Dec 24, 2019
Downton Abbey: London Edition
Rose and Atticus are about to get married, but a secret someone is trying to break them up. Will love save the day? And what’s happened since that very unpleasant dinner with Dickie’s devil-spawn?
We’ve time-jumped two-months ahead, and the foundling child that looks exactly like Edith has settled in quite nicely, which must be a relief to Edith because now she gets to see her regularly for two minutes every other episode when the children are displayed. Little Edie is so much better off being raised by a nanny rather than by Mr. and Mrs. Farmer Tim who actually eat meals with their children.
Isis is gone, and we’ll never hear her unfortunate name again.
Isobel is no longer engaged, but Rose is practically hitched. She’ll have a “registry wedding” in London and won’t get to wear a veil since she can’t be married in church. Isobel comments that Rose seems to be taking it all in her stride. Was Isobel—who lost a husband and a son, and has now broken it off with Dickie—being a touch patronizing? Perhaps she has more in common with Violet than we thought.
Shrimpie and the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs. Shrimpie will be staying with them, and everyone upstairs and down is talking about how terrible the soon-to-be-ex is. Because we have been forewarned, we can expect her to be awful because at Downton characters are whatever they are announced to be. No one ever reminds us that Rose used to be a complete wild child who took up with married men and black jazz singers, so we accept her as a pure sweet angel with no prejudices who helps poor displaced aristos.
Speaking of whom…
Russian Billy Connolly, a.k.a. Prince Kuragin, pays a surprise visit to the Dowager House, making Violet as giddy as a schoolgirl. He just wants to be happy and spend his remaining days with his true love, preferably in her comfy house with servants. He doesn’t care whether his wife is alive or not. For Violet, however, the princess is a deal breaker. Are we supposed to be rooting for her to die? Does that make us Bolsheviks?
Sgt. Willis shows up yet again to torture Mr. and Mrs. Bates. But wait! Willis has good news—the witness is sure the person seen talking to Green was much shorter than Bates, so he’s off the hook. HOWEVER, they also have discovered that Green assaulted several women, all slightly built and blonde like Anna, and they want to talk to her in London next week. The Crawleys will host a non-disastrous dinner party before the Bateses will ever be free of this.
More servants high-jinx with Denker and Sprout: Packing for London, Sprout hides one of Violet’s suitcases to make Denker look bad. But his plot is foiled because Violet notices. Ha-ha. Servants are so amusing! Almost like real people.
Everyone arrives at Grantham House—the big white elephant, which they never visit but won’t sell because of tradition. Rose’s mother, Susan, a.k.a. Lady Flincher, a.k.a. Mother Hell-God, is barely out of her car when she starts complaining. She’s NOT going to share a room with her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Mrs. Hughes suggests Rose and Edith could double up and heads that one off, but there’s no heading off Mother Hell-God’s feelings about the Jew thing. Given that they are poors who can’t even afford “personal attendants,” you’d think rich would trump Jewish, especially given that Rose loves Atticus and not every wealthy WASP aristo would marry an impoverished girl what was kicked in the head by a pony.
Rose explains to her father that Lord Sinderby isn’t so pleased about the upcoming nuptials, so in order not to give him any “ammunition,” ixnay on the ivorceday. (Of course, she says that in English, not pig-Latin, because she isn’t very clever at foreign languages.)
How terrible is Susan when Lord and Lady Sinderby arrive for dinner? Not as terrible as Miss Bunting or Dickie’s devil-spawn. Like a truly skilled internet troll, there’s bit of passive to her aggressive. If she can get the Sinderbys to yell first, she wins. She opens by asking them, “Do you have any English blood?”
Lady Sinderby is dying to reply, “Only when we use it to bake our Passover matzoh,” but she doesn’t say that because she is a lady and also on the side of LOVE.
The topic of things Lord Sinderby does not approve of comes up. He doesn’t specifically mention his son’s marrying a shiksa with a hell-god mother, but his list does include divorce and Atticus’ upcoming stag party. So remember, everybody: IXNAY!
After dinner, Tom mentions his eventual departure for the 300th time because the writers want to make sure we are never surprised by anything, except maybe a major character’s death in an automobile accident. Mary suggests she, Tom, Rose and “even you, Edith” all go out to lunch before the wedding. Later, Mary will joke to Tom that if he leaves, he might hear of her murdering her sister. Perhaps that’s foreshadowing for season six. Bates will get blamed, but when evidence is revealed that can exonerate him, Carson will confess and hang for it because anything for Lady Mary.
Let’s pause and catch up with the doings of the downstairs crew in London:
Poor Daisy. All this book learning has made her unhinged and unhappy with her lot. Robert was right as always! If she was meant to learn to read and appreciate art, she would have been born into a class with time for it. She also makes Mrs. Patmore cry by deciding she will quit Downton and move to London. Let’s blame Miss Bunting. Is there no end to the horror that woman wrought!
Andy is a temp footman hired to help out for the week. Thomas immediately takes a liking to him. So does Denker. What’s she got in mind? She takes him to some gambling joint so she can get free booze while he loses money. Thomas steps in and helps Andy, maybe because he is attracted to him, or because he is no longer evil. Maybe Andy actually likes him that way, and the two of them could open a small hotel like all the other servant couples plan to do when they retire or are released from prison, speaking of which….
Anna and Bates go as commanded to Scotland Yard, where Anna is made to stand in a lineup, but then released. Is it over? It’ll never be over. This is a subplot that will not die.
And now back to the aristos:
At lunch, Edith and Tom arrive first, and Edith remembers that she and Gregson ate at that restaurant once. She looks like she’s about to cry, and oh God maybe Mary can plead justifiable homicide.
Mary and Rose arrive, and then Rose is handed the envelope with the compromising picture of Atticus “letting a tart into his room” as Mary delicately puts it. Rose does not know what to do on account of that childhood accident. Tom insists she call Atticus immediately, and Mary and Rose go off to the phone booth. Tom thinks Lord Sinderby set it up.
We saw what happened and know Atticus is innocent. Atticus confronts his father, who gives his word it wasn’t him, but does call Rose “that little shiksa” and is not pleased his grandchildren will not be Jewish. They would have kept arguing, but the Crawleys and the MacClares have arrived for dinner. The dinner doesn’t go too badly because the Crowleys aren’t hosting it, but back at Grantham House, Shrimpie confronts his evil soon-to-be-ex. He knows she was the one who set up Atticus and tells her not to try anything else because Rose “was too clever to be taken in”—words that have not been uttered since that accident with the pony. He warns her that Rose doesn’t know she did it, but he’ll tell her if she tries anything else.
Rose tells Violet that she can’t imagine what kind of rotten hell-god would do something like that. Violet, who seems to know exactly what kind would, keeps her mouth shut for once.
Then it’s time for the wedding. Before the ceremony, Mother Hell-God tells Lord Sinderby that she and Shrimpie are getting a divorce and it’ll be all over the papers. Before Sinderby can say, “Oy vey iz mir,” Lady Sinderby says, “Thank you. Now we are forewarned.” Lady Sinderby then tells her husband if he does anything to stop the wedding, she’ll leave him. Hooray for love! Hooray for Lady Sinderby! Maybe she’ll be the mother Rose never had.
As Rose is about to walk down the aisle, Susan asks Violet, “Is that it? Am I just expected to be a good loser?” Violet in her role as oracle and audience stand-in replies, “It’s too late for that, my dear.”
After it’s over, Rose tells Shrimpie, “Whatever I can do to make him happy, I will do.” CONVERT? Because that would totally make your in-laws happy!
At the reception, Mabel and Tony show up and announce their own engagement. Mary takes Tony aside and tells him, “You were just what I needed when I needed it.” And who doesn’t need “it” every now and then?
Rose confronts her hell-god mother about her ill-timed announcement. Given that Susan is about to be divorced and impoverished, perhaps alienating her daughter what’s just snagged a rich husband is not the smartest move?
All things considered, that didn’t end too badly, did it? Uh-oh. It’s not over yet. That evening, police arrive to arrest Anna for Green’s murder.
Mary protests, and the cheeky inspector ma’ams her. She begs to differ, “I am Lady Mary Crawley.” He is not impressed. “I don’t care if you are queen of the upper Nile.” Times really have changed!
But life goes on, and we still have that memorial thing back at Downton. Mr. Mason is sitting up front with Daisy, and Mrs. Patmore is by his side. Robert announces that there’s also a plaque for a young man, “who wasn’t a local so his name didn’t go on the memorial, but he was dear to some here.” That young man is, of course, Archie, Mrs. Patmore’s nephew, and Robert is a total softy. Donk, indeed!
As the crowd disperses, many people talk to each other and contemplate the future.
Daisy decides to stay at Downton after all. Maybe she’ll just burn those books and settle down.
Bates and Mary are hoping Anna will soon be released and it won’t even come to a trial. She’s doomed, isn’t she?
Violet advises Isobel to put up a fight for Dickie because you don’t get too many chances, especially ones where the first wife is actually dead.
Robert watches Edith and Little Edie. He tells his wife the girl reminds him of Michael Gregson. He asks her to tell him if he’s wrong, and he agrees to keep the secret. To his own surprise, he admits he can love his granddaughter. Was the doubt because she was illegitimate or because she was Edith’s?
Looks like next week will be a double episode finale featuring Christmas at Downton. Wonder if they’ll have a dinner party. Those always go so well. Comments welcome! No, spoilers please!