An episode of romantic linking and midlife career change. First the pairing of some main characters: Mary and Henry Talbot, Edith and Bertie Pelham, Isobel and Lord Merton, (again), Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Mason (now, what’s with Daisy spoiling the fun?) And Baxter and Coyle? Not a reunion I hope.
Midlife career changes are thrusted upon other characters. The most important one is Cora, a job that she has never dreamed of, or dared to think about. Crossing Violet? Definitely not her own choosing. On second thought, after a career of bringing up three daughters, now she’s ready for another challenge. Being the President of the merger of the village hospital with York’s, she’s ushered into a brave new world. Now, that sounds like a much easier task than her previous job.
As for Molesley, his midlife career change is something he hasn’t dared to entertain before, beyond his wildest dream. Need to pass an exam first, but still very exciting. It’s interesting to see that his open tuition to help Daisy is so well received and respected by everyone, while Barrow’s secret tutorial offered to Andy is met with suspicion. But kudos to him for keeping Andy’s problem confidential. O Mr. Barrow, can you ever redeem yourself?
So Barrow is now the in-house piggy backer. The position of under butler is soon to be obsolete. Looks like Mr. Carson has a clearer view of occupational trends than Barrow: “In twenty years time I doubt there’s one footman working at Downton.” Or a lady’s maid, for that matter. Nothing personal, just the end of the aristocratic era. So when Season 6 ends, we’re saying goodbye to all that.
Mr. Carson, you won’t be long either, I’m afraid. The butler too will soon become “a post that is fragrant with memories of a lost world…” Eloquent with words strung up like that can sure open doors for you if it’s your time to leave. Prepare for the day when you’ll have no one to polish your cutlery or fold that bedsheet into sharp corners. Poor Mrs. Hughes, I knew her decision to have the wedding reception at the local school would be her last autonomous say. Would the real Mrs. Hughes please stand up? I sure miss you.
The main attraction of the episode is the Downton Open House for the local hospital, a charity event. Wait a minute, charging people to come look at your living quarters? Who would want to pay? Yes, as Isobel Crawley says, “even Elizabeth Bennet wanted to see what Pemberley was like inside.” But that’s different though. For one thing, she didn’t have to pay; further, she got a bonus seeing Darcy in a wet shirt. Now, Barrow, since you’ve already warmed up with odd jobs like offering piggyback rides to the kids, get ready to jump into the pond.
No worries, people line up to pay to get in. Good idea! Tom’s business mind quickly turns and comes out with a wonderful idea. Wouldn’t that be a fine source of revenue to help maintain the huge mansion? Sounds like a version of reality. Isn’t Scribe Julian describing Highclere Castle where Downton is filmed?
But still, the question remains in some of their visitors’ mind I’m sure. Why, the pint-size philosopher who pops into Lord Grantham’s bedroom has posed a legit question: why not buy somewhere comfy instead of living in such a big house? Well son, it’s a long story. Never mind that. But one thing we can agree upon, it’s our mothers. They get terribly wrought up about things.
In this episode, we get to see another side of Lord Grantham. He looks like a totally bored little boy trying to entertain himself with all sorts of funnies while sick in bed. Mary in the bath? O my, wait till Mommy hears that.
To London again, Mary brings Anna to see Dr. Ryder, and thank God it’s just normal pregnancy discomfort. But what a great opportunity to do some side shows like… surprise! Henry Talbot must feel like he’s lured by a racing trophy. What a catch, Mary Crawley. Here’s the funny thing, looks like Mary is encouraging Henry Talbot, but when he does get close, she rejects him somehow.
Certainly, she has her bad memory. Matthew died in a car crash. But is that all that’s holding her back with Henry Talbot? Or is it the idea of marrying down? Or too fast too soon? Don’t forget, Mary, Henry’s a race car driver. Time is of the essence. Speed is the thrill. Occupational hazards, no, skill sets.
And romantic characters have the rain to thank, for usually what happens when sudden rain befalls, somehow that would lead to a private escape resulting in the first kiss. It happens in Woody Allen movies and it can happen right here in Downton Abbey.
In contrast, Edith and Bertie are enjoying some smooth sailing, despite Mary’s skepticism. Mary, you need to know, any man willing to take Edith plus a child must be genuinely in love with her. So, Marigold could well be the tester of true intention.
Your take on this episode?
With this recap, Arti is taking a hiatus from the pond. There are 600+ posts on Ripple, you’re welcome to spend your time lingering still and throw in your two pebbles. Hope they can hold your interest until Arti’s return.
Previously on Downton Abbey Season 6: