*This was a difficult episode to review. First, it was 2 hours long, not the usual 1. Second, the dilemmas were dragged out to fill the 2 hour time slot. Normally, they are quickly resolved and you can understand my recaps! Third, there were many 30 second bits that weren’t relevant to the story. I guess they felt the need to lighten the mode because of…Four, they were really pushing the popular notion that Thomas can’t help that he’s gay, he was made that way. Well, I don’t believe that idea and I’ve tried not to condone it through my recap. But what I really don’t understand is now all the characters admit to knowing all along of Thomas’ secret! I remember this being only something the audience knew.
Bates is free! And Anna met him at the prison gate with a passionate kiss! Downstairs joyfully welcomed him back and Mrs. Patmore had a grand feast ready for him.
The Sketch editor wrote a second offer to Edith to come to London and still Robert is displeased. Edith uses her proper upbringing to say it would be rude of her not to visit the paper. You go girl! Robert still holds a grudge against Matthew and asks him not to encourage her any longer. As Robert leaves breakfast, he reunites with Bates in the hall. Thomas had taken over Bates’ role as valet so Robert says he will get everything sorted out and find a cottage on the property for him and Anna.
Violet drops in on Isobel to tell her how much she has brought scandal to the Crawley name. Apparently the village is all a buzz with gossip of Ethel’s former occupation. But Isobel is not moved and will fight to the end for Ethel’s rehabilitation. As Violet is driven back to her home, she sees Ethel walking back to Isobel’s house, with groceries, in tears. There is a small look of humanity on Violet’s face as she contemplates what she just witnessed. Back at the house, Isobel finds out why Ethel had been crying. It seems she was refused service at one of the local vendors.
As Robert and Cora stroll around the Downton grounds, he says he has to let Thomas go so Bates can have his old position back. He also wants to kick Tom out on his behind. Cora calms him down saying there is still a place for Thomas at the house. She reminds him that Tom and the baby are now their responsibility because Sybil would want them to stay together as a family. Robert just grumbles, like every other man!
Everyone downstairs knows that Bates will resume his position soon but saying it out loud becomes a touchy subject. Thomas looks scared out of his wits! Alfred, in a roundabout way, asks Ivey for a date to see a movie, “Way Down East” with Lilian Gish. I have actually seen parts of that silent film, so hearing it mentioned and imagining how amazing it would have been to see it on the big screen in 1920 was neat! Ivey said her mum wouldn’t let her go alone with Alfred and Mrs. Hughes concurred. If Mrs. Patmore agreed to let another girl go along, then Ivey was allowed.
Matthew and Robert meet with Jarvis to discuss the estate. Matthew argues that Downton must be self-supporting without bailout money from Cora’s fortune if it is going to survive. Of course Jarvis and Robert disagree. The status quo will be sufficient.
Edith and Violet meet for tea. She discusses her plans to go to London. Violet is also against a writing career and would rather Edith take up charities or watercolors. She stands her ground and says she’s going and will take the position if she likes the editor. Edith doesn’t want to fall out with Robert but she doesn’t want to be invisible either. Violet says she’ll see what she can do to change his mind.
Mary and Tom discuss the Christening plans. She’s upset that Tom only wanted her and Matthew to know and told him to give the rest of the family a chance. Tom asks her to be the baby’s godmother, that it is alright to have one Protestant godparent if the other was Catholic. Tom’s brother will be the Catholic and Mary makes an executive decision to have the brother stay at Downton.
Mr. Carson walked in on James being a bit snippy towards Alfred and so changed the duties of dinner around. James is not happy and made it known to Mrs. Patmore. Thomas overheard and slyly told James that there are ways to get back at Alfred without showing his anger. Well, O’Brien heard that and suggested that Alfred is tired of hearing James go on and on about how wonderful Thomas is. Silly, sloppy stuff she says. At dinner, James sabotages Alfred’s plate so that some of the food falls onto Violet’s lap.
The following banter at dinner I could never do it justice by writing it out, line by line. Take a moment and watch it for yourself. It starts around 14:54 minutes in. I couldn’t find it edited on youtube!
James’ little scheme backfired as Mr. Carson told him not to take charge advising Alfred again. He was going to have Alfred stay home from the movies to “think about what he did” but Mrs. Hughes intervened. She stood up for Alfred’s well meaning try at dinner and told Mr. Carson she did not think humiliating Alfred was the way to have him learn from his mistakes.
Before bed, James and Thomas have a little chat. James is upset that everyone likes Alfred and not him and Thomas tries to lift his spirits. O’Brien walks in on the cozy conversation and makes sure he knows that she and Thomas are on his side. James leaves and O’Brien says she understands that Thomas likes him in a different way and that from what Alfred tells her, James would reciprocate. Her mischievous coaxing gets Thomas to thinking about his next move.
On their way home from the movie, Alfred tells Ivey he would like to date her more frequently. She rejects him and says she likes James and would not want to spoil her chances with him. Alfred tells her he is not interested in her but Ivey has to hear it from James himself. As they disperse in the house, Thomas enters James’ room while he’s asleep, sits down on his bed and kisses him as Alfred walks in and sees it. (Alfred and James share a room) James is appalled and tells Alfred it’s not what he thinks. Thomas says Alfred is “nothing” and no one will believe what he says happened. Thomas tries to reason with James because of all the things he’s “said” but James is furious and kicks him out. Thomas must realize what an awful mistake he made.
At breakfast the next morning, everyone senses that something is wrong between James and Thomas. While Alfred is shooting daggers at Thomas across the table, James asserts his manhood by complimenting Ivey. Mr. Carson states he wants to know what happened by the end of the day.
Edith arrives in London and meets with the Sketch’s editor. She says she will have to think about the position and get back to him. He is aware of her father’s influences and politely asks her to make up her mind without thinking of his. He invites her to lunch the next day so she can give him her decision. They meet and he inquires about her family and her life. He pleads with her to take the job and she accepts.
Robert is having a tremendous time accepting change; change with his daughter, change with Matthew wanting to change Downton. Cora tells him that his own mother stood up for Edith’s defense and that should mean something to him. Murray’s arrival at Downton to discuss the estate infuriates Jarivs and he resigns as Robert’s solicitor. Another person stuck in the middle of tradition and change. It certainly cannot be a fun place to lie.
Tom’s brother shows up downstairs and immediately attacks him for becoming one of “them”. When he insults Mary to her face, Tom insists that he show grace to his mother in law for inviting him to stay and dine in the house.
Matthew tells Mary how horribly the meeting went and how it is now up to him to make it all work. He wants her total support if they want their family to continue living there. She questions her loyalty again between him and Robert. Matthew says to by all means, love her father but believe in her husband. Mary answers him with a kiss. So romantic!
Alfred goes to O’Brien, his aunt, and tells her what he witnessed between James and Thomas. She quickly takes no ones side but his and tells him he will be in a lot of trouble if Mr. Carson found out he knew and never said anything. He decides to tell Mr. Carson. Heartless O’Brien tells him to sit back and watch Thomas’ fall. Mr. Carson tells Alfred to discuss what happened with no one. Thomas admits that James had no part in the situation and swears that nothing more happened. Mr. Carson tells him the answer is to resign quietly, citing Bates’ arrival, and he will have a respectful reference.
Dinner is full of jabs back and forth, ending with Robert offending Tom with his nasty remarks about Catholics. Tom wants him to come to the Christening because Sybil would want him there. This seems to soften his heart. Edith announces her journalism plans and says her meeting with the editor went very well. After dinner, Isobel finds out that Violet has put and advertisement in the local paper for a housekeeper to replace Ethel and Isobel is furious, no doubt. Violet asks to speak with Mrs. Hughes and asks for her opinion. She agrees that Ethel will have a sad life in town and thinks it possible that she can start a better life elsewhere. Isobel is too stubborn to admit that her means of rehabilitation failed.
Cora and Violet team up to tell Robert that the plans that Matthew have to fix Downton can be worked out if they hire Tom to be their head of the estate, replacing Jarvis. They maintain Sybil’s desires to keep the family intact. Robert relents and agrees if only they admit when they turn out to be wrong. Violet accepts the caveat as she is never wrong!
O’Brien goads James to tell Mr. Carson that he won’t stand for Thomas’ actions. If he sends him off with a good reference, James should go to the police. Mrs. Patmore and Bates overhear. Mr. Carson says he won’t bring scandal to the house but James is persistent that he will not “turn a blind eye to sin”. Mr. Carson has to change his mind and tells Thomas that he won’t be getting a reference. This will all but discourage anyone to hire him again.
Violet’s great niece arrives to spend time with her while preparations for their home in Scotland are being made. Apparently she despises London and her parents won’t let her go anyway. Strangely enough, when Edith mentions she’s going back to London to deliver her article (the plight of the WWI soldier in civilian life) Rose wants to tag along. She says she has a surprise in store for her parents. Matthew pulls Edith aside and says he needs to go as well and she offers him to stay with Aunt Rosamund as well. She tells him she has a feeling she will need help chaperoning Rose.
Tom comes to Cora for help. He needs her to be 100% on his side and try to make Robert see that this new venture will work. Jarvis has taken his furniture with him, so Mary offers furniture that has been stored in the Downton attic. Cora finds it a lonely life for Tom, the nanny, and Sybi (how cute a nickname!) but Tom reassures her it needs to happen.
Mrs. Hughes finds Thomas crying outside. She doesn’t know the whole truth and she has him tell her what has left him broken. Mrs. Hughes discusses what they should do about James’ blackmail with Mr. Carson. They come to the conclusion that what ever they do, James is bound to go to the police. Mrs. Hughes believes James is being influenced erroneously.
Isobel finally tells Ethel that Violet has inquired about positions for her, outside the village. She will receive good references from Isobel and Mrs. Hughes and not have to divulge her past. Her slate will be wiped clean. She reads through the letters and no positions are appealing to her. Except for one which lives very near her son, which would be a difficult situation. She will stay on despite Violet’s objections.
Mary asks Edith to keep Matthew from getting on an earlier train than 3pm when they come back to Downton from London. Edith says she can’t promise anything and wonders why their relationship has to be so difficult. Matthew is being secretive about why he’s going to London (to be tested for infertility) and Mary is also being secretive about her own women’s problems.
Thomas waits outside Anna and Bates’ new cottage. He has a look of desperation on his face as he tells Bates he is jealous of his happiness and new life. Ever the maligned, Thomas has to keep up his appearance of a mean person and can’t bring himself to ask for help. At breakfast the next morning, Thomas is asked if he was going to play in the Village vs. House cricket match, he declined and said he should be gone by that time. James sneered, “Yes, you should” at him and Bates saw the smirk on O’Brien’s face.
Arriving at Rosamund’s house, Rose makes a call to someone and then leaves, unseen, in a taxi.
Michael, the editor The Sketch, encourages Edith on her first article and her appearance. He wants her to feel free to write whatever she is passionate about, regardless of the topic. He asks her to dinner, but she declines as she agreed to a family dinner with Rosamund.
Bates feels something strange about Thomas’ behavior so he has Mrs. Hughes tell him the whole story. Bates sees, as well, that there is nothing they can do to help Thomas. He feels sorry for him. He tries to persuade James to give up the witch hunt to no avail.
Dinner goes on without Rose, until the taxi driver interrupts. She left a scarf behind in his cab. He came to return it and to also share where she is. First she went to Warrick Square to pick up a “friend” and then sat outside for two hours. They then went to a club called the Blue Dragon. They found her dancing at the jazz club and remarked about her transformation. It seems the man worked with her father and is a married man. Matthew takes Rose out to the dance floor and tells her he can keep Rosamund quiet if she leaves with them and never sees the man again. Of course he has a horrid wife and loves her and they are going to get married just as soon as he gets a divorce. Matthew knows better and persuades her to leave, claiming he’s on her side.
Matthew sees the doctor and is told there should be no problems. Matthew asks if his wife has been to see him as well. He is not aware of treating a Mrs. Crawley but stated he wouldn’t be able to discuss the details even so. Wouldn’t you know it, but Matthew finds Mary at the reception desk using another name for her appointment. The problem of conception lied with her, and she had to have a small operation. She is in good working order now and baby making can commence now!
When Edith and Rose come back to Violet’s home, she hears them talking about something that happened that would make “Granny furious”. Violet has a surprise for Rose. She says her mother has made new plans for her and that they have opened their home in Scotland early and Rose is to travel there with an Aunt Agatha. Rose is not a favorite of this aunt and she is angry that someone must have given up the secret about Terrance to her mother. Violet set Rose up in order to teach her a lesson and punish her.
Bates tells Robert about the situation with Thomas. He says that James has been egged on by O’Brien to make sure no one suspects him gay as well. This news shocks Robert because he thought Thomas and O’Brien we thick as thieves. Bates tells Thomas O’Brien set him up. He wants Thomas to stay and fight her but Thomas knows he is beaten. He is shocked when Bates offers to help him in the fight.
Cora, Mary, Tom, and Matthew have another fight with Robert. He suggests more investments that could triple their money, even bringing up the name Charles Ponze. All they want to do is offer the farmers a choice to sell or stay to invest in the modernization of the land. Robert believes they will just be kicking the tenants out who depend on them to survive. Cora tells him that if they keep digging a hole and piling debt, they will be doing the tenants a disservice. Robert knows when he is beat and thinks he does not have a place in Downton anymore. As he leaves the room, he passes Edith who is on the phone inquiring about Michael’s credentials and personal life.
Bates invites O’Brien to their home to discuss Thomas. Bates tells her to allow James one refrance so Thomas can have a new life. Absolutely not, she says, so Bates threatens her. He whispers in her ear so we do not hear what he will go public with. The next scene we see is O’Brien telling James to let things be. He agrees with the understanding that his reputation will not be tarnished. He tells Mr. Carson he needs some time to talk with him.
Tom speaks to Robert at breakfast. He says everyone at the house, either married or born into the family, have gifts that are put at the family’s disposal. He has knowledge of farming and the land, Matthew has knowledge of the law and business, and Robert understands the responsibilities to the people around Downton. If they all pool their gifts together, great success can come to Downton. Robert is impressed by Tom’s eloquence and he agrees to think about what was said if Tom plays cricket for the House, a game he knows nothing about!
Violet wrote to Ethel’s son’s grandmother explaining the situation of her employment. She said that she would explain the situation to the child that Ethel was his first nanny, that way she can work for Mrs. Watson and see her son without torment.
Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Carson, Anna, and Bates discuss Thomas staying on at Downton. They would make him under butler to learn the trade from Mr. Carson. The question still remain about James and Mr. Carson said that if his Lordship (Robert) wants Thomas to stay then his Lordship shall bring the matter up.
Edith heads to London to meet with Michael and tells him what she found out about him. He is married and cannot work for someone who did flirt with her and finds her attractive. He explains that his wife is in a mental asylum and that he can never get a divorce on the grounds there is no one to blame for her illness. He asks her to rethink her position.
Everyone is enjoying the cricket match. Matthew and Mary are happy that Robert is coming around to try running Downton differently. They also can’t wait to start their family! Tom approaches Cora and asks her if he could live with Sybi in the house until she is grown and Cora is delighted. Robert tells James he’s pleased to know he allowed Thomas to stay on at Downton. James is confused because he only asked for him to have a good referral. Then he promotes James to First Footman much to Mr. Carson’s dismay! In the score house, Bates tells Anna that what he whispered to O’Brien was about some thing that happened with a bar of Cora’s soap (for those that do not remember – in the 1st season, Cora was pregnant and O’Brien placed a bar of soap near Cora’s bathtub which she stepped on and lost the baby). Police turn up at the cricket match and want to talk with Alfred. Seems he called and made his own report when he found out James would not. Robert has a talk with Alfred and tells him how he feels about Thomas and that he expects the rest of the house to feel the same. The police are sent on their way.
*Next week is the Season Finale…boo!