Overview While Downton Abbey can seem like a ho-hum affair at times, then comes episodes like this when life and livelihood are threatened, and bonds are formed and strengthened for the strength to get through the coming times. Trigger Warning(s): Blood Vomit          Characters & Story (with Commentary) Much is the same in Downton. The Dowager…


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Overview

While Downton Abbey can seem like a ho-hum affair at times, then comes episodes like this when life and livelihood are threatened, and bonds are formed and strengthened for the strength to get through the coming times.

Trigger Warning(s): Blood Vomit         

Characters & Story (with Commentary)

Much is the same in Downton. The Dowager continues to be at war with anyone who would lessen her position, and even blackmails the minister of health to try to get him on her side. Denker continues to let her mouth get her in trouble, with this episode’s instance being going off on Dr. Clarkson’s lack of loyalty, but then comes the changes.

Continuing on the topic of Denker, like her mistress, she finds no issue with blackmail to maintain her position. So with the dowager verbally firing her, she uses the information she has on Spratt’s harboring of his nephew against him. Thus assuring, if she goes down, he will go down with her and ultimately forcing Spratt to come up with an excuse for Denker’s actions.

As for the main house? Well, Baxter’s situation is quickly handled with her ex changing his plea and her being dismissed, Mr. Mason moves in and, in the process, arguably it seems Ms. Patmore may try to move in as well. Something which bothers Daisy a bit, because Mr. Mason is all she has, but at the same time it is kind of cute how possessive she is over him, like you’d expect a biological daughter to be. Though, when it comes to Andy, she doesn’t seem to say much about him wanting to work with Mr. Mason. Something which might be a tad difficult because we learn the boy can’t read, a possible explanation for him wanting to work in the country. Though with him lowering his guard against Barrow, who he knows is different, it seems he may have found himself someone who can teach him to read.

Leaving perhaps the married couples, and those soon to be married. To begin, living together seems to be a learning process for Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, mostly due to Mr. Carson’s finicky ways. Though when it comes to the interesting relationships, I think you have to start with the girls first. For with Edith having Bertie, and Mary entertaining Henry, both have perspectives. Though, while Mary seems unwilling to marry down, either due to snobbish nature or having the burden of an unbalanced match, a topic Tom brings up, Edith seems to be giving herself over to love. Be it the love of her work, of which she has hired a female editor for, or the love of Mr. Bertie, who she kisses in this episode. Thus pushing the idea that with her now having a life in London, set with a home and a love interest, perhaps Downton will be a place to visit rather than live. After all, it is inheritably Mary’s and as bad as Mary is now, imagine when they are older.

Thus bringing us to the big to do of the episode, the Dowager’s dinner, with her family and friends, and the Minister of Health. Now, as you would expect, it is an utter battle for supremacy of which, even while being outnumbered, the dowager doesn’t back down a bit. All of which does nothing good for the family bonds and stresses Robert to the point of his ulcer bursting. Which, mind you, isn’t done in such a way which could be hidden. No, he projectile vomits over the table and onto people and it is perhaps the biggest scene ever in the history of Downton. To the point it creates an utter shock and worry since, despite all that has happened, this perhaps, aside from Anna’s rape, is one of the most alarming things to happen in recent memory. Luckily though, we are told things are fine in the end. Leaving the hope that Robert’s situation maybe what turns the Dowager over to the side of progress, and maybe leads to Mary burying whatever malice she has toward Edith.

Highlights

As noted, it was quite cute to see Daisy become so possessive of Mr. Mason like a little girl seeing someone take up her daddy’s attention for too long. Especially since it is Ms. Patmore who openly admits some jealousy when it comes to Ms. Hughes getting married as she stays in the kitchen with only really Daisy to talk to.

The whole Robert situation I feel is just the spark needed to make that hospital situation interesting. For it reasserts the importance of this hospital storyline past it being the only reason we will likely see the dowager on screen.

Another enjoyable moment is between Andy and Barrow. For with Andy knowing Thomas is gay, or seeming to know, it explains his distance. Though, with him perhaps needing Thomas to learn to read, maybe this could lead to genuine friendship or, who knows, something beyond. For while Thomas has been a butthead since season 1, he has evolved since then and while he has his moments, like with Gwyn, a part of me still wants a happy ending for him

Low Points

I found it unfortunate Ms. Baxter’s storyline with the man who ruined her life got cut short. For while her being Thomas’ support is fine, with her and Mr. Moseley going nowhere fast, it would have been nice if she was given something to do.

To be honest, Mary’s love life, and what Tom may do in the future, has become such a bore. Mary, as always, will be snobbish and entitled, but end up falling for Henry anyway, and all the while Tom will smile in the background like a goofy little brother. A sad thing since I miss revolutionary Tom, but it seems he doesn’t, or can’t, keep that up anymore.

Arguably, the love life between Ms. Hughes and Mr. Carson is also a low point. Be it because nothing about the two seems romantic, and more so seems like neither wishes to die alone, or just because they both seem so asexual. Either way, even with Mr. Carson being a bit rude and ill-mannered, there really feels like nothing to see or take interest in there.

On The Fence

The whole Denker situation gives me pause. For, unlike Thomas, she hasn’t really evolved out of being strictly a nasty and conniving person. So with her being fired I had hope, but with her threatening to reveal Spratt’s secret comes her continued stay. Though, with Denker having twice embarrassed the Dowager by not minding her own business, I doubt she can have a 3rd go at going overboard and not get fired. Leaving Spratt’s only option to tell the dowager. Since, out of Denker’s mouth, it seems she is far from done blackmailing him to her benefit.


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