Obsessed With PBS: Downton Abbey, S6, Part Four

The Stitch Is In.

Anna had some gaspy pains so she and Mary high-tailed it to the London Gyno. The non-Donk LG is “cautiously optimistic” that Anna will carry to term. Later Bates is delighted when his wife tells him about their Batesby. And they will all live happily ever after until the newborn is accused of murder.

Speaking of gaspy pains, the OG LG, Donk, had two grabbing-chest incidents this episode. It’s almost assured that he will end up in the hospital soon…but which one? The same old village hospital or the now county run hospital? Because when all other storylines are getting wrapped up, the Village v. County hospital story is the one that carries over week to week. This time the Dowager Countess has enlisted Lady Shackleton to be on Team Village. When Lady Shackleton questions DC’s reason, DC says, “Are you here to help or to irritate?” (Doctor Clarkson was absent this episode…probably with his lights off and all the curtains drawn.)

Some great DC quips:

When Isobel tells Edith she applauds her for wanting to choose a female editor, “Of course you do.”

When Edith says that Isobel is entitled to make an argument, “Of course, she is. She’s just not entitled to win it!”

When Lady Shackleton said she needed all the facts about the hospital, “That’s never stopped me!”

One great dig from Isobel:

When DC said she hasn’t been to the Servant’s Hall in over 20 years, “Did you bring your passport?”

While we are on the Great Retorts subject, the winner of the evening has to be Mrs. Patmore:

On the subject of the Carsons’ honeymoon, “She knows the Mystery of Life by now.”

On Daisy mashing potatoes, “you couldn’t be harder on those potatoes, if you wanted them to confess to spying.”

On Daisy after her talk of confronting Cora, “I wonder if Karl Marx might finish the liver pate.”

On Daisy again, “All right, Madame Defarge, calm down and finish that mash.”

That last one was my favorite.

See Daisy was all up in arms when she hears that the family might run Yew Tree Farm themselves and not give it to Mr. Mason. Everyone tries to stop her, saying she could lose her job but nope. She has to say something! She goes upstairs with Baxter and corners Cora outside in the hall. Just as she was going to unleash her tirade on Lady Grantham, Donk comes out and says, “Oh Daisy. Tell Mr. Mason he’s got the farm.” Unbeknownst to Daisy, Cora and Branson had already convinced the others to let Mr. Mason have the farm. That’s another one wrapped up!

But don’t think Daisy will be content. She has seen that one of them could get out. Downton has a visitor with a familiar face. Anna instantly recognizes Mrs. Harding as Gwen, the maid who wanted to be a secretary. The maid who went on to tell Jon Snow he knows nothing. (Side note: it took me a long time to not think of Maid Turned Secretary when watching Gwen on Game Of Thrones. Now I only see Yvette the Wildling sitting across from Lady Mary at lunch.) Branson also recognized Gwen and said, “Look at you” and confessed he had to marry the boss’s daughter to get upstairs. Everyone else just thinks Gwen looks kind of familiar. Barrow, with the eternal chip on his shoulder, thinks Gwen is hiding her humble roots so he calls her out at lunch. Mary immediately thinks she’s sneaky. When Gwen tells the story of how Lady Sybil was the one who encouraged her and helped her get the secretary gig, the table is nearly in tears and Mary thanks Barrow for reminding them all that Gwen used to work there. Donk, however, tells Barrow later to stop that kind of crap and that as acting butler, he could learn a thing or two from Carson.

Speaking of Carson, he returns from his honeymoon with his wife, what’s her name now? I can’t seem to say it. It’s so difficult. I want to say Mrs. Hugh…arson. Oh, it’s such a mouthful to say “Mrs. Carson”. As Lady Rosamund says, “it’s like Jane Eyre asking to be called Mrs. Rochester.” So weird, right? Thankfully, Carson shows the upstairs gang some mercy by asking if it is OK that they remain Carson and Mrs. Hughes. “Oh Hallelujah!” says Donk.

What else did I learn from Episode 4? Apparently Sgt. Willis is pushing hard for a regular spot in the cast. He’s back again. This time to ask Baxter to testify against the rogue that set her up to steal at her old employer. She resists for a while but after pressure from Willis and Moseley, she relents and says she’ll do it. While Anna was recovering from her stitch, Mary took time to lunch with Henry Talbot, Lady Shackleton’s nephew who would be an earl if forty other men die. (DC says, “Well, nothing is impossible.”) Talbot turns out to be the man that obviously couldn’t be on just one episode from last season. He’s into racing cars even though Mary couldn’t be interested in motors “…if I took a pill to achieve it.” Or if she remembered how gruesomely her husband, Matthew, died in a car crash.