As usual you add two and two and make 53.
Downton Abbey, featuring Lady Edith Crawley: Baby Stealer. Sorry, I know it’s her own daughter. But she gave that daughter up for adoption, and then proceeded to remove her from two different adoptive mothers. She hasn’t the guts, or the human decency, to stand up to scandal in order to honestly claim her daughter as her own. Last week, Lady Mary didn’t know how to deal with a blackmailer, but she knew that she’d prefer a scandal to living under a cloud. Lady Edith is all cloud all the time, and she has tortured poor Mrs. Drewe almost to the point of insanity.
The theme of this episode seems to be that if you are wealthy, you can steal choices away from others. Edith had the good sense to want to avoid tormenting Mrs. Drewe by bringing Marigold to her home, but she couldn’t avoid it if it meant telling Mary the truth. The one thing these sisters must not know about each other, apparently, is that the other has ever gotten laid. Except that one time Mary was married.
Meanwhile, Mary is delighted to steal Mrs. Hughes’s own wedding right out from under her. Both Sir Robert and the Hendersons are all, “Worked this land for hundreds of years? That’s nice, but you make me uncomfortable. Buh-bye.” Daisy’s righteous anger is a little ludicrous, coming from such a meek and pale little woman, but it’s certainly righteous.
Since we open, again, with The Reading of the Letters, I have to assume that both Tom Branson and Rose will be reappearing at some point in the season, to warm our hearts or die or both. Woohoo.
Rich people can taketh away with impunity, but rich people can also giveth. If we cared about Anna and Bates, Mary’s offer to take her to see her London gynecologist would be really touching. Listen, I don’t want to impugn anyone’s grief, but it strikes me, that weeks after the fact, weeping quietly to yourself during the work day is not quite normal. And Mary is right; huge weights have been lifted off of Anna’s shoulders, she should have some perspective. Still, all of this tragedy allowed for the funniest line of the evening, because if you’re secretly seeing a gynecologist and pretending you’re just going on a trip, “I’ll put my feet up” is hilarious. Tell me you weren’t visualizing!
In other plot developments, there is an Old Lady War about whether or not the hospital should allow itself to be taken over. I don’t for one minute believe that Downton is doing anything seriously metaphorical about corporate takeovers versus independence. The whole thing feels like a fairly thin excuse for Isobel and the Dowager Countess to go to war and get Lord and Lady Grantham stuck in the middle. If it didn’t all feel so artificial and over-played, it would be more fun.
Thomas has become very, very bad at being gay. Even Mrs. Pattmore knows he’s sniffing up the wrong pants leg. And his interviewing skills are appalling. And he’s an asshole.
Also, Edith has work problems because her editor is an asshole. There are solutions that rhyme with FIRE HIM, but I can’t think of a one.
I really loved last week’s episode, so I’m hoping we get back to Lovable Downton, because this week, these people were all detestable.