Downton Abbey Recap: Mother Knows Best

Downton Abbey Season 4 RecapIn this week’s Downton Abbey, Cora gets so carried away with her matchmaking that Mary scolds, “Don’t be transparent, Mama. It doesn’t suit you.” But the fact is, Mama is absolutely right: The widow and Anthony make a perfect couple. So much so that, by the hour’s end, they’ve given us what (if you ask me, and I wish you would) should go down in history as one of the show’s most romantic moments. Read on, and I’ll tell you all about it!

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FROM BAD TO WORSE | Unaware that Green has raped Anna, Carson shrugs off the tension that the servants sense in the kitchen the morning after the house party. “I always think there’s something rather foreign,” he grumbles, “about high spirits at breakfast.” Bates, on the other hand, is determined to find out what’s upset his wife. “It must be my fault,” he tells Robert, “because she is incapable of fault.” (A line like that uttered by almost any other character would sound sarcastic. But, of course, coming from Bates, it’s breathtaking in its sincerity.) Unfortunately, Anna is so determined to keep her spouse from killing Green and being put to death himself that she asks Mrs. Hughes if she can move back in with the other servants. “Better [he suffer] a broken heart,” she reasons, “than a broken neck.”

THE PARENT TRAP | Upstairs, Edna has no sooner slunk out of Tom’s bed than she’s begun pressuring him to marry her — you know, if there’s a baby. Though he’s full of apologies for his drunken mistake, she only drives the hook in deeper. “If you were good enough for Lady Sybil Crawley,” she hisses, “I’m good enough for you.” Luckily, after he confides in Mrs. Hughes, the estate’s resident problem-solver is not only able to figure out that Edna isn’t with child, she’s able to send her packing without tattling to Cora. (The conniver doesn’t even get any satisfaction out of dissing Thomas on her way out the door — he reacts to her observation that he’s “sly and oily and smug” as if she’s just informed him that he’s “pretty and witty and gay.”)

LONDON CALLING | While Mary, Edith, Tom and Rose are all staying at their favorite out-of-town hotel — Rosamund’s — Edith gets a tongue-lashing from her aunt for having a sleepover at Michael’s the night before he departs for Germany; Rose gets rescued from her soused date by not just (gasp!) a singer but (double gasp!) a black singer; and, thanks to Cora’s machinations, Mary winds up spending another enchanted evening with Anthony. “I hope I’m a surprise,” he says, radiating rather than oozing charm, “and not a shock.” And honestly, the chemistry between them is palpable. (Sorry, Matthew.) So it makes sense that, in spite of her commitment to her grief, in spite of his almost engagement to another woman, in spite of everything, when she heads back to Downton, he follows, explaining, “I’ve made a long journey to ask a short question: Will you marry me?” When she reluctantly turns him down, saying that she’s not ready to let go of her husband and won’t be “for some years,” he requests a goodbye kiss that’s so swoon-inducing, I wish I’d kept the smelling salts handy!

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you sorry that Mary turned down Anthony? I was with Violet that it was classy as hell of Isobel to be so welcoming to the chap who’s basically her son’s replacement. (Mind you, the Dowager Countess didn’t put it quite like “classy as hell.”) Were you surprised that Edna was brought back, only to be dispatched so quickly? Is anybody particularly — that is, at all — interested in the story of the kitchen staff and whether Daisy’s going to lose her non-boyfriend, Alfred, to chefdom? (If this is the option, I’d prefer more of Mopesley. Sorry, MOLESLEY.) Fingers crossed that poor Anna isn’t pregnant. We’ve She’s suffered enough. Hit the comments!