bizarre Bazaars?).

Upstairs, everyone seems equally unexcited, except for Rose who is excited for non-Bazaar related reasons: she’s engaged! Her mom is gonna be pissed!

In the Secret Cave of Shoe Shining, the Bates’ romantically shine shoes. Bates bides his time, but there is a 100% chance that he’s about to do something stupid the second Mary and Anna head to London.

Elsewhere, the Bazaar is getting set up and secrets are getting ready to boil over.

On a sunny road in the middle of nowhere, Branson  the Car Man finds his Love Interest in distress! It’s like a rap song! Luckily for both of them, he knows his way around cars. For her, because she’ll be able to get home. For him, because he’s pretty hot when he’s fixing machines.

At tea with some nobleman, Violet seems to have set up a romance between Isobel and said nobleman. What about the doctor?!

On the road, the Love Interest in the Hat and Branson are beginning to find love and common socialist ground.

Whilst walking in the garden, Granny and Edith discuss the Switzerland-ing of the Baby. Edith doesn’t seem very stoked on it.

Also whilst walking, but this time in the village, it turns out the nobleman is the father of Larry Grey, that dude who liked Sybil and poisoned Branson. OMG. I never thought Larry would show up again, even just in dialogue. Larry’s Dad is probably about to turn Isobel into the person with the second most suitors at Downton.

In London, Mary is going to visit Jazzy Jack whose accent is getting weirder and weirder (research finally done…the actor’s British as suspected). This could be an intervention, but Mary is totally down with the LGBTQ community so she may be progressive enough to be down with the black, jazz singing American community too. Over tea, it looks like Mary doesn’t have to do an intervention because Jack is totally not going to follow through with marrying Rose because he thinks it’s going to ruin Rose’s life. God, I hope he’s lying. I like him and this whole plot line. Finally, Rose is more than the most boring person in the house.

Still in London, Mary tells Anna she’s going to get the Rapist sacked. I approve, but am still apprehensive about Bates’ trip to “Yorkshire.” Is he going to plant a bomb somewhere? Poison a pie?

Downstairs, Baxter is warming up a little to Molesley, who has clearly forgotten he’s a detective.

At a fancy lunch in London, Mary tells the Pirate it’s time to fire the Rapist. I wish she would just marry the Pirate and tell him the truth and they can make the Rapist walk the plank together.

At the Dowager House, Violet is pretty excited to give Isobel flowers from Larry’s Dad. Romance! Just don’t leave him alone with any drinks!

And finally, it’s time for the Bizarre Bazaar! Everyone is dressed in pastels. And Robert is back. Which means Thomas is back. Woo hoo. (Those periods are purposely not exclamation marks.)

Daisy appears to be avoiding a showdown by visiting her old father-in-law. She’s pretty mature after all. And since she’s not there, obviously Alfred wants to see her. During a sweet picnic, her father-in-law tells her she has to say goodbye to Alfred. Really? Why? Can’t she just send him a passive aggressive Emoji text and selfie or something?

At the Bazaar, Granny tells Edith: “All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve. First one, then the next, and the next…until at last we die. Why don’t you get us an ice cream?”

I’m completely on board with that philosophy and with ice cream as the solution. Let’s start a religion, guys.

The Pirate appears at the Bazaar. But he isn’t there for more romancing of Mary, instead he’s there to bring news: the Rapist is dead! Bates clearly did it. Even with his bum leg, he could push a bad guy into the street. Looks like he won’t get hanged for this murder though because on to the next suitor, who doesn’t have a rapist for a valet or in fact, have a valet at all: Mr. Blake is back!

Baxter gets Molesley to do the strong man hammer hitting thing and he rings the bell! Thomas creeps up with an evil cigarette in his mouth and tries to bully Baxter, but Molesley, with his new found strength found in Baxter’s love, stands up to Sneak Thomas. Bravery and arm strength! He’s a new man!

Robert and his Mummy banter about Prohibition and Daisy makes it back to Downton in time to say goodbye to Alfred. Daisy gives Alfred a basket of farm goods and sends him on his sad way with a whole bunch of class. I love you, Daisy! And so does Mrs. Patmore. So does Mrs. Patmore.

At the Bazaar, Mr. Blake the Pig Man is officially throwing his hat in the ring as a suitor to Mary. Poor Evelyn. He’s not even remotely in the running anymore.

In the downstairs hall, Bates basically admits to Anna that he killed the Rapist and the Rapist deserved it. Is he admitting he killed the previous Mrs. Bates as well? I mean, she kinda was standing in his way…

Back at the Bazaar, the ladies in pastels and the men in black toast each other for being awesome at being rich. Mary walks into the sunset with her two remaining suitors and everyone cranes their necks, trying to see who will go home with the final rose.

 

Character Ranking:

5. The Pirate: I just think he’s the cutest of this season’s Bachelors and I want him to win the million dollars. That’s how it works, right?

4. Mary: She did a couple good things this episode: she got the Pirate to fire the Rapist (which turned out to be a moot point since Bates killed him dead) and she wrangled three love interests, while pretending that none of them were love interests at all. Also she managed to be hilariously disdainful of both her baby and her only living sister. Respect.

Tied for 3. Edith/Daisy: Edith, for thinking she could just give her baby to the farmer who was in charge of everything else and Daisy for forgiving Alfred when he didn’t deserve her forgiveness.

2. Jazzy Jack: Though we did not see it, I am assuming that Jack proposed to Rose (OMG they are Jack and Rose, it’s destiny!), but then decided their love could never be. There is nothing so romantic as forbidden love. Much more romantic than three guys in suits vying over the same heiress. Thanks for bringing some heat to the love proceedings at the Abbey, Jack, even if Rose was only in it to piss off her mommy.

1. Bates: Justifiable homicide.

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About the Author ()

Lizzy Acker’s work has been published in Nano Fiction, Fanzine, Joyland, Eleven Eleven and elsewhere. She has read with Bang Out, RADAR, Quiet Lightening and others. Her first book, Monster Party, was released in December of 2010 by Small Desk Press.

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