The drama rises to an intense peak in the season four penultimate episode of Downton Abbey as Mary (Michelle Dockery) continues to be pulled toward two men but can’t allow her heart to open for either. Plus, Aunt Rosamund (Samantha Bond) launches a plan to manage Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) impossible situation, Bates (Brendan Coyle) takes a mysterious trip and Green’s accidental death has Anna (Joanne Froggatt) wondering if her husband has done a deadly deed that he’ll live to regret.
Downton Abbey starring Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith airs on PBS Sundays at 9 pm ET.
Mary’s Smitten Suitors
Mary’s heart becomes more conflicted this week as she grows fonder of Charles (Julian Ovenden) and Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) tells her he’s breaking off his engagement with Mabel. Both of these men are dashing in different ways and Mary is clearly drawn to both of them.
It’s fun watching both men try to “best” each other in Mary’s eyes, and it’s clearly game on between them, may the best man win. Mary, however, tells both of them she’s not ready to love again, after sweeping declarations from both that they will wait for her and won’t give up without a fight.
What a wonderfully romantic problem to have! Two men, totally smitten, want to steal Mary’s heart. Right now, her feelings seem to tip in Tony’s direction and it’s easy to root for him. They share a long, childhood history and he seems so sincere. Yet, both men are undeniably hunky and Charles is adorable when he tries to calm George’s cries.
The question remains whether Mary will be able to free her heart of Matthew’s memory and find strength to love again. The fact that she’s clearly drawn to both Charles and Tony seems like a step in the right direction.
Rosamund to the Rescue
Poor Edith is understandably distraught about her secret, scandalous pregnancy and she’s resolved to find a way to keep the baby. Aunt Rosamund comes to Downton to hatch a plan. She’ll tell the family she’s going to Switzerland to learn French for a few months and take Edith with her. She can have the baby there and put it up for adoption, then return to Downton and start her life over.
Edith is clearly pained at the thought of giving up her child that she shares with the man she loves. There is still no sign of Gregson and we’re beginning to fear he truly has met with foul play. Edith halfheartedly agrees to Rosamund’s plan. What other choice does she have?
Part of Downton Abbey’s appeal is the way we’re swept into the historical social climate and therein reminded how far we’ve come in modern times. In her current state as a pregnant, unwed daughter of an Earl, Edith is destined to be a social outcast and may possibly ruin her family’s name and legacy.
Laura Carmichael continues to make us pine for Edith’s streak of terrible luck in love. It’s especially heartbreaking when she says, “I’m beginning to think God doesn’t want me to be happy.”
We’re shocked when the Countess (Maggie Smith) guesses the truth about Edith’s situation and we’re relieved when she doesn’t overreact. Despite her often snooty and gruff exterior, it’s clear she loves both of her granddaughters dearly and it’s wonderful to see.
Did Bates Seek His Own Justice?
Anna has struggled to keep Green’s identity as her attacker a secret, because she doesn’t want Bates to go after him and kill him for hurting her. But, Mary figures it out when Anna’s visibly distressed that he’s returning to Downton with Lord Gillingham.
Mary immediately wants to involve the police and Anna begs her to keep silent. Mary tries to reach Tony to cancel his visit, but just misses him, so he comes and brings Green. Anna wills herself to sit through a servants’ meal with him and it’s excruciating to see her pain.
Bates is a smart man and it’s pretty obvious he’s figured it out. He asks Carson for a day off to go to York. Meanwhile, Mary meets Tony and begs him to fire Green, as he’s done something terrible she can’t disclose. Tony presses her for more information, which she doesn’t supply and he agrees to sack him, based on her word alone.
Then Tony turns up suddenly at the church bazaar and tells Mary that Green stepped off a curb and was run down and killed. Mary turns ashen and we’re thinking what she’s thinking: Bates killed Green for hurting his wife.
Mary tells Anna, who immediately questions her husband about his activities in York. His vague answer sends a chill up our spines when he says, “I’d never do anything without a good reason.” Has Bates done something he’ll regret for the rest of his life? For Anna’s sake, we pray it isn’t so.