‘Downton Abbey’ s6e4 – Butler for a Day

31 Jan

“The cat’s away, m’lady.” ~ Bates

All Thomas’ dreams have finally come true…he’s finally been promoted to Butler! Just don’t remind him that it’s only until Mr. & Mrs. Carson return from honeymoon. It explains the twinkle in his eye, the spring in his step…and the knife he plants in Gwen’s back at the dinner table. How the family can eat with his sour face looking over them, I don’t know.

GWEN RETURNS TO DOWNTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m hardly excited about it at all.

“When were you a friend of Gwen’s?” ~ Anna Bates

It’s one of the best meals to ever take place at the Downton dining room table. Mrs. Harding (Gwen) awkwardly conceals her previous servitude from the party. Though she’s forgotten what planet Thomas comes from, he has not forgotten how she escaped a life downstairs. And just when he’s started defrosting again. So, of course, he tells the room where she came from, and just when Mary’s about to stab the former housemaid with a salad fork for sitting next to her father the Earl of Grantham at the dinner table, she tells her lovely story of how she could never have been sitting there if it weren’t for Lady Sybil and her beautiful gift of help. Precious, priceless, and if you’re not holding your breath through the entire scene, you’re doing it wrong.

“Her kindness changed my life.” – Gwen Harding

Branson’s back, too many countries or some wonky reason, and he’ll live at Downton, but he won’t be Land Agent again, and he’s considering going right to the top of some profession. If you’re having trouble doing the math on him this episode, you’re not alone.

QUESTION OF THE EPISODE: Are the Crawleys ever going to get a new dog?

“Makes a change.” ~ Anna Bates

Sgt. Willis has come for Miss Baxter this time. The police are trying to build a case against Peter Coyle, and she’s their only hope Obi-Wan. We’ve never seen her this upset before (even when she almost lost her job), but not to worry — Molesley takes a hand. He’s come so far from season one — very attentive and generous. This could be just the thing to finally set Baxter free from the past. Not to mention prevent a lot of other ladies from her own fate.

Speaking of ladies, Edith is driving HERSELF with Aunt Rosamund in the FRONT SEAT. Glass of water for season one — I think it just passed out.

Who is John Harding? Is Edith headed for a love triangle???

Granny recruits an ally in the war against, well, everyone else, so Lady Shackleton comes to town. She’s invited her nephew for dinner. Funny thing — such a small world indeed — her nephew is Henry Talbot. What’s not funny is that it took FOUR episodes to get him back on the show. Maybe Mary will agree to an arranged marriage to spare us the pain of a two or three episode courtship. If I’m going to whine about anything this season, it’s going to be their relationship. So not fair we have so little time left with them. Boo-hiss. Anyway, Henry’s a dreamy dinner date, and Mary doesn’t waste a minute pouncing. She issues the challenge and accepts but doesn’t accept. Typical Lady Mary. But I’m certain this is going to be fun.

Daisy officially crosses over into insanity and charges upstairs to tell Cora off. But Mason gets Yew Tree Farm and she’s left standing in the Hall with her mouth hanging open. Time for her to go find Miss Bunting and join her wherever that is. The sooner she moves into Yew Tree with Mr. Mason, the better. It’s getting old fast.

Anna’s in the family way again, and it’s time to make a mad, clandestine dash to London. The doctor has a wee bit of audacity in how he addresses Mary: “Don’t worry. It will be reflected in my bill.”

But Lord Grantham seems to need a doctor just as much. Somebody get this village hospital thing resolved immediately so we can get him checked in.

There’s very nearly a food fight in this episode, and it’s all the poorer for not getting all the way there. I love how Granny reminds them that great families’ duties are to protect freedoms. It’s just sad she’s pretty much having a stroke and wielding a sword over her head.

Carson and Mrs. Hughes (as it shall remain) return and move out into their own little estate cottage. Snug as a bug in a rug. Can’t wait to see what’s next for these newlyweds. Will they survive year one of marriage? I’d love to hear your predictions of what life will be like for these two love birds.

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