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S06.E04: Season 6, Episode 4

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As Tom and Sybbie settle back into life at Downton, the family and servants are surprised with the return of another old friend in unexpected circumstances. A visit from Sergeant Willis leaves Baxter with a dilemma, while Thomas struggles to fill Mr Carson’s shoes. As a crisis takes Anna and Mary to London, will Bates find out what Anna has been keeping from him? Daisy has a bone to pick with Cora and Mary’s eye is caught by an admirer.

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I must say I did not have high expectations for Gwen's return but that was extremely well done. The awkwardness, Thomas being his usual manipulating (and self-destructive) self, the call back to Sybil (I had completely forgotten how she had helped Gwen), Tom's face when Gwen talked about her and Lady Mary's almost visible mental *gulp* because she probably remembered the conversation she had with Lady Edith at their sister's deathbed. And then she was actually nice to her sister for a nanosecond (of course she was nice to Anna too but that's not novel.) Well done show!

 

Less impressive: more criminal shenanigans nobody wants to hear about. Of course Mr Mason got Yew Tree farm and with one or two lines about his love for the farming life Andy just established himself as future husband to Daisy thereby providing the necessary male successor for Mr Mason (who is old as his Lordship helpfully pointed out).

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I must admit I got a bit watery eyed when they were all talking about Sybil. Tom's face!

 

It's so good to have him back in the family! 

 

I'm still not that keen on Talbot, but Mary seems to be so that's probably the end of it. They are amusing, but he's no Matthew at all. 

 

I loved all scenes with Tom and Mary of course, because they're just so nice with each other!

 

I still enjoy Mary very much this season. It's so good to see her less superficial than last season. 

 

I think the female editor will meet Tom at one point and we will see a romance for him on the horizon, too. 

 

Daisy was so AWFUL. They really turned her into the second Miss Bunting. How stupid can she be?? 

 

I liked the talk between Thomas and Miss Baxter. I love Baxter and Molesley. 

 

And I loved how Mary rushed to London with Anna.

Edited by Andorra
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See Thomas, this is why you can't have nice things. Of course, since lately he's been more of a cartoon villain, his exploits usually bring about the exact opposite of what he wants, and everyone was happy about Gwen and the chance she offered to remember Syvil, the most beloved member of the family.

 

Also, we were so, soo close of being rid off Daisy. Well, at least it worked out for Mr. Mason, whom I'm fond of.

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Mrs. Patmore is a gem of a character, I loved her Marx reference.

 

Happy for Anna, things seem to be moving in sensible direction to a finale, with all characters given a proper ending.

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Great episode. Had no idea the return of Gwen would hit such a great walk down memory lane.

Was it just me? I thought Mrs Hughes looked like she might have wanted to be called Mrs Carson . Sweet Mr. Carson saying good bye to his room.

I still think the Abbey is going to be the new hospital . It was a hospital already once sort of in the war. This huge hospital war is going somewhere in the long run for the finale.

Is it too soon for the Bates baby pool. Or at least an over / under on health scares on this pregnancy.

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Great episode. Had no idea the return of Gwen would hit such a great walk down memory lane.

Was it just me? I thought Mrs Hughes looked like she might have wanted to be called Mrs Carson . Sweet Mr. Carson saying good bye to his room.

Not just you. I think that's the Carson/Hughes arc for the season, same as the issue over where to hold the reception. He needs to stop speaking on her behalf.

Thomas should have foreseen the reaction to Gwen--I mean, this is the same family that sent Mrs. Patmore to the optometrist, supported Anna/Bates through 700 accusations of murder, heck, even accepted their former chauffer as a member of the Family. Like a housemaid who left service in 1913 under completely non-scandalous circumstances would raise a bit of ire.

When it comes to Tom/Mary vs Tom/Edith, it's the difference between Mary and Edith that defines the differences. Tom gets to be a lot wittier on screen with Mary because she says crazy things and Tom stands up to her. It's very similar to what sparked in Mary and Matthew's relationship. Mary doesn't like pushovers. Conversely, Tom "pops" less around Edith because she's less confrontation/argumentative.

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After waiting for years to have Gwen return, this was unexpectedly satisfying.  I did expect more familiarity between her and Tom, as he of course did know the story she was telling,  he was there jumping for joy with her and Sybil, before he became so portly. 

 

Why did no one suggest that Tom could become Edith's new editor, before she announced her intentions at the end.  Journalism and politics, and Ireland (not England!) were once his passions.  Has Ireland even gained independence yet?  When it does, won't he go there with Sibbie?  Unfortunately it seems he's returned with no real story line in store for him, and that sucks. 

 

But Tom visited America during the roaring twenties, a time of extreme economic inequality and wealth stratification, stock market gambling that will lead to the great depression, and he sings in praise of American capitalism?  More then 60% of the country was living in poverty, including many Irish immigrants, anyone/everyone could not claw their way to the top.  Obviously he has changed a great deal, but not for the better. 

 

I wanted to vomit when Violet was making her ultra right wing rupert murdoch anti-government rant, since I guess this is really about how much Fellowes hates the NHS and wishes it was never formed so people could live in poverty and disease.  These laboriously long, tedious plots threads are dreadful.  This last season is mostly filler thus far, I would have taken a two special episode to end out the series as opposed to this drivel. 

 

I hope Dasie will find independence from this disgusting class system she lives under.  Surely as a tenant farmer, making jams to sell at the local market, she will be able to speak her mind more.  Or perhaps she will be able to attend Gwen's college?  She could take some time off to attend before taking up with Mr. Mason full time.  

Edited by Glade
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I wanted to vomit when Violet was making her ultra right wing rupert murdoch anti-government rant, since I guess this is really about how much Fellowes hates the NHS and wishes it was never formed so people could live in poverty and disease.  These laboriously long, tedious plots threads are dreadful.  This last season is mostly filler thus far, I would have taken a two special episode to end out the series as opposed to this drivel. 

 

Super rolled my eyes at that whole bit. Even the inimitable Maggie Smith could barely make those lines sound good.

 

 

I hope Dasie will find independence from this disgusting class system she lives under.  Surely as a tenant farmer, making jams to sell at the local market, she will be able to speak her mind more.  Or perhaps she will be able to attend Gwen's college?  She could take some time off to attend before taking up with Mr. Mason full time.

 

Daisy has become so unlikable. She has skills and possibly a bit of money from her husband to escape from "the yoke of service" and find a job, yet she's done nothing with her opportunities. All talk and no action, except when she exercises her complete lack of subtlety and zero charm in attempting to twist Lady Grantham's arm into getting Mr. Mason onto their farm. Too bitter for me to root for her.

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Not just you. I think that's the Carson/Hughes arc for the season, same as the issue over where to hold the reception. He needs to stop speaking on her behalf.

 

See, I got the feeling that he was speaking for the both of them, because he looked at her (as if seeking approval), before he declared they'd stick with their old names, like they had previously discussed it. As far as him speaking for her, she did say "obey" in her wedding vows. As much as I hate that word, it was like that back then. 

 

I thought the whole name thing was stupid anyway. Are the Crawley's such dullards that they can't get used to her married name? And the kitchen staff? How the hell could it be confusing when they put MRS before Carson? It's not like anyone would think they were talking about the butler when they used the 'Mrs' honorific.

 

 

Daisy has become so unlikable. She has skills and possibly a bit of money from her husband to escape from "the yoke of service" and find a job, yet she's done nothing with her opportunities. All talk and no action, except when she exercises her complete lack of subtlety and zero charm in attempting to twist Lady Grantham's arm into getting Mr. Mason onto their farm. Too bitter for me to root for her.

 

She's so shrill, now. I just wanted her to have her outburst so she'd be fired and we'd be done with her. 

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I wanted to vomit when Violet was making her ultra right wing rupert murdoch anti-government rant, since I guess this is really about how much Fellowes hates the NHS

I'm not so sure about that, because Violet isn't represented as being right. She is increasingly isolated in her conservative stance - Dr Clarkson was moving toward the opposite position last week, this week she couldn't get Lady Shackleton to support her. I think this storyline is tying in with the overall seasonal arc about having to keep up with changing times and Violet will ultimately lose the battle, representative of the old times that are dead and gone.

Daisy has become so unlikable. She has skills and possibly a bit of money from her husband to escape from "the yoke of service" and find a job,

Daisy doesn't have any money from her husband. William was a footman whose father is a tenant farmer. He had no money to leave her. She gets a teeny tiny war widow's pension, but that's it. She does have highly marketable skills, but she has lived her entire life in service, in a backwater, with only a single half-day off per week. She has no idea what could be out there for her. I think that's half her trouble. She has all these feelings about the unfairness of her position in life, but doesn't have the know-how to be able to seriously pursue anything else - plus, she doesn't want to go too far afield. Like Thomas, she wants to stay local, in the district she has lived all her life - we learned that when she turned down the chance to go to America. It's easy to get into that kind of rut. I still have sympathy for Daisy. She wants to better herself, and has been pursuing her studies in the attempt, but she's come to education too late, without enough guidance, and is mostly just floundering about blindly. She doesn't have the wherewithal that someone like Gwen had, way back in season one.

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Maybe I'm deluded, but after watching this, I'm more convinced that Mary/Tom is the end game.  Matthew Goode's character did nothing for me -- there seemed to be no more spark with him than with Gillingham or Blake.  I don't think Sybil's name was invoked by coincidence, or that coincidence compelled Mary to act by her example.    

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Oh, I hope not. I do like Tom a lot, but I want Mary off with a rogue-ish chap who's crazy in love with her, taking her on windblown adventures and stirring things up. She's far too staid for a woman of... what? 30-33? Her routine bores me. Let Tom be the agent, and if she really wants to, she could start her own real estate company.

 

I do like what a good friend she is to Anna. She really is that. But I don't see, and have never understood, why she hates Edith so much. The spark of support she threw her way was refreshing. 


Did anyone else feel sorry for Thomas when he admitted to Baxter that he does care what people think? And I liked that he admitted to, was it Molesly? That he really was jealous of Gwen. 

 

How adorable WAS SHE? Really! And I'm glad Thomas's snitty sabotage failed, and that Robert called him on it. They're going to kill Robert, aren't they?

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Daisy does actually have a career - from kitchen maid to assistant cook which is impressive. And from what we've seen last season (and what Mrs Patmore said in this episode) she's ready to become a cook of her own who could easily find a good position. Cooks always made good money, if Daisy feels 'stuck' it has nothing to do with the 'system' but with her own lack of initiative (or in-show demands she stay at DA). Also she has the admittedly tiny widows pension AND the income she makes at DA, that's more than many women her age would make working just as hard. She'll also inherit Mr Mason's property and his savings. She's not the poor exploited wretch she pretends to be, which makes the character annoying even when she has a point.

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Yes, Daisy does have a career - she's had a strong career trajectory through the show. Her problem is that she feels within herself that it isn't enough. She wants something different, something new, but doesn't know how to achieve it, so she just lashes out. She's always been extremely immature. But I do find that realistic.

 

I'm wondering what was the point of sending Tom all the way to America if he was just going to come back two episodes later with nothing having changed. Before he went he spent a lot of time pondering what he should be doing with his life, and then he went away and now he's back and he's still pondering what he should be doing with his life!

I thought the whole name thing was stupid anyway. Are the Crawley's such dullards that they can't get used to her married name? And the kitchen staff? How the hell could it be confusing when they put MRS before Carson? It's not like anyone would think they were talking about the butler when they used the 'Mrs' honorific.

They struggled at first when Branson became Tom, as well. But to be fair, Mrs Hughes has been working there as Mrs Hughes for at least 20 years, probably longer. When you've known someone by the same name for that long, it isn't easy to change! I've had that trouble myself, when someone I've known for many years has remarried - I still catch myself slipping up and saying the wrong name even years later.

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Well, as someone whose favourite subplot of season one was Sybil helping Gwen find her first secretary job, this episode was a GIFT.

 

Fellowes gets a lot of (usually deserved) grief over his writing, but I'll always appreciate that he's willing to commit time and attention to women's issues. Edith hiring a female editor, Mary carrying on as agent for the estate, Gwen returning as part of an organization to help other women find careers - it seemed to be the theme of the episode. 

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Maybe I'm deluded, but after watching this, I'm more convinced that Mary/Tom is the end game.  Matthew Goode's character did nothing for me -- there seemed to be no more spark with him than with Gillingham or Blake.  I don't think Sybil's name was invoked by coincidence, or that coincidence compelled Mary to act by her example.    

 

I'm getting more and more puzzled. I agree about Talbot. I actually thought him rather dull and shallow, with nothing in his head but racing cars. It was Tom again, with whom Mary had the better scenes. She flirts with her suitors, but it is Tom with whom she talks openly and it is Tom to whom she turns in a time of need. I thought it was interesting also that she told Tom the truth about Anna while telling all the others a lie. 

 

And then the preview? Tom walking with Mary, Tom talking with Mary at the race and in the production stills there's yet another scene with Tom and Mary. I'm puzzled. Is Tom's whole storyline about being there for Mary? He seems to be everywhere where she is.

 

I think, if they're not going to end up together, they will both end up single and run the estate together as family, but not romantically involved. 

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I don't know what it is about Tom/Mary - could it be the actors just have good chemistry no matter how many 'you're my brother'-lines the show is throwing at them? I noticed it last season Mary just becomes more alive and likable around Tom. And as noted above she never plays games with him. He called her out on her artistic trip last season and she did not protest. She immediately tells him what's up with Anna.

I like it that we can't tell where this is going, but right now my money's still on Tom/Mary. To change my mind the show would have to come up with a better would-be suitor than the ones we've seen so far.

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I agree, Miss Lucas. It's puzzling isn't it?

 

Also I noticed that Tom was the one who was sure to bring Mary around to the plan that Mr. Mason would get the farm. "Leave Mary to me". Isn't that unusual? Shouldn't it be her parents who talk to her? So they all are sure (including himself) that he's the one who can handle her the best and who has the best rapport with her. 

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I kinda like the idea of Mary and Tom, just for the mental image of the look on Carson's face when they tell him...

 

Maybe Mary's line "One day I will do something that even you will find shocking" was foreshadowing!

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I do like what a good friend she is to Anna. She really is that. But I don't see, and have never understood, why she hates Edith so much. The spark of support she threw her way was refreshing.

 

I think Cora summed it up best in season 1 when she said that having daughters:  “No one ever warns you about bringing up daughters. You think it’s going to be like Little Women. Instead they’re at each other’s throats from dawn till dusk.”

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I'm not the biggest Mary fan by a long stretch so it was nice to see her say something encouraging regarding Edith's choice to go with a woman editor. I also quite liked the flirty banter between her and Race Car Guy whose name I can't be bothered to remember. I laughed out loud at her "No, but I will thoroughly enjoy the process" line. That being said, I don't think anything will come of it because his dangerous hobby (profession?) hits a little too close to home for her.

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I think Cora summed it up best in season 1 when she said that having daughters:  “No one ever warns you about bringing up daughters. You think it’s going to be like Little Women. Instead they’re at each other’s throats from dawn till dusk.”

 

A few years ago a cousin, who is raising three boys, came up to me and asked when my brother and I stopped fighting.  I told her it was when he moved to a different state.  It is amazing what a few area codes between you can do for a sibling relationship.  I've always thought that if Edith would just move to London, she and Mary would start to form a better relationship based on being adults, not the children they act like now.  To Edith, Mary is still the bullying domineering older sister.  To Mary, Edith is still the sneaky sniveling little sister.  Neither one is an adult woman is the eyes of the other person. Because neither one had to change and see the other one, or themselves really, as an adult for her sister.  Edith needs to move to London, and not come back for a year. Except for Robert's funeral, which will obviously be in a few months.

 

It was so nice to see Gwen again.  It is nice to see that even after all these years, Sybil can still shame the Crawley's a bit.  If only they could have worked in the line "You know nothing Jon Snow."

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Daisy does actually have a career - from kitchen maid to assistant cook which is impressive. And from what we've seen last season (and what Mrs Patmore said in this episode) she's ready to become a cook of her own who could easily find a good position. Cooks always made good money, if Daisy feels 'stuck' it has nothing to do with the 'system' but with her own lack of initiative (or in-show demands she stay at DA). Also she has the admittedly tiny widows pension AND the income she makes at DA, that's more than many women her age would make working just as hard. She'll also inherit Mr Mason's property and his savings. She's not the poor exploited wretch she pretends to be, which makes the character annoying even when she has a point.

 

Exactly. People in service changed jobs all the time - hello, army of ever-changing house maids. Even with little money, Daisy could easily browse the papers and find something. She could have left to work with Mr. Mason at his farm at any time. I don't recall any time where Daisy expressed an overwhelming desire to stay local. I get that leaving for America is probably a bridge too far, but London is just a train ride away and Northern cities even less so.

 

It's just Hotel California Abbey all over again. Daisy's lack of initiative makes little sense for her character's trajectory. The actress wanted to stay on the show, so they had to figure out something for her to do that doesn't involve quitting her job.

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I've always thought that if Edith would just move to London, she and Mary would start to form a better relationship based on being adults, not the children they act like now.  To Edith, Mary is still the bullying domineering older sister.  To Mary, Edith is still the sneaky sniveling little sister.  Neither one is an adult woman is the eyes of the other person. Because neither one had to change and see the other one, or themselves really, as an adult for her sister.  Edith needs to move to London, and not come back for a year.

A year might not be enough. Edith went to Switzerland for a year, and it wasn't enough to change the sibling dynamic with Mary.

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I thought the whole name thing was stupid anyway. Are the Crawley's such dullards that they can't get used to her married name? And the kitchen staff? How the hell could it be confusing when they put MRS before Carson? It's not like anyone would think they were talking about the butler when they used the 'Mrs' honorific.

 

This. I know they are so used to call her Mrs Hughes that starting to call her Mrs Carson seems a bit odd, but the whole scene made the Crawleys look like it would've been too much of a titanic effort.

 

Maybe I'm deluded, but after watching this, I'm more convinced that Mary/Tom is the end game.  Matthew Goode's character did nothing for me -- there seemed to be no more spark with him than with Gillingham or Blake.  I don't think Sybil's name was invoked by coincidence, or that coincidence compelled Mary to act by her example.    

 

 

I'm getting more and more puzzled. I agree about Talbot. I actually thought him rather dull and shallow, with nothing in his head but racing cars. It was Tom again, with whom Mary had the better scenes. She flirts with her suitors, but it is Tom with whom she talks openly and it is Tom to whom she turns in a time of need. I thought it was interesting also that she told Tom the truth about Anna while telling all the others a lie. 

 

And then the preview? Tom walking with Mary, Tom talking with Mary at the race and in the production stills there's yet another scene with Tom and Mary. I'm puzzled. Is Tom's whole storyline about being there for Mary? He seems to be everywhere where she is.

 

I think, if they're not going to end up together, they will both end up single and run the estate together as family, but not romantically involved. 

 

I am puzzled too. Mary told Tom "you're my brother" in the very same episode that brought Matthew Goode's character back, hence I thought the both instances had the purpose to put Tom/Mary to rest. Yet, for some reason, I always thought that Tom would've ended with either Mary or Edith (of course, that was before we met Edith's obvious new love interest) and, if anything, this episode made me realize that Matthew Goode (is his character's name Talbot?) is probably not Mary's endgame, even though last season, when he first made his appearance, I was 100% sure he was. And... can I say it? My biggest pet peeve with Talbot is that he's a race car driver and our dear Matthew died in a car accident. That should be enough, for Mary, to be at least hesitant towards him. But clearly, this is just me.

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I didn’t expect to but I did really enjoy seeing Gwen again and it was nice to have a conversation about Sybil.  It reminded me just how amazing Sybil was and how much I miss her!

 

Totally agree with Glade that the rants about how great capitalism is were pretty forced and unpleasant.

 

Thought Mary/Talbot came across as really artificial.  I rarely enjoy watching Mary flirt and it’s because, I think, of the way that she is so arrogant about it “I will enjoy the process of you hitting on me while I don’t respond immensely”, not exactly alluring (to me, anyway.)

 

Mrs Patmore is having a quietly genius season, “You couldn’t be harder on those potatoes if you wanted to make them confess to spying.”

 

What is the point of Tom?  The show has spent so long doing the “Should I stay or should I go?” dance with him that I just could not care less.  That said, I did giggle to myself when Robert was sad that Tom missed dinner – one feels that missing a big meal is perhaps not such a bad thing for Tom.

 

I remain confused by the Tom/Mary shipping – I don’t see any chemistry at all and, yeah, while I agree that they have a good open relationship, I honestly don’t see that that’s any different to his relationship with Edith (e.g. him knowing about Marigold ahead of her parents).  It feels very sibling-esque to me on all sides.  I don't see someone who loved Sybil loving Mary (who has no interest in anything outside Downton, unlike Sybil who couldn't wait to leave and experience new things) or Edith (who is so much more cautious than Sybil was)

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Mrs Patmore is having a quietly genius season, “You couldn’t be harder on those potatoes if you wanted to make them confess to spying.”

Totally agree - she's rapidly becoming my favorite downstairs character now that Mrs Hughes er.. Carson er... Hughes seems to have lost her spunk in marital bliss. And while everybody is praising Mrs Patmore referencing Karl Marx I nearly lost it when she called Daisy 'Madame Defarge'!

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Totally agree - she's rapidly becoming my favorite downstairs character now that Mrs Hughes er.. Carson er... Hughes seems to have lost her spunk in marital bliss. And while everybody is praising Mrs Patmore referencing Karl Marx I nearly lost it when she called Daisy 'Madame Defarge'!

 

That was ingenious as well.  She had a wonderful episode, and coupled with the whole Hughes/Carson dilemma earlier, she's now my favorite!

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I rarely enjoy watching Mary flirt and it’s because, I think, of the way that she is so arrogant about it “I will enjoy the process of you hitting on me while I don’t respond immensely”, not exactly alluring (to me, anyway.)

 

Mary and her arrogance are always fun but sometimes I wish a guy would pull the Luka Kovacs moment from ER on her to straight her up.

 

Namely, if you're not familar, breaking up with her with a "You're not that pretty and you're not that special"

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Maybe Mary's line "One day I will do something that even you will find shocking" was foreshadowing!

Another foreshadowing was Rosamund saying that Violet would attend Robert's funeral...

 

I didn't expect it, but Gwen reminiscing about Sybil put tears in my eyes. Usually the only one who can make me cry is Mrs Patmore. She's my favorite character.

 

Cora cracked me up with her "I feel like I've just dodged something".

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Well, as someone whose favourite subplot of season one was Sybil helping Gwen find her first secretary job, this episode was a GIFT.

 

Fellowes gets a lot of (usually deserved) grief over his writing, but I'll always appreciate that he's willing to commit time and attention to women's issues. Edith hiring a female editor, Mary carrying on as agent for the estate, Gwen returning as part of an organization to help other women find careers - it seemed to be the theme of the episode. 

 

some people have been talking about Daisy, and I wonder if maybe the school plot - with Rosamund being a trustee, and I guess now Edith too, with Gwen's husband being.. something at the school, and with it being an all girl school. will tie into Daisy increase dissatisfaction with her current position and her studies.. maybe she'll land a spot at the school? that will be her ticket out from being a servant and being able to utilize her new found ideals in a way that she obviously can't while still working at downton

with that being said, is the school just for young girls or is it for women too? the show didn't make that clear.

Edited by foreverevolving
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I didn't expect it, but Gwen reminiscing about Sybil put tears in my eyes.

 

Me too. And then I was ashamed that Fellows made me water up! But, it was very well done.

 

I loved this episode. And, though in the minority, I am all about Talbot and Mary.

 

I NEED Anna to stop crying / being miserable. Hopefully this is the end of that.

 

I was worried, in that last scene, that Carson was going to drop dead in his room....phew.

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I can't believe Fellowes is trying to make "Talbot races cars, Matthew was killed by a car" into a romantic obstacle, when there's a much bigger romantic obstacle staring the show in the face: Talbot isn't interested in Mary's life's work and vice versa. The problem is Mary doesn't need anybody to be happy. She had love and now she has a great life doing exactly what she wants. She seems bored by everything. And when you're bored by everything you aren't going to be a compelling character in a romance. The show did go out of its way to point out the Talbot was nowhere near a title, though. I suppose to counter the belief that the show is a love letter to the old feudal system. 

 

Also, why did Thomas say he devoted his life to service, and now he's bitter Gwen made something of herself? That's a massive retcon. Thomas hated service. Thomas tried to get out of it by being a medic during the war, and then by being a businessman, which he failed at. Thomas wanted to be the "personal valet" to a man he was having sex with, which shows how much he respects the class system. Thomas was ambitious and hated being working class. Now the show is trying to make it that he not only wants to be a servant but stay in Rippon? 

 

And looks like all the servants are being paired up: Carson/Mrs. Hughes, Bates/Anna, Molesly/Baxter, and Daisy/Andy. That just leaves Thomas and the show is writing him so sympathetic and sad that I can't imagine he won't get a happy ending too. I wonder what form its going to take. Maybe Tom Branson will discover he's gay because as it stands those are the only two young characters not paired up yet. 

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And looks like all the servants are being paired up: Carson/Mrs. Hughes, Bates/Anna, Molesly/Baxter, and Daisy/Andy. That just leaves Thomas and the show is writing him so sympathetic and sad that I can't imagine he won't get a happy ending too. I wonder what form its going to take. Maybe Tom Branson will discover he's gay because as it stands those are the only two young characters not paired up yet. 

 

Don't forget Mrs P!  Sadly, I'm not sure that there is a romance planned for her but we can but hope...  

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Well, maybe Constable what-'s-his-face has ulterior motives for showing up with a new crime of the week every episode?

Edited by MissLucas
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I don't mind saying that Gwen moved me to tears when she started talking about Sybil. I loved that Robert remembered being shut out of the library because of the interview because it made her story seem genuine to the people who didn't know her. 

 

Violet knows she isn't going to win this. It's going to be an if you can't beat them join them thing with her and she'll somehow try to make it seem like she was never against the idea at all because she's never really wrong. Cue Isobel's frustration. 

 

I don't feel sorry for Thomas. He's a miserable jerk who wants everyone else to be miserable too. I was glad that he ended up looking like a spiteful clown over it all. Technically he shouldn't have spoken anyway, right? 

 

Daisy frustrated the hell out of me. I was almost hoping that she'd be physically restrained and locked away in the pantry until she'd changed her mind. 

 

As pro Tom/Mary as I am I suppose it couldn't have been more clear that she sees him as a brother as she said in this episode. Oh well. I did think that I saw Tom checking her out a couple of times though. AL has gained a bit of weight, hasn't he? I hadn't really noticed until other posters started commenting on it but it's true. I mainly noticed when he was standing next to Matthew Goode. 

 

I loved Violet's frank discussion with Lady Shackleton about Henry's prospects and chances at getting the earldom. 

 

I also liked Mary telling Henry that it's too long and boring to explain why her son is the heir to her father's title and estate. I'm chuckling thinking 'Well, only a few million people have found that story to be compelling but I get what you're saying, Mary.'

 

Baxter and Moseley bore me to tears. I apologize if that makes me an insensitive person. 

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I also liked Mary telling Henry that it's too long and boring to explain why her son is the heir to her father's title and estate.

 

Isn't that a lil dim on Henry's part? He knows she has a dead husband... if her son is heir then duh....

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It was Tom again, with whom Mary had the better scenes. She flirts with her suitors, but it is Tom with whom she talks openly and it is Tom to whom she turns in a time of need.

 

I agree, but I don't think this is anything new. Mary's interactions with her family are always written in a different style to her dealings with her suitors -- and it's not to the suitors' benefit. Her romantic storylines suffer for it.

 

The flirting is superficial banter. Lady Mary doesn't open up to people easily or quickly. And we can see her performing when she's trying to impress a suitor.

 

Meanwhile her dealings with her family aren't always nice or kind, but they're genuine, intimate and honest. She doesn't try so hard; she doesn't put on an act. So of course if Tom is part of her family, and particularly if she considers him an ally within her family, then their relationship is going to look warmer, closer and more real than her relationship with a suitor.

 

I don't know what it is about Tom/Mary - could it be the actors just have good chemistry no matter how many 'you're my brother'-lines the show is throwing at them? I noticed it last season Mary just becomes more alive and likable around Tom.

 

I think the actors have nice chemistry. But I also think that their characters' temperaments are complementary.

 

I enjoy the character of Lady Mary, but she's cold and haughty. So it suits her to be paired with a warmer, more emotional, more down to earth man like Tom. It brings out the best in her, and it makes for enjoyable viewing.

 

Thought Mary/Talbot came across as really artificial.  I rarely enjoy watching Mary flirt and it’s because, I think, of the way that she is so arrogant about it “I will enjoy the process of you hitting on me while I don’t respond immensely”, not exactly alluring (to me, anyway.)

 

I like Matthew Goode, and I loved him on The Good Wife, but his Henry Talbot is a bit stiff. He makes Mary look loose and relaxed by contrast.

 

And he's too like Lady Mary for me to jump on board that ship. They're both sharp, suave, sleekly elegant toffs. Watching them be all drily witty and glamourous together is like watching a couple of well-dressed mannequins. It's like watching a whiskey commercial or something. It's all hollow surface appeal with no feelings in sight.

 

Mary shouldn't be paired with someone cool and smooth like Talbot, because she herself is cool enough for two. I'd rather see her with a man who is more sincere than smooth in his social interactions. Someone who doesn't ever seem glib, dry, or above it all (as she often does).

 

But I think Fellowes believes more in pairing like with like than in opposites attract.

Edited by Kirsty
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Thank you Thomas for demonstrating exactly why I can't stand you. I was so glad Robert pulled his card. People like Thomas shouldn't end up happy because they go to great lengths to ensure the unhappiness of others. Wasn't it Thomas and O'Brien who outed Gwen's ownership of the typewriter? 

 

I'm sick of the police threatening and badgering the maids of Downton.  Robert's power as an Earl is waning but what little he has should be asserted with the Chief Inspector to stop the harassment of his female staff.

 

It's interesting that the writers keep Mary's flirting traditional for the times but in all other things the women of Downton are very modern.  

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Isn't that a lil dim on Henry's part? He knows she has a dead husband... if her son is heir then duh....

I think it's weird because Henry knows that the estate that George is heir to is now currently Mary's father's and that isn't typically the way that it works in their world which favors primogeniture. We know of course that there are other examples of women inheriting for one reason or another but for the most part the situation of Mary, Matthew, and George isn't terribly common. 

 

Meanwhile George isn't styled as Viscount Downton because he's the heir presumptive. In theory Robert could still produce another son if he were to remarry at some point. Obviously this isn't going to happen but I understand why Henry might have been confused and why Mary made the comment. 

Edited by Avaleigh
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But its constantly said that the peerage is a small society where everyone knows everyone and while Henry isn't in line for an earldom, he clearly is aware of his place in the lineage. And if Lady Shackelton is sniffing for marriage bait for Henry then wouldn't she be aware (and wouldn't most peers be aware) of the lengthy endless string of tragedies that have befallen Robert's heirs? I mean, they lost two heirs on the Titanic and the third died driving home from the hospital the day his son, the child of the woman she's trying to intro Henry to, was born.

 

If Henry is intentionally placing himself as an outsider, maybe but he has relatives who aren't outsiders and he's attempting to get Mary's attention himself. None of this would be a secret, this is the sort of tragedy people talk about. That's why it seems a bit dim - in part because it leads to discussion of the dead husband and who really wants to raise that specter when flirting with a woman?

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That whole Gwen visit was wonderful continuity and callback. It made a homage to one of the better characters on this show and was incredibly satisfying. Everyone's faces at the lunch table was touching.

 

It did give me cognitive dissonance to remember that the actress is Ygritte.

 

When Matthew Goode's Talbot appeared in the Special, I thought he was a viable contender, but after this episode, I'm not as intrigued. He seemed much more sedate and not as interesting. I think Blake and Mary had more chemistry. That's a real shame because Goode is so handsome, but he doesn't seem to have the initial spark he carried before.

 

Why have they made Allen Leech so portly? He's been looking fit post-Downton. In any case, it's good that is back because I love his friendship with everyone on the show. He and Mary have wonderful and warm scenes. She's really only the best around Tom and Anna. She's been really pushy with Carson lately, but she definitely adores Tom and Anna in a less overbearing way. Tom knows how to handle her. Does this mean I ship them? A bit, but I know it's never going to happen on the show. The actors have wonderful chemistry and it's a great familial and platonic relationship.

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I think Daisy's problem is she hasn't found her voice yet.  Right now, she's just parroting Miss Bunting.  It's kind of like back in Season 1 when she had the crush on Thomas, and she was kind of snarky and nasty like he was for a bit.

 

My guess is that next week we'll find out Mrs. Hughes can't cook, so that will be their return to presiding over the meals in the servants' hall.

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I really only like Mary when she's with Anna or Tom because she obviously cares about them and wants them to be happy. I loved when she and Tom were discussing what he would do next and she told him that he shouldn't worry about making the family happy and that he should do whatever will make him happy. If only she could say the same thing to Edith (although I agreed with Rosamund that it was nice of Mary to say be supportive of Edith possibly being the editor of her magazine). I also really loved that Mary's immediate reaction to Anna was to take her to London immediately. She is capable of being a loving supportive friend but apparently she limits herself to just Tom and Anna.

 

I also really loved Gwen coming back and reminding everyone how kind and generous Sybill was. It was really sweet to see their reactions to that. I also loved how encouraging Edith and Isobel were of her education (even before they knew the connection to Sybill).

 

And HA, I was so glad that Robert told Barrow he knew he was being an ass when he revealed that Gwen had worked at Downton. He is such a shit stirrer but he doesn't care when everyone downstairs berates him for it. Having Robert tell him not to be so mean and then later spelling it out for him that being a successful butler means being kind and having loyal employees made my day. When he told Baxter that he does care what people think, I just rolled my eyes. Boo hoo, Thomas. Try not being a dick for, I don't know, two whole days in a row.

 

Still don't care about the hospital plot which is taking up far too much time, but I did love Mary saying that Rosamund would take Cora and Isobel's side over Violet's any day. I also loved Rosamund calling out Violet point blank at dinner about trying to get Mrs. Shackleton to take her side.

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Nobody loves the hospital subplot, poor thing. I'm getting more and more annoyed by the argument because we're supposed to take sides yet we're never presented the whole story. The argument is framed in terms of modernization (Isobel) vs. local control (Violet) but that's just way too simplistic. A hospital merger normally also means downsizing in order to prevent redundancies and unnecessary costs. This was only once touched upon in a brief exchange:

 

V: Which means we'll become a ward of the larger establishment, while the local community forfeit any claims to being treated in their own village.
I: Well, that depends how we divide the new departments. In the end, surely, it comes down to how many lives will be saved.

 

From my experience the question to what extent is medical support still guaranteed on a local level is normally the crucial point in such debates and cannot be brushed aside with such an oversimplified argument. I also love how a bunch of folks who freely admit that they normally go to London for medical care discuss this and nobody ever considers asking the village people for their opinion. That might be historically correct but I still have to laugh when Isobel accuses Violet of paternalism when she claims to speak for the people.

 

Also where the hell is the rest of the board? Since Cora fears the Downton party might get expelled from the board there must be more folks debating this than we have seen - maybe watching them preparing a coup to expel the Downton ladies would be more fun to watch than this rehashing of the Violet/Isobel feud from earlier seasons.

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